The Force Engine (TFE)

A purchased copy of the original game is required and is not provided by The Force Engine. The documentation has information on how to legally purchase Dark Forces. TFE is not a remaster, it is essentially a source port designed to run the original game natively on modern systems with quality of life improvements and optional enhancements. Dark Forces and Outlaws are owned by Disney and are still active, commercial products. The IP is owned solely by Disney.

Current Version

Version 1.09.54

Current Features


The Force Engine is a project with the goal to reverse engineer and rebuild the Jedi Engine for modern systems and the games that used that engine - Dark Forces and Outlaws. The project will include modern, built-in tools, such as a level editor and will make it easy to play Dark Forces and Outlaws on modern systems as well as the many community mods designed to work with the original games.

Playing Dark Forces or, in the future, Outlaws using the Force Engine will add ease of use and modern features such as higher resolutions and modern control schemes such as mouse-look. Using the built-in tools, once they are available, will allow for easier modding with more modern UI, greater flexibility and the ability to use enhancements made to the Jedi Engine for Outlaws in custom Dark Forces levels - such as slopes, stacked sectors, per-sector color maps and more.

Dark Forces support is complete, but Outlaws is not playable yet - the focus so far has been on the framework, Dark Forces support, and JEDI reverse-engineering. However, Outlaws support is planned and will be complete in TFE version 2.0. See Current State below.

Current State

Full support for Dark Forces has been completed. You can play through the entire game, with all AI, weapons, items, and functionality working as expected. While the project shares a legacy with DarkXL, it is a complete rewrite - rebuilt from the ground up with a much greater focus on accuracy. It is much more focused than the XL Engine, focused on being a Jedi Engine replacement/port only - thus full support for Dark Forces and later Outlaws. Please check the Roadmap for more information.

Current Release

The current release only supports Dark Forces. All weapons, AI, items, and all other systems function, including IMuse. You can play through Dark Forces from beginning to end and play existing Dark Forces mods. As with any project of this nature, there may be bugs and system specific issues - if you run into any bugs that cannot be reproduced in the DOS version, please post them on the forums or GitHub.

Upcoming Graphical Features

One thing that ex-DarkXL players, or people who haven’t really followed the project up until now, should be aware of is that the focus on TFE has been on core functionality and accuracy. So some of the eye candy that DarkXL offered is still not available - such as texture filtering, dynamic lighting, and bloom. Even the TFE GPU (OpenGL) Renderer uses 8-bit color and color maps for lighting. When looking straight ahead, there is very little difference between the software and GPU renderers in most cases (other than performance and the sky depending on settings) - and this is by design.

The good part is that sprite/object clipping issues with floors and ceilings that usually affect hardware renderers are not present, so you don’t get issues like objects clipping with the ground or being hidden because they are placed too low. Sprites show up over wall parts or behind them accurately. In general sorting is pretty accurate, though somewhat improved. Portals are also far more accurate than they were in DarkXL. And the GPU Renderer does provide perspective-correct pitch and the ability to look almost straight up and down, depending on settings, allowing for a more comfortable experience using mouselook.

That said a true color option, which will enable optional texture filtering, will be coming in early 2023. And there are plans to add dynamic lighting and bloom options as well.

Cross-platform Support

Linux is now supported but it requires additional setup. For now, you will need to compile from source in order to run Linux. For more information, the Downloads page includes links and further instructions. In addition, a Flatpak/snap (or similar) package is planned for version 1.10, alleviating the need to manually compile the project. Think of version 1.09 as “Linux Early Access.” If you don’t want to compile the code, it might be better to use Windows for now or wait for version 1.10.

Minimum Requirements

Note that there are plans to lower the requirements for using the classic software renderer in the future. However, the minimum requirements for GPU Renderer support are here to stay. For now only OpenGL is supported, which might limit the use of some older Intel integrated GPUs that would otherwise be capable. There are near-term plans to add DirectX 10/11, Vulkan, and maybe Metal render backends which should enable more GPUs to run the engine efficiently.