Star Wars Games
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EaW Cover.jpg
Star Wars: Empire at War




Game engine


Release date

October 24, 2006


Real-time strategy


Single player, Online multiplayer


ESRB: Teen (T), PEGI: 12+



Star Wars: Empire at War (often abbreviated as EaW) is a Star Wars RTS (Real time strategy game). The game was made from scratch so that it could be a fresh start to Star Wars RTS games after the poor reviews over Star Wars: Force Commander. Petroglyph developed a completely new engine specifically for EaW known only as Alamo.


The game features a brand new style of play to make the game much more realistic. Players are granted resources based on how many planets the player controls instead of building workers, getting resources, and buying individual units. Controlling worlds increases a player's cash flow and provide unique bonuses for each planet (e.g.discounted prices for units, special unit available for production, reduced damage to certain units)


Battles are carried out both on a planet and in space above the planet. Whoever controls the planet's surface, controls the planet itself and is the defender. There are different advantages and disadvantages to being an attacker or defender.

Attackers must secure control points to increase the number of units they can land and they must, while Defenders may deploy up to 10 units on a planet immediately, as long as they own a landing point. Attackers have their advantages as well though. They can call in air strikes if they have Bombers in orbit (or capital ships for the Galactic Empire). Ground to space weapons (like the Ion cannon and Hypervelocity gun) can be used during space tactical battles. Unlike in Galactic Battlegrounds, shields form an actual barrier that must be penetrated and protects bases from any artillery and bombing runs, providing the artillery or bombers don't enter the shield's radius. Assorted building pads litter the playing field in both space and land battles. These pads allow the player to build useful structures (ex. Turbolasers which can easily destroy enemy mechanized units.) Combining these, and many more elements (including special abilities and hero units) creates an intense tactical and nostalgic experience that any Star Wars fan can appreciate.

EaW takes place during the time between Episode III and Episode IV, concluding with the construction and possible destruction of the Death Star. Empire at War features three factions, although only two are playable. These factions are the Rebel Alliance the Galactic Empire and the Black Sun (Non-playable without XML modding, see below.) Units in this game are a mix of Clone Wars-era and New Order-era. The Empire's advantages include powerful ships and swarms of TIE Fighters, while the Rebels, on the other hand, must rely on swifter ships and Raid Fleets (Small ground troop fleets that can bypass space defenses.) Like many RTS games, Empire at War features a "Rock-Paper-Scissors" unit usage style—for every unit there is a counter-unit. Brett Tosti, the LucasArts producer, has stated that this encourages players to create diverse armies and fleets with units that counter other units, as opposed to building a bunch of "super units".

Players are also able to call on reinforcements during battle, including heroes like Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Players can also construct planet-borne ion cannons, factories, and space stations. Over forty locales are featured including Yavin 4, Tatooine, Dagobah, and others from the movies and Expanded Universe.


A map of the planets in Empire at War

Species and Creatures[]





  • Tani Abyla (Hidden unit)
  • Luke Skywalker (Hidden unit)
  • Red Five (Hidden unit)
  • Jan Dodonna (hidden unit)
  • General Rieekan (hidden unit)
  • Lieutenant Tanbris (Hidden unit)
  • Princess Leia (Ground) (Hidden unit)
  • Prince Xizor (Hidden unit)
  • Raymus Antilles (Ground) (Hidden unit)

Ground Units[]




  • All Terrain Attack Pod
  • Infantry Support Platform
  • Desert skiff
  • Killer Penguin (hidden unit)
  • Imperial Navytroopers (hidden unit)

Space Units[]




Special Weapons[]



  • Ion cannon





Hidden Items[]

The following are units and planets that were removed for the final version and are hidden or mentioned in the internal game files. Some have been unlocked via XML and MEG editing.

Land Units[]

Space Units[]


  • Xizor (Space unit - Virago)
  • Tani Abyla
  • Jan Dodonna
  • Carlist Rieekan
  • Tanbris (Space unit - TIE Advanced x2)
  • Antinnis Tremayne (Space unit - Singularity)
  • Raymus Antilles (Land Unit)
  • Leia Organa Solo




  • First Battle of Kuat
  • Interpreting the Network
  • Theft of the X-Wing
  • Kessel Rescue
  • Stealing from the Rich
  • Imperial Liberation
  • Highest Bidder
  • Rescue the Millennium Falcon
  • Needle in a Haystack
  • Borrowed Time
  • Defense of Mon Calamari
  • The Final Battle


  • Battle of Thyferra
  • Re-taking Fondor
  • Scouting Ilum
  • Capturing the pirate leader at Ilum
  • Battle of Eriadu
  • Subjecting Geonosis
  • First Battle of Jabiim (Galactic Civil War)
  • Traitorous Moff
  • Battle Over Mon Calamari
  • A New Weapon of War
  • The Rebel Fortress


Campaign mode has two possible endings. As the Rebellion, the Death Star is destroyed. The Death Star is shown with Luke firing two proton torpedoes. It then goes to the award ceromony on Yavin Four. As the Empire, five planets are taken that could have the Rebel's base. Then shown is Vader and his clone legion in the Death Star. The Emperor comes and congratulates him.


As was revealed in early press releases and interviews, EaW is marginally open-source—with much of the game being controlled through text files (*.txt), XML files (*.xml), DAT files (*.dat), and LUA (*.lua). Anyone with the knowledge and software needed to alter these files can do so. The text files are easily edited in most text-editing programs (though Notepad is often the default editing program on the Windows platform) and control the unique ship names that appear on many of the capital ships as well as a fair amount of the stories used throughout the Galactic Conquest mode. The XML files control much of the data responsible for the appearance and behavior of units and buildings. These files are often, by default, launched in a web browser which allows for viewing only. For the purposes of editing XML WYSIWYG web editors (ie: Microsoft's Front Page and Adobe Macromedia's Dreamweaver), text-editors such as Notepad, or proprietary XML editors can all be utilized (through the latter two are most common due to their relative ease of use).

DAT files require the use of software capable of reading the information embedded within. In Empire at War, DAT files are used to store almost all of the text found within the game. Lastly, the Lua files are used primarily for high-level scripting and AI. The decompiled files come with the Map Editor, and can replace the scripts in the EAW directory without having to compile them.

It is now possible to create new ground and space maps with the map editor released by Petroglyph. Included in the map editor download is a plug-in for 3ds Max 6 that can export models into .alo format used by the Alamo engine. However, 3ds Max 8 users that patch their software to the Service Pack 3 version are able to use the separately released 3ds Max 8 exporter in conjunction with the shaders provided with the map editor. Modified shaders created by EaW modder Mike.NL fixes an issue where the models in the viewports using Rskn shaders are invisible. 3ds Max 8 SP 3 is also necessary in order to use the exporter included with the Forces of Corruption map editor.

The community has been pressing forward in terms of modding, going so far as to enable Star Destroyers in low orbit above land maps, unlocking the existing units which were not put in place, and even some total conversions have begun. There exist some fan-made programs to assist with the editing of what can be edited, as well as a (at present primitive) .alo file viewer. Such tools include a particle editor and an .alo model importer, but controversy over the creation of the importer exists over possible model theft and the lack of an effective way to combat it due to some concerns over the relative age of the Empire at War modding community.

Mod Projects[]

There are many large mod projects now in the making, huge mod projects that add entire timelines.

Expansion pack[]

An expansion pack was announced at E3 May 9, 2006. It adds 40 new units, 13 planets, and new warfare and features. It was released October 24th in the U.S.A and came out October 27th in Europe.

Inconsistencies with established canon[]

  • Ackbar was discovered during the siege of an Imperial space station over Corulag.
  • A-wings are in use in the early Galactic Civil War. The R-22 Spearhead retcon partially reconciles this frequent inconsistency.
  • Antilles, R2-D2 and C-3PO all partake in a mission to Wayland, the Emperor's secret storehouse. No one in the Rebellion had even heard of the planet, much less operate on the planet, until Thrawn's campaign.
  • Obi-Wan can be seen fighting with the Alliance.
  • Han Solo cooperates with the Alliance before Episode IV, and even contributes in obtaining the Death Star plans (Operation Skyhook is never mentioned so it's not clear if the game ignores it or wants to show unofficial parallel operations).
  • The MC80's weren't made until after the Battle of Yavin, but are made before in the game.


  • The in-game description for Maximilian Veers's personal AT-AT Blizzard 1 says his AT-AT cannot be toppled by Rebel Snowspeeders. However, in one of the recent patches, they stated that it was a bug and removed the feature.
  • In several sources, Fondor is misspelled as "Fonfor". [1]
  • Some sources also make the mistake of using the callsign "Base One" for Admiral Ackbar's Home One. Example


Empire at War was well received by fans, and many considered it the best of the Star Wars RTS games. Gamespot called the game "The RTS fans had been waiting for." Others were disappointed that a sequel to Rebellion had not been made. However, some critics, at the worst, claimed the game to be shallow and repetitive, whilst others considered it fun but basic.

See also[]

SWGames has a collection of images and media related to Star Wars: Empire at War.

External links[]