Version 1.0 dev blog xwing vr

Project Stardust – Dev Roadmap

Development on Project Stardust, a Virtual Reality X-Wing simulator, has been ramping up for the past month. It is planned out and ready to be a big part of my last four months of University. If you haven’t heard of this project you can read about it here.

Current version as of this post is 0.71b and there is a lot to add in order to get to version 1.0. Here are my current goals for a “complete” experience, broken down into core and secondary:

Core Additions


HOTAS support

Ever since I published the first prototype I have been getting messages about adding HOTAS support. Since I just acquired a Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X, I am finally in a position to do so! I plan on using Unity’s new input system to handle joystick & absolute throttle mappings.

WMR bindings

This one will probably be trickier, since I do not have access to a WMR headset at home or at the University. I have a handful of binding files published by the community and will attempt to make them the default configuration when a WMR controller is detected.

Survival game mode

The Rebellion is on the brink of defeat; with a handful of Frigates, Cruisers, and fighters you must defeat the relentless waves of Imperial scum. The Empire will out-man and out-gun you and the fate of the galaxy will rely on your ability to master your X-Wing to turn the tides of battle and save your fleet from destruction.

Pseudo-randomly generated maps [Survival]

procedurally generated space level

Permutations of different planets, environment elements, and lighting conditions will allow you to see the far reaches of the galaxy before the Empire hunts you down.

Light speed jumping [Survival]

More than just ambiance; making the jump to light speed will allow you to travel between randomly-generated systems during the Survival game mode.

Fire mode select (1-shot, 2-shot, 4-shot)

Much like the old X-Wing games, the player will be able to select between different fire modes for their KX-9 Laser cannon. The current fire mode in 0.71b is 1-shot which allows each shot to be fired in sequence with a short cool-down between each shot. 2-shot will fire a staggered sequence of 2 laser cannons at a time with a medium cool-down between each volley. 4-shot will fire all 4 laser cannons at once with a large cool-down between each volley.

Proton Torpedos

We need more firepower! Proton torpedos will be the most destructive weapon in your arsenal; a photon scattering warhead launched from ordinance tubes on each side of the cockpit. It’s explosive power will be your best friend when several dozen TIEs and Star Destroyers outnumber you 20 to 1. But beware, their limited supply means they must be used sparingly!


Objective & Enemy UI markers

My scopes negative, I don’t see anything?!! Let me give you a sense of direction by overlaying UI elements over enemies at distance and highlight objective markers.

Enemy Ships

The full might of the Empire will be on display with the following additions to their fleet (images are for reference, not actual models):

Tie Interceptor


Tie Bomber


Imperial-Class Star Destroyer


Ally Ships

Fighting alongside you will be a batch of fresh recruits, flying these freshly constructed models:

Mon Calamari Cruiser

EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate

GR-75 medium transport


Core Enhancements

  • Loosen movement restrictions on Trench level
  • Ally & Enemy AI to allow NPC-NPC dogfighting
  • Enemy follow behavior during NPC-player dogfighting
  • Player hull / cockpit damage
  • Player cockpit interaction and UI enhancements
  • More R2-D2 interactions (audio / animation)


Secondary Additions

These editions are more nice-to-have and will be added subject to the time constraint of my four month deadline:

  • Energy management (shields / energy / lasers)
  • Option for arcade flight controls with more drag – like flight in atmosphere
  • Target selection & display in player cockpit


Secondary Enhancements

  • Shadows on all in-game objects
  • Re-model & re-texture Death Star surface
  • Volumetric lighting for lasers, explosions



Preview some of the new star destroyers in this short video:

Here is an image of the WIP Tie Interceptors:

Here is an image of the A-Wings :

Here are textures for the various models of ships being added:

Here is the work in progress for HOTAS support:

Developer Notes

I realize this is a tall order and a lot of work. However, I feel like it can be accomplished without rushing the final product. I am self-imposing the deadline of May the 4th and will release most major iterations in the meantime. If you want to help support this project, follow me on twitter or youtube and send me words of encouragement. Hearing your experiences with this game gives me drive to improve its’ quality and is really the only legal way anyone can show support. I want to reiterate that I WILL NOT MONETIZE and will NEVER MONETIZE  this project, I do not profit from this project or its research in any way. I am an employee of the University of Utah’s School of Computing research department and this project is a component of my research into Virtual Reality sickness. The art, music, audio, and likeness to copyrighted materials is my own creative rendition and is being exhibited under the premise of fair use.

As always, may the force be with you!


Dylan Stout

Machine Learning Software Engineer at Microsoft & volunteer VR/AI researcher University of Utah

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