Coming back to VNs, looking for technical help.

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#1 by kappamaki
2019-01-09 at 14:32
(This is my first post here. Hello, and let me know if I messed something up)

I've been looking at coming back after years to reading VNs, but this time in Japanese to help with learning moonrunes. However, my current machine is starting to act up. I want to replace it with a small, sleek and quiet HTPC for anime, VNs and emulation. I'm also gonna use Windows for the first time since 2011. systemd, pulseaudio, wayland and movements to replace quality software with "equality" software(in whole Linux ecosystem, not just redhat as many say) have worn me out and ruined the Linux desktop with bugs over the last years and I need a break. So I have a few questions:

1) I know I'll need both XP and 7, but can I put XP in a virtual machine? That would let me use a 1030 instead of 750(ti), lowering power consumption and noise(I'd probably go for a passively cooled one).

2) Does it matter if I use a non-Japanese Windows with Japanese locale vs. Japanese Windows?

3) I'd rather not plug that machine to the internet(because it's still Windows). Last time I was into VNs I don't recall any forms of always-online DRM(but then again I only played a few translated games and Katawa Shoujo). Is it going to be a problem?

4) Any other things I should be wary of?
#2 by fuukanou
2019-01-09 at 16:11
1: You can virtualise XP on Windows 7. You can virtualise 7 on XP as well.
2: Not that I'm aware of for modern Windows (7 onwards) where I'm pretty sure 'Japanese Windows' is just western Windows in Japanese locale. XP is almost certainly a different story- get the Japanese version if you need it.
3: I know for a fact Mahoutsukai no Yoru (disc-based) requires an internet connection first time you run it to verify the serial code else it won't run. For always on DRM, I reckon only something like DMM Player would do that. If you're playing disc based games it should be ok.
4: There's a greatly reduced risk connecting an expendable VM to the internet if there's DRM in the way.Last modified on 2019-01-09 at 16:12
#3 by surferdude
2019-01-09 at 16:33
2) Be warned that if you use an actual Windows XP, some modern VNs will not run on it. However, there are ways around that in some cases, like using the .exe of a different game that runs on the same engine.Last modified on 2019-01-09 at 16:36
#4 by rampaa
2019-01-09 at 17:27
2) Kinda. Some VNs, albeit rarely, want you to use "Japanese Windows" (link). But you can use "No Region Loader" to easily bypass it.
#5 by pabloc
2019-01-09 at 17:32
1) I definitely recommend using Win7 - it's a rather VN-friendly system and even some old titles actually run on it without issues. It will be easier to emulate WinXP once in a while in case some old title really needs it, instead of emulating Win7 for every single new VN out there.
2) I never had any major issues with non-JP Windows. The most xenophobic VNs I played worked with locale, time, region, currency and such all set to JP (but most of them only require locale). I think I ran into "JP Windows" requirement once or twice, but there always was a way to easily deal with it (crack/patch/no region loader - something like that).
3) Always-online DRM isn't a thing in normal (physical) VNs. And if you do happen find a VN that uses it, don't even touch it - titles infested with crappy DRMs like that should die in obscurity. :P
One-time online verification is sometimes necessary, but it's rather uncommon.Last modified on 2019-01-09 at 17:34
#6 by fuukanou
2019-01-09 at 17:35
#4 Japanese Windows in that case (VisualArts games) is Japanese locale & language and time, not a different copy of Windows for Japanese buyers.
#7 by rampaa
2019-01-09 at 17:45
#6 Well, my locale was already in Japan and I changed my timezone as well but it did no good. I also did try to fake the system UI language but it didn't work. I assume changing the language of the OS to Japanese would have solved the problem but at that point it's what's called a "Japanese Windows", is it not?

Also it's not a VisualArts game. It's this: link

Edit: Welp, it looks like its "parent producer" is Visual Art's. I stand corrected.Last modified on 2019-01-09 at 17:54
#8 by fuukanou
2019-01-09 at 18:21
#7, I was trying to maintain the subtlety that it's not a copy of Windows just for the Japanese market (that one would have to go through some hoops to get), but just any Windows installation with some settings adjusted.
#9 by alto
2019-01-09 at 21:16
1) As other have said, running XP in a VM makes sense and works for all the VMs that break in 7+. Heck, you can boot it with 64MB RAM.
2) Most of the time if "Language for non-Unicode programs" setting is set to Japanese, things work. For those that don't, Locale Emulator is highly likely work. As pabloc said, a few really don't like foreigners playing their games. For those (if there's no crack), you can change the interface language to Japanese, which is just log out and back in again in 10. Don't think that's ever failed me.
3) For Japanese games, it's becoming more common to require first time online authentication for physical discs. For downloads, it depends on the store/publisher but in my experience most are one time online activation. For English publishers, as far as I know, DRM has almost completely gone away with just a handful still needing one time activation. Thankfully, I've never seen any always-online for a VN.
#10 by tomtheerogeman
2019-01-10 at 05:06
2) There's an easy way to get Japanese windows. You can download windows 8.1 for free on Microsoft's website, it'll ask you which language you want it in and you can specify Japanese. I actually installed it on one of my computers, and it bypassed siglusengine's region check.

Of course, while the windows 8.1 disc image is free, the license key for it is not, therefore you either need to have a windows 8.1 license key, or you need to learn how to crack it. I can't recommend or show you how to crack it since this isn't a piracy website.

But AFAIK the only time it matters is if you're running a game from Delta, because Monster Park ~Bakemono ni Miirareshi Hime~ uses a fierce anti-gaijin .exe and someone had to program a new .exe just to bypass the region check. Their other untranslated games may not have such a crack. Probably the only producer who's anal about it.

4) There's still only a few VNs that are in 1920x1080. Most are in 1280x720 or 800x600. You mentioned an HTPC, so I figured it's likely you're going to try reading these on a 4K TV, which might not look good. I don't have a TV like that, so sadly I can't test the picture quality to tell you whether or not it looks decent.

Edit: Added point 4.Last modified on 2019-01-10 at 05:16
#11 by kappamaki
2019-01-10 at 13:23
Thanks for your replies!

I should've been more clear, when I asked about virtual machines, I meant that I wasnt sure if I could get hardware accelerated graphics with a GPU that doesn't support XP. But I looked it up and apparently DX9 can be accelerated on any GPU that supports OpenGL 2.0(or 2.1 according to some sources, doesn't matter because 1030 does both). But then I realised I can't think of any weeb games, even non-VNs, that are demanding and won't run on 7, So I may not even need to.

As for "Japanese Windows", I don't mind having Japanese system language, it's going to be an entertainment device and not a work one, and more exposure to it should also help with learning. Thanks for the tip #10, if I can make sure that it will handle everything too new for XP then I might go that route.

As for display, I'm going to use my 1080p monitor for now. I'm going to replace one or two parts in my rig at a time rather than buy it all at once. I have narrowed down my PC problems to motherboard, maybe RAM or both. So order of buying would be: CPU+motherboard(probably i3-4170, it's strong enough to take everything but RPCS3, and that's because of PS3's weird architecture which makes it the only emulator where core count matters, and some games work fine on it anyway) -> RAM if it ends up being bad -> SSD(that's when I'll put Windows on it) -> GPU -> BluRay drive -> other HTPCfiers like a small case, quiet PSU or a small keyboard in yet undecided order -> large monitor(I don't watch TV).

As for one time activations and such, there's always the option of setting up a hardware firewall out of a Raspberry Pi or something similar and only allowing connections to DMM and other publishers. I've never done it, but I have a vague idea how to, and I know where to look for more info.

Edit: Apparently I had to use raw tags for the CPU name because i 3 without spaces results in AuburnLast modified on 2019-01-10 at 13:26
#12 by kappamaki
2019-02-04 at 20:34
Sorry for doubleposting, but apparently my previous post is too old to edit(or there's some other reason why the edit button disappeared).

Here's an update on 2) for anyone interested to do this in the future: I talked to an old friend who used Win8 for a while and apparently while many VNs work, there are some with issues. Mostly doujin ones from early DX9 era, but also some popular stuff like Muv-Luv and Ever17. Also he had a problem where Steins;Gate would work on one machine and not on another. I'll just use Win7, earlier EOL won't affect an offline machine anyway.

EDIT: Just to make sure, a Thinkpad x230/t430 would handle most VN's just fine, right?Last modified on 2019-02-04 at 20:38
#13 by fuukanou
2019-02-04 at 21:09
Literally anything will run most VNs.
A Corei3 with integrated graphics will work just fine.

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