Copying visual novel discs?

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#1 by fuukanou
2020-02-26 at 20:57
OK this may sound kinda dodgy but I'll delete it (or someone else will) if it's not allowed.

I've used a laptop with a disc drive for as long as I've been playing disc-based VNs and that's been great. However, I'm upgrading to a newer laptop which doesn't have a disc-drive anymore, and looking at cheap external disc drive reviews, they seem to be kinda hit-or-miss as to how long they work (many apparently break down within a week).

I'll still have this laptop with a disc drive though, so I was wondering if there was anything stopping me from just ripping the ISO and then mounting that on the new laptop for the install. I know lots of western games have (well had when disc-based distribution was still a thing) a lot of aggressive DRM, but what about VNs? Would I be better off with a dodgy external disc drive?

If it helps the games I'm worried about are mainly VisualArts published ones (newer ones with SiglusEngine)Last modified on 2020-02-26 at 20:57
#2 by beliar
2020-02-26 at 21:04
Wait, are you talking about the JP language VNs, because the only English games marked with SinglusEngine in the DB are Harmonia and Summer Pockets. and neither have a disc based media.

If so, than JP VNs do usually have DRM, but I don't think there will be much problem in finding the appropriate cracks on the net. Western physical VNs, on the other hand, have been mostly DRM free since 2000 or so, when Jast got rid of their DRM scheme.
#3 by ecchihieronymus
2020-02-26 at 21:07
Looking at how most if not all torrented VNs are ISO files of the disc version, uploaded on the day of or very shortly after release, I'd say that it's pretty easy but I have no personal experience. I'd go so far as to say that there would be nothing wrong with torrenting the ISOs if you want to save some money and you know that there wouldn't be any repercussions (i.e. your country or ISP dgaf if you torrent).Last modified on 2020-02-26 at 21:12
#4 by fuukanou
2020-02-26 at 21:22
#2, yes Japanese language VNs.
#3, no my country and ISP do care, I cannot even torrent even if I try (no connections get made). That's why discs are still important.
#5 by shining17
2020-02-26 at 21:23
VPN is your friend in this case.
#6 by ecchihieronymus
2020-02-26 at 21:30

Hm that sucks. Where do you live? Just so we know what kind of laws and possible punishments you have to deal with.

In the unlikely case that you can't create ISOs you'll have to bite the bullet and decide between, as #5 pointed out, a VPN (Nord always has -75% sales resulting in 120€ for 3 years [40€/y], haven't had any problem with it in the 9 months that I used it) or a hit-and-miss external disc drive.Last modified on 2020-02-26 at 21:37
#7 by pramit
2020-02-29 at 04:32
Idk if VPN is really gonna work for torrenting when you cannot get a connection in the first place. In my university we had the same problem and I used a circumvention tool but it didn't work. It's also risky using torrents, even if they work with a VPN, since your ISP can detect that you are using torrents by traffic analysis. They can use it as grounds to cut off your connection. So be careful. Check if your isp is on this list: link

I think ripping off the ISO should work. I assume that you are going to create a ISO copy, then mount that every time you play the game.Last modified on 2020-02-29 at 04:38
#8 by tomtheerogeman
2020-02-29 at 05:07
I don't know what kind of external drives you were looking at, but the asus ones that google showed me have decent reviews. They make good hardware generally, but if only they didn't add so much bloatware to their laptops...
#9 by fuukanou
2020-02-29 at 10:37
#7, my ISP is on the list ahahaha I knew it
#8, the real cheap ones apparently. I looked at a few Asus ones as well but they all appeared to have a lot of early breakdown faults as well.
#10 by artumis
2020-02-29 at 10:54
I'd generally say that having an external drive is useful, even if you decide that ripping your VNs is the route you want to go. At the very least, it'll make the whole ripping processes easier rather than requiring two computers. Secondly, for titles that don't play well with this, you can just boot up the disc without worrying about tracking down methods to bypass the DRM.
Additionally, I'd recommend against getting an overly cheap drive. This is a piece of hardware that won't be tied to any specific device and should be considered more of an investment. A decent drive that's taken care of should last quite some time. I've got one that's nearly 15 years old and while it doesn't get as much use as it used to, it still comes in handy (particularly with friends and family who purchase driveless PCs).
#11 by fuukanou
2020-02-29 at 11:07
#10, interesting. Thanks, I'll keep your advice in mind, but something tells me a part of it is simply that disc drives are kinda inherently fragile due to moving parts etc.

What about the idea of installing the games on an onto an external HDD instead then? Would the registry entries etc. prevent me from playing it on other computers? I remember when Melty Blood wasn't working, I just copied the installation directory onto another computer to test rather than reinstall off the disc and it worked, but then again this is Melty Blood, doujin and old-af.Last modified on 2020-02-29 at 11:08
#12 by ecchihieronymus
2020-02-29 at 15:32

From what I know an ISP cannot detect if you use a torrent through the VPN. All they see when you use a VPN is that data goes into and comes out of the VPN. They won't know what kind of data that is and where it comes from. This doesn't mean that you can or should try to acquire data that is in and of itself illegal (games that you get by torrent aren't, CP is) since VPN companies probably have some basic morals themselves.
#13 by beliar
2020-02-29 at 15:49
games that you get by torrent aren't, CP is
What have you got against Captain Picard, you monster!?
:-DLast modified on 2020-02-29 at 15:49
#14 by lordnight
2020-02-29 at 15:54
We got a star wars fan! I repeat we got a star wars fan!
#15 by tomtheerogeman
2020-02-29 at 16:48
#11 I tried something similar (installing a game on an external HDD then playing on another PC) and it doesn't often work.Last modified on 2020-02-29 at 17:41
#16 by fuukanou
2020-02-29 at 16:58
#15, damn that's a shame. Never mind, thanks for the answer.
#17 by ecchihieronymus
2020-02-29 at 18:32
-Last modified on 2020-02-29 at 19:10
#18 by artumis
2020-02-29 at 20:04
#11 Installed games will be hit or miss due to any registry settings it might look for as well as any additional data or software it might look for in a location which wasn't copied over. I'm also curious now if the external drive would be getting moved around a lot. If it's just something for at home, the moving parts aren't that much of a liability since it's just going to be sitting on a desk or something where you use the laptop. If however the drive would be traveling frequently, say while on business trips, then it will be more prone to damage than other storage mediums. I'd assume this isn't the case for you, but keep in mind that disc drives have been in laptops and even CD Walkmen for ages and to my knowledge they aren't particularly prone to failure unless they're subjected to shock from drops or such.

I'd also factor the amount of use you'd expect to see out of the drive into the decision. If you buy most software digitally now, you won't have much reason for the drive outside of revisiting older titles. In that case, it might be useful to just keep the old laptop in storage rather than trying to transfer things to the new machine. Assuming the hardware is fine and you didn't plan to sell it or something, this seems like the most practical solution. Might even be worth doing a clean install of your OS too, just to remove all the junk and turn it into a VN dedicated machine.
#19 by barfboy
2020-02-29 at 20:54
I don't know what your country's laws are but here in the US you are allowed to make copies of your owned CDs and DVDs for archival purposes. This would certainly qualify as fair use. You're not making copies for distribution (which is illegal) but instead to work around your computer's lack of the appropriate media drive.

I can't imagine any country in the world would prosecute you for this. As far as DRM goes 99% of anything you own should boot up with a disk imaging software but you may run into trouble with certain titles. Though there are cracks for almost everything online somewhere most of those are because pirates don't have the serial code which you will have because you own the disk. I don't see a problem.
#20 by setsunachan
2020-03-09 at 01:00
I also don't recommend you copy files of an installation because like said before it might give you errors. Although I've tried this with several VNs and it worked. I tried this with YMK, Kira Kira, and I think Family Project?

I've had the same problem as you do right now. You can just rip the CD's contents/ISO and install on another computer, then to bypass DRM you can mount the disks or grab a NO-CD. It's not that hard to be honest.Last modified on 2020-03-09 at 01:03


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