A few PSO questions before getting online

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Elliander
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A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#1 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:54 am

Hi, I have a few PSO V.2 questions having never played on private servers before.

1.) I created a new character using a newly purchased copy of PSO since I cannot access my characters from 2003/2004 due to not knowing the old serial number and the old Dreamcast not working properly. Since I'm essentially new now, at what point should I consider playing online?

2.) I've read a few threads about characters being "hacked". How would this be possible if the characters are fully stored on the VMU? And what power does the private server operator have over the characters stored on the VMU?

3.) What happens if I backup my save and restore at a different time (using DreamConn+ I can backup/restore protected saves) would the private server detect some kind of problem with my character?

4.) Would there be any issues with registration to and using a private server if I am using GDEMU? (obviouly I own a copy since I have a new serial number) or would it be in some way better to use my GDROM with the disc?

5.) Can I take a character to more than one different private server without issue? And would there be any advantages in doing so? (i.e. Download Quests)

6.) Would I need a separate CDI file for each private server I want to visit? I found one by IVES that seems to be patched to access the Sylverant PSO Server, so I am guessing that if there are other servers to play on I'd need a patch for those servers as well?

7.) I have both a Broadband Adapter (LAN) and a Modem (LINE) with a DreamPi. Are there any advantages to playing with straight ethernet? And if I wanted to set up additional consoles in my home for family to play with me on (each with their own copy of PSO of course) is there a limit to how many devices I can handle?

8.) Would it be at all possible to create a small private server of my own specifically for LAN play? Are there any guides for something like that? (the basic idea being that in areas with less reliable internet access, I'd like to be able to play with others in my own home)

9.) Is there anything else I should know?

Thanks!

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mazonemayu
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#2 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:34 am

1) as soon as possible, because you get more exp online, plus if you play with higher lv characters, you share in their exp, all you need to do to achieve this, is hit an enemy once and let them kill it. There’s a few high lv players like myself who’ll gladly play an easy game through with a beginner, to help en level a bit and they often give you their old gear which has become useless to them, but might be a big help to you, and so on…

2) not a clue, been playing legit cor 20 years now

3) save your character on the server > this is your backup

4) again no clue, legit all the way

5) yes, but why would you want to do that? We have plenty of ships and players here

6) no clue > again I use my legit disc

7) the pi supports more games, so this should be the obvious choice, I’ve heard folks complain about disconnects and gow their bba is faster, but I have yet to experience that, and I’ve played both for years now

8) I’m not sure it can be done, I think it’s like one console per ip (correct me is I’m wrong tech guys)

9) save on the server every time before logging off, in case your vmu goes bad, this way you can always recover your character
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Gocha
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#3 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:01 am

that's a lot of questions.

About GDEMU, I don't use it personally, but there is no problem in doing it, a lot of people does.
About playing in multiple consoles at once in the same house, I'm not completely sure, but you should be able to set at least 1 pi and 1 bba connection in the same network without problem.

Also, the owner of the server doesn't care if you use a shared serial number/access key, I asked him personally, the problem comes when you try to participate on the server custom events while using a shared key, since the event tracks your progress using that information. You can do anything else, like normal quests and event quests, just not the custom ones, but for that you have to actively set up some commands, so it's not something you are gonna come a cross without trying.

Don't overthink it, just go online and have fun, unless you are actively trying to be harmful to the server or it's community you are not gonna have much problem, overall only 1 or 2 people have been permanently banned from the server, it's super rare.

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BlueCrab
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#4 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 10:59 am

I'll take a stab at answering these, since... well, I'm the one who wrote the PSO server used here.
Elliander wrote:1.) I created a new character using a newly purchased copy of PSO since I cannot access my characters from 2003/2004 due to not knowing the old serial number and the old Dreamcast not working properly. Since I'm essentially new now, at what point should I consider playing online?
Any time is fine. Honestly, some people play almost exclusively online from the start, only doing the offline mode to unlock all the levels.

2.) I've read a few threads about characters being "hacked". How would this be possible if the characters are fully stored on the VMU? And what power does the private server operator have over the characters stored on the VMU?
Technically, the server could have a lot of power over what's on your VMU, in that the server can essentially send a packet to overwrite large portions of your character data (that's how the server-side emergency backups work, essentially). That said, Sylverant doesn't have any "hacks" on the server to boost stats or anything like that, so you don't have to worry about a non-vanilla experience if that is your conceern.

3.) What happens if I backup my save and restore at a different time (using DreamConn+ I can backup/restore protected saves) would the private server detect some kind of problem with my character?
As long as the backup is true, complete, and unmodified in any way, the server won't be able to detect any problems with your save. In fact, I highly recommend making regular backups in case your memory card corrupts or something like that.

4.) Would there be any issues with registration to and using a private server if I am using GDEMU? (obviouly I own a copy since I have a new serial number) or would it be in some way better to use my GDROM with the disc?
You can use a GDEMU just fine -- the server doesn't care about that. However, you will need a special version of the Sylverant PSO Patcher disc image if you intend to do so -- it doesn't normally support GDEMU (which is really something I should correct at some point). Some people prefer to use pre-modified images that eliminate the need to use the PSO patcher, but that is largely up to you and not necessarily something I recommend in any way.

5.) Can I take a character to more than one different private server without issue? And would there be any advantages in doing so? (i.e. Download Quests)
Sure, you can... But everything I'm saying here about server-related things only applies to Sylverant. There's really only one other option out there (SCHTSERV). I don't know if they have any special downloadable quests or whatnot these days or not.

6.) Would I need a separate CDI file for each private server I want to visit? I found one by IVES that seems to be patched to access the Sylverant PSO Server, so I am guessing that if there are other servers to play on I'd need a patch for those servers as well?
There are ways to use one image on multiple servers, especially if you have some way to serve your own DNS requests. That said, they do require additional work to set up.

7.) I have both a Broadband Adapter (LAN) and a Modem (LINE) with a DreamPi. Are there any advantages to playing with straight ethernet? And if I wanted to set up additional consoles in my home for family to play with me on (each with their own copy of PSO of course) is there a limit to how many devices I can handle?
The BBA will probably give you a more stable experience online with less chance of network hiccups. If you have both, I'd recommend using it for that reason alone.

The only restriction to multiple connections (at least with BBA -- I can't guarantee anything with DreamPi as I've never used it) is that only one copy of the game can be online with the same guild card number at a time on Sylverant. So, if they're all using the same serial number/access key, only one will be allowed online at a time assuming you register that key on the website.

8.) Would it be at all possible to create a small private server of my own specifically for LAN play? Are there any guides for something like that? (the basic idea being that in areas with less reliable internet access, I'd like to be able to play with others in my own home)
Sure, it's possible. There aren't any guides to doing so with Sylverant as it is not generally recommended by me to do so. However, there is an old version of SCHTSERV's software out there that you could easily do something like that with. I don't know if there are guides out there to do so though...

9.) Is there anything else I should know?
PSO is much more fun to play online than offline, in my humble opinion. Especially when you play with people from all over the world. It isn't really a game that I personally think is great to play in a LAN setup, but that's just my opinion. Also, keep regular backups of your character data -- especially if you have a good way to make full backups of the memory card file. If you have your serial number/access key registered on the website, you can use the automatic character backup system as well, but it really is more of an emergency recovery system than a full backup (not everything can be backed up by the server).

Elliander
lithium
Posts: 38

Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#5 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:30 pm

Thanks for all the answers!

1) as soon as possible, because you get more exp online, plus if you play with higher lv characters, you share in their exp, all you need to do to achieve this, is hit an enemy once and let them kill it. There’s a few high lv players like myself who’ll gladly play an easy game through with a beginner, to help en level a bit and they often give you their old gear which has become useless to them, but might be a big help to you, and so on…


That's good to hear. I was worried that there was some level limit or something. I think I'll just play online until my new Dreamcast keyboard arrives.

Yes, it does make me feel better that it would be a vanilla experience, and it helps to know where the risk might be (i.e. server overwriting the VMU). That also makes me feel better since essentially the character is still on my VMU, which would answer my question about use on other private servers.

3) save your character on the server > this is your backup


but it really is more of an emergency recovery system than a full backup (not everything can be backed up by the server).


I found an article about how to do server based backups here: https://dreamcastlive.net/blogs/post/ho ... characters
Which mentions that there are limits to what can be backed up so I'd still have to do an occasional offline backups, but it's good to know that I can make server backups.

The only restriction to multiple connections (at least with BBA -- I can't guarantee anything with DreamPi as I've never used it) is that only one copy of the game can be online with the same guild card number at a time on Sylverant. So, if they're all using the same serial number/access key, only one will be allowed online at a time assuming you register that key on the website.


So, as long as I purchase and register a separate copy of PSO V.2 for each Dreamcast, with each console being given it's own BBA, more than one console will be able to connect to Sylverant at the same time from the same IP address because each will have a different guild card?

Sure, it's possible. There aren't any guides to doing so with Sylverant as it is not generally recommended by me to do so. However, there is an old version of SCHTSERV's software out there that you could easily do something like that with. I don't know if there are guides out there to do so though...


I found the installer here: https://schtserv.com/downloads/

It says for all platforms, but I thought Blue Burst was PC only.

PSO is much more fun to play online than offline, in my humble opinion. Especially when you play with people from all over the world. It isn't really a game that I personally think is great to play in a LAN setup, but that's just my opinion.


I agree with you, and I can see why there wouldn't be guides for it since too many servers would fracture the community, but I am a bit of an archivist since at any time bad things can happen - hence why private servers exist to begin with. So at some point in the future I'd want to figure that out, if only to have the ability to play with others in the future, but won't worry about it for now. Just curious now. It seems to me though that there should be a way to write a server program that would treat each IP address of a LAN as if it were internet locations for enabling one-click LAN play. Since you are the one who wrote the server, out of curiosity, what language was it written in? Is it on GitHub or is it closed source?

What about playing with overclock on? I currently can't safely run my overclock because I had to frankenstein two consoles together due to bad parts on each, and I'll only be able to run Overclock with wired controllers and the optical drive, but eventually it would be nice to use that setting.

P.S. - Is there any way to change the auto logout timer on this forum? I had to write all of my responses twice because when I clicked to preview it had me login again and then after doing so all the text was gone.

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Aleron Ives
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#6 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:04 pm

If you have friends who also want to play, it's much cheaper to get PSO PC for them than to buy Dreamcasts and BBAs for each person.
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BlueCrab
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#7 » Thu Jan 20, 2022 1:18 pm

Elliander wrote:So, as long as I purchase and register a separate copy of PSO V.2 for each Dreamcast, with each console being given it's own BBA, more than one console will be able to connect to Sylverant at the same time from the same IP address because each will have a different guild card?
Correct, but that would probably get to be very expensive very quickly to buy BBAs.

I found the installer here: https://schtserv.com/downloads/

It says for all platforms, but I thought Blue Burst was PC only.
That is just for a client, that is not their server software. I don't know if they still host the version that was out there, but I know that it is available to download on PSO Palace. Look on the PC Downloads section on PSO Palace for the "Private Phantasy Star Online Server". Mind you, I can't really say much on how to set that up as I haven't done so myself in an extremely long time.

I agree with you, and I can see why there wouldn't be guides for it since too many servers would fracture the community, but I am a bit of an archivist since at any time bad things can happen - hence why private servers exist to begin with. So at some point in the future I'd want to figure that out, if only to have the ability to play with others in the future, but won't worry about it for now. Just curious now. It seems to me though that there should be a way to write a server program that would treat each IP address of a LAN as if it were internet locations for enabling one-click LAN play. Since you are the one who wrote the server, out of curiosity, what language was it written in? Is it on GitHub or is it closed source?
Sylverant is open-source, hosted both on SourceForge and on GitHub. It's written in C (specifically C99).

As for setting it up in a LAN, that certainly can be done, but setting up Sylverant itself is not exactly the easiest task in the world. It wasn't designed to be an easy-to-set up thing, but rather to be a largely production-ready environment that is very customizable. It also doesn't help that I, like most programmers it seems, hate writing documentation. :lol:

I do intend to look into setting up Docker containers at some point with a simple-to-set up version for testing quests locally, but I haven't had a chance to get around to it.

What about playing with overclock on? I currently can't safely run my overclock because I had to frankenstein two consoles together due to bad parts on each, and I'll only be able to run Overclock with wired controllers and the optical drive, but eventually it would be nice to use that setting.
Sorry, that one I have no idea about... I've never tried.

Elliander
lithium
Posts: 38

Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#8 » Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:55 pm

BlueCrab wrote: that would probably get to be very expensive very quickly to buy BBAs.


A fair point. Another problem is that the OEM BBA does not fit in a Dreamcase since the little black box for the BBA is slightly larger than it is in LINE. Although I imagine it would be possible to modify an adapter of sorts to use Ethernet with one. Either that or maybe modify the case itself to support the correct size. That of course adds time and money to the project, but for a family situation there don't seem like many options.

BlueCrab wrote:That is just for a client, that is not their server software. I don't know if they still host the version that was out there, but I know that it is available to download on PSO Palace. Look on the PC Downloads section on PSO Palace for the "Private Phantasy Star Online Server". Mind you, I can't really say much on how to set that up as I haven't done so myself in an extremely long time.


I'll check that out, but it occurs to me now that since playing with the Ives modified disc that can connect to Sylverant I can no longer play on the original disc, so before looking into creating a backup server I'll need to figure out how to either create a disc that can go to other servers without requiring character conversion or some other workaround to connect to a different private server. I found a few other private servers, so now I am curious what the best process would be if I want a single character to be able to jump around between different servers.

BlueCrab wrote: Sylverant is open-source, hosted both on SourceForge and on GitHub. It's written in C (specifically C99).


Oh good! I am MUCH more comfortable with C than some of the newer languages.

BlueCrab wrote: As for setting it up in a LAN, that certainly can be done, but setting up Sylverant itself is not exactly the easiest task in the world. It wasn't designed to be an easy-to-set up thing, but rather to be a largely production-ready environment that is very customizable. It also doesn't help that I, like most programmers it seems, hate writing documentation. :lol:


I'm right there with you so I completely understand.

BlueCrab wrote: I do intend to look into setting up Docker containers at some point with a simple-to-set up version for testing quests locally, but I haven't had a chance to get around to it.


I would be very interested in that!

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mistamontiel
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#9 » Fri Jan 21, 2022 9:05 am

Why does no one plug the almighty DreamPi lol

As to ethernet BBA, does that stop teammates from seemingly teleport and attacking thin air? I don't know if that happens either connection but never irked me that much

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BlueCrab
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Re: A few PSO questions before getting online

Post#10 » Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:39 am

mistamontiel wrote:As to ethernet BBA, does that stop teammates from seemingly teleport and attacking thin air? I don't know if that happens either connection but never irked me that much
No, that is simply an artifact of how PSO is a very client-side game. It might make it slightly less likely to happen though.

Basically, everyone simulates the enemies positions themselves, so if you are slightly off sync with one of the other players, you'll see things in a different place than that other player does.

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