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Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst on Wine

Occasionally I play the old multiplayer action-RPG “Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst”. On Windows, it works fine, but to make it work better on Linux (via Lutris), some extra steps may be needed.

Данный пост также доступен на русском языке.

First of all, install the game using the “EphineaPSO” installer. This installer uses a version of the game designed for the Ephinea private server, which, to my knowledge, is the most popular one at the moment.

If there are errors while running the launcher, install Wine’s variant of Mono (it is usually offered as a download when you run Wine for the first time, and is often available in your package manager) and set your Wine prefix’s Windows version to Windows 7.

After this, the game should be perfectly playable, but on my machine, it had one minor graphical error:

missing scrolling textures

the transparent scrolling textures that the game often uses to display computer monitors were invisible.

Previously (see blockquote below) fixing that required downloading dgVoodoo and making a bunch of changes to Wine settings, but more recently Ephinea’s PSOBB client includes a built-in version of dgVoodoo. All you need to do is open the launcher’s “Options” button and set the “Direct3D API” setting to “Direct3D 11”.

The advice in this block applied to older versions of the Ephinea client. If you’re just installing PSOBB now, it’s better to follow what’s written above.

I tried using different versions of Wine, different settings in Lutris, and more to no avail, until I discovered this thread on the Ephinea forums. It describes a utility called “dgVoodoo” that can rewire an old Direct3D 8/9 program to use the APIs of DirectX 11. Given that, in current versions of Wine, most effort is being spent on DirectX 11, trying it out seemed like a good idea.

The official website mentioned in the forum post isn’t active, but the program is still being actively developed on GitHub.

However, when I first installed it, it resulted in an even worse outcome – the game launched with a permanent black screen instead of the graphics. Luckily enough, it turned out that the solution to that was even simpler: to turn on the “Enable DXVK/VKD3D” option in Lutris' settings for the game. After this, the game ran perfectly, and the previously-missing textures returned.

So, to fix the scrolling textures:

  • download the latest release of dgVoodoo2 from GitHub.

  • Extract the libraries from the MS/x86 directory into the game’s executable directory (in Lutris, right-click PSO’s menu item, use the “Browse files” menu item, then open “drive_c” and “EphineaPSO” folders.)

  • Open winecfg (in Lutris, click the Wine icon at the bottom of the window, then choose “Wine configuration”).

  • In winecfg, open the “Libraries” tab, type in “d3d8” into the dropdown menu and click “Add”. Then do the same for “d3d9” and “d3dimm”. This will make sure this installation will use dgVoodoo2’s libraries.

  • In Lutris, open the game configuration window (right-click on the PSO menu item, then choose “Configure”), take a look at the “Runner options” tab and make sure the “Enable DXVK/VKD3D” switch is on.

  • Run the game. It should display the “dgVoodoo” watermark in the bottom right. To make sure the scrolling textures work, log in, and then transport your character into lobby 11. There should be a bunch of transparent displays showing scrolling unreadable text.

And to get rid of the watermark:

  • Extract the “dgVoodooCpl.exe” file from the dgVoodoo2 archive somewhere.

  • In Lutris, run this file inside PSO’s wine prefic (click the Wine icon at the bottom of the window, then choose “Run EXE inside Wine prefix” and select the dgVoodooCpl.exe file.

  • In the window that opens, open the “DirectX” tab, uncheck the “dgVoodoo Watermark” option and click “OK”.

  • Run the game. It should still run using dgVoodoo, but without the watermark.

russian text display and input

If you speak Russian and want to talk to, or read text from, other Russian speakers, you might need to change fonts and some settings.

alternative option: LibPSO font

Alternatively, I’ve made another font, called “LibPSO”, which does the same thing as “ArPSO”, but is based on “Liberation Sans Bold” instead of “Arial”. In my opinion, this font looks better than “ArPSO” when used in Wine.

The installation procedure is the same: extract the TTF file into the wine prefix’s C:\Windows\Fonts directory and choose “LibPSO” in the game’s settings.