17 November 2011

RPG Maker VX on Ubuntu (Test)

Introduction

RPG Maker XP and VX are designed to run on the Windows platform, so trying to get it to work on Ubuntu (fast becoming my preferred OS) is tricky and fickle. While it's easy enough to install in Windows, installing in Ubuntu can be a somewhat lengthy process. Furthermore, there are still some incompatibility issues to deal with, such as DirectX, sound issues and the RTP, and even with that there are no guarantees that it'll work for a particular system, if at all.

Note: This only applies to RMVX, as I couldn't get RMXP to run at all.

Installation

Caveat: Follow the instructions EXACTLY! Don't skip a step, as this may lead to instability. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, then don't. You do this at your own risk. I'm not held accountable for anything that might compromise your system. It's the procedure that I took (after prolonged study and experimentation) to get RMVX functional.

I'll assume that most Linux/Ubuntu users are confident enough with the system, so I'll go straight into the installation process:
  1. Install Wine,
  2. Install DirectX,
  3. Install Timidity, and
  4. Install RMVX.

Install Wine

Note that Wine is not an emulator, it's an open-source project that allows you to run software designed for Windows on other operating systems (such as Linux and Mac OS). It's worth visiting the Wine website to read up on it.

First, go to the Wine Download page and follow the instructions there or open up a Terminal window (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and type:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install wine

This will install the latest version of Wine and it'll be ready to use. Now, you can install and run many of your favorite Windows games and applications through Wine, just like you would normally. (There should be a shortcut in Applications; if there isn't, rebooting should do the trick or continue using the Terminal.)

Install DirectX

The major problem with DirectX is that, because it's Microsoft's proprietary technology, it's specifically designed to run on Windows. Microsoft created DirectX to counter the use of OpenGL, making it standardized so that games for other operating systems simply wouldn't work without the drivers, except through Windows. As a result, Wine can only translate certain equivalent OpenGL calls and make them "native" to Linux. Therefore, reliability and compatibility are not guaranteed.

If you have the latest version of Wine, you should also have Winetricks, which is a "quick and dirty script to download and install various redistributable runtime libraries sometimes needed to run programs in Wine" (according to the website). This is also located under "Applications -> Wine".

To install, in the Terminal window type:

$ wget http://www.kegel.com/wine/winetricks
$ chmod +x winetricks
$ sh winetricks

(This downloads the script, makes it executable and opens the Winetricks menu.)

Check "Select the default wineprefix" (it's selected by default) then click OK. Check "Install a Windows DLL or component" then OK again.

Check the following files:

d3x10
d3x11_42
d3x11_43
d3dx9
d3dx9_26
d3dx9_28
d3dx9_31
d3dx9_35
d3dx9_36
d3dx9_39
d3dx9_42
d3dx9_43
d3dxof
devenum
dinput
dinput8
directmusic
direcplay
directx9
dmsynth
dsound
dxdiag
dxdiagn
l3codecx
quartz


When you click OK, it will download, install and register the DirectX (Feb and June 2010 Redistribution) files. (Note: You may get a few "bug alert" dialogs, but just click OK to continue.)

It's highly likely that there are other DLLs associated with DirectX that need to be "native-ized", and set manually, which I overlooked or am unaware of, but I'm not sure which ones yet. I'll check more into that in due course.

Install TiMidity

If you have problems playing MIDI files in RMVX, TiMidity is the answer. It's a useful add-on utility for allowing MIDI files to play properly. To install, type the following in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install timidity

It supports other formats too. Just type the following in Terminal to know more:

$ dpkg -s timidity


This will give you information about TiMidity and supported formats.

Install RPG Maker VX

Now we're ready to install RMVX!

If you download the RMVX installation file, I'd recommend first extracting it into a separate installation folder. I used "tempinstall" on the Desktop.

You should be able to double-click the "AutoRun.exe" file to install; however, I'd recommend instead that you navigate to the corresponding folders (in File Browser) and install the program and RTP separately, first RPG Maker, then the RTP.

A link should now conveniently appear under the Wine menu ("Applications -> Wine -> Programs"). You should be able to run RMVX.

Bear in mind this isn't a perfect solution and there are still issues, mostly unresolvable, but this is an adequate workaround for those people (like me) who are gravitating away from Windows.

Remaining Problems

There ARE issues with RMVX running on Ubuntu, and they are major ones.

Here are some of the major problems to begin with:
  • RPG Maker relies on DirectX to run. The DirectX drivers are proprietary, so they don't natively run on Ubuntu and frequently conflict.
  • MIDI files won't play, as they're not natively supported by default, but even with the MIDI fix mentioned above, you might still get Direct Sound errors, forcing the program to terminate. Sometimes, opening it again a few times will resolve this, but this is inconvenient and usually temporary only. Furthermore, the music and sounds, while they work well enough, will sometimes simply stop working altogether (MIDI in particular even with TiMidity installed).
  • Playtesting can be very fickle. It seems to work well 50% of the time. The rest of the time it throws up an error and the window closes. When playtesting, the window (sometimes the game) crashes, due I believe in part to the DirectX dependencies and the fact that RMVX was designed to work with Windows.
  • You cannot open the Database no matter what. You'll receive an "unsupported operation" error.

Conclusion

The question, based on this preliminary test alone, now is:

Is it really worth trying to install RMVX on Ubuntu?

No, it's not. While some people seem to be able to run RMVX through Wine without problems (except for the Database issue), others have difficulty. For myself, I think it's better to stick with running RPG Maker on Windows - at least until either Enterbrain releases a Linux/Ubuntu version or another Linux-compatable RPG maker is developed (and finished).



If readers have hints/tips and solutions, or experiences with this, tell me in the comments box. Or maybe knowledge of other Windows/Linux or cross-platform RPG Makers so I can check them out. (Note: I will be checking all URLs and any not related to the topic at hand will be summarily swallowed up by the Spam Bin Monster!)

5 Comments So Far:

Anonymous said...

Partial Workaround for database

The database can be made to work (partially). once installed run "wine regedit" (without the quotes) from the terminal, and change the value of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Enterbrain\RPGVX\DatabaseIndex to 1. this changes the tab you start on upon opening the database to classes. All database actions except the actors tab are supported. any attempt to use the actor tab will crash the database and require the key to be changed again.

Companion Wulf said...

Oh, interesting! Thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, this helped a lot.

Companion Wulf said...

Glad you found it useful. (I'll be experimenting later with RMVXA on Ubuntu. Few new "methods" I learned and will post my "findings" sometime next year.)

ณัฐพงศ์ เเสงพูนทรัพย์ said...

Thanks very much for this tip!
It work for me~!

now, I can play "Touhou - wandering soul" (Game Make by RPG Maker VX)

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