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Neko Project II fmgen and PC-98 Touhou (guide now included)

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Neko Project II is an emulator for the PC-98x1 series of computers created by Yui. Although the official np21 variant has been able to play Touhou games since its introduction in 2004, it was only recently that the viability of the emulator was properly investigated, partly due to the appearance of unofficial builds such as the kai and fmgen builds. With better emulation than Anex86 and better performance than T98-Next, it is the recommended emulator for playing all of the PC-98 Touhou games (except possibly HRtP due to minor flickering).

It is also notable for having a native Linux/Mac OS X port in the form of Xnp2.

Following is a guide to configuring Neko Project II for emulating the PC-98 Touhou games.

Installation (last updated 2019-07-25)
* Download the emulator. The fmgen version is recommended for general use. This link should guarantee that you have the latest build. Select the first entry in the list labelled np2fmgen.7z. As of 2019-07-25 the latest version is the 2019-05-06 build.
* Extract anywhere. If you can't open .7z files, download 7-Zip.
* Download the YM2608 samples from this link if you don't already have them, and extract them into the same folder as your np2 install.

These are the essentials to get Touhou game emulation to the standard of Anex86 or T98-Next. Optional stuff will be covered later.
* Start np21nt.exe (np21.exe is designed for Windows 9x computers, although it seems to work just as well on later Windows). Do not use the other .exe files, np2sx(nt) results in graphical glitches, while Touhou does not work with np2(nt) at all.
** np21(nt) emulates a 32-bit CPU, while np2sx(nt) emulates a 386SX (32-bit with 16-bit bus) and np2(nt) emulates a PC-9801 with a 286 CPU (16-bit).
* Go to Emulate --> Configure. Change the CPU clock multiplier from x4 to x40 or above (mainly because of MS Extra; if you don't play that you can get away with x32), reduce the sound buffer to 100ms (you can go lower if you want, but I personally leave it at 100), check QFM, and increase the sampling rate to at least 44K.
* Enter the system setup menu by selecting Emulate --> Reset while holding End until the screen appears. Select the second option, then change GDC clock from 5MHz to 2.5MHz. This is required for PoDD to work properly.
** Alternatively, go into the .ini file and change DIPswtch to DIPswtch=3e f3 6b.

* Harddisk --> IDE #0 (SASI #0 on the official build) --> Open..., select the HDI file, then Emulate --> Reset.

Optional stuff and miscellany

* Savestates: Add STATSAVE=true into np21(nt).ini, making sure that it is in the [NekoProject21] section. This causes a Stat menu to appear. Savestates range from 0 to 9.
* Fullscreen: Screen menu, also Alt+Enter (this key combination can be disabled).
* Font: The emulator generates a usable font automatically from a system font; this should be sufficient for casual purposes (Neko's font handling is much better than Anex's). To replace it with a more accurate font, go to Emulate --> Font and browse for the file (Anex86's .bmp font files and T98-Next's font.rom will both work; downloads for both are here for font.bmp and here for font.rom), or simply place font.rom (font.bmp) in the same folder as your install.
* Screen size: Click on the cat icon at the top left corner of the window. You will have the option to change between six preset window sizes.
For a slightly more detailed guide on configuring Neko Project II, refer to Tokugawa Corp's FAQ. Note that it was written for the official version 0.83 so some info may be out of date relative to the newest builds.

np2fmgen exclusive:
* Alternate FM cores: Full explanation pending (I'll get to it eventually...), see fsvgm777's post. New link is here (2013-12-21, password is fmdll) or see the readme in most recent fmgen.
* Keyboard shortcuts: Replace the zeroes in the Function=... with relevant codes (see Function.txt for details). For example, to set Home (0x24) as a shortcut for a screenshot (IDM_BMPSAVE, 40701, 0x9efd) replace a group of 00 00 00 00 with 00 24 fd 9e.
* Running at over 100% speed ("90FPS"): The most recent builds of fmgen have introduced the option to change the emulation speed, with a new menu under Emulate --> Speed. However, by default 150% speed, the most common used by Touhou players, is not included. To fix this, add the line CPUSMENU=25,50,75,100,150,200,400,800 (add other speeds if you want, note that the line should be at most 8 entries) into np21(nt).ini.
* Skipping the boot sequence: Introduced in the 2014-03-13 build, add the line BOOTSKIP=3 to skip the boot sound and memory check.
* Debug features: Add the line I286SAVE=true into np21(nt).ini. Click on the cat icon to access a few debug features, including a memory viewer and disassembler (albeit crappy ones).

Making LLS run faster
For some reason LLS requires expanded memory for the Stage 5 Yuuka boss fight when playing as Reimu, and will freeze if expanded memory is unavailable. Unfortunately, loading an expanded memory manager generally adds significant overhead to processing (software. If you're using Neko Project II, however, this can be circumvented by specially prepared drivers:
* Download this archive.
* Put the three files in the NP2EMS folder into the root of your hard disk image, replacing the CONFIG.SYS file. If you don't have DiskExplorer to do so, see below.
Note that the setup will only work on Neko Project II and not on any other emulator, so I've provided two alternatives just in case. If anyone has another way to reduce EMS overhead please contact me.

http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA013937/editdisk/index_e.html is the link for the most recent English version (1.69 English, 2010-04-10). This program allows you to copy files to and from disk images such as .hdi files, making it a very useful tool for anyone using them.

Other notes (incl. troubleshooting)
* If you're wondering why the game is lagging, first enable Other > Clock disp and Other > Frame disp. If the clock display is significantly below what you set the CPU to it's your computer, otherwise you set the CPU multiplier too low.
* On some systems there may be an issue where the emulated screen doesn't refresh properly. If this happens (assuming you're in windowed mode) try switching the window mode to Window(Hard) or Window(D3D).

There is a port of Neko Project II for Linux and Mac OS X called Xnp2. Last I checked it seems to have some sound problems, requiring a rather large sound buffer to avoid stuttering; should you be annoyed by this, np2fmgen runs perfectly in Wine.

The program needs to be compiled from source. Grab the latest version from here and extract to a folder. To install dependencies:

--- Code: ---$ sudo aptitude install build-essential nasm checkinstall libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libxxf86vm-dev
--- End code ---

replacing aptitude with your package manager if necessary.

To compile, change to the source folder, then:

--- Code: ---$ ./configure --enable-ia32
$ make
--- End code ---

Make sure the --enable-ia32 flag is supplied. Otherwise, the i386 instructions will be missing and the games will not run (same as running np2.exe on fmgen). After this, follow the settings above to configure the system, but you may have to set the sound buffer up to 200ms or more to avoid stuttering; this may result in audio lag.

For archival purposes, below is the original post that I made:

--- Quote ---So I'm trying out the Neko Project II fmgen, a version of Neko Project II that is being worked on by an anonymous poster in 2ch (which I first discovered in this thread, with the original 2ch thread located here).

The purpose of this thread is twofold: firstly, to spread awareness of this emulator to this site. Secondly, PoDD is utterly broken on this.

Firstly, after the splash screen:


The solution was to click Emulate->Reset while holding down the End key on the keyboard so that BIOS appears, select the second option and set the GDC to 2.5 MHz. This got the game running.

Then, actual gameplay results in this:


Thus, I would like to ask that someone look into this further so that we can make the most of this new emulator.
--- End quote ---

Ohoo, so NekoProject II is finally being extended to support the PC9821?  This should prove interesting.  I'll give this a shot.   ^.^

[Edit]  Oh right, I forgot.  I had come across this thread once before, and I was in the process of writing up a new PC98 how-to, but I lost the text accidentally.  T-T

OK, so I've done a little bit more testing with both np2sx and np21.

I can now confirm that graphical glitches appear in all five PC-98 Touhou games when using np2sx, and do not appear in np21. As far as I can tell there are no problems whatsoever when running in np21, apart from the aforementioned GDC error, which is easily fixed.

Do I need a BIOS file for NP21?  Hitting End did nothing.

You have to hold it from clicking Reset until the screen appears (a couple of seconds).


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