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You Can Play .hack//fragment in 2021


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This guide was written with what was available and known for it's time, since then new and easier methods have became available. Some of these steps will work, but you should check the latest guides here for the latest setup and options now available.

➡️ https://www.dothack.org/articles/fragment/


Table of Contents

  • Patching the Game for English
  • Playing As-Is In Japanese
  • Playing on PC
  • Playing on PlayStation 2
  • Playing on PlayStation 3
  • Playing on Xbox One X|S and Xbox Series X|S


The goal of this guide is to set you up with the original retail copy of .hack//fragment in English and with the new address to the new online server, and to play on your choice of real Playstation 2 hardware or emulation on PC, Linux, Mac. And possibly on backwards compatible or custom firmware Playstation 3, Xbox One X|S, and Xbox Series X|S.

If you read my previous guide from last year 2020, you may have learned that you can play .hack//fragment as of the time you reading this topic. However, that guide was written in Summer of 2020, and it was more of a as the development progressed, so things are in out of order and the guide doesn't flow from A to B to C, more like A to D back to B  and then C. With this 2021 guide and with the progress made in the past 6 months, this discussion will flow easier and sensible for you who may have never attempted this. Let me assure you ANYONE can do this, so that means YOU can play .hack//fragment today if you wanted.

Here's the short back story of things, .hack//fragment was developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Bandai as a stripped down version of .hack//Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, Quarantine that has no voice overs whatsoever in any language and no FMV's. So what you have is a game that has a character creator, root town, shops, items, fields, dungeons, monsters; the base game you may have experienced in the IMOQ games.

There is a short story in .hack//fragment's "Offline" mode, all text no audio. The most important part of this offline mode is to acquire "data drain" for your character's, and this is the only means to get this skill for your characters. You can create a character in either offline or online mode, your characters are transferable between the two modes. But the part in offline mode tutorial where you play with Mia, this is when your character permanently acquires the skill Data Drain. The rest of the Offline mode consists of following characters from .hack//SIGN, .hack//Infection, and even .hack//Legend of The Twilight acquiring everyone's Member Address and allows you to summon these NPC's in root towns to join your offline adventure. By the time you acquire the last member address, Helba, concludes the offline mode's "story" which is basically an extended tutorial. But you can always return to offline mode and grind fields/dungeons with your NPC's who's levels range between level 15 all the way up to level 99.

.hack//fragment was released in November 2005; first with it's Early Released Version on the 2nd and it's full Retail version on the 22nd. The Early Release Version is an online mode only version of .hack//fragment, there is no Offline mode, further it does lack several character creation options. But the one everyone should be playing is the retail version. Please do not play any version other than the retail version, you will not find any support here if you choose to play the Early Release Version or the modified Coldbird version referred to as Build 7 and Build 8.

The official service ended on January 18th 2007, in order to to conflict with the scheduled sequel series release of .hack//G.U. Rebirth. Fans took it upon themselves to rebuild the server with limited capacity with the Coldbird server from December 25th 2013 to December 8th 2016. The online server Coldbird's team created was for a time open source on Github and the Netslum community revived it quickly after on December 8th 2016 and continues to be available today in 2021. The Netslum community has even gone a step further and fixed the limitations of the Coldbird team and restored full access to the Guilds, BBS, Rankings, and Mailer that were absent since 2007.

When to play?

Anytime! Play offline by yourself with your NPC team, play online solo, help your friends find this guide to learn and setup to play, and join us every week on Friday's for the scheduled Fragment Fridaytm meetup on our Dothack Discord server (DHN). Text the @Fragment group, add yourself or remove yourself with the t!selfroles or !fragmentplz comands. Or join the voice calls to coordinate with others to play with on PC and PS2.

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Chapter 1:

Patching the Game for English

(to play in Japanese, skip this step)

The first and foremost part of this setup will be to patch your existing copy of .hack//fragment Playstation 2 DVD disc. We do not support or advocate piracy, so you will not find any links to ISO's or pre-patched games here. You'll want to purchase your own copy of the game online on eBay, Mercari, Buyee, and even your local video game store if they sell import titles. The average price today and for the past 10 years has always been no more than $20 USD for a complete-in-box of this game, check PriceCharting.com to see for yourself.

Once you've obtained the disc, you'll need to ensure your PC has these applications, ImgBurn and .NET5 Runtime (make sure you get Runtime, not SDK). ImgBurn will copy the game from your DVD player, .NET will download the current files (consistently being updated) necessary to patch the copy of the game you made with ImgBurn, and once again use ImgBurn to put everything back together.

Download the patcher referred to as Tellipatch (version 1.1 as of July 2nd, 2021 thanks to Telli and Vector). Extract the zip file anywhere on your PC.

Alternatively for Linux users, use this patcher.

Insert your PS2 .hack//fragment DVD into your PC.

Using ImgBurn, click on Create image file from disc option.

From this screen, you will see your disc drive at the top. The destination should be ending in .ISO, if not then click on the folder and choose Save As and select ISO from the options. Best practice, name the file fragment.iso and be sure to save to your hard drive, not on a removable drive/card. The lower the read speed the better, but don't read at the lowest otherwise you'll be here a long time. Once done, click on the picture on the bottom left.

Move the file fragment.iso to the extracted directory from the tellipatch zip file, if you done everything correct, you should see something similar below. Launch the file Apply Patch.bat.

Follow the prompts.

For the most part it will work automatically unless it outputs an error such as
- the file you supplied was not named correctly
- you were missing .NET5
- that ImgBurn was installed in a different directory
- the disc image you supplied was not an unmodified copy of the retail disc (MD5 must match 94c82040bf4bb99500eb557a3c0fbb15)

Once done correctly, you should see a message:
Your patched ISO is located at: .........\tellipatch-1.0\dot Hack Fragment (1.3).ISO
Press any key to continue . . .

That's it, your game is ready for your choice way to play it. In case you missed a step, here's a video by vector.

An additional add-on you can install is the grunty food voices from Japanese to English, by default there is no voicing in .hack//fragment with the exception of the grunty food items. After you patched the game, move that patched ISO onto this new folder eng_grunty from this download file.

You will need to also include a FOOD_E.BIN file from .hack//Infection, .hack//Mutation, .hack//Outbreak, or .hack//Quarantine NTSC-U/C game disc. After you move the patch ISO and the food_E bin file to the eng_grunty zip, run the file Run Me!.bat and you will have a new patched ISO called dotHack Fragment (Eng Grunty Food).iso, this will be your new game image to run.

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Chapter 2:

Playing As-Is In Japanese

(if you patched your game in the step above, ignore this step)

Let's say you don't want to play .hack//fragment in English and play the game as it originally is, in Japanese. Well you can, but regardless the game disc will always point to an IP address that points to a server no longer being hosted. You have many options to choose from in this instance by either using an ELF file prior to loading the game on an emulator or by changing your DNS to point to a specified IP address.

Using an ELF File

For emulation with PCSX2 standalone emulator, download the latest file from 1UP's Github page.

Load the ISO or the game from your DVD drive, and go to System and select Run ELF...

Then find the file that you've download and as long as the game was previously selected in CDVD, the game will now launch.

That pretty much handles the rest, the game will display Japanese characters as normal except now when you connect online it will point to the new server.

Modifying Your DNS Address

If using an emulator, you can just use the default tools given to you through the CLR_DEV9 ethernet plugin. Select Config, Dev9, Plugin Settings...menuDEV9.jpg

Doing so will give you a tiny window, select the Options button on the top right, across from Enable Ethernet.

By default the bottom two DNS IP's are set for Auto, you can uncheck these two and enter for DNS1, and enter for DNS2

Then press Apply on both windows and launch the game like normal. If you encounter an error code -611 while attempting to play online, it could be that the second DNS2 IP needs to be exactly the same as DNS1 IP, or the third-party DNAS host is currently offline.

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Chapter 3:

Playing on PC

(Linux and Mac too)

The fastest and easiest way to play is on the PC. The best emulator to play on is called PCSX2, this has the most accessibility and more opportunities thanks to RetroArch's upcoming PCSX2 "core".

PCSX2 Emulator

Versions 1.4.0 through 1.6.0 all work perfectly fine. Earlier versions less than 1.4.0 will not work, and the newer upcoming versions may have networking issues. Download the emulator via the installer or binary for your preferred operating system on PCSX2's download page. https://pcsx2.net/download/releases.html Once you've installed or run the executable file, you'll be prompted with this welcome message. And now we begin the setup for this emulator.

Press the next button to move onto the next page, this is the plugin's page. By default there are a few included plugin's as shown, but not all plugin's are real. Some are just placeholders for you to choose from online to use. The ones we need to focus on are the categories USB and DEV9. We need to download .DLL files for these plugins for you to be able to use your keyboard for typing (by default a keyboard can only be bind as a controller, not as a keyboard in-game) and ethernet internet connection for online play. Click on the Open In Explorer button to be taken to your plugins folder, keep this open as we will be dropping files from the next steps.

USB will allow you to type and talk with players in-game if you acquire the proper USB plugin, without this you can only type and communicate with a controller. Over on the PCSX2 forums https://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-Another-USBQemu-plugin-this-time-in-VB-net-Keyboard-only download the CLR_USB.X86 file then extract the .DLL file and copy/paste to your plugin's directory.

DEV9 will allow the emulator to use your internet connection to connect your game online. On TheLastRar's Github page https://github.com/TheLastRar/CLR-DEV9/releases, download the CLR_DEV9.X86 file then extract the .DLL file and copy/paste to your plugin's directory. Linux users, download libCLR_DEV9_LINUX_MONO.X86.Release.tar.gz instead.

The included GSdx32-AVX2, GSdx32-SSE2, GSdx32-SSE4 plugins are not compatible with the network setup included with .hack//fragment game, you'll want to download a fix to these plugins here https://fragment.dothackers.org/GSdx32-NetFix.zip. Simply download and replace the existing ones in the Plugins folder.

Once you add the files to the directory, the first time configuration page will not be immediately updated. We'll come back to this later, for now click on Next.

On the next page, you'll see the BIOS selector. But you do not have any BIOS files in your bios directory. You can acquire a BIOS legitimately by copying over yours from your Playstation 2 console. You can download a BIOS dumper from PCSX2's tools page https://pcsx2.net/download/releases/tools.html. Otherwise if you choose to acquire one through other means, we will not be providing links or how to acquire them. After you've acquired your BIOS files, click on the Open in Explorer button and copy/paste your BIOS files to this directory.

Now press the Refresh button to see your BIOS files listed. Select the file and press Finish at the bottom.

Now we need to revisit the plugins, from the main menu select Config and Plugin/BIOS Selector.

For the USB and DEV9 drop menus, you should be able to see the ones you recently added. If you do not see them available to choose from, try downloading and copy/pasting the alternate .DLL file. Select Apply and then OK.

Now we need to choose the image file you created in the English/Japanese steps. From the main menu choose CDVD then ISO Selector and Browse...

Find your ISO disc image from your computer and make sure it's been selected as shown below.

Select System from the menu bar and choose Boot ISO (full) to launch the game.

If you have a modern controller and USB charging cable like an Xbox One controller and a USB-C charging cable, plug the cable to both your PC and controller and it will immediately work with no troubles. The PCSX2 emulator will map out the controls similar to a Playstation 2 controller instantly.

Congrats, you have successfully patched the game and now launched the game. All that's left is to configure your network settings and save it to your memory card by either using the built-in network setup in .hack//fragment's online mode or through a network adapter startup disc.

Setting Up Controllers

You can play PCSX2 emulator on your PC with real console controllers, it's highly recommended. Most are plug and play, while others may require additional hardware and plugin's to work. Just make sure your plugin's are configured correctly. For this we will be using the LilyPad plugin for PAD.

The default settings are fair enough, but should they be different, please ensure the highlighted area is unchanged.

Here are your options for plug and play, meaning you take the included USB charging cable for these controllers, and plug them into your PC USB2.0 or USB3.0 slots.

Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One controllers and their PRO controller variants all work.

However, legacy controllers like the Playstation 2 will require additional hardware such as this USB to PS2 Adapter https://www.google.com/search?q=playstation+2+to+USB+adapter&source=lnms&tbm=shop

Really you could use anything, so long as it's configured correct and connected. Even with the right Bluetooth USB receiver adapter, you can make use of the Bluetooth wireless functions of your controllers as well. Xbox 360 has their wireless adapter and Xbox One has their wireless adapter.

Could even use a Nintendo JoyCon, with drivers installed by Davidobot's Github page https://github.com/Davidobot/BetterJoy.

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RetroArch Emulator

Another option is to play through RetroArch if your big on emulation. RetroArch operates on "cores" which are emulators consolidated into a universal platform. However currently the PCSX2 core is not publicly available. There are some beta testing cores out there unofficially you can try. But at this time a networking option for this core is not available, so at best you would only be able to play Offline mode. When it does come available, it would look something similar to this.
(obviously this post will be updated once it becomes public)

Download RetroArch from their downloads page https://www.retroarch.com/?page=platforms based on what system and computer you have. Either use the installer or unpack the binaries and launch the retroarch.exe executable file. Upon startup, you'll see a dark grey interface, this style is known as Ozone, but you may have seen this emulator as a blue wave similar to the Playstation 3's style. For obvious reasons, they choose not to leave this on by default but you can change it under settings, drivers, menu, and XMB.

When the core becomes available, go to Online Updater then Core Downloader.

Scroll down to Sony - Playstation 2 and select it. This is basically downloading and installing the emulator onto your emulator.

Now that we have the PCSX2 core installed, we need to select it from the Load Core on the main menu.

Then choose your Sony - PlayStation 2 (PCSX2) core from the menu.

You'll return back to the main menu, then choose Load Content. Find your fragment ISO disc image, or choose Load Disc if you want to play the original Japanese version if you have the DVD inserted into your DVD player.

Done so correctly, the game will load like normal. You can even use a modern controller connected via USB such as an Xbox One controller connected to a USB-C cable to your PC, RetroArch will automatically detect as shown on the bottom left in green. And the mapping will be similar to a PlayStation 2 controller.

RetroArch also allows for you to create playlists however you like, even by console. Inside it's thumbnail directory, you can even add custom box art, screenshots, and title screens to be displayed.

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Chapter 4:

Playing on PlayStation 2

(through soft-modding)

There's certainly a market of people who wish to play a PlayStation 2 game the way Sony wanted you to, on the actual hardware and not emulated through a PC, and in most cases denying playing on a PC are those who believe they have a potato PC. Which is understandable, why play in a desk chair on a monitor when you could play on the couch on a huge 4k television?

.hack//fragment was only released for the region NTSC-J and never received any other kind of release, not NTSC-U/C or PAL(if you attempt to load the disc, you will get the "red screen of death" above). So with the restrictions of hardware and game discs from the the early 2000's, this means the game is "region-locked". Just because you have the game and a PlayStation 2, does not mean it will work on ANY PlayStation 2 (regardless if it's a Fat or Slim model), specifically if you look on the back of your console and it says NTSC-J, it will work.

Now if you have a NTSC-U/C PlayStation 2 console in America i.e. United States and Canada, you can "soft-mod" your console to play other region games. The difference between soft-mod and hard-mod is that you use software to do a trick to allow the console to work the way you need it to, whereas hard-mod means opening up the console and usually using solder on a PCB board and adding new microchips. Here in this chapter we'll discuss soft-modding quick and easy to play the Patched Game you created back in Chapter 1 above. We'll be using the Free Memory Card Boot (FMCB) method to soft-mod your PlayStation 2, you can either purchase one from Amazon or eBay https://www.google.com/search?q=free+mc+boot&tbm=shop, but we'll be showing you how to make one from any spare PlayStation 2 memory cards you have lying around.

Installing FMCB

We are going to start from the very beginning assuming you do not have a FMCB memory card already but own a PS2 memory card. You can skip ahead if you already have one. This step will require you to have a PS2 Slim model that does NOT begin with SCPH-90000. The model number must be less to work. If you only have a PS2 Phat model or Slim model that is model number 90000 or more, you will need to buy a pre-formatted FMCB online. (Skip to next section)

Download FreeDVDBoot. It's only 1.3 MB in size. https://github.com/CTurt/FreeDVDBoot

Download ImgBurn or CDBurnerXP, about 4 and 7 MB each respectively. You only need one, but if one does not work, switch to the other. https://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download

Using only a DVD-R, sometimes DVD+R will work, burn the FreeDVDBoot onto your disc. Using 1x speed and finalize are both required.

Insert the FreeDVDBoot disc into your PS2. This will automatically load up LaunchELF v4.43a when you turn your PS2 on.

Download FreeMCBoot "newbie pack" from PS2-Home.com https://www.ps2-home.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=6566

Make sure your USB flash memory is formatted in FAT or FAT32, this will not work on any other format i.e. exFAT, NTFS, etc...

Extract the files onto your computer, then move the contents of the folder onto your USB flash memory drive.

Insert the USB flash memory device into the USB1.0 ports on the front of the PS2.

With the PS2 still on and loaded with FreeDVDBoot showing LaunchELF, press O, then move down to mass:/ and press O.

You are now on the USB, locate where you copied over the FreeMCBoot files to, and locate file FMCBInstaller.elf and press O.

You'll be taken to a main menu for the FMCB installer, press R1 twice to Format MC. Choose the slot you have the memory card plugged in.

When it says Format Complete, navigate back to the main menu of this installer, and click on Install and choose which memory card spot.

Now you can install FMCB for just this console only i.e. Normal, or you can do Cross-Regional for all PS2's of this model i.e. NTSC and PAL, or you can choose Cross-model to install it for all your region's versions i.e. Phat and Slim. (I'd recommend Normal or Cross-model) Wait for install to complete and quit this program.

Remove the DVD and toss it, you will never need it again unless you accidentally format your memory card.

Moving Patched Game to USB

You now have FreeMcBoot version 1.966, you will only ever need your memory card and you'll never have to install anything again. On any 4+ GB USB formatted in FAT or FAT32, create a new folder on the root of your USB named DVD and a second new folder named CD. Most clear bottom PS2 discs are DVD's, and most blue or other colored PS2 discs are CD's. See picture below.

After you've patched the game from chapter 2 above, move the new ISO file into the \DVD\ directory on your USB that was formatted as FAT or FAT32.

Plug in your USB into your PS2 console, make sure your FMCB memory card is plugged in, remove any discs from your PS2, turn on the PS2.

Once FMCB is loaded, move down to Open PS2 Loader.

At the top, choose Settings.

Use the D-Pad and go down to "Check USB Game Fragmentation", press X, use the D-Pad and press Up to set to On then press X.

Move down to "USB Device Start Mode" press X, move up to On, then press X.

Move down to "Default Menu", press X, press Up till you see USB Games, press X, go down to OK and press X.

Scroll down to Save Changes, press X to save. It should say Settings saved to mc0:

Press O to open up the Games List, in the future you shouldn't have to do this as the default will now land on the USB Games upon loading this program now.

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Chapter 5:

Playing on PlayStation 3

Straight from Disc

You can play .hack//fragment on a Playstation 3, but there are a few caveats. The Playstation 3 is region free when it comes to playing PS3 disc based games. However, the PS2 backwards compatibility will only play PS2 region discs based on your PS3's region, i.e. a North American PS3 can play NTSC-U/C Playstation 2 disc based games; and a Japanese PS3 can play NTSC-J Playstation 2 disc based games.

Only the original fat PS3 model CECH-Axx is fully backwards compatible with PS2 disc based games whereas original fat PS3 models CECH-Bxx, CECH-Cxx, CECH-Exx use software emulation. All later models do not have any form of backwards compatibility packaged in.

So if you wanted to play straight from the .hack//fragment PS2 game disc, you can do so on a Japan region PS3. A Playstation 3 Test Debugging model is region free when it comes to it's PS2 game discs, so this is an alternative option to playing straight from the disc. You can play .hack//fragment on a Playstation 3 in OFFLINE mode on a NSTC-J Playstation 3 and on a NTSC-U Playstation 3 Test Debugging console straight from disc.

But let's say you want to play in ONLINE mode from the disc, the game disc still points to the defunct Bandai Network's IP address j5q.channel.or.jp which is no longer in service and you need the game to point to a.dothackers.org. To do so, on a NTSC-J PS3 or a NTSC-U PS3 Test/Debug model, you will need to do a DNS redirect to (thanks 1UP)

From an Disc Image

To do so, you will need to install on your retail PS3 a custom firmware. A retail PS3 does not allow you to copy/paste an ISO disc image onto your PS3 hard drive or USB flash drive and play from the disc image. Installing a CFW or custom firmware such as Rebug, Ferrox, and others will enable to use Multiman to launch games. This will allow you to play .hack//fragment in OFFLINE mode, and if you have a backwards compatible PS3 such as CECH-Axx, you will have the option to playing in ONLINE mode. Just make sure you patch your .hack//fragment disc in the chapter 1 above which will add the proper lobby server IP address. Later PS3 models will not have the option to play in ONLINE mode.

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