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Setting Up Your Own Private Lobby Server + Area Server + Client


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Right now what .hack//fragment needs is more players and more area servers, an area server is where up to 3 players can play online together in a town/field/dungeon. There is only need for 1 lobby server at all times, this is the central point where all area servers and players connect to. It handle's the handshake process of going online, to an area server, others to join to you on the area server, and return back to the lobby server. Basically it's a mall, the area servers are shops, and the players are the shoppers. This picture here is a simple way of seeing how and where these three work in tandem.


Throwing more lobby servers out there can make this process more complex than it needs to be. Hosting the lobby server doesn't give your player any special items or abilities. All player data is stored on your memory card only and can be manipulated locally on your PC through CheatEngine. Right now the areaserver.exe and the Tellipatcher both use the same IP to connect to the main lobby server in use right now. So again, we do NOT need anyone setting up any competing lobby server, what we really need is just more area servers and players.

That being said, academically some of you might want to host your own lobby server to better understand the game and the servers themselves to hopefully one day discover more secrets buried in the software. If people hadn't been poking around the lobby server, we wouldn't have those like Zackmon who discovered restoring the Guild, BBS, Web News, Rankings part of the lobby server. We wouldn't have formlesstree4 who discovered better ways to optimize and prevent unexpected crashes of the lobby server. And of course NCDyson who reversed engineered the lobby server to begin with from nothing.

But there are still some unexplained things out there that someday may be discovered, such as what actually triggers the date when the area server communicates with the lobby and players when an area server online NPC event is available. Or how to password protect an area server. And perhaps the additional multiple lobby chatroom, guild chatroom, or private chatroom functionality.

Whatever your reason may be, you first need to acquire some programs to get started.

  1. Lobby Server Emulator: https://github.com/Zackmon/FragmentNetslumServer
  2. Area Server Tools: https://github.com/Zero1UP/AreaServerTools (modifies Area Server to point to new lobbyserver)
  3. Area Server Explorer: https://github.com/Zackmon/AreaServerExplorerWV (has the option to create .pnach files for PCSX2, see screenshot below)

First you'll need download the Lobby Server Emulator and to setup a database for the lobby server


The Lobby Server requires a MySQL/MariaDB backend. The file settings.ini.example located in the root of this repository should be copied and renamed to settings.ini, then modified with the connection details for the database.

Second you will need to use the Area Server Tools to modify your areaserver.exe to point to your new IP. Typically something like "http://yourip.com:49000", no quotes, with the port at the end or without.

Thirdly while you can use your Tellipatched .hack//fragment ISO, to hop on your own lobby server you'll need to Enable Cheats in PCSX2 and add a .pnach file to your /cheats/ folder from your PCSX2 directory. Using Area Server Explorer you can go to AreaServerExplorer\bin\x86\Release\AreaServerExplorer.exe and go File > Create PNACH File for IP and enter your IP on this screen.


In PCSX2 1.4/1.6 make sure to go to System > Enable Cheats is checked yes before running the ISO rom. In PCSX2 1.7 you'll need to go into Settings > Emulation to find the check box for Enble Cheats. For all versions, make sure the file is named 9C9D549D.pnach and place this in your cheats folder before running the ISO rom. This will override the IP address in which your game will connect to while maintaining the English patch. And by disabling enable cheats, you can hop back onto the main public lobby server.

After everything is done here, you are pretty much logging into your own private lobby server that only you can connect to. Unless others repeat steps 2 and 3 with your IP to connect to your services.

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