Gaming Guide Posts

Dragon Quest IX Online Multiplayer Through Parsec & MelonDS – Proquest #005

Want to play DQ9 with your friends but can’t because they’re halfway around the world from you? Well now you (sorta) can. Using the magic of emulators and remote access, it’s possible to reliably play through DQ9 with friends!

Originally this was possible but due to timing for local wifi disconnects were extremely common. Thanks to improvements with MelonDS disconnects are no longer an issue! My friends and I have tried this and played about two hours (from Stornway to Coffinwell) with zero problems!

Disclaimer: This might require a decent processor. I attempted this with my six core AMD Ryzen 2600 and once I hit three instances of the emulator running simultaneously, things started lagging quite a bit in-game. My friend runs a 16 core AMD Ryzen 5950X CPU and was able to host all four instances without any slowdown in game. We only had internet-imposed input lag to contend with. If you are only planning on having two players then your requirements might be lower. Regardless, if your hardware doesn’t measure up to ours, I still encourage you to do your own tests rather than give up. (Please leave a comment with your results detailing your system specs if you don’t mind!)

Things the Host Will Need:

  • MelonDS 0.9.5 or higher (Website Link)
  • Parsec software (Website Link)
  • A ROM dump of the DQ9 game cartridge
  • Two or more save files played to the Stornway portion of the game (you can actually use copies of the same save file for testing if need be)
  • High speed internet connection
  • Decent hardware (as stated, a 6 core CPU might not cut it for more than two players. But I urge you to do your own testing as everyone’s system config is different)

Things Everyone Else Will Need:

  • Parsec software (Website Link)
  • High speed internet connection
  • A controller (Keyboard input only works for the active window)

Once everyone has gotten their Parsec accounts set up and the software installed, they should connect to their friends PCs.

The host will need to make sure that all save files are properly named to match the ROM file name. For the other players’ saves, the extension will need to be appended with a .sav.2, a .sav.3, or a .sav.4.

.nds is the ROM file and your DQ9.sav.x are your players’ save files

The host will then click on the System drop-down menu, then select multiplayer and launch new instance. They will do this as many times as there will be players.

Assigning controller inputs will also be handled by the host player via Parsec for each player and then assigned within the MelonDS input settings. Parsec won’t pass controller connections through to Windows until an input is actually made, so the host will need each player to wiggle their joysticks or press a button before their controller will show up as an option in MelonDS.

That should be it for the setup process. Now you’re ready to begin playing!

A good method for sharing save files is to use Google Drive, that way players can work on their own saves during downtime. Just make sure that you don’t get the files mixed up!

Thanks goes to Orpheus.PhD for all the help with testing and for figuring out hosting on his beastly PC. Follow him on Twitch to follow our adventures or Check out his bandcamp!

13 thoughts on “Dragon Quest IX Online Multiplayer Through Parsec & MelonDS – Proquest #005

  1. Excellent work! I’ve known about this MelonDS + Parsec for a while but now with their multiplayer option within the emulator itself, it should be much more stable!.

    – Gradis, Owner of the DQ9 Discord

    1. Yeah, it’s a lot more stable now! When my friend and I first gave it a go we got DCed about every minute. Now disconnects pretty much never happen. At least not for us.

      The multiplayer selection in MelonDS just launches another instance of the emulator for local connections on the same PC. But I do believe they plan to implement full netplay in the 1.0 release. It would be cool if they will allow “Nintendo WFC local connections” to work over the net, thus eliminating the need for Parsec.

  2. Would we be able to play this on a mobile emulator like DraStic or is the solution specific to both Parsec and Melon DS software, and non-transferable?

    1. Unfortunately not. It seems that programming a DS emulator to emulate an ad hoc connection, which is what Nintendo’s local wifi is, is rather difficult. MelonDS is the first one to do it as far as I’m aware. There is an Android build of MelonDS, but I don’t know what kind of work would go into allowing a phone to launch multiple instances of a single app or even if that’s possible. And that’s putting aside the hardware requirements.

      A better bet would be for a build of Parsec to make its way to iOS and Android one day allowing people to remote into a friends’ PC from their phone using touch controls as a controller. Player-Side, hardware shouldn’t be an issue.

  3. It seems that host should hold both host and guests’ save.
    If two of the party members don’t want to share their save each other then the real-multiplay emulation can’t be established.
    (If only one then it’s not a problem because the one can be the host)
    BTW I’m more interested in DQMJ2P multiplay because Wiimmfi doesn’t host it (it only hosts DQMJ2 vanilla) so we have to make a battle by LAN.

    1. The host does hold the save files but between play sessions, sometimes the players need to do some grinding or class unlock quests. It’s easy to upload save files each time we start to play.

      This method should also work for other games though I haven’t tested any yet. Maybe we will try DQMJ2P next.

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