Hi, everyone! I’m Sly—an editor on Ys vs. Trails in the Sky. I’m here to give you all an update on our patch’s development. As some of you may be aware, we recently completed our second editing pass for scenario and non-scenario. Now, we have finally entered the testing phase, which means that we are ever closer to release!
But that’s not all I’m here to discuss. Oh, no. We have a few very special announcements for everyone!
Online is IN!
We are incredibly happy to announce that Ys vs. Trails WILL have online functionality on release! You will be able to play matches online with up to three other friends. This is something that everyone in V Sector has been wanting since day one, so we are thrilled that we can finally announce it!
There is a reason we had not addressed the online functionality until now. Believe it or not, there was a very real chance that online play was not going to be possible due to a bug in PPSSPP that prevented ad hoc from working. Players could enter a lobby, but the connection would frequently drop before the player and selection screens loaded in. So, we reached out to the PPSSPP discord and submitted a GitHub issue related to the subject. And ANR2ME, one of their contributors, managed to fix the bug! We would not be here discussing this if it wasn’t for their expertise, so we want to thank them for helping this become a reality!
Once we received a test build, we started testing online, and we can confirm that the game can be played online natively through ad hoc or with Parsec.
Here’s a breakdown of the situation: If you want to play the game online with ad hoc, then there will be some slowdown. The game uses a ‘lock step’ strategy, which essentially means that it waits for the player’s input before it processes the next frame. The player should have around 1 ms to communicate their inputs over ad hoc, which works well for local play—but not online. It takes much more time for the game to read inputs over the internet, so the game has to wait for inputs to be received which, in turn, causes the slowdown. While not the worst slowdown I have experienced in a fighting game, it is certainly not ideal. So, ad hoc is best left for local play.
However, we discovered that the game works much better with Parsec when using multiple instances on one PC. For those unaware, Parsec is a screensharing program that transmits controller inputs from clients, allowing for local multiplayer games to be played online. The host’s PC will simulate local play for the game, which means that local instances will receive the inputs more readily. We have observed, however, that there will be some input delay depending on the routing and the physical distance between players. For example, when I played with Schtolteheim, one of our testers—who happens to live about 700 miles away from me—there was a delay of about 1/10 of a second, which was perfectly manageable. On the other hand, when I played with Chuji, who lives 4,000 miles from me, there was about a delay of 1/3 of a second, which was not so great. Due to the way the game is designed, there is no perfect solution for this problem, but Parsec does minimize the delay as best as it can. So, it is the best option if you want to be playing online with friends. We had generally good results with Parsec during our many test matches.
Also, Schtolt put together a highlight reel for some of those matches. You can see the game and its online functionality in action below.
We had a ton of fun playing these matches online together, and we really hope you all do as well! Everyone in the V Sector really wanted this to happen, and thanks to the guys at PPSSPP, online functionality will be available on release. We are not certain if PPSSPP will release a new build in time for the game’s launch, and if that does not happen, then we will provide instructions for how to get the development build, which will let you play online. We hope you look forward to it.
And now, we want to talk about an enhancement feature that Chuji, our esteemed video editor, has been working on for some time now. I think he’s been dying to share this one, so I’ll hand the mic over to him!
Making Those Textures Shine (like the sun!)
Hi there! I’m Chuji—the Geofront’s resident video editor. I’ve already had so much fun working on Ys vs. Trails and Trails to Azure, and I’m grateful for all the support we’ve had from you guys! When I haven’t been putting together those pre-rendered videos, playing Ys vs. Trails with the Geofront, subtitling the hilariously fun Trails of Cold Steel musical, or putting together another secret little project for Ys vs. Trails, I’ve been working on something for those of you that plan on using PPSSPP to play the game.
PPSSPP allows one to extract and replace textures, so I’m excited to announce the Ys vs. Trails in the Sky HD Texture Pack that I’ll be releasing independently alongside the patch. I’ve been working on it on-and-off for the past few months, starting with the character select screen—which definitely suffers the most from the PSP’s limited resolution. That’s why the aim of this pack is to make Ys vs. Trails feel like less of an emulated PSP game and more of a PC port in terms of visuals.
I had originally planned to continue tidying up some of the more noticeably grainy textures in the game, but Livi and Sorcerian have provided no small amount of help in expanding this project into something bigger. Between the three of us, most of the menus and UI elements are looking better than ever. It feels so good to playtest the game on a big screen and see high-resolution textures as a result!
Of course, there will be some textures left as they are, as well as a few stray pixels on the character art, mind you, as HD versions of the character assets are surprisingly hard to come by! But, overall, I think it’s a huge improvement for players taking the emulation route. The pack will come with a set of instructions, but do feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@Choojermelon) if you have any questions about installation or anything else related to the texture pack!
Here’s a couple of before-and-afters! Note that these are compared with an old build of the game, so some of the textures on the “before” images won’t necessarily match up with the final patch!
Also, I’d like to emphasise that we at the Geofront do not in any way condone piracy. If you believe emulation is the best way to experience Ys vs. Trails, please do your due diligence in purchasing the game to support Falcom and using well-documented methods of backing it up onto your PC first.
One more thing about multiplayer, whilst I have your attention: Setting up multiplayer for Ys vs. Trails can take a bit of work, particularly if you’re going the Parsec route of setting up multiple interconnected instances of PPSSPP on one machine. That’s why I’d also like to announce that I’ll be putting together and releasing an all-in-one folder with four instances of PPSSPP, pre-configured for multiplayer on a local machine. All you’ll need to do is run as many instances as you need, configure the controls, and go!
With that, I suppose I’ve said my piece. But I’m sure we’ll meet again someday, especially if you decide to get into online multiplayer for Ys vs. Trails! If you can handle a bit of input delay, the experience really is fantastic.
Back to you, Sly! Go Fight!!
And That’s It!
All right, before we close out this post, I’d like to address something real quick. We initially planned to announce the ETA here, but after further consideration, we decided to wait and see how testing plays out before committing to that. Once we are near the end of the testing phase, we will finally reveal our release plans. Thank you for your patience!
Lastly, I want to express my thanks to each and every one of you reading this post. We have been working on this project for almost a year now, and trust me when I say that we would not have gotten to this point if it wasn’t for your support. This project means the world to me, and I think I speak for the rest of the team in saying that we are so excited to finally share what we have been working on all this time. The finish line is finally within sight, and if any one of you enjoys your time with this game, then I think all these sleepless nights will have been worth it.
Expect another post soon once testing has wrapped. Until then, it’s back to work on the patch. We’ll see you next time!