DCFFVII Research Thread

Showing Hero Tonic and Phoenix Pinion in action, plus the useless Limitizers and item placeholders in the menu.
The number of blogs from the beta testing of the DCFFVII Multiplayer VASTLY outnumber the blogs from its official launch period in 2006. Rarely do beta bloggers return to blog about the 2006 version and if they do, they usually only did so for the first month or two. This fascinates me.

While searching for a copy of the Beta Version disc, I came upon a different treasure trove: A blog consisting almost entirely of PlayOnline reports from the beta testing phase! The blog has copy-pasted these reports, almost none of which were saved on the original PlayOnline site via the Wayback Machine!

I have now promptly saved all these blog entries in the Wayback Machine and copied everything over into my own documents. The content will not be lost.

Highlights below of what I learned from browsing the blog. The beta testing lasted from September 22nd to October 31st, 2005.

- Version updates were performed on September 29, October 4, 11, 18, 25 and 28. in other words, the version updates happened weekly. Content would sometimes be added inbetween these official version updates.

- The Kalm Streets map was added on October 14.

- The third server, "Cloud", was added on October 19.

- I know now what the two gameplay recordings of the Beta version contained, though I still don't have the actual videos. One video showed the mission "Collector's Mind" and the other showed a Team Battle in the "Kalm Church" map.

- An NPC was added to the Deepground Lobby with the October 18 update. The identity of this NPC is unknown.

- For the final three & 1/2 days, October 28-31, the prices in the shop were all reduced to 1 gil (?).
Google Translate said:
■ Changed the price in the shop to 1 gil all.

- A note written by Yoshinori Kitase when the beta testing ended has, thanks to the blog, been preserved.







北瀬 佳範

Google Translate said:
November 01, 2005
To everyone who participated in the beta test
Thank you for participating in the beta test.

During the beta testing period, we have keenly developed ourselves to respond to everyone's voices and requests even though it is very powerful. However, during the β test period, the ratio of response to administrative aspects will increase, so the time spent on body correcting and improvement work can not be stopped and temporarily declines.

Therefore, in the visible part as a game, I'm pretty sure that the response that meets your needs is not advanced, I think whether there is a side that caused inconvenience. On the other hand, however, we were able to significantly advance verification and improvement of invisible core parts. This is also thanks to all of you for your cooperation and I am very grateful.

β The end of the test does not mean the end of development or completion of the game. Rather, by the end of the beta test, I'd like to concentrate 100% on improving / correcting the game body and accelerate work. In that case, I would like to refer to the betta tester boards etc. that you wrote as valuable materials, and I would like to use it for improving the game.

Finally, I look forward to the development team as much as possible to look forward to being able to play with you again after the official service starts, if you can excite "gun" together.

Please, look forward to the release of "DIRGE of CERBERUS - FINAL FANTASY VII -".

Yoshinori Kitase
Last edited:
Neat translated interview with Kitase archived from DirgeofCerberus.net

Unfortunately it is not cited where this interview comes from but it is clear the interview was made not too long before the initial release of Dirge of Cerberus. My favorite bits:

- Has there been a lot of changes in the online mode from the beta version?

Kitase: We've taken in the opinions of the beta testers, and changed some small details. After that... we decided to increase the variety of the weapons.

- Ooh!? So you mean there's more types of weapons than handguns, machineguns, and rifles?

Kitase: Yes. We're going to add grenade type weapons, which came up a lot from the beta testers. Whether we can get it ready in time for the games release date, or have to add it in an upgrade later will depend on how the development is going... There's also a few changes to the magic. Like Fire, which just shot in a straight line before, has been changed so it flies in a curved line, kind of seeking out a target hidden behind a wall.


- So it'll just be Japanese-vs-Japanese first. Playing the offline and online modes is quite different, what are your thoughts about that?

Kitase: Even to the people making it, we recognized they were separate things. It felt like we were making two different games at the same time. That might have been the most difficult part of making it (laughs). Both the offline and online versions were worked on by mostly the same staff, so people like the programmers would divide up their time, like "this is when I'll program the offline, and from here I'll work on the online", and worked while switching around. This is the first time our company has made a game where you can play both offline and online, together in one package. We had to feel our way around to get used to everything, so it was rough.

- It must have needed a lot of research.

Kitase: Yeah. But thanks to that we've got the skills to make non-RPG games, and knowledge about online games, so we've learnt a lot from the experience. Now the next gen consoles are being released and game technology is moving forward, I don't think we'd be able to avoid using a system where the action is done in real time. You have to wonder if even RPGs can just stay with commands being entered as time stands still. I think we'll be able to put the skills we've developed with this game to use on the games for the next gen consoles.


AI Researcher
i managed to identify it, it was from weekly famitsu no.894 (2006 2/3, given the date the translation was published i'd say released late january 2006). there's a transcript of the japanese text here (though the use of subheadings suggests this might have been based on the magazine or scans rather than transcripts)

Thanks for the link hito! That is one awesome transcription resource.

Replaced Vincent (p000) with Online Player Character (o099). Also replaced Vincent's weapon models (w022) with the Online weapon models (w023). Notice how the weapon and its parts have more blue tones than Vincent's counterparts.

Surprisingly many of the OPC's own animations were automatically replaced with Vincent's animations here. I could never get such a smooth transition from one model to the other when trying to replace Cait Sith with Vincent.

It's refreshing to see the death animation of OPC, which is unlike any of the death animations that Vincent has.

Many challenges remain, such as...

- Replacing Vincent's voice with any of the voices available for the OPC.
- I can't manipulate which mask and armor is equipped.
- I am unaware of any addresses devoted to stats of the OPC which could replace Vincent's stats.
When using the OPC, the grenade item "OI8" works more closely to how it is supposed to. The animations for OPC holding the grenade and tossing it are activated, but there is no visible grenade model and still no sound effects. Presumably if one found the proper address, one could make it so that OPC was holding g074, which is what we assume to be the grenade item.


You toss the grenade by pressing the melee button. A quick press will make OPC roll the grenade on the ground, holding down the button will make OPC do a long throw after about a second. This is true whether you are on the ground or in midair.

Like OI8 is the placeholder for the Grenade, OI9 is presumably the placeholder for the S-Mine. Using the OI9 has the same effect for OPC as it does for Vincent: The character is frozen in place and won't be able to move unless melee'd or KO'd. No explosion or damage to your surroundings.

Limit Breaker and OI7 (placeholder for online version of Limit Breaker) transforms OPC into Galian Beast, except Galian Beast will be invisible. Even when the Galian Beast form ends, OPC/Vincent will stay invisible.

I discovered a way to explore the early version of the Train Graveyard: By creating a tempsave!


Plenty of Vincent's functions will be loaded when you access the zone via a tempsave. Vincent will still be largely frozen in his starting coordinates, but if you remove collision then you can freely explore the map. Will upload an exploration video soon enough.
Returned to playing on console today and holy sh*t what a difference. The emulator likes to slow down the game to half- or even one third of its intended speed. Having played on PCSX2 for two months and then going back to the true framerate on the console really blew my mind. The game honestly looked broken because enemies appeared to move faster than they had ever done before. Eventually my eye-mind adjusted and now I'm back in console business.

Halfway through Chapter 9 now in my All S Rankings run. The segment before the boss fight is going to take some time, because now I have to re-memorize how to get maximum score in the two elevator sections with the Aerial Mines. I mastered this section once before and I will do it again. Hopefully I can get it done before New Year's Eve.

Babysteps are still required in this challenge for the sake of my mental health. While my anxiety levels have dropped significantly, there is still the factor that I am almost never perfectly satisfied with a recording, yet I no longer have the stamina and uplifting passion to carry me through a perfectionist run. Sometimes I will still shiver and get a bad taste in my mouth when thinking back to some of the videos I've already uploaded, to which I immediately respond best I can with logical arguments as to why I should not feel shame.

It annoys me that I can only enjoy this challenge in very short playsessions. The first hour of playing on the console today (for the first time since November 1st) was actually fun but then afterwards it descended into the restart-restart-restart-restart-restart insanity where the fun is slowly replaced with frustration, self-loathing and worry at the gargantuan size of the All S Rankings run.

Accordingly, I only promise myself to clear Chapter 9 pretty soon. After that I can very well wait a few months before I tackle Chapter 10: The longest chapter of them all.


AI Researcher
i was considering play this on an emulator to avoid unpacking my ps2 right now but now i don't want to do that :sadpanda:


Double Growth
Yeah as soon as I got FFXII working on the emulator and it looked super pretty I put in Dirge. It was unplayable, haha.

My PS2 is, fortunately, still mostly hooked up, just gotta swap out a plug.


AI Researcher
i am tempted to try out emulating other games now though (namely megaten 3 and other atlus games)

but i cba messing around with the settings :sadpanda:
i am tempted to try out emulating other games now though (namely megaten 3 and other atlus games)
Megaten 3 didn't pop up in my search, but I used the PCSX2 wiki to find the best settings for Dirge of Cerberus. You might find good settings for other games you are interested in.

I use the software renderer to avoid the issue where the effects on half of the screen gets broken in DoC. Another solution is to use the "git build v1.5.0-dev-1285", but I haven't tried that yet.

I wish I had the years and years of programming experience necessary to fix the slow framerate Dirge has on PCSX2. It is easy enough to spot what makes the game slowdown, at least during gameplay: In particular the rendering of smoke effects, explosions and moving skies.

All it takes is for a tiny smoke plume to be in the player's field of vision and the game halts to half its normal speed. Then immediately as the smoke leaves the camera's vision, the game goes back to proper 60fps, unless the game is also having trouble rendering the sky or some other effect.

Playing on the Shera is an example where the moving sky heavily slows down the game. There is no smoke and no explosion. All it takes is for the sky to have active animations and the game goes bonkers.

Cutscenes confuse me more as to what slows them down. It can still be hilarious though. Just slow down this YouTube clip to half its speed (I assume most of you know this basic YouTube configuration) and you'll hear what I mostly get to hear. I am amused by how it sounds like Shelke and Vincent have been smoking weed or somethin'.
Clearing the penultimate checkpoint in Chapter 9 is going to take many retries. Each individual segment isn't too hard, but it's one of those cases where one or two missed shots can ruin your entire run to the next checkpoint. I want both the score of 99 against the Aerial Mines and a high killchain against Azul so that I can one-shot him, and I want to get good-looking overall results.

Using the emulator thankfully makes the memorization easier because I can just use quicksaves to retry and observe different scenarios. Thanks to this I noticed that Page 260 of the DC Complete Guide lies to you.


It claims that the mine is the weak spot of the Aerial Mine. In fact, at least for Chapter 9, the mine can't be targetted at all. A shot will only be registered if you land a shot on the body below the mine. As I marked here:


IF the mine can be targetted, it must be from a very specific angle that I just haven't tried yet. I am not even sure if it is possible to get Critical Hits against the Aerial Mines. The one time I believe I spotted a Critical Hit *might* have just been me hitting a soldier in the background, but I'm not sure. So far not even the use of quicksaves have helped me recreate a Critical Hit against an Aerial Mine.

EDIT: Managed to recreate a Critical Hit! Got one when shooting the Aerial Mine from below while it was descending. Strangely enough, simply shooting the underside of an Aerial Mine doesn't seem to work. Only got a Critical Hit in the particular aforementioned condition.
Last edited:


AI Researcher
for the new year, i started having a look at mission descriptions for the online multiplayer stuff, but the first lot (dg drone rank) aren't very exciting and consist of what looks like tutorial style missions and intros to maps.

i've only done three so far because i have i go lie down soon

DG Drone 2nd Promotion Exam

Requirements: Do 3 or more begginers or standard battles and talk to Officer-**** located in each area.

Completion conditions: Defeat 10 Beast Soliders
Failure conditions: KO, exceed time limit

Max. players: 1 ★★

Reward: Promotion to DG Drone 2nd

The promotion examination for DG Drone 2nd. Quickly eliminating the enemy and securing your surroundings are the fundamental aspects of combat.
Defeat the Beast Soldiers within the stipulated time limit.


Beginner's Training #1

Requirements: n/a

Completion conditions: Defeat 5 DG Soldiers
Failure conditions: Exceed time limit - 1 hour

Max. players: 1 ★
Reward: 300 gil

We have stationed special DG Soldiers who nullify any damage to areas besides the head.
Defeat them all using only the allocated equipment. Melee attacks are forbidden.


Beginner's Training #2

Requirements: n/a

Completion conditions: Defeat 3 DG Soldiers
Failure conditions: Exceed time limit -- 1 hour

Max. players: 1 ★
Reward: 500 gil

In addition to the previous mission's DG Soldiers, we have stationed Guard Hounds that completely nullify damage.
Avoid these and defeat the DG Soldiers using only the allocated equipment. Melee attacks are forbidden.
Putting the Ch9 S Ranking run on the shelf for now. In the end my nerves protested too much...along with my persistent disinterest. :monster: Even to a hardcore fan like me, the blandness of Dirge can severely inhibit your passion for the game. Researching the game with Cheat Engine and learning more about the Multiplayer is way more fun.

On that topic, I need to remind myself to buy a "fat" Japanese PS2 and a BB Unit.

Normally when you click on the "PlayOnline" option in JORG, you'll get to this screen:


Presumably then if I have a proper PS2 and a BB Unit, I will get to a different dead-end menu. I'd still like to see what that menu says though.
I was recently told of an example of a PS2 game with restored online functionality: Biohazard Outbreak (known as Resident Evil Outbreak outside Japan).

If you create an account on the obsrv.org forum, as well as acquire the proper hardware, you can play Resident Evil Outbreak on the fan-made server by using said forum account.

The game was initially known as "Resident Evil Online", then renamed to "Biohazard Network" until finally being named "Biohazard Outbreak". The initial release was then followed up by an expansion called "Resident Evil Outbreak File #2". For this reason many refer to the original release as File 1 or File #1, and so that's the deal with Outbreak videos that may be titled as being File 1 or File 2.

The online functionality was present for the Japanese and American releases, but not for Europe. The standard wiki page claims that PAL servers were taken down at the same time as the NTSC servers, 2007-03-31, while the obsrv site reads that the PAL version never had a functioning multiplayer.

In 2014, ten years after the initial release of Biohazard Outbreak, fans created their own private server for the Japanese editions of the game. Indeed, I remember seeing this Kotaku article back then but I had forgotten which game it concerned.

Watching the trailer from when its working title was Biohazard/'Resident Evil' Online is a bit eerie, because the intro and ending choir reminds you of the choir for the Dirge of Cerberus opening credits FMV. >___>

This raises the hope that it might be possible to restore an online functionality to Dirge of Cerberus someday by creating a private server, but I wonder how complicated and incomplete such a restoration would be. So far, my research indicates that the JORG disc includes far fewer models, maps and miscellaneous data from the Multiplayer than the post-JORG versions do. Presumably the bulk of the Multiplayer data, originally, was downloaded online.

Assuming that you could only use the original Japanese release for restoring an online mode, a private server would have to include download packs with models, maps and other data extracted from the post-JORG releases. Despite the obvious lack of interest there would be in such a project, I'd still like to see a private server set up just to prove that it can be done.

Some gameplay from the private server for Biohazard Outbreak.

Occasionally the dialogue will be written in Japanese, so they clearly have not yet replaced every Japanese text entry with English translations.

YOKO! YOKO! No. Yes. YOKO! No. YOKO! Thanks. YOKO! >___<
Last edited:


AI Researcher
i have one of the outbreak games but i didn't have the accessories to actually go online, and couldn't beat the zoo level because the elephant would clip through a wall, which now that i remember again i'm re-enbittered about
I have now purchased and am waiting for a "PlayStation BB Unit". Cost me just below 1000 SEK (112.76 USD). Because I purchased a BB Unit that is compatible with the PS2 Expansion Bay, the next step is to buy a Japanese PS2 that contains said Expansion Bay. These are the matching model numbers:


For PS2 model- and peripheral lists, see this website. The fact that the model numbers end with a 0 reveal that they are of the NTSC-J region. If the model numbers end with a 1, they are of the NTSC-U/C region. So if you want an American PS2 model with an Expansion Bay, just take the model list above and replace the final 0 with a 1.

Again, I purchased a BB Unit that is compatible with the PS2 models that have an Expansion Bay. This BB Unit has the model number "SCPH-10400".

However, there is also the BB Unit which is compatible with older PS2 models which don't have the Expansion Bay. This BB Unit, of model number "SCPH-10390", is connected to the older PS2 models using their "PC card" (or PCMCIA) slot. Japanese PS2 models with the PC card slot would be...


The video I embedded earlier in this thread shows what the Expansion-Bay-compatible BB Unit (SCPH-10400) consists of and how to install it. When buying a BB Unit, make sure it contains all of these components.

In this video, a buyer shows all the components that should come along with the PC-card-slot compatible BB Unit (SCPH-10390).

You'll notice that the primary difference between the two BB Units is that one has an external Hard Disk Drive, while the other has you inserting the Hard Disk Drive into the PS2 Expansion Bay.

The PS2 Slim, model SCPH-70000 and up, is not compatible with the HDD technology that you could connect the "fat" PS2 models to.

Why all this tech-talk? Because these would be the system requirements if you had wanted to play the Dirge of Cerberus Multiplayer back in the day. You needed the HDD (Hard Disk Drive), which is part of the BB Unit package, in order to play the online mode of DCFFVII.

The PS2 Slim was released in the following dates according to wikipedia:
EU: October 29, 2004
JP: November 3, 2004
NA: November 25, 2004
AU: December 2, 2004​

Picture then that you buy the PS2 Slim upon release, and maybe it's your first PS2 console or you decide to discard your old fat PS2. Then in 2005 it is announced that Dirge of Cerberus, the upcoming FFVII title, will have an online mode. But because you only have the PS2 Slim, the new and shiny version of the console which doesn't support HDD, you can't play the online mode.

That's unfortunate. :monster:

Since the HDD installation supposedly reduces loading times for your game (or at least some games), I am curious if it is possible to use the HDD to reduce loading times in Dirge of Cerberus JORG (Single Player).

Last edited:
If you want to buy a Japanese PS2 and a BB Unit, you may want to look for people selling the "PlayStation 2 BB Pack", which comes with both the BB Unit peripherals and the SCPH-50000 model PS2 console. A good way to get everything in one package.

Since I've already bought the BB Unit, I will be keeping an eye out for the SCPH-50000 model at a reasonable price. That particular model interests me because according to the description in this list of models the SCPH-50000 is less noisy than older models.

All of this naturally costs a great deal, especially in my unemployed state. If you wish to support me even in the form of pocket money, please consider sending a PayPal donation to "[email protected]". Having the money for collectibles and tech helps me in my FFVII projects.
After a lengthy game of "filling in the blanks", here is how far I have come in transcribing what is said in the dead-end screen if you click on "PlayOnline" in the original Japanese release of Dirge.

"PlayStation BB Unit"&#12434;&#35469;&#35672;&#12391;&#12365;&#12414;&#12379;&#12435;

"PlayStation BB Unit"&#12364;&#24517;&#35201;&#12391;&#12377;
"PlayStation BB Unit"&#12434;&#27491;&#12375;&#12367;&#25509;&#32154;&#12375;&#12289;

&#12371;&#12398;&#12414;&#12414;"PlayStation 2"&#26412;&#20307;&#12398;&#9632;&#28304;&#12434;&#12362;&#9632;&#12426;&#12367;&#12384;&#12373;&#9632;&#12290;


The blocks, &#9632;, are places I didn't fill in because I know I can't distinguish which symbol is right between the multiple choices. Like...

&#21340; or &#12488;
&#12355; or &#12356;
&#12457; or &#12458;
&#12540; or &#8213;
&#12451; or &#12452;

Not entirely confident that the &#35672; kanji I placed in there is correct. The kanji in the final row that I didn't fill in might be &#38651;, but I'm not certain. So if Tres or hito or other-savior could fill in these blanks that'd be sweeeeeeet. :awesome:


AI Researcher


Assembler Games directed me to the PS2 Online Gaming forum which is devoted to establishing fan servers for PS2 games that have lost online functionality. In this thread you will see a LONG LIST OF GAMES that (from my impression at least) can now be played despite the official servers being gone long ago. I'm still new to the topic so my impression may be off, but they do list Resident Evil Outbreak in there.

Accordingly I have made a thread on the forum about Dirge of Cerberus and I'm gonna look and ask around to see how difficult it would be to resurrect the online mode of DCFFVII.

Member Borman on Assembler Games confirmed that the DCFFVII &#946; Version disc can easily be booted up, but the option "PlayOnline" in the main menu is the only one that will load.

- Huge &#946; Version Main Menu Snapshot

The snapshot is from Borman booting the &#946; Version on his PS3 using Custom Firmware (CFW). The "Multiplayer" option is there by default, interestingly enough. In the JORG game, only the three options "Single Player - PlayOnline - Tutorial Menu" are available.

If you go by wikipedia, the PlayOnline service for PS2 was shut down at the same time as the last PS2 server for Final Fantasy XI: March 2016. Too bad that I'm so late to the game. Whenever I acquire the JP PS2 + BB Unit, the menu I get to when I click the "PlayOnline" option in DCFFVII-J *might* be different now compared to what it would have been before March 2016. Final Fantasy XI can now only be played on PC.

Thanks hito for transcribing the message! :D Only one bit of the message confuses me.


Google Translate:
Also, PlayOnline Viewer, Tetra Master,
And to install Sparrow Flower,
1408 MB or more of free space is required.

I wonder if this is because I transcribed the wrong kanji? Or maybe this is just some obscure PlayOnline title.
Top Bottom