PWO Fullscreen/Resizing Workaround (updated)

thunderclap

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I've been using this workaround since May, and it works great. However it won't be for everyone since it's a bit of work to set up initially, and you need to already be somewhat computer savvy. It consists of creating a VM (Virtual Machine) and installing a second copy of Windows inside that VM. The Oracle Virtualbox software (linked below) is what allows you to stretch/fullscreen PWO. It's like a Nintendo 64 emulator, except it's Windows.

Minimum System Requirements: You need a fairly powerful computer (4+ threads, 8gb of RAM, and 20+GB free disk space -- SSD recommended). My laptop is a Core-i7 3520M with 16GB of RAM, SSD and Nvidia nvs 5200m graphics and it's playable but not buttery smooth. The CPU appears to be the bottleneck, and I'd say mine is the minimum requirement unless you're some kind of expert at optimization/tweaking.

Instructions:
1.
Install Oracle VM Virtualbox

2. Download a Windows 7 or Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft (I recommend Windows 7 - it gives me slightly better performance (more frames/second) and Win10 gives some minor graphical glitches in PWO, listed below).

3. In Virtualbox, click New..
-Use "PWO" as the name, and choose your operating system (the 64-bit version).​
-Memory size - set to ~half your total amount (need at least 4096 MB for Win10), stay in the green zone.​
-Create a virtual hard disk (VDI type, dynamically allocated, 70GB recommended). Explanation: a fresh Win7 install configured as such will only use 10gb actual HDD space (and Win10 takes ~15gb) thanks to being dynamically allocated. But the size will likely creep up over time. This way you will have ~55-60gb of extra virtual free disk space just in case. It only fills your actual hard drive space if you actually use it - free space is "free".​
-The wizard is now done. Do not load your PWO VM yet. Right-click your new VM ("PWO") and click Settings​
-System->Processor->Set to at least 2 CPUs (but stay in the green zone). Windows won't install without 2 CPU threads minimum.​
-General->Advanced->Set both Shared Clipboard and Drag'N'Drop to Bidirectional. Press OK.​
-Double click your VM, and select the Windows .iso (downloaded in step 2) as your boot device. It only displays this prompt ONCE (to select a startup .iso) on your first boot attempt. If you messed this step up follow these instructions.​
-Follow the prompts to install Windows in your Virtual Machine. This will take probably 20 minutes to an hour.​
-In your main Windows install, download the "VBoxGuestAdditions.iso" file for your version from here. Follow these instructions to install.​
-(Optional) Install Windows Updates .. it's time consuming. You can skip it or do it later.​
-Shut down your VM, go back into Settings​
Display->Screen->Set Video Memory to 256MB, monitor count to 1, and enable 3D Acceleration (otherwise PWO may give "Failed to init Direct3D - automation error"). These options may not be available if VBoxGuestAdditions did not install correctly.​
4. Install PWO in your VM, and make sure it works.

5. Close PWO and shut down VM. In your main Windows install, open Command Prompt, and copy/paste the following line by line (press Enter after each):
Code:
cd..
cd..
cd\Program Files\Oracle\Virtualbox
VBoxManage setextradata global GUI/MaxGuestResolution any
VBoxManage setextradata "PWO" "CustomVideoMode1" "864x636x32"
Minimize this window, then load your VM and wait for it to fully boot into Windows, then switch back into the minimized command prompt window, and copy this final command:
Code:
VBoxManage controlvm "PWO" setvideomodehint 864 636 32
*Note: if you did not name your VM "PWO" in step 3 you will need to change the commands above accordingly.
*Note 2: if you want to change the custom resolution again, repeat the above commands and use CustomVideoMode2 (and so on) instead of 1.

In Windows 7, the resolution should instantly change to 864x636 (ideal for PWO) after issuing that final command.
On Windows 10, you have to right-click the VM desktop and go to Display Settings to manually change the Display Resolution to 864x636. If that resolution is not listed (the previous commands were supposed to enable it), click Advanced Display Settings, then Display Adapter Properties, then List All Modes, and it should now be in there. Drag your VM's Windows taskbar to the left or right side of the screen like in the picture below (and/or use auto-hide) to make more room for PWO. If you don't like the taskbar on the sides, you can use 810x665 resolution instead.

6. Run PWO in your VM. On the Menu bar, go to View->Virtual Screen 1->Scale to 150% (or bigger if you have a higher resolution monitor). Even numbers like 200% will look the best and be the least pixellated, if they fit on your screen.
-If the Scale options aren't available or your aspect ratio is stretched/distorted, press RightCtrl+C and look again.​
-If your Menu bar gets hidden, press RightCtrl+Home to access it or re-enable it.​
7. (Optional tweaking for better performance). On both your main Windows install, and your VM Windows install, go to:

Control Panel->System->Advanced System Settings->Performance->Settings->Set to "Adjust for best performance".​
(Steps may be slightly different for Win7).​
In Windows 7 you can also go into Control Panel->Power Options and choose the High Performance profile. There's surely a corresponding setting in Win10 but I haven't looked very hard for it.​
For further tweaking, try varying the amount of RAM and # of CPUs in Virtualbox settings. And you can try different graphics renderers. Keep the following quote in mind:
The main things to affect VM performance are memory, CPU and disk performance. Windows 10 needs at least 4G of memory and at least 2 CPUs, whether it is in a physical machine or a vm. To run a Windows 10 guest on a Windows 10 host that adds up to 8G and 4 CPUs for basic performance. To run reasonably well both the host OS and the vm's virtual disk should be on SSD. More memory and more CPUs (and better performance from each CPU) is always better. I run on an i7-7700 with 16G and SSDs and performance is quite good.
DONE!!!

You can play in fullscreen anytime (toggle is in View menu) but I much prefer to play stretched ("Scaled") as shown below, so you can easily switch between windows and stuff.

My desktop resolution is 1920x1200, and the PWO VM is running at 864x636, with 1.75x scaling. This is a 24" monitor so PWO is plenty large enough now without filling the entire whole screen. I play with the VirtualBox menu bar visible (not shown below), so that's why there's a bit of extra vertical space. Remember it's RightCtrl+Home to access the menu bar settings if you decide to hide it.
PWO_Stretch.jpg


Windows 10-specific glitches found so far (let me know if you find solutions to these):
-Other players' movement is jumpy/erratic and not synced with their nametags while they are moving (see "rixxa" in screenshot above).
-Jumping down a ledge - your player very strangely backs up about 4 tiles first, then jumps down. Looks like moon gravity.

Glitches affecting both Windows 7 and 10
-In-game music can be buggy. Works ok most of the time.

To clarify, it doesn't matter what OS/version of Windows you have on your system, but you get different results depending which version of Windows you install inside VirtualBox for PWO.

___

I can help anyone on Discord if needed .. if you are reasonably computer literate already ;).

Will be editing to add pictures/clarifications. Big thanks to Travis1421 for improvements/help/testing!
 
Last edited:

Jinji

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EDIT: Microsoft now allow everyone to download and try Windows 10 for free - see the link thunderclap posted below for the full details and limitations - and it is perfectly possible and legal to use the .iso versions to create virtual machines through VirtualBox as suggested here. For older versions of Windows, always ensure you have a valid product key.

Whatever the case may be, please make sure you only download Windows .isos or other installation media from the official Microsoft website. Getting them from other sources may well be illegal; and may also compromise your computer, as they may be hacked, contain built-in viruses or spyware.
 
Last edited:

thunderclap

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You don't need a product key to install and use Windows 10. You can use the trial indefinitely, and the only limitation is you can't make cosmetic personalizations. There's also a watermark in the lower right of the screen. It's 100% legal to download Windows 10 directly from Microsoft without paying anything.

 

thunderclap

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Just an update: I've been using this for 3 weeks and it's great! No more squinting to read stuff.

Update #2: Re-wrote the guide in the 1st post. Lots more detail and some nice improvements (especially Step 5).
 
Last edited:

Travis1421

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Can confirm this does work fairly well. We worked on it for about an hour or 2 just fine tuning it. Other than the audio lagging at times, which can be fixed by a relog, I've had no issues.
 
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