Tutorial on Extracting text from PSP visual novels on PPSSPP emulator (using Textractor & ITHVNR)

Extracting JP text from PSP games running on PPSSPP emulator was considered to be only a pipedream until the amazing Jiichi added PPSSPP support to his text hooker program Visual Novel Reader (VNR) back in July 2014. Until a few years back ,a lot of people including myself used VNR for this purpose, but after some time VNR support for PPSSPP came to a halt, and eventually the its server died (the offline program was partially dependent on it). Eventually there was a new server, but the software is still outdated and buggy, and windows 10 updates broke the program for me and many others. There is still the option to download

I have been looking for VNR alternatives for a long time even when VNR was alive because of how resource intensive it was. Back in 2014 the closest thing I had found was this awseome person’s blog where they made a custom text hooker exclusively for Daiya no Kuni no Alice and a more general workaround using Cheat Engine. Now I have found 2 possible options that still work in 2020 and would like to share them with you all 🙂

EDIT: After I published this post, I found that there have been improvements to the Cheat Engine workaround and it can be considered a valid alternative to ITHVNR/Textractor for tricky games. Feel free to check out the step by step manual here. I’ll cover my experiences with it in a future post.

Option 1: Using ITHVNR

Because ITH has been a reliable JP text hooker for a long time, people created an updated version of ITH using the same hooking engine as VNR called ITHVNR. Multiple people have contributed to the effort, but you can download latest version of ITHVNR from here. (Thanks to Artikash, the developer for textractor)

The appeal of ITHVNR is that it is able to hook the games that VNR could (be it PC or PSP) and some more, and it is NOWHERE as resource intensive, it looks like exactly the same as old ITH and is super lightweight. I strongly prefer using ITHVNR and Translation Aggregator to get my game text compared to struggling with VNR which my old laptop can’t handle, and doesn’t even work after the latest Windows 10 updates.

So what’s the catch? Well, based on the fact that it’s based on an old software like VNR, it only supports older versions of PPSSPP like ver 0.9.8, 0.9.9 or 0.9.9.1, and thus is not an option for newer PSP games that work only on PPSSPP versions after these.

ITHVNR operates exactly the same as ITH and is very intuitive, and so I’ll mainly mention the stuff you have to keep in mind.

  1. Some games only work on ppsspp ver 0.9.8, some only on 0.9.9 and some only on 0.9.9.1, experiment! I’ve found more success with 0.9.9.1.
  2. It is recommended that you run both PPSSPP and ITHVNR on Japanese locale as administrator. You can set your computer locale to Japanese or use Locale Emulator.
  3. Inside the game, set text speed to maximum.
  4. When you hook the PPSSPP exe with ITHVNR, it will try to detect the game engine which may take some time, and if you’re lucky it’ll find something (Video below).

There may be a large number of detected threads, look through them all before flipping any tables.

Option 2: Using Textractor

Textractor by Artikash (previously known as NextHooker) is newest and the most updated text hooker for visual novels at the time of this post. It aims to hook text from VNs that popular text hookers like AGTH/ITH/VNR have trouble with and supports both PC games and a number of different emulators including PPSSPP. Artikash is pretty busy with RL and isn’t adding functionalities to the program (according to his github), but he’s pretty active in providing bugfixes and occasional new hooks. A truly noble soul, him. 🙏🙏🙏

Textractor looks a little intimidating at first glance because a lot of windows are open when you first start it. Those windows are actually extensions that provide a bunch of useful functions that get rid of garbage text and repeated characters. General explanation about how to use Textractor can be found in the tutorial video by Articash. Here, I’m mostly going to explain how to use Textractor specifically for hooking PSP games on PPSSPP.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Unlike ITHVNR, for Textractor it’s always recommended to use the latest version for both Textractor and PPSSPP.
  2. It is recommended that you run both PPSSPP and Textractor on Japanese locale as administrator. You can set your computer locale to Japanese or use Locale Emulator. (Same as ITHVNR)
  3. Inside the game, set text speed to maximum. (Same as ITHVNR)
  4. For PC games Textractor usually automatically detects the engine, but for PSP games I’ve had to manually search for hooks almost every time so far (only one game out of the 5-6 I tested got detected automatically. The popular the engine, the better). There are 2 ways to do it:
    • find every single hook with text on it (returns 10k+ results and your emulator might pause for bit, prepare to scroll a lot), or
    • type part of the JP text seen on the screen to find the right hook containing it (requires typing JP characters, use either a JP keyboard (Example: General, Hiragana only, Katakana only) or google translate input page)
  5. Both processes can be seen in this tutorial video I made:

In the end, my advice for anyone planning to play JP PSP games on PPSSPP would be:

  • First try ITHVNR
  • If ITHVNR fails try the search for specific text method of Textractor
  • If that also fails try the search all hooks method of Textractor
  • If you still face problems, feel free to leave a comment below or on my youtube videos. If I cannot help you, you can try checking out Textractor’s FAQ page.
  • Textractor’s author encourages reporting bugs, so post an issue on Textractor’s issues page if you run into any. ITHVNR isn’t being developed anymore so nothing to fix there if it gives you problems 😦

Compatibility list:

So far I have tested only a few (listed below), but theoretically almost all games supported by VNR *should* work with ITHVNR (Windows updates always love to break computers so I’m not going to promise anything), so otome game lovers feel free to check out the PSP otome games compatibility list by Sakimichi. If a game is in that list, chances are high that you’ll succeed. Textractor should support them as well, but the hooking is not always automatic so try with ITHVNR first.

Compatible:

  • Omochabako no Kuni no Alice : Wonderful Wonder World
  • Clover no Kuni no Alice : Wonderful Wonder World
  • Amnesia Crowd
  • Black Wolves Saga : Last Hope
  • CLOCK ZERO ~終焉の一秒~
  • Yoiyo Mori no Hime

Incompatible

  • Persona 2 : Innocent Sin
  • Persona 2 : Eternal Punishment

Okay, that should be all for today. Thank you for reading! 🙂

P.S. For anyone curious, the pictures at the start of the post are from Black Wolves Saga: Last Hope (using ITHVNR) and Amnesia Crowd (using Textractor with regex filter to filter out only Japanese text).

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