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  1. #1

    Default Running two instances of DDO from one installation

    This can be handy if you don't have multiple physical drives from which to run each instance or if you have a speedy drive (ssd or ramdrive or whatever) where storage space is an issue.

    Try at your own risk, some understanding of how Windows works required, if something blows up my plan has met with success, and, no, you can't log in multiple characters from the same account simultaneously (though that would be a good vip perk).


    Step 1 - Make a symbolic directory pointing to your DDO installation directory.

    Windows 7 Pro 64bit as administrator example:

    Use the Windows mklink utility to create the symbolic link.

    mklink /D \fakeDirectory \real\DDO\Directory

    on my machine, it looks like this:

    mklink /D c:\fakeDDO "c:\Program Files (x86)\Turbine\Dungeons & Dragons Online - Stormreach\"


    Windows XP Pro example:

    Download the junction utility from microsoft if you don't already have it.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s.../bb896768.aspx

    junction \fakeDirectory \realDDO\Directory

    on my old machine, it looks like this:

    junction c:\fakeDDO "e:\Program Files\Turbine\Dungeons & Dragons Online - Stormreach\"


    Step 2 - Create a shortcut pointing to turbineinvoker.exe in the "new" directory.

    Step 3 - Start up DDO using both the original shortcut and the new shortcut.

    Step 4 - Log in the first account, alt-tab, and log in the second account.


    Notes:

    If anything patched, let your original install finish patching before hitting the new shortcut.

    On the launcher, if you click the down arrow, select Options, pick the Advanced tab, and check the "Show the launcher in the system tray" box, you will be able to log back in an account that is logged out/timed out/memory leak crashed without being required to logout all accounts first.

    You can run more than two instances at a time (just make more symbolic directories and shortcuts with different names), but keep in mind each one will need a gig or so of ram to play with.


    Just as a final example, here are the contents of the .bat file I use to fire up DDO; sets up a ramdrive, copies the ddo directory from my hard drive to the ramdrive, creates a symbolic link to the ddo directory on the ramdrive, and fires up two instances of DDO:

    imdisk -a -s 10G -m F: -p "/fs:ntfs /q /y"
    xcopy "c:\Program Files (x86)\Turbine\*" f:\ /E
    mklink /D f:\fakeDDO\ "f:\Dungeons & Dragons Online - Stormreach\"
    "f:\Dungeons & Dragons Online - Stormreach\turbineinvoker.exe"
    f:\fakeDDO\turbineinvoker.exe




    Edit: I hadn't meant for this to be a tutorial on setting up a ramdisk, but, oh well. You can find imdisk (freeware tool that can, among other things, make a ramdisk) here:
    http://www.ltr-data.se/opencode.html/

    Take a peek at the total size of your ddo directory (plus a bit for screenshots or future patches), toss in a gig or so for each instance of DDO you want to run, and another gig for the devil's cut, and that's at least how much ram you'll need. In my case, my directory size is 8.1G, so rounded up to 9G for the size of the ramdisk. Toss in 2G for each of two instances of DDO, and another gig for Windows, and I need a total of 12G of ram. Deathsapprentice down in post 9 has some excellent insights on how to go about reducing the ram required.

    @post 12: Quotation marks around files or directories are required when a command line argument is made with non-DOS standard characters in a file or directory name (such as a space or ampersand).

    @post 15: Running two instances of DDO with only 2G of ram would require a lot of virtual memory; while it should work, it wouldn't be super. If it worked with two installs, it will work with one and a symbolic link also.

    U14 Edit: Increased example ramdisk size to accomodate u14 stuff.
    U15 Edit: ^ that again
    U17 Edit: ^
    Last edited by Gram; 02-20-2013 at 11:51 AM.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Founder & Hero Vordax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsEricka View Post
    Or much simpler, just follow the directions on the post below

    http://forums.ddo.com/showpost.php?p...17&postcount=1
    Your link points to a method to run 2 instance of DDO on the same computer but requires 2 copies of DDO. The OP's method allows you to run 2 instances with only 1 copy of DDO installed.

    I have a 128GB SSD drive where space is at a premium, currently I have the 2nd instance on a different hard drive. I will be using this method when I dual box in the future off of the SSD drive only. Less patching too.

    Vordax

    Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. - Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
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    This looks very interesting, and it exactly what I need. Is there any way you can turn this into more of a guide? As in one that provides guidance to people who aren't themselves programmers?

    Does one have to install anything to use mklink and imdisk commands? Are these run from an elevated command prompt? What are the imdisk command parameters in your .bat file actually doing? Does on have to have 50 GB of RAM to make this work? Or will 8 GB's work? How much RAM do you have?

    In short, can you provide a guide that, you know, might result in people who aren't programmers being able to do this without blowing their computers up? This post inclines far more to the strategy side of things than the guide side.

  5. #5
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    You need to install imdisk. (Just google it)

    The parameters cause a 9Gb ramdisk to be made (the 9G determines size) and format the virtual disc in ntfs.

    You need to run the bat file as an administrator, because imdisk need those rights.

    The rest of the bat files is copying the files to the ramdisk, making the fake directory and launching 2 ddo's.

    I tested it this morning and it works like a charm. (I have 8GB of RAM) The ramdisk need to be at least 7,05 GB in size, because that's the size of my DDO directory.

    I haven't tested it enough to notice any speed differences. I'm particularly worried about the need for virtual memory. Since I use 9 of my 8 Gb's of RAM and still need some to actually play.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathsApprentice View Post
    You need to install imdisk. (Just google it)

    The parameters cause a 9Gb ramdisk to be made (the 9G determines size) and format the virtual disc in ntfs.

    You need to run the bat file as an administrator, because imdisk need those rights.

    The rest of the bat files is copying the files to the ramdisk, making the fake directory and launching 2 ddo's.

    I tested it this morning and it works like a charm. (I have 8GB of RAM) The ramdisk need to be at least 7,05 GB in size, because that's the size of my DDO directory.

    I haven't tested it enough to notice any speed differences. I'm particularly worried about the need for virtual memory. Since I use 9 of my 8 Gb's of RAM and still need some to actually play.
    Thanks. I was afraid that's what the "9G" indicated. Most folks don't have 8 GB's of RAM. So what'd you do? Something like the following?

    imdisk -a -s 7.2G -m F: -p "/fs:ntfs /q /y"
    Maybe I'm beyond clueless, but I'm worried about leaving myself with .8 GB of RAM or less.

    Since I use 9 of my 8 Gb's of RAM and still need some to actually play.
    Typo? Anyways, can you post here with how this works for you when playing (if you try it) when you're using up almost all your RAM in this way? Or can the OP weigh in here with some advice that might help folks not blow their computers up? (That'd be a nice, helpful touch in a guide.)

  7. #7
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    For some reason, you can't use 7.2G as a parameter.
    I now use
    imdisk -a -s 7300M -m F: -p "/fs:ntfs /q /y"
    this gives me just enough space to copy the ddo directory (with 5 MB to spare)

    Just a reassurance: You can't blow up your pc like this.
    When I said I used 9 of my 8 GB of RAM, that wasn't a typo. When you use too much memory, windows starts using your hard drive to store data.

    Haven't had time to actually play, so no test results yet.

  8. #8
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    Had a free moment, so I fired up 2 instances of DDO.

    Loading times were excellent, much better than loading from 2 different directories on the same HDD.

    I ran around in the inspired quarter, the harbor, the marketplace and gianthold and I noticed my memory usage for DDO became more than 1GB. The speed gain of loading from a RAMdisk is completely nullified by having to use a swapfile.

    After a while, it actually became irritating as I started to stutter in Gianthold.

    Conclusion: 8GB's of RAM isn't enough if you want to dualbox in hi-res from a RAMdisk.

    If you don't need hi-res however, you can probably pull it off. The hi-res dat file is 1.6GB. If you don't copy that file, you would only need 5.5GB on your virtual drive and that leaves 2.5 GB for gaming (and windows).

    Is there anyone who knows a way to reduce the DDO directory in size? That would be very helpful.


    Just had an idea: What if I leave the big files on my HDD and use the mklink command to make a pointer? That would seriously reduce the necessary space on the RAMdrive. The sound file alone would save me 2GB.
    TO THE LABORATORY !!!!

  9. #9
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    <back from the laboratory>

    It works! By leaving client_sound.dat on my HDD and just pointing to it, I just saved myself 2GB of RAM.
    Which leaves me about 3GB of memory to play with.

    You could, of course, leave more files on the HDD, but I like the loading speed boost.

    I'll experiment some more later today (really need to work for school), but here is the .bat file I use:

    imdisk -a -s 5G -m F: -p "/fs:ntfs /q /y"
    xcopy "C:\games\ddo\*" f:\ddo\ /E /EXCLUDE:C:\Users\me\Documents\dualboxExclude.txt
    mklink f:\DDO\client_sound.dat c:\games\ddo\client_sound.dat
    mklink /D f:\fakeDDO\ "f:\DDO\"
    "f:\ddo\turbineinvoker.exe"
    "f:\fakeDDO\turbineinvoker.exe"
    You will need to make a dualboxExclude.txt file and put it in the directory after the EXCLUDE parameter.
    In my case the file looks like this:
    C:\games\DDO\client_sound.dat
    If you want to add files that aren't copied, you need to add them to the txt-file (1 filename per line) and you need to add a line to the bat-file like the first mklink command I used.
    mklink <link-location> <target of the link>

  10. #10
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    Almost there.... Finally got everything set up, I thought, and successfully launched two instances, both from the ramdrive, and one from RAMDRIVE:\ddo and the other from RAMDRIVE:\fakeDDO. But attempting to log into the game is netting me this error:

    Can't open the data files. Check that they exist and that you have permission to write to them. The program will now exit. [201]
    I'm getting this error for both clients. I'll keep plugging along though.

  11. #11
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    Check your ramdrive directories.
    One of the *.dat files is missing.

    Could it be that you forgot/mistyped a mklink line in the bat-file?

    If you add a line with 'pause' (without ') the command window will stay open until you press a key. Check if you get an error message somewhere.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathsApprentice View Post
    Check your ramdrive directories.
    One of the *.dat files is missing.

    Could it be that you forgot/mistyped a mklink line in the bat-file?

    If you add a line with 'pause' (without ') the command window will stay open until you press a key. Check if you get an error message somewhere.
    Thanks for the incredibly helpful responses here, Deaths. I've managed to get this up and running now (and some Google-Fu let me know how to keep that Command Prompt open!)

    You might wish to change your first mklink entry in your batch file. It requires quotation marks around the sound file path.

    I ran into some other problems too. The /q /y parameters did not work properly for me in the imdisk line, and this prevented the ramdrive from loading up the xcopy stuff. And I could not run the mklink commands from a .bat file. So the steps I followed:

    Created a .bat file to run the imdisk line and create the ramdrive.
    Manually click through the quick-formatting process. (Simple.)
    Created a .bat file to run the xcopy command and copy the data to the ramdrive.
    Manually opened an Elevated Command Prompt and manually entered the two mklink commands.
    Created a .bat file to invoke both the F:\ddo\TurbineInvoker.exe and the f:\fakeDDO\TurbineInvoker.exe.

    My .bat files are Running As Adminstrator, but apparently that wasn't good enough for the mklink business. Is there a way to make a .bat file run in an Elevated Command Prompt without having to enter that stuff by hand?
    Last edited by Faent; 03-15-2012 at 09:16 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faent View Post
    Thanks for the incredibly helpful responses here, Deaths.
    You're welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faent View Post
    You might wish to change your first mklink entry in your batch file. It requires quotation marks around the sound file path.
    The script I posted is an almost exact copy of the bat-file I use and it works. But the quotation marks won't hurt, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faent View Post
    I ran into some other problems too. The /q /y parameters did not work properly for me in the imdisk line, and this prevented the ramdrive from loading up the xcopy stuff.
    the /q and /y parameters are actually parameters for a format command given by imdisk. They respectively mean quickformat and assume yes on all questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faent View Post
    And I could not run the mklink commands from a .bat file. <...>

    My .bat files are Running As Adminstrator, but apparently that wasn't good enough for the mklink business. Is there a way to make a .bat file run in an Elevated Command Prompt without having to enter that stuff by hand?
    If you can't run those mklink commands, it's probably got something to do with your rights.

    I use a workaround to get administrator right on my bat-file:
    I create a shortcut to the bat-file. If you then choose 'properties' -> 'Shortcut tab' -> 'advanced' -> 'Run as administator, you open your bat-file with elevated rights. (My windows is a Dutch language version, so names might be a bit off)

    It all works fine for me. I doubleclick the shortcut, choose yes in the UAC dialogue box, wait a bit and I'm good to go. I'm using Windows 7 64bit BTW. Hope this helps!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathsApprentice View Post
    The script I posted is an almost exact copy of the bat-file I use and it works. But the quotation marks won't hurt, I guess.
    Odd. I looked up the required syntax for the command when mine failed to run, and it wanted quotation marks. I added these, and it ran just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathsApprentice View Post
    the /q and /y parameters are actually parameters for a format command given by imdisk. They respectively mean quickformat and assume yes on all questions.
    Yes, I know. In more detail, those parameters did nothing for me. I was given a dialog box and asked to confirm the quick format.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathsApprentice View Post
    I use a workaround to get administrator right on my bat-file:
    I create a shortcut to the bat-file. If you then choose 'properties' -> 'Shortcut tab' -> 'advanced' -> 'Run as administator, you open your bat-file with elevated rights. (My windows is a Dutch language version, so names might be a bit off)
    I'll give this a shot. I'm running Windows 7 64 bit as well. It's odd that we're seeing different things here. Perhaps this is all explained by you managing to run your .bat files with better privileges. But as a I noted, my .bat files SHOULD have ALREADY been running as an Administrator. If you right-click them, "Run as Administrator" is checked. But hopefully your workaround fixes everything.

  15. #15
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    I only have 2 GB of ram on my laptop, is this method an option for me or do I have to do the copy paste on my directory like I was in the past?
    Quote Originally Posted by Feather_of_Sun View Post
    Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons Online, and thanks for playing!
    Build Index

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    This sounds like great stuff. I haven't set it up yet but I will probably try tonight. I even have a second laptop but getting it booted up and turned on and all the hassle makes dual boxing just not worth it for me. If I can just bam have two running on my box at the same time and switch back and forth that will be sweet.

    My new Asus laptop is sporting 16 gigs of ram so hopefully everything runs smooth as silk. I'll report back.

    V

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    You don't even need to do all that. Just use

    mklink /D "DDO2" "<your DDO folder>" and you can run dndlauncher from each folder as separate instances while only taking up as much space as 1 installation.

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    Edit: nevermind.
    Last edited by DeltaKaze; 09-28-2012 at 04:36 PM.

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    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing the info.

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    Thumbs up

    Very nice. Even if this wasn't intended to be a guide, I managed to get it set up and running with 8GB (excluding sound file like DA describes) and very limited skills

    I haven't tested much yet, but it seems quite a bit faster when switching instances and especially characters.

    I had hoped to avoid the Launcher Error that I often get when trying to start 2 launchers at the same time ("System.IO.IOException: The process cannot access the file "C:\[...]\Launcher\Launcher_XYZ.log" because it is being used by another process. ...") Does anyone know how to avoid this?
    Maybe it is related to keeping the command prompt open? My Google-Fu is weak in that direction... and hints?

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