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Using P/ECE with Modern PCs

The Aquaplus P/ECE was released in the early 2000s. Because of this, the included drivers no longer function on modern Windows. Fortunately, the P/ECE was released with extensive documentation, as well as source code for several of the included tools. Because of this, we are able to use the P/ECE both on modern Windows machines and even on operating systems the P/ECE was never intended to be used with.

Installing the Operating System

Out of the box, the P/ECE will require you to install the operating system. This will require a few things on your part:

  • A copy of the included CD
  • A USB-B cable (often sold as a printer cable)
  • A Windows PC
    • Transferring files can be done through Mac or Linux, but kernel updates must be done through Windows
    • You may also need to set the non-unicode locale to Japanese. Text may appear garbled otherwise.

Preparing Windows

  1. Run setup.exe from the included CD. Default settings will work fine.
    • It’s likely that the install will fail partway through as it will be unable to recognize your P/ECE. When this happens, just cancel out and continue to the next step.
  2. Install the update files from earliest to latest. These contain source code, documentation, tools, games, and applications for your P/ECE.
  3. Download Zadig, click “options” and then “list all devices.” Find the device labeled “PIECE PME-001” in the dropdown, and install the WinUSB driver.
  4. Download the pieceif-libusb release by Autch from github.
    • This download will contain two DLL files. Put these files in your “C:/usr/PIECE/bin” directory.
    • This allows the existing P/ECE software to communicate with the P/ECE using the driver you installed previously.
    • You will need to copy these files over to the directory of any additional P/ECE software you may install, including games with P/ECE features like Odekake Multi and Utawarerumono.

After you’ve done this, you will have a working P/ECE environment that will allow you to transfer files to your P/ECE, update the firmware, develop your own games, grab screen captures, and so on.

Installing the Firmware

In your “C:/usr/PIECE/bin” directory, there will be a program named “winpku.exe.” Running this program will open the interface below.

If you’ve successfully installed the drivers and your P/ECE is connected to your PC, information about it will show up in the left-hand panel. You’ll note that my P/ECE is updated to BIOS version 1.20, a current BIOS. In the right hand panel, you will see information about the update you’re about to apply. By default, this will be the update in the “C:/usr/PIECE/update/” directory. If you installed all of the updates in the correct order, this should be listed as BIOS version 1.20. Press the button labeled “アップデート” to install. If you check the box below this, it will also reformat your P/ECE.

If you’ve done this correctly, you should see this screen on your P/ECE:

Congrats! Your P/ECE is now fully operational.

Transferring Files to the P/ECE

At this point, your P/ECE is fully functional, but the only applications on it are one to adjust the real-time clock and one to use the P/ECE as a USB gamepad. Update your system time if you’d like, then run “winisd.exe” from the same directory you ran “winpku.exe” before. You should see this screen:

The stuff on the right is primarily for developers, but the stuff on the left is what we want. There are two panes here. The one on the left is for files on the PC, and the one on the right is for files on the P/ECE. By default, they are as follows:

You’ll want to select a directory to store your P/ECE files in as well, as it will default to the “C:/usr/PIECE/bin” folder otherwise. You can do this using the box above the two file listing panes. Drop some P/ECE compatible files into that directory and you’re ready to transfer.

Transfer controls are below:

  • Refresh
  • Transfer to P/ECE
  • Transfer from P/ECE
  • Delete
  • Restore last deleted file

When you transfer a file, the screen will briefly blank before popping back up with your transferred software listed in the menu.

Helpful Tips, Controls, etc.