Disney Infinity 2.0 multiplayer using one PC
A step-by-step guide to setting it up
There are some like me who play Disney Infinity on PC. I don't own a console right now so to get access to all the game has to offer given that the tablet versions don't support the Play Sets, a PC is the best alternative. I try to keep up-to-date with the game as it's an interesting concept and my children and their friends enjoy it.
We're not the target audience for the game, well given that the toys don't come to life with a PC we wouldn't be. And we'll most likely not be needing the Infinity base and figures for while, if ever at all since if those did ever become available for PC someone would hack into it. With a reasonably powerful machine the game runs okay albeit minus some key features. One feature that's missing on PC is split screen play, in particular for the Play Sets. Removal of split screen modes from console ports to PC is common though so no surprise.
The PC version does support two to more players (max four I think) for online multiplayer in any modes based on the Toy Box. So on PC you can play together with a friend in the Toy Box, participate in the daily challenges or play together in any of the Toy Box Games available from Disney. I'll add that it's perhaps a little odd to be in a Play Set on PC where a panel for online play with your friends is available, but it's there to help you join a friend in a Toy Box mode not the Play Set. So Inviting someone or joining in their game requires that you leave the Play Set you're currently playing through.
Origin of the idea
Supposing you wish to setup local multiplayer for the Toy Box modes on PC at home? I think it best when the children can play together in the game, the same goes for any game. On console it's a matter of placing an additional figure on to the Infinity base for split screen play. But not on PC as already mentioned. In this case two or more PCs side-by-side would do the trick. And this is what I was hoping to setup but didn't have enough PCs.
At the time the new Windows 10 was available to beta test as part of Windows Insiders Program and didn't have a spare PC for this either. Of course it would have been possible to dual-boot Windows 8 and the new beta on one of my existing PCs but I instead decided to try setting up the Windows 10 beta inside a virtual machine. Incidentally the Xbox One runs on virtual machines, up to three I think.
So I got the Windows 10 beta installed and running inside the virtual machine on my main PC. Most PC games require a graphics processor to run correctly, or in many cases even start. The virtual machine doesn't support access to the graphics processor, there is an accelerate 3D graphics option but which I understand utilises the CPU to function. I anyway decided to try running another copy of Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC inside the virtual machine to see if it would run, and it did. How exactly I'm not sure since I'm guessing it requires some element of Microsoft's DirectX (version 9 I assume) to run which in turn generally requires access to a graphics processor. With this solution your mileage may vary quite a bit depending on how powerful your PC is.
If anymore than a couple of people, I being one of them, ever endeavour to set this up I'll be surprised. But anyway we'll give it a shot! Oh and all of this is legal as far as I'm aware so no problems there. To setup things up you'll need the following:
- A Window PC running Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or the new Windows 10.
- An existing installation of Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC would be useful (for copying files over to a new installation).
- Two Disney accounts for Disney Infinity, preferably with some characters available in both.
- Around 15-20 GB of hard drive space on the PC where you'll be installing the virtual machine.
- Two screens/monitors. In most cases it'll be a matter of having access to a single second screen of some sort.
- Two game controllers. Easier for Disney Infinity than a keyboard and mouse. At least for the younger players. In my case it's two Xbox 360 controllers which the game readily accepts.
- And an internet connection, which is kind of obvious at this point.
Download a copy of Windows to run inside the virtual machine
You should start by downloading a copy of a Windows installation ISO. In this case Windows 10 so go to the Download Windows 10 page and depending on the version of Windows you have installed download the 32 or 64-bit version of the tool. Once it's download run the tool and select the create installation media option and click Next
Then choose your preferred language version and Edition. In this case I don't think the selection of a specific Edition is relevant, I just went with the Home version. Then click Next.
You should then choose to save an ISO image file to your hard drive which we'll use to install windows inside the virtual machine and then click Next. Once Windows has been installed inside the virtual machine you can safely delete the ISO file.
Once the download to create the ISO file has completed note the location on your hard drive of the ISO file and then click Finish
Setup the virtual machine & install Windows
Once you have the ISO file saved you may then download and install the VMware Workstation Player. Use the Try for Free option from the download page.
Installation of the VMware Workstation Player client is relatively simple. As you'll be installing the tool for personal use just choose the free for non-commercial use option, enter your email address and click Continue.
Once the installation is complete run the VMware Player application and select the Create a New Virtual Machine link as shown below. Now we'll use the ISO image file we've saved to install Windows inside the new virtual machine we're creating.
Then you'll select to install using a disc image and select the ISO file from your hard drive and click Next. You can then add a Windows product key if you wish to. If you don't the installation will still proceed but the installation of Windows of course won't activate. Since it's a virtual installation which you might just delete after a while it doesn't matter so much. If you wish you can continue with the installation using a generic key for your ISO image of Windows 8 or 10 which you can find here and enter in the Windows product key field shown below. With a generic key added Windows won't activate either so it's up to you whether you wish to add a key or not. At this stage you can also specify a user account name for the Windows installation as well. Then click Next.
You'll then need to give your virtual machine a name, or keep the default and choose where to save it. The next part of the process requires you to select a disk size for the virtual machine. The recommended default of 60 GB is fine as it refers to the maximum amount of disk space the installation is permitted to use, not the disk space it will actually use. It should utilise no more than 20 GB. Then click Next again.
The setup process for the virtual machine is now complete and once you select Finish the installation of Windows inside the virtual machine will begin. Note there's an option here to customise the use of your PC hardware by the virtual machine. If you're not sure of setting anything specific then the recommended defaults should function okay for the hardware that you have.
You can also leave the default option of powering on the virtual machine after creation enabled as well so that once the installation has completed the virtual machine will start.
Note that when the virtual machine boots up for the first time you may be prompted to download some updates and the VMware Tools. It's important that you do this so please accept all prompts until everything is installed and is up to date.
Controlling the virtual machine
The virtual machine can be shut down, suspended or restarted at any time using the VMware Workstation Player controls available on the upper left of the window. You can also set the virtual machine to run in a full screen borderless window. Note that as you resize the window the resolution of the virtual desktop changes accordingly. You can also set the resolution yourself from inside the virtual machine using the regular Windows desktop resolution controls. Should you wish to shut down the virtual machine and boot it up later you can do so by simply running the VMware Workstation 12 Player a shortcut for which should be on your desktop and then select the virtual machine you wish to run and select the Play virtual machine option.
Install Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC inside the virtual machine
Once the virtual machine has booted it should be able to use the internet connection of the host PC on which it's installed. You can then open the default browser and visit infinity.disney.com/pc-game to download the Disney Infinity 2.0 PC game client.
You can install Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC using the default settings and once completed close the installer. There should now be a shortcut for Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC available on your virtual desktop. If you run the application at this point it will first try to download any game assets it requires which would take a while. And of course if you wish you can let it go ahead and do so. Alternatively if you happen have available an external data device of some kind (external hard drive or USB key) with around 6 GB of available space you can try copying over the files from any existing Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC installations you may already have available on the host PC.
To copy the installation files from the host PC to the virtual machine firstly locate your Disney Infinity 2.0 for PC installation and copy the complete contents of the installation folder to your external data device. Once you have the files copied then with the virtual machine running from the VMware Workstation Player window choose Player > Removable Devices and from that list look for the title of your connected data device and choose Connect as shown below. The external drive will then disconnect from your PC and instead be available to the virtual machine. It should then appear on the virtual desktop just like it would on the host PC and you can then copy the contents of the Disney Infinity 2.0 installation folder on the drive to the installation folder for Disney Infinity 2.0 on the virtual machine. If you're prompted to overwrite any duplicate files then please do so.
Running Disney Infinity 2.0 for the first time inside the virtual machine
Once the installation files have completed copying then you may run the game via the shortcut on the virtual desktop. The startup progress bar may stay at 0% for quite a while, I guess while the application checks for all the required files rather than downloading them. It may take a while but eventually the game will start.
Once the game starts the first thing I suggest you do on both the host and virtual machine installations of the game is to set the resolution to the lowest setting possible (this should in most cases be 1280x720) and disabling any graphical effects. Your existing game installation may already have it set this way. At least on the virtual machine copy set it up this way as this may help if you witness any issues while trying to run the game.
Along with changing the in-game resolution and settings you could also reduce the resolution of the desktop on the both the host and virtual PCs. In my case both screens were running at 1080p so I reduced both to 720p. The option as it appears in Windows 10 (now quite different from Windows 7 or 8) is shown below.
Once the game is hopefully up and running on both the host and virtual PCs if you happen to have a couple of game controllers available to use you can connect both to the host PC and similar to how you connected the external data device. Connect one of the controllers to the virtual machine again using the Player > Removable Devices menu like shown in the example screen below.
Once you have both copies of the game running, I hope, as noted earlier your mileage will vary depending on the power available from your host PC. And I should note that running this setup will test your hardware. If you have a powerful PC with a decent cooling system it should run okay. In my case I'd been testing the concept using a gaming notebook that while powerful is not as powerful as a large desktop may be so it would be interesting to know how the setup would run on more capable hardware.
As a test I setup an empty Toy Box for two players and took some screenshots, included below. The host PC is on the left, the virtual machine on the right. The VMware player controls are available on the right so it's anyway kind of obvious. A larger more detailed Toy Box including more active elements may affect your frame rate, especially on the virtual machine so again your mileage may vary. Still it's fun to try out the concept.
After I took some screenshots of Hulk vs Spider-Man I changed the characters to Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6. And with this two it's interesting since if you use the option for Baymax to pick up Hiro then he'll hitch a ride one Baymax's back. I believe that Groot and Rocket Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy are the other two other characters than can do this ;)