Connecting with Windower

Let’s go over setting up Windower as well as some of our favorite add-ons and plugins (and how to configure them).

Installing Windower

Windower is available for free at http://windower.net/ and xiloader.exe is available for free at https://github.com/DarkstarProject/xiloader/releases.

Windower provides the connectivity and addon interface and xiloader.exe provides the launcher required to connect to a private server (DarkstarProject is the name of the private servers and the loader is maintained by their developers).

Current Versions

  • Windower: v4.3
  • xiloader.exe: v1.0.4
  1. Download xiloader.exe and place in your \Program Files (x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\PlayOnlineViewer folder. This acts as the “PlayOnline” loader for private servers.
  2. Download the Stable release of Windower and place it in a folder on your computer. It will automatically download the components it needs, so be sure it’s not simply sitting on your desktop. For this guide, we’ll assume you’ve placed it in \Program Files (x86)\Windower4.
    • The full installation, without plugins or addons, is around 16 MB.
  3. After installation is complete, open Windower to generate your initial settings.xml file. Once it has launched, click the x in the top right to close Windower for the next step.

Windower Settings

Configuring Windower

Unfortunately, Windower is targeted at the Retail servers and requires a bit of extra work to get working for a private server.

  1. Navigate to your Windower installation directory. This is usually at \Program Files (x86)\Windower4.
  2. In this directory, you’ll see a settings.xml file, open it up in Notepad (or NotePad2, if you want proper line endings).
  3. For a new installation, your settings.xml will empty. Below is the before and after you can copy into your settings with an explanation of each key and value.

default, empty settings.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<settings>
  <profile name="">
    <consolekey>Insert</consolekey>
    <uiscale>1</uiscale>
  </profile>
</settings>

updated, ready settings.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<settings>
	<profile name="Nocturnal Souls">
    <consolekey>Insert</consolekey>
    <mipmaplevel>6</mipmaplevel>
    <gamma>-0.435</gamma>
    <uiscale>1.5</uiscale>
    <alwaysenablegamepad>false</alwaysenablegamepad>
    <args>--server connect.nocturnalsouls.net --user YourNameGoesHere --pass YourPasswordHere</args>
    <executable>xiloader.exe</executable>
  </profile>
</settings>
key value description
consolekey Insert Specifies that the Insert key pulls up the in-game lua console. This is the default and works best as Insert isn’t used by any core FFXI functionality.
mipmaplevel 6 This overrides the default FFXI configuration for your MIP Map level; 6 being the highest and will render high resolution textures at the farthest distance. You can reduce this based on your system power.
gamma -0.435 optional This is the default base gamma that the system uses in game. This is a personal preference, but -0.50 tones down the extreme brightness in the game and looks richer. YMMV. You can tweak this to your liking.
uiscale 1.5 optional This is the base scale of the user interface (menus, chat boxes, etc.) compared to your display resolution. If you play at a resolution higher than 1920x1080, 1.5x UI scale is recommended or menus and chat boxes become extremely small.
alwaysenablegamepad false optional If you do not use a gamepad to play FFXI, this prevents the game from constantly querying for it which can lead to lag on some systems.
args --server connect.nocturnalsouls.net --user UserName --pass Password This tells the Windower which system to connect to and autologs you in with the specified credentials. connect.nocturnalsouls.net is the address of Nocturnal Souls.
executable xiloader.exe This tells the Windower to bypass the default PlayOnline launcher and use xiloader.exe to connect to a private server.
  1. Save settings.xml and re-launch Windower; you’ll see the new Nocturnal Souls listing. Double-click to begin connecting and the xiloader.exe will appear.

Xiloader Login

  1. The first time you connect to Nocturnal Souls, you’ll need to press 2 create a new account. If you already have an account, you can press 1 to login and continue (or use the autologin if you’ve added your username and password to the settings.xml.)

That’s it! Welcome to Nocturnal Souls!

Suggested Addons and Plugins

Windower has a rich community of addon and plugin developers.

Addons are Lua files and plugins are .dll libraries. The community is steadily moving away from plugins and towards addons as they are easier to maintain and more transparent (being plain text Lua files). An understanding of Lua is not required, but can be useful if you want to enhance functionality on your own.

Here are the addons we suggest:

All addons, once installed through Windower’s “addons” tab, will be placed in the \Windower4\addons directory. In there, most can be further configured by modifying in the \{addon_name}\data\settings.xml file. That’s a bit outside the scope of this document, however, many, if not all addons come with a README to explain settings and further configuration.

addon what it does
renamer Renamer allows you to see the names of the custom content on Nocturnal Souls and is somewhat required. Check out the Renamer information page for details.
consoleBG If you plan to use the Lua console at all, this adds a black background to it to make it easier to see in game.
enemybar Adds a large, onscreen health bar for your targeted enemy.
findall Allows you to search all of your inventory bags, safes, satchels, and wardrobes for an item by typing //findall {query}
macrochanger Automatically toggles your macro book and page based on your current job, so you don’t have to.
pointwatch Adds an XP counter showing current XP, XP to level, and XP gain rate.
shortcuts highly recommended Allows you to cast spells using quick commands, such as //c2 me to cast “Cure II on me” or //ref tha to cast “Refresh on Thaddythetaru” (great for people with longer names). Matches partial spell AND player names.
silence Removes the chat spam for when you change inventory items on job changes and macros.
tparty Allows you to see the TP of your other party members.

Here are the plugins we suggest:

All plugins, once installed through Windower’s “plugins” tab, will be placed in the \Windower4\plugins directory. In there, most can be configured by modifying the matching named .xml file under \plugins\settings or matching .xml file in the \plugins directory. e.g. the Weathermon plugin has a corresponding settings file at \plugins\settings\weathermon.xml.

plugin what it does
weathermon Allows you to see an icon (up near your buffs) of the current weather and set alerts for specific weather types.
chatmon Allows you to set audiable alerts for any in game chat messages, such as when you receive a tell, are invited to a party, or when a treasure chest drops off a mob.
delaymenot Removes the delay between when you hold down Ctrl or Alt and when your macro bars appear.
config highly recommended Adds several fantastic configurations, such as being able to move the FPS cap from 30 to 60, etc.
timers highly recommended Adds a configurable list of your recasts, duration of buffs (on you and others), and any other custom timer you might want.

Configuring config.xml

As stated above, Config is a highly recommended. Once installed, you’ll find it’s configuration file at \plugins\settings\config.xml. Open it up in a plain text editor and you’ll see similar. These are the recommended settings.

<settings>
    <global>
        <!--If set to true will automatically determine the correct aspect ratio-->
        <AdjustAspectRatio>true</AdjustAspectRatio>
        <!--Explicitly define the aspect ratio (x:y resolution), will be ignored if "AdjustAspectRatio" is enabled-->
        <AspectRatio>1.77778</AspectRatio>
        <!--If set to true will automatically lock onto a target after engaging-->
        <BattleAutoTarget>true</BattleAutoTarget>
        <!--Only integer values, 3 being the lowest and 0 the highest-->
        <AnimationFrameRate>0</AnimationFrameRate>
        <!--If set to true will enable footstep effects (both display and sound)-->
        <FootstepEffects>true</FootstepEffects>
        <!--Time in minutes of inactivity until a disconnect, 0 to disable-->
        <AutoDisconnectTime>0</AutoDisconnectTime>
        <!--The maximum map draw distance, 1 being the game's maximum setting-->
        <ClippingPlane>1</ClippingPlane>
        <!--The maximum map draw distance, old setting, but still in use? Have both maybe?-->
        <MapDrawDistance>10</MapDrawDistance>
        <!--2 for 30 FPS, 1 for 60 FPS, 0 for uncapped frame rates-->
        <FrameRateDivisor>1</FrameRateDivisor>
    </global>
</settings>