Adding web games to Playnite

Like any sensible Windows user with a hoard of different competing games store launchers, emulated games and manually installed games littering his hard drive, I use Playnite. Which is probably the best integrated games launcher there is.

It can import just about anything, some things require a bit of configuring. I don’t play many web games, but those I do occasionally dip into I wanted listed. Thankfully many of them are on some of the various online games databases that Playnite can scrape data from, such as IGDB. Adding them just requires manually adding a game to Playnite using the menu. Before that you’ll need to set up Playnite to recognise and run web games.

First you’ll need to add web games as a platform. Go to Main Menu > Library > Library Manager. In the platforms tab on the Library Manager, click Add and call the new platform Web games or something similar. You can add Icons, Cover images and backgrounds here too, but they aren’t necessary. Platform specification is also not required.

Click Save and then go back to the main screen. Then we add the browser that you wish to use to play them as an Emulator. This involves going to the Main Menu > Library > Configure Emulators. In the Configure Emulators window you need to select Add. I called the new emulator “web”. I normally use Firefox, but find Chrome works better for this as it has a kiosk mode.

Installation Folder isn’t that important. You can download the websites for games and save them there and have the ROM scanner find and import them, but I think it’s better to add the URL into the play actions for each game. Add a new profile, name it whatever you want. Select the platform you made earlier. Browse to your browser executable in the executable field. If you want to run your games using Chrome’s kiosk mode that removes any browser furniture put –kiosk in the Arguments field. I’m using a dedicated Chrome profile for this, you can do this if you don’t want to clutter your day-today profile. Entering {EmulatorDir} in the Working Directory field tells it to use the installation dir you may have created earlier. Supported File Types tells it to only look for files with those extensions when scanning the folder. Again, not necessary if you are filling the URLs into the play actions for the games, only if you are saving the websites to the folder.

Finally, to add your games. From the main screen again, click on the Playnite menu and Add Game > Manually. Alternatively press the Insert key on your keyboard. On the Edit Game Details box, type in the name of the game as fully as possible, then click Download Metadata and chose your source. IGDB is usually the most complete but you can try each one in turn to vary your results. If it finds your game it’ll download the details. You may need to change your input if it doesn’t find the correct game. Some sadly, won’t be listed. Especially if they are very new or obscure. You can always add them to the website yourself, but for now you can manually fill in the details.

If you have downloaded the website to your PC you can go to the Installation tab and fill out the details. You’ll need to add the folder you saved the game to, or just {EmulationDir} again if you have used your default. Then click Add ROM and select the htm/html file from the folder. If you just plan to input the URLs as an action you can ignore this tab entirely.

Then we add the Action. This is the most important bit. It’s what happens when you run the game. Go to the Actions tab and click Add Action. Enter the name of the game, this value isn’t that important if you have only one action listed. Tick Play Action as this denotes that the action plays the game. Select Emulator under the Type dropdown. Select your “Web” emulator or whatever you called it in the step above and the Profile action you created afterwards. If you are just using URLs rather than downloaded html files for this game then select Override Emulator Arguments. In the Emulator Arguments box enter the URL for your game. You may want to first add –kiosk if you use Chrome’s kiosk mode. Once that’s all done, click on Save. Your game should then be added to your database. Clicking the Run or Play icons should then fire up your browser (in kiosk mode if you’ve set that option, to quit you’ll need to use Ctrl+W or Alt+F4).

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