RetroArch Disc Project – Alpha testing has begun! Details inside

Ever since the announcement earlier on June 30th, we have been working hard on the RetroArch Disc Project, and we are now getting to the stage where we want users to start alpha testing the latest code.

We invite you to come over to our Discord channel (also linked to on the RetroArch website – click on the tab ‘Discord’)- and join the channel #discordproject.

How to apply for alpha testing

For the purpose of this alpha test, we need you to meet the following requirements:

  • You are using the latest nightly versions of RetroArch (available here).
  • You are using RetroArch on PC, and are running either Linux or Windows with the CDROM support included.
  • Make sure the cores you are going to be testing are the latest up-to-date versions. Update them daily from the Core Updater if unsure – the cores should have physical CDROM support, otherwise the testing won’t work.
  • You have an optical disc drive (either USB or internal, any CD-ROM/DVD-ROM/BD-ROM drive should do).

Report issues you’re having with physical CDROM playback. Be as detailed as possible in your feedback – we are especially interested in which optical disc drive you’re using.

Be prepared that you might be asked by a moderator to run ‘retroarch_debug.exe’ and return a log message back to us in order to learn more about the issues you’re having. ‘retroarch_debug.exe’ is a debug executable that should be shipped with every RetroArch nightly version for Windows. For Linux users, we assume that they can build from source and compile with CDROM_DEBUG=1 manually in order to run these more detailed debug tests.

Compatible cores

Listed below are some of the cores that we added physical CD-ROM support to, and the ones that we would like you to test –

  • Beetle PSX (HW and non-HW)
  • Beetle Saturn
  • Genesis Plus GX
  • 4DO
  • Redbook Audio Player (Audio CD core)

We have also added support to more cores, but for now we want to go with these cores as they have been most extensively tested.

A couple of known edge cases:

  • Beetle PSX HW: The ‘vulkan’ renderer can exhibit issues where either the CD will not work, or some other corruption issue will manifest itself. We recommend you use ‘opengl’ or ‘software’ for now while you test CDROM.
  • Beetle PSX HW: Make sure the core option ‘CD Access Method’ is not set to ‘precache’. If you do, real discs won’t work.

How to load discs

1.You need to first start up the core itself (there is no automatic system detection yet when you insert a disc).
Go to Load Core, and select the core you want to use.

2. Once the core is loaded, select ‘Load Disc’.
3. It will now list all optical drives. Make sure the disc you want to use has been inserted into the optical drive tray and make sure the tray is closed. Then select the drive. The core will now start with your CDROM as input.

How to dump discs

RetroArch can dump discs to internal storage in bin/cue format. The video above will show you how.

  1. Select ‘Dump Disc’.
  2. It will now list all optical drives. Make sure the disc you want to use has been inserted into the optical drive tray and make sure the tray is closed. Then select the drive.

The disc will now be dumped to the ‘Downloads’ directory. It will continue showing the progress bar until the operation has finished. In the meantime, you can play any core/game (as long as it doesn’t involve real CD playback) until the dumping has finished.

Redbook Audio Player – Libretro core for music CD playback!

As a testbed for the Disc Project, we made a redbook audio CD player Libretro core!

You can grab this core for Windows and/or Linux by going to Online Updater, and downloading it from the list (Redbook Audio Player).

Known potential issues

  • Right now, CDROM works better on Linux vs. Windows.
  • FMV playback with Beetle PSX HW has the potential to be slow on some optical disc drives on Windows. Cause yet unconfirmed.
  • There is a known issue with redbook audio – the redbook audio track begins a few seconds later from its starting period.
  • Libcrypt copy-protected PlayStation1 games will not work right now, but any other copy-protected PlayStation1 disc should.
    Here is a listing of some Libcrypt-protected games from Europe: https://hastebin.com/ruyacahuba.http . You can generally assume these won’t work.

RetroArch Disc Project – Disc dumping to internal storage now possible!

We’ve written about the RetroArch Disc Project some time ago. To refreshen your memory, we want to make it possible to play physical optical discs with RetroArch.

It is our full intent to ship an initial beta version of this in a future version of RetroArch (maybe the next one?).

So far, we have added CDROM support for the following systems:

  • PlayStation1
  • Sega CD
  • Sega Saturn
  • 3DO

Disc dumping

We’ve now added disc dumping as well! Go to the Main Menu, go to ‘Load Disc’. If you have more than one physical drive, you’ll see several disc drives. If no disk drives are detected, it will show nothing here.

Assuming you have a disc already inserted, select the disc drive menu entry and it should now start dumping your inserted media disc to RetroArch’s internal storage. During this time, you can go do something else while you wait for it to load. For instance, you can go load another core/game and just play it while waiting for the menu widget to finish.

By default right now, RetroArch will store all dumped CDROM images to the ‘Downloads’ directory of RetroArch. There might be more options for this coming up soon in the  near future.

Disc images are dumped in bin/cue format. Most of the dumped images work generally very well, but games which rely a lot on redbook audio might still have some random issues

RetroArch Disc Project – Run real games off CD-ROM with RetroArch, starting with Sega CD, Sega Saturn, PlayStation1 and 3DO! Coming VERY soon!

So, we just announced the RetroArch Disc Project yesterday. We believe everybody that uses RetroArch and has a CD drive at their disposal should be able to run their own original discs on RetroArch.

We had initial plans of launching with just Sega CD, but a lot can happen in a day. So, without further ado, we’re going to show you our latest work in progress video of actual PlayStation1 games running off the original CD in RetroArch!

July 2: And then the day after, we added Sega Saturn and 3DO to the mix!

So what can you expect?

  • Expect a release of this VERY soon.
  • It will be Windows/Linux only for now. We have no plans right now for bringing it to other systems/platforms, but I’m sure the list of platforms that will have CDROM support will grow as we go on.
  • Expect this initial release to target PlayStation, Sega CD, Sega Saturn and 3DO games for now. If more systems get added to the mix, we will let you know in advance.
  • We are going to get Lakka involved in this from Day One.
  • Will things be perfect on Day One? No. But it will be pretty good for an initial release, and as ever with all things RetroArch, we move fast, and we will make speedy progress!

PS. In case you were wondering what happened to ProjectFuture, you’re looking at it!

Retrogaming should be affordable to all and available to all instead of locked behind overexpensive wasteful hardware. It is all built off the backs of opensource anyway, why should this be locked down again by any single company? It shouldn’t! Preservation and emulation should go hand in hand, and that means being able to run the original discs on open source emulators, on ANY device!

To the Raspberry Pi community and other SBC communities – go nuts with this when it hits!