RetroArch 1.7.8 (v3) released + big core updates! (bsnes HD, Flycast, Android, etc)

RetroArch 1.7.8 was a very ambitious release, and as a result, it is taking some time to iron out some of the kinks. Instaed of leaving you waiting for a month again to fix some crucial bugs, we’d rather release these point fix releases first instead so that we leave you with a rock-solid 1.7.8 in the end while we then shift our focus and attention to 1.7.9.

In light of that, we are releasing version 3 right now, which will be especially beneficial for Mac users. The future-proof Metal Mac version should now work flawlessly on Macs with an AMD graphics card (they previously produced heavy graphics glitches inside the menu). It has just been released! Grab it here.

If you’d like to show your support, consider donating to us. Check here in order to learn more.

For all other details surrounding version 1.7.8, we refer you to our original article here.

Changes

  • GLCORE: Ensure correct scaling of menu texture (with RGUI)
  • IPS: Soft-Patch any IPS size
  • METAL: Fix overlay issue – setup correct viewport before rendering overlay
  • METAL/STB: Fix font driver issue with AMD GPUs on MacOS.
  • MENU/RGUI: Correctly rescale menu when resizing window if aspect ratio lock is enabled.
  • OSX: Remove OSX suffix in window title
  • PSP: Fix audio conversion code
  • REMAPS: Fix analog remapping regression -analog remapping would break controls

bsnes HD – Released for Windows/Linux/Android, and soon iOS and Mac!

bsnes HD should now be available on Linux, Windows and Android for RetroArch users! It’s based on the latest version of bsnes, and it should be significantly faster than previous bsnes versions.

In this video, we show you some of the HD Mode 7 features that are unique to this version. They make for a fairly significant difference overall as we’re sure you’ll agree!

This core is not fully complete yet and might still have some omissions. Also, the ‘bsnes HD’ name is temporary, and we will be doing some house cleaning of the various bsnes cores we are maintaining soon. The plan is to have an improved Core Updater in later RetroArch versions that allows for better categorization and filtering in the future so that users can more easily manage their cores.

On Android for the first time!

This is the first time the latest version of bsnes will appear on Android, courtesy of Libretro/RetroArch! Our core version of this is called bsnes HD, and you can grab it from the Core Updater right now! Just make sure to update the core info files first (by going to Online Updater, then selecting ‘Update Core Info Files’). bsnes HD should be a fair bit faster than the other bsnes cores already available, plus it has enhanced overclocking features and the acclaimed HD Mode 7 features.

In this video you see it running on a Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Exynos model) with 3x HD Mode 7 scaling applied, and it runs at fullspeed all the way.

User and contributor harakari has reported that he can run HD Mode 7 at 4x scaling and still have games run at fullspeed on his iPhone XS Max, so if anything, expect even better performance on high-end iDevices!

Flycast – WinCE core now 30% faster on average and sound improvements!

The FlycastWinCE version should now be 30% faster on average for non-Windows CE games! We have figured out a way to have the Windows CE code additions no longer affect the main performance of the emulator. For that reason, after we have ironed out some of the final kinks, you can expect there to be only one Flycast core moving forward. On top of that, flyinghead has really gone to town with some much needed audio improvements on the AICA and DSP side. Witness this long standing audio sample bug that is now finally fixed with the game Resident Evil: Code Veronica. This and many other sound bugs (such as the audio samples continuing to be repeated during the battle loading scenes in Soul Calibur) have been fixed now.

World-first – Windows CE Dreamcast games running on Android!

The Flycast WinCE core is now available for Android users!

  • 30% speedup in non-Windows CE games thanks to extensive optimizations made to the dynarec by flyinghead. No more performance reduction of non-Windows CE games.
  • Windows CE support further improved.

It is now possible to play Dreamcast Windows CE games on Android! Please be aware that this is very CPU intensive and that you should probably expect 15 to 25fps on high-end Android phones right now.

Note that Windows CE games could still be unstable on Android, and that you need a real BIOS for Windows CE to work. It won’t work with the HLE BIOS.

NOTE: We anticipate that after the final kinks has been ironed out, that we will merge the Windows CE parts of this core back into Flycast, and that the separate Flycast WinCE core will disappear from there on. So this separate core is only a temporary thing for now. We will let you know when this will happen. Video was recorded on a Galaxy S10+.

Mupen64 Plus Next – No more 10 second startup times on Windows!

Thanks to an important bug fixed by mudlord, Mupen64 Plus Next should no longer take up to 10 seconds to start up any game on Windows.

Mupen64 Plus Next is an up to date version of Mupen 64 Plus with the latest GlideN64 renderer.

More progress reports on other cores soon

Cores are often updated on a daily basis, and a lot of the times, all the amazing enhancements and improvements they receive go underreported because we’re so busy with development. We feel it is time to shine more of a light on these changes, so we will be doing more periodic updates on core updates as they come along.

PSA: RetroArch 1.7.8 – Important changes for people using the Google Play build

Starting as of September, Google has started requiring app developers to update their apps with 64bit AArch64 support. Any app that fails to comply with this will no longer be able to upload any new APK to the Google Play Store.

Until now, the main RetroArch build has been built for 32bit ARM processors. This means that even on a 64bit device, if you were using this 32bit build, you would still have access to all the 32bit compiled cores.

This all changes now as a result. Under the new model, we are forced to build in both 32bit and 64bit support for the main RetroArch app. What this means is that 64bit devices will default now to the 64bit version, whereas 32bit devices will default to the 32bit version. It’s not possible to boot into 32bit mode for the Google Play Store version.

We unfortunately cannot do anything about this. What this means is the following:

  • Some of the cores available for 64bit ARM might lack a dynamic recompiler. As a result, cores like PCSX ReARMed and Picodrive might be significantly slower now as a result on a 64bit device. Fortunately, work is underway to backport a 64bit dynarec to PCSX ReARMed, and similar for Picodrive.

On the plus side, Aarch64 tends to have about a 10% performance boost in general for RetroArch vs. regular 32bit builds. So it’s not all bad news.

If you’d still like to use a 32bit only build, you can go to our buildbot and download the 32bit only version there. We just are not allowed to upload this version to the Play Store, since every app uploaded from now on has to work for 64bit as well.

Important news for people upgrading

If you are upgrading the app from 1.7.7 to 1.7.8, you might find that the core updater URL is still pointing to the 32bit cores, and you might find that a lot of the cores you downloaded will no longer work (because it boots you into 64bit mode now). 32bit cores cannot be ran on 64bit apps and vice versa. So, what you have to do is

  • First, make sure that you reset the Core Updater URL properly. Go to Settings -> Network, and scroll all the way down to ‘Updater’. Go to the entry ‘Buildbot Cores URL’, and long press. If done correctly ,it should reset the URL. Now exit the program and restart again.
  • From there, you will have to redownload the cores from the Online Updater.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to bother with all this, just reinstall the entire program from scratch, that way it will start out with sane defaults.

Other considerations

What this also means is:

  • The 64bit specific version on the Play Store is pretty much redundant now, and you might as well use the main Play Store version. We are unsure yet if we are going to delist the 64bit only version or have it remain up. Just know that it no longer serves a purpose.
  • RetroArch can now be built using Gradle/Android Studio. This should significantly reduce the barrier to entry for developers wanting to get to grips with RetroArch, but were unable to do so in the past as it required an old Android toolchain as well as tools like ant.
  • It might appear on Android TV soon for 64bit apps.

Hopefully this upgrade process will have as little bumps in the road as possible. We’re sorry for this inconvenience but this is really not our fault, and our hands are tied. As ever, if you want a 32bit version on your 64bit device, go to our buildbot, and download the latest dated version ending with ‘RetroArch_ra32.apk’.

RetroArch – In Development – Touchscreen Lightgun for iOS/Android (iPhone XS Max shown)

With the upcoming new RetroArch version, it will be possible to use your fingers as a lightgun on iOS and Android. Not only that, but it supports multi-touch too! (iPhone XS Max shown in this video)

What you see here in this video is a demonstration of all the cores that include support for this new feature. The device being used here is an iPhone XS Max, and it’s plenty powerful enough to even run the likes of Mednafen/Beetle Saturn!

Here is a list of the cores so far that support this (along with the systems they support) –

  • NES/Famicom (FCEUmm)
  • Super Nintendo/Super Famicom (Snes9x)
  • Sega Master System (Genesis Plus GX)
  • Sega Megadrive/Genesis (Genesis Plus GX)
  • Sony Playstation (Mednafen/Beetle PSX)
  • Sega Saturn (Mednafen/Beetle Saturn)
  • Arcade (MAME)