Libretro Status Updates

So, what have we been up to?

Dolphin and Ishiiruka cores

The Dolphin libretro bounty has led to this rebasing of the Dolphin libretro core. It is now up-to-date with the latest sourcecode, and it now supports OpenGL, Direct3D11 and Vulkan! It is even available for RetroArch on Android right now, provided you use the AArch64 version (since Dolphin itself requires a 64bit CPU on Android anyway).

In addition to this, I have also taken a look at porting Ishiiruka (a Dolphin fork) to Libretro. This one is not as far along yet as the mainline Dolphin core, but we are already making steady progress with the OpenGL renderer!

RetroArch 1.7.4 – WIMP updates

There will continue to be improvements to the WIMP UI in RetroArch 1.7.4. One of the big new features will be a fancy grid view. Previously, the WIMP UI only had a list view.

Beetle PSX HW

Some important bugs have been fixed. Finally, mask bit emulation has been (hackishly) implemented by flyinghead for the OpenGL renderer, so Silent Hill’s fog finally displays properly. iCatButler has made PGXP much more robust over the past few weeks, which has led to many rendering bugs being fixed when PGXP is enabled.

Reicast

You can read about all of our improvements to the Reicast core in this separate blog post here.

Beam racing bounty – up to $1132!

The beam racing bounty has fetched $1132 so far!

RetroArch is already at the tip of the spear when it comes to latency mitigation strategies with features like runahead, configurable max swapchains, frame delay, custom video context drivers, etc. Beam racing is a new lagless VSYNC technique has been developed that is already implemented in some emulators like WinUAE. The aim of this bounty is to finally implement it in RetroArch as well, and the users/devs that want it have put their money where their mouth is for this particular feature!

RetroArch 1.6.9 -Released!

RetroArch 1.6.9 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store.

General changelog

– Audio: Fix the Audio DSP picker
– CHEEVOS: Add support for Atari Lynx cheevos.
– CHEEVOS: Add support for RetroAchievements Leaderboards.
– GUI: (MaterialUI) Fix crash that happened on context reset with Vulkan.
– GUI: (MaterialUI) Skip querying and drawing items that are not visible; Cache content height and bbox calculation.
– GUI: (MaterialUI) Fix entry box highlight calculation.
– GUI: (XMB) Skip drawing the fading list when it is already transparent. Optimization.
– GUI: (XMB) Comment out visible item calculation in xmb_draw_items().
– GUI: (RGUI) Prevent crashes when using a non-English language reliant on UTF8.
– GUI: Add menu option for OSD background color.
– GUI: Add menu option for OSD text color.
– GUI: Add menu option to remove frame count from OSD.
– GUI: Allow wraparound of int/float settings when pressing the left key
– INPUT/LIBRETRO: Add support for more mouse buttons (buttons 4/5)
– INPUT/LIBRETRO: Add support for analog buttons
– INPUT: Always show the controls menu even if descriptors are not set
– INPUT: Fix input descriptors not being set on cores that don’t implement the controllers interface
– INPUT: Apply descriptors only for the amount of cores the core supports
– INPUT: Implement keyboard to gamepad input remapping (limited to one gamepad device for now)
– INPUT: Fix absolute mouse move handling on the winraw driver
– INPUT: Ignore keyboard input if window is not active on udev driver
– INPUT: Sanitize the filenames of autoconfig profiles before saving
– LOBBIES: Fix crash on navigating left / right from the lobby menu
– LOCALIZATION: Update Dutch translation
– LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Japanese translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Portuguese-Brazilian translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Russian translation.
– LINUX/ARMHF: Set buildbot updater URL to armhf location instead of blank string
– LINUX/PI: Broadcom VC4: Add Videocore config option
– LINUX/UDEV: Fix – RetroArch reads keyboard input when not focused with the udev input driver.
– NETPLAY: Fix disconnection not fully deinitializing Netplay.
– NETPLAY: Fix lan rooms when there is more than one room
– NETPLAY: Fix lan rooms on systems where all addresses are treated as IPv6
– COMMON: Fix clear/free loop conditionals in playlists.
– WINDOWS/GDI: Fix flickering of text.
– WINDOWS/GDI: Fix graphics corruption on Windows 98
– WINDOWS/GDI: Allow compiling without DirectInput8 for NT support
– WINDOWS/WGL: Try to use wglSwapLayerBuffers instead of SwapBuffers if possible (for more optimal performance).
– WINDOWS: Fix menubar text corruption on Japanese locale systems
– WINDOWS: Support Unicode file I/O (can now display CJK characters in file browser for example).
– WINDOWS: Support Windows 95, NT3.51, NT4
– WINDOWS: add Makefile.griffin targets for msvc6,2003,2005,2010,2012,2013
– WII: Use custom, embedded libogc SDK.
– WIIU: Initial touchscreen support for WiiU gamepad.
– WIIU: Add Cheevos support.
– SCANNER: Fix archive scanning.
– SCANNER: Support CHD files.
– SCANNER: Support Gamecube ISO scanning.
– SCANNER: Use primary data track of disc images for CRC lookups rather than cue files. This is slower but finds matches more reliably, and is necessary for CHD files to work at all. Update your databases!
– SCANNER: Fall back on looking inside archives when matching MAME/FBA content (most recent cores only). If you had difficulty with content being detected before, you may have better luck now. Update your databases and core info!

Highlights

Scanner system supports more formats

CHD and Gamecube ISO files can now be scanned. A lot of libretro cores have gained the ability to use CHD image files, some of them being all the Mednafen-derived cores (also known as Beetle cores). There is also a new fallback used for scanning MAME/FBA content which looks inside an archive for matching files. If you had trouble having the scanner detect your content before, you might be more usccessful now.

Retro Achievements – Leaderboard support

Unicode support for Windows users

Unicode is now supported for file I/O (Input/Output). What this means, is that game content that uses CJK characters and/or other non-ASCII characters can now be read by RetroArch. These files will also show up from within the filebrowser. Useful for our Japanese users.

NOTE: MaterialUI (the default UI on Android) might still exhibit issues displaying Japanese on Android. This is due to a font renderer that will need to be improved in a future version in order to display these extra characters properly.

Kiosk Mode and more


You can now tailor RetroArch’s UI even more to your own personal preferences. You can choose which submenus to hide, and which to show.

There’s also a special mode called ‘Kiosk Mode’. When enabled, you won’t be able to access any settings, and/or install/upgrade any cores. The guy who implemented this feature likely intended it as a parental control feature to make sure that kids don’t get to mess with any of the internal settings by accident that could end up breaking something. There’s also a password lock you can enable so that any access to settings can still be curtailed.

See the PDF article here for a more detailed breakdown of Kiosk Mode –

https://github.com/libretro/RetroArch/files/1320429/RetroArch.Kiosk.Mode.v4.pdf

Input enhancements


The libretro API has been enhanced by David Walters in the following ways:

  • Button input was previously all-digital, now button input can be analog as well. As a proof of concept, this has already been implemented for the Beetle Saturn core. Analog triggers now work as expected. This feature will be necessary for future systems like PlayStation2, where each face button on the gamepad was an analogue button.
  • Mouse buttons 4 and 5 were added. A proof of concept has already been implemented for Beetle Saturn. The mouse on the Sega Saturn had at least 5 buttons instead of the PlayStation mouse’s 2.


Mouse support and lightgun support has also been added to Beetle PSX, a much-requested feature. There are also some proposals on how to improve lightgun support in libretro so that it is more conducive to non-mouse based lightgun solutions. As ever, additions to the libretro API have to be backwards compatible and they should not break ABI, so that existing frontends will not be adversely affected but at the same time new frontends can reap the benefits of these new features all the same.

What’s coming next for RetroArch

We will have a separate blog post on this soon.

In the meantime, check out the addendum to this post –

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/core-updates-since-last-release/

This details all of the changes to the cores that have happened since the last release.

RetroArch 1.6.7 -Released!

NOTE: This is a bugfixed and spit-and-polish update. The initial release notes below are still from the 1.6.6 release.

RetroArch 1.6.7 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store.

General changelog

– SCANNER: Fix directory scanning.
– SCANNER: Fix file scanning.
– COMMON: Fix ‘Disk Image Append’ option.
– FREEBSD: Compatibility fixes for Video4Linux2 camera driver.
– GUI: (MaterialUI) Add disk image append icons.
– GUI: (MaterialUI) Improve word wrapping when menu icons are enabled.
– GUI: (MaterialUI) Add User Interface -> Appearance -> Menu Icons Enable. You can turn on/off the icons on the lefthand side of the menu entries.
– GUI: Performance optimizations for XMB menu driver – only calculates visible items.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation.

Core updates since previous version (1.6.6)

  1. Picodrive should hopefully work now again on Android after notaz‘ updates.
  2. Beetle PSX’s OpenGL renderer should now work on various AMD GPUs thanks to rz5‘s efforts. There were previously some black screen issues on certain non-Polaris AMD GPUs.
  3. Beetle PSX – Fixed bugs (geometry updates had max width and height unset, other ones) (by albertofustinoni).
  4. Beetle Saturn – Unloading game leaves core unusable fix (by albertofustinoni).
  5. Beetle Supergrafx – add turbo on/off for 2-button controller mode (by retrowertz).
  6. Prosystem – NTSC Color Palette updates and DB updates (by underball).

RetroArch 1.6.6 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store.

General changelog

– 3DS: Fixes serious performance regression that affected every core; rewind was always implicitly enabled.
– AUDIO: MOD/S3M/XM sound should now be properly mixed in with the core’s sound.
– GUI: Visual makeover of MaterialUI.
– GUI: Added ‘Music’, ‘Images’ and ‘Video’ collection options to RGUI/MaterialUI.
– GUI: Allow the user to add ‘Favorites’.
– GUI: Allow the user to rename entries.
– GUI: Performance optimizations for XMB menu driver.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation
– INPUT: Overlay controller response – when we press buttons on the gamepad or keyboard, the corresponding buttons on the overlay will be highlighted as well.
– NETBSD: Silence some compilation warnings.
– COMMON: Fixed bug ‘Deleting an entry from a playlist would not update the list view inside XMB’.
– COMMON: Fix inet_ntop_compat on *nix

If you want to read about the latest bounty and core updates, read this post instead here.

Complete overhaul of the mobile User Interface! (MaterialUI)

On mobile devices, RetroArch uses the mobile UI, MaterialUI, by default. This interface is designed around touchscreen and pointer devices like a mouse/trackball.

We have given this menu interface a significant overhaul now for version 1.6.6! We are aware that there is a significant percentage of people that to date have been completely unsatisfied with the current state of the menu system on mobile devices like Android and iOS. Our menu UI improvements in version 1.6.6 is our first step to try to remedy this. In later releases, we might follow it up with more elaborate animations, more advanced widgets, etc.

The menu should look less monotonous now due to the usage of context-specific icons. We have also made some other UX improvements:

– The opacity of the game’s image clashed quite badly with the ingame menu before. This has been rectified.
– We have added ‘Music’, ‘Image’ and ‘Video’ playlists to the ‘Favorites’ tab.

Music, Video and Images which have previously been loaded in RetroArch can be easily accessed from the Playlists tab now.
Music, Video and Images which have previously been loaded in RetroArch can be easily accessed from the Playlists tab now.

– The file browser is easier to read now because files show up with specific icons to indicate what they are. For instance, music files have a music icon, a directory has a folder icon, selectable content files show up as a plain file, etc.

The file browser is easier to read now because files show up with specific icons to indicate what they are. For instance, music files have a music icon, a directory has a folder icon, selectable content files show up as a plain file, etc.
The file browser is easier to read now because files show up with specific icons to indicate what they are. For instance, music files have a music icon, a directory has a folder icon, selectable content files show up as a plain file, etc.

Usability tips

You can customize the color theme of the menu in MaterialUI at any time.

1 – Go to User Interface.
2 – Go to Views.
3 – Go to ‘Menu Color Theme’ and set it to the color theme you want.

General menu improvements

Favorites

You can now add a game to a ‘Favorites’ list for easy access! This has been an often-requested feature for years, and in the past we always felt that ‘Load Recent’ was good enough. However, if you load a lot of content, that can easily get cluttered over time.

To add a game to the Favorites list, do the following:
1 – Once a game is running, go to ‘Quick Menu’.
2 – Select ‘Add To Favorites’.
3 – Once added, you can now start the game at any time from the Favorites list.

On RGUI – go to Load Content -> Favorites.
On MaterialUI – go to the Playlists tab -> Favorites.
On XMB – go to the Favorites tab.

To add a game to the 'favorites' list, inside Quick Menu, select 'Add To Favorites'. It should now be added to the Favorites list. You can access the 'Favorites' list inside MaterialUI by going to the Playlists tab. On RGUI, you go to Load Content -> Favorites. On XMB, you go to the Favorites tab instead.
To add a game to the ‘favorites’ list, inside Quick Menu, select ‘Add To Favorites’. It should now be added to the Favorites list. You can access the ‘Favorites’ list inside MaterialUI by going to the Playlists tab. On RGUI, you go to Load Content -> Favorites. On XMB, you go to the Favorites tab instead.

Renaming entries inside playlists

You can now rename an entry from any playlist!

To do this, do the following:

1 – Go to a playlist of any type (it can be the history list, a system playlist, favorites, music/video/images playlists, etc).
2 – There should be an option called “Rename”. Select it. If you are using MaterialUI and/or XMB, an onscreen keyboard will now pop up. Input the new title for the entry and then hit either the Enter key on your keyboard ,the Start button on your gamepad or press the ‘Enter’ key on the onscreen overlay in order to confirm the changes.

You can now rename any entry! Say for instance you loaded a Quake data file. Instead of the playlist showing 'PAK0.PAK', you can rename it to Quake 1 instead.
You can now rename any entry! Say for instance you loaded a Quake data file. Instead of the playlist showing ‘PAK0.PAK’, you can rename it to Quake 1 instead.

Overlays show button presses

Previously, overlays would only show button presses if they were actually being clicked on by either the touchscreen or the mouse.

A user submitted a bounty to make onscreen reactions possible through the gamepad and/or keyboard. A bounty hunter has now successfully completed this bounty and has been paid out. We have enabled this feature by default. If you want to turn it off, you can do so by doing the following:

1 – Go to Onscreen Display -> Onscreen Overlay.
2 – Go to ‘Show Inputs on Overlay’. Set this to off if you don’t want the overlay to react to keyboard/gamepad input, turn it on if you want this to happen (turned on by default).

Nintendo 3DS regression fix – all cores were running slower

A serious issue has been fixed in the Nintendo 3DS RetroArch port which compelled us to push this release sooner rather than later.

It appears that by mistake, rewind was always forcibly enabled in the 3DS port, which led to a halving of performance. This should now be fixed.

What’s next?

The new cores

We are still determined to get the promised cores like PPSSPP into your hands before the end of the month. We just felt it very important to get this release out of the door so that people can see that we are determined to improve the menu on mobile, and also so that the 3DS RetroArch port is repaired again.

Wii input fix

Finally, after years of struggling with this very pesky issue, it seems we are on the verge of a breaktrhough here that could lead to this random input issue finally being fixed –

https://github.com/SuperrSonic/RA-SS/commit/29d6467d28a835136b8ab87e209feb34421983ff

it seems there was a regression in libogc at some point which lead to this input regression. Superssonic reports that going back to an older version of Wiiuse fixes the issue. What we are probably going to do is make a custom baked-in libogc version for the Wii port for the next release.