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.

RetroArch 1.6.4 – Released!

RetroArch 1.6.4 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store. You might see it appear on the Amazon App Store soon too!

General changelog

ANDROID: Fire Stick & Fire TV remote overrides gamepad port 0 on button press and viceversa like SHIELD devices
ANDROID: Provide default save / system / state / screenshot locations
AUDIO: Audio mixer supports MOD/S3M/XM file types now!
INPUT: input swap override flag (for remotes) is cleared correctly
INPUT: allow specifying libretro device in remap files
INPUT: allow specifying analog dpad mode in remap files
INPUT: allow saving libretro device to remap files
INPUT: allow saving analog dpad mode to remap files
INPUT: allow removing core and game remap files from the menu
COMMON: Cores can now request to set a ‘shared context’. You no longer need to explicitly enable ‘Shared Hardware Context’ for Citra/OpenLara/Dolphin.
COMMON: Add ‘Delete Core’ option to Core Information menu.
COMMON: Allow Max Timing Skew to be set to 0.
COMMON: Change the “content dir” behavior so it works on either a flag or an empty directory setting, now platform drivers can provide defaults for save / system / state / screenshot dirs and still allow the content dir functionality, these settings are under settings / saving and flagged as advanced
GUI: You can turn on/off ‘Horizontal Animation’ now for the XMB menu. Turning animations off can result in a performance boost.
GUI: Fix sublabel word-wrapping in XMB where multi-byte languages were cut off too soon
LOCALIZATION: Update Dutch translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Traditional Chinese translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Russian translation
WINDOWS: Provide default save / system / state / screenshot locations
LOBBIES: Show what country the host is in
MENU: Enable OSD text rendering for gdi and libcaca drivers
WINDOWS 98/ME/2K: Set default directory for MSVC 2005 RetroArch version.
WII: Better V-Sync handling, backported from SuperrSonic.
WIIU: Exception handler rewritten.

Bounty system gathering steam!

Several bounties have either been completed over the past few days or are nearing completion. Let’s cover a few of them.

In case you’re interested, here is a list of bounties we are currently funding which still have yet to be completed and where you could come in. Check out this list here.

Play MOD / S3M / XM files music files now in-game!


Remember that audio mixer we added a few releases back? This allows you to have external music files playing while any core/game is running. So far, you could only play Wave (WAV) and Ogg Vorbis files with this feature, but now you can playback Mod files too!

Developer Romain Tisserand did the leg work on this bounty, and the nice thing about it being added to libretro-common is that the improvements and additions made to the audio mixer can be used now by either the libretro cores and/or the frontend, RetroArch in this case!

How to use this feature – simply go to ‘Load Content’, and select any MOD/S3M/XM/WAV/OGG file on your file system. Select ‘Add To Audio Mixer’. If you are using the XMB menu driver, it will now be added to the horizontal menu’s ‘Music’ tab.

Start up any core/game now. At any point in time while playing, go back to the music, go to the main menu, go to the Music tab, select any of the music files and choose ‘Add to audio mixer’. Toggle the menu again to go back to the game and you can hear the music being mixed in with the game’s sound.

TIP: You can mix several music files at the same time! You can run up to 8 music files together at the same time. As ever, RetroArch allows you power features beyond what is commonly offered.

MAME CHD support for Beetle Saturn / PC Engine Fast!

This bounty came about when several users saw the value in more emulators being able to read MAME CHD images and chipped in the funds for a bounty.

Developers Romain Tisserand and inolen (Redream) have written a new C-based library called libchdr. This should interface with CHD images. After the library was written, Romain decided to put the work in to backport CHD support to the Mednafen-based cores, Beetle Saturn and PC Engine Fast.

This means that both the Mednafen Saturn and PC Engine Fast cores can now read MAME CHD images! MAME CHD is a compressed image file which can save a ton of storage for disc/CD-ROM based images. The implementation also supports FLAC support for redbook audio.

New bounties have been created for more cores to have this compatibility, such as Genesis Plus GX (and Eke seems interested in having this in his upstream repository as well). This is just one of the ways in which we think bounties can trickle down beneficially to downstream projects as well.

The upshot in all this is that pretty soon it could be possible to use the same MAME CHD image sets for both MAME and these various cores. More interoperability between cores is definitely a good thing to see.

MAME 2003 – DCS sound issues fixed! Proper sound now in Mortal Kombat/NBA Jam/WWF Wrestlemania!


For a long time, the MAME 2003 core has suffered from an issue where the sound could deteroriate after a couple of minutes for about 30 seconds before restoring itself. This would happen in Midway DCS-based games such as Mortal Kombat 1/2/3/Ultimate, NBA Jam, etc.

A bounty had been submitted by dankcushions some time ago and finally this bounty is on the verge of being completed! It should finally be possible to play these games at fullspeed on something as low-fi as a Raspberry Pi without being put out of the game by sound bugs and being reminded you are running an inaccurate emulated version of the game.

New big bounty for Beetle PSX upcoming in next few days – dynarec!

For quite some months now, a bounty has existed for Beetle PSX which has steadily increased in value. Up to $250 now, the pledgers are asking a developer to create a dynamic recompiler for the Wii U system in hopes of being able to run PlayStation games at fullspeed.

Unfortunately, we think that in order for this bounty to first get traction, some groundwork needs to be laid out first. Right now, Beetle PSX has no dynarec system in place at all, only a CPU interpreter. Therefore, it would be very hard for a developer to start right out of the gates with a PowerPC-based dynarec since no framework is in place yet that would allow him/her to slot in a dynarec backend like this.

So, what we are going to do is we want to sweeten the pot a bit and create a new bounty dedicated solely to building a dynarec. We believe that once the groundwork is laid out, this WiiU dynarec bounty has more chance of being successfully completed.

The conditions will be:
* A dynarec system for Beetle PSX, preferably written in C or else C++98.
* A working backend for x86 32bit and x64 (64-bit).
* Should be engineered in such a way that new backend implementations for other architectures (like ARM and PowerPC) can be easily implemented.
* Should be signifcantly faster than the interpreter CPU core, and should lower Mednafen/Beetle PSX’s CPU system requirements considerably.

We will start out this new bounty at $100. Other users can feel free to chip in on this endeavor. You will see this bounty being announced over the next few days.

Release highlights

Windows 98 SE/2000/Millennium Edition version – now with 29 cores!


So we announced a Visual Studio 2005 version of RetroArch this past week which runs on Windows 98 SE / Millennium / 2000. Upon release however, there were no cores.

We now have 29 cores available on our buildbot! You can get them by starting your copy of RetroArch 1.6.4 and going to Online Updater -> Update Cores. Note that because it’s Visual Studio 2005/MSVC2005 we are relying on as our compiler, certain cores might never become available for this. For instance, cores that rely on C11 (like SameBoy) or C++11/C++14 (like Dinothawr/Dolphin/Citra) will not make the cut. Fortunately, most of our cores can happily compile as either C89 and/or C++98, so backporting is not as big an issue for it as it would be for other projects which are not as careful when it comes to code maintenance.

Here are some general hints and advice in case you want to run RetroArch on your retro battle station:
* Keep in mind that Windows 98 SE GPU drivers in most cases won’t support OpenGL 2.0. There is one exception apparently, which is the nVidia Geforce 6 series. This GPU series should support OpenGL 2.0 and there should still be drivers somewhere available for Windows 98. In case you have such a GPU, you could opt to use the OpenGL driver which should be more full-featured than our GDI and/or Direct3D9 drivers.
* In most cases, your GPU driver will probably support Direct3D 9. If you want to use Direct 3D 9, you should only use the menu driver RGUI with it. Neither MaterialUI and/or XMB will render properly as of yet with Direct3D.
* For lower-end GPU hardware where neither Direct3D 9 or OpenGL is desirable or possible (because you don’t have hardware accelerated 3D video drivers), a GDI video driver is also available. For this release, we added OSD font rendering to it. There are still issues remaining with this GDI driver though on certain OS configurations. Bparker might be able to use some help with getting some of those niggles sorted out. Reminder that if you want to use a menu driver with GDI, it’s best to use the RGUIĀ menu driver.

RetroArch PlayStation3 version is getting nightlies!

Long overdue, but we are finally getting ready to start providing nightly support for RetroArch on PS3. This way, PS3 users can download the latest nightly version at all times and enjoy the latest improvements! This is not yet ready since we are going through some last-minute buildbot issues, but we expect this to be sorted out within the next few days.

Beetle Neo Geo Pocket Color (if the big endian patches are any indication) should have its controls fixed now!

We are also going to provide CEX/DEX builds from this point on instead of just the usual DEX builds like before.

Citra/OpenLara/Dolphin cores can now be easily used!

You no longer need to enable ‘Shared Hardware Context’ anymore in order to use these cores. RetroArch’s underlying API, the libretro API, has gained a new environment callback. The Citra/OpenLara/Dolphin cores make use of this to signify to the frontend that they need a shared hardware context.

A frontend can feel free to implement this or not, however, it goes without saying that cores which make use of this feature might simply not work correctly if left unimplemented.

Deleting cores

Installed a core, but you feel like you no longer need it? It’s now possible to delete it from within RetroArch.

How to do this –
1. Load the core.
2. Go to the main menu, and go to Information.
3. Select ‘Core Information’.
4. Select ‘Delete Core’ at the bottom of the list.

Configuration changes

Saving Stuff on Content Dir

The new behavior is to always provide a sane default directory for Saves, Savestates, System Files, and Screenshots. Windows and Android have been historically problematic in this regard since the content directory may not be writable at all times.
The old behavior relied on the setting strings being empty, now we provide a default value for these dirs on both Android and Windows which means the string will never be empty. Other platforms should follow this convention shortly.

So if you want to use content dir after 1.6.3 do the following:

  1. Navigate to Settings / User Interface
  2. Enable Show Advanced Settings
  3. Navigate to Settings / Saving
  4. Enabled the respective settings among the last four settings for the stuff you want to reside with your content

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to existing users but we need to make some changes to make progress.

Core Input Remapping Improvements

You can now delete core and game remaps from the Quick Menu.

Core Input Remapping has also been improved. The following will now be saved:
* The libretro device
* Analog Dpad mode

You can also save these in overrides but remaps is a far more convenient place for these.

Updates on cores

Read here what updates have been pushed to the cores since the last release –

As always, you can always install the latest version of every core from RetroArch’s builtin ‘Core Updater’ (accessible from the menu by going to ‘Online Updater’ -> ‘Update Cores’.

Retroarch on Amazon App Store coming soon!

We have often been begged by Amazon for years now to please publish RetroArch on the App Store. So far, we always felt the time was not right.

With this release, though, we have finally fixed a fundamental issue where using the Remote would make it no longer possible to use a gamepad as Player 1. This has now been rectified.

We will inform you when the Amazon App Store build has been published. For now, users can sideload it by just downloading the APK from our website.

What’s up next?

Priority number one absolutely right now is PPPSSPP and Supermodel. We are going to get that into your hands ASAP as promised.

After that,

* An AppImage version of RetroArch for Linux will be available soon.
* Lots of core work like we always do each week.
* More yet unannounced stuff? Stay tuned!

View this page if you’d like to explore donating to us. By popular demand, there is now the ability to send one-off donations through Bitcoin, and we have put up links so that you can directly send funds to the Bountysource bucket. You can also pledge to our Patreon.

NOTE: the OSX PowerPC version will be uploaded tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Shader Changes

Abstract

GLSL shaders now preferred over Cg when possible
Update to latest RetroArch for compatibility with updated GLSL shaders

Cg shaders demoted, GLSL promoted to first-class

Portability and compatibility are major goals for RetroArch and libretro, so we invested heavily in Nvidia’s Cg shader language, which worked natively anywhere their Cg Toolkit framework was available (that is, Windows, Linux and Mac OS X), as well as on PS3 and Vita, and could be machine-compiled to messy-but-usable GLSL (lacking a few features, such as runtime parameters) for platforms that lacked the framework (primarily ARM / mobile platforms). Cg was also so close to Microsoft’s HLSL shader language that many Cg shaders will compile successfully with HLSL compilers, such as those available with Windows’ D3D driver and on Xbox 360.

This was great for us because we could write shaders once and have them work pretty much everywhere.
Sadly, Nvidia deprecated the Cg language in 2012, which left us in a bad spot. Since then, we’ve been limping along with the same strategy as before, but with the uneasy understanding that Nvidia could stop supplying their Cg Toolkit framework at any time. Rather than sit idly by, waiting for that other shoe to drop, weĀ took it upon ourselvesĀ to hand-convert the vast majority of our Cg shaders to native GLSL with all of the bells and whistles. TroggleMonkey’s monstrous masterpiece, CRT-Royale, still has a couple of bugs but is mostly working, along with its popular BVM-styled variant from user Kurozumi. Additionally, before this conversion, many of our Cg shaders were flaky or completely unusableĀ on libretro-gl cores, such as Beetle-PSX-HW’s OpenGL renderer, but these native GLSL conversions should work reliablyĀ and consistently with any core/context except for those that require Vulkan (namely, ParaLLEl-N64’s and Beetle-PSX-HW’s Vulkan renderers).

With the GLSL shaders brought up to speed,Ā we can finally join Nvidia in deprecating Cg, though it will still remain as an option–that is, we’re not *removing* support for Cg shaders or contexts at this point–and we will continue to use itĀ where there is no other choice; namely, Windows’ D3D driver and the Xbox 360, PS3 and Vita ports. Moving forward, our focus for shaders will be on native GLSL and our slang/Vulkan formats, though we will likely still port some to Cg from time to time.

RetroArch now correctly handles #version directives in GLSL shaders; GLSL shader repo updated to match

There have been a number of updates to the GLSL shader language/spec over its long life, and shader authors can use #version directives (that is, a line at the top of the shader that says #version 130 or whatever) to tell compilers which flavor/version of GLSL is required for that shader. However, RetroArch has long had a strange behavior whereby it injected a couple of lines at the beginning of all GLSL shader files at compile time, and thisĀ brokeĀ any shader that attempted to use a #version directive, since those directives must be on the first line of the shader. This meant that our shaders couldn’t use #version directives at all, and all of our shaders lacked #version directives until very recently for this reason. These #version-less GLSL shaders are still perfectly compliant GLSL because GLSL v1.10 didn’t support directives, either, but the necessity of leaving off the #versionĀ started to cause some problems as we whipped our GLSL shader library into shape.

The error caused by adding a #version directive under the old behavior.

On AMD and Nvidia GPUs, the compilers would just toss up a warning about the missing directive and still expose whatever GLSL features were available to the GPU, which worked out great. On Intel IGPs, however, the compiler tosses the error and then reverts to only exposing the features available in ancient GLSL v1.10 (released way back in 2004). As a stopgap, we gave many shaders fallback codepaths that would still work in these circumstances, but a number of other shaders were either impossible to make compatible or even the compatible result was imperfect.

So, as of this commitĀ (courtesy of aliaspider), RetroArch will no longer reject shaders with explicit #version directives, and we have added those directives to any shaders that require them at the lowest version that still compiles/functions properly. That is, if the shader doesn’t use any features that require greater than #version 110, they will still have no #version specified, and any shader that requires #version 120 but not #version 130 will not have its requirements increased to the higher version for no reason. This should keep our GLSL shaders as compatible as possible with older hardware, and including the #versions explicitly when needed will also make it easier for other programs/developers to utilize our shaders without any unnecessary guesswork due to behind-the-scenes magic.

This change does require a clean break, insofar as older versions of RetroArch will choke on the new #version directives (that is, they’ll fail to compile with the “#version must occur before any other program statement” error pictured above), so users with Nvidia or AMD GPUs must update their RetroArch installation if they want to use the updated shaders. Users with Intel IGPs will be no worse off if they don’t update, since those shaders were already broken for them, but they’ll probably *want* to update to gain access to the many fancy shaders that now work properly on their machines.

Mobile GPUs using GLES had many of the same issues that Intel IGPsĀ had, with many shaders refusing to work without #version directives, but GLES compatibilityĀ added in a further complication: GLES requires its own separate #version directives, either #version 100 es or #version 300 es, which are different from and incompatible with desktop GL’s #versions. To get around this, we added a trickĀ in RetroArch to change any #version of 120 or below to #version 100, which isĀ roughly comparable in features to 120, and any #version 130 or above to #version 300 es whenever a GLES context is used. This should get everything working as effectively and consistently as possible on mobile GPUs, but if anything slipped through the cracks, be sure to file an issue report at the GLSL shader repo.