Bliss-Box now selling cables and more (plus details on future plans with regards to Libretro integration work)

Written by Sean Green, the author of the Bliss-Box
In a continued effort to bring the best gaming experience to the scene, Bliss-Box and RetroArch have some exciting new developments.

Firstly, the cables are finally here! Jump over to the new secure webpage at bliss-box.net and grab them 

These cables come in the way of dongles and adapter boards. The boards were created to support low demand cable types and thus in the form of a mini adapter.

 

Also if you have not yet taken advantage of the exclusive offer from RetroArch, there is still time to get the deal. That’s 2 free cables with the purchase of a new 4-play kit. Plus, part of the profit goes to help RetroArch.

Single-player Blissbox adapter

There is also a bit more exciting news coming down the pike. Here is a sneak peek at one of the new products Bliss-Box and RetroArch are bring to the scene. This will be the first ever single player Bliss-Box adapter. It comes in the form of a D.I.Y  kit and planned to be packaged with a D.I.Y product from Retro Arch. Yes you heard it right, RetroArch product, more to come on this soon.

And a final word in case you missed it, Bliss-Box and RetroArch were just featured on Linus Tech Tips, check it out here.

Future Libretro integration and Bliss-box plans

Written by Daniel De Matteis, RetroArch/Libretro Lead Developer
The above paragraphs were written by ulao, Bliss-Box author. Allow me to expand on our collaboration with Bliss-Box for a moment here and why we feel the need to feature this product on a regular basis. Bliss-Box has bigger aspirations beyond just being a controller adapter system. While people using original controllers of old videogame systems is obviously a big step forward in terms of bringing that authentic feeling of playing the real game, there still remains missing elements that serve to break the cognitive dissonance that you are playing on the real hardware. Things that come to mind would be for instance the Rumble Pak on the N64 not working, or the Controller Pak not being able to be read, or the VMU unit inside a Dreamcast controller not showing anything onscreen. Obviously, to make all this happen, not only do modifications need to be made to the firmware of the Bliss-Box adapter, but RetroArch will have to drive audio/input/video data back to the Bliss-Box so that the Bliss-Box can then interpret this data and do something with it. According to the Author, the Bliss-Box can even tunnel the native controller data via USB. This makes it possible to talk directly to and from the game itself. To this end, we are highly interested in implementing the necessary extensions to the libretro API in the near future so that Bliss-Box will be able to do such things, such as being able to read a real physical memory card instead of a virtual one directly from the joypad device, or being able to display graphics on the VMU and be able to read/write to the VMU as well. We see this as a perfect marriage of two projects that both strive to bring the experience of playing on a real console as close to the original as possible.

Of course, this will require further development, where both Libretro authors and Bliss-Box authors will need to collaborate in order to get this fully implemented, and we cannot give you an exact ETA when such functionality will be available. Nevertheless, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain just what the nature of our collaboration with Bliss-Box is, and why we are backing the project so firmly.

Thank you for your time, and hopefully you will be able to understand better exactly what the future holds with regards to this new-found Bliss-Box/RetroArch marriage.

RetroArch 1.7.4 – Metal 2 macOS version available now!

RetroArch with Metal 2 support for macOS High Sierra users!

Up until now, we had three versions of RetroArch for macOS/OSX users:

  • RetroArch for OSX PowerPC (10.5) – For users with an old PowerMac or iBook/Powerbook. You should have at least Mac OS X version 10.5 (Leopard) installed in order for this version to work. Cores are packaged with this version because our buildbot does not serve fresh 32bit PowerPC cores for OSX.
  • RetroArch for OSX 32bit Intel (10.6) – For users with an old MacBook that has a 32bit Intel processor (for instance, 1st generation MacBook). In order to use this, you should have at least MacOS X version 10.6 (Snow Leopard) installed. Cores are packaged with this version because our buildbot does not serve fresh 32bit Intel cores for OSX.
  • RetroArch for macOS/OSX 64bit Intel (10.6) – This is what you are likely wanting to use on a modern Mac computer. You should have at least MacOS X/macOS version 10.7 (Lion) installed. Cores are distributed separately on our buildbot.

We are now adding a fourth one:

  • RetroArch for macOS 64bit Intel with Metal 2 support (10.13) – This version has all of the features of ‘RetroArch for macOS/OSX 64bit Intel’ plus a Metal 2 video driver. This version requires at least macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), a fairly modern version of macOS. For this version, we default to the Metal video driver by default.

If you have relatively modern Mac and you want to enjoy the latest in cutting edge technology, you should definitely try out this latest version. Get it by going to our Downloads page, and click on the download link below macOS High Sierra (or later).

Some important things you should know about Metal 2 – not all of the devices that can run macOS 10.13 necessarily support this. Here is a compatibility list of all supported hardware:

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

What is Metal, and why is it relevant?

Up until the ’10s, Mac OS X has relied on the crossplatform OpenGL API to provide hardware accelerated rendering to developers writing Mac applications. However, since 2014, there has been an industry-wide push towards lower-level APIs, and Apple in specific decided to go with its own proprietary graphics API. This API is called Metal, and was first premiered with iOS 7 and Apple A7 devices. It has since some years ago made the switch to macOS as well, and this year the API has been bumped to version 2.

Apple has announced OpenGL will be deprecated in the future, its graphics driver stuck with the dated OpenGL 4.1 spec for years now. While we regret this industry wide push away from a standardized, cross-platform graphics API, we have been forced to move with the times and instead cater to all the major graphics APIs. There is no longer the potential for one single graphics API to cater to all platforms.

With the release of RetroArch 1.7.4, we have achieved an important milestone: we now have fully functioning graphics drivers for the three major next-generation graphics APIs. This includes Khronos’ Vulkan API (added to RetroArch since 2016), Microsoft’s Direct3D 11/12 (added to RetroArch since earlier this year), and now Apple’s Metal 2 for macOS. Thanks to Hans-Kristian Arntzen’s SPIRV-Cross middleware, we can reuse the same shaders across Direct3D/Vulkan/Metal. We therefore are very close to having a universal shader specification that will work on all the major platforms.

We are now ready for a future when Apple will outright kill OpenGL support, while at the same time we have ensured that we have one common set of shaders that can be used across all these video drivers. The developer who has added Metal 2 support to RetroArch has already indicated he intends to bring this over to iOS and tvOS as well. And who knows, maybe even backwards compatibility with Metal 1 could arrive.

How complete is the Metal video driver right now?

Fairly complete. You get:

  • Fully functioning menu drivers. XMB, MaterialUI and RGUI should work fine.
  • XMB shader pipeline effect should work as expected.
  • You can take screenshots.
  • You can go into fullscreen mode.
  • You can use slang shaders with the Metal video driver, the same shaders that can be used with Vulkan/D3D10/D3D11/D3D12.

Things that have still yet to be added which the author is considering adding:

  • Recording support independent of ffmpeg.
  • Support for the libretro API’s RETRO_ENVIRONMENT_GET_CURRENT_SOFTWARE_FRAMEBUFFER.
  • Hardware renderer context support, so that libretro cores could make use of the Metal API.

General changelog

– COMMON: Support for “OEM-102” key (usually ‘\’ on Euro keyboards).
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Add option to filter extensions inside archives when adding to a playlist.
– METAL: Add screenshot support.

RetroArch 1.7.4 – Released!

RetroArch 1.7.4 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store. This is the 32bit version. We also have a brand new 64bit version for users with 64bit capable devices. You can grab that one here. More on that version later!

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

Highlights

64bit version of RetroArch Android

We have just uploaded a 64bit version of RetroArch for Android on the Google Play Store. You should be able to get it either from Google Play, or you can get it from our Download page, available here.

This 64bit version is intended for users with 64bit capable Android devices. Shield ATV would be one of those examples but there are doubtless many others. You can install the 32bit version and 64bit version at the same time on your device. Let us run down the list of what you need to know:

  • Certain cores are going to be exclusive to 64bit. Dolphin is one of those examples, since it lacks a 32bit dynarec entirely and Team Dolphin has no intention of supporting these devices. So for certain cores, 64bit will be the only place to go.
  • Some cores are actually significantly faster with 64bit. Beetle PSX for instance is significantly faster with the 64bit version vs. the 32bit version.
  • Some cores that only have a 32bit dynarec and/or were specifically optimized might be significantly faster on 32bit instead. Dosbox SVN is one of those examples, as is PCSX ReARMed and Picodrive. To help avoid confusion, we are going to be documenting this on our Libretro Docs site. It’s not there yet but it will be in the upcoming days/weeks.

Discord integration

RetroArch 1.7.4 now has extended Discord RPC integration! Previously before 1.7.4, RetroArch would act as any other game in Discord: as a simple “Playing” status that said you had RetroArch open. It wasn’t very descriptive or helpful other than displaying the name “RetroArch”. With the 1.7.4 update, RetroArch will display more information beyond a simple “Playing” status!

Read the blog article below for a more detailed indepth article on this feature:

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/upcoming-retroarch-1-7-4-details-on-discord-integration/

Desktop UI massively improved

NOTE: The Desktop UI is currently only available for Linux and Windows. macOS support might arrive at a later date.

Where to even begin? Let’s just have the videos do the talking –

Grid view with Thumbnails

You can now choose between List and Grid View. Grid View will show thumbnails of all your games, provided you have them installed. You can always install thumbnail packs separately by going to Online Updater and selecting Thumbnail Updater.

Create new playlists easily by drag and drop!

RetroArch 1.7.4 will make creating new playlists from scratch easy as pie! No longer will you be forced to manually select a directory and scan for games; you can now create a new playlist, and then manually drag and drop the roms you want to have in that playlist over to them, and the WIMP UI will do the manual work for you!

(Windows only for now) In-app RetroArch update!

From version 1.7.4 on, it will now be possible to update RetroArch to the latest nightly versions!

Live shader editing with the desktop UI!

Starting as of RetroArch 1.7.4, it is now possible to use the desktop UI to setup your shaders! You are able to add a shader preset and stack additional passes to your shader stack! You are also able to remove any shader passes you please, change shader parameters on the fly, and even reset shader parameters to their default values by pressing the right mouse button on a shader parameter and selecting ‘Reset Parameter’.

Download all thumbnails for a playlist with Desktop UI!

Previously, it was only possible to download complete thumbnail packs per system/game category. The most obvious complaint about this for many people was that they only needed thumbnails for specific games they actually have in their collection.

Now with RetroArch 1.7.4, from inside the Desktop UI you can right click any content from any playlist, select ‘Download thumbnails’, and it will try to fetch the thumbnails for this content from the Github thumbnail repositories.

You can now rightclick on a playlist, select ‘Download All Thumbnails’ – This Playlist, and it will attempt fetching all the thumbnails for a given playlist! You can also cancel this operation at any time by either pressing the Cancel button on the dialog box, or pressing the ‘X’ icon.

Core options in desktop UI!

When you have a core loaded, you can now change the core options inside the Desktop UI!

NOTE: If you leave the core option dialog window open and you happen to unload a core then launch a new core with game, you will have to close the dialog and then reopen it again. It won’t reload itself automatically. This might get looked at in a later version.

Sync To Exact Content Frame Rate – Ideal for G-Sync/FreeSync users!


Blog post written by Tatsuya79

RetroArch 1.7.4 has a new feature that will be especially advantageous to users of variable sync display technologies, such as G-Sync/FreeSync. We call it “Sync to Exact Content Framerate”.

Read the blog article below for a more detailed indepth article on this feature:

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/upcoming-retroarch-1-7-4-sync-to-exact-content-frame-rate-ideal-for-g-syncfreesync-users/

Cheat code searching/creation interface with rumble features


Read the blog article below for a more detailed indepth article on this feature:

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/upcoming-retroarch-1-7-4-cheat-code-searchingcreation-interface-with-rumble-features/

General changelog

– ANDROID: Add sustained performance mode, can be turned on/off in Power Management settings menu.
– ANDROID: Powerstate/battery level support.
– CHEEVOS: Fix crash when scrolling Achievement List while Unofficial Achievements enabled (#6732).
– CHEEVOS: Added hitcounts support for PauseIf/ResetIf (#6817).
– COMMON: Automatically hide “Configuration Override options” in Quick Menu.
– COMMON: Small Bugfix to not trigger savestate code when pressing Reset.
– COMMON: Added libsixel video driver.
– EMSCRIPTEN: Fix Game Focus Toggle.
– HID/OSX: Fix to set hid device registration deterministic (#6497), to address issue #6640 re-adding dynamic device registration.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Japanese translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Polish translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Portuguese / Brazilian translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Russian translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Spanish translation.
– MIDI: Add MIDI support to the libretro API. Dosbox is the first proof of concept core implementing libretro MIDI.
– MIDI: Add a Windows driver for MIDI, based on winmm.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Qt QSlider styling for Dark Theme.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Remove button ghostly inside highlighting.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Initial grid view.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Drag&drop to add new playlist items, add option to add/edit/delete playlists.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Add menu option to update RetroArch (Windows only for now).
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Add menu option to manage shaders.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Add menu option to manage core options.
– MENU/XMB: Add new icons for the settings
– MENU/XMB: Add an option to show the desktop ui
– METAL: Initial work-in-progress video driver for Metal. macOS-only right now, and currently requires macOS 10.13.
– METAL: Supports XMB/MaterialUI, has a menu display driver. Has a font rendering driver.
– METAL/SLANG: Slang shaders should be compatible with Metal video driver.
– NETWORK: Enable SSL/TLS support by default for desktop platforms.
– QNX: Fix Game Focus Toggle.
– PS3: Add audio mixer support for FLAC and MP3.
– PSP: Use proper button labels, fix inverted R-Stick Y axis.
– REMAPS: Fix the way offsets are calculated for keyboard remapping.
– RUNAHEAD: Fix full-screen mode change breaking Secondary Core’s environment variables.
– RUNAHEAD: Deterministic input for RunAhead, guaranteed to match the last polled.
– VITA: Use proper button labels, fix inverted R-Stick Y axis.
– VITA: Add imc0: mount.
– VITA: Use sceCtrlIsMultiControllerSupported to detect.
– VULKAN: Fix two validation errors.
– VULKAN: Try to avoid creating swapchains redundantly. Should fix black screen and having to alt tab out of window again to get display working on Nvidia GPUs (Windows).
– VULKAN/OSX: Initial MoltenVK support. Not enabled yet, several MoltenVK bugs should be fixed first before we can have it fully working.
– WINDOWS/DINPUT: Add rumble support.
– WINDOWS/DINPUT: Fix Game Focus Toggle.
– WINDOWS/RAWINPUT: Fix Game Focus Toggle.
– X11: Fix Game Focus Toggle.
– WII: Change deflicker setting to work in 480p or higher, and always enables vfilter so that the user can easily change brightness.
– WIIU: Fix out-of-bounds rendering bug
– WIIU: Implement UDP broadcast network logging on Wii U.
– WIIU: Audio should no longer clip.