Reicast Libretro now supports the keyboard as an input peripheral!

Keyboard support has now been implemented by flyinghead! In this video you see us testing the game Typing Of The Dead, which relies on a keyboard as its primary input device..

In order to play this game, make sure the keyboard is set to Port A of the Dreamcast. You can see us doing this in the video by going to the Quick Menu, selecting ‘Controls’, and setting the first port to ‘Keyboard’. Now restart the core and the game. You should now be able to play the game.

Game focus toggle

Quick tip: RetroArch by default binds a lot of keyboard keys to hotkeys. In order to be able to use the keyboard in full, try to bind ‘Game focus toggle’ to a key. You can do this by going to Settings – Input Hotkeys, and binding ‘Game focus toggle’ to any key you want.

How this will work is as follows: if you press the game focus toggle, you will be in ‘game focus’ mode. In this mode, none of the hotkeys will work, and you can use every key of the keyboard. When you want to go back to the RetroArch hotkey mode, you press the ‘game focus toggle’ key again in order to deactivate game focus mode.

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.