RetroArch Disc Project – Disc dumping to internal storage now possible!

We’ve written about the RetroArch Disc Project some time ago. To refreshen your memory, we want to make it possible to play physical optical discs with RetroArch.

It is our full intent to ship an initial beta version of this in a future version of RetroArch (maybe the next one?).

So far, we have added CDROM support for the following systems:

  • PlayStation1
  • Sega CD
  • Sega Saturn
  • 3DO

Disc dumping

We’ve now added disc dumping as well! Go to the Main Menu, go to ‘Load Disc’. If you have more than one physical drive, you’ll see several disc drives. If no disk drives are detected, it will show nothing here.

Assuming you have a disc already inserted, select the disc drive menu entry and it should now start dumping your inserted media disc to RetroArch’s internal storage. During this time, you can go do something else while you wait for it to load. For instance, you can go load another core/game and just play it while waiting for the menu widget to finish.

By default right now, RetroArch will store all dumped CDROM images to the ‘Downloads’ directory of RetroArch. There might be more options for this coming up soon in the  near future.

Disc images are dumped in bin/cue format. Most of the dumped images work generally very well, but games which rely a lot on redbook audio might still have some random issues

RetroArch Disc Project – Run real games off CD-ROM with RetroArch, starting with Sega CD, Sega Saturn, PlayStation1 and 3DO! Coming VERY soon!

So, we just announced the RetroArch Disc Project yesterday. We believe everybody that uses RetroArch and has a CD drive at their disposal should be able to run their own original discs on RetroArch.

We had initial plans of launching with just Sega CD, but a lot can happen in a day. So, without further ado, we’re going to show you our latest work in progress video of actual PlayStation1 games running off the original CD in RetroArch!

July 2: And then the day after, we added Sega Saturn and 3DO to the mix!

So what can you expect?

  • Expect a release of this VERY soon.
  • It will be Windows/Linux only for now. We have no plans right now for bringing it to other systems/platforms, but I’m sure the list of platforms that will have CDROM support will grow as we go on.
  • Expect this initial release to target PlayStation, Sega CD, Sega Saturn and 3DO games for now. If more systems get added to the mix, we will let you know in advance.
  • We are going to get Lakka involved in this from Day One.
  • Will things be perfect on Day One? No. But it will be pretty good for an initial release, and as ever with all things RetroArch, we move fast, and we will make speedy progress!

PS. In case you were wondering what happened to ProjectFuture, you’re looking at it!

Retrogaming should be affordable to all and available to all instead of locked behind overexpensive wasteful hardware. It is all built off the backs of opensource anyway, why should this be locked down again by any single company? It shouldn’t! Preservation and emulation should go hand in hand, and that means being able to run the original discs on open source emulators, on ANY device!

To the Raspberry Pi community and other SBC communities – go nuts with this when it hits!

Introducing the RetroArch Disc Project!

You bought all these old games on physical media decades ago. Why should you have to buy it all over again? Why, by that same token, should you have to buy expensive hardware by up and coming startup companies whose main selling point is just to be able to run your physical CD retro games again, but on expensive proprietary hardware built around open source software? Everybody with a CD-ROM drive and with DIY hardware should be able to do this! It’s the year 2019, this stuff should be commonplace and as accessible as drinking water from the tap!

That was our line of thinking when we set about creating the RetroArch Disc Project. We are adding physical CD-ROM support to RetroArch, and you will get to play around with an initial version of this VERY SOON! It will be a case of trial and error, and throughout this process, we will need your help as a community to tell us which CD-ROM drives work, which ones have trouble reading anything, we will need pull requests and code contributions. But we are convinced that at the end of this road, all of us will be finally liberated from the shackles of artificial restrictions surrounding our own legally bought copies.

So, to give you some brief idea of what to expect:

  • The initial version that we intend to release will be targeting Sega CD games for now. We have tested a few games and they seem to work.
  • Bugs might still happen as previously indicated. – There might still be Redbook audio issues, or they might just run fine.
  • We will be targeting Windows and Linux for now.
  • Based on our initial testing, you will have better luck with internal CD drives for now than USB-based CD drives. But your mileage may vary. That is why we need you involved in this project.
  • Games with copy protections will not run for now. Thankfully, they are in the minority.

What is our scope for the project:

  • Better compatibility
  • More system support. PlayStation1 is very likely next.

We hope this project will be a boon for anybody with an SBC (Raspberry Pi or otherwise) and/or anybody with their own desktop PCs! Let’s make RetroArch a platform where we can take our own physical CDs and run them as effortlessly as on the original real game consoles!

As ever, everything we do will be open source.

More to be unveiled soon! Stay tuned…