Work In Progress PCSX2 Libretro core in development

PCSX2 is a PlayStation2 emulator with a fairly high degree of compatibility. For over two years we have ran a bounty hoping that somebody would be able to port PCSX2 to libretro, so that it can run for instance inside a libretro frontend like RetroArch.

Today, I can happily report that we are nearing the point where the core is becoming quite usable. It might not be long before we can finally make our first initial release. Watch our YouTube video premiere here that shows you a variety of games running on an in-development PCSX2 core, running on RetroArch of course.

Let’s discuss briefly what to expect in the weeks ahead when the initial release version launches. So far there is only a 64bit x86_64 libretro core. There might be a 32bit core in the future, but it’s contingent on improvements made in upstream first. The OpenGL and Direct3D 11 renderers have both been hooked up. Direct3D 11 renderer should be a bit faster on Windows than OpenGL, but on the flip side OpenGL has slightly more features (higher blending accuracy modes for instance).

Things NOT to expect for now:
* Android support. Totally dependent on upstream efforts to make PCSX2 more portable. This will remain for 64bit x86_64 PCs for now.
* No Mac support. GSdx has OpenGL 4.x requirements and Mac doesn’t meet them. Standalone should be the same in this regard.

We are hugely grateful to aliaspider for finally getting this core up and running in libretro. Together with Govanify we have also found some x64 dynarec bugs that he managed to solve, so games like Drakengard and Klonoa 2 work now with the 64bit dynarec. Govanify has some plans to make the PCSX2 codebase much more portable than it is now, but this is a long-term project.

PS. Keep checking our RetroArch YouTube channel. We will be showing you many games running on PCSX2 / RetroArch in the upcoming days ahead.

RetroArch Steam – beta key giveaway

UPDATE: Keys have ran out for this batch. Thanks for participating!

New beta testing keys will be available on 9/26/2020 – for the exact time check this page here.

As you probably already know, a year ago we announced that RetroArch would be releasing on Steam. We have worked hard on this for a fair while now. The process is slower than expected due to reasons beyond our control.

It’s been a lengthy process and we have had to significantly retool things to conform to Steam’s policies and guidelines, one of which is no Core Updater (just like on Google Play now).

While we wait for our release candidate build to be manually approved by Steam (which we’ve been told is a lengthy process), in the meantime we will start giving away beta testing keys. We want to gather as much feedback as possible from users so that the final experience on Steam lives up to people’s expectations.

So with that in mind, we are giving away keys for our first beta test version, Beta 1.

How do you get a Steam beta key?

Although we want everyone to be involved in this testing process, we cannot do it all at once. We will distribute the codes for a while at the link down below.

For Patreon users: We feel it’s important to express our gratitude to the people who gave their support when we fell on hard times with the hacking attack. Patreon subscribers can request their testing key by sending us a Direct Message on Patreon.


NOTE: These keys are not being sold, and as per Steam’s rules regarding crowdfunding, we are allowed to do this. We refer to the following section:

You can use the keys for crowdfunding rewards and give to your supporters. Before the game launches, you can also give your supporters beta keys if you wish, but these keys should only be owned by your supporters, and unless beta access is available for sale through Steam, these keys should not be sold elsewhere outside of a crowdfunding campaign.

Steam version details

So what’s different when using the Steam version right now vs. the regular version?

  • No core updater. You install cores through Steam Store instead. After you install RetroArch, you install the Libretro core DLCs that are available separately. We have made 10 cores available as DLC so far. They are all free and are already available on Steam.
  • All updateable assets (including shaders, overlays, etc) are pre-packaged and updated with new RetroArch builds. Basically, nothing is downloadable from our servers, everything goes through Steam.
  • No Desktop Menu.
  • Remote Play support. See next paragraph.

Remote Play support

RetroArch on Steam has full Remote Play support. This means that you will be able to play any multiplayer game online with another Steam user that also has a RetroArch beta key.

This feature is exclusive to the Steam version, and has the following advantages:
* Not dependent on RetroArch’s netplay functionality
* Because of this, it does not depend on serialization in order to work
* It apparently works very well, on par with something like Parsec and perhaps even better

NOTE: Right now, Player 2 needs to use a gamepad in order to be recognized as player 2. If Player 2 uses the keyboard instead, RetroArch will mistakenly think it’s Player 1 instead.

Which cores are available right now on Steam?

The following cores are currently available: