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RetroArch 1.8.3 released!

RetroArch 1.8.3 has just been released.

Grab it here.

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Big features

ANGLE brings OpenGL ES support to Xbox One and generic Direct3D 11 video cards!

We wanted to bring this feature to you as early as version 1.8.2, but due to time constraints we couldn’t make it in time. You can read our older article about it here.

Now, with version 1.8.3, we’re finally ready to deliver on the ANGLE promise. We’re rolling out ANGLE support for two platforms:

ANGLE is middleware developed by Google that serves as an OpenGL compatibility layer on systems where OpenGL support is either spotty or missing entirely. It converts OpenGL calls to Direct3D 9/11.

In this video, you will see ANGLE being used on RetroArch UWP. In specific, it allows us to run OpenGL cores now on the Xbox One, where only Direct3D 11/12 are available as graphics APIs. Mupen64plus Next is shown running in this video on an Xbox One S with fairly acceptable results.

RetroArch debuts with ANGLE support for the first time since version 1.8.3.

What usecases are there for using ANGLE instead of regular OpenGL?

There are several scenarios imaginable where you would want to use ANGLE. Here are some of them –

Which ANGLE-specific cores are ready to go right now?

The following two cores are ready right now for the 64bit version of RetroArch Windows and the 64bit x64 UWP version (compatible with Xbox One) –

Instructions on how to use them on the desktop 64bit Windows version

NOTE: To use these, make sure you start retroarch-angle.exe instead of retroarch.exe.

Make sure you have downloaded these cores first. Go to Online Updater, and download ‘Mupen64Plus Next (GLES3)’ and ‘Flycast (GLES2)’. These are the ANGLE-specific cores.

You will now have to start your content with either one of these two cores. For example – to start Flycast with RetroArch ANGLE, you select ‘Flycast (GLES2)’ from the list as the core instead of the regular Flycast core.

WARNING – YOU CANNOT use the normal Mupen64Plus Next/Flycast cores as long as you’re running retroarch-angle.exe. Those cores are compiled against desktop OpenGL instead of OpenGL ES 2/3, so they won’t work with the ANGLE version of RetroArch. Make sure you’re aware of this before you walk away with the mistaken impression that these cores don’t work.

Instructions on how to use them on the 64bit UWP version (Xbox One and Windows 10)

Fortunately, it’s much easier to use these cores with this version. For one, typically only the ANGLE-specific cores are available for these builds, and second, thanks to the automatic driver switching feature from version 1.8.2, it will be able to switch video driver seamlessly from Direct3D 11 to OpenGL (ANGLE) depending on the requirements of the core. This way, you get the best performance possible with the native Direct3D 11 driver for every core that doesn’t require OpenGL, and for the cores that do, it will seamlessly switch to it. No manual configuration necessary.

Performance recommendations for Xbox One

You will want to tinker with the following options to get an acceptable baseline performance on Xbox One systems:

* Make sure that Core Options -> Threaded Rendering is enabled.
* You can enable Div Match which might get you an extra 5 to 10% performance gain. Be aware though that on some games this might cause compatibility issues.
* Lowering resolution might help too.

Xbox One X users should on average expect a 10fps or more performance increase over regular Xbox One/Xbox One S.

Netplay enhancements

As indicated in our earlier blog post, we have done many netplay improvements:

– We fixed a critical bug that would cause all players to be disconnected from the relay server if one player was leaving the game. That bug had been open for one year and we were finally able to fix it.

Fix the “spectator” bug when using the relay server – When a player switches into the spectator mode (pressing “i”) while using the relay server, all players will disconnect.

– Overall stability has also improved. We fixed a memory leak that would cause the relay server to become unresponsive after some time.

We also opened a new relay server in Sao Paulo, Brazil, since Brazil represents such a large part of our netplay audience.

Furthermore, in the short term we are going to be writing the netplay lobby server from scratch. It will be published under the Affero GPL license as open source code once it’s ready, and the existing lobby will be replaced. You can expect much improved code over what is currently being used.

RetroArch PSP and Vita – Massively increased core collection

Something that separates RetroArch from so many other projects is how it simultaneously caters to the extreme high-end as well as the extreme low-end with its ecosystem of software. So while on the extreme high end we have been busy adding 300fps/360fps modes for some of the impending cutting-edge 300/360Hz monitors to arrive, at the same time core developers are working on backporting optimized assembly versions of the Z80/68000 CPU cores.

The backporting of Cyclone and DrZ80 to the libretro cores has led to a dramatic increase in performance for MAME 2000, 2003, and 2003 Plus.

But that is not all. So many other cores have been effortlessly backported to PSP now that debugging is far less painful on the system. FreeIntv, MAME 2000, TGB Dual and Handy are all new cores, all running effortlessly!

RetroArch 3DS – RACE added

For RetroArch 3DS, we have added the Neo Geo Pocket Color emulator RACE.

– On o3DS you get ~45-50 FPS
– On new 3DS, you get fullspeed performance

OpenDingux now a supported platform in the future

We have recently added support for the OpenDingux family of devices. It has been tested on an RG350 and should theoretically work on the GCW Zero as well. You can expect to see a proper release of the OpenDingux version later on. For now it can be built from sourcecode.


Many outstanding bugs have been fixed in this release. For the full details, see the Changes section further below.



Libretro Cores Progress Report

Also check out our Libretro Cores Progress Report from today to see how the various Libretro cores have progressed since last time around.

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