Libretro and Classic/Mini Consoles update!

ModMyClassic Logo

Libretro has teamed up with ModMyClassic (formerly Hakchi Resources) to provide Libretro with their own official “Classic” platform offering for the classic consoles such as the NES Classic, SNES Classic, C64 Mini and the PlayStation Classic.

This now means you can download both stable and nightly builds of RetroArch and majority of the cores directly from official sources which are built and optimized specifically for the classic consoles.

We (Team Classic+) on behalf of ModMyClassic have been liaising with the Libretro developers on multiple cores to resolve numerous performance issues, bugs, crashes, and have gone through each core one by one to ensure that you receive the most compatible and best performing experience on your classic consoles.

As of writing this article there are currently 83 cores available for download in varying formats. (Raw .so, Compressed .so, zipped .so, hmod and compressed hmod) There will be more added to this list in the coming weeks and the inclusion of a “Classic” platform of RetroArch built specifically for the NESC and SNESC (based of HR’s RetroArch “Neo” build)

We are still working on this official “Classic” offering however you can find the WIP nightly builds here: https://buildbot.libretro.com/nightly/classics/

This means that ModMyClassic (formerly Hakchi Resources) will no longer be providing “3rd party builds” of RetroArch or its cores. It will only provide the builds directly from Libretro sources to ensure that any improvements made between developers ends up benefiting everyone in one single collection.

We also added a simple to use “Classic” platform to all of the core makefiles which we will expand on with future classic consoles. You can compile them for your own needs if needed. We added ARMv7 Cortex A7 (Hard Point with Neon) builds so you can also compile these for your own needs, or to use as a template for any other ARM based device. If you have a different architecture ARM device you should be able to easily adjust the classic platforms slightly to suit your needs. We will be providing a detailed compilation guide for the classics and other ARM devices in the libretro documentation in due course.

Notable Mentions (What’s new for current “Classic” users)

Apart from every single core on the list having been optimized, vetted, and tested to ensure they run at peak performance and stability, there have been a number of notable changes and improvements to some of the cores and their “Classic” versions. (Please note that some cores will run badly on the limited hardware. No amount of build optimization will fix this!)

  • New cores – EasyRPG is now available, SimCoupe core has been revived and added into the available cores and a few other variation cores have also been added such as VICE 128. (Commodore 128)
  • Fixed and optimized N64 cores (Mupen64Plus and Parallel) – The ancient builds of mupen and glupen have been moonlighted and classic specific build optimizations and fixes have been made for the N64 cores which allow for more compatible and higher FPS playback on some titles.
  • Mame2003plus speed issues fixed and improved – Thanks to the work from markwkidd, grant2258 and members of team classic+, we managed to resolve some speed issues with the core and the classic including some fixes to the audio and compatibility fixes. This is now very much the go to MAME core for the classics.
  • DOSBOX core improved – Thanks to radius we have fixed up the classic offering of DOSBOX so the core now runs much better than it originally did. 286 and 386 based games should run without issue on the classics now with 486 running ok depending on the game.
  • Nightly builds directly from libretro sources (Never be out of date!) – This means you can download the latest build of every core available for the “Classics” built directly from Libretro sources. You can download the latest version of any core if you so wish as they are built every 24 hours, 365 days of the year. We will still offer “Stable” releases which will likely tie in with releases of RetroArch.

RetroArch now ported and running on the PlayStation Classic

Thanks to the efforts of Team Classic+ (Especially CompCom) we have now ported RetroArch and all of the current 86 classic cores to the playstation classic. Here is a small video showcasing the functionality:

We will be adding the Playstation specific build platform to the RetroArch build and the cores very soon to tie in with the official “classic” platform release

Final Thoughts

We at ModMyClassic are extremely happy and enthusiastic to be working alongside Libretro and by forming this partnership we hope to better the “Classic” offering and provide the best end user experience possible. Whilst this is announcement is a WIP post, we aim to have the official Lbretro “Classic” platform of RetroArch and Cores polished and fully released in the upcoming month.

Please note that ModMyClassic is still in the process of a rebrand from Hakchi Resources and we are currently working at full load to try and get this finished as well as the “Classic” builds. Please excuse us if you check our website if it’s out of date as we are currently redoing everything from scratch which includes all of our APIs, build servers and deployment servers.

If you have any specific qustions regarding RetroArch on the classics or classics in general, please feel free to ask us directly in the ModMyClassic Discord and we will try and answer your questions/resolve your issues.

Big thanks to Autechre for helping make this partnership a reality and facilitating the project. Lastly, many thanks to all the members of TeamClassic+, m4xw, markwkidd, grant2258, gharby, robloach, flyinghead, radius and anyone else who helped to resolve issues and worked on the project.

 

 

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.

Libretro Status Updates

So, what have we been up to?

Dolphin and Ishiiruka cores

The Dolphin libretro bounty has led to this rebasing of the Dolphin libretro core. It is now up-to-date with the latest sourcecode, and it now supports OpenGL, Direct3D11 and Vulkan! It is even available for RetroArch on Android right now, provided you use the AArch64 version (since Dolphin itself requires a 64bit CPU on Android anyway).

In addition to this, I have also taken a look at porting Ishiiruka (a Dolphin fork) to Libretro. This one is not as far along yet as the mainline Dolphin core, but we are already making steady progress with the OpenGL renderer!

RetroArch 1.7.4 – WIMP updates

There will continue to be improvements to the WIMP UI in RetroArch 1.7.4. One of the big new features will be a fancy grid view. Previously, the WIMP UI only had a list view.

Beetle PSX HW

Some important bugs have been fixed. Finally, mask bit emulation has been (hackishly) implemented by flyinghead for the OpenGL renderer, so Silent Hill’s fog finally displays properly. iCatButler has made PGXP much more robust over the past few weeks, which has led to many rendering bugs being fixed when PGXP is enabled.

Reicast

You can read about all of our improvements to the Reicast core in this separate blog post here.

Beam racing bounty – up to $1132!

The beam racing bounty has fetched $1132 so far!

RetroArch is already at the tip of the spear when it comes to latency mitigation strategies with features like runahead, configurable max swapchains, frame delay, custom video context drivers, etc. Beam racing is a new lagless VSYNC technique has been developed that is already implemented in some emulators like WinUAE. The aim of this bounty is to finally implement it in RetroArch as well, and the users/devs that want it have put their money where their mouth is for this particular feature!