RetroArch 1.6.4 – Released!

RetroArch 1.6.4 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store. You might see it appear on the Amazon App Store soon too!

General changelog

ANDROID: Fire Stick & Fire TV remote overrides gamepad port 0 on button press and viceversa like SHIELD devices
ANDROID: Provide default save / system / state / screenshot locations
AUDIO: Audio mixer supports MOD/S3M/XM file types now!
INPUT: input swap override flag (for remotes) is cleared correctly
INPUT: allow specifying libretro device in remap files
INPUT: allow specifying analog dpad mode in remap files
INPUT: allow saving libretro device to remap files
INPUT: allow saving analog dpad mode to remap files
INPUT: allow removing core and game remap files from the menu
COMMON: Cores can now request to set a ‘shared context’. You no longer need to explicitly enable ‘Shared Hardware Context’ for Citra/OpenLara/Dolphin.
COMMON: Add ‘Delete Core’ option to Core Information menu.
COMMON: Allow Max Timing Skew to be set to 0.
COMMON: Change the “content dir” behavior so it works on either a flag or an empty directory setting, now platform drivers can provide defaults for save / system / state / screenshot dirs and still allow the content dir functionality, these settings are under settings / saving and flagged as advanced
GUI: You can turn on/off ‘Horizontal Animation’ now for the XMB menu. Turning animations off can result in a performance boost.
GUI: Fix sublabel word-wrapping in XMB where multi-byte languages were cut off too soon
LOCALIZATION: Update Dutch translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Traditional Chinese translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Russian translation
WINDOWS: Provide default save / system / state / screenshot locations
LOBBIES: Show what country the host is in
MENU: Enable OSD text rendering for gdi and libcaca drivers
WINDOWS 98/ME/2K: Set default directory for MSVC 2005 RetroArch version.
WII: Better V-Sync handling, backported from SuperrSonic.
WIIU: Exception handler rewritten.

Bounty system gathering steam!

Several bounties have either been completed over the past few days or are nearing completion. Let’s cover a few of them.

In case you’re interested, here is a list of bounties we are currently funding which still have yet to be completed and where you could come in. Check out this list here.

Play MOD / S3M / XM files music files now in-game!


Remember that audio mixer we added a few releases back? This allows you to have external music files playing while any core/game is running. So far, you could only play Wave (WAV) and Ogg Vorbis files with this feature, but now you can playback Mod files too!

Developer Romain Tisserand did the leg work on this bounty, and the nice thing about it being added to libretro-common is that the improvements and additions made to the audio mixer can be used now by either the libretro cores and/or the frontend, RetroArch in this case!

How to use this feature – simply go to ‘Load Content’, and select any MOD/S3M/XM/WAV/OGG file on your file system. Select ‘Add To Audio Mixer’. If you are using the XMB menu driver, it will now be added to the horizontal menu’s ‘Music’ tab.

Start up any core/game now. At any point in time while playing, go back to the music, go to the main menu, go to the Music tab, select any of the music files and choose ‘Add to audio mixer’. Toggle the menu again to go back to the game and you can hear the music being mixed in with the game’s sound.

TIP: You can mix several music files at the same time! You can run up to 8 music files together at the same time. As ever, RetroArch allows you power features beyond what is commonly offered.

MAME CHD support for Beetle Saturn / PC Engine Fast!

This bounty came about when several users saw the value in more emulators being able to read MAME CHD images and chipped in the funds for a bounty.

Developers Romain Tisserand and inolen (Redream) have written a new C-based library called libchdr. This should interface with CHD images. After the library was written, Romain decided to put the work in to backport CHD support to the Mednafen-based cores, Beetle Saturn and PC Engine Fast.

This means that both the Mednafen Saturn and PC Engine Fast cores can now read MAME CHD images! MAME CHD is a compressed image file which can save a ton of storage for disc/CD-ROM based images. The implementation also supports FLAC support for redbook audio.

New bounties have been created for more cores to have this compatibility, such as Genesis Plus GX (and Eke seems interested in having this in his upstream repository as well). This is just one of the ways in which we think bounties can trickle down beneficially to downstream projects as well.

The upshot in all this is that pretty soon it could be possible to use the same MAME CHD image sets for both MAME and these various cores. More interoperability between cores is definitely a good thing to see.

MAME 2003 – DCS sound issues fixed! Proper sound now in Mortal Kombat/NBA Jam/WWF Wrestlemania!


For a long time, the MAME 2003 core has suffered from an issue where the sound could deteroriate after a couple of minutes for about 30 seconds before restoring itself. This would happen in Midway DCS-based games such as Mortal Kombat 1/2/3/Ultimate, NBA Jam, etc.

A bounty had been submitted by dankcushions some time ago and finally this bounty is on the verge of being completed! It should finally be possible to play these games at fullspeed on something as low-fi as a Raspberry Pi without being put out of the game by sound bugs and being reminded you are running an inaccurate emulated version of the game.

New big bounty for Beetle PSX upcoming in next few days – dynarec!

For quite some months now, a bounty has existed for Beetle PSX which has steadily increased in value. Up to $250 now, the pledgers are asking a developer to create a dynamic recompiler for the Wii U system in hopes of being able to run PlayStation games at fullspeed.

Unfortunately, we think that in order for this bounty to first get traction, some groundwork needs to be laid out first. Right now, Beetle PSX has no dynarec system in place at all, only a CPU interpreter. Therefore, it would be very hard for a developer to start right out of the gates with a PowerPC-based dynarec since no framework is in place yet that would allow him/her to slot in a dynarec backend like this.

So, what we are going to do is we want to sweeten the pot a bit and create a new bounty dedicated solely to building a dynarec. We believe that once the groundwork is laid out, this WiiU dynarec bounty has more chance of being successfully completed.

The conditions will be:
* A dynarec system for Beetle PSX, preferably written in C or else C++98.
* A working backend for x86 32bit and x64 (64-bit).
* Should be engineered in such a way that new backend implementations for other architectures (like ARM and PowerPC) can be easily implemented.
* Should be signifcantly faster than the interpreter CPU core, and should lower Mednafen/Beetle PSX’s CPU system requirements considerably.

We will start out this new bounty at $100. Other users can feel free to chip in on this endeavor. You will see this bounty being announced over the next few days.

Release highlights

Windows 98 SE/2000/Millennium Edition version – now with 29 cores!


So we announced a Visual Studio 2005 version of RetroArch this past week which runs on Windows 98 SE / Millennium / 2000. Upon release however, there were no cores.

We now have 29 cores available on our buildbot! You can get them by starting your copy of RetroArch 1.6.4 and going to Online Updater -> Update Cores. Note that because it’s Visual Studio 2005/MSVC2005 we are relying on as our compiler, certain cores might never become available for this. For instance, cores that rely on C11 (like SameBoy) or C++11/C++14 (like Dinothawr/Dolphin/Citra) will not make the cut. Fortunately, most of our cores can happily compile as either C89 and/or C++98, so backporting is not as big an issue for it as it would be for other projects which are not as careful when it comes to code maintenance.

Here are some general hints and advice in case you want to run RetroArch on your retro battle station:
* Keep in mind that Windows 98 SE GPU drivers in most cases won’t support OpenGL 2.0. There is one exception apparently, which is the nVidia Geforce 6 series. This GPU series should support OpenGL 2.0 and there should still be drivers somewhere available for Windows 98. In case you have such a GPU, you could opt to use the OpenGL driver which should be more full-featured than our GDI and/or Direct3D9 drivers.
* In most cases, your GPU driver will probably support Direct3D 9. If you want to use Direct 3D 9, you should only use the menu driver RGUI with it. Neither MaterialUI and/or XMB will render properly as of yet with Direct3D.
* For lower-end GPU hardware where neither Direct3D 9 or OpenGL is desirable or possible (because you don’t have hardware accelerated 3D video drivers), a GDI video driver is also available. For this release, we added OSD font rendering to it. There are still issues remaining with this GDI driver though on certain OS configurations. Bparker might be able to use some help with getting some of those niggles sorted out. Reminder that if you want to use a menu driver with GDI, it’s best to use the RGUI menu driver.

Citra/OpenLara/Dolphin cores can now be easily used!

You no longer need to enable ‘Shared Hardware Context’ anymore in order to use these cores. RetroArch’s underlying API, the libretro API, has gained a new environment callback. The Citra/OpenLara/Dolphin cores make use of this to signify to the frontend that they need a shared hardware context.

A frontend can feel free to implement this or not, however, it goes without saying that cores which make use of this feature might simply not work correctly if left unimplemented.

Deleting cores

Installed a core, but you feel like you no longer need it? It’s now possible to delete it from within RetroArch.

How to do this –
1. Load the core.
2. Go to the main menu, and go to Information.
3. Select ‘Core Information’.
4. Select ‘Delete Core’ at the bottom of the list.

Configuration changes

Saving Stuff on Content Dir

The new behavior is to always provide a sane default directory for Saves, Savestates, System Files, and Screenshots. Windows and Android have been historically problematic in this regard since the content directory may not be writable at all times.
The old behavior relied on the setting strings being empty, now we provide a default value for these dirs on both Android and Windows which means the string will never be empty. Other platforms should follow this convention shortly.

So if you want to use content dir after 1.6.3 do the following:

  1. Navigate to Settings / User Interface
  2. Enable Show Advanced Settings
  3. Navigate to Settings / Saving
  4. Enabled the respective settings among the last four settings for the stuff you want to reside with your content

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to existing users but we need to make some changes to make progress.

Core Input Remapping Improvements

You can now delete core and game remaps from the Quick Menu.

Core Input Remapping has also been improved. The following will now be saved:
* The libretro device
* Analog Dpad mode

You can also save these in overrides but remaps is a far more convenient place for these.

Updates on cores

Read here what updates have been pushed to the cores since the last release –

As always, you can always install the latest version of every core from RetroArch’s builtin ‘Core Updater’ (accessible from the menu by going to ‘Online Updater’ -> ‘Update Cores’.

Retroarch on Amazon App Store coming soon!

We have often been begged by Amazon for years now to please publish RetroArch on the App Store. So far, we always felt the time was not right.

With this release, though, we have finally fixed a fundamental issue where using the Remote would make it no longer possible to use a gamepad as Player 1. This has now been rectified.

We will inform you when the Amazon App Store build has been published. For now, users can sideload it by just downloading the APK from our website.

What’s up next?

Priority number one absolutely right now is PPPSSPP and Supermodel. We are going to get that into your hands ASAP as promised.

After that,

* An AppImage version of RetroArch for Linux will be available soon.
* Lots of core work like we always do each week.
* More yet unannounced stuff? Stay tuned!

View this page if you’d like to explore donating to us. By popular demand, there is now the ability to send one-off donations through Bitcoin, and we have put up links so that you can directly send funds to the Bountysource bucket. You can also pledge to our Patreon.

NOTE: the OSX PowerPC version will be uploaded tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

RetroArch for Windows 98 SE/ME/2000 pre-release!

RetroArch for Windows 98 SE / Windows ME / Windows 2000 has just been released! Note that this will require cores specially made for it, and as of now there are none, so just consider this a pre-release for now!

Get it here!

Users should note: this is taking no time or resources away from the other stuff we are doing. Supermodel and PPSSPP cores are still being worked on, all our other work is still ongoing, so to repeat – this is not coming at the cost of other development!

Note that for these old operating systems, you might want to consider using the GDI video driver for optimal performance instead. Menu support is still premature though; XMB renders but with no textures and with dithered graphics, so for all practical purposes, the Direct3D driver is still the way to go here (with RGUI).

RetroArch 1.6.3 – Released!

RetroArch 1.6.3 has just been released! Grab it here.

This latest version has also been uploaded to the Google Play Store.

General changelog

IOS: Fix GL regression – 32bit color format cores were no longer rendering
CHEEVOS: Add support for N64 cheevos and other small fixes.
CHEEVOS: Add ‘Achievements -> Achievements Verbose Mode’. Ability to display cheevos related messages in OSD, useful for RetroAchievements users.
AUDIO: Audio mixer’s volume can now be independently increased/decreased, and muted.
AUDIO: Mute now no longer disables/enables audio but instead properly mutes the audio volume. Mute is also independent from the audio mixer volume.
INPUT: Add mouse index selection; ability now to select between different mice
INPUT: Fix ‘All Users Control Menu’ setting
LINUX: Add a tinyalsa audio driver. Doesn’t require asoundlib, should be self-contained and lower-level.
LOBBIES: Announce the RetroArch version too
LOCALIZATION: Add Traditional Chinese translation
LOCALIZATION: Update French translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Italian translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Japanese translation
LOCALIZATION: Update Russian translation
MENU: Add ‘User Interface -> Views’. Ability to display/hide online updater and core updater options.
NETPLAY: Disconnecting one client shouldn’t cause everyone to disconnect anymore
NETWORK: SSL/TLS support, disabled by default
SCANNER: Fix PS1 game scanning
SCANNER: Move content list builder into scanner task with progress, fixes menu freeze with large playlists
SDL2: Fix ‘SDL2 driver does not see the hat on wired Xbox 360 controller”
SETTINGS: Fix regression ‘Custom Viewport is no longer overridable per-core or per-game’
VITA: Add cheevos support
VITA: Add support for external USB if mounted
WAYLAND: Fix menu mouse input
WII: Add support for single-port ‘PS1/PS2 to USB controller adapter’

Platform highlights

Windows

There are now installers available for the Windows version! We offer installers for both the Windows Vista and up version, and the Windows XP version.

RetroArch will be installed by default to your user roaming profile, however, you can change this to any particular directory you’d prefer instead. The reason why we do not try to install to “Program Files” by default is because RetroArch needs read/write permissions in order to write downloaded core files directly to its folders.

Our installer installs RetroArch in ‘portable’ fashion. What this means is that you can take the directory that RetroArch was installed in, deploy it to another drive, and it will still run, and the default paths will automatically change their paths.

Windows XP

So MinGW has broken backwards compatibility with Windows XP sometime ago. This was a problem for us, since Libretro/RetroArch treats backwards compatibility very seriously.

So, what we have done is make a separate version of RetroArch for Windows primarily targeted at people running Windows XP. Instead of MinGW, we are using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 / MSVC 2010 as the compiler for this. We have also already ported at least 30+ cores over to MSVC 2010 so that they will run on this new Windows XP version.

We will not simply just stop at a Windows XP version – sometime later on next week, a Visual Studio 2005 version of RetroArch will be launched which will run on Windows 98 / ME / 2000! Where other projects are dropping older OSes and even entire architectures in order to cut down on maintenance and development time, we instead are adding even more platforms, and primarily because we both care about this and see the value in a platform/program that truly extends everywhere, and also because our infrastructure is set up in such a way that we can easily deal with any ‘maintenance’ burden this would otherwise entail for other projects.

Linux – Flatpak

RetroArch/Libretro has from Day One always treated Linux not only as a first-class citizen, but also pretty much as a reference platform. Unlike so many other projects that treat Linux simply as a quick and dirty port where they choose the path of least resistance and just use some middleware like SDL/WINE, RetroArch has custom audio, video and input drivers all written from scratch. It was one of the first programs outside of demo programs to support newfangled technologies like DRM/KMS, was very quick in adopting new rendering servers like Wayland, and unlike other software that simply uses middleware like SDL and/or PortAudio to provide sound, we have custom audio drivers written from scratch for ALSA/PulseAudio/JACK/OSS basically since Day One.

The problem with Linux though is that all of these features are highly distro-dependent, and each and every Linux distribution has enough differences that a traditional binary that runs on every Linux distribution is close to impossible. So, for now, we have simply left the responsibility of maintaining and packaging up RetroArch to individual distributions. Distributions like Arch Linux, Debian, and others have RetroArch and the various cores inside their package management repos, and they maintain it separately from us. Similarly, committers like sergio-br2 maintain Ubuntu repositories for RetroArch and its various cores.

But now, there are finally options for those who would like to try out RetroArch on Linux in a distro-agnostic fashion! Read all about it in our Flatpak article that we launched a few days ago. Within a few days, we will also be offering AppImage support.

iOS

A serious regression in the iOS version which made 32bit color format cores no longer render has been fixed. Also, a user has been helping us prepare for iOS 11 support.

If you’d like to learn how to compile RetroArch for yourself on iOS for your non-jailbroken device, read this article here.

macOS / MacOS X

RetroArch has been updated for both macOS/OSX Intel (for 64bit) and for OSX PowerPC (for PowerMacs/Powerbooks that have OSX 10.5 installed). The version for PowerPC comes bundled with the cores since we don’t host these on our buildbot (yet?).

PS Vita

Not only has Cheevos support been added, but it’s also possible now to use external USB devices if they are mounted! In order to use RetroArch on Vita, you need a jailbroken PS Vita and/or PSTV. Instructions on how to do that can be found elsewhere and falls beyond the scope of this article.

Wii/WiiU/3DS/Gamecube/PSP/Android

RetroArch has been updated for all other platforms that we actively support.

PlayStation3

We have posted a DEX version. We hope that separate community members can convert this to CEX and then offer it to us so we can host it.

Updates on cores

A separate article will be posted later that will detail all the work that has gone into the various cores. Stay tuned for this! As always, you can always install the latest version of every core from RetroArch’s builtin ‘Core Updater’ (accessible from the menu by going to ‘Online Updater’ -> ‘Update Cores’.

What’s up next?

* We are working hard right now on getting the PPSSPP / Supermodel cores that we have promised ready.
* An AppImage version of RetroArch for Linux will be available soon.
* A Visual Studio 2005 version of RetroArch for Windows will be available soon, which will run on Windows 98/ME/2K.
* Lots of core work like we always do each week.
* More yet unannounced stuff? Stay tuned!

View this page if you’d like to explore donating to us. By popular demand, there is now the ability to send one-off donations through Bitcoin, and we have put up links so that you can directly send funds to the Bountysource bucket. You can also pledge to our Patreon.