Lakka 2.2 Christmas Release

Happy new year everyone!

The team over at lakka.tv released their new version 2.2 over the holiday season.  This includes RetroArch 1.75, which comes with the new menu “Ozone” (highly recommendable), a fixed PPSSPP core and many more changes.

To update your Lakka box simply use the online updater, download the new release package, reboot, let it install and enjoy the new release. I updated mine and it worked flawless. Big thanks to the team.

Head over for more Lakka news to the project’s website.

New firmware 1.9.0 for SD2SNES with SA-1 support released

Early christmas for all the owners of a SD2SNES card: The team over at www.sd2snes.de just released their new firmware version 1.9.0 ready for download. Highlight in this release is for sure SA-1 support again by RedGuy.

There is obviously much more into it. Here is the summary:

  • SA-1 support by RedGuy! Big thanks to RedGuy again 🙂 This was a really tight fit for the FPGA so there’s a little catch – MSU1 is not available for SA-1 games.
  • Also from RedGuy comes partial SRAM detection for some known games (SuperFX & SA-1). This calculates a ROM CRC and chooses to monitor only specific regions in cartridge RAM for changes. This enables automatic saving without having to resort to periodic saving, reducing wear on the SD card.
  • SNES CPU <-> PPU clock phase alignment. This is a long standing issue on a sub-CPU-cycle base inside the SNES. HDMA to certain registers can cause flickering sprite slabs to appear when CPU and PPU are out of phase after a cart-side reset (which does not reset the PPUs). This fixes the notorious flickering of characters with the giant frog attack in Chrono Trigger, sprites in Kirby Super Star, characters behind the text box in Star Ocean, and probably more. See https://github.com/RedGuyyyy/sd2snes/issues/6 for technical details.
  • Added an option to always go back to menu on reset, regardless of whether it’s a short or long reset.
  • LED brightness setting (16 levels)
  • Added an option to choose whether you want to start a game with or without cheats enabled (of those that are marked as enabled in the YAML file). You can enable / disable them later using the L+R+Start+A / L+R+Start+B button combinations if you have in-game buttons enabled.
  • Disable Satellaview emulation when a real Satellaview base unit is detected to avoid bus fighting and facilitate Satellaview development
  • System Information now shows the currently effective video mode (50 or 60 Hz).
  • Fixes:
    • Control signal edges are detected a bit earlier, improving stability on some consoles (Github Issues)
    • Fix timing of auto region patching. This should solve cross-issues with Super Scope games because they rely on the same register that is also used to read the console region.
    • Fix brightness patching / limiting for games that use HDMA to alter the brightness register. (e.g. Star Fox)
    • Fix an occasional imaginary access cycle carried out by the FPGA after reconfiguration. This fixes lockups when loading games with dedicated FPGA files, i.e. SuperFX, SA-1, OBC-1.
    • Fix SuperCIC pair mode entry for consoles with ≤ 3.072MHz CIC clock (notably GPM revisions). (Github Issue)
    • S-RTC register state is reset when the console is reset.

Source:  SD2SNES Blog

RetroArch 1.7.5 released

The latest article from the libretro team announces a new version of RetroArch: RetroArch 1.7.5 has just been released! Grab it here. or via Google Play Store (32bit) or for users with 64bit capable devices you can grab the new version here.

So what is new in this version?

  • Launch of Nintendo Switch version

This is definitely THE highlight of this release. The libretro team got a dedicated article for this:

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/retroarch-1-7-5-introducing-libnx-switch-version/

In short: Installation instructions and all the feature included in this first release for the Switch like

  • OpenGL support
  • Touchscreen support (for MaterialUI/etc)
  • Full networking support
  • RetroAchievements support
  • Game scanning
  • Split Joy-Con support
  • Core downloader
  • Runahead support
  • and 44(!) cores supported already

 

Further there are the following improvements in this new version:

  • Menu improvements: dropdown lists
  • Adaptive V-Sync implemented for OpenGL (Windows/Linux)
  • Improved Vulkan performance (especially for Nvidia cards): mailbox emulation: More details in  this blog article.
  • Easy recording/streaming options (for versions with ffmpeg support)
  • UDP Streaming to another RetroArch instance

For all the details and changelog read the full blog post here.

 

OSSC Firmware Upgrade Tutorial

If you are the lucky owner of an OSSC (Open Source Scan Converter) to scale up your retro games on your modern TV, then you like to ensure to keep your firmware of your device up to date to profit from fixes and enhancements which are constantly released. Great support on the OSSC here.

OSSC from manual

What do you need?

These are the steps to follow:

  • Grab the latest firmware from here: https://www.niksula.hut.fi/~mhiienka/ossc/fw/
  • Write/Restore the downloaded file to the Micro SD Card with the help of your image writer software
  • Put the Micro SD card into your OSSC (slot is on the left side of the display)
  • Switch the OSSC on
  • Press “Menu” on the remote control
  • Press “Down” until the menu says “Firmware Upgrade”
  • Press “OK”
  • Confirm to flash by pressing “1”
  • Wait until the OSSC finished to verify and flashes the new image
  • When it says “FWwupdate ok” you can switch the OSSC off, wait a few seconds and turn it on again
  • It should now work with the latest firmware

Experienced some issues? Comments and feedback welcome.

FAQ Chimp-Tools (Xbox Classic)

Having used the Chimp-Tools lately to clone an Xbox-Harddisk to replace it with a bigger sized disk, I put together all possible errors that I came across while trying solve my issue:

  • Ensure you use the latest Chimp build: https://github.com/Rocky5/Chimp261812
  • Verify to use the path Chimp expects:
    E:\applications\chimp
    E:\applications\chimp loader
    E:\apps\chimp
    E:\apps\chimp loader
    E:\chimp
    E:\chimp loader
  • Use standard RGB cable and not the Component or any other 3rd party video cable
  • Disable the widescreen option in your Dashboard and use normal aspect ratio
  • Disable 480p, 720p or 1080i options
  • Linux users: Use a Windows machine to FTP transfer your files over to the Xbox; for some reasons the permissions attributes don’t work with Chimp (this was for example the issue I experienced and with Windows it worked without any problem)

More to come….

 

From Youtube.com

RetroArch 1.7.4 released

New RetroArch 1.7.4 is available for download. Grab it here.

What is new in a nutshell?

  • 64bit version of RetroArch Android
  • Discord integration
  • WIMP Desktop UI massively improved (Windows and Linux)
  • Sync To Exact Content Frame Rate (G-Sync/FreeSync users)
  • Cheat code searching/creation interface with rumble features
  • and many more improvements on the various platforms

Head over to the original article to see all the details on the changes.

Source: https://www.libretro.com/index.php/retroarch-1-7-4-released/

 

wideNES – Peeking Past the Edge of NES Games

Have you been a proud owner of a Nintendo Entertainment System in the 1980’s and enjoyed playing for example Super Mario Bros on your 4:3 CRT? Have you played SMB also on a current setup – like a 1080p HDTV – recently? It probably filled only half of the screen…. What about if these NES titles could be played in proper widescreen? That is exactly where wideNES is trying to fill the gap. Check out the following article:

wideNES – Peeking Past the Edge of NES Games

In the mid 1980s, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the home console to have. Boasting the best sound, the best graphics, and the best games of any home-console to date, it pushed the envelope for what home-gaming could be. To this day, titles like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid are hailed as some of the best games of all time.

Well, it’s been over 30 years since the NES was released, and while those classic games have aged well, the same can’t be said for the hardware they ran on. With a screen-resolution of just 256×240, the NES didn’t give games all that much screen real-estate to work with. Nevertheless, intrepid game developers squeezed amazing, iconic worlds into NES games: the maze-like dungeons of The Legend of Zelda, the sprawling planet of Metroid, or the colorful levels of Super Mario Bros.. And yet, due to the NES’s hardware limitations, gamers only ever experienced these worlds a single 256×240 viewport at a time…

Until now.

Introducing: wideNES. A new way to experience NES classics.

wideNES is a novel technique to automatically and interactively map-out NES games, in real time.

As players move within a level, wideNES records the screen, gradually building-up a map of what’s been explored. On subsequent playthroughs of the level, wideNES syncs the action on-screen to the generated map, effectively letting players see more of the level by “peeking” past the edge of the NES’s screen! Best of all, wideNES’s approach to mapping games is totally generalized, enabling a wide range of NES games to work with wideNES right out of the box!

But how does it work?

Read the rest of the article here including a download link to try it out yourself.

Article: An Oral History of ‘GoldenEye 007’ on the N64

Melmagazine is having an interesting article about  one of my all-time favorite games: Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64. Countless hours we spend their with the multiplayer part in front of an 45cm CRT back in the day. And it was so much fun. And it doesn’t feel like, but Goldeneye is already 21 years old, which was the reason for the linked article below.

The article is – and probably not only if you are a die-hard fan of Goldeneye – definitely worth to read through it in its entirety.

Did you now that Goldeneye was supposed to be just one of these film-license games (no one liked)? A 2D single-player side-scrolling game, pretty much like Donkey Kong Country (which is one of my other all-time favorites btw too)? Or that the multiplayer part was already too late for implementation as only a 2 man team worked on it? They probably tested (read: played) too much….

Even if you are familiar with all of these, head over and read this great article.

RetroArch: Discord integration coming

The next release of RetroArch, which will be 1.7.4, will come with the integration of Discord. Discord is a free voice and text chat for gamers. Visit their website here on discordapp.com.

Here is what the blog entry from Winneon says:

RetroArch 1.7.4 will have extended Discord RPC integration! Previously before 1.7.4, RetroArch would act as any other game in Discord: as a simple “Playing” status that said you had RetroArch open. It wasn’t very descriptive or helpful other than displaying the name “RetroArch”. With the 1.7.4 update, RetroArch will display more information beyond a simple “Playing” status! Below is the full list of new features this new extended integration brings.

  • A new “In-Menu” and “In-Game” status that displays whether you’re in the standard RetroArch menu, or playing a game in a libretro core.
  • Playing & paused indicators displaying whether or not the currently running core is paused or not.
  • Sleek icons based on the Monochrome XMB theme that display what platform your game is running as. This is dependent on the core, not the individual game/content, so there will be case scenarios where it may be wrong (i.e. showing a GameCube icon when you’re playing Super Mario Galaxy in Dolphin).
  • A text indicator that displays what platform & core you’re playing under when hovering over the platform icon.
  • A text indicator that display what game/content you’re playing. If you chose your game/content from a playlist, it will use the playlist entry’s name instead of the content filename.
  • A counter/stopwatch that shows your current session’s playtime when you’re playing a game/content in a libretro core. The counter will pause when the game/content also pauses along with the new playing/paused indicators.

Source: https://www.libretro.com/index.php/upcoming-retroarch-1-7-4-details-on-discord-integration/

Lakka 2.1.1 with Raspberry Pi 3 B+ support

After quite some time the Lakka team released the new version 2.1.1 which – as you probably guessed from the headline – supports the new raspberry Pi 3 B+. Great news for these owners. Some updated and also some new cores like Higan, nSide, Cannonball, MAME2003 and much more.

Here is the changelog:

  • Important updates
    • RetroArch 1.7.3
    • LibreELEC 8.2 fixes
    • XU4 kernel update to 4.14
    • Rockchip kernel upgrade
    • Allwinner kernel upgrade
  • New cores
    • Higan, the famous SFC emulator from byuu
    • nSide, a fork of higan v106 with additional features
    • Cannonball, an enhanced OutRun engine
    • MAME2003 plus, updated 2018 version of MAME (0.78) for libretro. with added game support and improvements
    • Snes9x 2005 plus, Snes9x 1.43 plus BLARRG APU
    • FreeIntv, Mattel Intellivision emulator
    • Game Music Emu core
  • Core updates
    • Citra, the 3DS emulator
    • ChaiLove, the chaiscript game engine
    • MAME2003, the multi arcade emulator
    • PPSSPP, the PSP emulator
    • Sameboy, the Game Boy emulator
    • Desmume, the Nintendo DS emulator
    • and many more
  • Fixes
    • Keyboard fix for ARM based devices
    • Bluetooth fix for S905/S912
    • H3 boot
  • Bonus
    • Support for more gamepads (Zeroplus based gamepads)
    • Support more Commodore cores
    • Libretro overlays are now exposed in SAMBA
    • Project cleanup
    • XU4 fix display of the partition resize messages

For more information, head over to their blog post.

To update, use the internal update feature of Lakka. Download and reboot.