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.

SD2SNES: Firmware 1.8.0 with SuperFX support

Good news for all the SD2SNES owners and fans of Star Fox (or Starwing in Europe), Stunt FX Race and further games requiring the SuperFX chip: The latest firmware supports SuperFX chip. Yes, you can play Star Fox now with your SD2SNES.

 

  • Get the latest firmware from the Project SD2SNES download page.
  • Then backup your current “SD2SNES folder on our SD card.
  • Overwrite your current SD2SNES folder with the files from the archive with the v1.8.0 firmware.
  • Safely unplug your SD card.
  • Place it in your SD2SNES cartridge, switch on your SNES or SuperNT and enjoy. The upgrade worked very smooth-less for me.

 

Further changelog:

  • SuperFX support by RedGuy! This is the duck’s guts. What an accomplishment. Big thanks to RedGuy!
  • EXPERIMENTAL brightness patching for S-CPUN based consoles (1CHIP/Jr). The patching is comprised of two parts:
    1. 1CHIP transient fix – tries to alleviate some graphical issues with 1CHIP consoles where it reacts unfavorably to sudden changes to the brightness register. This fixes the shadow in Air Strike Patrol, warped scanlines in Rudra’s Treasure, and faded scanlines at the top of the screen on certain Capcom games when the console is equipped with a de-ghosting fix involving the replacement of the C11 capacitor.
    2. Brightness limit – can be used to limit brightness on consoles where the stock RGB levels are too high.

    NOTE: There are known problems with games that use DMA to set the brightness register. Notably Star Fox and some MSU1 video players. You should disable it if you intend to play those. For now I’m releasing it as is because I still think it can be useful (and I’ll be gone for two weeks and didn’t want to delay this release any further :-D)

  • Added ExLoROM support (LoROM > 32Mbits)
  • The In-game hook is now disabled by default.
  • Touched up the menu a bit – dependent settings are printed in grey if the higher-level setting is disabled
  • Changed the version numbering by eliminating the eternal leading zero. The last digit can now be used for small revisions or fixes.

Libretro Status Updates

After the news about of the Dreamcast core Reicast yesterday, there is a general update from the Libretro team focusing on Dolphin, Ishiiruka, Beetle PSX HW and WIMP. Lets have a look:

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.

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!

Source: https://www.libretro.com/index.php/libretro-status-updates/

Reicast Libretro: Updates 26-7-2018

Again news from the Libretro team for Reicast. See their blog for details.

 

Here is a listing of all the changes/fixes/improvements:

  • (Dreamcast/Compatibility) Eldorado Gate – Broken opening FMV fixed (link)
  • (Dreamcast/Compatibility) Demolition Racer now works (link)
  • (Dreamcast/Compatibility) Redline Racer – Graphics bugs fixed (link)
  • (Dreamcast/Compatibility) Fixed rendering issues with Tokyo Xtreme Racer games (link)
  • (Dreamcast/Compatibility) Conflict Zone – Modern War Strategy now works
  • (NAOMI/Compatibility) Metal Slug 6 now works without graphics bugs

 

Reicast OIT – Increased compatibility with AMD/Intel GPU drivers

AMD GPU owners on Windows/Linux and Intel HD users on Linux/Mesa should probably be able to use the Reicast OIT core now, as several GLSL compliance bugs have been fixed by now.

Note that Reicast OIT can still be very buggy for Intel HD users on Windows, and slow to boot. The renderer really lends itself better to discrete GPUs from AMD/NVidia.

 

Render to texture upscaling!

Previously, games which rendered to texture (such as Dead or Alive 2 or Crazy Taxi) would always output at 1 x native resolution. Now, you can set the upscaling factor. Games which render the screen to a texture should look much better as a result, provided your GPU is up to the task.

xBRZ Texture upscaling

This new setting allows you to upscale all the textures in a game up to 6 x their original resolution using the xBRZ texture filtering algorithm! See it in action with Shenmue in this video below:

Source

4DO: 3DO libretro emulator supports now arcade games

The libretro core of the 3DO emulator 4DO supports now finally arcade games. As you can see, there are even playable games. The lightgun can be emulated by using your mouse.

From the blog:

After recently involving myself in the 3DO emulator 4DO I started looking over miscellaneous 3DO forums. Over at the Arcade-Museum.com forum I came across a post by willkaotix of klov who had the 3DO based arcade game Shootout At Old Tucson and had desoldered the ROM with an interest to get it dumped. This was back on 2015-10-18. Having not seen a conclusion to the thread nor the ROM floating in the wild I reached out to willkaotix.

willkaotix got back to me and having realized he had the ability to dump the ROM himself he did so… and here it is: 3do_arcade_saot_rom.zip

  • filename: 3do_arcade_saot.bin
  • size: 524288
  • crc32: b832da9a
  • md5: 8970fc987ab89a7f64da9f8a8c4333ff
  • sha1: 520d3d1b5897800af47f92efd2444a26b7a7dead

I’ve added support for the ROM in LibRetro’s 4DO core. This enables the loading, but currently not the playing (see below), of the publicly available dumped 3DO arcade games: Shootout At Old Tucson and Orbatak. The reason these games are not currently playable is due to these arcade games using custom controllers but there is an effort to reverse engineer them. It was/is possible to use the patched FZ-10 BIOS as well to boot these but for completeness it is nice to have this dumped finally.

Things of note: the BIOS is half the size of retail units. It has no attract mode. Retail games will not boot when using it.

Source: http://spawn.link/3do-arcade-saot-bios/

Naomi support in libretro Reicast cores

The libretro team shared the news about an exciting new feature: Their Reicast cores, both Reicast and Reicast OIT, support now Sega Naomi arcade games.

What is Sega Naomi?

Naomi was an arcade videogame system based on the Sega Dreamcast hardware and the successor of the Sega Model 3. While being nearly identical in terms of architecture, it did have double the RAM and fillrate of the home console version.

Naomi became one of the longest lasting arcade systems to be used second only to the Neo Geo AES. Various licensees (such as Capcom, Arc Sys, and even Nintendo) licensed the hardware during its lifespan to produce arcade games with.

How to use it

You will need a NAOMI BIOS file inside your system directory. The BIOS with the best compatibility so far is epr-21576g.ic27. This is a file that is contained inside the MAME NAOMI bios zip. Rename this file to naomi_boot.bin and move it to your ‘system directory/dc directory.

Try to get the file epr-21576g.ic27.

What content to use

You will need roms that worked on nullDC Naomi. These will typically be .dat/.lst or .bin/.lst pairs.

The last value of the .lst file specifies the size of the .dat/.bin file in hexademical value.

Here is an example of the .lst file used for Toy Fighter –

Toy Fighter
“Toy Fighter.dat”, 0x0000000, 0x05800000

You can find the existing .lst files here.

NOTE: MAME ROMS won’t work (yet). Proper Atomiswave roms won’t work, however, most Atomiswave to Naomi GD-ROM conversions should at least work or boot.

Currently existing issues

There are some issues that remain with Naomi support:

  • By default, two arcade sticks are hooked up.
  • There are some video and syncing glitches right now. One of the most immediately apparent is the flickering Naomi boot screen.
  • There is no analog and/or shoulder button support yet for Naomi games.

Videos

Toy Fighter

Dolphin Blue

King of Fighters XI

Dead or Alive 2 Millennium

Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper

A new core option called ‘GD-ROM Fast Loading Mode’ has been added. It can severely cut down on loading times, sometimes even removing them almost entirely as can be seen in the game ‘Daytona USA 2001’ here.

Various sound fadeout bugfixes

Through some judiciously applied hacks, the following games no longer suffer from sound fadeout issues:

  • Border Down
  • Bomberman Online
  • Chaos Field
  • Death Crimson OX
  • Fatal Fury/Garou: Mark Of The Wolves
  • Jet Set Radio/Jet Grind Radio
  • Napple Tale
  • Phantasy Star Online
  • Phantasy Star Online Ver. 1
  • Radirgy
  • Segagaga
  • Sonic Shuffle
  • Trigger Heat Exelica
  • WWF Royal Rumble

Graphics fixes

Thanks to the awesome efforts of flyinghead, several graphics glitches have been fixed, like Virtua Tennis or Psyvariar 2.

Other changes

Reicast OIT

  • Added an accumulation Pixel Buffer Size core option. You can set this to 512MB, 1GB or 2GB, depending on how much VRAM your video card has. For higher resolutions to output correctly, you might need to increase this to the highest value possible.
  • House Of The Dead 2 failed a verify assert – should boot and be playable now.
  • Rebase ADPCM decoding.

Reicast (non-OIT)

  • Multipass rendering is now enabled by default. Plenty of games need this for accurate rendering and the performance tradeoff should be minimal.
  • House Of The Dead 2 failed a verify assert – should boot and be playable now.
  • Rebase ADPCM decoding.

Source: https://www.libretro.com/index.php/reicast-libretro-now-supports-naomi-other-additions/