First things first – we are back. It has taken us a very long time to make a new release of RetroArch due to numerous complications, so apologies for missing numerous release dates before (first Christmas, then somewhere in April, etc.). It tells something about the development hell we’ve been through that I’ve just skipped an entire version number (1.1) and gone straight to 1.2.
Let me first get some important stuff out of the way before we continue. For our iOS and Blackberry 10 users: we were not ready today (July 4) to launch on these platforms, you’ll unfortunately have to hold out for one more week before we have something for you. Rest assured that there will be plenty to enjoy a week from now.
With that out of the way…
What is RetroArch being released on today and tomorrow?
- Android (DONE) (Uploading to Play Store right now)
- Windows (DONE)
- Linux (DONE) (Repo packagers, go ahead and update the respective packages)
- Mac (Maybe July 5 2015)
- Consoles (Wii / PS3 / PSP ) (July 5 2015)
- Consoles (Xbox 1 OG) (Maybe July 5 2015)
- iOS (Next week)
- Blackberry 10 (Next week)
Other platforms will have to wait, but rest assured the wait is not much longer. *
I could write an entire book about all of the new features in RetroArch, but instead I’m just going to summarize it up in a few bullet points so that you can get the gist of it. In the upcoming weeks you will see plenty of more big announcements coming from us, and we will also provide you with much-needed user documentation on everything you can do with RetroArch now.
– Brand new eye candy menus to choose from! –
RetroArch now lets you select between three menu display modes: RGUI (a very classic, low-resolution menu), GLUI (a more advanced GL-based menu that lends itself well to touch-based devices), and XMB (a horizontal crossbar menu that is the most eyecandy-rich of all three right now).
Thanks to improved touch support, you should now be easily able to control RetroArch’s menu by dragging up or down and clicking on items. And thanks to built-in DPI awareness support, menu elements should now be scaled according to the DPI (Dots Per Inch) reported by your system.*
* NOTE: The XMB menu driver’s touch support right now is kinda iffy. We recommend that you use GLUI on touchscreen-based devices, like mobile (Android/iOS/etc).
– Scan files/directories and add them to game system collections! –
You can now scan files and/or directories, and RetroArch will look for a match inside its database. If it finds a match with a known game on a given system, it will then add this game to a collection based on the system of that game. This way, you can have ordered collections of games without having to browse your filesystem all the time looking for a ROM/game to play.
To use this feature, go to ‘Add Content’ and select either ‘Scan Directory’ or ‘Scan File’. *
* NOTE: Some programs right now might not yet have a database system in place to allow you to scan said content. Some of the current ones that still need to be addressed are [URL=http://www.aep-emu.de/Web_Links-req-visit-lid-133.html]MAME
and CD-based systems such as the PlayStation
. You will see this rectified in an upcoming RetroArch update.
– View database information about each game once added to a collection! –
Once you have a few collections, you will be able to view detailed information about the game, provided by RetroArch’s new database features. You will be able to view the developer of the game, the year it was released at, any kind of special hardware it used on the ROM cart package, the publisher that released the game, etc. *
* NOTE: The amount of information provided per game can vary and is dependent on the database’s completion. We encourage contributors to help us out building up these databases.
– Download programs (‘cores’) online –
RetroArch no longer comes with programs preinstalled, instead you download these now from our buildbot from within the program. Go to Online Updater -> Core Updater and select any of the cores you’d like to have installed. It will then download that core from our buildbot. This way, you are in control of exactly which programs you have installed and RetroArch does not take up any additional space for things you don’t need.*
We add new cores onto our buildbot routinely, so as soon as they will be uploaded you will be able to download them and use them with your current copy of RetroArch without even having to update the main program. Stay posted for more exciting new stuff coming up ahead.
* NOTE: We make no guarantees about server availability or uptime.
– Update everything! –
It isn’t just program cores that you can install this way from our buildbot. You can also update all of the asset files that RetroArch depends on. You will always be able to download the latest shaders, onscreen gamepad overlays, cheat files and whatnot directly from our servers from within the app.
All of this content is updated on a daily basis, so you can be sure there will be plenty of new things to check out on a weekly basis.
– Download Game & Watch games and play them with our exclusive Game & Watch emulator ! –
People in their early to mid-30s might have seen these things in the wild back n their day and will probably be familiar with these old standalone handheld games that predated the Game Boy, but don’t let their age fool you: these games still are very useful time killers and their age if anything gives them even more charm appeal.
Go to ‘Add Content -> Download Content’ to download any of these Game & Watch games. From there, you can play them with our Game & Watch emulator which has been built from scratch by a valued libretro contributor. Some of the standout features include faithful reproduction of the handheld’s screen layout, high-resolution bezels, nice simulation of the sound effects, etc. Give these a try.*
* NOTE: We owe a certain amount of thanks to Madrigal’s simulators for being able to offer these games to you.
– Built-in input mapping –
It is now possible to bind your gamepad from within the program without having to go through the chores of previous versions. Go to Settings -> Input Settings and select ‘Bind All’ to bind each and every button one at a time, or bind the actions individually. If you are using a gamepad which is supported by us, it will be autodetected and autoconfigured to align with our gamepad abstraction, the RetroPad.
– Ability to remap controls –
An often-heard complaint before was the inability to change the controls. We have made this possible now. Once a game is loaded, go to the ‘Quick Menu’ and select ‘Core Input Remapping Options’. From there you can change the controls per core, and you can also save these changes to a config file.
– Ability to enter and load cheats –
It is now possible to input cheats and apply them to the currently running game. This was also an often-heard complaint and omission pointed out by users, so we have provided this as well this time around. *
* NOTE: Some programs might not yet have cheat support integrated. As soon as we include cheat support for these cores, you will be able to download the updated core from within the app (see ‘Download program cores online’).
– Multi-language support! –
This release comes with (preliminary) multi-language support. Go to Settings -> User Settings and choose a language. Right now we provide translations for Dutch, German, Portuguese, and French.*
* NOTE: Some of the language translations might be more incomplete than others. Others (like Japanese/Chinese/Russian) are not available right now, and we seek translators for those as well.
– Over 80+ programs now and counting –
RetroArch and the libretro ecosystem has expanded in scope dramatically since the last release over a year ago. There are now over 80+ programs to choose from among its collection, and you can be sure that number is bound to increase from here on out. *
* NOTE: The amount of program cores available might vary based on the system you are using.
– Built-in image viewer (and media player) ! –
We have thrown in an image viewer inside RetroArch now. It is possible to display JPEG, PNG, TGA and BMP images.*
As if that is not enough, for the Windows release we now have an integrated media player. It is possible to play music and movie files now from within RetroArch. This might seem like an unorthodox way to use RetroArch, but it has certain tricks up its sleeve that other media players do not, such as frame interpolation and a wide array of shaders and audio filters to choose from. ** ***
* NOTE: Expect this feature to be improved in the coming weeks, there are still some power management issues to sort out with high-resolution images.
** NOTE: Expect this feature to be heavily improved later on. We will want to start supporting remote controls and also to provide a fancy overlay for video playback purposes. Also, expect a very nice audio visualizer soon for the playback of music files.
*** NOTE: The integrated media player support is available for any version of RetroArch that comes with built-in ffmpeg support. RetroArch is dependent on ffmpeg for making it possible to playback these files.
– Tons more besides to discover and enjoy –
This quick writeup does not even scratch the surface of everything that has been added to RetroArch over the span of a year. We worked hard on making this release happen and as such did not have the time to write about every single new feature in detail before dropping this release. Over the next few weeks we will have a more increased Youtube channel presence where we will drop videos which will show you all you can do with RetroArch right now. Please look forward to these videos.
Also, don’t hesitate to contact us with your iDeaS
on what could make RetroArch better and how to improve it. We definitely want you to provide us with a lot of feedback on this release so that we can improve the next release in response to user feedback.
From now on, you can expect continuous updates. It took us a long time to set the entire infrastructure up to make all this possible and we also had to rewrite RetroArch entirely at least 5 to 6 times over the past year, but rest assured that this huge media dropout was a one-off event.
If things are not perfect today (and nothing will ever be perfect), be rest assured that from here on out, updates will be quick to arrive. We are not going to have a repeat of this endless delay schedule that has plagued us since last year, and above all we now want continuous user feedback so that we can improve things as we go along. Most importantly, me and others have practically worked themselves to death on this release for over a year and we really want to push this release out now so that people have something in their hands and we can go from there.
Oh yeah, there will be another big blog post after this that will detail some other new projects we’re working on shortly, but for now I have to focus on actually pushing this release out. So let’s see if we can get that done today and we’ll drop all the other major announcements shortly after.
Some other notes (Xbox 360 missing, etc)
* The only exception to this release promise is the Xbox 360 port. I have been routinely screwed and scammed by the ‘underground’ console hacking scene and right now I’m sitting on this paperweight RGH Xbox 360 that is useless for development, so that port is on indefinite hold until somebody can get me either the XDK back that I gave somebody in good confidence that it would go to Ced2901 (but it never did apparently), and I presume the guy I gave it to just hoarded it. or we can get a replacement for it. I won’t mention names but the guy who took my XDK and never gave it to the person he said he was going to give it to knows who he is. Anyway, if you guys still consider this Xbox 360 version important, let me know but I’m not going to go and take money out of my own coffers again to make that happen. I’m done with the console scene shenanigans.
Some other notes (3DS / PSP version)
We could maybe push out a PSP version of RetroArch 1.2 in the upcoming weeks. I’m hoping to get back with the main contributor (aliaspider) who worked on these ports so that we can be assured that we can at least push out the PSP version in a more or less stable and decent state.
Regarding RetroArch 3DS: it’s still very much a work-in-progress and I don’t think either me or aliaspider would feel comfortable to ship anything right now in terms of official release at this stage, and we need a lot of work done on the cores before we can render some of them playable on the slow 3DS (it’s even slower than the PSP it seems).