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RetroArch brings more emulator cores to Steam including PPSSPP

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RetroArch, the free and open source application designed to help you manage emulators, media playback and more has a few additional emulator cores available now on Steam.

Cores are essentially the modules that RetroArch runs to do things, like run different emulators. The Steam release for RetroArch is a little different to the normal version. Instead of grabbing these cores directly in the application, they're being put up as individual DLC to download.

Just recently the team put these up:

  • BlastEm - SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive emulator.
  • Snes9x - SNES emulator.
  • Desmume - Nintendo DS emulator.
  • Nestopia - NES emulator.
  • Flycast - Sega Dreamcast, Naomi and Atomiswave emulator.
  • PPSSPP - Sony PSP emulator.

Currently, a few of them don't have the Linux builds available but the RetroArch team said to expect them shortly.

Be honest - how many of you will be loading all this up on the Steam Deck? Going to be an absolutely fantastic device for emulation fans and being on Steam should hopefully make it painless to get going.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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10 comments

tonyrh 10 Nov
In theory, RetroArch is the best thing ever.
In reality, it's a pita to setup, even on Steam. Right now I'm getting a warning about missing assets, and in fact, every icon in the UI is missing. Don't know why and don't know how to fix. Adding roms is so uncomfortable, adding required bioses and other stuff is a big question mark...
I get that RA is meant to work everywhere, from handhelds to dedicated SBCs attached to big TVs and so on... but on the desktop is just a horrible experience.
Desktop Linux needs a nice, simple, attractive app just like OpenEmu on MacOS. Gnome Games could be that app, but it tries to do too many things (big surprise really) and it's progressing very slowly...
twinsonian 10 Nov
Quoting: tonyrhIn theory, RetroArch is the best thing ever.
In reality, it's a pita to setup, even on Steam. Right now I'm getting a warning about missing assets, and in fact, every icon in the UI is missing. Don't know why and don't know how to fix. Adding roms is so uncomfortable, adding required bioses and other stuff is a big question mark...
I get that RA is meant to work everywhere, from handhelds to dedicated SBCs attached to big TVs and so on... but on the desktop is just a horrible experience.
Desktop Linux needs a nice, simple, attractive app just like OpenEmu on MacOS. Gnome Games could be that app, but it tries to do too many things (big surprise really) and it's progressing very slowly...

My experience is a little different than yours. While I agree with a lot of what you are saying here is how it usually goes for me:

First I don't use steam's version. I know people love Steam but I personally only use it when I absolutely have to. I much prefer the flathub version of retroarch. It just works.

Once the flatpak version is installed I run it, I go to online updater and add the cores for the systems I have. This is really the only tedious part going through this list and adding each core one at a time.

Once that is finished, the way my roms are set up in a directory -- all systems have their own folders and they are all under one EMU folder. To add everything I just scan the EMU folder and it finds everything in all subfolders for all installed cores. And then I am done.

Now if you want the fancy boxart etc for your systems, yeah Retroarch is kind of meh. I mean it works but it is so slow to download them. I personally just dont have a need for the art -- to each their own.

For most systems the controls are *fine* but you can press F1 in game and tweak controls and save profiles etc if needed. If you are not familiar with setting up controllers (especially n64) per core etc or do not know where the settings you want for scaling video etc it can be quite frustrating. I remember feeling that way too. After time I got kind of used to it. For *most* systems everything just works.

I do agree though -- if you don't know where to put the BIOS files and do not know how to find that directory -- it can be a pain in the ass and is pretty frustrating. Luckily there aren't a ton of systems that need this.

Don't forget you can use a QT based UI I think by hitting F5 once it is open. And you can set that as the default UI.


Last edited by twinsonian on 10 November 2021 at 7:03 pm UTC
TheSHEEEP 10 Nov
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  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: tonyrhI get that RA is meant to work everywhere, from handhelds to dedicated SBCs attached to big TVs and so on... but on the desktop is just a horrible experience.
I agree, the consolized UI is my biggest gripe with it.
I don't touch my controller until I'm in a game, so having to navigate that controller-centric UI is a pain, especially if you have a lot of games. Finding single ones among them is something you really have to figure out first.
Even MAME is superior in that and that's really not a cornerstone of intuitive kb&m design.

Either way, it's still the easiest to set up, even if you can't really make it pretty with box art, screenshots, etc.
whizse 10 Nov
  • Supporter
QuotePPSSPP - Sony PSP emulator.
I read the name of that emulator out loud and every cat in the neighborhood showed up!?
Craggles086 11 Nov
So, game emulation would be a big factor in me eventually buying a steam deck.

Playing the old classics on this sounds so much more appealing then playing a FPS on reduced screen size and trying to take out a sniper shooting from under cover.

I know some people are getting excited about FPS on this, but unless the games are designed to play well on the smaller format..

Will not hold my breath.

As far as Steam RetroArch vs non Steam version, just thinking if you like to play your emulated games full screen, and you like to easily map controls to a game pad then Steam has some ease of use factors on its side.


Last edited by Craggles086 on 11 November 2021 at 5:20 am UTC
Nod 11 Nov
I have tried RetroArch a number of times in the past and have never managed to successfully play a game using it. I decided to try again using the steam version as some old PSP isos from when I had a PSP.

I managed to load the PPSSPP core and even start a game, which is better than my last attempt. Unfortunately the game does not recognize input from any of my controllers (ps4 and steam controller). The keyboard "works" but I get stuck in the game start dialogues. Enter works to get me a some ways in but then I get stuck on a piece of dialogue. Random keys then start videos recording, pause, speed up the game and other random things occasionally quitting the emulator and sometimes steam itself. Finally I use ESC to quit.

So close and yet so far.

Does anyone know how to get controllers working?

Update I managed to work out some keyboard controls with trial and error and then found: https://docs.libretro.com/guides/input-and-controls/

Hopefully that helps someone


Last edited by Nod on 11 November 2021 at 6:45 am UTC
LinuxGeek 11 Nov
Desmume? use MelonDS instead, its much better... less glitch
fimmy 11 Nov
cool, it seemed rather silly to have to install the same thing twice. Once inside steam, and once directly to the OS drive. The non-steam version having access to many more emulators some of which then had to be copied into the steam emulator folder if you wanted Retroarch to run those from steam.
mark348 11 Nov
Love that emulator.
twinsonian 12 Nov
Quoting: LinuxGeekDesmume? use MelonDS instead, its much better... less glitch

Melon is fantastic -- and if you like flatpaks, it is on flathub


Last edited by twinsonian on 12 November 2021 at 6:06 pm UTC
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