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RetroArch – New Multiplatform / Modular emulator for the XBOX1

August 25th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

RetroArch is a modular multi-system emulator system that is designed to be fast, lightweight and portable. It has features few other emulator frontends have, such as real-time rewinding and game-aware shading. For each emulator ‘core’, RetroArch makes use of a library API that we like to call ‘libretro’.

Libretro is the API that RetroArch uses. It makes it easy to port games and emulators to a single core backend, such as RetroArch.

For the user, this means – more ports to play with, more crossplatform portability, less worrying about developers having to reinvent the wheel writing boilerplate UI/port code – so that they can get busy with writing the emulator/porting the emulator/game.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

Right now it’s unique in that it runs the same emulator cores on multiple systems (such as XBox1, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, etc).

For each emulator ‘core’, RetroArch makes use of a library API that we like to call ‘libretro’.

Think of libretro as an interface for emulator and game ports. You can make a libretro port once and expect the same code to run on all the platforms that RetroArch supports. It’s designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind so that the porter can worry about the port at hand instead of having to wrestle with an obfuscatory API.

The purpose of libretro is to help ease the work of the emulator/game porter by giving him an API that allows him to target multiple platforms at once without having to redo any code. He doesn’t have to worry about writing input/video/audio drivers – all of that is supplied to him by RetroArch. All he has to do is to have the emulator port hook into the libretro API and that’s it – we take care of the rest.

The Xbox 1 port of RetroArch has the following features:

– Real-time rewinding (though most emus will not likely run fast enough on Xbox 1 to handle this at fullspeed)
– Switching between emulator cores seamlessly, and ability to install new libretro cores

EMULATOR/GAME CORES BUNDLED WITH XBOX 1 PORT

The following emulators/games have been ported to RetroArch and are included in the Xbox 1 release of RetroArch.

For more information about them, see the included ‘retroarch-libretro-README.txt’ file.

– Final Burn Alpha Cores (CPS1 – CPS2 – NeoGeo) [version 0.2.97.26] (***)
– FCEUmm (Nintendo Entertainment System) [recent SVN version]
– Gambatte (Game Boy | Super Game Boy | Game Boy Color) [version 0.5.0 WIP]
– Genesis Plus GX (Sega SG-1000 | Master System | Game Gear | Genesis/Mega Drive | Sega CD) [version 1.7.0]
– SNES9x Next (Super Nintendo/Super Famicom) (**)
– VBA Next (Game Boy Advance) (*)
– Prboom (for playing Doom 1/Doom 2/Ultimate Doom/Final Doom)
– Mednafen PCE Fast (PC Engine/PC Engine CD/Turbografx 16)
– Mednafen Wonderswan (WonderSwan/WonderSwan Color/WonderSwan Crystal)

All of the emulators listed above are the latest versions currently available. Most of them have been specifically optimized so that they will run better on Xbox 1 (some games would not reach fullspeed without these optimizations).

* VBA Next doesn’t run at fullspeed on Wii (VBA Next is a RetroConsole Level 2 emulator port). It will be replaced by a port of gpSP in the near future.
** SuperFX games will not run at fullspeed – a special version of SNES9x will be developed for Retro Console Level 1 systems.
*** The biggest Neo-Geo ROMs that can be loaded are around 23+MB in size, such as Real Bout Fatal Fury 1 and King of Fighters ’96.

For more information and a download please visit http://www.emuxtras.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=183&t=2156

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  1. RockerC
    September 11th, 2012 at 08:39 | #1

    Can XBMC be used as a frontend launcher for RetroArch, similar to how the very latest XBMC can now act as a PVR frontend? If so then it will gain much more developers because the user group would become much larger.

    Also, later maybe RetroArch could be ported to Android in the same way as XBMC has, and then XBMC for Android could act as a emulator frontend launcher for RetroArch on all platforms that XBMC support too, which is a lot today.

    The main keys for RetroArch to be a long-term success would be to make XBMC act as the preferred launcher frontend, maybe via a Python script for XBMC like Advanced Launcher?

  2. professor_jonny
    September 25th, 2012 at 10:25 | #2

    RockerC retroarch has its own front end but yes it can be launched from xbmc4xbox same as any other program, there has been a hook put into the cores so that game selection could be done using scripts it would be worth asking this on the retro arch forums for more help on this, currently ther is no scrips to do this yet.

    retro arch is to be ported to android next releace i believe and already has ports for other platforms.

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