I recently wrote up a guide to recreate Retropie on Arch Linux. Additionally, I submitted some packages to the AUR to make this process a bit easier. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions for improving this.
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Retropie - Arch Linux Flavor
A guide to build the Retropie setup on Arch Linux. This guide is not all
encompassing. It is merely a basic setup to build a similar environment
offered on the official Retropie install script.
i) AUR tools
1) Install retroarch
2) Install Emulators
3) Install ROMs
4) Install EmulationStation
ii) Downloading Boxart Images
5) Launch EmulationStation at login
6) Auto login at boot
Section i) AUR tools:
This guide will make use of the AUR to ease the installation process.
Several tools can be used, such as: packer, yaourt, cower, etc. Feel free
to use the tool that you are most comfortable with.
Section 1) Install retroarch:
Retroarch is found in the AUR.
'packer -S retroarch-rbp-git'
Copy skeleton configuration file located at /etc/retroarch.cfg to
'cp /etc/retroarch.cfg ~/.retroarch.cfg
With your working joystick, configure your controller with the
'retroarch-joyconfig >> ~/.retroarch.cfg'
Note: Ensuring your joystick is working will not be covered in this
guide as this falls out of scope and there are plenty of other
resources to help with this.
Consult https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/RetroArch for more
Section 2) Install Emulators:
There are several emulators for retroarch. You can get a list of them by
issuing the command below. Install whatever is necessary.
'packer -Ss libretro'
Note: Some emulators may not work or may require manual building by
downloading the associated tarball and issuing the command:
'makepkg -Acs --asroot'
'pacman -U /path/to/package'
Section 3) Install ROMs:
Make directory and install ROMs to ~/roms/<system>.
mkdir -p ~/roms/snes
cp /path/to/roms/* ~/roms/snes/
Section 4) Install EmulationStation:
EmulationStation is found in the AUR.
'packer -S emulationstation-git'
Taken from https://github.com/Aloshi/EmulationStation.
~/.emulationstation/es_systems.cfg: When first run, an example systems
configuration file will be created at
$HOME/.emulationstation/es_systems.cfg. This example has some comments
explaining how to write the configuration file, and an example
RetroArch launch command. See the "Writing an es_systems.cfg" section
for more information.
~/.emulationstation/es_input.cfg: When you first start
EmulationStation, you will be prompted to configure any input devices
you wish to use. The process is thus:
Press a button on any device you wish to use. This includes the
keyboard. If you are unable to configure a device, hold a button on the
first device to continue to step 2.
Press the displayed input for each device in sequence. You will be
prompted for Up, Down, Left, Right, A (Select), B (Back), Menu, Select
(fast select), PageUp, and PageDown. If your controller doesn't have
enough buttons to map PageUp/PageDown, it will be skipped.
Your config will be saved to ~/.emulationstation/es_input.cfg. If you
wish to reconfigure, just delete this file.
NOTE: If ~/.emulationstation/es_input.cfg is present but does not
contain any available joysticks or a keyboard, an emergency default
keyboard mapping will be provided.
As long as ES hasn't frozen, you can always press F4 to close the
EmulationStation themes can be found in the AUR.
'packer -S emulationstation-themes'
To get a list of all themes available..
'ls -l /usr/share/EmulationStation/themes/
Create the necessary symlinks to the themes of interest.
'ln -s /usr/share/EmulationStation/themes/snes ~/.emulationstation/'
Consult http://aloshi.com/emulationstation for more information.
The scraper tool can be found in the AUR.
'packer -S emulationstation-scraper'
Open your systems config file ($HOME/.emulationstation/es_systems.cfg)
and append the corresponding platform ID to each system:
DESCNAME=Nintendo Entertainment System
COMMAND=retroarch -L /path/to/core %ROM%
A list of supported platforms can be found here.
ii) Downloading Boxart Images
Grab all boxart and descriptions by issuing the command below:
'scraper -m -w 275'
The -m flag will put the tool in manual mode and prompt the user on
which image to download if more than one result shows. The -w flag will
modify the size of an image with a width larger than 275 pixels.
Note: I highly suggest manual mode as to ensure it grabs the right
Consult https://github.com/elpendor/ES-scraper for more information.
Section 5) Launch EmulationStation at login:
Taken from https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Start_X_at_Login and
Issue the command below to ensure EmulationStation starts at login.
'echo '[[ -z $DISPLAY && $XDG_VTNR -eq 1 ]] && emulationstation' >> ~/.bash_profile'
Note: The single quotes around the string being echoed are important!
Section 6) Auto login at boot
First create a new directory named firstname.lastname@example.org under /etc/systemd/system:
Then create a new file named autologin.conf and add it into the directory:
ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty --autologin <username> --noclear %I 38400 linux
Now you should have a working environment similar to what retropie offers but
in Arch Linux. Enjoy! :)