zildjian
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:18 am

N00b Building A Retropie...

Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:59 am

Hi everyone!

I do not have a lot of experience with programming, electronics, etc. but hope to build a Retropie for my SO. I'd like for it to include emulators for Playstation 1, SNES, NES, N64, GBA and GBC (not sure if GB is currently available? It isn't on the list of "supported systems/emulators" on petrockblock.com). I have absolutely no worries about the performance of his PC, it works very well for gaming. The reason I am thinking of building him this is so that he can have access to multiple emulators with ease, as opposed to switching programs, and also because he's been having difficulty with the PS1 emulator controls right now. He's using a wired Xbox controller.

I've read a lot about the Raspberry Pi, know a bit of Python and am working my way through some beginner's manuals - however, I have absolutely zero hands on experience with the Pi itself. In fact, I haven't even purchased one yet (see question 3. I think I'll purchase a B+ model for my own tinkering though).
I have a few questions about building the Retropie.

1) Since it's a gift, I'd have to build this without my SO knowing - could I set up the Pi to work with his PC without having access to it? I understand that I may need to install the correct drivers or other software in order for the Pi to run on his PC, but I guess what I'm saying is that is there anything specific to a certain PC - and not just system - that I need to worry about?
2) How will I go about storing the ROMs? Should I use a SD card or USB? How much memory would I need? I think that enough capacity for around 80 - 100 games is enough.
3) With the release of the B+ model, which one should I use? I can see how choosing B might be easier, since it was previously done with that model and there are already parts available for it. However, could using the B+ model make this project any easier/more user friendly, for example with the extra USB ports?
4) I'm thinking that creating an emulator (+controller) that I can just plug into his PC and play is really awesome. Is there any way this can be done? Also, in order for him to use the Retropie, would he need extraneous accessories such as a wireless keyboard, or is everything in his computer enough?
5) What would be the most versatile controller that I can get for him? Right now he is using an Xbox controller.
6) As you've probably gathered thus far, I have no idea what parts I need and I've been having a hard time finding a tutorial - where could I get all the necessary parts? Adafruit? Amazon?

I'm sure that there will be more questions in the future, but this is all I can think of for now - thank you all in advance for reading!!

welshy
Posts: 1667
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:07 pm

Re: N00b Building A Retropie...

Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:49 am

Zildjian
Welcome to the Forum! Ok, first things first. I am slightly confused by your post

Q1. Are you suggesting connecting the Raspberry Pi via your sons PC? There is no need to do this as the RPi is a ‘Stand Alone’ computer, remote logging is possible but the speed differential (lag) would make running emulated games redundant (i.e. they would be too slow).

Q2. ROMS/Game Images. Dependant on how large your SD Card is! Other than Playstation CD Images (approx. 700MEG/Disc) older systems ROMS are small in size (a few K: NES to a few MEG’s: N64), more so when used as compressed/zipped files! You can literally fit 1000’s of Games onto a 8 or 16GIG SD Card!

Q3. It may be prudent to purchase the Model B+ if possible as it has additional USB ports available negating the need to buy a separate HUB. However, although no fundamental changes have been made to the firmware/software a user recently posted he was having issues installing RetroPie (See Thread - http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 78&t=82606). Keep an eye on the Forum for updates/new posts to see if there is an actual issue as more users obtain the Model B+ Hardware. No doubt if there are problems SD Card Images such as RetroPie/PiPLAY/UltraSlim will have updates to correct any issues as they are still being supported.

Q4. Again, see Q1 or are you suggesting the PC is just a Monitor for the RPi?

Q5. Which Xbox controller? Original or Xbox360? Personally I use an Xbox360 USB Pad as it doesn’t require any additional hardware (such as Wireless Receiver for the Xbox360 Wireless or BlueTooth Receiver for a PS3 Pad), is easy to obtain the correct Drivers and configure (See Here - http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 39#p492539) and has all the Controls/Buttons required for Emulating different Systems. But it’s a personal preference/dependant on if you already have any Pad’s available for use!

Q6. Firstly decide on what equipment is required for the Project, if you intend to use an Xbox360 USB Pad that’s all you will require plus the usual SD Card/Mouse/Keyboard for set up. Other SD Card Images are available (such as UltraSlim/Chameleon Remix/PiPLAY) or you can Build your own 'Custom' Image by using various Emulators and utilising a Front End GUI to launch them (Emulation Station or AdvanceMENU). For all your RPi Emulation needs check the Emulation on the Raspberry Pi' Thread Here - http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 78&t=54357).
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

lunarkingdom
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:38 am

Re: N00b Building A Retropie...

Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:58 pm

Having just gone through this with a new model B+ here is what is required to get you going, it was a little daunting for me but I figured it out, first get yourself an image of retropie (make sure it is version 2.3) here:

http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/r ... downloads/

Then follow this guide to burn your image to your SD card:

To save a lot of time on the installation of RetroPie, you can actually just head over to the RetroPie Download Site, and grab the “RetroPie Project SD Card Image” – Then unzip that file to a location on your primary computer. Also, don’t forget there is a donate button there if you feel like sparing some change for the creators of this awesome package.

Once you have that image downloaded, you can use Win32 Disk Imager (as detailed in the next section) to mount the image to the card, and then slap it right into your Raspberry Pi.

By doing this, you bypass the (very) long wait to download and compile the emulators, however, the image may not contain the most up-to-date version of the emulators.

Now you want to plug your Raspberry Pi into a screen via HDMI, plug in the ethernet cable, and plug in your USB Keyboard. Now power on your Raspberry Pi by plugging it into your Micro USB Power Supply.

Once the Raspberry Pi boots up, it should jump right into EmulationStation and have you map out the controls (keep in mind this does not map controls for the emulators, only the EmulationStation menu) – Just follow through the prompts here. We will come back later and configure it with the controller, but for now, that is not important.

Once your are done with that, you will be presented with the EmulationStation menu. We have some other things to take care of, so press F4 to exit EmulationStation.

Text taken from here: http://supernintendopi.wordpress.com/20 ... pberry-pi/

Then follow the instructions here starting at the larger words that say "DOWNLOAD":

http://blog.petrockblock.com/2012/07/22 ... pberry-pi/

Reboot.

Next get yourself a usb thumb drive or usb hard drive and plug it in, when you do so it will make a file called "roms" with a folder for every game platform retropie supports, they will be empty. Remove your device and proceed to load up all the roms you want in their individual folders (only do one or 2 for the playstation, not all of them work and they are huge, once your familiar with the process you can work on ps1 roms, for now stick to the smaller ones like sega). Once complete add a few roms to start so your not overwhelmed waiting 3 days for it to scrape (gather data and jpg's), here is the explanation from their website:


Using USB-Sticks

You also have the possibility to use a service that automatically copies ROMs from an USB stick into the correct directories. You can enable this service with the RetroPie Setup Script from within the "Setup" menu. If you are using the SD-card image download of the RetroPie Project, this copy service is already enabled.

"The service works as following: The first time you plug the USB stick into the the RPi, a ROM directory structure is generated on the USB stick, which only takes a few seconds. You can unplug the stick, put it into your PC and copy your ROMs into the corresponding directories on the USB stick. When you put the USB stick back into the RPi, the ROMs are automatically synchronized with the ROM folder on the RPi. When the flashing on your USB sticks ends (which indicates that no writing or reading activities are going on) you can unplug your USB stick."

Get yourself a usb joystick seems like the more generic the better with a D-Pad, they sell them for like 6 dollars at wall mart. This currently works on my B+ Pi, oh and last but not least the Raspberry Pi is a standalone computer, hook a keyboard and mouse to it and a monitor via the analog (4 prong 3.5mm headphone looking jack) or HDMI connector, if you are having any trouble viewing the video out after you burn your image to the SD card through the HDMI cable put the SD card in your pc and look on the SD card for a file called "config.txt" file there was a line I changed that made it use the HDMI instead of composite, it was:

# uncomment if hdmi display is not detected and composite is being output
#hdmi_force_hotplug=1

which I edited to say this:

# uncomment if hdmi display is not detected and composite is being output
hdmi_force_hotplug=1

Good luck, follow the directions carefully and it should work for you.

lunarkingdom
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:38 am

Re: N00b Building A Retropie...

Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:41 pm

zildjian wrote:1) Since it's a gift, I'd have to build this without my SO knowing - could I set up the Pi to work with his PC without having access to it? I understand that I may need to install the correct drivers or other software in order for the Pi to run on his PC, but I guess what I'm saying is that is there anything specific to a certain PC - and not just system - that I need to worry about?
2) How will I go about storing the ROMs? Should I use a SD card or USB? How much memory would I need? I think that enough capacity for around 80 - 100 games is enough.
3) With the release of the B+ model, which one should I use? I can see how choosing B might be easier, since it was previously done with that model and there are already parts available for it. However, could using the B+ model make this project any easier/more user friendly, for example with the extra USB ports?
4) I'm thinking that creating an emulator (+controller) that I can just plug into his PC and play is really awesome. Is there any way this can be done? Also, in order for him to use the Retropie, would he need extraneous accessories such as a wireless keyboard, or is everything in his computer enough?
5) What would be the most versatile controller that I can get for him? Right now he is using an Xbox controller.
6) As you've probably gathered thus far, I have no idea what parts I need and I've been having a hard time finding a tutorial - where could I get all the necessary parts? Adafruit? Amazon?

I'm sure that there will be more questions in the future, but this is all I can think of for now - thank you all in advance for reading!!
1) The Raspberry Pi is a standalone computer, all you need is a keyboard, mouse, monitor, (for the B+)microSD card with SD adaptor and a USB thumb drive/USB external hard drive

2) You download the roms on any pc then add them to the USB memory stick per my guidelines then they will be automatically placed on the SD card when you plug it in.

3) I chose the B+ and I am happy with it, my instructions are for the B+ model although it should work on others as well.

4) See number 1 answer as it is the same answer.

5) Once you receive your Pi and get the emulator and roms sorted try using his current controller, if that does not work get one with a D Pad instead of analog thumb joystick and it should work ok.

6) I got all my parts on ebay and I recommend doing that for the Pi but everything else you can find locally if needed.

Ck13casey
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:17 pm

Re: N00b Building A Retropie...

Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:06 pm

Cool! I'm working on getting my raspberry pi 2 b to have the retro pie video game emulators, I'm formatting a 32 gig micro sd card as I'm writing this, what I'm wondering, the raspberry I ordered came with a little 3.5 TFT LCD touch screen hat that just uses the gpio connectors like the audrino type attachments, I have the ".rar" file that is the driver so the raspberry knows it's there and uses the screen instead of the HDMI (or possibly at the same time would be cool too!) but seems like we can only flash one image onto these micro sd cards, like even with noobs/raspian, I don't know how to get the driver file into where when the raspberry boots up it uses the 3.5 touch screen, and I'd like to have this on all my sd cards for my raspberry, I know there has to be a way to do this, like those youtubes whee the people make a real looking hand held game system "with a little screen" all put together in a 3d printed enclosure, also seen one video where the guy made like a micro laptop out of his, so what's the trick to adding more image files to the card ? I haven't found a clear answer on how to do this specific thing. Any and all help greatly appreciated!!!
Thanks
Casey

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