welshy
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Best Emulators for Pi

Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:18 pm

As a Retro Game fanatic I have owned, imported, hacked or emulated pretty much EVERY Arcade, Console & Computer system over the years. Now it’s the Pi’s turn to be a platform for my emulation obsession! With this in mind I am posting my observations so far -

Emulation - Be mindful, emulators are notoriously exacting animals, most are painstakingly coded by fans of the original platform and distributed FOR FREE for our enjoyment! Most WILL NOT work straight out of the box! Also, the platform emulated often bears no correlation to performance, i.e. the Atari VCS, although not very powerful specification wise, IS processor intensive to emulate due to its custom TIA graphics/sound hardware! So, with that in mind here are my findings of the best emulator solutions I have discovered so far, all except Atari++, Mednafen and UAE can be run straight from terminal for added performance!

Advancemame-0.106.1 - THE ORIGINAL arcade emulator! Be wary though, often you need the CORRECT revision of ROM and/or sample! Dependencies required: libsdl1.2-dev, use gcc-4.7 to compile!

Advancemess-0.102.0.1 - *BBC Model B (MUCH faster than Beebem), *C64, *Colecovision, Nintendo NES, also runs *Atari 400/800 and *Vectrex, both are SLOWISH, but playable! *Bios required. Dependencies required: libsdl1.2-dev, use gcc-4.7 to compile!

Atari++ 1.60 - Fantastic, Atari 400/800 emulator, shame it will not run FULLSCEEN!

FBZX 2.10.0 - I find it a more elegant solution for ZX Spectrum emulator than FUSE!

Gngeo-0.7 - Neo-Geo AES/MVS, MUCH faster than Advancemame! Run with option --scale=2. As the core is based on MAME code this will also suffer from the need of the correct ROM revision! NB Though unlike Mame, which gives DISPLAYS the missing Rom files, this just reply’s “unknown or unsupported romset” making it a bit trickier to find the correct ones!

Mednafen - PC Engine, PC Engine CD and Supergrafx, can also be used to run Nintendo NES, works fine so long as you limit your resolution with the /boot/config.txt and DON’T run more that Scale x 1!

Pcsx Rearmed-r15-14 - A Sony Playstation emulator that effortlessly works FULLSPEED on the Pi! What an extraordinary piece of coding! Dependencies required: libbz2-dev, configure with --sound-drivers=sdl

Stella - Atari VCS, MUCH faster than Advancemess! Also effortlessly plays Pitfall 2 which had the addition of a custom DCP in the original cartridge, a lot of emulators struggle with this particular game!

UAE-0.8.29 - A pretty robust Commodore Amiga emulator, though “GLITCHY”. Dependencies required: libgtk2.0-dev, configure with --with-alsa

I am currently using image 2012-09-18-wheezy-raspbian, with the Pi over clocked to 900MHz. Mednafen and Stella can be installed straight from the Repo’s, I have compiled all the others myself, feel free to post any queries!

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billb
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:30 pm

Great info - thanks! I've been meaning to try mednafen.

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topguy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:45 pm

What about C64 emulation ? Frodo or Vice ?

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billb
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:30 pm

I haven't tried Frodo, but Vice works OK. Forum member AreaScout has a modified version linked here:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 44#p164344

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:27 pm

billb
PC Engine - Don’t forget to change the mednafen.cfg file in the .mednafen folder to -
;Select video driver, “opengl” or “sdl”.
vdriver sdl
;The scaling factor for the X axis. (do the same for the Y axis and fullscreen if required)
pce.Xscale 1
to start the game type –
mednafen ”name of folder where you have the roms”/”Image Name” with its extention! i.e. mednafen medroms/gunhed.pce

SuperGrafx - Games play fine, though if you know your PC Engine history, there were ONLY 5 games specifically written for it! But Dai Makai Mura (Ghouls and Ghosts) is MUCH closer to the arcade original than the Megadrive version. The ONLY superior home version (At the Time) was the Sharp X68000 Computer (Released in Japan ONLY), which is unsurprising really, it was the actual development system for the Capcom CPS arcade board! (Street Fighter 2, Ghouls and Ghosts etc)
PC Engine CD - Put the BIOS file in the .mednafen folder and change the mednafen.cfg file in the .mednafen folder to -
;Path to the CD BIOS
pce.cdbios “PATH”/”BIOS FILE”
They are somewhat slower than the HuCard games, but worth a try, especially if you have your RPi over clocked higher than mine!

NB Unlike many of the emulators I have listed, Mednafen WILL NOT play zipped ROMS!

topguy
As VICE is usually my EMU of choice for the C64 I began my experimentation there and things initially looked good, but performance was “clunky”. However, when updating to the new distro of Wheesy I found ANY sound output slowed it down to a crawl! The other thing with VICE, it is quite a BIG program as it emulates pretty much EVERY Commodore machine, where, I suggest, most people will just want to use it for C64 emulation. I have since found MESS to be almost “perfect”. The one proviso being, stick to DISC Images (.D64) the cassette emulation is not that great, my assumption is with the REAL hardware the “cassette” option was seldom used in the USA, disc drives were the norm. Also even if you use the PAL BIOS, it still runs at NTSC speed! No bad thing! Additionally, in MESS once the emulator is downloaded with the game file its running “accurately”, that is, you have to manually type the loading instruction into the emulated machine e.g. type - LOAD, “*”,8,1 enter, wait for the image to load, then RUN enter! As for FRODO, I haven’t tried it, as MESS gave such good results!
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

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malakai
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:35 pm

Can you post the ones you have compiled? Would love to give them a try.
http://www.raspians.com - always looking for content feel free to ask to have it posted. Or sign up and message me to become a contributor to the site. Raspians is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (RPi's + You = Raspians)

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billb
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:04 pm

welshy wrote:NB Unlike many of the emulators I have listed, Mednafen WILL NOT play zipped ROMS!
That's odd -- I wonder if it was built without zip support. The versions I use on PS3 LInux play zipped ROMs with no problem.

PS - I'm also a "retro game fanatic" :D -- I've spent a lot of time working on this project on PS3 Linux

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:04 pm

Oh, I take that remark back, YES IT DOES! lol. Must have been when I had a test bed running Debian 6 on Virtual box before I received my RPi it was a problem!
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:13 pm

Yup, miss read my notes says "WILL play Zipped Files"!
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

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billb
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:27 pm

I'm curious -- are you running all of these from X, or just mostly from terminal without X?

Specifically with mednafen if it was running from the terminal without X, seems like we could set the desired screen resolution using fbset so it fills the screen with no scaling required. For example, if you know you're playing an Sega Master System game then you know the resolution is 240x226. So you'd set the screen resolution with fbset like this:

fbset -xres 240 -yres 226

And you wouldn't need the emulator to do the scaling by itself (which would be slower, as you've pointed out).

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:04 pm

Unfortunately, Atari++, Mednafen and UAE have to run from X. Obviously the extra processing speed and memory available by running in terminal makes a BIG difference on RPi! That’s one of the reasons I’m experimenting with MESS, the NES emulation ISN’T as accurate as Mednafen, BUT it runs faster, cleaner and fullscreen straight from terminal. Unfortunately, as its version 0.102.0.1 it’s VERY OLD, many of the system‘s drivers are experimental and/or “unsupported” e.g. the Playstation (PSX)Drivers work, but it doesn’t support CDroms! Which isn’t too much of an issue because -
1. It’s WAY 2 SLOW
2. MAME/MESS DON’T support bin and cue files so you would have to use CHDMAN to convert them to CHD files! (Which I did first!)
Just a shame the PC Engine drivers don’t seem to work! I only get a BLANK SCREEN, unless somebody else has a solution? But judging by the information I have gleaned from EMU forums it’s a Driver issue
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

Boomrang
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:47 am

I am a newby and a retro gamer as well. I was looking for a platform to craft a custom NES emulator. I was wondering is the Rasberry Pi has enough power to run this. Also, I would like to have wireless controllers. Is there bluetooth capabilities ?

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:47 am

boomrang
Have a look at my post original post at the top of this page, should give you some pointers! So far I have found Mednafen and MESS give good results for NES emulation. My aim by posting was to, hopefully, give some pointers as to my experience gained thus far having compiled and tried A LOT of emulators for RPi! Primarily, speed and accuracy and ease of use. I haven’t got a joypad working on my RPi as yet, you should fine some help on this forum. I do have drivers installed but as currently my only pads are xbox360 of the wired variety they need to be powered from a HUB (The USB’s on RPi don’t apparently output sufficient current to power them correctly). Personally I don’t find that an adequate solution as my aim is to have a small, portable system so am trying to find a pad that DOESN’T require a HUB! The RPi Community board http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals has a list of compatible hardware but, as yet, it DOESNT include joypads!
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

hermanhermitage
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:44 am

welshy wrote:As a Retro Game fanatic I have...
Welshy... wow amazing post - thanks for taking the time to do this and sharing with all of us here.

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Wizard
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:17 am

Anyone got UAE running with directfb?

I found an old patch which I quickly ported to the latest uae sources but no joy.
(http://www.sci.fi/~syrjala/uae/uae-directfb.patch)

...but I can't say I thought it'd work either but it was worth a shot in the dark ;)

I'd really like to get UAE running in full-screen mode without X and I gladly take yer ideas on howto do this in a "safe" manner.
Raspberry Pi - finally a worthy replacement for A500!!!

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:34 pm

Hermanhermitage
Thank you for your kind words! As I previously stated, my aim was to start a post for retro gaming where solutions were all in one place as, it seems to me things are rather fragmented on this forum and pass on anything I had discovered. Maybe it’s time there was a stand alone “Emulator” section here, but I assume it’s because of the nature/legality of EMU ROM usage there isn’t. Which to me seems very perplexing, after all, there is a media player section and, after all, what “media” are being used on them? All legally purchased non DRM files??? lol! Anyway, from what I have read, many here are new to emulators so my attempt was an attempt to pass on my knowledge of how they work, including compiling/configuring to get them running on the RPi. Additionally, I WON’T be posting any “Binaries” because –

1. I have included what is needed to be added to the configure scripts to compile from SOURCE in the posts and run effectively
2. You can get VERY differing results depending on which Operating System and version of that O/S (See my original post about C64 VICE) being used and your individual hardware, especially when it comes to overclocking! That’s why I noted which version of Wheezy I currently use and my clock speed
3. Isn’t that MISSING THE WHOLE POINT of the RPi???
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

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billb
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:51 pm

@welshy, don't know if you use mess for Intvellision -- I never had any luck with it -- but here's one to try if you haven't already:

jzintv
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 23#p185323

There are quite a few modifications to the original source, including the addition of new video modes, a few bugfixes, and some things the more recent version of gcc wasn't happy about. It should be able to run without X, but I haven't gone back and tried to figure out why it isn't (yet).

Oh, and we only recently got a "Gaming" section -- we used to be lumped in with the media center forum. ;)

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abishur
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:03 pm

I've found retroarch using the emulationstation front end to provide a quick and easy access to all my classic gaming desires. My only complaint with it presently is that I get some sound stutter when playing Genesis or Game boy advanced. NES, SNES, and Gameboy Color work fine though.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:05 pm

billb
Thank you I will give it a try! Hopefully people are finding what I'm posting valuable, I am currently replying to posts in other threads with some of my advice/musings with a link to lead them here! Like I said, it seems to me emulator queries are very fragmented across the entire forum , maybe we should ask the moderator if a separate “Emulators” listing under “Projects” would be permissible? Ok, it’s GAMING, but a particular subject in itself!
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

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abishur
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:34 pm

welshy wrote:billb
Thank you I will give it a try! Hopefully people are finding what I'm posting valuable, I am currently replying to posts in other threads with some of my advice/musings with a link to lead them here! Like I said, it seems to me emulator queries are very fragmented across the entire forum , maybe we should ask the moderator if a separate “Emulators” listing under “Projects” would be permissible? Ok, it’s GAMING, but a particular subject in itself!
I can't speak for the rest of the mods, but as far as I'm concerned I shy away from a sub-forum specifically for emulators for various reasons. That said, I do agree that it can be somewhat fractured and I try to get them back in the gaming sub-forum whenever I catch them ;-)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

welshy
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:10 pm

abishur
Thank you for the reply
I have tried Retroarch and although it is an extraordinary piece of coding and interesting concept, not wishing to criticize (I am trying to be diplomatic here! One thing I HATE is people being disrespectful of other coders work and complaining!) ,it’s a complicated set up/program execution WITHOUT using the additional front ends/set up scripts etc for the inexperienced. One of my objectives in setting out my emulator choices along with speed and accuracy was “ease of use”
"The list of things I have heard now contains everything!"

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abishur
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:04 pm

I can fully agree that without the emulationstation front end it's a pain to use. It's just also the only one (thus far) that I have been able to install and have it run sound without any additional setup. It's especially easy when you use the RetroPie-Setup

https://github.com/petrockblog/RetroPie-Setup

(Note, I didn't write either of the code for any of those so its no skin off my nose to not like them :lol: )
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

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Toad King
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:22 pm

welshy wrote:abishur
Thank you for the reply
I have tried Retroarch and although it is an extraordinary piece of coding and interesting concept, not wishing to criticize (I am trying to be diplomatic here! One thing I HATE is people being disrespectful of other coders work and complaining!) ,it’s a complicated set up/program execution WITHOUT using the additional front ends/set up scripts etc for the inexperienced. One of my objectives in setting out my emulator choices along with speed and accuracy was “ease of use”
RetroArch actually has quite a history associated with it. It started out as a command-line frontend to libsnes, a library format for SNES emulators, designed by byuu (emu author of bsnes/higan). What started out as a small command-line program for SNES grew to support many different emulators, and eventually more platforms. The console ports by nature needed GUIs with them, but the PC version stuck with its command-line roots.

There are talks of porting the frontends from the console versions to work on PC, but this hasn't been done yet. I'm sure when it is, it will be much more usable for those unfamiliar with the command line.

mob-i-l
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:45 pm

I've got Sinclair ZX81 and Jupiter Cantab Jupiter ACE emulators running on my Raspberry Pi.

ZX81: http://sz81.sourceforge.net/
I compiled and installed sz81 on RPi and also xz81 using the usual commands. To run xz81 I had to create links in / to some files in /usr/local/lib/z81/.

Jupiter Ace: https://github.com/LawrenceWoodman/xAce ... e/v0.5.zip
https://github.com/LawrenceWoodman/xAce ... index.html
It compiled without warnings on RPi.
Have Pi0&1A&1B&1B+&2B&3B&4B w/ Raspbian. Started w/ BASIC on ABC80&ZX81 then Forth, Z80… https://scratch.mit.edu/users/mobluse/ https://github.com/mobluse/ https://twitter.com/mobluse/ https://YouTube.com/MOBiL4u/

SiriusHardware
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Re: Best Emulators for Pi

Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:49 pm

Nobody's mentioned Hatari, the Atari ST emulator - so now I have.

Apparently the Pi RISCOS port of Hatari leaves the Pi Linux port choking on dust, though, so if you are serious about needing a full-fat Atari ST emulator on the Pi then it might be the single best reason yet to flash another SD card with RISCOS.

Hatari reportedly runs at flat-out full Atari ST speed under Pi RISCOS.

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