The second part of my project has been delayed a little as September has been a busy month for me with various day to day things and going out on several occasions. So time to pick up my project where I left off
Enter Pain in the backside ! but I need to do it because without emulators retropie is like a salad without water cress it does not work so here we go back into the retropie setup this time I headed down to the manage packages option and oh lovely more menus! thankfully again I had done a bit of research into this and there is a great resource at git hub explaining about what emulator does what and what you need to run it
but its not all simple which I will get onto in a bit. but for now I dug into the optional packages list.
and here I found most of the systems I needed but some I would need from the experimental packages list and the first one’s I grabbed from here were the Atari 8 bit’s emulator and then I just carried on till I had everything I needed from here installed.
( I am not covering the install process as its well tedious some and some of the packages in my images below can take hours to install.
The specified slider is trashed.
(sorry about quality here had to use phone and one thing the razer phone does badly at is its 12mp camera is dreadful) all this is like Seconds for you reading this hours for me later at this point now I needed to get onto the experimental packages and start getting those installed but i decided to take a break first.
after a break I started on the experimental packages and started installing the same way as I had for the optional packages since the process was pretty much the same “select the item with the keyboard or joy pad > install from source > wait for it to install” simple really and finally after another decade of lonnngggg installs it was done and like the optional packages here you can see everything I have installed at the time of this piece.
Configuration & Reinstall
with the emulators installed I now needed to get them configured to work with the control pad and thankfully most of the updated emulators there was not much I needed to do here well….. Amiberry caused some immediate issues along for some reason if you loaded a game Amiberry would not set the control option to the active control method and nothing I did seemed to sort it out I changed the profiles in Amiberry but nope it would not have it.
Oh fun back into the…. lovely blue retropie setup again and I quickly found Amiberry and instead of installing it I selected remove package it and then reinstalled it and after 30 mins of install time this time all worked perfectly with Amiberry seemingly accepting the setup I had and using my controller.
With Amiberry playing ball finally the Sega side of emulation was still refusing to work properly and again this needed a massive reinstall to get working properly thankfully after reinstalling the emulators in the same way as the Amiberry setup things were looking good and running.
NOPE ! while the majority of the emulators I had installed were happily working now and with the controller however Famicom‚ MSX‚ Ti-99 and Radio Shack TRS-80 refused to work and crashed to the ROM select screen thankfully a quick default emulator change fixed the problem with the Radio Shack TRS-80 and the MSX however the non loading Famicom disk system remains and I will have to try and find a fix for that after this is done.
below is just an example of what the emulator select screen look like all the emulations on retropie have one.
Boom ! when i got my pi my friend said to me make sure you get a 2.5amp plug and I should have I thought my 2.0 amp usb plug would be enough to do basic stuff on the pi but nope my pi did not like it and was every 2 seconds telling me there was a under voltage detection and the pi did not care where it was displaying it over text over images it just did not care and it was at getting very annoying and harder to input commands in the shell to install and run the retropie setup.
I had at this point no other option but to order a 2.5 amp power supply and i found one only problem realised it only supported the original pi 1amp uggh but actually it was not a waste remember the portable air cooler I have and talked about in another piece? well I use it with that as its power requirement is 1 amp and it works fine.
after ordering a second plug this time from amazon the pi power issue was finally sorted out only now occasionally throwing up a lighting bolt if it drops below 5v as the Pi is curious in that it needs a stable output from the power supply.
Bluetooth Keyboard Drama
By this point I had got my new keyboard a really nice replica of apple’s satin clean chrome look wireless keyboard I have seen loads of these now I have to say its a really nice keyboard to use.
However it was a nightmare to get it to work with retropie all was going great I got into the Bluetooth menus by going to retropie and then Bluetooth and the menus made it simple and I just selected the first option to find and connect to my device
And my keyboard was detected and I pressed the option to connect to it and then my first problem hit me it wanted me to input the passcode into the keyboard
and I think i said to myself how the hell do i do that there is no screen! and after getting nowhere for a while I took a break this was driving me crazy and then it hit me I wondered if it was going to be like logging into the pi where you have to type the password but you dont see it on the screen so I gave it a go and sure enough I was greeted with the
And then my keyboard was absolutely fine and worked smoothly and correctly.
After another break at the end of the install and configuration stages I wanted to get onto another aspect and that’s getting all my roms linked with nice artwork and I was quickly put onto a package called selph’s scraper after asking how to do this in a retro gaming forum and I booted it up easily from the command line by pressing F4 and then typing sudo ~/RetroPie-Setup/retropie_setup.sh and then I went to the tools and settings option in the list and selected selph’s scraper and it booted right up and I altered my settings to look like the below and then hit the ok button on scrape all systems and away it went
I must admit at this point I was relieved because I had no idea how this was going to work and straight away I hit problems the scraper was not liking half of the games I had and they were failing the intergrity checking coming up with a hash not found error… grrr in the end I found that it had missed nearly half of my games.
3 Days Later…
I was told about another program called universal XML scraper it did the same job as selph’s scraper instead it worked through the pc and the network connection to the pc and did not require the hash intergrity check it worked through the games filename but it did require me to register on the site screenscraper.fr no problem with that and I got hold of the program and fired it up and I absolutely hated it i could not get it to work properly and it was slow and did always connect to the pi and then a friend put me onto Skraper (Below)
omggggg! was heaven missing a angel! I had to wait a few minutes to for it to grab some resources and then it fired up with a wizard prompt and it asked me to confirm the pi’s configuration folder and then the ROM folder and it quickly scanned and found my 36 systems that my pi had and then it guided me through what image format I wanted and then I decided to test it.
Making easy work of my Commodore Rom folder and assigning and recreating the game-list emulation station needs after a few hours I was more than happy and started doing my other systems enter…. more problems ! skraper is very slow my spectrum zx & Sharp X6800 collection took nearly 9 hours to complete with others like the snes and nes taking around 5-6 each. but thankfully as I enter October this whole process is now aslo finished and my pc and skraper can take a rest now.
That concludes this project now as the remaining bits are just pretty basic stuff like putting the case on the pi and that’s nothing special its just a £2.99 white case and fitting some stick on heat sinks to the processor ‚ the video chip and one other chip think its the wifi chipset.
In Conclusion and my thoughts on creating a retropie machine.
Having a limited background with any SBC’s like the Raspberry Pi has made it quite a challenge for me and since its heart under emulation station and retropie is Linux and as I said earlier in the project I have little background in but doing this has made me understand the system a little bit better now and how things like sudo and nano commands work also it has been the first time I have used putty and SSH in sometime.
Other aspects such as rom scraping and emulator setup with the likes of vice and some other more obscure emulators has been intresting and the huge amount of time it has taken to find the correct bios files and firmwares they need to run properly.
Things I would do differently next time if I could go back and do it again
I would get a better controller a retro pad preferably as these have the button layout like it was on most of the consoles and machines back in the 80’s and 90’s most controllers nowadays have the a and b buttons in a different order likely to ease use to what they were on the likes of the game boy‚amiga and Sega machines.