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Contributing to RetroArch

If you are a developer and want to contribute to the development of RetroArch, please read this. If you have found a bug and want to submit a minor patch or a bug report, please read this as well.

Submitting a bug report

When submitting a bug report, make sure that the bug is local to RetroArch. A bug in a libretro core or something deemed to be external is likely to be closed very fast. If you still suspect a bug in RetroArch, make sure to test with several cores to make sure.

If you have troubles building RetroArch on Linux/BSD/OSX, make sure to paste shell output of ./configure, as well as config.log and shell output of make. If building on Windows, just paste shell output of make.

If the issue occurs during runtime, make sure to paste RetroArch's verbose log. If using Phoenix frontend, you can find log in (File -> Show Log) after running. In console, make sure to run with verbose (-v) flag.

Pull Requests

Outside contributions are generally only accepted in the form of a pull request. The process is very simple. Fork RetroArch, make your changes, and issue a pull request on GitHub. This can all be done within the browser. The changes are reviewed, and might be merged in. If the pull request isn't acceptable at the time, note that it's possible to continue pushing up commits to your branch.

If you want to develop a larger feature, we'd like to discuss this first (ideally on IRC) so that you don't risk developing something that won't be merged. A pull request with a proof-of-concept is fine, but please indicate so.

libretro API

If you wish to add functionality to libretro's API, it can take some time to merge in, because changes to libretro API will affect other projects as well, and we highly value API/ABI stability. Features will only be added when deemed necessary for a concrete libretro core to function properly. Features will not be added on basis of hypothetical libretro implementations.

Coding style

Having a consistent code style throughout the code base is highly valued. Please look through the code to get a feel for the coding style. A pull request may be asked to fix the coding style before submission. In other cases, a pull request may be followed up with a "style nit commit".

Non-obvious things:

  • Code should be both ISO C99 and ISO C++ compatible. This dual requirement is for XBox360 and MSVC in general. Think of it as a C++ compatible subset of C99.
  • Warnings are not allowed (-Wall). Make sure your code is warning-free. Note that warning sensitivity differs a bit across compiler versions.
  • Using deprecated APIs is discouraged.

Copyright Headers and AUTHORS

If you have contributed to a part of a source file (a chunk of code that's written by you), you should add yourself to the copyright header in that file. If you have contributed significantly (a feature, a contribution you can "name", e.g. "Added audio driver foo"), you should add yourself to AUTHORS file. We'd like your full name and email, and which features you have been part of.


Active development happens on IRC. (#retroarch @ We value discussing things in "real-time".

Commit Access

Contributors who show a track record of making good pull requests over time will eventually get commit access to the repo. This typically happens when the "overhead" of looking through pull requests over time becomes a burden.

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