RetroArch (formerly known as SSNES) is a simple frontend for the libretro API. An API that attempts to generalize a retro gaming system, such as SNES, NES, GameBoy, Arcade machines, etc. Emulator/game cores are instantiated as loadable plugins.
libretro is an API that exposes the core of a retro gaming system. A frontend for libretro handles video output, audio output and input. A libretro core written in portable C or C++ can run seamlessly on many platforms.
Latest Windows binaries are currently hosted on my homepage.
- GUI frontend for PC: RetroArch-Phoenix
- Cg/HLSL shaders: common-shaders
- More Cg shaders: Emulator-Shader-Pack
- Helper scripts to build libretro implementations: libretro-super
RetroArch attempts to be very small and lean, while still having all the useful core features expected from an emulator. It is used through command-line. It is also designed to be portable.
RetroArch has been ported to the following platforms outside PC:
- Xbox 360 (Libxenon/XeXDK)
- Xbox 1
- Wii, Gamecube (Libogc)
- Raspberry Pi
On Windows, RetroArch can run with only Win32 as dependency. On Linux, you need:
- GL headers
- X11 headers and libs, or EGL/KMS/GBM
OSX port of RetroArch still requires SDL 1.2 libraries.
RetroArch can utilize these libraries if enabled:
- libxml2 (GLSL XML shaders)
- libfreetype2 (TTF font rendering on screen)
RetroArch needs at least one of these audio driver libraries:
- XAudio2 (Win32, Xbox 360)
- DirectSound (Win32, Xbox 1)
- CoreAudio (OSX, iOS)
To run properly, RetroArch requires a libretro implementation present, however, as it's typically loaded dynamically, it's not required at build time.
Dependencies (Console ports, mobile)
Console ports have their own dependencies, but generally do not require anything other than what the respective SDKs provide.
The default configuration is defined in config.def.h. These can later be tweaked by using a config file. A sample configuration file is installed to /etc/retroarch.cfg. This is the system-wide config file. Each user should create a config file in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/retroarch/retroarch.cfg. The users only need to configure a certain option if the desired value deviates from the value defined in config.def.h.
To configure joypads, use the retroarch-joyconfig tool. It is also possible to configure joypads using the RetroArch-Phoenix GUI frontend.
Compiling and installing
Instructions for compiling on PC can be found in the wiki.
RetroArch PS3 needs to be compiled in the following order:
1) Compile RetroArch Salamander
make -f Makefile.ps3.salamander
2) Compile the RGL video driver
make -f Makefile.ps3.rgl
3) Compile RetroArch as a library
make -f Makefile.ps3.retroarch
4) Finally, compile RetroArch packed together with the GUI:
make -f Makefile.ps3
PlayStation3 - Creating a PKG installable file
You can add 'pkg' as a parameter in order to make a PKG file - for example:
make -f Makefile.ps3 pkg
This creates an NPDRM package. This can be installed on debug PS3s.
To make a non-NPDRM package that can be installed on a jailbroken/CFW PS3 (such as PSGroove or PS3 CFWs and other 3.55 CFW derivatives), do:
make -f Makefile.ps3 pkg-signed
If you're using Kmeaw 3.55 firmware, the package needs to be signed:
make -f Makefile.ps3 pkg-signed-cfw
NOTE: A pre-existing libretro library needs to be present in the root directory in order to link RetroArch PS3. This file needs to be called 'libretro_ps3.a'.
Xbox 360 (XeXDK)
You will need Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 installed (or higher) in order to compile RetroArch 360.
The solution file can be found at the following location:
NOTE: A pre-existing libretro library needs to be present in the 'msvc-360/RetroArch-360/Release' directory in order to link RetroArch 360. This file needs to be called 'libretro_xdk360.lib'.
Xbox 360 (Libxenon)
You will need to have the libxenon libraries and a working Devkit Xenon toolchain installed in order to compile RetroArch 360 Libxenon.
make -f Makefile.xenon
NOTE: A pre-existing libretro library needs to be present in the root directory in order to link RetroArch 360 Libxenon. This file needs to be called 'libretro_xenon360.a'.
You will need to have the libogc libraries and a working Devkit PPC toolchain installed in order to compile RetroArch Wii.
make -f Makefile.wii
NOTE: A pre-existing libretro library needs to be present in the root directory in order to link RetroArch Wii. This file needs to be called 'libretro_wii.a'.