Is the Raspberry Pi difficult to setup?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by blueagent1999, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. blueagent1999
    OP

    blueagent1999 GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    4
    Mar 9, 2017
    Hong Kong
    i want to buy a Raspberry Pi and use it as an game emulation machine, but i'd like to know how difficult it is to set it up:

    -is the RetroPie actually a linux distro that you can just put on an SD card and load it into the raspberry pi? or is the installation of an actual linux distro required before retropie can be used?

    -is it true that i'd actually have to write my own drivers for those old USB windows gamepads that i have, if i want to use them with a raspberry pi? and also that i also have to "root" the raspberry pi beforehand?

    -i remember the hellish days of having to type in all those commands in DOS enviroment just to get one game to install, configure and play properly. does that mean i'll have to experience this all over again with the raspberry pi?

    the Raspberry Pi seems to have a fairly steep learning curve and i'm not sure i can do it, are there any other emulation machines out there besides the raspberry pi?
    i've tried setting up my android box for gaming but its not working so well. actually, the emulators crash all the time, settings and saves are frequently lost, also that none of the usb gamepads would work with my android box. i think i might just go back to emulation on windows computers since everything seems to work great there, but i digress.

    thanks for the help!
     
    Last edited by blueagent1999, Aug 5, 2018
  2. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N I'm better than you I think

    Member
    9
    Jun 7, 2016
    Antarctica
    Hell
    RetroPie is just a collection of emulators for the Raspberry Pi, held together by the EmulationStation UI. It installs right on top of Raspbian, the RPi's version of Debian, but there's also a standalone RetroPie image available that's just a mildly stripped-down version of Raspbian with all RetroPie assets pre-installed. So, to answer your question, it's both. You can choose to install RetroPie on top of an existing Raspbian install (recommended if you're going to be using the RPi for other tasks on top of emulation), or you can just flash the RetroPie image available to streamline the process a bit.

    You won't need to install, much less write drivers for your USB gamepads; they should be supported out of the box. "Rooting" the Raspberry Pi isn't necessary, either. I'm assuming you're coming from Android; standard Linux's security model is much different from Android's security model. You'll be given permission to run programs as root from the start (with the sudo command), so all you have to do is flash the distro of your choice to an SD Card, and you should be good to go.

    I'll be honest: you're probably going to need to have a few Linux commands under your belt if you want to set up a Raspberry Pi. The RetroPie standalone image installation method allows you to bypass using the command line altogether IIRC, so if you really want to avoid typing those commands, go for that. However, after everything is all set up and running, playing ROMs should be a fairly streamlined process. You'll want an FTP Client for Windows if you want to transfer ROM files to your RPi remotely. Personally, I recommend WinSCP for this task.

    The Raspberry Pi does have a bit of a learning curve, but it's not as steep as you might think. Once you know the basics of running the Linux command line, it's fairly easy to get it to do what you want. However, if you want an emulation box that goes more for the "plug-and-play" approach, hack a Wii. A hacked Wii makes for a great little emulation box, and you can also play GameCube and Wii backups with Nintendont and a USB Loader. No command line usage is required, and there are guides out there that streamline the process for you, such as this tutorial by the RiiConnect24 team.
     
    blueagent1999 likes this.
  3. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo G'nome

    pip Contributor
    21
    GBAtemp Patron
    Tom Bombadildo is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Jul 11, 2009
    United States
    I forgot
    Regarding setting up the Pi and difficulty, assuming you want to just do retro gaming and that's it, it's essentially as simple as downloading a file, writing it to a micro SD card, and then plopping it in the Pi. There are a couple different retro gaming setups you can put on the Pi, but I prefer RetroPie myself since it's super easy to setup and has tons of documentation and tutorials if you need to setup something like a PS3 controller over Bluetooth or something.

    If you want to use RetroPie (which IMO, is one of the easier to use if you don't want to screw with anything else), you just download the image for your Pi revision, flash it using Etcher to your SD card (or any other image flashing software, but Etcher is extremely easy to use IMO), then plop that in your Pi and go. Basically as simple as that. Transferring games can be done a few different ways: Through an automated USB process, using FTP/SSH, using Samba shares, or doing it manually over USB. I prefer using SSH/FTP myself, but only because I don't have to fiddle with a USB drive back and forth.

    Regarding "writing your own drivers", not entirely sure where you read this but that's been out of date info for yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeears. Essentially any controller will now be auto-detected when setting it up for the first time, and RetroPie supports both DirectInput (aka old generic controllers) and Xinput (aka almost any new generic controller + Xbox controllers). Xinput is generally preferred, since it has way more features, but if your controller is some old directinput thing it'll work just fine.

    Regarding a learning curve, if you want to do more advanced things than yes, absolutely there is one. If all you're doing is retro gaming, then no, not really. You'll never need to use any commands when using RetroPie unless you want to do something super fancy with it (like re-enabling/installing a desktop environment, and using it as a server or something). Setting up some of the more advanced things in RetroPie itself like using beta versions of emulators, or installing extra software like Kodi or a web browser, or setting up bluetooth PS3 controllers as mentioned are all done using a simple GUI that's relatively easy to follow, and there's tons of documentation and such out there for it that will help you through things if you get stuck.
     
    blueagent1999 likes this.
  4. blueagent1999
    OP

    blueagent1999 GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    4
    Mar 9, 2017
    Hong Kong
    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N
    Tom Bombadildo

    A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU GUYS FOR THE CONCISE AND DETAILED RESPONSE ADDRESSING ALL OF MY CONCERNS, I AM TRULY GRATEFUL FOR YOUR HELP! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR HELPING ME WITH THIS!
    -
    the truth is, I only wanted to buy a Raspberry Pi 3 to play this one particular dreamcast game that i own, its an old favourite of mine actually, a JRPG game by the name of "Evolution the world of sacred device" though unfortunately according to the retropie dreamcast compatibility list, the game would only run well on the Raspberry Pi 2, but not on the Raspberry Pi 3.

    so now i have to look everywhere on ebay for a used Raspberry Pi 2, but they're very expensive, coupled with ridiculous shipping prices, its an absolutely nightmare trying to find the Pi2 from anywhere on the internet, i'm trying to source it from other retailers but no luck so far. ah well...

     
    Last edited by blueagent1999, Aug 6, 2018
  5. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo G'nome

    pip Contributor
    21
    GBAtemp Patron
    Tom Bombadildo is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Jul 11, 2009
    United States
    I forgot
    Pi B 2's shouldn't be difficult to get whatsoever, most places still sell them brand new for the same $35 they retailed for initially.

    Assuming your location is accurate, you can just buy this one: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?sp...6pn6vKg&id=43792590196&ns=1&abbucket=9#detail

    But if all you want to do is play one Dreamcast game, why bother spending the money to get a Pi? Any of the various Dreamcast emulators on PC should emulate the game just fine on any PC from like the last 10+ years. You can try using ReDream, which is a new-ish Dreamcast emulator with a pretty decent compatibility list and is super easy to setup (though if you want to use video quality enhancements you have to pay for it :glare:). https://redream.io <
     
  6. blueagent1999
    OP

    blueagent1999 GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    4
    Mar 9, 2017
    Hong Kong
    thanks for the recommendation! i think i can get someone to order it off taobao for me!

    this is the first time i've heard about ReDream, it looks quite good so i think i'll give it a try!


    thanks again for your help!
     
  7. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N I'm better than you I think

    Member
    9
    Jun 7, 2016
    Antarctica
    Hell
    ReDream also has a Retroarch core, so OP can test it through that instead if they want. Reicast has a core available for Retroarch as well, though, from what I've seen of it, it's still a bit buggy.
     
Loading...