RetroArch 1.10.2 released, adds Steam Deck and Wii U GamePad improvements

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A new RetroArch release is here, and this one primarily focuses on the Steam Deck. Now that some users have gotten their hands on the Steam Deck, the Libretro team is working on improving the Steam port of RetroArch and the overall experience. Steam users, and by extension, Steam Deck users, can now install cores from RetroArch itself, rather than the Steam game DLC page. Additionally, RetroArch will now bring up the Steam onscreen keyboard rather than the RetroArch default one, making it easier to type on should the need arise.

Thanks to Mist, here are some of the big new features for Steam users (and in particular, Steam Deck users):

  • You can now install and uninstall cores directly from inside RetroArch by going to ‘Manage Cores’ from inside the menu. No longer do you have to manually browse Steam with your webbrowser and download random core DLCs for RetroArch, you can do it from within the convenience of the app running itself.
  • On Steam Deck, the native OSK (Onscreen Keyboard) will appear now instead of the RetroArch default OSK. This should give a more seamless experience. We have decided against enabling the Steam OSK with Big Picture since it seems partially broken and instantly dismisses itself (or at least those were our testing results on a Steam Deck).
As a result of these changes, the Steam port is starting to become its own thing rather than just a straightforward no-frills port of the Windows/Linux versions.

As for general improvements, multiple cores now offer better audio latency, and the ability to lower the latency without distorting the sound. Snes9x, Flycast, Nestopia, and more all benefit from this change. Those that use RetroArch on the Nintendo Wii U will also now have better GamePad video output, thanks to a new dedicated "optimize for Gamepad" option. According to the developers, the scaling has been an issue with display on the GamePad in the past, and now it has been fixed. The explanation as to why is explained below.

The Wii U is a weird case with RetroArch because of the two screens (TV and Wii U GamePad). The Wii U can be configured to output video at 480p, 720p or 1080p (or interlaced equivalents), whereas the GamePad has a native 480-line display. While it is possible to send different images to the TV and GamePad, RetroArch currently sends the same image to both. This creates a bit of a conundrum as 480 does not divide evenly into any of the other available resolutions.

When running 240p content, setting the Wii U to 720p just works, because a 3x integer scale (240*3 = 720) on the TV also happens to be a 2x integer scale (240*2 = 480) on the GamePad. However, when running 480p content, having the Wii U set to 720p will result in a poor image all around, with non-integer scaling from 480->720 on the TV, and then even worse, 480->720->480 on the GamePad.

Running the Wii U at 1080p, you get the worst of all worlds. Absolutely nothing divides evenly into 1080, so no matter what content you’re playing, you’ll need either large borders or a filter/shader to stretch to that non-integer resolution, and putting that 1080p image back on the 480p GamePad makes it even worse again. Many users only use 720p because of the poor results you get from 1080p currently.

By running 1080p with a 960p viewport, you can do things like a 4x integer scale of 240p content which becomes a 2x integer scale on the GamePad, or a 2x scale of 480p content which becomes a 1x native display on the GamePad. Even more exotic resolutions like the Game Boy Advance (160p) are enhanced, with 160 dividing 6x into 960 or 3x into 480. This one change makes 1080p a lot less useless on Wii U.

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Codemastershock

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Does anyone else find that the UI is very confusing and not user friendly or I'm I too dumb to figure it out?
Even though I like it, I think the interface is horribly designed, the emulator options are very scattered around. Some options you can hide since many of them dont make sense on a certain device and being a multiplatform emulator it cant properly guess what device you are using to not show this options like desktop compositing on the console, but for example, I think the language options shoudnt be on the same place as achievements and device name.
Updating RetroArch itself is still bad...
Other thing is to translate, if you try to contribute to translate it for a language that doesnt have many people working on it takes a really long time to be applied and an automated translation layer is used instead and sometimes machine translation hurts more than helps, especially in the item descriptions.
 
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mrmagicm

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I LIKE RETROARCH A LOT BUT........WTF??????
Retroarch cannot emulates VECTREX games like berserk PROPERLY (with speed and minimum fluidity) but can do almost all others Nintendo games???? So SAD ;-(
Can anybody do anything about it?? Also, both 2 amstrad core cannot even properly emulates frogger from Richard Wilson (The Executionner) maybe the best port......So sad ;-(
Also, how do you get info where to put bios? Cannot find where to put and name gearcolleco and many bios despite putting them and related bios (even retroarch bios pack) in X:\retroarch\cores\system
 

HideoKojima

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Even though I like it, I think the interface is horribly designed, the emulator options are very scattered around. Some options you can hide since many of them dont make sense on a certain device and being a multiplatform emulator it cant properly guess what device you are using to not show this options like desktop compositing on the console, but for example, I think the language options shoudnt be on the same place as achievements and device name.
Updating RetroArch itself is still bad...
Other thing is to translate, if you try to contribute to translate it for a language that doesnt have many people working on it takes a really long time to be applied and an automated translation layer is used instead and sometimes machine translation hurts more than helps, especially in the item descriptions.
You said it all 😊
 
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urbanman2004

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Only time I use retroArch is via Emulation Station (PSC, 4GB, Raspberry Pi 4, 4GB Jetson Nano) or on my cell phone. Although retroArch does have its place due to its convenience making it an AiO stop shop for emulators, and I may be the minority here, but I prefer to emulate games on their respective native standalone app.
 

Immortallix

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Does anyone else find that the UI is very confusing and not user friendly or I'm I too dumb to figure it out?
It takes a while to figure out, and even then options that should be quickly accessible are buried in various menus. Just one of the reasons I still opt for the GX emus on Wii rather than using RA on Wii U
 
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N7Kopper

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by default RetroArch hides advanced options, but there is a bunch of other options that I also would consider to be "advanced".
Assigning controller ports to remote machines in netplay is considered an "advanced option". The notion of "me and my mate are playing a game, why not find two more people to play?" isn't really advanced.
 
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Milenko

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Yeah, the whole dynarec fiasco is the reason we don't have good PS1 and N64 emulation. The fact that no devs have shown interest in porting it over, and the fact they've shifted focus on Switch (which is a pain in the ass to mod and there's no true permanent CFW) have made me completely cynical about it. Still pissed about it to this day.
It's literally use a jig once then never again, and seeing as you never need to turn off your Switch It's basically permanent, or if you do turn it off for some weird reason it's as easy as plugging it into your phone for 1 second.. why wouldn't devs abandon a dead console for one more people actually own and will get better emulation performance from
 

NinStar

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It's literally use a jig once then never again, and seeing as you never need to turn off your Switch It's basically permanent, or if you do turn it off for some weird reason it's as easy as plugging it into your phone for 1 second.. why wouldn't devs abandon a dead console for one more people actually own and will get better emulation performance from
That's weird, I thought that RetroArch on Switch was firmware dependent? Because I remember seeing people having some horrible performances in some cores. Also, I genuinely know more people who homebrew their Wii U compared to people who homebrew their Switch, but maybe that is just me.
 

the_randomizer

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It's literally use a jig once then never again, and seeing as you never need to turn off your Switch It's basically permanent, or if you do turn it off for some weird reason it's as easy as plugging it into your phone for 1 second.. why wouldn't devs abandon a dead console for one more people actually own and will get better emulation performance from
Because we were super close to seeing Wii U with fullspeed N64 emulation. Go big or go home, they were almost there, just reach the finish line, dammit.
 
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