What is RetroArch/Libretro?

Discussion in 'PS Vita - Hacking & Homebrew' started by Rokon2, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. Rokon2

    Rokon2 Member

    Apr 29, 2017
    United States
    I was looking into it because I wanted to download an emulator for my PS Vita, but I've no idea what RetroArch or libretro exactly is. The wiki I visited on RetroArch doesn't exactly explain what it is either, and I don't want to download a bunch of random files to find what it is that I need.

    Is there a link that I can visit that will properly explain what they are and what they do?
  2. Zukov

    Zukov Dinosaur

    Oct 2, 2016
  3. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo and his tropane alkaloids

    Feb 13, 2015
    It's a collection of "cores" (programs - mainly emulators but there are other things, like a 2048 clone), which are ported to many platforms and released individually or as a multi-pack (so that you launch a single program and select between all your roms), said multipack can have any number and selection of cores integrated

    Whether split or integrated, they usually share a common UI for the menus (with mixed results)

    A criticism of retroarch I strongly agree with is that dedicated emulators, made specifically for the emulating device, have typically more effort put into them and use peculiarities of the device (for example the GBA emulator for the Wii supporting the wiimote camera for Boktai's sunlight sensor) while Retroarch encourages lazily ported emulators, but both approaches have their merits
  4. SeongGino

    SeongGino The Average One

    May 20, 2015
    United States
    Jersey, Jersey
    Yes hi you called?
    It's, like, the very first result in this subforum. However, the complaint of a lack of a "real explanation" for what Libretro and RetroArch exactly are is a fair point. I'll make the relevant changes in the thread. But next time, do try and ask in the thread itself; it's relevant to RetroArch, no real need to be afraid!

    No offense, just wanted to make that clear.

    I wouldn't agree though that the Libretro-based cores are "lazily ported". In fact, many of them are built around the Libretro API spec, to take better advantage of the software. However, hardware support is indeed hit-or-miss depending on how competently ported the Libretro API itself was to begin with. In the Vita's case, it's okay, but makes no special use of the Vita's hardware outside of an optional sound processing speedhack (DSP support). This would be something to complain about, if the Vita actually had specifically designed emulators for it, but... it doesn't. So, unlike the PSP or Wii, where you do have options that are debatably better and do more with the hardware given, RetroArch is the only option, and is fairly streamlined to the point there's very little that makes the emulation unique, outside of simple accurate emulation.

    The user interface(s) is/are something you'll either grow to love or absolutely despise with time. I encourage anyone interested to at least give RetroArch a try, spend a few minutes configuring, and see if it works for them. If it doesn't, no harm done.
    Last edited by SeongGino, Aug 1, 2017
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