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The Retropie thread - use a Raspberry Pi for the ultimate under-the-TV emulation station!


Mr. Gerbik
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Is anyone using a Pi 4 for RetroPie? As noted briefly in the Amiga Mini thread, I'm using one for other purposes at the moment, but would really like to eventually dedicate it to emulation. I suspect it's overkill for most stuff, but I'm also wondering what its limits are in terms of what it can emulate. It's the 4gb model, if that helps.

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@TehStu

 

I upgraded from a Pi 3 to a Pi 4 last year, and was really impressed. You can emulate pretty much everything up to and including the Dreamcast on a Pi 4 using Retroarch. whereas the PS1 was as far as you could go on a Pi 3. In fact, DC emulation tends to run better than some earlier stuff, like the N64 and the 3DO - there is the occasional frame rate stutter and you can't really go over 640x480 resolution (ie the actual resolution you would have played DC games at), but it's all extremely playable.

 

N64 stuff is a lot choppier and more inconsistent, and less user-friendly as game performance varies across different emulators, so you need to fiddle with the settings to get games running optimally. But most stuff I've tried works really well; you can even get Goldeneye running at 60fps (with some visual glitches) if you use a mostly obsolete emulator that only runs that game, but due to some accident of coding, runs it orders of magnitude better than any of the other emus. Other games don't run as smoothly, but are mostly very playable.

 

I think Saturn emulation is still not feasible; Jaguar games don't really work either (or work at bullet time-esque frame rates); you can play some 3DO games, to varying levels of performance; PSP games run acceptably. Everything else is generally extremely good - Amiga, Mega Drive, Mega CD, 32X, SNES, NES, Master System, Game Gear, etc, all run really well, as do most pre-2000 2D arcade games through MAME or Final Burn. Most 8 and 16 bit systems are supported on Retroarch including the ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, etc; I can't say I've tried many of them, but would imagine they'll work nicely.

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That's awesome, thanks @K!

 

In fact, that's exactly what I was after, as my Pi 3 is my server right now. Wasn't sure whether to use that as the retro box or the Pi 4 (and start looking at fancier stuff, like Docker) but a Pi 4 retro machine sounds like the way to go.

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  • 4 weeks later...

@K @TehStu

 

 either of you bother with a heatsink or other cooling? My Pi 4 came yesterday and first impressions are very positive coming from the previous model. I’m happy enough to keep it nude since it’s out of sight but I hear DC, N64 and PSP run quite hot even without overclocking. 
 

Incidentally I picked up an 8BitDo Pro 2 too and it’s magnificent. And I’m a picky bastard who’s always found their previous controllers passable at best. So comfy. 

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@Yasawas I have an Argon One case, where the whole thing acts as a heatsink - it's made of aluminium, and the case touches the processor so it conducts heat away and radiates it away through the entire casing. It's probably overkill - it gets mildly warm when I use it - and tbh I mainly use it because it also has a neat function where you can turn it on and off just by pressing a button on the case. Imagine that! An on/off button! Still, it's better than using an inline switch on the cable, or turning it off at the socket.

 

Previously, I had one of those stick-on heatsinks, and a fan. I suspect it is a good idea to have one - my Pi3 ran quite hot without a heatsink, and the thermometer icon popped up a lot of the time. I haven't run the Pi4 without a heatsink or a fan, but I think it runs hotter than the Pi3, especially if you're emulating Dreamcast game.

 

I would suggest asking on the Retropie forums, as they're quite helpful there (although that forum really is all business). I imagine there will be a lot of replies along the lines of "I've overclocked mine to 6 terahertz, and it runs fine in the tiny unventilated drawer I keep it in" / "I installed a PC GPU fan, and it burst into flames within ten seconds of turning it on" but between those extremes you'll probably get some helpful advice.

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1 hour ago, Yasawas said:

 either of you bother with a heatsink or other cooling? My Pi 4 came yesterday and first impressions are very positive coming from the previous model. I’m happy enough to keep it nude since it’s out of sight but I hear DC, N64 and PSP run quite hot even without overclocking. 

I have the Pi 4 Flirc case, which sounds like the Argon One in that it's entirely aluminium, except for a bit of rubber. It touches the processor, and the whole case remains warm pretty much all the time. That's good though, I've been on it all morning in Chromium via VNC and the CPU/GPU temp is 49C. I managed to regularly throttle my Pi 3 under similar use with an official case and stick on heatsinks, but I've never throttled my Pi 4. 

 

To check the temp:

https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/linux-find-out-raspberry-pi-gpu-and-arm-cpu-temperature-command/

 

When the 5 rolls around, I'll be switching to an Argon case, as I fancy both the on/off switch but also the better arrangement of ports and an internal means of storing an m2 ssd. Right now, my Pi 4 runs off an SSD in a USB3 enclosure, which is a bit clumsy.

 

Worth noting that Argon cases also have room for active cooling, if I remember correctly.

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Thanks both, I think I’ve been convinced to invest in some manner of passive cooling case. The Pi might be cheap but the amount of time it takes to get it set up the way you like it much less so! It’s not worth the hassle of melting it.

 

And @K? The on/off switch sounds handy but the Pi 2 I think is what made me buy some mega-cheap wireless socket adapter I still use years later on the Pi4! One more remote control in my life but being able to turn the thing on from the couch is the missing link.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone have much experience with playing PAL stuff? Until now it’s a thing I’ve only brushed against with the odd exclusive on SNES or MegaDrive but I finally got round to setting up Amiga emulation yesterday and amidst the deluge of information I’m taking in about it (a completely unknown system for me!), I should probably look into this a bit more. 
 

I’m hoping it’s as simple as setting RunCommand to output in 50Hz for all Amiga stuff but anyone know for sure? I’m using lr-puae as Amiberry was intimidating, but while the latter had options I noticed for PAL/NTSC, lr-puae doesn’t have anything obvious I’ve noticed. 

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I got a Pi 400, mostly as an impulse purchase - when the Amiga Mini was announced, people said, "Why not get a Pi 400? It's cheaper." (Literally the "Why don't you just get a raspberry pi?" crowd whenever mini consoles are mentioned, this time in keyboard form).

 

First, out of curiosity I checked out the Raspberry Pi OS that comes on the supplied 16GB SD card. I must say I'm not impressed. There's a very very obvious screen tearing problem with no settings to change refresh rate or vsync. Googling the issue, it's apparently a notorious problem with the Pi 4, and even the lead developers at the Raspberry Pi foundation basically said a year ago, "We don't know what causes it, sorry."

 

Everything is really slow. I know a Pi is meant to be very basic, but they pushed th Pi 4 as a computer that could genuinely be your daily productivity/web browsing PC. I don't quite think it's there. Most things chug.

 

Then I checked out Libre Office (after updating everything) and it's a really old version from before they added a ribbon interface. Probably because this OS is 32-bit and some software only has active development for 64-bit these days.

 

None of this matters much - I was just checking out the supplied OS out of curiosity. The real plan was Retropie. I set up a Retropie 3b a couple of years ago so I know what I'm in for -- a lot of fuss and tinkering -- and a reminder of just how utterly confusing retroarch likes to be. On the positive side I noticed some real improvement in processing power -- SNES games that used enhancement chips now run without problems, and you can run PS1 games at double resolution easily.

 

Unfortunately Amiberry has a full second of audio lag in all games. That kind of ruins the concept of "Just get a Pi 400" instead of an Amiga Mini. I googled the audio lag issue but couldn't get any useful advice (That's what you spend most of your time doing as a Raspberry Pi owner, isn't it? Googling problems, reading github support threads that go nowhere, as people bicker and demand full specs and error logs instead of believing the issues.)

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I downloaded pimiga, I added one file, that is literally all I did. I have no lag.

 

But the Amiga mini, which incidentally they can't call that of course since they didn't bother licencing the Amiga or Commodore names, is a different beast to most "Just use a Pi" consoles.   The Mini uses the wrong controller, has dubious licencing and doesn't have a keyboard.  Most of the usual advantages of a mini console aren't here and there's some disadvantages other minis don't have.

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I think I solved the audio delay in Amiberry -- found a setting for an "audio buffer" and reduced it.

 

Might try that PiMiga lite download, looks like it has all 4000+ WHDLoad games with a covenient launcher/browser -- though I'm not sure about the rest of this image - looks like it boots to a modern kind of Workbench I'm not familiar with.

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23 hours ago, Dudley said:

I downloaded pimiga, I added one file, that is literally all I did. I have no lag.

 

But the Amiga mini, which incidentally they can't call that of course since they didn't bother licencing the Amiga or Commodore names, is a different beast to most "Just use a Pi" consoles.   The Mini uses the wrong controller, has dubious licencing and doesn't have a keyboard.  Most of the usual advantages of a mini console aren't here and there's some disadvantages other minis don't have.

Indeed.

 

I don’t generally like the “just buy a Pi” attitude, and don’t own a Pi any longer, but this so-called A500 Mini (it’s not an Amiga) isn’t a properly curated and authentic feeling mini-console like the Mega Drive, Super NES and PC Engine minis are. It’s a shameless cash in. It’s also going to have significantly less functionality than a Pi with a decent Amiga emulator setup, even if the A500 Mini can eventually be hacked to add extra games.

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Well, I'm a bit underwhelmed by the "PiMiga". I don't really go in for pre-built Pi images because it feels like you're playing in someone else's playground, and this time it feels like you're playing on someone else's computer. In this case it's a very unfamiliar idiosyncratic computer.

 

I'm not familiar with AmigaOS beyond the Workbench that came with my old Amiga 500. Whatever Amiga operating system is being emulated here on the PiMiga is very unfamiliar to me. Fonts are difficult to read, it's garishly coloured, and it looks like an operating system that was designed for lower resolutions than 1920x1080.

 

The main attraction for most users is "iGame", a game launcher program for the 4500 WHDLoad games that come loaded on the PiMiga image. That's great - I'm familiar with this set of WHDLoad games already. Unfortunately I had a frustrating afternoon trying to get the iGame program to sort and filter the games.

 

Mixed in with the 2000-or-so unique commercial Amiga games are a ton of foreign versions, alternate versions, demos and sundries - and they've been generated with a strange naming system, always putting a German or an NTSC version first and calling everything else an "alt". Games are listed as such:

 

Monkey Island 2

Monkey Island 2 alt

Monkey Island 2 alt alt

Monkey Island 2 alt alt alt

Monkey Island 2 alt alt alt alt

 

When you right-click entries and take a look at their properties, the WHDLoad filenames are usually:

 

Monkey Island 2 De

Monkey Island 2

Monkey Island 2 Fr

Monkey Island 2 It

Monkey Island 2 Es

 

I could learn to trust that the second version - the first "alt" - is usually the version worth loading. But the whole thing triggers my need for perfectionism and control. Not to mention the image creator naming some games like "~++ S P E E D B A L L 2 ++~" to presumably put them at the top of the list and make them attention-grabbing.

 

So iGame is a flexible game sorter, yes? Well it's supposed to be, but I think the guy who made this image must have locked it off. You can't hide or favourite games. (The "favorites" category has a few of his favourites that you can't change). You can't hide categories. The genre categories are empty. You can thankfully rename games - good for giving Speedball 2 its dignity back - but it would be utterly tedious to change all those alts. I tried removing the "Foreign" and "Demos" source folders and rescanning -- but it kind of broke things. It didn't remove foreign games and demos from the list... but it did make it so that PiMiga crashes if you try to launch them! So those thousand foreign versions are now like landmines waiting to crash PiMiga if they are clicked on. It's just too messy.

 

But there's lots of other great stuff on the image I suppose... if it works. I tried launching a few familiar programs that I saw - Deluxe Paint 4, OctaMed - but they crashed. There's a fairly thorough selection of animation demo stuff that mostly worked when I clicked on it.

 

Ultimately I think I'll have a better time just using Amiberry in a regular Retropie/Emulationstation setup.

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Hey I'm just having an interesting time tinkering with Amiga emulation on the Pi and reporting my thoughts for the sake of conversation. I'm sad that you describe it as "bitching". Perhaps I dwell too much on the negatives and my posts were too moany - I'll consider that if I engage in the thread again.

 

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11 hours ago, SqueakyG said:

Hey I'm just having an interesting time tinkering with Amiga emulation on the Pi and reporting my thoughts for the sake of conversation. I'm sad that you describe it as "bitching". Perhaps I dwell too much on the negatives and my posts were too moany - I'll consider that if I engage in the thread again.

 


you are not bitching, please stay in this thread.

 

dont let bullies bully 

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13 hours ago, SqueakyG said:

Hey I'm just having an interesting time tinkering with Amiga emulation on the Pi and reporting my thoughts for the sake of conversation. I'm sad that you describe it as "bitching". Perhaps I dwell too much on the negatives and my posts were too moany - I'll consider that if I engage in the thread again.

 


You weren't bitching in any way, your post on the weird setup of the Pimiga image was really interesting. 

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49 minutes ago, Dudley said:

 

"bullies"

 

Fucking hell.


you are at this moment trolling every forum that talks about the Amiga mini, and your comment here to SqueakyG was unnecessary.


we get that you don’t like a certain person, I understand it to a certain extent, but your constant targeting of them is borderline obsession.

 

im sure both parties concerned would rather it was put to bed, why constantly bring it up?

 

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Yes, although that's a price category apart from all the other options and even less plug and play than any of the other ideas.

 

Although we've gone from "Everyone says get a pi even though it's faff" to "It's not faff enough for me" so I've no idea what's desired there.

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2 hours ago, ulala said:


you are at this moment trolling every forum that talks about the Amiga mini, and your comment here to SqueakyG was unnecessary.


we get that you don’t like a certain person, I understand it to a certain extent, but your constant targeting of them is borderline obsession.

 

im sure both parties concerned would rather it was put to bed, why constantly bring it up?

 

 

"bullies" "Trolling"

 

You really are bad at knowing what words mean aren't you.

 

The Amiga Mini is a shit product.

 

The Amiga Mini is primarily led by a copyright squatter (who probably didn't own them anyway) who also infringes copyrights constantly and is an online abuser and swatter.

 

These are both truths, I'm allowed to talk about both however I've not mentioned the 2nd one outside the specific threads where it's completely on topic.

 

However, people started talking about the product here and I'm entitled to take about the product.  Squeaky G came into the RPi thread to complain about people saying get a Pi (which is a lot closer to the actual trolling) and then said Retropie was bad because it took a lot of config and complained about something that didn't work perfectly.  He was suggested something that did and complained it wasn't exactly to his liking and not configurable enough.  He should really make up his mind. I made one comment about this and you decided to start throwing insults about.

 

Get over yourself, ignore me if you have to but I'm not going to stop talking about the lazy, overpriced product that is the Amiga Mini as distinct from its creator.  I've thread ignored you in here so you can stan for him, as you did last year, all you like.

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On 31/08/2021 at 14:41, Dudley said:

However, people started talking about the product here and I'm entitled to take about the product.  Squeaky G came into the RPi thread to complain about people saying get a Pi (which is a lot closer to the actual trolling) and then said Retropie was bad because it took a lot of config and complained about something that didn't work perfectly.  He was suggested something that did and complained it wasn't exactly to his liking and not configurable enough.  He should really make up his mind. I made one comment about this and you decided to start throwing insults about.

 

Get over yourself, ignore me if you have to but I'm not going to stop talking about the lazy, overpriced product that is the Amiga Mini as distinct from its creator.  I've thread ignored you in here so you can stan for him, as you did last year, all you like.

 

 

Hi Dudley. I've had Raspberry Pi's before, so I knew what I was in for. The setup tribulations are all part of the fun. At no point did I ever say "Retropie was bad because it took a lot of config", and I did not "complain that something didn't work perfectly." I know that getting things set up perfectly is part of the hobby and challenge. I felt initially defeated by the audio lag in Amiberry, but I went back and solved it soon after.

 

As someone who has had Pi's before I can be quite wry and self-aware about the "Just get a Pi" meme, and found it amusing in the Amiga Mini thread that the meme had evolved to "Just get a Pi 400". If I was "complaining" about the meme, as you say, would I have just happily bought another Pi?

 

Since this recent tinkering consumed me for a few days, I came to the Retropie thread (yes the Retropie thread, not the Amiga Mini thread) to chat about it. Amiberry had audio lag... then I solved it. PiMiga was interesting... then I wrote a review of the frustrations. Quite typical experiences in getting a Pi set up just how you like it.

 

It's true that talk of the A500 Mini inspired me to get the Pi400 -- but beyond that, discussion of the A500 Mini or your bizarre obsession with Paul Andrews is irrelevant to this chain of posts. This is not the Amiga Mini thread. This is the Retropie thread. You have no need to connect anything I say about the Pi to anything I have ever said about the A500 Mini (I assume you were rude because you remember me saying I preordered one. Ordinarily you shouldn't remember me at all, but you come across like you take names and hold grudges on this subject.)

 

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  • 8 months later...

Been working on a Pi based bartop arcade machine, although really just for running NES, SNES and Megadrive games so I can re-live my youth. Managed to get a Pi 4 2Gb after trying Retropie on my original Pi B+, but it ran like a dog! The Pi 4 is amazing, boots really quick and runs the aforementioned emulators with ease.

 

Made the frame using my laser cutter and multiple layers of 6mm poplar plywood, and a top layer of white MDF for the 'beauty' panels. The MDF engraves nicely so I added some Mario theme to the play area and some controllers to the front panel. I don't have a huge amount of space so it's based around a 17" LCD monitor, and I used an old set of speakers and amp I had lying around for sound.

 

image.thumb.png.2699ce5b8783667e596034f6032a37ae.png

 

Still a work in progress, need to decide what to do with the marquee, I actually bought the Sonic lego set so I could make a 3D marquee - i.e the set inside behind some clear acrylic, but it's a bit too tall so would look daft. Controls are a kit from ebay and they are ok, but a bit cheap. I also ran a USB port extender to the front panel so it's easy to plug in controllers.

 

image.png.dfc2349167d6552e0397e2164ec49108.png

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