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RetroPi Gaming machine


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RetroPi Gaming machine
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2016-03-06, 21:23

So has anyone in here set up a Raspberry Pi as a retro gaming machine? What options do you have and how did you set it up? There are tons of guides out there but I'm trying to hear from people on here who have done it. Also, what controllers do/did you use with it? I would like wireless ones since my seating is not near my TV and a cable over 16' isn't realistic with my kids running around. My Pi is a B+ so I should be able to handle the NES, SuperNES and other 80's systems I'm thinking about loading.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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TheOtherDave
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
 
2016-03-07, 16:37

Not yet, but it's on my todo list. I already have the pi (and an enclosure), but haven't given the rest of it much thought.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2016-03-07, 17:30

I have been thinking about doing it for a long time. The thing is stopping to do it I suppose. I'm actually using mine as a camera for my front yard right now, so I'm just not in a huge rush. Lack of controllers is a delay factor too.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2016-07-22, 16:56

So I finally ordered my Raspberry Pi 3 kit and have a RetroPie machine running now. Thing is I need controllers. I don't mind using my PS3 controllers since I don't really use the PS3 much at all. However, a more native S/NES feel when playing those games. Does anyone have a controller they play with and recommend? I found this one on Amazon for SNES that would work for my NES games too. Does anyone have a personally recommendation?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2016-07-22, 18:48

I have that exact model, T. In terms of design and feel, that's the closest you're going to get to a real controller short of actually using real controller with a USB adapter. I'd say buy it unless you want to find/deal with an adapter.



I have two only criticisms of it:

- very minor: The D-pad feels a little stiff, but maybe that's because I just wore out my old controllers.
- also minor: This copies the non-US "colorful buttons" design, which means the X and Y buttons are convex instead of concave. Very subtle, but that tactile difference is something I knew all too well.

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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2016-07-22, 19:03

Wait… I plugged it in for the first time in a while, and on El Capitan, it doesn't appear to be recognized. I'll troubleshoot and let you know what I find.

edit: Though, Mac OS X compatibility probably isn't a concern if the Raspberry Pi is its primary console…

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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2016-07-22, 19:24

Welp, this sucks. My controller is no longer recognized as a USB device by any of my systems (10.10 and 10.11). So, I'm forced to conclude that it's dead.

This is pretty disappointing because I haven't used it that much. It's probably only had 10-15 hours of use, and it's been stored in a reasonable place (my home office where basically all of my electronics live).

Maybe I just got unlucky?

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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2016-07-22, 19:48

It gets more interesting.

So I found a negative review on Amazon that suggested weak solder joints as the cause for defects:

Quote:
Background info: My controller broke after about a week of use. It worked fine for the first week, then it was completely unrecognized by my computer. For a USB device to interface with your computer, the device's internal circuitry must be completely intact and functioning properly. I verified that something was wrong with the device and not my computer by typing the "lsusb" command into the linux terminal, letting me see all the connected USB devices. The controller, (listed as "ID 0583:2060 Padix Co., Ltd (Rockfire)" in linux), did not appear. To figure out if it's not connected if you're using OSX, you can type "system_profiler SPUSBDataType" into the terminal and press enter.

Now, if your controller is not connected period, here's how a fix that worked for me: unscrew the 5 back screws and open up the controller. Carefully remove the circuit board, taking special care to ease out the circuits for the shoulder buttons. Now, take a soldering iron and gently resolder all of the connections to the board. Luckily the problem seems to have to do with poor solder joints and nothing to do with a bad IC. It's not the most convenient fix, but it worked for me!
I took mine apart, plugged it in "naked", and it was recognized! I put it back together, it disappeared! After some fiddling, I discovered that when the case is closed or you apply gentle pressure near the cable, that causes the signal to totally drop out.




Even though the cable connector looks properly soldered, I'm going to warm up the old iron and try re-soldering it...

(Times like this are when I really wish I had a multimeter.)

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709
Damned
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2016-07-22, 20:29

NERDS
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2016-07-22, 21:07

Oh yeah… I got a little distracted... erm... QAing my work. Yeah, that's the ticket. Thanks for the reminder, 709. I wasn't just playing Nintendo for the last half hour.

Surprise! The solder joints were the cause of the failure. So, if you buy one and it conks out, give this solution a try. All I did was touch each of the five USB connections (pictured below surrounded by the white print) with the tip of the iron until the little residual solder on the tip started to flow.


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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2016-07-23, 00:00

Awesome! Thanks for the info on this. I'll be buying these then. I just tried a speed run through Super Mario Bros. and the control layout on the PS3 controller didn't work for my muscle memory. I'm going to have to get a NES controller too for those games. For now, I'll get two of the ones I linked to earlier and now to find NES versions so I can get two of them too.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2016-07-23, 12:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by 709 View Post
NERDS
I prefer geek, thankyouverymuch.

You know you want something as awesome as Atari 2600, Genesis, NES and SNES all in the same machine! Get the Raspberry Pi from here and use the code "D9UXNAIL" for the savings at checkout. Then all you will need are the controllers.

I will say, the instruction on setting up RetroPie don't talk about the lost storage space when you restore the image into the card. There is a tool built into the software that will auto-resize the volume for you. I'm using a 8GB card I had laying around and reusing the 32GB that comes with this for my dashcam.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2016-07-23, 19:22

What's the advantage of using the Raspberry Pi over an Android TV Box or a Fire Stick? (I'm asking since I have two Fire Sticks and have already sideloaded a few things.)
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2016-07-23, 19:54

I'm only going to guess more control and processing power. The reason I'm only guessing is that I've never looked at using anything Android and assume they have less capable hardware specs. I'll be multitasking my Pi 3 for things like network Time Machine and such. I wire network mine even though it has built in WiFi.

If you already have Android devices it might be worth it to stick with them. Since I know nothing about using them as a retro emulator I really don't know though.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2016-07-23, 20:24

Yeah, control and programmability is a huge draw for this. Raspberry Pis are designed for hobbyists and tinkerers first, and they don't need workarounds or special processes to change them because, well, it's already a development platform. You can plug in a keyboard, mouse, and display and boot it up and work on it like any standard linux PC.

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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2017-01-01, 22:31

I just did this last week. Christmas present. A few little quirks but overall it's worked well.

Everything is so simple and mostly done for you already. The only real problems I've had are related to controllers. I have an Xbox 360 wireless receiver and two controllers for it, and also a PS3 controller. I prefer to use the PS3 controller with possible because the d-pad is better, but for multiplayer the Xbox controllers are fine. The problem I had earlier today was that the 360 receiver is considered as controllers 1-4 and the PS3 is number 5, so I have to either use a 360 controller for single player games or physically unplug the receiver. There doesn't seem to be a simple way to just change controller numbers.

Oh well, overall it's really fun playing all these old games. And I like having a homebrew system because I have more control over it. I almost went with an Amazon Fire TV, which can have emulators sideloaded onto it, but the Pi is so much cooler.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2017-01-02, 12:36

Do you use the PS3 controller wirelessly or wired? I only tried wire connecting it and that was enough for my needs. Just wondering how you did it.

What kind of case do you have on your Pi? I thought about buying one that looks like a Nintendo. Right now I have one that is plain and basic clear.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2017-01-02, 15:08

I got a full CanaKit, which came with a plain black case (as well as a power supply, heat sinks, memory card, etc.)

This one:



I don't really care about the case as long as it works. The one thing extra I've bought for it is a power supply with a built-in power switch. Normally I just leave it running since the power draw is so low, but I don't like having to unplug the USB every time I need to switch it off and on again.

For the controller, I'm using it wirelessly. It's set up in the living room and the distance from the Pi to the couch is too long for a wired controller. Plus we have two little kids so they would definitely trip on the cord if I used it wired.

It requires a little tweaking to get it working correctly, and additionally the PS3 controller takes over the entire Bluetooth system so you can't use other BT devices at the same time. But the drivers are built into the current version of RetroPie, it's just a matter of enabling and configuring them. There's a guide on how to do so here: https://github.com/retropie/retropie...PS3-controller

Edit: apparently you can use other Bluetooth devices alongside a PS3 controller, but you have to disable the PS3 driver, connect all the other Bluetooth devices, then re-enable the PS3 driver. Only if using it wirelessly; I don't think anything is necessary if using it wired.

Last edited by Luca : 2017-01-02 at 19:40.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2017-01-12, 11:48

So it's been a couple weeks and I'm still loving this thing. Probably have 200+ roms on it now, from systems as old as the Atari 2600. It's pretty amazing getting to play all these old games again, especially ones from before my time. The 2600 is so incredibly basic, yet there are still lots of fun games on it.

I basically have everything set up how I want it - overscan is off, so now the interface fills the screen with no black bars. All my games have had their metadata scraped. And I have enabled shaders so I get imitation scan lines - which actually makes most of these games look better as well as more authentic.

The one thing I still haven't settled on is a controller. I've been using the PS3 controller since a few days after I set it up, and it's okay, but I think the d-pad is still not as good as I'd like it to be. Better than on the 360, but that's not saying much.

Can't decide between an 8bitdo SNES30 and a Wii U Pro controller. Both are wireless and have a Nintendo-style face button layout (with A/B and X/Y reversed relative to the Xbox 360 standard). Both, unsurprisingly, have quirks that make them a bit of a chore to set up. I wish I could just go wired but it's not really realistic for my living room.

As long as I'm having fun I may as well stick with the Dualshock 3, but one of these days I'm going to replace it.
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