January 19, 2022
I am a one man band Techie, with previous IT infrastructure support background ( Networks, Servers , VOIP ) . Due to the pandemic and other commitments I decided to become self employed and now I regularly build , repair and fix computers amongst other things (Sometimes install CCTV , VOIP) My site is http://www.techrealm.info for anyone interested. My main bread and butter work seems to be gamers and people wanting Video editing solutions
I actually ended up here since a disabled client wanted a computer to emulate some games some WiiU and N64 to name a few. I originally tested ( and later broke ) several prebuild boxes, systems on drives , and the regular Android 905 chipset boxes with ROMS but I found them unstable and easy to break . I have since been messing around with building out Batocera, Emuelec for a few days , and also have some previous experience with Launch box on windows. There seems to be no best front end for all games and this has led to me trying out them all , which is very laborious to say the least – however I have learned a lot .
Ideally I would like a reliable a go-to front end or even a partner builder , that I can offer to this client or future clients since learning them all becomes very time consuming
I originally liked the idea of Batocera since it is somewhat hardware independent , since it can be loaded on a USB drive , so backups are easy to do , in case it breaks . However my opinion of Batocera is now becoming a little negative , since the performance of N64 Emulation really weren’t great irrelevant of the system I ran it on . When testing batocera , I was struggling to hit 60FPS unless turning the rendering down to 720p ( I tried several cores/ rendering types ) , the strange thing is , the performance issues were the same when running on a laptop with an Intel J5005 APU, and a fully fledged Desktop with Ryzen 2300X with GTX 1660 . And for whatever reason I could not get my WiiU backups to run on Cemu within Batocera , but ran fine within Cemu in Launchbox .
If you had to choose one front end system and stick with it , which one would it be and why ? For me , because of reliability and best performance , I am leaning on launchbox , however I would like the portablity and hardware agnostic ability of Batocera
May 16, 2022
I have only peddled RetroPie systems and helped folks install Launchbox in the past. I like and dislike LB for the same reasons you do. Ultimately, I’d rather just run emulators from their file folders–I self-launch most of mine because that’s what I had to do before front ends were around. Old habits 🙂
I haven’t messed around with Batocera, but I see on web searches that there are a few others to try out.
I also modded an original X-box in 2006 with a Smart XX chip. It was the coolest, smoothest interface/system by far, but the XBOX couldn’t run some of the best 90s arcade ROMS properly, not with its very low system RAM. Beast of a setup for a portable NES/SNES/Genesis rig, though. Power it on with Eject button to bypass the chip and play on XBOX Live without getting banned for modding. Anyway, tangents aside, there was no way it would run N64 games if it couldn’t run NBA Jam TE. Since then, hardware like Raspberry Pi 4 is close. It’s cool considering how much more beastly it is compared to a much heavier, slower XBOX from 20 years ago,
Pi 4 is pretty smooth for emulating many of them, but it’s still not -there- like it is for older systems. Dreamcast emulation is pretty dang good now, but still wonky. Again, I have yet to try anything for N64 on a PC for years, and Wii U? I haven’t tried it at all. As an owner of one, a lot of games would suffer without the main touchscreen, just like Nintendo 3DS emulation feels incomplete for similar reasons.
In the end, none of these work 100% still. We’ve been trying for a couple of decades, ever since I had an AMD 4000+ system with 2GB of DDR and a 7900 GS video card I’ve tried a lot of emulators. A lot of the NES/SNES/Genesis stuff is great for the most part, but not 100%. N64: there is no one-size solution for each and every title. Arcade emulation is pretty solid as long as your controller can map to the arcade’s originals pretty well.
After building a lot of systems and playing with emulation a ton as a hobbyist, and selling RetroPies for a minute, I think you should steer away from offering support for stuff like this, mainly because of what you are saying, that none of it is market stable, honestly.
I help people get started with places to read and some facebook groups that can help, I share my own general experience to people who get how software works, but aside from that I don’t market anything emulation related anymore. People will expect you to be an expert, and when something stops working or when someone claims a LB issue is the computer you built them, then you are connected to that experience. Programs like Launchbox will eventually irritate your clients just like it irritates you.