View Full Version : Emulator Frontends

22nd August 2022, 12:51
There has been a lot of activity and development in emulation in the last couple of years thanks to a big surge in devices designed for retro gaming, and also the recent pandemic. Plus the hardware for things like retro handhelds is now finally powerful enough to run everything.

Emulator frontends have been around for a long time. Able to manage your rom library, sort them into systems, and configure the emulators it loads each in, as well as thXmasr setup for them. Plus add boxart, screenshots, information etc.

But the question is, what is now the best Frontend?

Hyperspin was one of the first to support consoles but was always quite a chore to setup. I've not used it in some years now. There is Launchbox that started out as a Dosbox front end and had expanded to support many systems, but it is still really more of a rom collection lobrary organiser and resource manager. Then you have EmulationStation which is a cross platform frontend that directly supports RetroArch and many other emulators and like Launchbox can scrap box art etc.

So what frontend do you use?

Demon Cleaner
22nd August 2022, 20:04
I voted for LaunchBox (with BigBox of course), as it's the main frontend I use on PC.

For handhelds I would go with ES, but on my Odin I'm also using LB for Android, the export function works quite well and it looks nice.

23rd August 2022, 00:44
For the Odin the EmuDeck team have been working on a version for the Odin and other Android and Windows devices. It's called Pegasus: https://www.pegasus-installer.com/

Demon Cleaner
23rd August 2022, 16:01
Although I like LaunchBox, I'd rather use an ES like frontend on the Odin, I think it's just perfect for handhelds. I checked the Pegasus one already out, and highly hope they can delivers something nice, but the main problem will always be the Android OS, sometimes has strange behavior with permissions and stuff.

Already ES on the Linux side is somehow nonpractical to use, as first of all you cannot directly access your SD card from a Windows PC. Copying ROMs is still the least of the problems, but you have also to give access to edit .xml and configuration files, add cores, bezels or gamelists, otherwise it's impossible to add stuff to it. I had to change the root login on the RPi4 f.ex. to be able to add and change stuff, so I added tons of shortcuts in FileZilla to be able to navigate faster, otherwise it's a chore (well it is anyways).

23rd August 2022, 17:34
I suppose because I'm used to Linux, having used it for years for server admin, I don't really think when using it. Just do everything though a commandline in Konsole. And file management in the KDE desktop with the dolphin file manager. And that's what the Steam Deck uses so I feel right at home.

For copying files to SD card I agree you can't just take the card out and read it in the PC because of the EXT4 or 3 file system. You can read files on PC in EXT4 filesystems buy can't write to them. But it's a better file system compared to NTFS because it uses a journaling filesystem, so never needs defragmenting.

But there are many ways to transfer files to a Linux system.

Warpinator originally post of Linux Mint OS, is now also on Windows and android, and can use it to transfer files over wifi.

FTP is another. Share a directory on a Windows PC I've the lan as an ftp share, thrn you can log into the share in Linux and copy the files.

Or directly using a USB stick or external HDD. Linux can read and write ntfs so you can easily copy files over that way. You can also compress the files into an archive because Linux can easily decompress again. I just have a 2TB external USB HD I have my whole romset on to copy to any device, making it far easier.

But because I have Linux setup on other systems I can also just read and write sd cards in those to set them up. But can do it all locally on the Steam Deck in Desktop mode. I've been downloading bios and rom sets directly to the Deck and decompressing them locally.