FAQs: Frequently asked questions - XargonWan/RetroDECK Wiki

General questions:

What is the scope of this project?

The scope is to bring an easy and fancy emulation environment without the user has to mess up with the emulation settings by separating the emulated games from the rest of your Steam library. Also read the Whats the long term vision and goals on the Home page.

Do you include any games, firmware or BIOS?

No, this can never be done for legal reasons.

Can you at least point me towards where I can get them?

Again...no, this can never be done for legal reasons.

Flatpak, what is it?

Retrodeck IS a flatpak so, what is a flatpak?
A flatpak is generated from a manifest, our manifest is this: https://github.com/XargonWan/RetroDECK/blob/main/net.retrodeck.retrodeck.yml There is a software named flatpak-builder that is reading that manifest and downloads and builds everything that is needed.

This is creating the RetroDECK.flatpak file that can be distributed as a file or be included in the official Flathub repository accessible from Discovery.

Flaptak is like a sandbox, with its own read only filesystem that is different from your computer's filesystem, that's why flatpak is safer than installing something directly in your filesystem, moreover it persists after any SteamOS update.

What is cooker?

Cooker is a snapshot of the current commits, the action of uploading code to GitHub is called commit.
As you can understand, the code may not be always reviewed and so the cooker it's unstable by its nature, it's just suggested to testers or developer to try bleeding edge function or to contribute.
More info on the pinned post in #💙-i-want-to-help on our Discord Server. I don't support the cooker user side.

Why the name cooker? 🍲

That's what cooking in the pot at this moment and not yet ready to be served (released).
This name was also used by Linux Mandrake and Mandriva for the bleeding edge channel.

Are you related to EmuDeck?

No, the two projects are not releated.

So what's the difference between RetroDECK and EmuDeck?

RetroDECK is more for the usecase where you got a lot of games and you don't want to flood your Steam library, but instead keep them in a separated yet quickly accessible secure environment.

Apart of that from the user point of view EmuDeck and RetroDECK may sound similar but technically they're completely different. EmuDeck it's a shell script that it's downloading all the seperate emulators & plugins for you from various sources (flathub and appimage mainly) and writing all its data inside your filesystem.

RetroDECK is a single application that works in a sandbox, that means that is not writing directly in your filesystem except for two folders: ~/retrodeck and the flatpak default folder ~/.var/net.retrodeck.retrodeck. This brings more safety and avoid that other applications will clash together. In this way you can theoretically install RetroArch or Yuzu from other sources and it will be a completely different application/configuration.

Moreover RetroDECK is very easy to remove as it not leave unwanted files spread around the filesystem and with a flatpak you're sure that when Valve will update SteamOS3 it will not be ereased as Valve officialy endorse the flatpak distribution.

In the beginning I was using a similar approach as Emudeck, however I decided to migrate in on the flatpak because I felt it was not safe and unstable. Moreover it needed root permissions that the user didn't want to give to a random script downloaded from the internet. However from a flatpak you cannot install another flatpak, so it must be integrated directly in the code and that's why the developement of RetroDECK is slower.

TL;DR: Flatpak is more solid and safe as everything is contained in a sandbox environment so whatever mess you do inside of it is not reflecting into your real system and you are sure that SteamOS3 update will not flush all your configs. Moreover your emulated games are separated from your Steam games.

Can I install RetroDECK if I have EmuDeck already?

Yes, as RetroDECK is completely standalone, however I don´t know how EmuDeck manages its roms folder and their structure may be not compatible with RetroDECK.

Are you related anyway to Batocera?

No, but RetroDECK had some dialog before the project started with some of the Batocera crew if there where any plans to start a Batocera none OS application (there where no plans at that moment and their focus is to make the best retro gaming operative system).
We have one team member that works on the Batocera project: Atari.

Batocera or EmuDeck or RetroDECK I still don't get it?

  • Batocera is a retro emulation operative system that you need to boot into separately (like from an SDCard) or replace your current OS.
    For the Steam Deck you lose access to the SteamOS features and your emulation gaming is separate from your SteamOS gamemode gaming. That said; Batocera has many years of development time, is a great mature OS with a lot of features.
  • EmuDeck is not an application but a shell script that you download and run. The script downloads & configures all the separate emulators & plugins for you from various sources (flatpaks and appimages mainly) and writing all its data inside your filesystem.
  • RetroDECK is an all-in-one application that already provides everything you need without to many extra steps for the user.It is on flathub and thus allows the users to update the application via standard safe operative system update methods. You can see RetroDECK as the in between of EmuDeck and Batocera. We hope that one day we can offer a complete Batocera-like experience right inside your operative system.

Will you support the general Linux desktop and not only the Steam Deck?

Technically it is working, but the user experience might not be that great. It could contain desktop specific bugs and other issues. If you want to try it make sure that your distribution has native flatpak support else you might need to install it. We plan to do more to support the general desktop in the future.

Will you support other SteamOS based hand held devices?

Right now our focus is on the Steam Deck and making a feature rich application.
Time will tell if we can add more native device support, but we are optimistic about the future.

I see ~ refereed in documentation and examples, what does it mean?

The tilde character ~ is the a short way of saying the logged in users home directory in the UNIX world.

So for example the Steam Deck
~ = /home/deck
Read more on Wikipedia

What is your relationship with EmulationStation Desktop Edition (ES-DE)?

ES-DE and RetroDECK are completely separate projects, but we collaborate to give the best possible user experience.
We have a unique partnership where inside the ES-DE code is a section just for RetroDECK specific features.
Read more on ES-DE FAQs

When does the next version of RetroDECK come out?

When it's ready.

When does the version after the upcoming version come out?

After the upcoming version.

When does the version 1.0 of RetroDECK come out?

Some time in the future.

Why are games call ROMs?

ROM stands for "Read Only Memory" and was a common method to store games.
The games where later dumped from their ROM chips into digitalized files that can be played with an emulator.
Read more on wikipedia

RetroDECK questions:

What can RetroDECK emulate?

Basically everything except PS4, PS5, Xbox 360 Xbox One, Xbox S (however first Xbox is supported). Some emulators may still not be available yet as we are adding them one by one.

Will you implement X/Y/Z emulator?

Our goal is to implement and preconfigure a selection of the best emulators for each system up to the Nintendo Switch, if your favorite system is not integrated you can request its integration by opening an issue.

How can I add more themes?

In the future we wish to include a themes browser and downloader, but for the moment you can put your own themes here: ~/retrodeck/themes.

So can I launch RetroDECK from inside of the Steam Decks gamemode?

Yes, RetroDECK currently only supports Steam Deck's gamemode as it relies on Steam Controller configs. To add it into Steam please check Step 2 of the installation guide.

Do I have to uninstall the previous version before installing the newest via terminal?

Only if you previously not installed from Discover, you can find the instructions here and here.

After installing RetroDECK manually, Discover is not opening or giving me some errors?

This bug is appearing only when installing RetroDECK manually and not from Discover. The discover release is suggested for all the users. However you can run this to fix it: flatpak remote-delete retrodeck-origin

Can I move the ROMs folder to another place?

Yes and no, you can technically change and create new symbolic links the corresponding roms folders to a different file path.
This how ever is not recommended and quite a technical feat. In a future update we will let you move the roms folder more easily.

Is there a way to reset RetroDECK?

Yes, but you need to open the Terminal application and paste one of the following commands depending on what you want to do.

Resets the whole RetroDECK at factory defaults:

flatpak run net.retrodeck.retrodeck --reset

Resets RetroArch configs at factory defaults:

flatpak run net.retrodeck.retrodeck --reset-ra

Resets all the standalone emulators configs at factory defaults:

flatpak run net.retrodeck.retrodeck --reset-sa

Where is my scraped data?

In ~/retrodeck/downloaded_media

Where can I find the logfiles?

In ~/retrodeck/logs/retrodeck.log

Can I add a single game to my Steam Library as I do with EmuDeck or Steam Rom Manager?

Not with RetroDECK, that's not the scope as previously mentioned. However we are open to evaluate any contribution.

I got some weird error message about quota after scraping in a foreign language from screenscraper.fr!

The error message mentions something about quota. You have a quota limit on how much you can scrape each day from screenscraper where each item you scrape counts as 1 quota of the daily total.
You can pay them to get a bit more daily quota and show your support or just wait 24 hours.

The error message says something about server or service

The website is down, check screenscraper.fr when they get back up.

My system storage ran out after scraping!

Images and videos takes a lot of space, you can clean some out under ~/retrodeck/downloaded_media

But I still want them!

Delete something else or buy more storage.

Emulation & Games questions:

Game X/Y/Z is not working or showing black screen

Some emulators needs BIOS and/or firmware files, first you can check if you got the needed ones.
Then you can check if your got a bad dump by comparing your hash with the ones of the official lists on the internet, such as no-intro or even RetroAchievements if your game is supported.
Moreover please mind that some emulator require very specific roms, please read here. If it still not working you are welcome to ask for support on our Discord Server.

PS2 games are not working or buggy

It's a known issue with libretro core but you can use the the standalone pcsx2 emulator to solve this issue. Be sure to check that the bios files are in the correct folder.

XBOX games are slow on the Steam Deck

Unfortunately on thanks to missing optimizations focusing on the Steam Deck and the hardware is limited in scope makes performance not great. Like most emulators they will get improvements over time and we will follow the XBOX emulators progress with great interest.

The games are stuck at 30FPS!

Press the [...] button on the Steam Deck, go into the Power menu and see if the Framerate Limit is set to 30FPS and set it to 60FPS or off.

Fast forwarding is slow

Same as above: Check the Power menu Framerate Limit.

I configured RetroArch but the configuration was not saved.

Configuring RetroArch can be dangerous for an inexperienced user, so RetroDECK is set to don't save the RetroArch configuration upon exiting.
The configuration must be saved willingly by going to: Main Menu -> Configuration File -> Save Current Configuration.
If you find some better configurations however, you may contribute by sharing it on the #💙-i-want-to-help channel on our Discord Server that may be included in the next version.

Can I manually add custom game images/videos/media for games that I can not scrape?

Yes, check the file structure over at Emulationstation DE's user guide on gitlab.
Manually copying game media files

⚠️ **GitHub.com Fallback** ⚠️