Advanced Topics

RetroArch Overrides

RetroArch overrides are disabled by default. This was done because overrides can cancel out options set in EmulationStation in ways that can cause confusion if the person doesn’t remember they set up the override. That said, enabling overrides is fine, and can allow you to save settings that aren’t available in the EmulationStation options. If you do, though, please remember to check your overrides before asking for help if your ES options aren’t working.

Overrides are stored in /storage/roms/gamedata/retroarch/config.

To enable Overrides you have to start RetroArch directly via Tools.

Main Menu -> Settings -> User Interface -> Menu Item Visibility -> Quick Menu -> Show Save Game Overrides -> On Back to Main Menu -> Configuration File -> Save Current Configuration

Minimizing Input Lag

The following RetroArch settings have been recommended by Vanfanel to minimize input lag. Please note that while these settings will reduce input lag, they may be more difficult for the system and cause some performance penalties on harder to emulate systems.

  • RetroArch Main Menu > Settings > Video, set Threaded Video to off
  • RetroArch Main Menu > Settings > Video > Synchronization, set Vertical Sync (VSync) to off
  • RetroArch Main Menu > Settings > Video > Synchronization, set Max swapchain images to 1
  • RetroArch Main Menu > Settings > Audio > Output, set Audio to alsa
  • RetroArch Main Menu > Settings > Audio > Output, set Audio Latency (ms) to 32
  • RetroArch Main Menu > Settings > Audio > Synchronization, set Synchronization to on (should be on by default)

Installing Custom Themes

Before installing custom themes, it’s strongly advised that you check out the theme downloader and make sure that there isn’t already a theme that suits your preferences. Most EmulationStation themes aren’t built with these devices in mind, and aren’t compatible with their resolutions. You may need to make adjustments to the theme’s XML to make it compatible with your device.

To install a custom theme, you’ll need to add it to /storage/.config/emulationstation/themes. This area is usually easiest to access using SSH or SFTP. For more information, please see the Transferring Files guide. Drop the theme folder into that folder. You should now be able to select the custom theme from the UI Settings menu.

Buttons reference

Button RetroArch Ref Mupen Ref
A 15 P/M/V: button(0)
MP: button(1)
B 16 P/M/V: button(1)
MP: button(0)
X 17 P/M/V: button(2)
MP: button(2)
Y 18 P/M/V: button(3)
MP: button(3)
L1 19 P/M/V: button(4)
MP: button(4)
R1 20 P/M/V: button(5)
MP: button(5)
Start 21 P/M/V: button(6)
MP: button(13)
Select 22 P/M/V: button(7)
MP: button(12)
L3 23 P/M/V: button(8)
MP: button(14)
R3 (P/M)
F (V)
24 P/M/V: button(9)
MP: button(15)
L2 25 P/M/V: button(10)
MP: button(6)
R2 26 P/M/V: button(11)
MP: button(7)
DPad U Hat #0 up P/M/V: hat(0 Up)
MP: button(8)
DPad D Hat #0 down P/M/V: hat(0 Down)
MP: button(9)
DPad L Hat #0 left P/M/V: hat(0 Left)
MP: button(10)
DPad R Hat #0 right P/M/V: hat(0 Right)
MP: button(11)
Left Stick U +1 P/M/V: axis(1+)
MP: axis(1-)
Left Stick D -1 P/M/V: axis(1-)
MP: axis(1+)
Left Stick L +0 P/M/V: axis(0+)
MP: axis(0-)
Left Stick R -0 P/M/V: axis(0-)
MP: axis(0+)
Left Stick
X Axis
  P/M/V: axis(0+,0-)
MP: axis(0-,0+)
Left Stick
Y Axis
  P/M/V: axis(1+,1-)
MP: axis(1-,1+)
Right Stick U
(P/M/MP Only)
-3 P/M: axis(3-)
MP: axis(3+)
Right Stick D
(P/M/MP Only)
+3 P/M: axis(3+)
MP: axis(3-)
Right Stick L
(P/M/MP Only)
-2 P/M: axis(2-)
MP: axis(2+)
Right Stick R
(P/M/MP Only)
+2 P/M: axis(2+)
MP: axis(2-)
Right Stick
X Axis
(P/M/MP Only)
  P/M: axis(2+,2-)
MP: axis(2-,2+)
Right Stick
Y Axis
(P/M/MP Only)
  P/M: axis(3+,3-)
MP: axis(3-,3+)

File Management

AmberELEC includes a basic file manager called Dingux Commander. This file manager allows you to manipulate files that are local or on a connected thumb drive.

File Manager Button Configuration

Button Action
Y: Open the system menu
X: Open the action menu
B: Action button
A: Back button
L1: Top of file selection
L2: Bottom of file selection

How to work with es_systems.cfg on AmberELEC

In AmberELEC there is a global es_systems.cfg file that is located in /usr/config/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg. This file can not be altered to make sure that future updates can still add new features to the system. However, there is still the possibility to add your own extensions. You can create your own extensions to the standard es_systems.cfg.

Adding systems config extensions

The directory for custom config files is /storage/.config/emulationstation/. You can create an extension to es_systems.cfg by putting a file named es_systems_{custom}.cfg, where {custom} is whatever you want, usually a description of what the extension does.

You can also name your file es_systems.cfg, but be aware that it will automatically be renamed to es_systems.oldcfg-rename-to:es_systems_custom.cfg-if-needed to make sure there is no old configuration file left from an old install. The renaming takes place on every system update. If you need this file or want to maintain your own es_systems.cfg, be sure to give it a custom tag es_systems_custom.cfg.

Writing extension files

Extension files should be kept as small as possible. While you can copy and paste the entire default es_systems.cfg file, this is strongly discouraged, as it’s more likely to break with future updates.

Anything not specified in your extension file will be read from the global es_systems.cfg file, even additional contents of a specific tag. For example, if you want to alter the path that the Playstation One emulator uses for its roms to /storage/roms/playstationone/, you only need to specify the following:



Changing System Display Order

One easy way of changing the system display order is to assign order numbers to the console release fields, and then order by release.


Thanks to _n3o_ for this example