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LaunchBox - include emulator core integration and controls like OpenEmu


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I think it would be AWESOME if Launchbox included as many emulators as possible, kind of like OpenEmu and Retroarch, but with an easy to use configuration interface (unlike Retroarch!). 

How great would that be to install LB (greatest front end ever), have it pull in your chosen emulators/cores AND let you configure some global things (like controls and video) or emulator specific things.

I think the fundamental things everyone does setting up is get emulators and configure controls and video settings. And of course add games (we already have that in LB).

The more specific tweaks come later as you try to optimize things per emulator and/or specific games.

If Retroarch and OpenEmu can do this, why not LB?

OpenEmu is more of what I would call the super easy front end that includes cores and controls and video. But OpenEmu is for Mac and is no where near as good as all the other stuff in LB. 

I REALLY do like the idea of OpenEmu. Launchbox should take note of that program for the inclusion of cores/video/controls. 

But keep stand alone emulator support too as that is a major limitation of both OpenEmu and Retroarch.

I don't think there is really any Windows front end that has all this and I really don't know why not. LB would be a no-brainer for everyone.

Long live LaunchBox!


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This has been brought up before and long story short is that what you are suggesting is not just a simple thing to do. Jason would need either a staff of developers or dedicate a lot of time to doing this.

This would require him writing an entire UI for the libretro cores and in essence he is just reinventing the wheel because Retroarch does all of this already. It is just as easy for people to setup and Retroarch and tie it into Launchbox like we already do.

I am not saying it's a bad idea, it's just simply not feasible or time efficient for Jason to tackle such a task at this point in time, maybe some day down the road.

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yeah i here you on time @lordmonkus, but I don't like to suggest enhancements based on whether or not I think there is time. one day, there may be time :) . if you wanna be big, you gotta think big  :D

plus, if you look at Openemu, you will see that the "ui" can start off extremely minimal to do the basics, certainly not looking for a RA ui, ever. this would be a big differentiator for LB as well.

Openemu is the clear emulation tool of choice in the Mac world. A LOT of people just want to get in and play some games quickly and easily without investing their life in emulation research, and Openemu is pretty darn close to letting most "normal" people do that. 


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Honestly, in my opinion, LaunchBox/Big Box is the easiest thing I have ever set up since I got into emulation ten years ago. RetroArch is easy to use too if you play around with it for an hour. 

Of course there is always room for usability improvements in software like this, but you've got to expect some level of tinkering by the end user when so many emulators and programs can be launched from and integrated into a frontend such as this.

To me, it's more rewarding too when you figure something out, or gain knowledge from a great community like this ?

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@DOS76 @Charco, yes sure LB is easy compared to others, but it too can be much easier.

@Charco, RA is definitely not easy. Sure it's easy to navigate after you get used to navigation, but there are tons of options in there that are complicated and take time to understand how they could affect things and why you might want to make changes. much more than an hour...

@DOS76 when i say "normal" users i mean not very technical users. a lot of people get blocked right away and do not try to figure it out. you could say that's on them, but that doesn't put more money into jason's pocket and it also stops a lot of people from getting to play with cool stuff.  

i think most emulation users are probably at least fairly technical with a computer, because i think a lot of non technical users that try simply fall off and go away, never to be  heard from again.

boy you guys are hard to push an enhancement request to. haha :D , no worries. it's all my opinion and you are entitled to yours as well.

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The new nightly builds (and official release when it comes out) has extra info on all the settings now when you go through them so you know what each setting does. For the most part Retroarch out of the box works extremely well for the "average" persons needs. It only gets tricky when people start getting into niche circumstances such as controllers and oddball setups.

Again like I said previously this is about not wanting these enhancements for Launchbox, it is about time and effort to do it.

Jason could either continue working on new and unique features or he could stop all the current development for god knows how long to reinvent the wheel that is Retroarchs UI.

Also like I said previously, this topic has been brought up before with the exact same comparison to OpenEmu on the Mac.

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As a professional "fix it" guy, this proposition sounds like it could create a fair amount of new support workload, particularly with regard to what expected functionality is. I can imagine some user saying, "Hey, you said that it will just work, and I downloaded it but the Nintendo controls have the A and B buttons reversed! That's clearly wrong, WTF?!?" or "Why can't my i3 system run PS2 games @ 4K?!? You suck!"

A product which is positioned as a front-end that makes it easier / nicer to use other software is a significantly different customer expectation from an application that downloads, installs, and sets up other emulators for you in addition to acting as a nice front end. Right or wrong, I suspect the less discerning user may see something like this as "LaunchBox is supposed to do it all for me" which would run up to and including the actual playing of games and the possible problems resulting from there. At the moment, the world of emulator front-ends is sufficiently nerdy and niche that this isn't really an issue, but further down the road it would begin to be one as the userbase grows and the featureset broadens.

I feel like one way to insulate LaunchBox (the "product") from this stuff would be to make downloadable packages available from the community. I was thinking about putting up some stuff along those lines once I get my configs and setup more mature, like an "EasyMode" version of MAME you could just unzip which would have a lot of controller mapping and shader stuff already set up and ready to go. But the key thing is, that'd be me and/or other people in the community doing that stuff for free as opposed to it falling under the umbrella of LaunchBox "the thing you paid money for".  My attitude towards this kind of stuff tends to be along the lines of the open source model, where if I spend a ton of time figuring out some issue or building something, and only I use it, that's less good for humanity than if I share my work with other people who also make use of it. Maybe I'm just a weird hippy like that :P

I definitely did wanna build some packs and/or at least write-ups on stuff like MAME and RetroArch, since they both have pretty steep learning curves once you start getting into the weeds, especially if you want to emulate all the platforms like collector-minded people tend to do (guilty of this one myself).

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