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Running LaunchBox and Big Box on Linux


Jason Carr
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  • 2 weeks later...

I just noticed something weird, and I either need to verify it with someone who is running an Ubuntu or Debian-based distro or try it tomorrow (I keep a laptop at work with Mint).  I decided to install Manjaro Cinnamon on a new laptop today, and naturally ended up installing 11.7.  I also tried updating to 11.9 just in case, but running the Wine shortcut/launcher that is created gave the exact same error we have been having.  However, when running the .exe directly (instead of the Start Menu shortcut, which is the default) I ended up getting a very different message (in command line only)

"0024:err:mscoree:CLRRuntimeInfo_GetRuntimeHost Wine Mono is not installed"

This is on a fresh installation, and when asked if I want to install Mono (and Gecko) I abstained.  This was by design, as both Mono and .NET cannot coexist.  Installing Wine Mono as directed by the error and running the same command gives out the same error we have been seeing since 11.8!  I don't know if this is a breakthrough or just a confirmation of what we already know, but it is something new.  For the record, the first of the following commands is the the launcher command that is created by Wine when LaunchBox is installed with the script, while the second is the command that I utilize in custom launchers (such as a cairo launcher):

"env WINEPREFIX="/home/user/LaunchBox" wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/user/LaunchBox/dosdevices/c:/users/user/Start\ Menu/Programs/LaunchBox/LaunchBox.lnk"

"env WINEPREFIX=~/LaunchBox wine C:\\users\\user\\LaunchBox\\LaunchBox.exe"

Another thing I would like to bring up is that I think the script can be shortened greatly by omitting the installation of winetrick .NET 4.8, Core Desktop 3.1.6, and C++ 2015 (LaunchBox installs that fine on its own).  I also don't install LaunchBox in quiet mode, as I noticed in Manjaro occasionally it will hang while installing the requirements.

 

 

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On 9/5/2020 at 7:25 AM, bombatomba77 said:

To anyone currently running Wine Stable (the version of Wine that will be installed by default) on Ubuntu, Mint, and perhaps any of the other Debian-like distros, I HIGHLY recommend updating to the newest Wine Staging from WineHQ (5.16).  There is a quite a large performance increase overall (especially in regards to menuing), and if you are like me and already using LaunchBox in this manner, it is a breath of fresh air.  Instructions are on the WineHQ page.  I tested this on Linux Mint 20, and despite the instructions on the WineHQ Ubunutu page I did NOT remove the installed Wine before installing the new, instead letting apt do it's thing.  There were no dependency conflicts.

Hi there.  I installed Launchbox via the script.  The initial script worked fine, but it was pretty laggy, especially in bringing up menus and it really hung when attempting to pull metadata.  As a result, I tried to install wine-staging per your post.  I am running LinuxMint 20.1 upgraded from 20, which had it's own version of Wine?  It came with some extras.   Once I installed wine-staging, I attempted to run Launchbox using the executable from its directory and it told me first that I needed mono, then gecko, then thinking it would be done, as I'm used to that from running apps thru Lutris, it told me I needed to install Net Core.  That led me down another wormhole of setting up a Microsoft PPA, then installing 5.0.  That didn't work so I tried 3.1. That didn't work either.

I didn't know how to change the menu item for Launchbox, so that is why I tried to use the executable. I am now attempting to re-install via the original script and noticed that it says Wine-staging will be removed so it will be back to the stable branch?

Any help appreciated and thank you.

Also for Jason, I love that you are attempting to make this work in Linux, so count me in as eager.

Edit:  I managed to get it installed again, but it appears to be lagging even more than initially.  I *appear* to still have wine-staging installed so I'm not sure what is happening, though I am getting an error twice about rundll32.exe twice before launchbox opens.  I'm attempting to fiddle around with setting it up in Lutris now. Might all this have something to do with the fact that I think I may have wine-mono installed system-wide?

Edited by scoobydooami
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5 hours ago, scoobydooami said:

Hi there.  I installed Launchbox via the script.  The initial script worked fine, but it was pretty laggy, especially in bringing up menus and it really hung when attempting to pull metadata.  As a result, I tried to install wine-staging per your post.  I am running LinuxMint 20.1 upgraded from 20, which had it's own version of Wine?  It came with some extras.   Once I installed wine-staging, I attempted to run Launchbox using the executable from its directory and it told me first that I needed mono, then gecko, then thinking it would be done, as I'm used to that from running apps thru Lutris, it told me I needed to install Net Core.  That led me down another wormhole of setting up a Microsoft PPA, then installing 5.0.  That didn't work so I tried 3.1. That didn't work either.

I didn't know how to change the menu item for Launchbox, so that is why I tried to use the executable. I am now attempting to re-install via the original script and noticed that it says Wine-staging will be removed so it will be back to the stable branch?

Any help appreciated and thank you.

Also for Jason, I love that you are attempting to make this work in Linux, so count me in as eager.

Edit:  I managed to get it installed again, but it appears to be lagging even more than initially.  I *appear* to still have wine-staging installed so I'm not sure what is happening, though I am getting an error twice about rundll32.exe twice before launchbox opens.  I'm attempting to fiddle around with setting it up in Lutris now. Might all this have something to do with the fact that I think I may have wine-mono installed system-wide?

Man, that is a lot of stuff.  So just skipping down to the bottom Edit it sounds like you managed to get it installed again, but are seeing the rundll32 errors.  If you see those errors to just cancel them out and it should run fine (though laggy). Part of the issue arises out of the fact that running the script you end up installing LaunchBox 11.5 (I think).  If you can get version 11.7 it is noticeably faster, though still lagging behind Windows. However, there are no archives that I can see, so you might have to either PM Jason Carr or look around and find a copy yourself.  11.7 is quite a bit more usable and stable, though you will still be locked into adding games via the Import sub-menu for now.

If you want to re-run the script to reinstall, I recommend stripping out all apt-get calls, as this just complicates things (like possibly stripping out the version of WIne you want to run and replacing it with default for your distro).

I want to address some of the other difficulties you brought up, but I have to run to work (I'll try to get back later!).

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6 hours ago, bombatomba77 said:

Man, that is a lot of stuff.  So just skipping down to the bottom Edit it sounds like you managed to get it installed again, but are seeing the rundll32 errors.  If you see those errors to just cancel them out and it should run fine (though laggy). Part of the issue arises out of the fact that running the script you end up installing LaunchBox 11.5 (I think).  If you can get version 11.7 it is noticeably faster, though still lagging behind Windows. However, there are no archives that I can see, so you might have to either PM Jason Carr or look around and find a copy yourself.  11.7 is quite a bit more usable and stable, though you will still be locked into adding games via the Import sub-menu for now.

If you want to re-run the script to reinstall, I recommend stripping out all apt-get calls, as this just complicates things (like possibly stripping out the version of WIne you want to run and replacing it with default for your distro).

I want to address some of the other difficulties you brought up, but I have to run to work (I'll try to get back later!).

Thank you!  Well, I ended up removing wine-staging 6.1 and it ran somewhat better, but still super laggy.  I was unable to even complete an import.  It would hang when attempting to generate metadata.  It would take almost 15-30 minutes to even get to that point.  I attempted to bypass that by copying over my Data folder with the .xml files from Windows as I dual-boot and have Launchbox in a second hard drive which I have access to, then just change the folders and whatnot in the menu  I had already copied over my retroarch which has all of the bezels from using the Bezel Project. Launchbox is currently running 11.8 on Windows.

 But then it lagged horribly loading the screens.  I could just try a completely fresh install of Mint 20.1 but I'm really happy with how I have it set up right now, so not sure I want to do that.  I had been using a retropie/emulation station setup in there, but was super looking forward to Launchbox.  It is one of the only things keeping me from using Linux full-time.  I could go with Manjaro, but on reading comments it seems that may have some issues of its own.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been performing experiments with running LaunchBox on Linux through Wine, and I gotta say, with a bit of tweaking, it might be viable!
I was able to import games through the Tools menu, and was able to launch a game!

However, because it is being run through Wine, actually launching native Linux versions of emulators is a little bit tricky. With that in mind, I was able to write some batch scripts that will do just that!

The example I'll put here is the one I wrote for RetroArch,

for /f "delims=" %%i in ('winepath -u %2') do set content=%%i
if %1=="gba" (
    set core=RetroArch-Linux-x86_64.AppImage.home/.config/retroarch/cores/mgba_libretro.so
    set config=RetroArch-Linux-x86_64.AppImage.home/.config/retroarch/config/default.cfg
)

echo %core%
cmd /c start /unix RetroArch/RetroArch-Linux-x86_64.AppImage --verbose -c %config% -L %core% "%content%"

(You will need to edit this yourself if you want more than just the Game Boy Advance)

 

And the entry in the emulation menu looked like this
Screenshot_from_2021-02-23_13-28-11.png

Screenshot_from_2021-02-23_13-27-47.png

Make sure that you avoid naming it "RetroArch" otherwise you'll set off a flag that will make setting parameters a little more cumbersome.

 

 

Here are some other issues that I noticed:


The appearance of context menus are bugged.

Context-Menus.thumb.gif.b8be3d6030ab4ac7730cd9460fcf83ac.gif

 

Dragging and dropping games will cause LaunchBox to crash.

Drag-and-Drop.thumb.gif.fa7720a58c8b201f76f01747530f36bf.gif

 

Some fonts are looking a little rough and are missing certain glyphs

Screenshot_from_2021-02-23_13-32-18.png

Screenshot_from_2021-02-23_13-33-09.png

 

Menus such as the "Edit Game" menu will turn black except for the option you are highlighting.
Screenshot_from_2021-02-23_13-22-08.png


The LaunchBox window will force itself to the front of the screen if the screen is ever updated.

This is visible in the above YouTube video, where it takes me a bit of time to switch to RetroArch after launching it.

 

This could use a little bit of work, but I am impressed with what I have been able to accomplish so far!
I hope this eventually becomes an option, at the cost of a little extra maintenance. :)

Edited by Sterophonick
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Quick update:

I was able to get steam games to run, albeit very hackily, and I don't know of a way to make this work better...

Anyway here's the script.

cmd /c start /unix /home/%user%/.steam/debian-installation/ubuntu12_32/steam -nominidumps -nobreakpad %1

 

And here are the "Launching" settings for your game.

image.png.ec31aa350244ea9c50e0e26b3215eab6.png

Try it for yourself, see if it works.

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@Sterophonick

Well done!  I need to try that script for native running. I run nearly all the emulators in Wine Retroarch, but PS2 just doesn't play ball, at least not to the level I want it to.  I personally run a Manjaro Mate system, and can verify (for reasons I do not understand) that the bugged context menu isn't present on all desktop environments.  On Manjaro it happens in XFCE (tested this on my old mGAme distro - RIP) and also on a couple Ubuntu-like distros (though I don't remember the desktops).  I've also had issues with Cinnamon in both Manjaro and Mint, in that the LaunchBox front end DEMANDS on being front and center, so much so that it will even stand in front of full-screen apps!  Also, I've had the best experience when scraping to make sure and uncheck the "Remove roughly matched duplicate images..." checkbox.  It seems to slow things down quite a bit for me.

On my Manjaro Mate main system LaunchBox 11.7 runs snappy and relatively fast, though I still experience many of the same bugs you do (dragging and dropping, fonts, etc.) and a couple of others (resizing the main window is always a little iffy, for example).  Still, I find it very usable in Linux.  I do use it in Windows, but only when streaming some of the systems over Steam (does that count?).

Edited by bombatomba77
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40 minutes ago, bombatomba77 said:

@Sterophonick

Well done!  I need to try that script for native running. I run nearly all the emulators in Wine Retroarch, but PS2 just doesn't play ball, at least not to the level I want it to.  I personally run a Manjaro Mate system, and can verify (for reasons I do not understand) that the bugged context menu isn't present on all desktop environments.  On Manjaro it happens in XFCE (tested this on my old mGAme distro - RIP) and also on a couple Ubuntu-like distros (though I don't remember the desktops).  I've also had issues with Cinnamon in both Manjaro and Mint, in that the LaunchBox front end DEMANDS on being front and center, so much so that it will even stand in front of full-screen apps!  Also, I've had the best experience when scraping to make sure and uncheck the "Remove roughly matched duplicate images..." checkbox.  It seems to slow things down quite a bit for me.

On my Manjaro Mate main system LaunchBox 11.7 runs snappy and relatively fast, though I still experience many of the same bugs you do (dragging and dropping, fonts, etc.) and a couple of others (resizing the main window is always a little iffy, for example).  Still, I find it very usable in Linux.  I do use it in Windows, but only when streaming some of the systems over Steam (does that count?).

I find it very usable, however it has been tedious writing these scripts for the emulators and having to manually edit every Steam, Windows, and Linux game to have them work.

The specific desktop I use is the variant of GNOME that comes with Pop!_OS 20.10.

There's definitely a ways to go in terms if functionality, and I feel like some of the bugs are more of a Wine problem rather than a LaunchBox problem.

I don't see it being usable as a primary game launcher on Linux without a lot of changes being made to either LaunchBox or Wine.

It's never going to be perfect unless LaunchBox gets a native Linux conversion using Mono. :/

If they ever do a conversion they need to add support for things like Wineprefixes and some Windows specific game settings, otherwise it's just gonna be a hassle.

Heck, the base version could have like a "Linux mode" where it does everything necessary to make things work right.

Edited by Sterophonick
more to say lol
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12 hours ago, Sterophonick said:

I find it very usable, however it has been tedious writing these scripts for the emulators and having to manually edit every Steam, Windows, and Linux game to have them work.

The specific desktop I use is the variant of GNOME that comes with Pop!_OS 20.10.

There's definitely a ways to go in terms if functionality, and I feel like some of the bugs are more of a Wine problem rather than a LaunchBox problem.

I don't see it being usable as a primary game launcher on Linux without a lot of changes being made to either LaunchBox or Wine.

It's never going to be perfect unless LaunchBox gets a native Linux conversion using Mono. :/

If they ever do a conversion they need to add support for things like Wineprefixes and some Windows specific game settings, otherwise it's just gonna be a hassle.

Heck, the base version could have like a "Linux mode" where it does everything necessary to make things work right.

I agree that most of the bugs you have observed are Wine based, though the bugged context menus are likely not. Though my only proof on that is when I installed an XFCE variant Manjaro distro it happened, while on my Manjaro Mate it does not.  It also doesn't in Cinnamon, though that had it's own issues.

The biggest plus side is that the vast majority of cores in RetroArch run like a dream in Wine, with little to no issues at all, and though it is slower than in Windows, Big Box also works rather well (even with themes).  

Believe it or not the largest issue we face now is installing any version newer than 11.7.  The error is .NET based and causes a "wine: Unhandled exception 0xe0434352" error.  It is very frustrating, and the forty or so hours I put into messing with it were completely fruitless.  Granted I am a novice at such things, but we got nearly no help from WineHQ (though this might have been at least partially my fault).

 

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42 minutes ago, bombatomba77 said:

I agree that most of the bugs you have observed are Wine based, though the bugged context menus are likely not. Though my only proof on that is when I installed an XFCE variant Manjaro distro it happened, while on my Manjaro Mate it does not.  It also doesn't in Cinnamon, though that had it's own issues.

The biggest plus side is that the vast majority of cores in RetroArch run like a dream in Wine, with little to no issues at all, and though it is slower than in Windows, Big Box also works rather well (even with themes).  

Believe it or not the largest issue we face now is installing any version newer than 11.7.  The error is .NET based and causes a "wine: Unhandled exception 0xe0434352" error.  It is very frustrating, and the forty or so hours I put into messing with it were completely fruitless.  Granted I am a novice at such things, but we got nearly no help from WineHQ (though this might have been at least partially my fault).

 

I remember a while back when Jason Carr said that he spent his weekend porting LaunchBox to MonoDevelop and got it to run, while BigBox was not feasible. I wonder what happened to that project...

It certainly would boost Linux gaming quite a bit, for me Lutris isn't quite cutting it compared to what I can get with LaunchBox.

Edited by Sterophonick
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So far I tried the Steam script and it launched my game! I was hoping someone like you would come along with something this. I use the startup screens which do work but setting the time to say 11 seconds to give the game time to start the startup screen seems to only last like 3 seconds. Might have to do with the bat file or wine who knows. Also is the Dolphin script for the native Linux version? Thanks again!

Edited by The_Keeper86
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MAME Script

cmd /c start /unix MAME/mame64 -verbose -rompath %1 %2 %3

Emulator settings:

Screenshot_from_2021-02-24_14-09-06.png

 

Edit these settings to fit the system you're trying to emulate.

 

Currently working on a script that will run Windows games in Wine, however it's getting a bit frustrating. Dunno if I will ever get it to work

Edited by Sterophonick
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I am assuming I am doing something wrong, but I cannot run native Dolphin.  So, I copied down the script as "Dolphin.bat" and saved to my Emulation folder, then added it to the Emulators section of LaunchBox as default. When launching it opens what appears to be Windows cmd and also a Linux popup with "Path not found" in it, which I have to close nine times:

1306633637_Screenshotat2021-02-2421-04-30.thumb.png.0ce3ae354ec9438b1f82c7b51f83fa8b.png

I looked over the posts and decided to place the GC games and Dolphin.bat file in the native LaunchBox directory, so that I could give it the relative path name (Emulation\Dolphin.bat) instead of the WIne to Linux nonsense (Z:blahblah).  Same thing happens.  I currently do not have a Ubuntu or Debian-like machine running, so I am unable to test and see if this is some Arch weirdness.  I can say that Dolphin comes out of the Community repo and runs with "dolphin-emu" so I don't think it would be that different...

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18 minutes ago, bombatomba77 said:

I am assuming I am doing something wrong, but I cannot run native Dolphin.  So, I copied down the script as "Dolphin.bat" and saved to my Emulation folder, then added it to the Emulators section of LaunchBox as default. When launching it opens what appears to be Windows cmd and also a Linux popup with "Path not found" in it, which I have to close nine times:

1306633637_Screenshotat2021-02-2421-04-30.thumb.png.0ce3ae354ec9438b1f82c7b51f83fa8b.png

I looked over the posts and decided to place the GC games and Dolphin.bat file in the native LaunchBox directory, so that I could give it the relative path name (Emulation\Dolphin.bat) instead of the WIne to Linux nonsense (Z:blahblah).  Same thing happens.  I currently do not have a Ubuntu or Debian-like machine running, so I am unable to test and see if this is some Arch weirdness.  I can say that Dolphin comes out of the Community repo and runs with "dolphin-emu" so I don't think it would be that different...

You'll need to compile Dolphin yourself and then place the "dolphin-emu" executable in a folder named "Dolphin" in your emulators folder.

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1 hour ago, Sterophonick said:

You'll need to compile Dolphin yourself and then place the "dolphin-emu" executable in a folder named "Dolphin" in your emulators folder.

Thank you so much, Sterophonick! This worked for me. Native Dolphin FTW!

Regarding native Retroarch script, it unfortunately didn't work for me; it's a little like what bombatomba77 described about Dolphin not working previously: it opens what appears to be Windows cmd, then it closes and nothing happens. I tried creating a folder named "RetroArch" in my emulators folder and putting the AppImage there, but this didn't work also.

Right clicking the game and selecting "Open RAButOnLinux" opens the native emulator - but Retroarch can't seem to read any previously set config (like icons theme and such), and as soon as the emulator launches, it shows the message "Failed saving config to RetroArch-Linux-x86_64-Nightly.AppImage.home/.config/retroarch/config/default.cfg". I've tried pointing "set config" to other cfg files, even in different folders, but the aforementioned error message shows every single time.

I also tried copying "retroarch" executable to RetroArch folder and edited the script to point it to the "retroarch" file, but everything else happened just as before (same issues).

I'm running Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon, by the way.

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36 minutes ago, jedigu said:

Thank you so much, Sterophonick! This worked for me. Native Dolphin FTW!

Regarding native Retroarch script, it unfortunately didn't work for me; it's a little like what bombatomba77 described about Dolphin not working previously: it opens what appears to be Windows cmd, then it closes and nothing happens. I tried creating a folder named "RetroArch" in my emulators folder and putting the AppImage there, but this didn't work also.

Right clicking the game and selecting "Open RAButOnLinux" opens the native emulator - but Retroarch can't seem to read any previously set config (like icons theme and such), and as soon as the emulator launches, it shows the message "Failed saving config to RetroArch-Linux-x86_64-Nightly.AppImage.home/.config/retroarch/config/default.cfg". I've tried pointing "set config" to other cfg files, even in different folders, but the aforementioned error message shows every single time.

I also tried copying "retroarch" executable to RetroArch folder and edited the script to point it to the "retroarch" file, but everything else happened just as before (same issues).

I'm running Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon, by the way.

So is this what your filesystem looks like?
 

LaunchBox

  • Emulators
    • RetroArch
      • RetroArch-Linux-x86_64-Nightly.AppImage.home
        • .config
          • retroarch
            • configs
              • default.cfg
            • cores
              • <cores>
      • RetroArch-Linux-x86_64-Nightly.AppImage
    • RetroArch.bat
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13 minutes ago, Sterophonick said:

So is this what your filesystem looks like?
 

LaunchBox

  • Emulators
    • RetroArch
      • RetroArch-Linux-x86_64-Nightly.AppImage.home
        • .config
          • retroarch
            • configs
              • default.cfg
            • cores
              • <cores>
      • RetroArch-Linux-x86_64-Nightly.AppImage
    • RetroArch.bat

Thanks for the directions; I changed the filesystem to be like the folder structure above (yeah, I had messed up, my mistake).

And now, it's also working perfectly: native RetroArch's working like a charm. Thanks a lot!

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1 minute ago, jedigu said:

Thanks for the directions; I changed the filesystem to be like the folder structure above (yeah, I had messed up, my mistake).

And now, it's also working perfectly: native RetroArch's working like a charm. Thanks a lot!

Eyyy! No problem! :)

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