Retropie

Amiga 2018

Feels like yesterday but it was 1986 I got my Amiga 500. Later on an Amiga 1200. Throughout the years I have tested several emulators but it have not worked very well, until now. From the beginning I planned to build a full arcade cabinet but as I am most interested in Amiga games and demos it felt better to do a full Amiga deluxe version. You may not need all this but I have used things like below.

So what hardware is used and why?  I decided that I wanted my Amiga just as it was back in 1985. Or at least similar.

Things used

Hardware

  • New Amiga case
  • Keycaps (will add theese later)
  • Amiga keyboard
  • Raspberri PI3
  • Keyrah2
  • Bifrost board
  • Wico Redball joystick
  • Retronic design USB adapters
  • Power adapter
  • USB chassi mount
  • HDMI, USB, Micro USB chassi mount cables.

Software

  • Stretch
  • Retropie
  • Amiberry (WHD load)
  • Skyscraper
  • Lha filer från EAB
  • Workbench theme

Keyrah2 and Bifost

To make full use of the case and be able to connect joysticks I have used the Keyrah2 board. This makes it possible to connect the keyboard and also gives you two DB9 ports. I have also mounted a new Bifrost led. This led can be configured to do almost anything. The DB9 ports does not work very good. Maybe I have missed something here. I have used the Retronic design adapters instead.

The case and mounting hardware

Ok, lets’s start with the hardware. Before mounting everything in the new case I just started testing it in the old case. I cleaned all keys, soldered the internal USB of the Keyrah card and connected the Bifrost LED. Connect the Amiga keyboard to the Keyrah board, change the jumper and give it a test. (just connect it to any RPI if you have not installed Retropie already)

First I also wanted to make a backlit keyboard with neopixel and an Ardunio but the result was not as good as I expected so I gave up the idèa. I have attached the image here anyhow.

Some time ago a kickstarter was launched to produce new a1200 cases. I missed that but you can buy them now. They also started a keycaps campaign and I missed that to. However they will also be available soon. The benefit of using this case compared to your old one is apart from getting a new case some details in the case mounting. And you will not damage the original one. My old A500 case was already broken back in 1990 so I have not done this now. I have used some cables from Adafruit and m.nu. See the links in the bottom of this page.

Ok, Now it is time to mount everything in the new black case. I found an old Amiga 1200 case that was damaged and I used the old metal frame in order to mount the cables. I have also added som dummy serial/paralell ports just to get rid of the holes. I have soldered some metal in some ports to be able to mount the cables. I also hade to raise the PI as there were so much stuff under.

The finished result

Retropie

And the software. Just go to retropie and install the latest build into a sd card. It might be a good idéa to use a large card as you may and up with a lot of stuff.

Whd Load

Install WHD Load for Retropie. The main advantage of doing this is that things will just work. No mess with Kickstarts, Fastmem, Chipmem and other strange configurations that will make most games crash.

Since you must use Amiberry for this project, you can do this simply from updating your RetroPie scripts and installing Amiberry as as additional package *from source* and set it as your default Amiga emulator. This info is done in Retropie and described in an excellent way here

Make sure to download the kickstarts and also download a game for testing.

Files

You will need LHA files in order to make this work. Not the ADF files that you may have used before. To download all games/demos do the following:

Download this tool. Run it. It is called EAB-WHDLoad_Pack_Downloader.exe. Make sure to download AGA games as well.

Use:

Host: grandis.nu
Port: 21
Username: ftp
Password: any password will do

If the download is interrupted or stopped (this may takle a long time) just press the button “I already have games” and browse to the location.

Then all files are downloaded put them in the root folder of the Amiga rom folder. Not as A,B,C etc but all files in the same folder.

Theme

The default retropie theme is not very nice. You want the Workbench Theme. It will look like below.

Scraper

If you try the original scraper you will notice that most games are not found. The best scraper is Skyscraper.

This is quite simple. Remember to quit emulation station before running.

Configure Amiberry and Retropie

When starting retropie longpress space on your keyboard. This will configure input.It might be smart to use return as A and ESC as B to make the keyboard more logical.

One thing I noticed is that by default amiberry opens the gui by pressing F12. This is not very good as the amiga only have up to F10. There is no simple way of chaning this. The only way I was able was to edit this file:

opt\retropie\configs\amiga\amiberry\whdload\hostprefs.conf

Change to F9 and F10.

You might also want to enable ssh (I supoose you have done this already) and change the splashscreen.

Ok, Time to play. Just browse the old classic games and you will be back in 1991.

Links

http://www.a1200bifrost.com/

http://wiki.icomp.de/wiki/Keyrah_V2

http://whdload.de/

http://www.ultimateamiga.co.uk/HostedProjects/RetroPieAmiga/guide.html

https://www.m.nu/kablage/panel-mount-extension-usb-cable-micro-b-male-to-micro-b-female

https://www.m.nu/kablage/panel-mount-hdmi-cable-40-cm

https://www.m.nu/kablage/panel-mount-usb-cable-a-male-to-a-female