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RetrOrangePi 3.0 Retro Gaming & Media Center Firmware Released for Orange Pi H3 Boards and Beelink X2 TV Box

December 28th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

RetrOrangePi is a Linux distribution based on armbian transforming Allwinner H3 boards – mostly Orange Pi boards, but also Banana Pi M2+ and NanoPi boards – into entertainment centers to play retro games, and watch/listen media files (videos/music) using Kodi. If you don’t have a development board, or would prefer a complete solution with casing and power supply, Beelink X2 TV box is also supported. The developers had been recently working on rectifying some GPL issues, and they have released RetrOrangePi 3.0 images right before Christmas.

retrorangepi

RetrOrangePi 3.0 changelog and key features:

  • Full Armbian 5.23 Jessie Desktop version with kernel 3.4.113 (backdoors fixed)
  • Slim version 1st release (less than 2 GB) coming soon
  • OpenELEC (Kodi Jarvis 16.1) with CEC support by Jernej Škrabec
  • RetroPie-Setup version 4.1
  • New Kodi Krypton beta6 version
  • New emulationstation-ROPI branch forked from jacobfk20 with gridview, on screen keyboard with easy wifi config and storage check with additional features added by ROPi team: display settings, OpenELEC / Desktop launcher and background music switcher integrated into main menu.
  • New Plug n’ Play feature – USB roms autoload (reads from /media/usb0) (buggy)
  • New dummy roms feature (most common platform shown)
  • New splash video on 1st boot by Rafael Spirax
  • New default splashscreen (from Libretro)
  • New custom ES splashscreen by Francois Lebel @MagicFranky
  • OpenELEC ROPI addon already installed
  • Retroarch with XMB menu driver (Lakka)
  • Better looking video with bilinear filtering (smoothness) or scanlines by default
  • Most retroarch cores updated (FBA, PCSX etc)
  • New and improved content:
    • AdvanceMAME (newer romset, more compatibility, better performance in some games: Elevator Action Returns, Street Fighter the Movie, Star Wars Arcade, Judge Dredd, Sega Sonic The Hedgehog etc)
    • Amiga (FS-UAE emulator, fullscreen now, diskette sound, launcher)
    • Atari 5200
    • Atari 8bit (models 400 800 XL XE)
    • Coco / Tandy
    • Colecovision (ColEm emu Custom Coleco BlueMSX core)
    • Creativision
    • Daphne (Philips Cdi emulator)
    • Dosbox (GLES version)
    • Dreamcast (fixed reicast-joyconfig)
    • Duke Nukem port (fixed tint color)
    • Game and Watch (fixed shortcuts)
    • Intellivision
    • OpenMSX (with .dsk support) PPSSPP (new version 1.3 from odroid repo)
    • TI99/4A (Texas Instruments)
    • Wolfenstein3D port

There are two ways to download the images:

  • BitTorrent – 16.0 GB download with images for all boards
  • Main server (http) – 1.6 GB compressed firmware image for your board.

If you download from the main server, you’ll get a warning saying you can’t sell hardware pre-installed with the image:

RetrOrange Pi is a non profit project.
It consists of a basic Retropie setup with most Libretro cores on top of an Armbian Jessie Desktop version pre-installed.
It includes an OpenELEC fork as well.
Much of the software included in the image have non-commercial licences. Because of this,
selling a pre-installed RetrOrange image is not legal, neither is including it with your commercial product.
As it relies on other people’s work with our own features, we won’t be offering any help in customizations to avoid rebranding or reselling.

It will be interesting to see what happens with RetroEngine Sigma project on Indiegogo that is very likely based on RetrOrangePi image for Orange Pi Lite board.

Anyway, since BitTorrent download was very slow, I downloaded RetrOrangePi-3.0.Orangepione.img.tar.gz from the main server for my $3.69 Orange Pi One board (there was a promo in September), extracted it, and flashed it to a 32GB card (8GB is enough) in Linux:


Replace sdX by your own SD card device in the 3rd command above. You can also do this in Windows with Win32DiskImager. Once it is done, insert the micro SD card in your board or TV box, prepare a gamepad, and connect all relevant cables.

orange-pi-orange-gaming

If you have connected the serial console (completely optional), or want to access the system through ssh, you can login with pi/pi or root/orangepi credentials:


Most people will just follow the instructions on the TV. We’ll get through a bunch of animation and logos during the boot.Note: Please ignore the vertical lines on the photos, as there’s just an issue with my TV.

retrorangepi-3-0-logo
The first time the system will resize the SD card to make use of the full SD card capacity, and generate SSH keys.
retrorangepi-installationOne more “Loading…” logo…

retrorangepi-loading

If you have connected a gamepad (highly recommended), you’ll be ask to configure the keys. Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad was automatically detected, and I could easily set all keys up.

retrorangepi-gamepad-configurationOnce all is well and done, you’ll get to the main menu to select emulator or Kodi.

retrorangepi-user-interfaceMost emulators do not come with ROMs due to license issues, so you’d have to find the ROMs yourself, and install them via a USB drive, or copy them directly into the board over the network, for example with scp. If you want to try to play some games straightaway, you can do so by going to the PORTS sections with 13 games available including Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, CannonBall, Duke Nukem 3D, Super Mario War, etc…
retrorangepi-ports-pre-installed-games
I tested shortly tested Wolfenstein 3D and Quake, as well as launched Kodi 17 (Beta 6) in the demo video below.

  1. theguyuk
    December 28th, 2016 at 20:31 | #1

    Well it is ironic that a retro games devices software with Doom, Quake, Wolfenstien 3D, Duke Nuken 3D and others runs using Armbian.

    I have often said Arm Android media TV boxes need Doom style 3D games to push them forward. Only to get sneered at by folk Like tkasier a Armbian moderator, contributer. tkasier also said you will be hearing less of theguyuk (thats me 🙂 ). And his pet project is being used for games and software that adds piracy addons!

  2. theguyuk
    December 28th, 2016 at 21:52 | #2

    @CNX

    What are the back doors that are fixed, what does it refer to ?

    Quote ” Full Armbian 5.23 Jessie Desktop version with kernel 3.4.113 (backdoors fixed) “

  3. slowstream
    December 28th, 2016 at 22:16 | #3

    Dedicated forum: orangepi.club/forumdisplay.php?fid=5

  4. jernej
    December 28th, 2016 at 22:17 | #4

    @theguyuk
    he means security fixes like removing debug code left by developers (“rootmydevice”), dirtyCOW fix, removing part of weird ioctl code from VPU driver which allowed much more as intendet but it is not needed otherwise.

    @CNX,
    You got my surname wrong Jernej Škrabec

  5. lvrp16
    December 28th, 2016 at 22:18 | #5

    @theguyuk
    The backdoors were a series of privilege escalation vulnerabilities through the /proc interface. It was a debugging mechanism so not a real backdoor per se.

  6. Meth
    December 29th, 2016 at 04:30 | #6

    http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/04/02/low-cost-development-boards-linux-benchmarks-raspberry-pi-vs-banana-pi-vs-orange-pi-vs-odroid/ seems to show H3 close to Pi3 performance.. so not a lot of point getting one if you have a Pi3.. but if it was faster/better for N64 for example then maybe…

  7. December 29th, 2016 at 09:42 | #7

    @jernej
    Sorry about that. Probably a character encoding + copy/paste issue. Fixed now.

  8. theguyuk
    December 29th, 2016 at 18:42 | #8

    @jermej @ivrp16 thank you.

  9. Antonio
    January 2nd, 2017 at 22:53 | #9

    Freeze on boot on automatic install screen, in Beelink X2 box

  10. elsuse
    March 11th, 2017 at 09:47 | #10

    can install to emmc?

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