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ZOID theme - looking for help

  • Hello,

    I'm new to RetroPie and I already love the possibilities it gives when it comes to emulating old machines. Not everything works for me yet but I guess some platforms / roms just need more time to figure them out :)

    I need your help peeps :) I've been searching for available themes as I consider Carbon to be too simple for my taste yet most themes are too "flashy" in my opinion. I like them to look clean. So here's the ZOID which I think is simple, good looking and certainly underrated as there's very little information on it to be found. Here's how the start screen looks:

    alt text

    It has one flaw though - it's impossible to set it to show just the scrapped images without the game info, or to make the images bigger so that they appear over the text, not next to it. Zoid theme shows very small images. Far too small. If I scrape game contents using the Universal XML Scraper with the combination of game box, ingame image and the title, you can barely see anything that's in there. Here's the Zoid screen so that you can see how small is the boxart.

    alt text

    I have no knowledge of Linux, I have no idea on the xml or any kind of codes. I would like the Zoid theme to be edited so that it only shows either:

    • only full size scrapped image or,
    • big scrapped image with all the game info below it, perhaps with a bit smaller font

    I know for some of you editing such theme in the mentioned way would be a walk in the park. Would you be so kind to edit it for me, or at least point me to the specific lines of codes which I should modify? I'd be very grateful. Maybe more people will find Zoid theme useful?

  • @Carnivore

    I have the same issue with zoid, but otherwise it's my favorite theme. I was planning on editing the game list detail view this weekend to get the art larger (like carbon). It looks pretty simple after reading the docs on themes. I'll show you what I come up with.

    My other objective is to replace the Genesis system image with the version I had as a kid (the original North American Genesis III with volume and headphone jack) as well as the SNES, which I don't even recognize.


  • Hello @Carnivore , here you can learn about create/edit themes for emulationstation:

  • @Carnivore I find the best way to learn about editing themes is look at existing themes. For the effect you are looking for, for example, you may want to compare the Carbon and Carbon-nometa themes.

    My preference is to review XML files at the Github repos, which you can find by Googling es-theme [theme-name].

    To edit the Zoid theme, I would download the theme folder from the Github project page and place it in either of the following locations on your pi:

    • /opt/retropie/configs/all/emulationstation/themes
    • /home/pi/.emulationstation/themes

    It does not matter which location you choose as they are symlinked so changes in one location will be reflected in the other. You may need to create the themes folder.

    You can select your custom theme in the ES UI. Changes to the XML file can be made with a text editor on your PC using SAMBA or STFP (WinSCP). Remember to restart ES to see your changes.

    You can find documentation on the tags used in the XML file at:

    I find editing themes largely a process of trial and error but there are tools such as the EmulationStation Toolkit that may be helpful. Good luck!

  • @Carnivore

    My wife decided painting the house was more important than my theme edits...go figure. I did manage to make a couple variations of zoid though. I made zoid-nometa and zoid-bigart. Obviously nometa removes all metadata and just shows the game image/cover as large as possible. bigart shows minimal metadata under the image just like nbba. I also switched the Genesis and SNES images to the systems I had as kid (doing my best to mimic the original drop shadows). I kept the originals in there in case you want to switch back.


    The two modified themes work fine on my Retropie, but both of them instantly crash my portable emulationstation. I can't seem to figure out what the issue is there. All I did was remove the entire <view name="detailed"> node from each system's theme.xml and then place that node in the root simple.xml so all system's detailed views look the same. Again, works great on the Retropie, crashes on my PC. That's why I don't have screen shots. I'd like to fix that issue before sharing if anyone has an idea. Speaking of sharing, what is the preferred method of sharing these tweaked themes?


  • Global Moderator

    @byersjus said in ZOID theme - looking for help:

    Again, works great on the Retropie, crashes on my PC.

    Most likely there's something related to the ES version used on Windows (Dev vs. Stable). I can take a look if you manage to share the modifications.

    I'd like to fix that issue before sharing if anyone has an idea. Speaking of sharing, what is the preferred method of sharing these tweaked themes?

    If you wish to include them in the RetroPie setup, a Github repository is the best option - especially if you want to update it in time. Otherwise, you can just provide the link to the .zip file.
    Just make sure you use the same license as the original theme.

  • I didn't update the author, version, etc. in the readme or simple.xml header. I guess I can do that, but I won't be maintaining these things in perpetuity.

    Here are some links for now:

  • Thank you everyone for all the provided help regarding the theme and especially to @byersjus for hard work!!! I'll test the modified themes today and will tell you how it works for me.

    You people are great!

  • Ok so after trying both themes I have to say they are stable and work great! There's just 1 thing that could be improved when it comes to ZOID-BIGART - it's missing the game description (at least I don't see it on the screen), the game information isn't full. I believe font could be smaller so that more game information appears on the screen. Perhaps the game information could be moved to the right of the picture so that it makes picture a little smaller, and below picture we would see the description. But I believe it's much more work on it so everything looks in place.

    I'm already satisfied with the result but if anyone likes the simple ZOID theme and would devote more time improving it I'd look forward to new versions :) Thank you again for the help!!!

  • I did some adjustments to the zoid-nometa theme provided by @byersjus when it comes to gamelist view. What are the differences?

    • changed gamelist and system info fonts, font colors and selector color

    • added 2-colored background so that the gamelist is separated from the game image window

    • adjusted game image position so it's centered now

    This way the new zoid-nometa theme is more consistent to my eye. What do you think? Is there something to be adjusted further in your opinion? Here's one screenshot of my zoid-nometa version:


  • @Carnivore you've made some great mods, Carnivore. Do you have your modded version available for download?

  • @ratedrguy Thank you very much for appreciating my input. I can upload my version of ZOID-nometa theme for you in next couple days. I'd need to switch fonts for all systems (top right of the screen) before I do so as I've just edited handful of them for my personal use.

    If I wanted to make a ZOID version with game metadata visible, I'd have to significantly change the view - make a picture smaller and add info such as publisher, release date etc. to the right side of it, and description to the bottom (just like in the original ZOID version which uses SIMPLE theme for gamelist view). I might do some work on it in the future if there will be at least couple people interesting in having polished version of ZOID with metadata visible. I'm a total newbie when it comes to coding so editing themes is quite painful experience :)

  • @ratedrguy Sorry for the delay. Here's a link to zipped ZOID-nometa theme with my adjustments:

  • @Carnivore said in ZOID theme - looking for help:

    @ratedrguy Sorry for the delay. Here's a link to zipped ZOID-nometa theme with my adjustments:

    @Carnivore your mods look great, would you mind uploading your adjusted theme again? It looks like the link has expired. Many thanks!

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