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Can anyone recommend a handheld kit?



  • @BillyH I'm actually going to recreate my build for my GPi case today/tomorrow. I'll get you some step by step instructions as I do it. (I've been wanting to do this for both my Zero and 3B+ builds for a while now because sometimes I just like to redo things from the beginning and a step by step guide for the few little additional things I like would be easier).

    As [for](link url) emulation goes a lot of SNES play but some games don't. Pretty similar for GBA. I haven't played around with PSX but some games will play apparently, I just have no experience with trying it. GB And GBC are pretty great as wells as Mega Drive.



  • @simpleethat said in Can anyone recommend a handheld kit?:

    @BillyH I'm actually going to recreate my build for my GPi case today/tomorrow. I'll get you some step by step instructions as I do it. (I've been wanting to do this for both my Zero and 3B+ builds for a while now because sometimes I just like to redo things from the beginning and a step by step guide for the few little additional things I like would be easier).

    A step by step guide would be awesome, thanks!

    @simpleethat said in Can anyone recommend a handheld kit?:

    As [for](link url) emulation goes a lot of SNES play but some games don't. Pretty similar for GBA. I haven't played around with PSX but some games will play apparently, I just have no experience with trying it. GB And GBC are pretty great as wells as Mega Drive.

    I don't know if you actually wanted to add a link there, is there some list as to what works on the Zero and what doesn't? I know there's an N64 list for the Pi3. Good to hear that at least GB(C) won't give me any problems.



  • @BillyH Yeah... totally didn't mean to add that link. Oops. I didn't find a list of Pi Zero compatible games but I honestly didn't try that hard.



  • @simpleethat well, we'll find out by trying then. Seeing as how small and boxy the GPi screen is, I'd probably mostly end up using it for GB(C) games anyway. It'd be cool if GBA games work too, but the SNES games I could as well just play on the television.



  • @BillyH well I rebuilt it my GPi. I didn't take the time yet to see if it actually does break something but I seemed to get some problems after doing a full update on all the installed packages after getting it setup so maybe don't do that (you don't actually have to anyway I was just curious).

    TL;DR version:

    1. Write retropie image to card
    2. Configure Wi-Fi
    3. Install Safe Shutdown
    4. Install GPi Case Patch
    5. Add ROMs etc.
    6. Play!

    A little more detailed version:
    From Windows:
    Flash Image to MicroSD (Win32DiskImager)

    From Raspberry Pi:
    ***I do all of these steps without putting the Pi Zero into the GPi Cartridge Case
    Connect Pi Zero to your display with a Keyboard and Gamepad and your newly flashed MicroSD
    Power on Pi Zero
    (file system expands)
    Configure Gamepad for EmulationStation

    To setup Wi-Fi
    Navigate to the Retropie Menu in the system carousel
    Select Wi-Fi
    It will tell you that you haven't yet set your Wi-Fi country and ask if you would like to launch Raspi-Config to do so. Let it do that
    Select Localisation Options
    Change Wi-Fi Country to US (or wherever you might be)
    Change Keyboard to Layout to US (or whatever layout you might need if not UK)
    Exit Raspi-Config to return to Wi-Fi selection
    Choose your network and enter your password
    Exit Wi-Fi

    At this point I like to remove any emulator packages I'm not going to use and install any additional packages and/or themes. (You can always do this later, but I like working on the larger screen). There are a few themes that people have made for this particular case. I happen to like MiniJawn because in the detailed view you can just have an image with the name below but that's me.

    Now to install the Safe Shutdown script
    Make sure you have internet access
    Set the Safe Shutdown Switch (in battery compartment) to ON
    While in EmulationStation
    Press F4 to enter the terminal
    Enter the following case-sensitive command
    wget -O - "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/RetroFlag/retroflag-picase/master/install_gpi.sh" | sudo bash
    It will restart upon completion.
    Shut it down and remove the MicroSD card.

    Here you can install your Raspberry Pi Zero into the Cartridge Case following the provided instructions. Make sure you MicroSD card is NOT in the Pi Zero and be very gentle with the ribbon cables that connect the PCB to the Pi Zero.

    From Windows:
    Now we will setup the Pi Zero to be able to use the screen and buttons of the handheld.
    Insert your MicroSD into your computer.
    Download Gpi_Case_Patch.zip from http://download.retroflag.com/
    Unzip the contents and you should have a readme.txt file and a folder named GPi_Case_Patch copy that folder and it's contents to the root drive on your MicroSD card. Open the folder and run the install_patch.bat file.

    Eject the MicroSD and insert it into the GPi Cartridge Case and power it up. You should be good to go! (after you add your ROMs and maybe some BIOS files of course)

    Anyway. I hope that helps I tried to write it out as I was performing each step but if you have any questions or problems I'll do my best to help you.



  • As a side note: I recommend a decent powerbank for extended play and there is no indicator of battery life remaining so it can just die on you (happened to me) save often and have fun!



  • @simpleethat awesome, thanks!

    I'll start with the Zero connected to the television, see if everything works first, unless that'll make it difficult to map the GPi buttons later on.

    I don't have an Amazon account myself so I've asked my brother-in-law (who has Prime) if he could order the GPi case and a Pi Zero starter set for me, so hopefully everything will be delivered somewhere within the next two weeks.

    I do have a powerbank lying around which I never use, so it's a good idea to start using it with the GPi. Does that mean I don't put batteries in the case, or would the Zero know to pick the powerbank first?

    I'm thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to create a GPi thread here. More people seem to have a GPi case, and a small handheld screen as opposed to television gaming would make for a lot of changes in the basic RetroPie set-up that we could share with one another (like what shaders best to use or which games can't be handled by the Zero).



  • @BillyH I setup on the tv first and later enabled the GPi screen/controls. I have seen a way to hook up a keyboard and such to the GPi itself but seemed very awkward.

    Assuming your powerbank can output what the Pi Zero needs you don't actually need batteries in the case. I haven't checked to see which it drains first of both are connected, maybe one of these days I'll make that experiment.



  • I do plan on turning off WiFi and Bluetooth to see if that helps with battery life.



  • @simpleethat said in Can anyone recommend a handheld kit?:

    I do plan on turning off WiFi and Bluetooth to see if that helps with battery life.

    Yeah, I've turned those both off on my current Pi as well. My controller is wired so there's no(/less) delay and I only turn on internet when I want to scrape new games.



  • @BillyH said in Can anyone recommend a handheld kit?:

    In addition to my first question: I take it that I shouldn't really try putting PSX games on a Pi Zero, and that on this one I should just stick to my GB/GBA games (and possibly SNES and SEGA Mega Drive).

    You'll need one of the older snes emulators, which means the compatibility won't be good with games using special chips, and probably some other oddballs. Also, even with the older snes emulators, you might encounter games that won't run full speed. I don't know how gba emulation fares on low-end devices now, but i remember the gba being unplayable on pi2 at release, so i wouldn't expect too much on that end.
    If support for those 2 systems is really a matter of concern and you don't mind the additional cost, there is the cm3 based solution from https://www.freeplaytech.com/

    Edit : Also, it might be out of subject, but if i wanted a handheld for retro-gaming, i would just buy a refurbished switch and install lakka on it, you can find some around 200$.



  • @barbudreadmon thanks, but not being able to satisfyingly do SNES/GBA emulation is not a deal-breaker. I've got SNES emulation on television on my first RetroPie set-up and on SNES Online plus retro collections on the Switch (where I'm cautiously optimistic to expect to see the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, my top three wanted games, within a few months). As for GBA, well, there's enough games I have on the GB(C) that I'd like to (re)play too and there's also the NES of course.

    The GPi has a lot of other things in favour for it in my opinion - its low price and it being a complete kit are my main arguments. The Freeplaytech has been mentioned already but it's much more expensive and not complete - I'd be over €200 poorer before it'd be mine and then I don't even have a case yet. Other kits I've seen also fail at one or both of my requirements, so to get good GB(C) emulation at a reasonable price with the GPi seems like a great option for me.

    Maybe next year I'll decide to pick something up for GBA/SNES handheld emulation, but odds are better of me deciding I want a Picade bartop as my next project. Choices, choices.



  • @simpleethat said in Can anyone recommend a handheld kit?:

    Eject the MicroSD and insert it into the GPi Cartridge Case and power it up. You should be good to go! (after you add your ROMs and maybe some BIOS files of course)

    Hey @simpleethat, I just thought of another question. At what point exactly did you add the ROMs, and when did you scrape? Was it after setting up the GPi? I see there's no easy way to connect a keyboard to the Zero once it's in the GPi, or a USB stick. I haven't had much luck with using non-USB ways of adding ROMs and I've always needed to use a keyboard to successfully run all games through the scraper.



  • @BillyH so for adding ROMs and scraping I make a folder on my computer for each system I plan to add and use skraper to perform the scraping on my PC. I find that the scraping part goes substantially faster that way and skraper defaults to putting all of the images and gamelists in the same folder as the ROMs. I also like the easy customization of what you choose to scrape with that particular software.

    As for adding everything to the microSD card I go about it one of three ways:

    1. Via WiFi (definitely the slowest method but easiest and requires no more invest)
    2. I use Linux File Systems for Windows to allow me to read the ext4 partitions on the microSD and copy the files on my PC (decently fast but the software is only free at full speed for a limited amount of data)
    3. I attach the microSD to card to my NAS (that natively reads ext4 partitions) and let the NAS do the copying with it's (by far the fastest but a NAS is expensive)

    If I were going to scrape via another method I would probably do all ROM adding and media scraping before I actually started using the GPi case (let's say after installing safe shutdown) because I find it a lot easier to work with a full screen.



  • @simpleethat Very cool, I didn't know I could scrape beforehand. Will definitely try that.

    I'll probably try to put the ROMs on there beforehand, just to be completely sure I have to do as little as possible after completing the GPi Case. I'll also do stuff like install the theme.



  • @BillyH I started doing it with Universal XML Scraper (which I believe is no longer being developed) then came across Skraper that I linked previously and found it fairly easy to use and it had plenty of customization. I'm thinking it might be wise to make the images a smaller resolution (no need for high-res on such a small screen).

    As I've said, I find it so much easier to do things on a full screen. Retroflag does provide a way to easily revert to being able to use a conventional setup if you find the need to do anything major later down the road.



  • I can highly recommend a Kite Circuit Sword Gameboy build like my own.

    It's basically a RPi3+, so has a lot more raw power than the Zero builds like RetroFlag, but still no need for active cooling, fits into an original Gameboy case, and there's lots of batteries to choose from. Mine runs a 5200 mAh, which is charged via USB-C and holds power for around 10 hours.

    Costs a bit, and takes a bit of tweaking of the case, but everything is pretty much plug'n'play, apart from soldering the speaker and a mode-button onto the board, but really worth it!

    I just completed Links Awakening DX on this machine, before playing the new game on Switch, really enjoyed it.



  • Well, I made a booboo.

    My brother-in-law ordered the stuff for me (since the GPi and Pi Zero aren't available through my regular shops and he has an Amazon account), but since the Zero starter kit would take a month to get to my country, he asked if just a Zero was okay. I figured this would be fine, but it turns out I need USB to micro USB for the keyboard or for the USB ROM upload, which I don't have.

    I booted up RetroPie through the GPi and it works, so now I just need a way to get my ROMs onto the Pi... The best way of which would probably be taking the Zero out again, and connecting it to a television with a micro HDMI to HDMI and using a micro USB to USB for alternating keyboard, USB stick and controller to do the rest of the set-up, mainly adding ROMs but also changing the theme and such.

    Ah, well. Alien Isolation released today for the Switch anyway. Luckily the GPi and Zero came in so soon, I didn't expect them before Saturday, so easy come and easy go. I'll try to get the converters tomorrow, if I fail at that I'll order them online and I'll have them early next week.



  • Well, my GPi case is working!

    It also seems that SNES games work fine for me, though I don't know how it goes for extended use. At any rate, I've added my GB and GBC libraries to the GPi, so at the very least I can finally save my game in Pokémon Crystal again.

    Thanks @Evert and @simpleethat for suggesting the GPi, and extra thanks to @simpleethat for all the additional support, your step by step guide really helped!

    By the way, I've decided to just stick to a powerbank or plug for now, and not use batteries at all.



  • @BillyH my pleasure. That's what this community is all about.


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