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  • Recently I was experimenting with converting EmulationStation themes into Pegasus themes. In Pegasus, a theme can change the whole logic of the user interface, which allows creating very unique looks, but can make themeing more complex compared to ES. However, because ES themes have no moving parts (as in code), in theory it should be possible to convert them into Pegasus themes by doing the same thing ES does when loads themes.

    And it turned out to be actually possible; after dealing with all the little nuances of the XML files, all themes are now convertable to Pegasus! There are quite a few things missing yet, but I think the script might be ready for some playing.


    The script can be found here:

    I've also run it through all (~200) themes available from the RetroPie installer, and uploaded the 50 smallest of them (they are big!) here: The XML files have been left there too, so you can load the directory in both ES and Pegasus for testing.

    What works:

    Reading and validating a theme, then generating QML files, setting up the various resources and creating something usable. All converted themes should be functional. "Classic" ES themes should be working mainly fine, with the elements looking mostly as expected. Things are not pixel perfect yet (especially texts) but in some cases it can be quite close.

    What's missing

    At the moment there are no theme options in Pegasus yet, so only the 'detailed' view of the ES themes is used. In the future all views will be usable. Other than that, support the following items/features are missing in general:

    • help prompts
    • carousel styling
    • certain gradients and color shifts
    • text scrolling
    • videos and sounds
    • anything undocumented or depending on ES quirks

    However, it should be possible to add support for all of them eventually. Mouse and touch support is halfway there too, but not quite 100% yet.

  • PS. Note that the generated code is ugly and not how a human would write QML files. They should not be used as a learning material in general.

  • Very cool! While I've become a big fan of what is possible with a Pegasus theme, I think being able to convert ES themes to work with Pegasus will make theming a whole lot more accessible than building a theme in QML from scratch.

    I know it's still early days, but figured I'd pass along that when I tried loading Pegasus with the 'es-theme-retrowave' theme in the themes directory Pegasus wouldn't start at all - no log file it just wouldn't boot. Moving that particular theme out of the folder and it works fine.

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    I was looking for some slightly improvements of your project... and found this.
    In other words I really like your work. :)

  • @msheehan79 Are you using the latest version? There was a crash related to themes, but I've just fixed that yesterday.

  • @fluffypillow Thanks - I was using a relatively recent build, but not yesterday's release. That one does seem to have fixed it.

  • Weekly update!

    • Added carousel support (the system info bar will also come next)
    • Gradients and color shifts now work properly
    • Lots of small improvements in the code generation and validation

    These make quite a few modern themes now usable:


  • administrators

    It will be interesting to try performance of emulationstation vs the pegasus variants

  • @fluffypillow, sorry in advance for the pending noob questions. I am setting up Pegasus on Android, I have my systems set up through retroarch, meta and art setup and displaying, and I'm now attempting to use your tool/converted es theme and can't get it to display properly. the theme is gbz35-dark, I tried your converted theme and the background images for each system do not show, just a grey background. the system logos show correctly, but the carousel background is white instead of dark. As far as using your script, I have tried it several times and can't get it to work. for example I put the existing theme folder in the same folder as your script and files, and through terminal tried "./convert gbz35 [gbz35p]" tried entering python and the same, tried without the ./ etc. from windows I get a wall of text ending with list index out of range. Any chance of a more detailed step by step? New to Linux, es, pegasus, and retropie, and any help is much appreciated.

  • @mattyj513 Hi, here's how you can use it:

    1. cd into the theme's directory, eg. cd path/to/themes/es-theme-gbz35-dark
    2. run the converter with two separate dots as parameter, which means "read from the current dir" and "write to the current dir": path/to/ . .
    3. you should now see a list of warnings and other information, this is fine; the last line should be [i] Writing files...
    4. change the theme in Pegasus, and you should see it load:

    The script is not perfect yet, so some themes may have issues. In this case the images seem to have some scaling problems, but otherwise the conversion worked fine.

    Not sure how things are on Windows, you'll need Python 3 and I think its installer will make it available from the command line. Then you can python to launch the script. On Linux you can just ./

    Some Linuxy things, a leading ./ means run the stuff that is in the current directory, as opposed to something that is installed system-wide. [outputdir] between []s means outputdir is an optional parameter, not literal []s. Not adding an output parameter will make the script only check the theme for issues that might happen during the conversion.

    Hope that helps!

  • @fluffypillow Perfect, exactly what I was looking for. I knew about purpose of "./", "[ ]" is new to me though. Going to work on fixing the system logo sizes, other than that the rest of the theme seems to be as it should. Thanks again!

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