The EMUlator LAuncher
Retrogaming it’s becoming one of the most loved hobbies for people who like to revive games they have played when they was childs, and there are also people that love to play old classics just because they like them!
Since I’m a retrogamer inside I’ve tried hundreds of softwares to manage my collection but even if there are very good products available, no one was able to satisfy what I was looking for.
Many softwares of this kind offers great flexibility, they can be configured as you wish and they can run several emulators, but for a newcomer this could be a pain!
A gamer that just want to play a game must first configure the front end, then the emulator needed for his games, then he have to scan his media for a type of rom (game) and if all was setup correctly, finally he can play the game. Sometimes it is difficult to configure the front-end and sometimes you can easily spend hours to figure out why your game is not running: that’s why I’ve decided to write my own universal front end for the most common emulators, a front end easy to manage, almost completely automated, it’s something you can setup in seconds without spending half of your life life to configure stuff.
With my free time I’d like to play games not to became old configuring obscure things 🙂
But exactly, what is EMULA?
EMULA stands for EMUlator LAuncher and it’s my attempt to create a cross platform software able to manage, recognize and run games (legaly) owned by the user. One of the most important goal is to let the software be easy enough for everyone, even for people with no emulators knowledge, and for people that have no computer-skills, but just want to play their games as fast as possible.
I have another hidden desire: I would like to have a tool that let me access to the infinite library of homebrew, public domain and demo-scene easily, directly from EmuLa, and yes it is possible with just one mouse click!
How can be done?
Emula recognizes roms using the rom CRC and the rom size, without goin’ to deep into details you should know that any file (so even rom) rom have a unique CRC, like a footprint, and this “magic number” let Emula recognize the rom even if the file have a misleading name.
This system also take some good things to the end user, for example he will never be prompted to make a choice in case of ambiguos roms and will never download wrong additional data (game art for example) for his rom. Have you ever tried to scan your rom folder with any of the existing front end and after the scan you came up with games informations completely wrong that you need to edit by hand? This is frustrating and time consuming, but this situation will never happen with EmuLa!
Another benefit using this system is that you don’t need that your roms are organized into folders or have correct file names, you can have all of your roms messed up in your hard drive or in your USB thumb drive and EmuLa will still be able to recognize your roms and which emulator is needed to let you play with it. Only one scan process is needed to find all supported roms, forget multiple scans (one for each supported platform), forget time spent watching your computer screen to resolve ambiguos rom manually, forget hours spent to edit wrong rom informations!
Emulators? I don’t want to spend hours to configure those cryptic things!
EmuLa will do the hard work for you, as it should be! Once you have scanned your devices to identify the rom files you will get the list of recognized roms, just click run and if that rom need an emulator not yet installed in your system, EmuLa will download it, install it and run the selected game!
So let’s recap :
- Only the first time (or when you add new roms) : press the [SCAN] button
- Press one of the supported system buttons to populate the game list
- Select a game and press the [RUN] button
Isn’t it easy enough? 🙂
Seems good! But what about game art?
During the scan process all available art will be downloaded for you, banners, fan art, logos, front and back covers, all this stuff will be done automatically without user interaction.
What about World Wide Highscore System?
It’s a new feature implemented in the October release (v1.7) and enable all premium users to submit their scores, users must provide a proof like a screenshot or a video, people can retrieve the highscores and report fake highscore if they found invalid proofs.
All supported EmuLa roms can have their own highscore!
Hey man, I need to pay for EMULA?
EmuLa is available for AROS i386, Windows, Linux ARM (both Raspberry Pi and Odroid are supported and tested) and it is completely free in it basic form but you can enhance your experience (and allow me to continue the development) unlocking all Premium features subscribing one of the following plans plans:
Since orders are processed manually want to give me 24 hours to process requests. If you do not receive your key within 24 hours please write to email@example.com
All future updates and fixes will be free for all, even for people using the free version. Please note that with one license you have access to all EmuLa versions!
Limitations of the free version
The free version lacks the following features:
- Tools / Backup
This function allow you to make backups of your entire roms setup including preferences, emulators, databases and game art.
- Tools / Refetch data
Whit this tool you can refetch informations and game art for your roms.
Allow you to access public domain software and demos using an easy-to-use interface: with a single push of a button you will be able to download additional contents.
- Remove Roms
With this function you can remove roms from your collections, usuful if you have duplicates or if you want to get rid of roms you don’t like.
- Console Mode
Allow you to switch from the gui mode to the console mode and back. Console mode is a full screen mode which is even simpler to navigate, great with big screens and allow browsing with your joypad (keyboard and mause are still available).
Allow you to add games to your favorites list.
- Most Played
Allow you to access the most played games (by you)
- Worldwide Highscores
Submit your hiscores and challange your friends!
Download available art-packs in one go without scraping your ROMS, this is much faster!
- Coming fetures, cheat sharing and game saves sharing will be also added as Premium features.
Ok man… you want my money…
Try to think this way:
Moreover, for the Premium version, there are some plans like cheats sharing, worldwide hiscores, download of homebrew software and demos (partially implemented), game soundtracks, and many other goodies that will make your retrogaming more addicting and… ehm… modern!
If you decide to use the free version you will be able to play like in the Premium version but without all the whistles and bells of the Premium version.
This project is eating my free time and it has been in development for more than four years, I think the price fore this huge work is fair. Paying for the Premium version is a way to keep me motivated on going on with EmuLa, adding more fetures and make it a better product, so please, support me if you like what I’m doing!
If you do not want to pay you can support me on Patreon, there are several discount on EmuLa licenses if you support me for at least 1 month!
What’s the current development state of EMULA?
Here is a chart showing what EmuLa is able to recognize and play in its current state:
Please note that with “Additional Contents” I mean stuff that can be downloaded and installed directly from within EmuLa, this includes demos, public domain software and homebrew software.
EmuLa will be available soon for Linux i386, MacOS X, MorphOS and AmigaOS4.
EmuLa features also an integrated feedback tool, actually the user can submit a bug report, a wrong rom, a not recognized rom and can also submit suggestions.
All this data is collected anonymously, you don’t ever need an user account to use EmuLa or to submit bugs.
LINKS & CONTACT
01 : How to scan for ROMs
UPDATE : 2017, May
The new version, v2.0 build 35, has been released, here are what’s changed:
- FIX : Added a couple of missing NES ROMS.
- FIX : Minor adjustments in the GUI colors, sometimes a GUI style was applied on inappropriate GUI elements.
- NEW : Added a button in the About box for unregistered users to allow them to obtain informations about the premium version and/or to register their license.
- NEW : All games basic informations are now available with EmuLa package to reduce downloads, however using the ReFetch function it is possible to refresh these informations.
- NEW : Possibility to download game-art packs, also an update mode is available from the same interface. This feature is accessible from the TOOL button. (Premium feature).
- FIX : Added missing translation for SuperNES.
- NEW : Increased readibility on the current rom info box.
- NEW : The current rom info box is no more of fixed size, its size is adjusted when its contents changes.
- NEW : Added in the scan progress window the files count to analyze/analyzed.
- NEW : EmuLa now stores game art using a better model to avoid duplicates, for example with hacked roms, this new method saves a lot of storage space. If you are updating from the previous EmuLa version you can convert the old game art using the Refetch function (accessible from the TOOL button) or clearing the old game art and download it again using art-packs or the refetch / scan functions. Anyway it’s not mandatory, EmuLa still recognizes the previous format.
- NEW : ROM informations are now cached, this make the scan much faster if you have several version of the same rom.
- FIX : Sometimes, closing Emula in console mode, an error was raised saving the current preferences.
- NEW : In console mode, rom names and descriptions, if longer than the available screen space, will scroll to the left.
- NEW : In console mode page indicators are no more of fixed size, they are resized automatically if they does not fit into the current screen width.
- NEW : When a game is started now EmuLa will show an image with the current controls assignment for the involved emulator. The image will be still visible in EmuLa background even while running your games so that you can peek at it to check controls on the fly while playing. For now this feature cover the keyboard mapping only. On the IndieGo! some keyboard controls are not defined at all, me and Pascal ( @Phoenixkonsole ) are working to build at least a default keyboard mapping.
- FIX : From now on the update process will not overwrite anymore the icon file on Amiga-like systems to avoid to reset the icon position.
- NEW : Now Emula will check host screen resolution before opening its main window and if it is bigger than the screen size Emula will try to reduce its size to fit to the screen. Low screen resolution should be supported now . There could be readibility problems for very small screens.
I’ve tested this version on VMWare, the update process as well as the art-packs download was a bit long during the file copy/update phase, please be patient even if EmuLa seems to hang, at the end of the process you will be informed with a message window.
I’m aware of the following issues that will be fixed on the next release:
- Sometimes, when an Emula window is opened it go in the background by itself, sometimes it is hidden by the main Emula window…
- When downloaded art packages are uncompressed there is no status window that shows the progress, please be patient, at the end of the process Emula will show you a message saying that the operation has been completed.
- To show the key mapping Emula needs to parse the mednafen configuration file that is HUGE! This could lead to some seconds of delay before your game is started, if you cannot live with it let me know and I will make this feature switchable in the preferences.
- Due to the latest changes in console-mode the rom art is no more visible, it has been already fixed on my internal builds, it will be made public very soon.
UPDATE : 2016, October
The new version, v1.7 build 34, has been released, here are what’s changed:
- FIX : Removed an annoying flickering effect visible when the first gadget of the most recently opened window was hilighted.
- NEW : License and update servers are no more hardcoded, this means that they can be updated and changed easily and in no time in case of downtimes or service provider changes.
- NEW : Now EmuLa remembers last main window’s position and size.
- NEW : Hold down RIGHT-SHIFT while EmuLa is loading to reset main window’s position & size to the default values.
- FIX : When EmuLa was updated sometimes the program was reporting an error writing the preferences file. Fixed.
- NEW : Added support for label’s skins
- NEW : Added World Wide High Score system! It is accessible by the little cup icon on the rom buttons row.
- DATABASES : NEW : Support for SuperNES rom set : 2707 roms recognized.
- SERVER : UPD : License & Highscores server updated for better performances and new features.
UPDATE : 2016, September
The new version, v1.6 build 33, has been released, here are what’s changed:
- Now license key can be typed by the user without the need of a serial key file (but still supported).
- Fixed a bug that was preventing EmuLa updates to run on Linux machines.
- Fixed all problems regarding wrong permissions on Linux archives.
- Linux ARM builds are now stable as the Windows and AROS builds.
- Fixed the impossibility to update EmuLa due to the hosting provider change.
- Added more SuperNES roms support, still 800 to go.
UPDATE : 2016, August
The new version, v1.5 build 32, has been released, here are what’s changed:
- New configuration option : if enabled EmuLa can performs a check for updates at program start, not more than once a day.
- Scan : when the SCAN is performed EmuLa will ask if you want to download game art while scanning or not. You can always download game art later with the REFETCH tool, so this option may be very handy if you are in hurry.
- Close gadget : Now EmuLa will ask a confirmation when you close the main window.
- First Linux ARM build supporting generic ARM Linux and Odroid.
- Support for SuperNES added, around 1400 roms supported, more to to come in the next days.
- Serial validation : Fixed a little bug that occurred when EmuLa server was offline and EmuLa was asking for serial validation.
UPDATE : 2016, July
First public version for AROS i386 available!
Windows version available!
UPDATE : 2016, June
I’ve added support for Genesis / Mega Drive console, now EmuLa is able to recognize 2917 roms for this system, for a total of 19336 roms!
And here is an updated screenshot of the current EmuLa state:
For more informations have a look here.
I will keep this page updated with news, screenshots and videos so bookmark this page and stay tuned!
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