Sticking with it... but only barely!

Finally, I seem to have my Gameshell set up with pretty much everything working. I recently purchased an Odroid Go Advance, and OMG! is it awesome. Really powerful, runs some Dreamcast games pretty well and it was a delight to set up. My one runs Emuelec, so EmulationStation looks amazing once you have the games scraped. Anyway, I stole the SD card from my Gameshell to put into the OGA. Then I found another SD card and decided to put it into the Gameshell rather than leave it collecting dust. Holy sh!t, I forgot how much of a pain the Gameshell was to set up. To start off with, flashing the SD card using Etcher and the v.5 image takes hours and hours, 12 in total! It might be my PC, but when I flashed the DEOT custom image, it only took about an hour?! Anyway, back to the v.5 version. Lots broken! Some systems don’t recognize zips, or SMC or other formats. The GBA emulator uses the GB emulator rom folder and sees GB, GBC and GBA roms, so you end up with GB games on the list that don’t run on that emulator. I learned through this forum how to fix those, so thanks to those that put up the info. I never managed to get the Coleco emulator working and the N64 emulator wouldn’t install as it couldn’t find the online file. I couldn’t find a fix, so the next best thing was to flash the DEOT custom firmware. Pretty nice OS, lots of stuff installed that you don’t get with the standard OS, but some of the emulators were a bit iffy. The only way I could get full speed and no glitchy sound with the SNES emulator, was to overclock it to 1400mhz. The emulator ran much better, but I wasn’t happy with overclocking the Gameshell, so went back to v.5 again. Now after hours of tweaking, I’m finally happy with the setup. All the built in emulators now see the roms properly, non working emulators (for me it was Coleco and N64) are deleted from the OS menu. Bios files and arcade samples seem to be in the correct place and all seem to be working. The only thing I’ve just noticed I haven’t set up yet is the onscreen keyboard for fuse. I’m sure it has one, but I might be mistaking that with Fuse on my GCW Zero?!

I don’t mean to sound whingy as I know a lot of work has been put into the OS and I understand how easy it is to miss a rom format in a config, but that took a lot of reading and trial and error to get the OS to work as it should. Thankfully I’m the kind of person that likes seeing how things work, and this was fun… if a little frustrating at times.

My GCW Zero was always my goto handheld, it just runs most emulators better than the Gameshell. Now I have the OGA, it’ll probably be the one I reach for now. What about the Gameshell? As far as I’m concerned, it’s still the coolest looking out of the three, I even like the quirky offset pixel LCD display! So it’s a keeper, and when I’m not tearing about in DC Crazy Taxi on the OGA, I’ll be playing Link’s Awakening on the Gameshell.

So, Thanks to all those folks on the forum with their tips and advice.


Definitely the Odroid is better for outright game playing.
Personally I find the gameshell more fun for messing around with other things, getting Linux ports to work, fantasy consoles, etc. I actually get kinda bored using the Odroid, just because I don’t get to fiddle with things. For people who just want an out of the box gaming experience, the gameshell probably isn’t for them. I get just as much satisfaction of being able to look at something I’ve gotten to work; just like I can proudly look at what I have just built with my hands.

I’ve mainly tinkered with raspberry pi units. I … actually find the CPI a bit more bulletproof to tinker with and have control over what is going on, compared to say using RetroPie, Lakka, or having to use Raspbian. A lot of the pre made images have far too many cross dependent files and configs that just break too easily. You get a lot more control customising etc with the Gameshell. Compared to the GPi Case with a raspberry pi zero, the gameshell is leaps and bounds better.

If you can post any more suggestions to make my custom DEOT image better, that would be great!
It’s strange that the SNES only worked over clocked. The DEOT image actually is a 0.5 image; just with mostly “fixes” - so it would be good to know if any of the fixes were actually that; fixes. In fact, whatever you’ve done on your current 0.5 image that makes it work for you are things I’d like to look at including - even if that means including less.

I’ve actually got Emulationstation running on my day to day machine. I have been thinking of including it with a future release. I’ll just need to get a base set of emulators setup, then write a proper config. It actually runs nicely, pretty much on par with a raspberry pi 3, with the same scraping and skinning possibilities as it’s counterparts. Some games/cores do tend to change where their respective config files go. So that’s something that I’ll also need to get running smoothly.

I like to think of the gameshell 0.5 running at 1.008GHz as an underclocked OS, seeing as the actual specs of the all winner R16 as advertised is 1.2GHz.
Since the Kernel used was one that came about while experimenting on getting graphic drivers working, it was no doubt using a much older kernel as a base, where stability of the gameshell had to be prioritised, compromising some clocks as a workaround. Nowadays, it’s stable enough using it closer to the actual advertised clockspeed.

Re: flashing, there must be something fishy with your setup, be it your downloaded image, SD reader, the SD card itself, or even your computer. Flashing takes about 5 minutes top for me. That’s for both the 0.5 and my custom OS. It could the verification process. Unless you were also including download time, and setting everything up.

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Thanks for your reply, I’m still not really sure what I was trying to achieve with my post, just my ramblings on how I found the system a bit of a struggle.

Yeah, as for the flashing, I’m putting it down to my crappy old laptop and I’m thinking something to do with the actual image (decompressing it on the fly, etc.) No verification or downloading was included in that time, just the actual flashing.

Love your custom OS by the way, I grudgingly went back to v.5. Not sure what was up with my SNES emulator. I was running Legend of Zelda and as soon as I walked outside the hut at the beginning of the game, into the rain, the audio started stuttering (can’t say if the actual gameplay was affected though). Overclocked to 1400 and it ran perfectly. I didn’t realize the Gameshell was underclocked, The jump from 1008 to 1400 scared me a little, but your info has eased my fears.

I tinker a bit, but mostly electronic circuits and Arduinos, my Pocket Chip now has an audio amp and speaker that I soldered into it, but my knowledge on the software side of things is really basic. Most of my fixes to v.5 were really simple things, mainly tweaking the action.config files to recognize some of the rom formats that it didn’t originally accept. I tried to change the folder GPSP would use for roms, but I couldn’t get my head round it. It would end up creating a folder like GBAROMS_SO instead of GBAROMS like I wanted. Even when I put roms into the folder that had been created, it still wouldn’t see them. It’s purely down to my lack of understanding on how the action.config worked, but I gave up and eventually threw all my GB, GBC and GBA roms into the MGBA folder and tweaked the formats the action.config files looked for. Not a nice tidy fix like I wanted, but it worked.

As for things to improve your DEOT custom OS. More emulator options built into the main menu, PC Engine should be there, wink wink! One thing I would have loved to be able to do, but I don’t know how easy or even if it’s possible, would be the ability to easily remove menu items that I don’t use, in a check box type of thing, similar to Emulation Station. On v.5, I just deleted the folders in the apps/menu/20_Retro Games folder (another untidy fix me thinks?!) but for some reason I couldn’t do that with your OS, I just got an error message. There’s not a whole lot more I can think of wanting. I might see if I can rustle up another SD card from somewhere and give your OS another go… but for the moment, I’m not touching my v.5 setup for fear of possibly having to set it up all again. One thing from your OS that I really miss not having on v.5, is exiting emulators to the Retroarch menu. I know I can still get to the menu in v.5, but your integration of it, is so much better.One last thing I remember being disappointed with was when I swapped theme. DEOT theme had all nice icons, but when I changed to the original look, some of the icons became just letters. I vaguely remember in my early goes at installing standalone emulators, setting up icons, but the process is now a gone from my head completely!

I think I might have been rambling again!!


No need! I ramble too and get lost in thought.

Ah. So with regard to deleting things. They can be located in three locations.
First, in the apps/Menu directory. That usually are user installed apps.
The launcher/Menu takes precedence to this, being where core menu items that get uploaded are located.
Finally, not really an app location but a mirrored form of both the launcher/Menu and apps/Menu, symbolically including all of the icons you wish to use. This is where skins come in.
You can either have all icons dictated by a skin, or if you want to have your app override any and every skin with its own icon, you include the icon in the same folder as the app itself (or the script to run it)
I hope that made sense?

As for why all the icons vanished when you changed to another theme - all of the extra apps are just that; extra. According to the skin maker, they had no idea what was going to exist, where it would exist and what I would name it exactly. For that reason I have doctored the skins that I have included to better match up with what stock 0.5 has it as.

Theoretically I could also just run a script on all of my DEOT icons to have a monochrome set that has a circle instead of a hexagon, and edit the default theme accordingly. In fact you know what? I might just do that in the next release! :smiley:

For now, deactivating DEOT mode essentially turns your gameshell into a stock 0.5 image, just with the extra emulators and packages included.

It’s interesting. I did exactly what you did with the directory structure of the games; having console names instead of emulator names. And having the emulators linking up to each properly, while supporting far more formats. If it helps, I can provide a link to all of the action files I used for each emulator, and a screen shot of the directory structure of the games. That way you should be able to have a much nearer filing system. I am SO. OCD. WITH ORDER! So I share this pain.

I really really really want to have more emulator options, but as it stands, I fear it would get a negative reputation for including too many; cluttering things up. I’m slowly including scripts for users to self install packages that I would like, eg duke nukem, quake2, emulation station, pokemon MMO, etc. Already, I’ve added wonderswan, Nintendo DS, virtual boy, and standalone emulators for GB colour, NES, MegaDrive, and provides scripts to run additional ID games. People will start to say there’s too much! It’s such a fine line! Besides those, are there any other consoles that you think should be added?

Just letting you know… there actually is a secret hidden PC Engine emulator hidden in the DEOT image. Mednafen is a multi core engine that plays a lot of things, including PC Engine. It’s in a hidden folder within the apps/Menu/60_Retro Games directory, then again in another hidden folder. Just get rid of the dot before each directory name and you’re good to go… almost. They aren’t fully implemented yet, because I need to configure the controls, and optimise it. The action.config will also need to have the file format list updated too. So yeah. Mednafen is there; you just need to configure it.

And herein lies the main reason I love the gameshell. Community collaboration and solution finding! Due to its infancy, everything is still a WIP. Raspberry pi, RetroPie, Lakka etc are all a lot more internally maintained, and you feel less like you’ve contributed to making a difference to the community.

The all winner R16 is actually pretty damn powerful, all things considered. With more community collaboration, I’m sure we can milk even more power out of it. It’s like the gameshell is a relic weapon in an MMORPG. The more resources and time we pour into it, the stronger it gets. I can totally understand why this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. In which case, certainly! There a much better out of the box experiences.

I suppose that’s what I’m trying to provide with my custom image; a much more user friendly out of box experience. Sorry to hijack, asking how we could make that image better, but it’s certainly something that was helpful and useful to know! I’m still not sure why your SNES wasn’t working as expected. I asked another user, and he had similar problems. His solution was to use the Snes9x2005 core; not the PLUS version.

I’m waiting for an alternative chipset version of the CPI board to come in the mail, ie a R16-J as opposed to my R16. There could be a difference in user experience depending on your chipset. It’s doubtful, but once I have it, we will all know. I’ll then make separate images depending on configurations etc.

Thank you for sharing about the Odroid Go Advance, I have to say it looks awesome! I am seriously considering this as my next gaming purchase. Thanks for the info and yes Clockwork is fun but totally agree it is a nightmare to setup. I am afraid to do any real customizations as I am so unsure of the structure and what will break and what won’t. This is coming from someone who customized the hell out of most of my gaming systems…well minus this one. At this point I am just happy I have retroarch up and running with most of my favorite systems. Sadly I have faster systems that are tweaked to my liking and I have all of the systems I want. I keep hoping for another CPU hardware update to clockwork but that seems unlikely.

Hopefully stock comes back soon. Afaik, May is when they’re expecting stock.

It feels as though the OS is in a similar state of development as the Gameshell; just that it uses the Emulationstation interface that “looks” more modern. I haven’t looked much into the forums, but is there more internal developments with the in-house dev team?

If a nightmare setup is what you want to avoid, I’d say that you’d get the same kind of setup with the Odroid, and working out the syntax of the emulationstation config. It’s not hard, but it’s another learning curve.

Emulationstation wise, If it means that it would bring people to feel as though the gameshell is more complete, I may very well include it in future as well. It’s just so finicky, slow and manual to add cores and references etc. Then again, it’s pretty much the same as an action.config file.
(edit: I did some work on Emulation Station today: Custom D.E.O.T. V2.0+/Clockwork OS v0.5 image - With customised DEOT interface, Kernel 5.4.24, Optional 1400MHz OC, Debian 10 Buster, Retroarch 1.8.5, Mupen64+ plus more! (Current build: 200411))

The fact that it’s 1.3GHz was partially the reason I figured the option to clock it to 1.4GHz would bring the gameshell up to par. I suppose, having clock speed changing, and kernel updates/drivers to bring better functionality to existing components is similar enough to a mainboard upgrade.

And ha, I’m just playing devil’s advocate right now. Just thought I’d provide information to support both sides. I actually do tinker a lot with a lot of other consoles, and devices and have no allegiances one way or another to any.