Community Project: Emulate the PlayStation on Your PocketC.H.I.P.

Yopaz IceStar by Orion_

Yopaz IceStar by Orion_

We’ve already seen the Pocketeer community emulate the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Genesis, and even Virtual Boy on PocketC.H.I.P.! This weekend, limni figured out how to get PCSX ReARMed, a PlayStation emulator, working on PocketC.H.I.P..

Best of all, this is a project that only takes about twenty minutes and doesn’t require the official PlayStation BIOS to work.

Some of you older Pocketeers like me might remember back in 1994 when the PlayStation first launched. But that wasn’t Sony’s first attempt at breaking into the video game market.

In the late 80s Sony worked with Nintendo to develop a CD-ROM add-on to the Super Famicom (SNES). The product never made it out of R&D labs, but it gave Sony a bit of experience in developing a console. For more on the early history of the PlayStation and other Sony consoles, check out PlaystationMuseum.com.

1. Open the Terminal

The default PocketC.H.I.P. user interface is managed by the Pocket Home application

From the PocketC.H.I.P. home screen tap on the Terminal icon to launch the program. The majority of the project will take place in the terminal.

2. Install the Required Packages

Update the list of packages available to PocketC.H.I.P..
sudo apt update

Install the package dependencies for building PCSX ReARMed.
sudo apt install git build-essential libsdl1.2-dev


3. Download the Source Code

Move to the chip user’s home directory.
cd ~

Clone the source code repository for the PCSX ReARMed project using git.
git clone https://github.com/notaz/pcsx_rearmed.git

Change working directories so that you’re in ~/pcsx_rearmed directory.
cd ~/pcsx_rearmed

Update the submodules.
git submodule update --init


4. Configure for PocketC.H.I.P.

To create the most optimized version of PCSX for PocketC.H.I.P., you’ll need to type in the CFLAGS into the terminal before you run the ./configure shell script. As you might have guessed, CFLAGS are short for compiler flags, and tell the compiler what special options to use when build the source code into a binary program.
CFLAGS='-mcpu=cortex-a8 -mtune=cortex-a8 -mfpu=neon' ./configure

Note: Make sure you exactly copy the capitalization and spacing when you type the command above. It matters! For more details on what neon is check out the linux-sunxi page about the R8 processor.


5. Compile PCSX ReARMed

Compile the source code. Just run make. It’s that easy! (ง ͡ʘ ͜ʖ ͡ʘ)ง
make

Note: Make sure you are in the ~/pcsx_rearmed directory, otherwise running make won’t compile PCSX ReARMed.


6. Download Homebrew Games

Marilyn: In the Magic World by LameGuy64

Marilyn: In the Magic World by LameGuy64

As with other emulators, search engines are your friend for finding games.

A good source to get you started with homebrew PlayStation games is psxdev.net. A few of my favorites are Fly Little Bat, Marilyn: In the Magic World, and Yopaz IceStar. They are all fun and run well in the emulator. Find a couple you like and download them to your laptop.


7. Using a USB Flash Drive

PocketC.H.I.P. file browser mounting a USB flash drive

PocketC.H.I.P. file browser mounting a USB flash drive

Many PlayStation homebrew games are enormous, so it’s wise to use a USB flash drive. You can run the games directly off the USB drive and it will save you from filling up PocketC.H.I.P.’s onboard NAND storage.

  • On your laptop download and copy the game files to your USB drive.
  • Insert the USB drive into PocketC.H.I.P.
  • On the PocketC.H.I.P. home screen, tap on the file browser. Look for the USB drive in the left sidebar of the window and tap on it. This mounts the drive and makes the files accessible to the system.

8. Playing the Homebrew Games

Main screen of PCSX

Main screen of PCSX

Start the emulator by typing the command below and you’ll immediately see a window like the image above.
~/pcsx_rearmed/pcsx

Screenshot - 083016 - 17:19:37

Use the up and down keys on the D-pad to scroll through the menu and enter to confirm your selection. To load a game, simply highlight the Load Game menu and press enter.

Then navigate through the list of files and directories with the D-pad. Many games use a .cue file suffix, but some use a .bin. It keeps you on your toes. When you’ve find the game you do want to load, highlight it and press enter.


9. Taking it to the Next Level!

Fly Little Bat

Fly Little Bat

By default z and x keys are mapped as the PlayStation’s circle and cross buttons. To change the keybinding, press ESC and use the D-pad to highlight the Controls menu. Once it’s highlighted, press enter and then select Player 1. Map the keys however you want.


chipLogo64x64

Share your favorite PlayStation memories in the comments below or on Twitter, and make sure to mention what homebrew games you’re playing in limni’s PSCX ReARMed thread.

And if you figure out how to tweak the window size, share how you did it!

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1 Comment

Thanks for the help.

I have PCSXR installed and running. I’ve also paired the chip with a PS3 controller which is PCSXR and can be used to navigate the menus. My problem is that the control rebind menu seems bugged (not scaled to fit the screen correctly) and I’m having one hell of a time getting PCSXR to rebind keys to the joypad. Attempting to do so seems to result in various crash states – mostly of the segmentation variety. Any ideas?

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