Guide: 350teric (Esoteric) frontend on the RG350

Last updated: 26SEP2020 (see Changelog for details)

There are several frontends (user interfaces) available for the RG350. I’ve already created a guide for SimpleMenu, and I have a couple more I’m working on right now. But today I want to show off 350teric (“Esoteric”), a frontend that largely works like the default GMenu2X interface, but with much more customization.

Table of Contents:
Pros & cons
Installation guide
Configuration options
Setting up the "Favorites" tab
Adding box art to your navigation menus
Personalize 350teric with skins

Changelog

Pros & cons:

Every RG350 frontend has its upsides and downsides. So before you decide to install, let’s list the pros and cons for this solution, and we’ll address each of them in the guide below.

Pros:

  • Easiest frontend to set up
  • Very customizable
  • Can launch from system startup
  • Can edit game/emulator names
  • Favorites function

Cons:

  • Some skins are buggy
  • Slow in loading large ROM folders
  • Closing a game will close 350teric unless it is ‘installed” as default launcher

Installation guide

Installing 350teric is as simple as adding any other app or emulator to the RG350 devices. Simply download and unzip this file (source) and place it in the media/data/apps folder of your internal SD card (see here if you don’t know how to do this).

350teric will appear in the “Applications” tab on your RG350 device. When you first boot it up, it might take a bit to load that first time.

To get oriented with the frontend, think of it like the standard (GMenu2x) interface, but with the tabs on the left side instead of up top. All the familiar tabs are there: Apps, Emulators, Games/Ports, and Settings. Additionally, there is a Favorites tab, which we’ll get into in a second.

To load up a game, just go to the Emulators tab, select the emulator you want to run, and navigate to the game you want to launch. Note that 350teric will pause for a bit if you try opening up a large folder (anything over ~500 ROMs in one folder). It’s annoying, but you’ll get used to it.

Note that in my video guide I mention that you are limited to 320×240 in pixel density, but I’ve since learned that you can update the resolution to 640×480 if you are using an RG350M. To do so, navigate to the media/data/local/home/.esoteric folder, and open the “esoteric.conf” file within. Update the code to the following:

resolutionX=640
resolutionY=480

Now you should have an upgraded resolution to match your screen. You will likely need to configure the font sized in the skin settings (more info below). Adjusting the resolution may not work out well with your favorite skin, so until there is native 640×480 resolution skins and support, this is really just a band-aid.


Configuration options

Once you’re in, you have several different settings you can initially configure. First, you can press START at any time to bring up the general settings, where you can change the language, skin, or choose whether or not you want the frontend to remember the last section you were in when you started up a ROM.

In the settings tab there is also the ability to configure your current skin. The setting will say “Skin (name of skin)”; press the A button to go into the skin settings. Inside, you can adjust the background wallpaper, font sizes, and whether you want the tabs (here called “section bar”) to be on the left, top, right, or bottom — or visible at all. Another setting worth playing around with is the “Menu columns” and “Menu Rows”. This will change the layout of the icons on each tab. So for example, if you have Menu Columns set to 1, and Menu Rows set to 8, you’ll see a single row of apps, with 8 per page. But if you set Menu Columns to 3, and Menu Rows to 4, you’ll see a grid of apps: three across and four rows per page. See the pictures above for an example.

350teric is highly customizable, so not only can you change the look of the overall layout, but you can change each individual game and emulator. For example, if you want to change “FCEUX” to say “NES” instead, you just go to the FCEUX icon press the SELECT button, then select “Edit FCEUX” and change the title to “NES”. You can also delete emulators directly from the menu if you’d like.

If you want, you can also set 350teric to be your default launcher; in other words, when you power on the device, it’ll launch right into 350teric. To do so, open 350teric and go to the “Settings” tab; there you will find an icon that says “Install Me”. Open that up and it will become the default launcher. To remove this feature, use the “Uninstall Me” icon. Note that if you don’t have 350teric set as your default launcher, every time you exit a game it will also exit 350teric and you’ll be kicked back to the GMenu2X interface.

One neat feature in the general settings is that you can select “re-start last game”. With this option toggled on, the next time you open 350teric it will boot automatically into the last game you played. So essentially, this could become a single-game device if that’s something that interests you — for example, the only game my wife ever wants to play for the rest of her life is Dr. Mario; with this option, I could hand her an RG350 that automatically boots into that game every time she turns the device on.


Setting up the “Favorites” tab

One of my favorite features of this frontend is that you can set up favorites in the system. To do so, open up the emulator you want to use, then navigate to the game you want to add to your Favorites and press the X button. That’s it, now it’ll show up in your Favorites tab. Bear in mind that when you add a game to your Favorites, it will show up at the bottom of the list, but the next time you start up 350teric it will be re-sorted alphabetically. Note that you can add duplicate Favorites if you happen to press the X button multiple times. You can remove favorites by going into the Favorites tab, navigating to the game you want to remove, and press SELELCT and then “delete (name of game)”. This will remove it from the Favorites tab, but it will NOT delete the game itself from your device.


Adding box art to your navigation menus

Like with SimpleMenu, you can set up box art to display while you’re navigating the emulator menus. To do so, you will need to add a folder named “.previews” (note the “.” before the word), and place all your box art there. They can be either .jpg or .png files, but they need to be named the exact same as the file name of the ROM they are associated with. The images can be any size, but I recommend 300px wide max, and a minimum of 180px wide.

To get box art for your ROM folders, check out my SimpleMenu guide. Honestly, because I have SimpleMenu configured already, I just took my SimpleMenu “media” folder for each system and copy/pasted those images into a new “.previews” folder.


Personalize 350teric with skins

There are a number of skins available to download and test. Because 350teric is based on a different frontend called GMenuNX, there are many nice skins out there that work *pretty well* with the RG350 devices as well. Some will need to be configured in order to look right with the RG350 devices, but it’s as simple as adjusting font sizes and whatnot in the skin settings. Here are some of my favorites:

Default skin (pre-installed)
Fontixel skin (Blue, unconfigured) (source)
Minimal skin (pre-installed)
Fontixel skin (Yellow, configured) (source)

To install a skin, simply follow the links above to download. Note that Oldboy, PS4, PSNext, and Zelda are all from the same pack, so you only need to download that pack once. Same with the Fontixel skin, which includes 9 different skin colors.

Once you have them downloaded, drag the skins folder into the media/data/local/home/.esoteric/skins folder on your internal SD card. Inside the skins folder you should see something like this:

icons (folder)
imgs (folder)
sections (folder)
wallpapers (folder)
font.ttf
skin.conf

Each skin comes pre-loaded with its own wallpapers, which you can choose within the skins settings. You can also add your own wallpapers by placing the .png file (must be 320×240 pixels for RG350/RG350P, but up to 640×480 for RG350M) in the “wallpapers” folder within that skin folder.

Note that some skins are kind of wonky. For example, the text in HaikuOS will sometimes just disappear out of the blue. Personally, I like the Fontixel (Yellow) and Lovely SNES skins best. Note that the Fontixel skin takes a lot of configuration to get it to look how mine does, so here are screenshots of my skin settings in case you want to mimic them:

The “mame.png” wallpaper I’m using is available right here if you’re interested, too.


Changelog

26SEP2020
– published guide

3 thoughts on “Guide: 350teric (Esoteric) frontend on the RG350

  1. hi Russ,thank you for a great guide for the 350teric but i have a problem with xmame 1.3
    when i boot from 350teric or even when i dont i cant load games from mame it just keeps kicking me back to the original firmware, please could you help with this problem, im using a RG350M thank you

    Like

  2. Hi Russ, thank you for your great guides. I´ve followed all your steps for this guide and installed the esoteric front end and the lovely snes skin. Everything works fine and looks great. I have one problem though,i just cant get the boxarts working. Ive used skraper and scraped the boxarts but it looks like i just messed something up with the folders or folder structure.They simply just dont show up when browsing thrgouh my roms and i just dont know where to put the folder with alle the boxarts in it. Any help would be appreciated. Thnak you.

    Like

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