Guide: Sega Dreamcast on the Retroid Pocket 2

Last updated 29SEP2020 (see Changelog for details)

I have a confession to make: I’d never really played the Sega Dreamcast until my Retroid Pocket 2 arrived in the mail. Because of this fact, I ended up diving into this system first, to explore all of the new games (well, new to me). Here is my quick guide on how to set up Dreamcast emulation on your Retroid Pocket 2. There are still a lot of people out in the community finding new ways to improve gameplay on this device, so expect frequent updates to the guide in the future.

Table of Contents:
The best Dreamcast emulator - RetroArch with the Flycast core
Create a Dreamcast playlist in RetroArch
Optimize Flycast for gameplay
Game performance and notes

Changelog

The best Dreamcast emulator – RetroArch with the Flycast core

The Retroid Pocket OS can play Dreamcast games on the fly, but there aren’t any configuration options and the games play relatively slowly. There is also a pre-installed Flycast emulator on the Retroid Pocket 2 (on the Android OS), but it is rather cumbersome to navigate, and its settings are difficult to interpret. Luckily, RetroArch is pre-installed on your Retroid Pocket as well, and it takes minimal configuration to get running.

To start, you need to open RetroArch and download the Flycast “core” (emulator). To do so, simply go to the “Load Core” option in the Main Menu, then go to “Download a Core”, and select the Sega Dreamcast (Flycast) core. Periodically, go to the “Online Update” setting and select “Update Installed Cores” to make sure you have the latest Flycast core.

To load a game, select “Load Content” and navigate to where your ROMs are stored on your SD card. After you select your game file, it will ask you which core to use, and select Flycore.

I’ve read that for the best performance, you should add the Dreamcast BIOS files (dc_boot.bin and dc_flash.bin) to the /RetroArch/system folder on your SD card, but I haven’t not detected any improvement in gameplay after adding them.

Create a Dreamcast playlist in RetroArch

Navigate to the “Import Content” menu in RetroArch, then select “Scan Directory”. Navigate to the folder where your Dreamcast ROMs are stored (for me, it’s /storage/sdcard1/games/download/DC), and select “<Scan this Directory>”. The system will now scan your game files and create a Dreamcast playlist in your main menu. Navigate to that menu and check your games. If you see that some are missing, you will want to do a manual scan to catch the others. In generally, I have found that this option does well with .gdi files, but now with .cdi files.

Go back to the “Import Content” menu in RetroArch, but this time select “Manual Scan”. For “Content Directory, navigate to the folder where your Dreamcast ROMs are stored. For “System Name”, select Sega Dreamcast. For “Core”, choose the Flycast core. For “File Extensions”, select the filetype you are trying to import (i.e. .cdi files) — just type “cdi”, no need for a period. Press START once you have the file type written. Finally, select “Start Scan” and it will add your remaining files (minus box art, unfortunately).

Optimize Flycast for gameplay

To set up your game settings, go to your Dreamcast playlist, select a game, and then choose “Run” to start the game. Press and hold START for a few seconds, then the game settings will appear. Go to “Options”, then make the following changes:

Mipmapping: on
DIV Matching: auto

That’s about it. You can also enable frameskip for games that need it, but I have found that it doesn’t work very well on this system. If the settings are to your liking, back out of the Options menu and within the game settings menu, go to “Overrides”, and choose “Save Core Overrides”. This will use these settings with every game that launches with the Flycast core.

To keep these settings in RetroArch, head to the Main Menu (on the far left) and go to “Configuration File”, and select “Save Current Configuration”. That’s it, now you have your settings configured for optimal Dreamcast gameplay.

Game performance and notes

Some games perform better than others in Flycast, and some do even better with per-game settings. The Retroid wiki page has some Dreamcast-specific tips for per-game settings.

It has also been reported that the 1.9.0 version of RetroArch works even better with Flycast, but I haven’t tested it yet. Download it here (source).

If you want to really dive into the Flycast core, check out this page from RetroArch, which breaks down every setting available in the system.


Changelog

29SEP2020
– published guide

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