[$470] Support MAME-style backdrop, screen, bezel, overlay "artwork"



Link 1: Github issue - Help implement the feature!

Link 2: BountySource crowdfunding page - Contribute to the Bounty!

Bounty link - Contribute today!


As I understand it, RetoArch’s Overlay system has roots in providing a touch interface rather than reproducing integral game artwork. Even though folks successfully use the existing RA overlay system for applications like displaying arcade game bezels or Vectrex cover overlay sheets, it has limitations that prevent some games with such artwork from being fully emulated.

It is possible to emulate this integral artwork within cores, but doing so requires cores to pre-scale video in order to make use of high-resolution artwork files, negating many of the video-related benefits of libretro-based emulation.


Add a non-interactive, 4-component artwork system compatible with the MAME artwork format, inspired by but distinct from the existing RetroArch Overlay/Control system.

  1. A “backdrop” image that appears “beneath” the emulated video for Arcade and Handheld systems. This is the highest priority for the new feature, as backdrops are completely un-emulatable in RetroArch presently.
  2. The “screen”
  3. The “overlay”
  4. The “bezel”


That would be good, but maybe we should just shoot for supporting MAME’s artwork format. That way people could re-use the existing packs instead of reinventing the wheel.


Using MAME’s artwork format seems like it would cover these bases, yes! Certainly it would satisfy me.


I agree with hunterk another system to support mame artwork based on the overlay driver but not input oriented.


Great, I’ll edit the OP again to reflect that approach. I know you both work with these systems


Bounty up to $35 – thanks @hunterk!

My Realistic Arcade Bezels

Up to $55 – Thanks @UDb23!


Up to $65, thanks @Riverstorm


I got super excited about this!! Is it sticking to MAME artwork/MAME Cores only?

I know reusing existing assets is a win for everyone but there are plenty of bezel assets around. It seems a bit limiting to create a new System for MAME artwork

For example GCE Vectrex could benefit from displaying multiple images at once to accommodate the screen overlays and also fill the bezel space.

I am happy to match the current bounty of $65 in UK pounds once I understand the feature more.


The idea is for RetroArch (that is, regardless of which core is loaded) to be able to load any of the artwork files created for MAME, whether it be for arcade bezels, vectrex overlays or whatever.


Ah yes that lightbulb just turned on with my 3rd read through !

“Compatible” with is the key lol


Thank you for your contribution to the bounty @Thatman84! Now up to $150


No worries, i was meaning to do this myself for the longest time!


Please add menu option to disable mouse cursor on overlay. For bezel use it is frustrating having to manually disable every time.


The visible cursor is a result of the overlay system being designed for input. The new system would be used entirely for cosmetics, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

Over 1000 Arcade Overlays

Ok, now this is an incredible project!

I am wondering if there is a way of porting it with enhancements, for example in the View toggle, as MAME lets you choose between Cropped and Full, but Cropped does not make the gameplay area take over in horizontal games, and for vertical games it does not even work at all.

Be checking this project closely as it might be the reason to move over from the standalone MAME.

Thank you to all involved!


Bounty more than doubled to $400 thanks to a donation from @nayslayer, thank you!


bounty up to $405. thanks @188pilas!


Bounty up to $430 - thank you @Taranchul!


The bounty is up to $460 – thanks @remimcgill!