Arcade games, where to begin?

Guys I’m completely lost. I have found and downloaded the “FinalBurn Neo ROM set” archive, I have FinalBurn Neo installed on RetroArch… and that’s about all I can manage. The archive set mentions using clrmamepro tu rebuild the set with specific settings so ROMs are merged, but when I start this software it asks me to create a profile. I try to use the dat files from but nothing happens.

Can anybody provides some simple steps on how to format the archive set for FB Neo + RA please? I don’t even know if I should unzip all the ROMs or how I can tell clrmamepro tu do anything. ><

All you need is to download the DAT file of the romset, (it should have one) then use the “manual scan” in Retroarch. Give it the DAT file (in “Arcade DAT File”), the directory of the romset, select “FBNeo - Arcade Games” as System Name, and hit “Start Scan.”

Hm. But I want the ROMs to be merged (as I understand, it ensures a single file per game right?) and there’s no way to do that without rebuilding with clrmamepro apparently.

No. Non-merged ensures self-contained ROMs. And it’s of course much bigger as a result.

But why does it matter? You’ve got a complete set. Just use the DAT file that comes with the set in the manual scan.

Well I don’t like the way it’s organized for starters. Am I suppose to keep a single zip file per system? The arcade zip is 17 GB, loading any given ROM is gonna be taking a while to decompress all of that on-the-fly. Maybe those need to be unzipped, but what about the archives inside, will the emulator load the zipped ROMs? Besides I don’t want to feel forced to store all that data for what will amount to a handful of games I’m interested in.

You don’t use it that way. You unzip the 17GB zip file in its own directory. It’s a huge zip file containing a huge amount of small zip files. Those smaller zip files is what you need. You can delete the 17GB zip file after that.

I use the same stuff you do. After I downloaded the DAT file and used the manual scanner, I get an “Arcade Games” (with the FBNeo icon) playlist in retroarch:

OK so the problem then is more like this: My games are all stored in Y:\Games\<system> such that there is a folder per game system like Famicom or ZX Spectrum right. But if I scan the ZX Spectrum DAT file, it finds nothing because it probably expects the games to be either directly in Y:\Games or in Y:\Games\spectrum but I want to be using my own path. In this case I have no other choice but to find a way to rebuild the DAT file, and that’s where clrmamepro should come in handy.

I do the same. I have Spectrum games in the fbneo/spectrum folder . Arcade games in the fbneo/arcade folder .

Then to scan the arcade set, I use this DAT file:

For Spectrum, I use this:

The DAT files are here:

Make sure to use the “download” or “raw” buttons when you download them. Getting stuff from github through a browser can be tricky and often you end up downloading the web page rather than the DAT file itself.

In the manual scanner, I have selected “Sinclair ZX Spectrum” of course, not “FBneo Arcade”. The scanner then made a ZX Specturm playlist:

Oh that’s it, the DAT file looked good but it wasn’t correctly recognized, it must be what you’re describing. And indeed now the folder is scanned, thank you.

The DAT file can now also be parsed by clrmamepro, so I might be able to make sense of this. :smiley:

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OK so now I have to figure out why rebuild the ROM set does not work. I mean, I’m using clrmamepro rebuilder with settings “non-merged sets” and “separate BIOS sets” unchecked, following the doc here in order to create fully independent archives.

But after doing so with the ZX Spectrum sets, FB Neo is unable to load any of the ROMs, saying some of them are missing in the set. It looks like not all the necessary ROMs are zipped in the rebuilt archive for some reason. ROM sets are either unknown or incomplete.

I’ve tried running torrentzip on the resulting set as recommended, but it fails miserably too.

I think you’re making this too hard. As @RealNC said, if you have the ‘full set’ archive, you dont need to rebuild or do any of that stuff. You just need to:

  1. Extract the gigantic archive (17GB zip file) to


The path will contain hundreds/thousands of zip files. These are the games. If your set was non-merged, you’ll have less files but bigger zip files for each game (and more space required overall). If your set was merged, it will have more files but smaller zips for each game. Non-merged in general is easier to deal with as the games are essentially more portable, the downside is the whole set takes up more space, but nowadays that really doesn’t matter much as hard drive space is relatively cheap.

  1. The archive either will have come with a dat, or will be ‘synced’ with the master dat (from the source code repository). Hopefully it’s the latter, again because that makes it easier to deal with. Use the dat file that came in the archive, or the master dat accordingly to scan into RA. There could be a difference between the two based on the version of the archive you have and the version of the DAT/FBneo that now exists. Those differences may cause some games to stop working if the included files have changed.

Also note you dont even need to scan the files at all. You can just ‘Load Content’, select a game, and then select FBNeo and play.

Similarly for non-arcade systems you could have the sets for other systems. Follow the same directory structure:


The small difference with those other systems are that BIOS files are also required. Those can go into a different location OR they can go in the same directory as the game files. Most folks find it easier to have them seperate but it’s really up to you. To put them in the seperate folder:

Create an fbneo folder in the ‘Retroarch System Directory’:


You’ll need the bios files for FBNeo for each system. The place you found the fbneo archive likely also has an archive for the bios files of interest. Similar to the game archives, you’ll place the BIOS zip files into that directory. The files required are listed in the RA docs here.

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Try not using that. I’ve heard it causes issues with the fbneo core.

None that i’m aware of, if there is one then please report it with steps to reproduce it.

Thank you, but I really do want my ROMs non-merged. Space is not an issue, I have a heavy duty local server, but I do not want to have to store obscure homebrews and adult games simply because “it’s easier that way.” And it’s not like the option does not exist, so why are you all trying to dissuade me? :smiley:

So jokes aside, I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but it’s specific to the ZX Spectrum set apparently. I have all the required BIOS files, and if I try to boot any of the merged ROM it works. When I rebuild the arcade set in non-merged and separate BIOS, the resulting archives contains everything and it works well. But when I do the same thing with the spectrum sets, some files are missing.

For example, Badlands. After rebuilding, the archive contains the .tap file as well as the zx128_0 and zx128_1 rom files and that’s it. However, FB Neo also expects 14 other roms in here.

But the DAT file also fails to mention those files

   <game name="badlands" romof="spec128">
		<description>Badlands (128K)</description>
		<rom name="Badlands (1990)(Domark)(48K-128K).tap" size="33672" crc="5df53959"/>
		<rom name="zx128_0.rom" merge="zx128_0.rom" size="16384" crc="e76799d2"/>
		<rom name="zx128_1.rom" merge="zx128_1.rom" size="16384" crc="b96a36be"/>
		<video type="raster" orientation="horizontal" width="288" height="224" aspectx="4" aspecty="3"/>
		<driver status="good"/>

That’s because you are trying to launch the arcade version of badlands. If you want to launch the ZX spectrum version, the folder containing your romset(s) must be named spectrum or zxspectrum (no caps), as explained at

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So that’s what is meant there by emulating. For some reason I was reading that wrong, not as something required. Please don’t tell me you can’t use FB Neo without specific directory names or file names? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Actually I’ve found it is possible to start the FB Neo core then use the subsystems menu to specifically load a ROM using the correct subsytem preset without having to rename anything. That’s a start, but it’s cumbersome. So I suppose what’s missing is a way to pass the CLI switch to the core from the playlist, which I believe is not supported. Any other way?

As said in the documentation, subsystems aren’t supported by playlists and some platforms, that’s why the folder naming method was implemented as an alternative.

Giving up on retroarch playlists and using external launchers like launchbox or whatever, they allow more freedom with command line.

Alright… thank you everyone for all the clarifications.

I still believe it wouldn’t be bad to have a command-line argument that can be saved in RA’s playlists. Surely everything’s already supported at core-level otherwise the subsystems menu wouldn’t work. It could be as simple as a single argument for the whole playlist (like --subsystem spectrum) to something a bit more complex per game (so we could have playlist entries with slot 2 support for the DS…)

…wait, isn’t that already supported actually? But it is! Hold on, I’m gonna give this a try.

Yeah, you can do something like so in your playlist:

      "path": "Y:\\Games\\ZX Spectrum\\",
      "label": "",
      "core_path": "C:\\Software\\RetroArch\\cores\\fbneo_libretro.dll",
      "core_name": "Arcade (FinalBurn Neo)",
      "crc32": "",
      "db_name": "",
      "subsystem_ident": "spec",
      "subsystem_name": "ZX Spectrum",
      "subsystem_roms": [
        "Y:\\Games\\ZX Spectrum\\"

And now it can be launched from the playlist, awesome. Shouldn’t be too difficult to macro this template with Notepad++ and edit the whole playlist then. :smiley:

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I didn’t know subsystems were now available in playlists, thanks for the heads-up. Considering it requires manual edition, i’d still recommend using the folder naming method though.

Note that, assuming you are fine with editing your playlists manually, the following entry might also work :

      "path": "Y:\\Games\\ZX Spectrum\\spec_007liveandletdie",
      "label": "",
      "core_path": "C:\\Software\\RetroArch\\cores\\fbneo_libretro.dll",
      "core_name": "Arcade (FinalBurn Neo)",
      "crc32": "",
      "db_name": "",