Thumbnail / Box art collections and completion

I’ve been for a while trying to complete and experiment with thumbnails. My emulator station on a raspberry pi just feels bland and incomplete without thumbnails which is why I get a little OCD about it.

Across what I have seen in both Retroarch and Retropie is a vast amount of thumbnails from different regions, thumbnail sizes and box art. Its been a huge task when trying to cover multiple systems. Some I found online have cartridges, game flyers , alternative cover art and back covers as a alternative to title screen shots.

Some of the problems I had were missing thumbnails, poor thumbnail quality and some mismatched thumbnails. Some of the systems such as Atomiswave are not even there on the libretro thumbnail database. The worst offender of sets are when dealing with Arcades (MAME, Neo Geo, CPS, Final Burn Neo), for those I had to manually do them myself most of the time. Some of the problems was caused by dats and the ROMs, No-Intro ROMs are recommend but its not always easy to find a pure no-intro set.

Most of the time I have to manually scan my roms as well which then ends up with me having to make a separate image for them. For those who had to manually scan arcade roms might know what I’m talking about. You end up with a bunch of entries such as “kof99”, “wakuwak7” and images to match those playlist entries.

For my collection I do also get boxarts for rom hacks, rom translation hacks and unlicensed games as well.

I’ve come across some sources for others wanting to complete thumbnails/ boxarts.

Needs looking into

Sometimes when I experiment with the Named_Title box arts using video game flyers, back covers, alternative covers, fan made covers, cartridges/ disc images, another game screenshot and even fan art.

Tip 1: if you do a regular scan and then a manual scan to add any missing roms your playlist will not have a double of what was added to the playlist. so that way you don’t need to make an entire manual scan image set. At least for whatever was added in from being matched up to the database (dat file)

Does anyone have any tips or sources to add.


To avoid that, use the manual scan and use the “Arcade DAT File / Filter”. options. If loading the "MAME 0.XXX (Arcade).dat" you will have only arcade games on your list and exclude calculators and other things. Although this list is not 100% accurate, it works well.

You can download the “Snaps” of MAME and configure in the .cfg file, worse the truth I have never been able to do it.

(For a long time I have in mind to make special quality catches and covers for RA, but I am an exclave of time. :confused: )

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I stumbled across The Cover Project a few days ago. Did you check it ? Is there an easy way to use their covers in Retroarch ?

Thanks !

I saw some of the thumbnails but they are not in png so it will require extra work. You can add your own thumbnails it’s just that with jpeg images you need a additional step to convert them to png. Sometimes converting the images results in much larger file sizes. I know for the Raspberry pi 4 is that if the image is 3 Mbs and over it takes more time for the thumbnail to pop up. There is a tutorial on making your own thumbnails.

LBRY link for tutorials on Lakka/Retroarch

3MB? Something is not right, you must have very big. The thumbnails do not weigh more than a few Kb. Look well the size they have, they are usually 320x240 or 640x480. Look at the size of the other samples. With GIMP you can download the size of the image before storing as PNG.

I do not understand why you have problems with lists and thumbnails, after creating a list, you go to the Update option, and select Update lists miniatures.

Scanning a folder with ROMs works perfect with cartridge consoles, but with systems such as disk consoles, micro-computer, or arcade of MAME is better to use manual scanning.

With MAME you have most thumbnails and names are successfully seen if you use manual scanning and you use the “arcade dat” as I told you earlier.

You know that rom sharing is illegal and is prohibited in the forum. The romset of any system are quite easy to get, you just have to search patiently. If you see the video you shared, you will find solutions.

If you have problems with GIMP to lower the resolution, tell me, it’s something simple.

Not all entries in the playlist have a thumbnail, for those that don’t for example like rom hacks or homebrews I add my own thumbnail. If you find an image that you want to use and is in jpeg converting into a png file can increase the file size (not the resolution in case some have that confused with file size) significantly. I did come across a Image optimizer that converts images from other formats to png and without it being too bloated in file size.

Yoga Image Optimizer

In my experience with scaling down some images with some of the programs available for Linux the resulting image depending on how much you scaled it down would result in a image that is blurred. In this case I saw that GIMP worked better than pixel.

There is no confusion. The size of the image is defined by, Width x High x PPI (+ color depth). An on-screen image used 72ppi, and 8bits of color in our case.

Thumbnails using RetroArch on average have an average of 10KB (10,000), if you create a PNG image and weight 3MB (3,000,000) is because it is large in Width x High.

  • Nintendo, Super Mario Bros: 256x240 - 1.4Kb
  • Super Nintendo, Super Mario World: 256x224 - 3.4Kb
  • Genesis, Streets of Rage 2: 320x240 - 10.2kb
  • Arcade thumbnails vary a lot in resolution, but if you are creating some customized, if you use 640x480 it is fine.

GIMP will always give you better results, it is a professional court program. If you want to avoid being blurred, you have to change the “interpolation”. If you feel comfortable and give good results Yoda, it’s okay.

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