RocketLauncher with Launchbox

 

If you’ve been using RocketLauncher with another front end (i.e. HyperSpin or the like) I recommend you look at Simply Austin’s video tutorial on integrating your already created RocketLauncher profiles: SA_RLwLB

Exiting games when using RocketLauncher as “go-between” using controller.

Works with BigBox version of LaunchBox as front-end. Does not seem to work when using the default LaunchBox desktop mode. Pressing “Esc” key still works from either. Update: It does work from LaunchBox. 

In LaunchBox, make sure you have the “use controller automation to control Windows outside of Launchbox” enabled. Then when you press down on the “Hold this button” selected button, and press the “Close the active window” button it will exit the emulator and RocketLauncher and return to BigBox.

Using buttons 10 as initiation button and 9 as the action (close) button on my Xbox360/Xbone controllers means when I depress the left stick, hold it down, and while holding it down depress the right stick it will exit the emulator returning me to BigBox.

LB_controllerAutomation

Per-game/Per-core settings when using RocketLauncher and RetroArch.

See the RetroArch post. Bottom line: RocketLauncher does use per-core and/or per-game settings natively, but you have to name the config file (XXX.cfg) to the name of the system rather than the core.

 Until my full post is complete, please look at my comments on the LaunchBox forums reference this discussion: http://forums.launchbox-app.com/topic/32919-issue-with-rocketlauncher-resetting-retroarch-settings/?#comment-199967

Retro gaming / Emulation

I’m a big fan of emulation on the PC of old(er) games; arcade, home systems, even older computer games.

This will be organized by topic concerning some of the larger groups that either allow you to play the games (i.e. the hardware emulator) or allow you to play them more easily (i.e. front ends or collections).

Generally speaking, you use a hardware emulator to run the game software for a specific system. If you only want to emulate arcade video games, you could use the hardware emulation built into MAME to run the software for each video game. If you want to run games on the Wii or GameCube you could use the Dolphin hardware emulator.

The hardware emulator is like having the actual console or arcade inner workings on your computer. You still need the actual game to play ON the hardware emulator – a ROM for an arcade game, or one of the CDs/DVDs/cartridges from the home systems. Just like you plug in a cartridge into a Supre Nintendo (SNES), you load the game software into the SNES hardware emulator.

If you want to emulate multiple hardware devices, it is convenient to have a front end. You choose the game you want to play, and it loads the correct hardware emulator and loads the software of the game into that hardware emulator.

Finally, in between the hardware emulator and the front end there are some systems – I call them launchers – that add to the experience either by allowing the front end to be used by you more easily, or adding features such as pausing, passing commands to controllers (i.e. using an Xbox360 controller with your Dolphin emulator to simulate using a Wii controller), etc.

I’ve added a separate page to keep these posts organized, rather than having to search through posts.

Note that I will not attempt to duplicate some of the fantastic training and set-up videos by such stalwarts as Simply Austin or the LaunchBox team. My intent is initially to add tweaks/fixes for these systems and games that I’ve found so I don’t have to remember them each time. I’ve found that some challenges I have are more common than one might think, so I’m collecting them in this page.

Without further ado, you can go to the tab for the retrogaming page at the top of the blog or simply click here: Retrogaming page

NFL on Xbox One

Madden 17. Xbox One. It happens every year.

But this doesn’t:

Bills Xbone

Microsoft has an Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Custom Console sweepstakes that could win you one of these sweet systems. Or a Dolphins Xbone, but that would probably RROD within a few weeks.

From their site: “We’ve designed 32 unique custom Xbox One S (1TB) consoles – one for each NFL team – and are giving fans a chance to show off their team pride like never before and win one.  So whether you’re a Cheesehead, a 12, a member of Steeler Nation or have your NFL allegiances sworn elsewhere, you’ll have three ways to enter the sweepstakes and claim a custom NFL Xbox One S as a trophy all of your own.”

A “12”? Is that a Seattle fan with an inflated ego? I still don’t get how Texas A&M, even being paid for the use, is okay with that. And really, the Seahags don’t have anywhere close to the best or loudest fanbase. They have to cheat with acoustics in their stadium to sound loud. They’ve won a Super Bowl. But I guess when a team is basically the official team of the company providing the official display for play reviews (yep – the iPad) you don’t get to be just a 10.

Anyhow, go Bills.

 

 

Install Windows using UEFI from a USB flash drive

*Update*

Windows 10 now has a new USB install tool which is supposed to work with UEFI. It is the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

It can also be accessed from Microsoft’s Windows 10 page.


Original post below:

If you’ve tried installing Windows in the recent past (since Windows 7), you’ve likely gone the install from USB flash drive route. It is faster and more convenient than DVD, and sometimes necessary as many smaller laptops and hybrid tablets don’t have optical drives. Likely you’ve used the very simple (if now somewhat anachronistically named) Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool (found HERE). This tool – which works for Windows 8, Windows 10, as well as Server 2008 or Server 2012 and later – creates a bootable USB flash drive and copies the install files from the Windows boot ISO.

All is good if you’re using a legacy BIOS or hybrid BIOS/UEFI. The challenge is when you use a UEFI only. The USB flash drive created by this tool likely will not be recognized as a bootable device by the UEFI boot process. Yay for new and improved technology.

I recommend using the Rufus program with the excellent steps provided by Windows Eight Forums here.

Warning: The first time I did this I followed the instructions and set the file type to FAT32, which is basically required for UEFI to load the drivers needed to boot and install Windows. However, upon selecting the ISO I wanted to use, it changed the file type back to NTFS. I didn’t notice this. I made the drive, went to boot, and nothing. Still didn’t recognize the USB flash drive as a bootable device. When I put the USB stick back into my laptop, I noticed it was NTFS formatted. Odd – I know I selected FAT32 as per the instructions. When going through the creation process again, I saw it make the change.

So make sure after you select the ISO to use for the USB install drive creation that you re-select FAT32 as the format option.

 

 

DD-WRT and iptables – blocking outgoing access to specific IPs

Recently my Malwarebytes informed me one of my programs was trying to reach out to a questionable IP. First, I’m glad I have Malwarebytes installed; it’s free, but I purchased a three-pack lifetime subscription which gets you automatic updates rather than you having to manually update. I didn’t mind manually updating, but it’s situations like this which made me decide to donate to the cause.

Anyhow, while working on cleaning up the malware, I wanted to ensure I wasn’t sending anything to the IP (which happened to originate in China. Big surprise there.)

I have a DD-WRT enabled wireless router, which permits iptable rules. In my case you can temporarily enter the rule in the command prompt under the “Administration” tab in DD-WRT to test it out. The rule goes into effect immediately, but only lasts until the next reboot. So if you want it to be permanent, after you test it out you can write it to the firewall in the same tab.

So here are some key rules you can enter to block outgoing traffic.

1) Block outgoing access to an IP without logging (replace the example IP below with an IP of choice):
iptables -I FORWARD -d 219.151.246.14 -j DROP

2) Block outgoing access to an IP *with* logging (replace the example IP below with an IP of choice):
iptables -I OUTPUT -d 219.151.246.14 -j logdrop

3) List all IPTABLES rules with number of rule that include the FORWARD command (you can replace the FORWARD command with any command you want the rule list to include):
*this is in case you made a mistake, or want to remove a rule you no longer need*
iptables -vnL FORWARD --line-numbers

4) Delete an IPTABLES rule referencing FORWARD by number (replace X with the number of rule you listed in #3 above):
iptables -D FORWARD X

Mouse button / touchpad button response has delay after typing (Windows 8+/Windows 10)

Many people using laptops with touchpads for gaming (even just Facebook) complain about not being able to press keys and move their “player/character” with the touchpad simultaneously.

This is not the same problem.

The problem about being able to (for example) press the “W” key to move forward, while changing direction using the touchpad is typically a driver issue, where the touchpad is disabled automatically when they keyboard is used. The intent is to prevent inadvertent movement of the cursor by the typist if his/her hand accidentally brushes the touchpad while typing. This problem is (relatively) easily fixed by unchecking the “disable touchpad while typing” setting in your touchpad’s settings.

Recently my son noticed on Minecraft that there was a new problem. When he would be using the keypad to move, or even for a half-second after he quit using the keys, the mouse buttons would be non-responsive. This has significant detrimental effect in any player-vs-player (PvP) or first person shooter (FPS) game. (OK – any serious gamer isn’t using a touchpad, but this is Minecraft.)

The answer wasn’t anywhere in the touchpad driver settings. It is a Windows 8 / WIndows 8.1 “fix” for us. (Thankssssss for that.)

The solution is

  1. Go to “Settings” (move your mouse to the upper right corner, then click on the Settings charm),
  2. At the bottom of the screen section for Settings, click on “Change PC Settings.”
  3. Now click on “PC and devices” (should be near the top left in the PC Settings window.
  4. Click on “Mouse and touchpad” (about halfway down the left side settings in the PC and devices window.
  5. On the right, typically the last selection is labeled “Touchpad.” Under there is a sentence that reads ” To help prevent the cursor from accidentally moving while you type, change the delay before clicks work.”  Yeah. Because I’m always banging my keys so hard that I mash the mouse buttons too. Anyhow, change the box below it to “No delay (always on)” to fix this…fix that Microsoft blessed us with.

MouseClickDelay-1024x558

Free SMTP service (no credit card needed) for server emails

I wanted my RocketRAID card and WSUS server to email me with any issues on my RAID array. I don’t run an email server, so I needed to find an SMTP service. I tried Gmail, but it only works if you can enable SSL, which you can’t with those devices.

But I tried SMTP2GO and it works great. 20 emails a day for free, or you can pay $5/month for 2000 emails/month (Pricing examples here: SMTP2GO pricing.)

It suggests port 2525 since some ISPs block outgoing port 25 for home accounts, but you can use ports 2525, 8025, 587 or 25 using the default SMTP settings they give. You can even use port 80 if your ISP really sucks by using SMTP server: port80.smtpcorp.com.