[Exclusive] Official FB Alpha Retro Loader Thread / Guide: Awesome work.

September 23, 2013

When @CaptainCPS-X starts to work on something, its admirable to look how well organized is when posting projects. I really admire this guy because i know there’s a lot of hard work behind this to make an official thread like this one with all the information needed to make it easier to understand. No more words to add to such an awesome release. Just THANKS again to make such an enourmous effort to make this happen.

The Official FB Alpha Retro Loader Thread / Guide by @CaptainCPS-X

I – Introduction

Welcome to the official guide and documentation for FB Alpha Retro Loader!

Before you begin, get comfortable, sit back and chill, because if you like arcade games & PlayStation 3, later on you will be having lots of fun!

In here you will find everything you need to know, so you can enjoy playing your favorite arcade games on your PlayStation 3 system. And not just that!, you will even find out how to enter their “Diagnostics” or “Test” menu, so you can change settings such as “Difficulty”, “Free Play Mode”, “Enable Blood”, “Region Change” and more!

Please, do not throw away this opportunity and take a moment to read this guide. I guarantee that it will make your game experience a lot better!

II – Credits

This project wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for all these great people:

- My buddies Treble Winner (Barry), Kev (tmaul) & iq_132 (current FB Alpha Team)

III – License

FB Alpha Retro Loader comply with licenses from (including libraries used):

FinalBurn / FB Alpha / MAME

Libretro / RetroArch

Anyone, from this and any existing universe using this code and releasing any kind of build or modification, must agree to release the full source code (including any modifications made). 

License must be present in their documentation or at least linking to them.

As we respect all these open source projects, I only ask other developers to please, respect it as well, is not that hard

1.03 (September 22, 2013)

- Signed for CFW 3.4X / 4.XX and tested on
- Rebug 4.46 REX / CEX

- MiraLaTijera 4.40 (3.2.0)

- Added version and IP address display on the Main Menu.

- Whole new theme for this release of FB Alpha.

- Added Iris Manager (official) to the Main Menu load options.

- Added proper “Preview” image aspect ratio calculation.

- Incorporated RetroArch and FBA libretro source code into
FB Alpha RL Git, and with just one makefile everything is

To build:
make fbarl

To clean (all cores):
make _cleanup

- Ported my custom mods to the latest RetroArch Core v0.9.9.6.

- (O) is the new “Game List” button to return to “Main Menu”.

- Added shadow effect to all rendered text, in preparation
for future “Custom Theme” feature.

- Fixed a problem with CPS-3 External / Stereo sound on libretro,
now it sounds great :)

- [src] Source code has been greatly re-organized.

- [src] “miniz.cpp” ZIP library is used the “proper” way,
so now I can use its modules everywhere I need.

- [src] “burn_drivers.h” was renamed as “burn_drivers.cpp” and is
now compiled, allowing access to its data everywhere I need.

- Added support for Neo-Geo UNI-BIOS (need to be present in neogeo.zip).

FBARL will look from latest (uni-bios_3_0.rom) to oldest BIOS (uni-bios_1_0.rom)
in “neogeo.zip”, of course if you don’t have any of those the game will be
loaded with regular BIOS.

- Added check for file existence on game selection, if the
game listed is not found for some reason, like for example,
if you disconnected the USB with the games, it will prompt
you with a message to re-scan. The system will not lock / freeze

- Added check for fb_alpha.SELF core existence on game selection, if
for some reason you don’t have it or can’t access, the application will
let you know and prompt you to re-install it.

- Fixed libretro core default inputs for Neo-Geo and Capcom fighting games,
now they are correctly assigned.

- Fixed the Save Custom Inputs feature on RetroArch core, now it will not
include the annoying “example” text, it will use the currently loaded name,
so you can save quickly and continue playing.

- Added FTP support.

- Using latest FB Alpha v0.2.97.30 source, adapted to compile as
libretro (romset is synched with MAME v149).

- Doesn’t include all “optimizations” from recent libretro Git, since some
of them cause some problems with a few games.

2) Supported Arcade Systems

The official FB Alpha for Windows (http://www.barryharris.me.uk/) has greater and almost perfect compatibility since drivers are originally coded and tested on different processor architecture than the PS3.

However Libretro port (https://github.com/libretro/fba-libretro) has managed to incorporate many additions over the time to make most the code / drivers compatible with the PS3 processor architecture. There are still many presenting emulation problems, but the list keeps going down as the time goes by.

These are the emulated arcade systems:

- Capcom CPS-1
- Capcom CPS-2
- Capcom CPS-3
- Cave
- Data East DEC-0, DEC-8 and DECO IC16 based games
- Galaxian based hardware
- Irem M62, M63, M72, M90 and M92 hardware
- Kaneko 16
- Konami
- Neo-Geo
- Pacman based hardware
- Psikyo 68EC020 and SH-2 based hardware
- Sega System 1, System 16 (and similar), System 18, X-Board and Y-Board
- Toaplan 1
- Toaplan 2
- Taito F2, X, Z and others
- Miscellaneous drivers for lots of other hardware

3) The ROM sets / Drivers

FB Alpha respects and comply with the official MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) documenting standards, so whenever there is a new release of FB Alpha, it will be in sync with the latest MAME romsets.

Currently in sync with: MAME v0.149 (http://mamedev.org)

4) Using FB Alpha Retro Loader

It is very straight forward to use FB Alpha RL, and here you will learn how to use or configure its features.

4.1) Main Menu

From here you will have access to the FB Alpha Game List, Options menu and will be able to launch RetroArch’s FB Alpha Core (modified), multiMAN PS3 Backup Manager and Exit the application.

Immediately after reaching the Main Screen the FTP module will be activated, so you can start connecting at any point from your PC and transfer ROMs, Previews, etc.

Note: There is no indication of FTP being active at this moment, but I’ve added the PS3 IP Address display at the top, including FB Alpha RL version.

4.2) FBA Game List

From here you will be able to Launch a game, View romset / ZIP contents, Re-scan ROM paths, etc.

At the bottom there will be detailed information of each selected game, like for example: Year, Max Players, Resolution, System, Manufacturer, etc.

At the right you will be able to see a In-Game preview image for almost every supported game. You don’t have to worry about getting those preview images, they come bundled with FB Alpha RL, and will eventually cover all missing previews.

By pressing [L1] or [R1] you can toggle the different System Filters (default is Custom Filter) to display only the system(s) you want.

Note: When using for first time, upon reaching this section a ROM scan will be done for the default paths. You can view or edit the default paths on the options menu.

4.3) Options Menu

In this menu you can customize your personal preferences, if you want to filter some systems only, if you want to specify other ROM directories, enable Alternate Keys for RetroArch’s “In-Game” menu, and much more.

4.4) Configuring ROM paths

Again, this will be very straight forward, just navigate to where you have your ROMs located and press [START] to confirm the choice.

If your games are not detected after configuring your ROM paths, don’t panic, just make sure they are correct.

Note: As specified before, ROMs must be from MAME v0.149 romsets. Older or different romsets will most probably not work, or won’t be even detected.

4.5) Changing Input Presets

If you already have different input presets for some systems or some from a previous RetroArch installation, you can use the File Browser to select the desired .CFG file. After selecting it, press [START] on your PS3 controller to confirm.

4.6) Enabling Neo-Geo Universe Bios (Uni-Bios)

Enabling the option will load Neo-Geo games with these BIOS instead of the standard ones. You must make sure to have the proper “neogeo.zip” from MAME v0.149 romset.

What’s the difference you might ask? Everything!, Uni-Bios allow you to do so many things, for example:

- Choose System Region (USA, JAPAN, EURO)
- Choose Console type (ARCADE / CONSOLE)
- Enable game cheats for every game! on the fly!
- SFX / BGM Jukebox
- More!

Neo-Geo Universe Bios (Uni-Bios) as described at the official website:

The UNIVERSE BIOS is for owners of MVS or AES hardware that want an easy way to change country region or between Arcade or Console mode on boot. Also included are other features that are not possible using the standard MVS bios.

The UNIVERSE BIOS is also designed to give easy access to things like inserting coins, test mode and memory card management when using the joystick ports only. Of course the BIOS still allows standard operation too.

For more information visit its official website:


5) In-Game Features

After launching a game with FB Alpha RL, you have many features you can access, like for example:

- RetroArch “In-Game” menu
- “Diagnostics” or “Test” menu
- Neo-Geo “Universe Bios” in-game menus

Keep reading to learn more!

5.1) Accessing RetroArch’s “In-Game” menu

You can always access RetroArch’s “In-Game” menu by pressing the following combination on your PS3 controller:

[L3] + [R3]

If you configured the alternate keys from FB Alpha RL options menu then you can access it by pressing the following combination on your PS3 controller:


From here you can configure video, inputs, audio, load or save state, return to FB Alpha RL and more.

5.2) How to enter “Diagnostics” or “Test” menu

Almost every arcade game provides a “Diagnostics” or “Test” menu to configure many aspects of the game, including: Difficulty, Region, Test SFX & BGM, etc.

While In-Game you can access this by pressing the following combination on your PS3 controller:

Diagnostic Menu:

[L1] + [L2] + [R1] + [R2] + [START]

Test Menu:

[L1] + [L2] + [R1] + [R2] + [D-PAD DOWN]

5.2.1) Setting “Stereo” (HQ) audio in CPS-3 games

CPS-3 games will always start in “Mono” or “JAMMA” sound mode, if you have a nice sound system this will not be the ideal sound you want to hear. There is a way to change this option by going to the CPS-3 game “Diagnostics” menu.

From there head to “7. CONFIGURATION -> 1. SYSTEM -> 6. SOUND MODE”, then change to “EXTERNAL”. The option will turn red after doing so, that is alright.

To save the changes keep selecting the last option “EXIT” until the game resets itself.

Note: If the game has Japanese text on its “Diagnostics” menu, just follow these pictures, it is the same.

Enjoy High Quality Stereo Sound!

5.3) How to enter all “Universe Bios” menus

If you enabled Neo-Geo “Universe Bios” (Uni-Bios) on FB Alpha RL options you will have access to its features while “In-Game” by pressing different combination of buttons.

Keep reading to learn what combinations!

5.3.1) Boot Menu (Change Region, System Mode, and more)

While booting any Neo-Geo game, Uni-Bios will display a splash screen, while its displayed press the following combination on your PS3 controller quickly before it disappears:

[B][A] + + [C]

on the PS3 controller the default buttons are:


If you missed it, don’t worry, just reset the game and try again.

5.3.2) Jukebox SFX / BGM Player

Previously you learned how to access the Uni-Bios “Boot Menu”, well in that menu you have the Jukebox available where you can listen to your favorite Neo-Geo games music and chill out!

5.3.3) Cheats Menu

To access the Uni-Bios “Cheat Menu” is easy, just press the following combination at any time while playing a Neo-Geo game (it doesn’t have to be on boot screen, so don’t rush it xD):


on the PS3 controller the default buttons are:


Uni-Bios has a huge cheat database integrated, so every game will have different things you can activate and have some fun!

6) F.A.Q – Frequently Asked Questions

Please, before asking any question or reporting a problem, take a moment to read these.

Thank you.

Q – What Custom Firmware (CFW) do I need to have to use FB Alpha RL?
A – Latest release has been signed to work on most CFWs, it has been tested on Rebug REX 4.46 (CEX) and MiraLaTijera CFW 4.46 (Core 3.2.0).

Q – Can I just install the “UPD”, or I really need the “BASE” and why?
A – The “BASE” installation is mandatory, it contains all the files, resources and data required by FB Alpha RL to work, the “UPD” package only contains the program or SELF / BIN files (and maybe other extra update data / resources). If you don’t do this, don’t come asking me why some feature is not working or if you get any other error.

Q – When I try to launch FB Alpha RL from XMB, it kicks me back, why?
A – This is a common problem with homebrews, if this happens to you, post back with detailed information of your PS3 Model and CFW, including if its a CEX or DEX CFW.

Q – When launching a game RetroArch comes up with an error, what happened?
A – Probably you have an incorrect romset or in case of Neo-Geo or PGM, you must make sure to have the BIOS placed in the same directory where the ROMs are located.

Q – Where can I find the proper ROMs / romsets?
A – I cannot help you directly, but Google can, just follow this link and make sure to use MAME romsets.

http://bit.ly/16o3CvB (Google auto search)

Q – Some games have bad graphics or eventually lock up my console, why?
A – This happens because not all game drivers have been ported or updated to work on the PS3 system processor architecture. If you find such games, PM me the specific name and romset, I will be working on a compatibility list sooner or later.

PS: I will ovbiously update from time to time to improve the thread, so keep checking back.


The latest source & downloads can always be found at the project repository:


And my SkyDrive FB Alpha RL directory:


1.2) Latest Release

Version: v1.03
Released: September, 22, 2013

Latest Release Download Mirrors

Thanks to @STLcardsWS and @LoboGuara for these mirrors! 

[mediafire] FB_ALPHA_RL_1.03_[20130922]_[CEX_34X_4XX]_[BASE].pkg [81 MB]
[mediafire] FB_ALPHA_RL_1.03_[20130922]_[CEX_34X_4XX]_[BASE].pkg [81 MB]
[rapidshare] FB_ALPHA_RL_1.03_[20130922]_[CEX_34X_4XX]_[BASE].pkg [81 MB]


Tweet this!Tweet this!

Previous post:

Next post: