Launching games

This page explains how to launch games using Ludo

Two ways of launching games

Games can be either be:

  • launched manually by loading a Core then a ROM

  • scanned and launched via a Playlist

Scanning your game collection

Ludo supports scanning game using the last tab in the list:

If you want your ROMs to be scanned properly, we recommend:

  • No-Intro ROMs for cartridge games, you can keep the ROMs zipped

  • Redump ROMs for CD games, in bin+cue format

  • FBNeo ROMs sets for arcade games

Games are scanned against our internal database, that you can find here:

The scanning process will generate playlist files, one playlist per system. Playlists are located in ~/.ludo/playlists and are in CSV format. You can easily edit them using a simple text editor.

Some games require a BIOS to work. BIOS files go into the ~/.ludo/system directory.

Directories can be configured via the settings UI.

If you are using LudOS, you can use SAMBA or SSH to transfer games to your box over the local network. the SSH credentials are root:ludos


Once your collection is scanned, playlists should appear in the tabs menu:

In each playlist, you should find games. And if you are connected to internet, game thumbnails should automatically be downloaded and appear. Thumbnails are downloaded to ludo application data folder and are stored persistently to be usable without connection.

Playlists are CSV files, created under:

  • ~/.local/share/ludo/playlists on Linux

  • ~/Library/Application Support/ludo/playlists on MacOS

  • %APPDATA%\Roaming\ludo\playlists on Windows

You can safely edit them or delete them as long as Ludo is not running.

This is an example playlist:

/Users/kivutar/roms/NEC - PC Engine SuperGrafx/1941 - Counter Attack (Japan).zip	1941 - Counter Attack (Japan)	8c4588e2
/Users/kivutar/roms/NEC - PC Engine SuperGrafx/Aldynes - The Misson Code for Rage Crisis (Japan).zip	Aldynes - The Misson Code for Rage Crisis (Japan)	4c2126b0
/Users/kivutar/roms/NEC - PC Engine SuperGrafx/Battle Ace (Japan).zip	Battle Ace (Japan)	3b13af61
/Users/kivutar/roms/NEC - PC Engine SuperGrafx/Daimakai Mura (Japan).zip	Daimakaimura (Japan)	b486a8ed
/Users/kivutar/roms/NEC - PC Engine SuperGrafx/Madou King Granzort (Japan).zip	Madou King Granzort (Japan)	1f041166

Playlists have 3 columns:

  • Game path (can be zipped)

  • Game name coming from the included database

  • A CRC32 checksum used to identify the game and avoid duplicates

Note that these CSV files are tab separated.


Game not scanning

If a game doesn't appear in the playlist, it can be because it is absent from our database. It often happens for game hacks like fan translations. If this happen, you can try to modify the playlist manually.

Game not launching

Games can simply be incompatible with an emulator. Some games also require a BIOS or multiple BIOS to be placed in the system folder.

To learn more about which BIOS are needed, please refer to the Libretro Docs.

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