RetroArch cheat and rumble codes

RetroArch uses two methods of applying cheat codes:

  • Emulator Handled are codes that are sent to the emulator/core and it is up to the emulator/core to apply them.
  • RetroArch Handled are codes that RetroArch itself handles by directly scanning/manipulating the emulator/core memory area.

Adding a new cheat code

If you have a code that doesn't exist in the cheat database that you want to add manually, perform the following steps:

  1. Load the game in question and open the "Cheats" menu from the Quick Menu.

  2. Select either "Add New Code to Top" or "Add New Code to Bottom".

  3. Navigate to the newly added cheat code line and press enter to bring up the cheat code details.

  4. Select the "Code" menu item and press enter. A popup text-entry screen will appear. Type in your new code and press enter.

  5. Optionally perform the same steps for the "Description" menu item to edit the description.

  6. Ensure the "Enabled" field is set to on.

  7. Navigate back one level to the cheats menu and select "Apply Changes".

RetroArch new cheat code searching

RetroArch now has the ability to search for and create new cheat codes. The following is an overview for finding new cheats:

  1. Start game

  2. Go to Quick Menu -> Cheats -> Start or Continue Cheat Search

  3. Use left/right on "Start or Restart Cheat Search" to select a bit-size appropriate to the console you are using and the value your are searching.

    • For example, if you are playing Castlevania:SOTN on the PS1 and you want to search for the health value, then that's a value that can be greater than 255 (0xFF), but it's unlikely that the game developers anticipated a value larger than 65535 (0xFFFF) so set the search to 16-bit.
    • An alternate example - if you are playing Space Invaders on Atari 2600 and you want to search for the number of lives, then that's a value that could possibly be stored in just 2-bits of data (max number of lives = 3) and since the Atari 2600 only has a very small memory space, it's entirely possible that the memory location for the number of lives is only partially stored in a single byte while the rest of that same byte may store other important data that should not be touched. Set the size to 2-bit.
  4. Select "Start or Restart Cheat Search" once you have selected the bit size

  5. Go back to the game and lose a life

  6. Go back to the quick menu and select "Search Memory For Values ... Less Than Before" because when you started the search you had one more life than you do now. You could also try "Search Memory For Values ... Equals To Before-1". The number of matches should go down.

  7. If the number of matches is still too great to peruse, then perform actions 5 and 6 repeatedly until the number of matches is something you feel comfortable trying (e.g. 10). If you run out of lives, just reset the game or restore a save state. Then your lives will likely be greater than the last time you checked, so select "Search Memory For Values ... Greater Than Before"

  8. Once you have a manageable list, select "Add the ## Matches to Your List"

  9. Go back one menu to see the codes that have been added. Try turning just one on at a time to see if it has the desired effect. If not, turn it off and try the next one. One of them should be the location in memory that stores your number of lives and enabling the cheat in its default state will result in that memory location being overwritten by the cheat value continuously and voila infinite lives.

  10. Alternately, you can "Search Memory For Values ... Equal to ###" if you know the exact number (e.g. the number of hit points you have in an RPG).

RetroArch cheat code spanning/sliding/repeating

You can also use the "Number of Iterations", "Value Increase Each Iteration", and "Address Increase Each Iteration" options to create a single code that affects a wide range of memory values.

This is useful for things like unlocking all levels, giving yourself 1 of every item, setting all of your RPG stats to 999, etc.

Usually when you have found a cheat for a specific item (e.g. your strength attribute in an RPG), similarly themed values are found in the same memory area. For example, if the strength attribute was found at memory address 0x0000AB04 then the dexterity attribute might be at 0x0000AB08, intelligence at 0x0000AB0C, etc.

This feature is also useful for experimenting. If you found your strength attribute at memory address 0x0000AB04, then you might increase the number of iterations by 20 to see what changes in the game and if any of those changes are desirable. Note that experimenting like this has a good chance of crashing your game, so have a save state prepared before blindly attempting to write to memory.

Settings example:

Your game has the following values/memory addresses :

  • 0x0000AB04 - Strength
  • 0x0000AB08 - Dexterity
  • 0x0000AB0C - Constitution
  • 0x0000AB10 - Intelligence

A single code can update all of those values:

  • Memory Search Size - 32 bit
  • Memory Address - 0x0000AB04
  • Value - 900 (0x00000384)
  • Number of Iterations - 4
  • Value Increase Each Iteration - 5
  • Address Increase Each Iteration - 1

The starting address is 0x0000AB04 which will be set to value 900. Then for each of the 4 (Number of Iterations) iterations, it will add 1 of the "Memory Search Size" (1 * 32 bits = 4 bytes) to the address and 5 to the value and then set that as well. The final result will have updated these 4 memory locations to be:

  • 0x0000AB04 - Strength = 900
  • 0x0000AB08 - Dexterity = 905
  • 0x0000AB0C - Constitution = 910
  • 0x0000AB10 - Intelligence = 915

The "Value Increase Each Iteration" would normally be 0 in the above scenario but was used for illustrative purposes.

RetroArch rumble codes

RetroArch also has the ability to make your controller rumble when changes in the emulator/core memory occur. It is based off of the same RetroArch-handled cheat codes described above. For example, after finding the memory location for the number of lives in a game (via the cheat searching interface) you can set it up such that every time the value decreases (lose a life) the controller rumbles.

Rumble tested with X360 controller, input driver dinput, joypad driver xinput.

Available rumble controls:

  • Rumble when memory value changes
  • Rumble when memory value does not change
  • Rumble when memory value decreases
  • Rumble when memory value increases
  • Rumble when memory value = value
  • Rumble when memory value != value
  • Rumble when memory value < value
  • Rumble when memory value > value
  • Rumble when memory value decreases by a specific amount
  • Rumble when memory value increases by a specific amount