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While developing RetroArch, you might find some terms which are unfamiliar to new developers. These are explained here.


Most of the console platforms of RetroArch use a concept we call 'Griffin'.


  • Every C file gets included in griffin/griffin.c.
  • Every C++ file gets included in griffin/griffin_cpp.cpp.
  • Every ObjectiveC file gets included in griffin_objc.m
  • Glslang files get included in griffin_glslang.cpp

The Griffin files are the only ones being built when a platform port uses Griffin.
This has a couple of benefits:

  • It's a poor man's kind of link time code generation optimization pass.
  • We dont have to keep editing every platform port's Makefile individually whenever we add a new file. We can simply update these Griffin files without touching any of the platform Makefiles.

Some disadvantages (that we cater to regardless):

  • Because all of the C/C++/ObjC files all get included into one source file, it is necessary that all symbols and function names are uniquely named. We make sure in RetroArch this is the case.


Salamander is a small RetroArch launcher for embedded platforms with static linking. On such platforms, each core binary contains the core and the complete RetroArch frontend. Switching cores is achieved by just re-launching into a different core binary. Salamander simply launches the most recently used core (or a default one, if none is stored in the config file).

Last update: 2024-05-17