Emulation on Steam Deck with EmuDeck – complete installation guide
Emulation on Steam Deck has never been easier. EmuDeck is a comprehensive script that will allow you to almost automatically install and configure the most popular emulators on Steam Deck. In the guide you will find a complete step-by-step process on how to install and configure all elements of the application.
1. Optional, but recommended – Set user account password in Desktop mode
To take advantage of EmuDeck’s full capabilities, I recommend an Expert installation. This requires setting account password.
In Desktop Mode, go to System Settings, then Users and select change password.
If you do not use a physical keyboard, I remind you that the on-screen one is invoked by pressing [Steam] + [X].
2. EmuDeck download
To download EmuDeck launch web browser and go to EmuDeck.com. At the top of the page, select Download and then Download app. Drag the downloaded file to your desktop and select [Move here]. Close the browser.
3. EmuDeck installation
Go back to the desktop and run „Install Emu Deck”. Click „Continue” and wait for the script to download the necessary files, then select OK.
Now you have a choice of two installation modes – Easy and Expert. I recommend choosing Expert, because it allows you to take full advantage of Steam Deck’s capabilities – including motion controls or changing the number of CPU threads which allows you to get better performance in some games.
Choose where you want to install the roms – in my case it is the SD card.
You can then select the individual components you want to install. Enter the password you created earlier using the physical or on-screen keyboard.
In the next step, the installer will ask for a theme for EmuStation-DE if you have decided to install it, followed by a selection of emulators you want to use.
Next, choose whether you want to use widescreen hacks. Note that not all of them work perfectly and may cause problems. You can always disable them later from the emulator.
It is not important during initial installation, but EmuDeck will ask you whether to keep the individual emulator settings or reset them to defaults. Pay attention to this when you make updates. Select OK.
Now wait for the installation and automatic configuration of all files, it may take a while.
If you are using RetroArch Achievements then you can log in now.
There is no need to run Steam ROM Manager at this point if you don’t have ROMs on Steam Deck, so select Exit. EmuDeck has been properly installed on your Steam Deck.
4. Installing games for emulators
Installing games in EmuDeck is very simple. Run Dolphin File Manager and go to the location you chose at the beginning of the installation.
Find “Emulation” folder and go to “roms”. Now choose a platform that matches your game and put the ROM files in it.
You need a file format supported by the emulator. You can find a detailed list here: https://github.com/dragoonDorise/EmuDeck
Some emulators require additional interaction – for example, Yuzu needs TitleKeys and firmware, and PCSX2 needs a bios file from the console.
It’s impossible to cover everything in one tutorial, so in the future I’ll create tutorials for individual emulators.
For now I will use the PCSX2 emulator as an example. I moved the ROM of “True Crime – New York City” to the “PS2” folder.
Bios files are required to run the PCSX2 emulator, so go back to “Emulation” folder and then go to “bios”. Put the required files here.
Sharing both ROMs and BIOS files is illegal, so you have to acquire them yourself.
5. EmuDeck’s compression script
The reason I chose the PS2 game is to show an additional feature of EmuDeck – Compression Tool. Some ROMs, for example Wii, Gamecube, PS2, can be shrunk down without any disadvantages.
Go back to the desktop and select EmuDeck Compression Tool. Select “Ok, let’s go” and choose the ROM folders to be compressed. Be patient, as the whole process can be very long.
6. Steam ROM Manager
The next step is Steam ROM Manager. It is a program that will automatically add individual games and emulators to Steam with all the necessary commands.
Click on “Preview”, “Generate app list” and as final step “Save app list”. You’re all set and once Steam is up and running, you can choose games from the list.
7. Play installed games
Return to Gaming Mode when ready. You can find installed games in the library under the “Non-Steam” tab.
In the next content I will make detailed configuration guides of emulating Nintendo Switch, PS2, PS3 and WiiU.