RetroPie: Modify Comic Book Theme to Create Your Own System Text

Comic Book Theme Add System
Comic Book Theme Add System

My favourite RetroPie Theme is the Comic Book by @tmntturtlguy and I wanted to modify it to add another system, or menu, for my Windows games. The challenge is that the Comic Book theme uses a custom created text graphic for each of the systems which has to be replicated for the new system. I needed a way to replicate the style of the lettering to add my new system.

I run RetroPie on my x86 machine with a Linux distro as the OS (Ubuntu, Xubuntu or Lubuntu work great) and the PC I uses is plenty powerful enough to run some of those great 2000s and 2010s Windows games that I really enjoyed, like Oblivion, Fallout 3, Mass Effect 2, etc. I also really wanted to be able to a launch the games seamlessly from EmulationStation / RetroPie while using the Comic Book Theme. This post will help you create the word image for the system on the main menu of the RetroPie / EmulationStation.

This is part of my series of articles on Retro Gaming.

[READ MORE ON DIGIMOOT: Retropie Setup in Ubuntu or Linux Mint].

The information provided is GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program oriented, as that what I use because it free and great.

I’ve summarized the instructions posted by Alturis and <a href="https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/9211/new-comic-book-theme/426"posted by tmntturtlguy in theComicBook thread. Tmntturtlguy has also posted many of the templates on his github site, which you can grab if those are useful. Full disclosure, I’m an image editing amateur at best, so I’m sure there are improvements and I’m happy to hear them in the comments!

  • download and install the shaka-pow font. This can be found in the etc/emulationstation/themes/ComicBook/art folder or online.
  • create a new art page 8 inches by 3 inches, 72 pixels per inch (the default)
  • Use eraser tool to make the background layer transparent
  • write your text using the text tool set to Shaka Pow Upright, 150pt, Strong, in a color of your choosing.
  • text attributes: -not italics, size 150, height 92, Width 91, Va-22
  • adjust spacing between the letters manually
  • select all of the pixels in that layer and paste to a new blank layer. You can select all by color if that is easier and paste to new layer.
  • add an outline to the new layer (Edit > Stroke Selection. Use the stroke line tool with solid color). Use the following properties: Line width: 7.8, color: black.
  • duplicate the new black layer you just created as you did the original above. Then add an outline to this layer with the following properties: width: 11.5, color: white.
  • duplicate the white layer you just created. Do not add an outline.
  • Use the same color you used for the original text (use eyedropper if necessary) and paint over the white in that duplicated white layer.
  • Then select the entirety the newly colored layer and use the move tool to move it down a bit until that last layer sticks some color out from under the white.
  • Use the instructions in this video to apply a newsprint effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=lGImcZt82yM
  • Select the lowest layer and create a drop shadow (Select: Filters -> Light and Shadow -> Drop Shadow).
  • Save as a .PNG

[READ MORE ON DIGIMOOT: RetroPie: Mass Renaming of ROMs and Media Files, Generate a gamelist.xml and Modify it to Include Snaps, Boxart and Wheels].

All of these steps will also require a bit of artistic interpretation to make thing look right and match the originals. I suggest having a copy of one of the originals open and making tweaks to the instructions above as necessary.

Using these methods I was able to create the Windows text I was looking for. Feel free to use it and add it to your RetroPie / EmulationStation setup. Also stay tuned for a post on how to modify the ComicBook Theme to include windows games and launch them using Wine.

ComicBook RetroPie Mod Windows
ComicBook RetroPie Mod Windows

Happy gaming!

~Raze

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