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archive.org coverage on various sites.

December 28, 2013 Haze Categories: General News. 33 Comments on archive.org coverage on various sites.

I notice there are a number of sites (including Slashdot) now covering the fact that archive.org is hosting a complete collection of MAME 0.151 ROMs (without CHDs I guess)

While it should go without saying this has nothing to do with myself or Mamedev. The hosting of these files is the choice of the archive.org administrators, and their choice alone. We do not ship either MAME, MESS or UME with any roms, and have no intention of ever doing so. It is a reference emulation project only, something I’ve tried to stress many times.

The articles also seem quite confused, saying you can run them in JSMESS, when JSMESS is obviously for computers / consoles etc. (they also host a large collection of No-Intro stuff that is actually used with that) If it was JSUME or JSMAME it would be another story of course.

You can’t currently run console stuff in MAME, or arcade stuff in MESS. You can run both in UME, otherwise arcade in MAME, and console/computers in MESS.

I hope there is no negative fall out from this, but I feel it important to once again point out that MAME (and MESS) are NOT projects about playing free games and that we do not condone or facilitate large scale piracy.

What we provide is factual references, and emulation of hardware components. Our aim is to make these as good as possible, and be able to emulate ANY possible piece of software that might run on them; emulating and documenting more software allows us to improve our hardware emulations, improving our hardware emulations allows more software to run, naturally we reference what we have used to make this progress, but at no point do we actually provide it.

In terms of project goal you’ve only got to look at the MESS part of the codebase (that we now ship with the MAME source) to see there are emulations of random devices like EEPROM programmers, Car Computers, Digial Clocks and Homebrew computers etc. This hopefully shows that the project is about something much more important and with a much wider scope than what some people assume (that they’re simply projects about playing games for free). Even in MAME we emulate things like Firmware update programs, and have skeleton drivers for Coin-operated Jukeboxes (and in the most recent update, an electronic Darts board) none of which would be included if it was merely a project about playing games. FWIW this has always been one of my arguments for fully combining the project binaries by default, it makes this position a LOT clearer because most of the cases that demonstrate this well do come from MESS.

I should also stress that popular systems in MESS are also often handled differently to other emulators, there are reasons we document the proper content of cartridges, and require real rom dumps for things like NES where possible (rather than simply using .nes files which lose this information) Design choices like this might make things more inconvenient for users (and has zero benefits in terms of playability) but does result in our history being better documented which is more important when it comes to the goals of the project and again emphasizes that this isn’t simply a project about ‘free games’.

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UME 0.152

December 24, 2013 Haze Categories: General News. 22 Comments on UME 0.152

UME (logo by JackC)
UME is the complete/combined version of the MAME / MESS project.

MAME / MESS 0.152 have been released, this is the final MAME release of 2013, and as usual I’ve compiled the complete / unlocked UME binaries to host here.

0.152 is based on the 0.152 release found on Mamedev.org (SVN revision 26738) with a small fix for a validity issue applied (checked in as SVN revision 26740)

The changelog since 0.151ex3 (simply a copy/paste of the SVN log) can be read here.

The actual whatsnew files for 0.152 can be read here (MAME-side) and here (MESS-side)

UME 0.152 Windows binaries – 32-bit, 64-bit and all tools
UME 0.152 sources

Points of Interest

This caught me off-guard a bit, I was expecting a release in the 1st of 2nd week of January like last year, so I’ve not been paying too close attention to what’s been going on, I have however quickly scanned the list of changes.

It doesn’t look like there’s been a great deal of measurable emulation progress since the 0.151ex3 release, at least not in terms of end-user experience. There have been a large number of changes, but very few that bring new functionality. If of course you haven’t upgraded to any of the ‘ex’ builds then there is an awful lot to see since 0.151, look at the previous details posted with the ‘ex’ builds here to see some of those!

The most interesting work lately has probably been the improvements to the discrete system emulation which shows a lot of potential and is going to be critical to emulating a number of very early arcade titles, although the only one currently supported, Pong, is arguably in a worse state at the moment than in some prior releases because you can’t actually move the paddles to the bottom of the screen. This makes hitting the ball impossible in some cases thus rendering the game unplayable for the moment. The developer involved is apparently aware of this, but I guess it’s important to convey the message here so people don’t set their immediate hopes too high after seeing the recent change logs which have admittedly been exciting.

Kale’s recent work on Hyper NeoGeo 64 is included, amongst other things this means you can coin up Buriki One and see more of the game than just the attract mode, but the driver is still highly incomplete and completely unoptimized, so it isn’t an experience I can recommend just yet. Maybe 2014 will bring more progress in this driver, the improved 3D pipeline emulation Kale has introduced certainly paves way for some of that.

There’s the odd interesting clone such as the original Semicom release of Wivern Wings; all the previously supported sets were the GameVision licensed version that had been renamed to Wyvern Wings, I’m sure you’ll agree the original title logo looked nicer!


Wivern Wings Wyvern Wings

I need to scan the changes in MESS a little more to see if there’s anything worth highlighting there.

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UME 0.151ex3

December 9, 2013 Haze Categories: General News. 16 Comments on UME 0.151ex3

UME (logo by JackC)
UME is the complete/combined version of the MAME / MESS project.

Due to high levels of interest in the ‘Spectral Vs Generation’ progress shown below I’m issuing these ex3 builds. I can’t help you find the new ROM required.

0.151ex3 is based on SVN revision 26565

The changelog (simply a copy/paste of the SVN log) can be read here. This isn’t formatted as a whatsnew, but as usual I’ll summarize the main points below.

UME 0.151ex3 Windows binaries – 32-bit, 64-bit and all tools
UME 0.151ex3 sources

Points of Interest

lots of changes since 0.151ex2, will write more in a bit..

Note there’s no NeoGeo multi-slot since the submission wasn’t accepted.

There’s a small validation error due to ‘duplicate description’ conflict between sh4robot and robot (both use a very generic string of “Robot”) I’ll fix that later, didn’t notice it before building.

Obviously the Spectral Vs Generation progress is contained in this build, that’s why I’ve decided to post it at this point.


Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
(0.151ex3 makes Spectral vs Generation playable)

One of the most significant pieces of progress this time around comes from MESS where the Nichibutsu (Nihonbussan) My Vision console has been emulated for the first time by judge. The system is mostly off-the-shelf components that were already emulated so most of them are already well-tested and just needed gluing together, but until now there were no cartridges dumped and nothing was really known about the hardware. Nichibutsu are known in the arcades for the likes of Moon Cresta but their primary business was more about developing Mahjong titles, so it’s unsurprising that this system was designed with such titles in mind and features a controller with enough buttons (and a similar enough layout) to map arcade-style Mahjong controls. More one that will be of interest to Japanese users for sure, but again a good example of how the industry developed in Japan. Currently 4 games are dumped.


My Vision - Mahjong My Vision - Mahjong
My Vision - Tsumeshougi My Vision - Tsumeshougi
My Vision - Hanafuda My Vision - Hanafuda
My Vision - Go Moku My Vision - Go Moku
(The Nihon Bussan ‘My Vision’ console is emulated for the first time)

Another addition that hasn’t really had much coverage anywhere is the one made by Kale. The board for a ‘Sunwise’ game called ‘Power Kick’ was dumped, it was noteworthy mainly because it had the same GPU as the Toaplan 2 driver games (used by various shooters from Toaplan and Raizing eg. Batrider) and was generally a very similar hardware setup. Kale added it to the driver, and it appears to work fine, although it’s a redemption titles and the entire game consists of 3 rounds.

Round 1: get lucky enough to score a penalty kick
Round 2: get lucky enough to save a penalty kick
(usually selecting any direction with maximum power will get you through those rounds)
Round 3: kick a ball towards some moving numerical targets to determine how many tokens you win (and is most likely just rigged to pay out a % like most redemption games)

Possibly more noteworthy is that it make it clear that the other Sunwise game in MAME ‘Othello Derby’ also uses the Toaplan GPU, a fact that had been previously overlooked. This allowed the drivers to be merged thus removing duplicate (and therefore redundant) code.


Power Kick Power Kick
Power Kick Power Kick
Power Kick Power Kick
Power Kick Power Kick
(Power Kick is a newly supported redemption game on hardware similar to the Toaplan shmups)

There have also been interesting softlist additions in the period since ‘ex2’, including some new entries in the GamePark 32 (GP32) softlist. There’s a slight usability issue as many of these require ‘-bios 3’ to run and you’re not prompted about that (also I’m not sure what happened to the bios best match by name logic) and without an ARM recompiler the speed tops out at around 35%-40% here, so they’re probably not going to be considered playable by the majority yet, but it does show the potential for MESS being a viable GP32 emulator if one day we do get said recompiler or find some other way to make the ARM core significantly faster (and there are no magic solutions there) Anyway, one such entry was the GP32 port of Amiga favourite Pinball Dreams, pictured below.


Pinball Dreams (Gamepark 32) Pinball Dreams (Gamepark 32)
Pinball Dreams (Gamepark 32) Pinball Dreams (Gamepark 32)
(amongst the Software List additions were some GamePark 32 titles, a bit slow to play still tho)

The Arcadia games featured in a previous update are supported in this release, as are are a couple of other prototypes / obscure versions I’ve not covered yet. These are from the same source as the other prototypes. One of them is an English version of Taito’s Syvalion, there are a few subtle presentation differences, and all of the roms (including graphics) are very slightly different. As with the other prototypes I’m showing the existing version on the left here, and the new prototype on the right. All versions of this game are noteworthy because they run in a higher than usual resolution. There were a few other non-obvious changes in the prototype like the axis on the trackball inputs being swapped around.


Syvalion Syvalion (prototype)
Syvalion Syvalion (prototype)
Syvalion Syvalion (prototype)
Syvalion Syvalion (prototype)
(A Syvalion prototype is one of the new prototype clones)

Arcadia Arcadia
Arcadia Arcadia
(support for the previously mentioned Arcadia additions is also present)

One not-yet-working new addition made in this period is noteworthy because it shows again the unlimited possibilities for a project like MAME / MESS. Jim Stolis submitted a preliminary driver for ‘Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts’ made by Arachnid. This is a coin operated darts board with video display / scoring. While it’s unlikely to be a great deal of fun under emulation it is possible it could be brought up to working status with an artwork based representation of the dart board so that each possible hit location can be triggered. There is a video of the real machine on YouTube. This type of machine often featured in bars and arcades, and you can find much more modern versions of them about today (with much fancier graphics / light shows!)


Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts
Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts
Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts Super Six Plus II English Mark Darts
(preliminary emulation of an electronic dart board)

Kale did his own update about this, but his improvements to the high colour modes of the MSX video chip also get included here fixing the graphics in Puzzle Star as well as a number of things on the MSX2 platform in MESS. Sexy Boom is also improved by this.


Puzzle Star Puzzle Star
Puzzle Star Puzzle Star
(improvements to the MSX2 video chip improve Puzzle Star)

Phil Bennett has also been busy improving numerous Konami drivers, including work to improve the inputs in games like Five-A-Side Soccer (which is now MUCH more playable) and Wave Shark (which is still kinda awkward and has annoying flashing graphics, but can at least now be played) His changes also improve the sound in many of the GX / pre-GX era games.


Waveshark Waveshark

Five-A-Side Soccer Five-A-Side Soccer
(Phil B improved a number of Konami drivers)

From MESS there is the IT Unlimited from Vtech, a beginners computer very similar to the other ones already supported, this one is in English tho.


IT Unlimited IT Unlimited
IT Unlimited IT Unlimited
(IT Unlimited is a beginners computer from VTech)

hap has been making some improvements to the YMZ770 sound core too, this means that when the Cave CV1000 games go back in at the turn of the year a number of the sound bugs that have been present since day 1 will be fixed.

Robbbert has done work on a number of obscure systems, continuing his usual pattern of adding skeleton drivers then hooking up what he can so that they show something. A number were marked as working, but there is so little software (in some cases none) to test them with it’s hard to really show anything meaningful to demonstrate them here. Thankless work for sure.

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Generation X, Generation Strange

December 9, 2013 Haze Categories: General News. 25 Comments on Generation X, Generation Strange

*edit* here are some pictures from the ‘V201’ cartridge version too. It’s changed a bit, there is no AMI logo on the title screen and the vocal track that was used every 2nd round appears to have been removed. The alt versions of 2 of the characters are also unlocked by default.


SVG V201 SVG V201
SVG V201 SVG V201

Until now there was one IGS PGM game in MAME that failed to show anything, that game was Spectral Vs. Generation.

Luckily after dealing with The Gladiator this one didn’t present a huge challenge, rtw was able to run some tests on a the game for me and it now works, took a while to spot a rather obvious error in our code, but after finding that everything appears to work as expected. Thanks to Smitdogg for loaning the game for tests.

Trivia: according to Wikipedia Idea Factory (who developed this game) is formed from former Data East employees, giving some identity to what would otherwise seem a rather obscure arcade developer. Unlike most games on the PGM platform this did get a home port, to the PS2. I don’t know how the arcade version compares.


Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation

Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation

Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation
Spectral Vs Generation Spectral Vs Generation

Here is a video of it running, it seems to highlight some deficiencies in our current ICS sound emulation.



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