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MAME 0.166 Released – Some Highlights

September 30, 2015 Haze Categories: General News. 8 Comments on MAME 0.166 Released – Some Highlights

MAME 0.166 was released today (the last Wednesday of September) and as always there are a few things I think are worth highlighting.

I was actually too busy to do any kind of update for 0.165, and this one is also going to be rather brief, but here goes.

Personally I’m always happy to see old / rare software for home systems dumped and emulated, and MAME documents via the Software Lists when this happens. Shortly before 0.166 two pieces of software for the Tomy Pyuuta were dumped and added to said lists, these are Triple Command and 3D Rescue, both of which are rare and expensive titles for the system, previously undumped

Triple Command is a simple time-pilot like shooter where you move around blasting waves of enemies. I’ve recorded a video a video of Triple Command and uploaded it



Rescue 3D is a more complex piece of software, or at least the controls are, I haven’t actually managed to figure it out properly yet, so to avoid complete embarrassment here are some screenshots instead of a video for that one.


Pyuuta - Rescue 3D Pyuuta - Rescue 3D
Pyuuta - Rescue 3D Pyuuta - Rescue 3D

In terms of functionality a potentially useful option ‘-global_inputs’ was added to MAME (built on top of the rawinput functonality) which allows MAME to still read inputs even when the MAME window isn’t in focus. The use of this might not be immediately apparent, but anybody who has tried using multiple connected instances of MAME on the same machine (for example to try out the comms work done by SailorSat) will have found the default logic problematic, as only the instance of MAME in focus could receive inputs.

Ramiro Polla was busy pushing more boundaries in the emulator with emulation of a printer, including emulating the motors, print head position etc. and rendering what would go to the paper on a virtual screen (we eventually need to decide on an actual output format for virtual printers) he uploaded his own video of this (with the printer running a self-test) which can be seen below. Remember, if something can be emulated we’re interested in emulating it, and even when things can’t be emulated fully we’re still interested in giving them a shot, at least to have the code running.



2 of the clones added in 0.166 are quite interesting too, the ‘Minefield’ and ‘Rescue’ sets were both created by ‘Free Enterprise Games’ which was apparently one guy in the UK. They’re interesting because they employ their own weird scrambling / protection techniques which have required extensive reworking of the code. Minefield I was able to fully descramble and get working, Rescue has caused more issues, it feels like there’s something missing (I’ve since compared it with the original and found out what the missing code should do, and can’t find it in ROM) Interestingly the game does have a single ROM with nothing but a message taunting anybody wanting to copy it, ironic considering AFAIK these weren’t actually licensed conversions anyway (I could be wrong, but nothing I’ve read leads me to believe they were)

The taunt message reads

” OR TAKE THE CONSEQUENCES AS IT IS A WASTE OF TIME TO TRY AND SUE YOU I WILL JUST SEND THE LADS AROUND ALL RIGHTS RESERVED COPYRIGHT 1983 BY JOHN RICHARDS OF FREE ENTERPRISE GAMES LTD IF YOU CAN GET THIS PROGRAM RUNNING AS A PROM CHANGE I WILL GIVE YOU A REWARD AND PROBABLY EMPLOY YOU AS WELL TELEPHONE 01 399 8587 GOOD LUCK ”

what is weird that it seems to start in the middle of the message, as if the ROM is too small, and the rom contains no useful code / data at all. We’ve encountered other games from ‘Free Enterprise Games’ before (a version of Anteater, which was then further ‘sublicensed’ to Tuning for Germany) but in those cases, like Minefield, locating all the code was easy enough, maybe I’m missing something obvious or the set is actually incomplete.

The ‘suicide-repair’ sets for a number of Sega 16-bit era games were also added in this release (as bootlegs, because they’re unofficial modified code, not approved by Sega) These are becoming commonplace on PCBs and the whole lot actually ended up being sold as a ‘Universal Sega Repair kit’ by an Asian seller, I’m not 100% sure they were all tested on hardware mind you, just looks to be somebody trying to cash in on their availability by pulling chips from other boards, erasing them and burning the sets to them! It’s hardly a universal kit as my contact who bought it was hoping! If you do find a specific set doesn’t work on hardware, let me know. It’s important for MAME to keep track of these things so if 20 years down the line boards get dumped that have been converted to run this unofficial code MAME recognizes it correctly so we don’t think it’s some long lost official set.

Under the hood there were some potentially important edge-case fixes for the M68020 CPU, not known to actually affect anything in MAME, but important, and entirely possible that some software for one of the home systems depends upon that we haven’t yet noticed.

Tweaks to the default state of the SN76489 sound emulation, improvements to the Sega PICO sound etc. also happened. XorWorld ended up with better sound and gameplay speed too.

There were some Chihiro improvements / fixes with a view to allowing the Xbox to boot, they do seem to have stopped OutRun2 from booting tho, so I can’t easily see if they improve anything there.

Some drivers were converted to use the generic ‘polynew’ rendering, including the Hyper NeoGeo 64 driver, this reduces code in the driver, and also potentially gives performance boosts as that code natively supports threading while the in-driver code did not.

The ‘Pacman on World Cup 90’ hardware bootleg is another weird one, we know who created it, Mike Coates, somebody who has contributed to MAME for many years in the past, however, it somehow ended up in use on some actual PCBs in Spain that were pulled from a bar. (Judging by the number of Pacman bootlegs originating in Spain it seems like there was almost an unwritten rule that every single place must have a Pacman machine?!)

(more to come)

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Sonic’s Day Job

September 17, 2015 Haze Categories: General News. 4 Comments on Sonic’s Day Job

Amusement machines came in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and styles of game to cater for a wide variety of different audiences.

One complaint some people had when we started merging in the MESS code was that MAME was now open to emulating ‘junk’ they didn’t care about, but that was never unique to the MESS side code, and I imagine the game being covered here would be considered junk by a lot of people too.

The game in question is a Sonic themed kid’s ride, it has gameplay on the level of a redemption title (complete a very simple fixed task) but unlike redemption games it doesn’t even offer tickets, simply a ‘score’ at the end (which meaningless, you get 3 stars if you simply insert a coin and leave it)

It’s a piece of a history, and maybe more noteworthy to the general population because it’s Sonic themed (there are several others currently undumped with different themes) but there’s very little to it. The title of the game in question is ‘Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car’ and it was released in Japan only to the best of my knowledge.

There are various videos of the game on YouTube including the following one from YouTube user ‘Crazysonicfan110’



The game has 4 buttons (Lights, Jump, Accelerate, Turbo) as well as a Left / Right ‘Winker’ (indicator) and a Steering Wheel (which in reality just acts as another left/right joystick, it’s not analog at all)

The Lights and Winker buttons seem purely cosmetic, triggering sounds and animations on the screen. The Accelerate and Turbo buttons allow you to move faster and overtake cars but really have no real influence on the progression of the gameplay, you’ll get to Robotnik regardless. The Jump button has no real purpose until you reach Robotnik, at which point it’s used to jump attack his car, destroying it is optional, the game will end after that either way.

The hardware used is the Sega C2 board, the very same PCB as Puyo Puyo etc. It’s a board using the Genesis VDP, but with some changes to the rest of the hardware compared to the home system. The protection chip used on this one is the same as Bloxeed. The C2 driver is one of my older drivers (actually one of my first major contributions to MAME) and getting this running in the C2 driver didn’t really require any additional work, just mapping of the inputs.

Acquiring this was quite pricey, and while MooglyGuy fronted some of the money on behalf of the Dumping Union, others (who I don’t know if want crediting or not, the whatsnew text lists Will Medved) were very generous too. As always, if you wish to help secure more boards then The Dumping Union is the correct place to donate.


Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car

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Twin GP

September 7, 2015 Haze Categories: General News. 20 Comments on Twin GP

When I correctly hooked up the dual stack PCB setups for Air Rescue and F1 Exhaust Note it was pointed out to me that GP Rider on the X-Board platform used a similar setup – a bridge board with shared RAM mapped directly into the address space of the main CPUs on each stack rather than a network.

In order to support this the driver (and several components used by the driver) required a little work in order to allow for multiple instances of the PCB stack to run under MAME at the same time.

I did this work, but the game still didn’t work correctly (the game would desync and break shortly after coining up), at that point I passed it on to SailorSat to look at and she observed that the RAM was actually banked, and once she hooked that up it started working as expected.

There’s no new fancy double screen attract graphics in this like Air Rescue and F1 Exhaust Note have, but there are a few things you won’t see unless you’re running the Twin setup either way. Note, I believe the Twin setup is the only official Sega configuration for this game, and while it can run with a single PCB stack that isn’t how it was designed to run.


GP Rider
GP Rider
GP Rider
GP Rider
GP Rider
GP Rider

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Sybubblun in MAME

September 4, 2015 Haze Categories: General News. 7 Comments on Sybubblun in MAME

A few months ago I saw the Hardcore Gaming 101 article on Syvalion which indicated that there was a variation of one of my favourite arcade games (Bubble Bobble) hidden in the X68000 version of Syvalion.

For a while I tried to work out how to access this mode without success. I looked it again today, did a bit of reading, and it turns out the article is wrong and this mode is not hidden in Syvalion at all, but is hidden in the X68000 version of Bubble Bobble, and you can run it in MAME if it takes your fancy.

First off, load the X68000 version of Bubble Bobble in MAME, it’s in the Softlist so you can do

‘mame x68000 bublbobl’

it will take a while to load, but eventually the title screen will appear


Sybubblun Sybubblun

Once the title screen appears you must quickly hold the ‘Opt 1’ key (PrintScreen / PrtScn is the default MAME mapping for it) and while holding it type ‘sybubblun’

If you’re successful a jingle will play.

You can then hit the space bar to get the menu screen, and move down to ‘configuration’


Sybubblun

if you successfully enabled the cheat code you should be able to change the top line in the configuration menu from ‘Bubble Bobble’ to ‘Sybubblun’

Sybubblun Sybubblun

and there you have it.

at this point you might want to redefine the keys in MAME because by default the 2nd fire button doesn’t seem to map to a key (hit SCRLOCK or whatever you have your UI mode key set to in order to enable MAME’s menu system, bring up the tab menu and then reconfigure P1 Button 1 and P1 Button 2 in the ‘Input (this Machine)’ Menu.


Sybubblun Sybubblun
Sybubblun Sybubblun
Sybubblun Sybubblun
Sybubblun Sybubblun
Sybubblun Sybubblun

It’s more of a puzzle game than a regular Bubble Bobble title, relying on advanced Bubble Bobble mechanics to solve each of the levels. (you must understand EXACTLY how the bubbles and jumping work)

If it is actually hidden in Syvalion too then let me know, otherwise I’m just going to assume it’s a mistake in the Hardcore Gaming 101 article.

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