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Quick, Call A Plumber, There’s Crap In My Pipes….

June 12, 2012 Haze Categories: General News. 18 Comments on Quick, Call A Plumber, There’s Crap In My Pipes….

Eolith.. They put out some games with were rather respectable, the Hidden Touch games, Crazy War, they were even responsible for The King of Fighters 2001 (love it or hate it) But they also put out some titles which weren’t quite so good.

The Back of the Flyer for the game I’m about to feature here is enough to raise a few giggles alone. The list of Special Features presenting a list of some of the most common and meaningless features found in any puzzle game in charmingly bad English and the story is quite absurd with talk of Golden Pipes falling from an “Unidentifiect Flying Object”..

It doesn’t end there tho, let’s give you some screenshots of this one…

Linky Pipe Linky Pipe

Linky Pipe Linky Pipe

They do say sometimes it’s all in the name, and the observant of you will have quickly noticed the name of the first character you encounter, eloquently christened “CRAP”

Now, maybe that was meant to be Crab, I don’t know, it doesn’t really much look like a Crab, it does actually look a lot more like a bright blue .. crap .. possibly a snake at a push, either way you can’t help but think of it as a good indicator to the overall quality of this game.

There are a good number of games where you’re linking up pieces of pipe in a pit, Taito’s Cachat, or Atari’s (unreleased) Sparkz are better known examples; there were even a handful I covered when looking at Saturn games for one of the Ultimate MAME / UME articles, however those games are all better than this in every conceivable way.

It’s not really easy to explain exactly what’s wrong here beyond the basic mechanics they’ve decided on for the puzzle game just aren’t fun and any flaws in those mechanics just seem to be hacked around in the most crude and obvious ways, to make matters worse the whole thing just seems very rushed as well, almost unfinished.

It’s a 3 button puzzle game, one button rotates the whole 2 unit block which is falling, and each of the other 2 buttons rotate each individual unit of that block which is a fiddly control system on it’s own. Rotating when against a wall also often changes the behavior causing further confusion.

The idea is to simply link the ‘pipe end’ pieces up via pipes, create combos, and generally do things faster than the CPU opponent in order to fill their water meter before they fill yours, and that’s all there is to it really. Now the point about things feeling hacked in. Naturally due to the game mechanics you will end up with pipe pieces in the pit which you simply can’t link. Every now and again the game will decide to drop what can only be described as a ‘cursor’ block, it’s a bit like a target, it doesn’t collide with anything, and you simply have to drop it at the bottom of the column you want to remove a piece from. This isn’t optional, if you drop it somewhere where there is nothing to remove it will just keep repeating until you do; it makes no sense in the context of the rest of the game and just feels like a hack to overcome a problem they didn’t consider in advance.

I’ve played worse Puzzle games, but fiddly controls, uninspired design, poor presentation (aside the backgrounds, which are actually fairly attractive) means this is probably one best passed up on.

I can’t really judge the sound at this point, because until literally half an hour ago the Eolith driver had no sound in MAME. Phil B. has checked in preliminary sound support, but for now it’s a few random noises and misplaced sound effects, not something to call judgment with ;-)

Btw this was actually added in the u1 release, but would lock up when trying to start the game. This appears to be a result of the first 2 dipswitches, having them set incorrectly causes various issues; which again makes things look a bit rushed assuming the same issue is present on the real hardware. (not confirmed yet)

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UME 0.146u1

June 11, 2012 Haze Categories: General News. 5 Comments on UME 0.146u1

logo by ALEXGIZH

UME (Universal Machine Emulator) combines the features of MAME and MESS into a single multi-purpose emulator. The project represents a natural course of development for the emulators which already share large amounts of code and is part of an ongoing effort to unify development efforts and provide a single emulation platform for users and developers alike.

For more information on UME in general see the previous update (0.146)

The 0.146u1 package can be downloaded here. This includes 32-bit and 64-bit binaries, the source, and support files (software lists etc.)

This is based off MESS SVN revision 15445 (GIT Mirror) (UME was promoted to being an official target in the SVN with the 0.146 release)

all builds are compiled with
“make all TARGET=ume”

the source is otherwise untouched and includes all changes from MAME and MESS 0.146u1 (MAME 0.146u1 whatsnew can be seen at mamedev.org, the one in the MESS SVN is out of date) MESS changes can be seen in docs/messnew.txt

If you want to use a frontend then QMC2 is recommended, see the news posts below this.

General Release Commentary

There is a valididy check fail (ume -validate) on some ad4* sets, this is inherited from MAME 0.146u1 and was fixed in a post u1 revision. This is however harmless.

0.146u1 is the first official public build to play the Dragon World 2001 and Dragon World Pretty Chance games featured in a previous update here. It also has a fix from hap which allows Taito’s Racing Beat to be somewhat playable, and further extend the mystery of quite what happened to Taito racing games after Continental Circus (1987) and Chase HQ (1988) because their later 2d scaler efforts all look amateurish in comparison. There are also some card / variety games supported thanks to Luca and a strange upside down Space Invaders variant called Space Ranger which was unearthed by Marcello Mancini.

Pong has also made an interesting return, albeit in a non-working state, but it could be a sign of things to come, with actual lower level simulation of components on the non-cpu based games. (note tho, Pong is a simple example and struggles to get 80% speed on my C2D with this level of emulation/simulation)

From the MESS side there has been a lot of work on obscure systems across the board, including a fair amount on the ‘Wang Professional Computer’ systems from Curt Coder, support for various Apple II peripherals from R.Belmont (including the SAM speech card), improvements to the emulation of some pirate mappers in the NES drivers from etabeta and refinements to the software lists from a whole bunch of people.

So overall, solid improvements across the projects, and a fair number of bug fixes / regression fixes from the likes of hap thrown into the mix too (metro.c games should be working again for example)

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