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.
As an end user this means that the software provided here is not only capable of emulating arcade machines like the baseline versions of MAME, but in addition can emulate a large number of home computers and consoles from across the world using the very same code, developed by the very same team of developers.
Points of Interest
This is the first *official* build to contain Planet Probe, featured in updates below, it also contains the preliminary work I’ve done on NeoCD (I have more changes pending to fix the sound, but until I get to the bottom of some issues they break more than they fix, so haven’t been submitted at this time)
Luca’s work on some Korean Hanafuda games, as well as the Italian title ‘Harem’ is also included.
After working on the Amiga code a bit for u2 I took a look at CD32 this time around and fixed some inputs there, meaning you can actually start various games, although most have graphical issues rendering them unplayable, Pinball Fantasies does however work much like the regular AGA version but without the hassle of the disks, Vital Light is somewhat playable, as are some of the games in the Big 6 Dizzy Collection, however the main attraction there, the AGA version of Fantastic Dizzy does not run correctly.
From a ‘direction’ standpoint Olivier Galibert’s rewrite of the m6502 cores to be cycle accurate is significant, moreso when you consider the possibility of waitstates / stalls on the horizon if core improvements are made because having a cycle exact core in the first place can be absolutely vital if you’re going to be stalling things at the correct time eg. in the middle of an opcode, or calculating how long you’re meant to stall for based on which part of an opcode you’re currently performing the read/write or fetch from. The Z80 will need similar treatment at some point in the future. From a MAME perspective you’re probably not going to see any benefit from this as 99.9% of arcade games really don’t care, but many home systems need a greater degree of accuracy and are really the driving force behind real project improvements these days, not the arcade games; that’s one reason I do these UME builds as they better demonstrate where improvements are coming from over a plain MAME build.
Olivier has also continued to improve the floppy emulation code, although we’re still lacking restored dsk support in the CPC drivers, which is a shame because I was wanting to give a test run to some speccy stuff which uses the same format, but still, improvements are good to see, it would appear that getting floppy emulation code to work reliably across many different platforms is one of the more annoying challenges in MESS as some systems really don’t behave to spec.
MSX lovers might want to check out some sprite fixes there, a hack which was causing too many sprites to be shown in some situations was removed, this was breaking some masking effects and the like.
This release also sees lots of small changes made across both projects, too many to really sum up here, so be sure to also check the actual whatsnew files and see if anything catches your eye.
Screenshots Related to this Update
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Menu
the menu is rather horrible, nasty animated background, sluggish cursor movement etc. It has all the instructions to read, but gives a bad first impression!
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
this will always be the weakest of the games (poor level design, and controlling your jumps in mid-air means it just isn’t a *real* Dizzy game) but it seems to work
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Fantastic Dizzy
I love the SMS version of this, it’s basically a Dizzy Megamix incorporating ideas, puzzles and minigames from every Dizzy game before it, while introducing many new ones of it’s own. It’s one of the few Dizzy games where the 16-bit ports really felt good too, shame the CD32 version with it’s special AGA enhancements barely works here
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Magicland Dizzy
bouncy colourful and well-drawn this one, the physics don’t feel quite right compared to the 8-bit versions, but it’s a very playable game, you kill these ghosts with a power-pill ;-)
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Spellbound Dizzy
The biggest Dizzy game which was part of the original 8-bit series (so not counting Fantastic Dizzy) but I always had bad experiences with the Amiga version. I owned the original of it and was always granted infinite lives and it had game breaking bugs in various situations (usually with the Whale deciding to vanish from the game completely) Interestingly in WinUAE I don’t get the infinite lives problem with the floppy version (I haven’t tried this CD version) but in MESS this CD certainly exhibits the same problems I remember on the original system, so I’m not quite sure what the situation is.
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Treasure Island Dizzy
An odd one, this was the first Dizzy game released on the 16-bits (the original game wasn’t ported) and in some sense it feel close to the 8-bit games, right down to the screen update being every 4 frames, but at the same time the Amiga / ST releases of this had a lot of extra rooms compared to the Speccy version, and some of the additional puzzles involved are just bizzare and various extra parts require you to jump into what look like enemies to get coins which doesn’t really work on a game where you have one life and no energy bar. I don’t like the graphics either.
Big 6 Dizzy Collection – Prince of the Yolkfolk
One of the smallest Dizzy games, but also one of the more polished, definitely an enjoyable entry level game, and the 16-bit versions like this one aren’t too bad; it feels, and looks a lot like Magicland Dizzy
The best arcade game ever invented.. except I don’t think it was ever released as an arcade game! Some graphical effects are missing, most notably the aim line, but it’s not too hard to play even without it, I wonder how many of these AGA / CD32 fixes would actually be quite simple to figure out / implement.