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MAME work and other stuff

Slapping a Tiger would be a poor life choice

October 12, 2018 Haze Categories: General News. 13 Comments on Slapping a Tiger would be a poor life choice

I’ve been doing a bit of work on the XaviX emulation in MAME (technology used by a number of Plug and Play TV Games) and in that time I’ve made some decent progress with the emulation. While still far from perfect (some graphical problems, no sound, poor performance) I feel there has been enough progress to show some of it here. Some of the most noteworthy things using the hardware are the Taito / Namco Nostalgia collections which were released in Japan in 2006.

Taito Nostalgia 1 contains “Slap Fight” and “KiKi KaiKai” and remixed versions of them.
Below is the remix version of Slap Fight which mixes Slap Fight with another classic, Tiger Heli, giving you the Tiger Heli ship instead of the regular Slap Fight one. Due to the compressed screen size this version of the game is very difficult. The KiKi KaiKai allows you to play as the main character from Bonze Adventure instead.

Taito Nostalgia 2 Taito Nostalgia 2
Slap Fight Tiger Slap Fight Tiger
Slap Fight Tiger Slap Fight Tiger
Slap Fight Tiger Slap Fight Tiger

Namco Nostalgia 2 contains “Gaplus” and “Dragon Buster” again with remixed versions.
Below you can see the Gaplus remix “Gaplus Phalanx” where instead of shooting things you must capture the grey enemies while avoiding capturing the red ones (and not hitting anything in the process)

Namco Nostalgia 2 Namco Nostalgia 2
Gaplus Phalanx Gaplus Phalanx
Gaplus Phalanx Gaplus Phalanx
Gaplus Phalanx Gaplus Phalanx

Taito Nostalgia 1 contains “Legend of Kage” and “Gladiator” plus the usual remixes of them. Below is Amazones, the remix of Gladiator. Note, with current emulation missing the EEPROM support the key assignments are invalid by default and get lost every time you exit the game, but they can be assigned each time.

Taito Nostalgia 1 Taito Nostalgia 1
Amazones Amazones
Amazones Amazones
Amazones Amazones

Namco Nostalgia 1 still doesn’t run properly, so no shots from that one at the moment.

Outside of Japan the XaviX technology was used mostly by games with novelty controllers. Progress has been made on the emulation of some of those too.

Graphics were much improved in Radica’s Play TV Boxing, menus now look solid, priorities are correct, sprites fill the screen properly etc.

Radica Boxing Radica Boxing
Radica Boxing Radica Boxing

Radica’s Bass Fishing game no longer crashes when you enter gameplay, and no longer has corrupt text in the menus. Inputs aren’t fully mapped yet tho.

Radica Bass Fishing Radica Bass Fishing
Radica Bass Fishing Radica Bass Fishing

Radica’s Card Night no longer crashes upon reaching the main menu, and has more correct graphics. The glitch where it rendered a corrupt menu over the startup screens is gone too.

Radica Card Night Radica Card Night
Radica Card Night Radica Card Night

The Radica Madden & Football games now show their startup screens (EA license screen on Madden, Farsight developer screen on Football) and also prompt the player to throw the ball (not emulated) to start, rather than crashing at that point.

Radica Madden Radica Madden
Radica Football Radica Football

The e-kara things now have a scrolling screen and colours that aren’t garbage (although no inputs exist to get past this screen) and the Fisher Price ‘Rescue Heroes’ shows a startup screen now before crashing. Excite Fishing DX moans about the EEPROM.

e-kara Rescue Heroes
Excite Fishing DX

Wild Adventure Mini Golf shows some startup screens before getting to an animated display asking you to swing the club to start (not hooked up)

Wild Adventure Mini Golf Wild Adventure Mini Golf

Radica’s Baseball 2 shows it’s secret test menu, and also a startup screen, but crashes after showing the Radica Logo

Radica Baseball 2 Radica Baseball 2

Radica’s Ping Pong now boots, although you can’t serve.

Radica Ping Pong Radica Ping Pong
Radica Ping Pong

Radica’s Monster Truck has improved priorities (although controls still aren’t hooked up)

Radica Monster Truck Radica Monster Truck
Radica Monster Truck Radica Monster Truck

Snowboard has some minor improvements but still needs the raster interrupt hooking up for the ground

Radica Snowboarder Radica Snowboarder

While many of these still aren’t playable the progress over the last few days has taken most of them from doing almost nothing to looking much more like what they’re meant to be, and a much better picture of the overall hardware.

None of this would have been possible without Sean Riddle dumping the majority of these titles and Peter Wilhelmsen purchasing many of them for that purpose.

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Little Changes (part 2)

October 2, 2018 Haze Categories: General News. 19 Comments on Little Changes (part 2)

The Steel Force changes mentioned in the previous update didn’t make 0.202, but should be in for 0.203, but I wanted to take this opporunitiy to highlight some more small changes that will be also be in 0.203.

I said before it’s not always ‘low profile’ titles that get fixes, and the last week or two has seen some bug fixes to better known titles that are just as important.

First I’ll start with CPS3, and a long-standing bug with the combo meters in JoJo’s Venture / JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This is one that back in the day I didn’t really put any research into due to unwanted attention and misuse of MAME for commercial bootlegs, but given that its been 10 years, the hype has died down and people still wanted to see it fixed, I decided to give it a look.

Actually a fairly simple problem. The game is only capable of displaying one Combo counter at a time, draws them off screen and uses ‘rowscroll’ to ‘bounce’ them into the display, so not only was the 2nd combo meter missing (because it never got scrolled on) but the ‘bounce’ on the Player 1 side was missing too, which was a dead giveaway for what the problem was. I was actually looking at CPS3 already with a view to fixing some of the palette manipulation effects in the later (P2 side) stages of Red Earth so fixing this was just sidetracking a bit. I might do an update about the palette stuff in Red Earth if I figure that out too.

JoJo's Venture
JoJo's Venture JoJo's Venture
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure JoJo's Venture

The next piece of work isn’t mine, but that of Mooglyguy (Ryan Holtz) and happppp. This concerns the ‘Mirror Mode’ in Rave Racer (as well as the rear view mirror and a number of elements in other System 22 games)

To active mirror mode you should enter a code during the 3-2-1 countdown at the start of a race. Once this countdown appears, quickly turn the steering wheel RIGHT then RIGHT again, then press the BRAKE and GAS pedals together. If done correctly the display will instantly flip. To do it in MAME without analog controls you’ll want to set the digial speeds, sensitivity and auto-center speed on all the controls up high (100 did the trick for me)

Previously the mirror view did not properly flip the screen, but instead acted like the screen was flipped without showing the effect, meaning it basically just played with reversed controls and the speedometer needle in the incorrect position. Mooglyguy researched the issue, and happppp worked out how to implement it in the driver. Some optimizations were made at the same time meaning the driver also performs a bit better than it did before.

Rave Racer
Rave Racer Rave Racer
Rave Racer Rave Racer

So there you go, two fixes to the emulation of some better known platforms that will be in MAME 0.203 and higher.

Not covered here in pictures, but equally important are some changes smf has made to the Playstation GPU emulation, fixing bugs in Silent Hill (non-arcade) as well as Psyvariar, the latter which was rendering the game near unplayable on later levels due to intense flickering of the background graphics (that fix is in 0.202) Again this is a ‘higher profile’ change due to the popularity of the home system and because many popular arcade titles made use of Playstation based hardware. The Psyvariar fix is timely too because of the massive improvements in the sound emulation the driver received recently (far surpass anything that could be classed as ‘Little Changes’)

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