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.
This is based on MESS SVN revision 15525 (GIT Mirror)
JackC has refined the logo a bit based on the original idea, several alternatives were provided, see forums.
I’ve decided to stick with doing a single package containing source + both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries now, it’s a larger download but less confusing than requiring users to download separate resource packages etc.
The 0.146u2 release can be downloaded here.
As always QMC2 is the recommended front-end.
General Release Commentary
On the MESS front the last 3 weeks have been fairly quiet, low level rumblings, some important progress, but nothing major to write home about. I’m currently trying to rebuild my collection of Saturn images to match the software lists in order to look at fixing up some issues there if possible (I’ve asked a few people for help in finding a couple) Doing this will allow me to start refining the lists and replacing images with better quality ones, although for now etabeta has been doing some general cleanups of Developer / Publisher / Release Year information in said Saturn lists already (as well as many others)
There have been a couple of fixes made to the Super Cassette Vision (svc) emulation by Wilbert Pol which are of note, including a CPU core fix which corrects the timer in Boulderdash (you can observe the bug in this YouTube video) Rather topical, and as it happens, a version of Boulderdash I haven’t actually played.
The PCI slot code has seen some work from Micko, which should eventually help with the emulation of various PCs (and of course eventually be of use in MAME for emulating more PC based platforms) I imagine one of the early goals will be to allow the user to easily add a VooDoo card when running the MESS PC driver, using the VooDoo emulation from MAME although I do fear for performance, the only similar configuration in MAME (Pentium level x86 + Voodoo) is Funky Ball and that runs at a far less then desirable framerate. There is plenty of room for performance however, an x86 recompiler could work wonders.
A fair amount of the remaining progress in MESS is on systems I’ve never heard of, although be sure to check out the changelist and SVN logs because something might catch your eye.
MAME this time round has been more interesting, Angler Dangler has been on of the few remaining games in the bracket of ‘shown on Starcade, but not emulated in MAME’ but with the u2 release that situation has finally changed, although for now only the Japanese version with the highly imaginative title of ‘Fishing’ has been located and emulated. We’re seeing a steady flow of Data East Cassettes being dumped now, with the original Hamburger (from which the long emulated Cook Time bootleg was made!) appearing in the previous update.
u2 also sees a first pass at Q1000 sound emulation from Phil Bennett, this gives preliminary sound in a number of Eolith and Limenko games as well as Semicom’s Wyvern Wings, which is rather famous for using ripped Metallica midi tracks for music, and while the emulation still has some fairly serious issues with volume balance, and missing envelopes you can just about make out some bits and pieces. There was a last minute fix from me to improve the sound sync in some Eolith games as well, so if you’ve already tried an SVN build from when it was first added you might want to give it another look, Candy Puzzle actually sounds rather good. One word of caution, Phil hasn’t hooked the new code up to the See See Find Out or Eolith Ghost (Balloon & Balloon) drivers yet, so don’t expect sound in those just yet (Pang Pang Car might also be using the internal ROM, which isn’t dumped)
The System 16 version of Fantasy Zone 2 is also supported officially now, in an unmodified form, unlike the FZ-2006 multi-game hack/bootleg which had been supported for a while. The ROMs used are those which have been used on various bootleg conversions, but are almost certainly the same as used on the official boards. I posted the code needed to get this running with the PS2 data file a while back. The FZ-2006 bootleg is still kinda interesting tho it allows you to run the Time Attack mode for the original Fantasy Zone.
More regressions have been fixed from the previous code overhaul too, and we’re starting to look in pretty good shape again now, Cubo32 stuff works again for example, INP playback is fixed in a couple of drives where it broke etc. My only real remaining niggles are the crippling banking performance which has a severely negative effect on The New Zealand Story during transitions, and the likes of Wardner on random levels.
Amongst the various regression fixes was a fix I put in to allow the mahjong titles in the Pinkiri 8 driver to boot again, this is a driver I’d really like to get working, but the hardware appears to have been severely under utilized making some of the registers unclear. Sprite heights of all things are still proving to be very illusive, I suspect they’re grouped like the widths seem to be, but I can’t find an appropriate table! I could hardcode the heights and the games would work fine but I’m hoping Charles MacDonald can run some hardware tests at some point, he’s worked with the boards in the past to extract the internal roms.
The u2 CHD code should also be better, producing the same results across platforms now; previously there was an issue whereby the Huffman algorithm used ‘qsort’ which produced different results almost everywhere, luckily that only affected Laserdisc and HDD CHDs, CDs don’t use it by default.
Offroad Challenge works in u2 too, thanks to some TMS32031 CPU bugfixes from Daniel Filner. It’s a typical Midway racing game, same basic hardware as Crusin’ USA.
A couple of the hardware upgrade kits for various boards are now supported too, things like the Space Invaders Multigame and Super ABC Pacman kits were sold commercially, and it has been decided that they’re eligible for support in MAME.
Luca also figured out what was needed to make a couple more Mahjong games work, the original version of classic racer TX-1 is now functional, and a bunch more Midway hard disks revisions are now recognized for games such as War Gods.
So all in all the u2 release has been a productive one and unusually MAME has seen the greater amount of activity, be sure to check out some of the improvements for yourself, either in these UME builds, or the individual projects.