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The MAME FAQ Thread Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

Being one of the most popular as well as most confusing emulators out there, no Support Forum would be complete without a....


1. What is MAME?

MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. When used in conjunction with an arcade game's data files (ROMs), MAME will more or less faithfully reproduce that game on a PC. MAME can currently emulate over 2600 unique (and over 4600 in total) classic arcade video games from the three decades of video games - '70s, '80s and '90s, and some from the current millennium. The ROM images that MAME utilizes are "dumped" from arcade games' original circuit-board ROM chips. MAME becomes the "hardware" for the games, taking the place of their original CPUs and support chips. Therefore, these games are NOT simulations, but the actual, original games that appeared in arcades.

2. Is there a Windows version of MAME? Should I use it instead of the DOS version?

There are now two main versions of MAME, for Windows and DOS. Both are updated at the same time, and are available at the official MAME website, In most current computers, the Windows version will run better than the DOS version, but there may be incompatabilities, bugs and other unwanted features that don't exhibit in the other version. Chances are, if you can run DirectX applications on your computer, the Windows version will work fine. Ultimately, you must decide which version works best on your system.

3. What is MAME32? How is it different from regular MAME?

MAME32 is a frontend, or GUI (Graphical User Interface), for the command-line versions of MAME. When you have properly installed a game's ROMs (and samples, where needed), the frontend will automatically pick the right screen mode, options, etc., that you would otherwise have to specify with command-line parameters. You can change each game's settings, too, and the frontend will remember them. In other words, MAME32 makes command-line MAME a much easier and convenient point-and-click program. MAME32 can display screenshots (pictures) of each game, information about the games (history, cheats, etc.), and other handy stuff.

4. What are samples, why do I need them, and where can I get them?

Samples are digitized sound files. Some games need them, in addition to the ROM files, to provide authentic sound. For example, the sound routines of Donkey Kong Jr. are not yet fully emulated. If you play the game without samples, you will miss the "jumping" and "climbing" sounds, and the tunes that play between levels. There are currently about a dozen games that need samples for full sound support. Samples are available on the official MAME site's samples page.

5. Why doesn't <insert name of game here> have sound emulation?

There can be a few reasons:

(1) The sound is part of the game's encryption, which has not yet been cracked. Like Irem M-92 stuff, where you can have the graphics but the protection stops the sound from working.

(2) The sound chips are complicated. Like Primal Rage (and all late Atari games) use Atari's CAGE sound system, which is like Killer Instincts DCS sound system but better, or the Sega SCSP chip used in the later Model 2/3 stuff and Saturn/STV, which is frighteningly complicated, or the OPL4 used in Strikers 1945 II, which is of similar complexity.

(3) The sound roms are not dumped, or were dumped badly. Happens sometimes.

(4) The sound CPU/chip is unknown, and/or custom. Like in most late Namco games, including the System 11 and 12 stuff, where both chips are totally unknown and bear no resemblance to any other sound chip/cpu out there. Even if the chip is relativly simple it makes the emulation almost impossible without having an actual board to reverse engineer.

6. The game ROMs are in ZIP (compressed) format. Do I need to extract them?

DO NOT unzip the rom files. MAME and MAME32 are unable to read the rom data in its uncompressed format, and will fail to recognize the roms if they are unzipped.

7. Once I get the game ROMs, where do I put them?

Put them in the ROMS subdirectory of your main MAME directory. DO NOT uncompress the ZIP files!

8. What is Neo Geo? I see questions about it all over the place. What on earth is it, and why is it so popular?

Neo Geo is an Arcade machine that was first introduced by the software company Shin Nihon Kikaku (SNK) in 1989. The Neo Geo Arcade machine was successful both in Japan as well as America, due to its impressive custom graphics processor, 68000 and Z80 CPUs, and offered 330mb ROM storage space. This arcade version was known as MVS, or Multi-Video Output, and allowed 1 of 6 games to be loaded at any time. The Neo Geo AES (Advanced Entertainment System), which was not as popular as its Arcade counterpart due to its outrageous $650 price tag, was a home version of the Neo Geo MVS and played the exact same games as the ones in the arcades. In fact, even memory cards could be switched between the two, allowing players to save their progress on one machine and load it on the other.

The reason for the Neo Geo's popularity is due to the popularity of its unique games, especially in the arcades. The Art of Fighting/Fatal Fury series, the King of Fighters series, the Metal Slug series, the Puzzle Bobble (Bust-A-Move) series, the Last Blade series, the Sengoku series, and the Samurai Shodown series, were all Neo Geo releases.

And yes, MAME is capable of emulating Neo Geo games. Unfortunately, it can only emulate them in their MVS Arcade modes, not in their AES console modes...which eliminates a lot of game options. And MAME can only display Neo Geo games in Japanese, not English.

9. Why does MAME report "missing files" even if I have the ROMs?

This is by far the most frequently asked of the frequently asked questions for MAME. There are several possible reasons for this. They are as follows:

(1) "Cloned" games need their parent ROMs in order to run. Clones are often "alternate versions" such as versions of a game with a different title, in another language, "bootleg" versions that lack copy protection, and the like. The "Parent ROMs" are often the original game, and if it is multilingual, often the parent is the "World" or "USA Version" of the game. With games that use Capcom's CPS-1 and CPS-2 chipsets, the parent roms are almost always the European versions. Finding which version of the game is the parent rom is easy....always look for the largest rom. In terms of rom size, parent roms are always much bigger than their clones.

(2) Sometimes ROMs get "changed" in later versions of MAME. For example, a game gets the sound emulated, in a later version, and therefore needs more ROM files to run (i.e. the sound ROMs, in this case). It is now expecting more data with the newer driver.

The MAME roms in Romnation's archives are for version 0.90 of MAME. If you try to play them on a later version of MAME, most of them will probably not work. Version 0.90 can be downloaded from the Emulators section of the website.

(3) Neo Geo, PolyGameMaster (PGM), Convertible Video System (CVS), DECO Cassette and Playchoice-10 games need their BIOS ROMs in addition to the game ROMs. BIOS ROMs are ROMs used for the system, that are common to all games on the system (often contain boot-up code, or menu processor code). These MUST be named NEOGEO.ZIP, PGM.ZIP, CVS.ZIP, DECOCASS.ZIP and PLAYCH10.ZIP respectively. Place these in your ROMS folder (LEAVE THEM ZIPPED!).

(4) A few games like the Cojag games and the Killer Instinct series need hard disk images (.CHD files) to accompany the ROMs. Place the CHD files in the roms directory and make sure they share the exact same name as the rom that they accompany.

(5) Capcom CPS-2 games (i.e. Street Fighter Alpha series, Vampire, D&D series, 19XX, X-men COTA, etc.) currently need their decryption tables to run in MAME. These files can be separate or merged into the ROM. Decryption tables get XORed to the encrypted ROMs, allowing them to be decrypted in RAM. Decryption tables have an "X" and the end of the ROM file name. Currently the decryption tables are only available at CPS2shock, and you'll have to wait for them to release the decryption tables for any unemulated CPS-2 game before it can be added to MAME. Once the encryption is cracked for real, these files won't be needed.

(6) The rom file is incomplete or corrupted due to an error that occurred during the download process, and therefore, unplayable.

10. How do I "press OK" when MAME prompts me to?

Press the "o" key, then the "k" key.

11. How do I configure the controls for MAME?

While the game is running:

(1) Press Tab to display the configuration menu.

(2) Select Input (this game) and press Enter.

(3) Select the input you want to change, and press Enter.

(4) Press the new key or joystick/joypad button you would like to change it to. You'll need to wait a second or two after pressing the button for it to set.

12. I want to restore the default control settings, but MAME won't let me change them back.

To restore the default settings, you'll have to delete default.cfg in the CFG subdirectory below the main MAME directory.

This post has been edited $posts[editcount] time(s), it was last edited by $posts[editor] on 03-11-2005 23:16.

04-09-2004 01:49 greymalkin16 is offline Send an Email to greymalkin16 Homepage of greymalkin16 Search for Posts by greymalkin16 Add greymalkin16 to your Buddy List AIM Screen Name of greymalkin16: greymalkin16 View the MSN Profile for greymalkin16
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13. Why do some games run so slowly on my system?

Some games have more system demands than others. While a simple game may only have one CPU to emulate, others may have many. The more hardware the game required in the arcade, the more slowly it will tend to run in MAME. (Donkey Kong's demands were simple, so it plays well on most computers. Cruis'n USA and Cruis'n World, on the other hand, don't run fast on anyone's system.)

14. Why does <insert game>'s bootleg version work, but the original doesn't?

Often, arcade ROMs were protected by hardware devices or encryption systems to prevent people from copying them. Despite this, unauthorized "bootleg" versions are found, which lack these protection schemes, making it much easier to emulate them than the original ROMs. For this reason, many original, protected games are still not emulated, while their bootleg versions work fine.

15. I downloaded some Neo Geo games but MAME won't recognize them.

Make sure you have downloaded the Neo geo romsets from the MAME section of the rom archives. If you download the romsets from the Neo Geo section, those are the AES home console versions of the games, which MAME won't recognize. You'll need to use a Neo Geo console emulator, like Neo Rage X, to play those rom sets.

16. The newest Neo Geo games lock up when loading the ROMs.

You need around 256 MB of RAM to load up those games without using swap memory, and even then they'll take a while to load. You can still go with 128 MB, however, if you're willing to wait around 15 minutes for each game to load.

17. How do I turn on blood in the Metal Slug and King of Fighters games?

Hit F2, use the Player 1 controls to navigate to "Setting up the soft dip", hit the primary button (Left Control), navigate to "Slot 1 (game name)", hit the primary button and finally navigate to the "Blood" selection and turn it on by hitting the primary button. To exit the menu, press the third button (Space) two times and select "Exit".

18. Hard Drivin', Metal Slug 2 and Double Dragon are choppy, but I have enough CPU power.

Although the FPS counter shows 100% speed for these games, they may appear choppy. This is true to the original - even the original hardware of these games struggled with them and therefore the choppiness is actually accurate emulation of these games.

19. How do I set up D&D - Shadow over Mystara or other games for 4 player use?

Usually the default number of players for most games is two - even if they support more. The most common way to set them for four players is to access the dipswitches using the Tab button, but sometimes the setting is not there. In these cases, try using the service mode (by default the F2 key) and investigate the service mode options. Follow the screen instructions on how to move between the menus and save the options (usually by exiting the service mode properly).

20. How do I get Die Hard Arcade to work?

According to rowdog777 - here is what you need:

Die Hard (US)
Dynamite Deka

Heres what you do:

1. Make sure Die Hard, Dynamite Deka, and the STVBIOS are in your Mame32 roms folder.

2. Open Mame32 (refresh the rom list if you just dropped the files into the rom folder for the first time), find Die Hard on your list of games (pay no attention if it mentions Not Working, it is referring to the sound and 100% video emulation). Right click on it.

3. Select Properties, then Miscellaneous.

4. Under the BIOS: setting change the bios to the US version - "USA (bios mp17952a)"

5. Run the game.

*Note this will make the game run, but it will still run slow on a PC compared to the way it ran in the arcade. Why? See the next question.

21. Why is MAME so slow? These games ran at less than 10 MHz, and my CPU is 500 MHz!

In the emulation world, megahertz is not analogous from your main CPU to the emulated CPU. MAME not only rigorously emulates every opcode of the emulated CPU(s), but also memory interfaces, video output and sound emulation, and all this in portable C code.

22. I upgraded to the latest MAME version, and now some of my ROMs don't work.

As MAME evolves, its emulation of existing games improves. This often means that more files from the original games' ROMs are necessary. Some of these files may not have been included in the ROMs' previous distributions, or you may have deleted some of them when you merged your ROMsets. Therefore, you can (a) stay with the previous version of MAME; or (b) download updated ROMs to use with the new MAME.

23. When I upgraded to a newer version of MAME, some of the roms that worked fine on my old version, started running slow and choppy on the new version.

Contrary to popular belief, the amount of drivers alone does not make MAME slower. The point is that the drivers are constantly improved and the improved emulation is more accurate to the actual original hardware so for MAME's purposes it's superior. Emulation accuracy is more important to the MAME development team than playability concerns.

Another thing to consider is a paradigm called "moving the optimization point". MAME's "sweet spot" is currently aimed at hardware with tilemaps, sprites, more than 256 colors on screen, and at least 2 CPUs, which is a common late-80s paradigm. Real-world examples of this include the Konami Twin16 games, the Sega X and Y boards, Namco System 2, Taito Z System, etc. It means that MAME makes more advanced games run faster at the expense of simpler hardware. The simpler hardware will work out in the end anyway due to ever-faster PCs. Pac-Man is very sub-optimal now vs. e.g. 0.29 for instance, but you'd be hard pressed to find a PC less than 4-5 years old where it doesn't run.


"Falling rainbows and changes of fowls' sexes are brought about by the interference of empresses and eunuchs in state affairs."
04-09-2004 16:15 greymalkin16 is offline Send an Email to greymalkin16 Homepage of greymalkin16 Search for Posts by greymalkin16 Add greymalkin16 to your Buddy List AIM Screen Name of greymalkin16: greymalkin16 View the MSN Profile for greymalkin16
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