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Posted By: Vas Crabb About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 04:46 PM
I’m starting to get really confused about these version misconceptions and where they’re coming from.

First of all, about the comment about 0.78 being the second-most downloaded version after the latest. While it’s true, the ratio is huge. The latest version gets thousands of downloads per day in the first few days after release. We’ll usually end the month with around 50,000 downloads of the Windows binary of the latest release, and over 10,000 downloads of the source package. That’s not including all the people who get MAME from elsewhere, clone the repo and compile themselves, etc. MAME 0.78 gets a couple of dozen downloads per day at best – it’s getting less than a thousand downloads per month (split about 2:1 windows binary to source), so it would take over four years to get the same number of downloads as the latest version gets each month. MAME 0.37b5 is usually the third-most downloaded version, with a bit less activity than 0.78 gets. So Haze, I don’t think you need to be concerned than MAME 0.78 installs are growing too quickly. It’s still a very small number of downloads compared to the latest release.

Now these two versions are, shall we say, special because MAME 0.78 is the basis for RetroArch’s MAME 2003, and MAME 0.37b5 is the basis for MAME4ALL. (I don’t know why RetroArch chose to base their “MAME for PotatOS” on 0.78 in particular, I don’t remember it being a particularly significant release. It’s not like they chose to use the last version before the render manager rewrite of 0.106, which is what things like AdvanceMAME and XMAME were stuck on for a while, or the last version of MAME before a C++ compiler became a requirement, like ShmupMAME did for a while). MAME 0.78 and MAME 0.37b5 ROM sets are readily available due to these forks, so I’m guessing people downloading MAME 0.78 and MAME 0.37b5 are taking the advice to “get an older version of MAME that matches your ROMs” that often gets posted on reddit.

What I fail to understand is why there seem to be an increasing number of people getting the impression that the 0.37b5 ROM set is the most up-to-date:
  • It can’t just be from misinterpreting version numbers as decimal fractions. If that was the issue, these people would think the MAME 0.78 ROM set is the latest widespread ROM set.
  • I don’t think it’s coming from RetroArch/RetroPi/Lakka/Batocera, since they don’t push 0.37b5, preferring their 0.78 derivatives. In fact, one for TA’s favourite arguments for why we should be happy with what they do is, “If it weren’t for us, people would be using MAME4ALL, based on MAME 0.37b5 from 2000, not MAME 2003, based on MAME 0.78!” (Yeah, I know – they’re saving us from people using a 22-year-old version by pimping a 19-year-old version. What a huge difference that makes!)
  • I don’t think it’s from the “reference” terminology that’s sometimes used. The top search results for that are 0.78 ROMs (“MAME 2003 Reference Collection”) and 0.174 ROMs (“MAME 2016 Reference Set”). The “MAME 2003 Reference Collection” (0.37b5), “MAME 2010 Reference Set”, “MAME 2015 Reference Set” and “AdvanceMAME 1.4 Reference Collection” (0.106) rank lower in search results. But even ignoring search engine ranking, if they were solely looking at “reference” sets, they’d think the 2016/0.174 ROM set is the latest, because (if you ignore the AdvanceMAME one) those are numbered by year, and 2016 is the latest year there.


So where’s the misconception coming from? What am I missing? There can’t seriously be a resurgence of MAME4ALL derivatives, can there?
Posted By: Vas Crabb Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 05:05 PM
Oh I see, someone has SEO’d a site to the top of the search results for “mame roms latest” on multiple search engines that claims that 0.37b5 is the latest. Lovely. SEO bandits ruin everything.
Posted By: u-man Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 05:56 PM
While everything you wrote here is likely correct, you underestimate how many sources are out in the WWW, where you have no numbers at all. You count only how many times 0.37 and 0.78 is downloaded at official MAME, but the downloads elsewhere will remain mostly foggy to you, because there are so many groups just on Facebook alone (and according to you devs Facebook is a place that you dont enter), that share their sets among all the raspies, android smartphones even jailbreaked iOS versions. You underestimate the huge number of folks that is outthere, that are not interested in actual versions of MAME, because it can not be run on the hardware they want to use for their projects. All the people that are very satiesfied with just the golden era of arcade and happy about successful projects on small budget.

0.78 is significant in that way, that it was modified by the scene in a way, that it can handle games that where not supported initially by official 0.78. Examples can be found on Youtube. For the most people this modified version fullfill their needs. So only unaware people of that fact, would download these versions on your site.

You also underestimate all the consoles, like original Xbox and PS1-3 etc. Where exact these versions you mentioned, are the only way to have playable arcade and other emulators on their elsewise abandoned consoles. These emulators are highly tailored and work perfectly fine on these consoles. And you forget all the people that already have these "complete systemms" running. Their interest in actual versions are nearly none.
Posted By: Vas Crabb Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 06:02 PM
Oh shut up u-man. I know lots of people use RetroArch. What I’m talking about here is the rise of people getting the latest version of MAME but believing the 0.37b5 ROM set is the latest. They’ve been getting to epidemic level lately. After reading a comment about download statistics elsewhere, Haze had expressed concern that the install base of MAME 0.78 is growing disproportionately fast in the ShoutBox, and I was responding to that.
Posted By: u-man Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 06:20 PM
IDC. 0.37 and 0.78 sets are one of the most "complete" sets for all the reasons i mentioned. This is NOT only Retroarch related. So you will likely find these sets anywhere and if people goggle complete MAME sets, they will more likely find these and think that these sets are the current ones, because they are spread the most. A pity PD was closed.
Posted By: Vas Crabb Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 06:29 PM
You’re still completely missing the point. I know why 0.37b5 and 0.78 ROM sets are widespread. What I was confused about is why an increasing number of people who manage to download the latest version of MAME correctly still somehow think that 0.37b5 is the latest ROM set. I now realise it’s because of a very SEO-friendly site telling people this.
Posted By: u-man Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 07:08 PM
If you think it’s because of a very SEO-friendly site telling people this, then good luck with your assumption.
Posted By: Haze Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 07:33 PM
I'm inclined to agree it is though. This has never been a problem in 20 years prior, and now all of a sudden this previously unknown (and mostly useless) site has come from nowhere and is topping search engine results for any combination of 'mame' 'roms' and 'latest' for no apparent reason (it's certainly not a well established or reputable site and it's filled with misinformation, so there's something fishy going on) and we're getting people thinking 0.37b5 is the 'latest' when it's over 22 years old.
Posted By: R. Belmont Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 07:41 PM
u-man: we know it's because of the SEO, the people being confused by it have confirmed as much. Take the L.
Posted By: Alegend45 Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 11:32 PM
Could MAMEdev maybe get the site taken down? I'm not sure how exactly you'd pull that off though... Maybe claim trademark infringement? That's my guess :P
Posted By: Dullaron Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/26/22 11:34 PM
That won't stop them. The old source and builds out there. Plus out of date roms. lol
Posted By: Heihachi_73 Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/27/22 01:09 AM
It certainly happened in the earlier days, but it was nowhere near as pronounced as today.

In the 2000s people with crappy PCs (e.g. Pentium 3s or AMD Athlons/Durons of the same era) were holding onto 0.73 or thereabouts because it was the last version that somewhat ran Mortal Kombat games without being too laggy (the Midway DCS speed hacks were removed in the 0.7x era). In the mid/late 2000s people were going even further backwards to MAME thirty two kay 0.64 because of the hacky netplay.

Usually when someone was going out of their way to run something really old like 0.3x it was because they were trying to get it to run on a weak device like a 486 or an iPod or a mid-2000s 144p 'filmed with a toaster' smartphone for shits and giggles - it was more of a case of "will it run MAME" in the same vein as "will it run Doom" rather than the device being a serious alternative to a PC. The Pi scene is just a continuation of that, except that the later models are considered "good enough" to actually replace home game consoles, even if the emulation is imperfect (not-quite-right emulation of real arcade games still beats inferior 80s/90s console/home computer ports of arcade games).

Eventually people will start ditching their old stuff when more capable devices come out, and 0.37b5 and 0.78 can be put back to rest and then we can complain about everyone flocking to MAME 0.139 instead.
Posted By: Haze Re: About the version misconceptions - 02/27/22 01:23 AM
Yeah, people ran out versions before, the phenomenon we're discussing however is people thinking the old versions are the latest...

There is one point this happened before to memory, and that was when MAME32 rebranded as MAMEUI. For the longest time nobody picked up on that, and still searched for MAME32, and assumed a very old version was the current / latest version because they were so used to looking for MAME32 and thought the project just stopped when that stopped being updated. I didn't mention it though, as MAME32/MAMEUI are forks anyway..
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