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#115524 07/19/19 11:43 PM
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Bletch Offline OP
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I've been working on a new front end for MAME, called BletchMAME. Unlike existing front ends, which are more "launchers" than "front ends", BletchMAME replaces the MAME internal UI.

For more info, read here:
http://bletchmame.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/


Bletch #115527 07/20/19 10:01 PM
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Love the concept, the internal UI always seemed a lot clunkier to use to me than MESSUI. Initial impressions:

  • Options->Images seems unintuitive as the place where you have to go to actually load a disk/cartridge/etc. Maybe something like File->Load Software
  • Image slot names are not very user-friendly, e.g. nes_slot, sl6:diskiing:0:525. There are descriptive names for these devices if you grep the source for DEFINE_DEVICE_TYPE so it's a matter of plumbing that out I guess.
  • I wasn't able to boot a disk on apple2e, it starts up without a disk by default, then I select a disk and do a hard reset and it seems frozen
  • It wasn't obvious to me that File->Stop is how you get back to the driver picker, maybe something like File->Change Systems or File->Return to System List
  • Will definitely need more video settings to be a viable competitor to standalone emulators - e.g. full screen, fit to desktop, 1x/2x/3x size (I realize this is hard to do with layouts and correct aspect ratio). Resizing the window to any size is OK but it should at least lock the window aspect ratio to match what is actually being displayed inside, otherwise it's cumbersome to size it exactly right without having any black border.

Bletch #115528 07/20/19 10:37 PM
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Yes I agree. My focus has been on "the basics" - getting something like this working at all, before (for example) feeding human readable names from the core.

I'm also in the process of reimplementing some of the hooks into MAME as a LUA plug in, so any functionality exposed via LUA could be accessed by my front end.

Bletch #115529 07/20/19 10:52 PM
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This is very nice. Great!

But why Wxwidgets and not Qt?
It's not that I am a fan of Qt but as it is already used for debugger...Will MAME depend on both?

Bletch #115531 07/20/19 11:23 PM
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You're not the first person to ask that question.

I suppose that I just tried wxWidgets, liked it, and didn't spend a great deal of time weighing the decision. There is a possibility that had I evaluated both thoroughly, I may have made a different decision. All that said, the BletchMAME is a distinct application under <9k lines of code. If I wanted to switch to Qt, it wouldn't be difficult.

Bletch #115532 07/20/19 11:39 PM
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From where I'm sitting, once everything's merged into mainline in a satisfactory way, let a thousand frontends bloom.

Bletch #115533 07/20/19 11:40 PM
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So, if I understand correctly, BletchMAME does not replaces the MAME internal UI.
I mean that it will not be merged into MAME but it always will be a distinct application. Is not?

Bletch #115534 07/20/19 11:41 PM
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The idea is that it adds hooks which allow external frontends to interact with MAME's internals live, and therefore replace MAME's internal UI (but we'll still have that UI as an option because it does have its fans). BletchMAME itself shows one way those frontends can go, in a VICE-like direction.

Last edited by R. Belmont; 07/21/19 12:00 AM.
Bletch #115535 07/21/19 12:04 AM
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Ah, that is even better!
Thanks for replies.

Bletch #115536 07/21/19 12:18 AM
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What RB said - I'm personally eager for having a VICE-like experience, but the real value comes from the next thousand front ends :-)

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