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Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115586 07/31/19 11:15 AM
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Bletch Offline OP
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Yes that seems like a good idea; a number of other emulators do similar things. I actually really groaned when I saw the image file dialog for the first time, but (for the time being of course) resigned myself to the fact that I was exposing everything possible in core MAME.

I suspect that in practice such a feature would have to be built for MAME’s normal UI, and then exposed through hooks.

Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115587 07/31/19 11:27 AM
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I admit I'm one of the softlist agnostics - I use the emulated CP/M, DOS or whatever machine like I would use the real thing - floppy disks (or images thereof) more or less organised, cramming them into the drives ...


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Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115588 07/31/19 02:25 PM
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It is difficult to ignore that Softlists are essentially a MAME only phenomenon; other popular computer/console emulators don’t have them. And BletchMAME is an attempt to provide a more conventional front end.

And expect that to prompt more chatter than the question about whether it is appropriate to present the GNU GPL as a click through license agreement...

Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115589 07/31/19 03:07 PM
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Hehe smile Don't want to spam your thread ...

I get the situation on the console side (although I don't know the systems as such), where you can load a ROM only if the emulator knows about the correct supporting environment that comes with the cartridge to make it work.

For PCs there is definitely a need for a "curated list" or such. Take the Amstrad 1512 and 1640 that came with a set of four or five disks, or systems that need their setup disks due to a lack of a built-in setup. I think these should be identifiable/loadable in an unadulterated form. Maybe some four digit CRC that doesn't take a lot of screen estate and is human readable?


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Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115590 07/31/19 03:51 PM
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Please understand tho that with MAME the Software Lists are the recommended way for running things.

A lot of Software, especially for the consoles, WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY if you use the loose ROM loading, as it relies on the Software Lists to specify the extra hardware in the cartridges (especially custom mappers, NVRAM etc. things that we don't want to have to add a ton of ugly hack code to detect from the ROM data alone) This isn't so much a problem for tape / disk based media, but for cartridges it is important.

Non-softlist use also encourages poor dumping practices (single ROM file for multiple chips etc.) with no incentive for people to do things properly.

Furthermore, loose ROMs encourage people to keep bad dumps around, with no incentive to replace them as the software still runs them and won't report any issue with the dump (the emulation problems as a result of these bad dumps may not be obvious, this has been a problem in the console scene for years and would have been for arcade emulation had we not gone with our own database from day 1. Even when redumps have been around for years in the console scene people keep using the old bad dumps they already have, sometimes the good dumps actually fall out of circulation as a result because the emulators aren't making people aware they should replace their bad ones)

We've been heavily dissuading people from using the loose ROM loading for these reasons (to the point where I'd really like to see it locked out by default for systems with mature lists unless some 'development mode' switch is flipped in the ini file)

Softlists are a "MAME only phenomenon" because part of what MAME does is recognize where the existing scene is failing and attempts to do something about it by pushing people in the right direction to ensure a better future for everybody, even if it seems less convenient in the short term.

If your 'BletchMAME' is encouraging users to ignore Softlists, that is a problem, and is damaging to the core project and the user experience. If you champion a path of least resistance, people will take it, this is not beneficial in this situation.


Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115591 07/31/19 04:27 PM
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Software lists are valuable for cartridge systems for the reasons Haze describes (but I'd rather improve the loose file loading than make it go away; loose files are going to be people's first attempt at trying MAME, and the fact that they don't always work has caused a lot of people to switch to RetroArch or other alternatives). They're a less-good fit for floppy disks and tapes, and can sometimes get in the way of actually using the emulated computer as a computer (they're great for the case where you just want to play games, of course).

BletchMAME should support both methods or else I'll start pulling all his hooks out of top-of-tree.

Last edited by R. Belmont; 07/31/19 04:30 PM.
Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115592 07/31/19 04:31 PM
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Well unless we add a reverse 'look up loose file in softlist, attempt to work out proper softlist entry' type logic it's always going to come down to really ugly hack code (that sometimes the ROMs intentionally cause to fail to fool copiers etc.) and even that kind of reverse lookup is unreliable.

and even if we add that logic, it becomes problematic as soon as you're dealing with merged roms instead of split roms or cases where the loose ROMs are byteswapped vs. the proper dumps. You start to have to check a ridiculous number of possibilities.

MAME has always favoured trying to offer cleaner code, not code full of detection hacks.

Unfortunately the scene is 'broken' in the sense they'd rather keep bad stuff because it's convenient, and do things the wrong way because it's convenient, leave the burden on the developers to have a sky high pile of hack code, exclusions with built in patches to compensate for bad roms etc, because it's convenient (for end users)... MAME has to try and encourage more positive models I think, it's what separates us in a good way even if we do get hate for it. I'm not sure sinking to the same lows is positive, even if it's more what people expect.

Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115593 07/31/19 04:37 PM
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The scene is what it is, and we have to play along or become irrelevant. This is mostly just about NES anyway, and NES loose file parsing is a long-solved problem in e.g. NEStopia and many others.

Otherwise we'll have to re-detach MESS on the grounds nobody's using it and make a lot of the wrong people way too happy.

Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115595 07/31/19 05:41 PM
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Never fear BletchMAME will be supporting software lists, and I would agree that they are the way to preserve these myriad console and computer software in the same way we are preserving arcade systems.

That said, the softlist approach is a bit more alien for the computer emulation world, much of which is probably not in “the” scene (or rather the “emu scene”) that wants unimpeded use of the dumps they personally made (that might be “bad” because they have the saved games they made as a twelve year old), and that will be taken into account.

Re: BletchMAME [Re: Bletch] #115596 07/31/19 06:05 PM
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I think software lists for computers will be more accepted for computers that have organized high-quality dumping projects going on, like has been happening with the Apple II. I'm just not sure how many of those are going to happen.

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