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Hi. I posted this topic in the MAMEDev forums and got no attention, so I'm bringing it up here hoping it reaches someone who actually has a say on the matter.

I recently noticed that what MAME now considers the default build of Primal Rage is a so called "new build" of 2.3, which mirrors the version that was included in Midway Arcade Treasures 2, and AFAIK was never even in arcades.

This version of the game features simplified inputs and some missing specials, doing away with the control scheme that set the arcade game apart from other "mainstream" fighting games.
Contrarily to SF, MK and most others, where special moves are performed by a directional sequence and one or more buttons at the end, the specials in Primal Rage were performed by holding two or more buttons and then doing the directional moves.

In this "new build", however, the commands for special moves are replaced with standard Street Fighter-style inputs of directional sequences with a button at the end.
As an example, Armadon's Iron Maiden move, which originally was 2+3 A, U, T (holding 2 buttons and doing a half circle forward but done on the upper part of the joystick), is changed to B,D,DB + 3 (a backwards dragon punch move with a single button at the end).

For reference, here's guides with the two entirely different control schemes:
Original:
https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/arcade/583610-primal-rage/faqs/757
MAT2:
https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/xbox/919930-midway-arcade-treasures-2/faqs/32920

Now, are we sure we want to make this build the one to remember by making it the official one, while burying the one that's historically been in arcades by making it a clone and labeling it as an old build and a clone of this so called "new build"?

If this is not the right place to post this and you can suggest a better place, please by all means do so.

Thanks for reading if you got to this point.

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 01:37 AM.
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It was in arcades, though. It just wasn’t clearly identified, so a lot of people didn’t realise it was a different version. It was more common in Japan and Asia/Pacific. Guru had one for years without realising it was a different version to the previously dumped version that was common in North America.

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Well, it might have been a rarity thing, but EVERY SINGLE guide you'll find online for Primal Rage will have the "button hold" inputs, unless it's a guide for the version in Midway Arcade Treasures.
If it is MAME's intention to preserve what everyone experienced when they played Primal Rage at the time, the ROM they should be pointing people to is the one currently known as "primrageo", labeled as old and a clone of that other bizarre build.

Does anyone have any suggestions on who needs to be contacted about this?

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 09:58 PM.
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Noone in particular.
"build" is a weird word unless you're a developer, but other than that the chronological ordering of romsets looks fine by me.

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Chronological ordering? I don't know that MAME orders ROMs chronologically.

The issue here is about what game people will find when they play the base, ie default, Primal Rage ROM ("primrage").
As it is, people will be playing something that was a one-in-a-million oddity, the real thing being buried as a supposedly old variant.

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 10:38 PM.
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Given that Primal Rage isn't even a 'working' game right now, due to the severe protection emulation deficiencies, I'm not sure this is going to be a priority for anybody at this point. The game is broken, nobody should be playing it in MAME at all.

If it's the newest revision, and was in the arcades, MAME's standard policy does dictate it should be the parent though.

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The game is perfectly functional.
I don't know if there's any actual consequences of that non-implemented copy protection, but I know I have fully played through the game, and the only odd thing I found was the blood sometimes glitching and appearing yellowish instead of red.

Last edited by uKER; 09/18/23 10:50 PM.
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the game is broken, a lot of the special moves result in random glitches, collisions not working, characters floating in the air, or the game crashing....

the protection is nothing but hacked around, the state of the MAME emulation is not shippable in any form

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Originally Posted by uKER
The game is perfectly functional.
I don't know if there's any actual consequences of that non-implemented copy protection, but I know I have fully played through the game, and the only odd thing I found was the blood sometimes glitching and appearing yellowish instead of red.

To give further info on Haze's post: You're falling into exactly the same trap that arcade developers devised back in the day, and it's honestly pretty funny.

Assuming you were playing through the game in mainline MAME and not some super-secret version that has hacked around all of the protection checks rather than emulating the relevant protection device, the truth is something that I believe some arcade manufacturers pivoted off of when devising protection checks to guard against bootlegging: You're not that good of a player.

Historically, some of the most nefarious copy-protection checks have been those that only affect players after a significant amount of time, or those with a significant amount of skill. For the former, I can only direct you to this article that was authored surprisingly long ago, back in 2001: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/keeping-the-pirates-at-bay

For the latter, all I can point to is the sheer number of games where a lacking level of protection emulation has only been obvious in later levels of a game. Sega's "Quartet" had issues with its copy-protection hookup for quite a while until - and Haze will correct me if I'm wrong here - Haze noticed that some levels that were a good ways into the game ended up with moving platforms that the player would simply clip through.

At the time, within the scope of the arcade market, the best sort of copy protection was one that was inconsistent. If you have a game that wedges itself at the first sign of trouble, you immediately give any bootleggers that are kitted out with an ICE (in-circuit emulator) for the relevant CPU a sequence of events that they can use to reverse-engineer the protection. If things are more subtle - some play-throughs work fine, some don't - then you end up with an altogether more sinister way of sowing chaos and distrust at the particular arcade that has bootlegged a particular board.

All of that is to say that we don't know what we don't know, but what we do know is that the protection has not yet been fully defeated on Primal Rage. It could very well be that you've gotten through multiple play-throughs of the game. Well done, you have some remarkably good luck.

In the meantime, the people who have actually poured their hearts and souls into MAME, for anywhere from the past few years to the past quarter-century, have done enough homework to know that what MAME currently presents - and by extension, any hacked builds, whether they'll acknowledge it or not - is not an accurate representation of Primal Rage. That's why it's marked as not-working, and that's why debating over which set should be the parent set amounts to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic until someone steps up to the plate and volunteers the time, effort, and skill with a logic analyzer to figure out what is actually going on.

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I hear you. That is all good info. That article on copy protection was very interesting.
I only played PR as a child in the arcade, so replaying it in MAME I may encountered broken stuff that I didn't notice, or I just assumed that was the way the game was.

All that said, this conversation got sidetracked towards this copy protection issue, but regardless of the state of that, I still stand my case that I don't think MAME should make the parent ROM for the game a version that hardly anyone ever saw at the arcades just because it's newer.

Last edited by uKER; 09/19/23 01:32 AM.
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Atari Games intended that to be the best version of the game. If it was something that had been hacked up for Midway Arcade Treasures that would be another matter, but it was in arcades and has been found on later-production PCBs as Vas said.

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So, you're telling me that you really think that if today, 31 years later, Netherrealm put out a new build of the original Mortal Kombat arcade which lacked blood, screwing over a very deliberate design choice that largely contributed to the original game's identity, and put out 10 arcade machines on the streets, you would expect MAME to make that version the parent, meaning it would be what people would encounter if they just tried to play Mortal Kombat.
Just for being newer, and despite not being what has been on arcades for 31 years.
Really?

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Originally Posted by R. Belmont
Atari Games intended that to be the best version of the game. If it was something that had been hacked up for Midway Arcade Treasures that would be another matter, but it was in arcades and has been found on later-production PCBs as Vas said.

I could argue that it may have also been the only version they could find in their archives. But, I don't know the story behind that version, or if the developers said something that amounts to them looking at the original source and fixing things.

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Originally Posted by uKER
So, you're telling me that you really think that if today, 31 years later, Netherrealm put out a new build of the original Mortal Kombat arcade

It's not a 31 years later thing. These machines were the most common version in a lot of not-US countries in the actual 90s.

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Wrong blood colour (black, green or whatever) was required by youth protection law in Germany in many games. Later most fighting games replaced blood with luminous explosion/firework effects (explained as using "magic" swords etc.) to make them family friendly.

Game protections can do funny things; e.g. emulated Space Harrier added instead of subtracted lives when reaching higher levels. I read in a magazine that a 1st person shooter for PC made your gun suddenly fire chickens instead of bullets when it failed to detect its original CD.

By the way, I have played through Hard-/Race Drivin versions on MAME now a hundred times, but I guess its tons of funny glitches were original technical problems because it was the first driving simulator game with such technology. Only some random mid-game resets might be protection related.


MAY THE SOFTWARE BE WITH YOU!

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Same reason that PAL region console games tend to be parent sets. PAL versions tend to be later releases because they're inevitably delayed and/or screwed over by the likes of the Australian and/or German (etc.) governments' save-the-children censorship policies, and coincidentally happen to fix some bugs that weren't found when the final US version was released (and since the US version was released earlier, it's probably off the shelf for the next upcoming game).

Megaman 3 on the NES didn't have any censorship issues, but the PAL version removed some forgotten dev code which had allowed the use of the second controller to do things not intended by the game. A second PAL version was released shortly after (labeled "NES version", coinciding with Nintendo themselves taking over from Mattel in Europe/Australia), fixing a timing bug where the background went haywire on the second last stage due to still being programmed for 60Hz and the game running at 50Hz. Unfortunately they never fixed the Top Spin bug (the Rush Jet movement bug and the A6 dev password weren't patched either, but those are good bad bugs!)

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Originally Posted by uKER
So, you're telling me that you really think that if today, 31 years later, Netherrealm put out a new build of the original Mortal Kombat arcade which lacked blood, screwing over a very deliberate design choice that largely contributed to the original game's identity, and put out 10 arcade machines on the streets, you would expect MAME to make that version the parent, meaning it would be what people would encounter if they just tried to play Mortal Kombat.
Just for being newer, and despite not being what has been on arcades for 31 years.
Really?

In that case it would be counted as a new release, rather than a revision (there's almost no chance it would be running on the same PCB)

Primal Rage is different, this is just a revision of the game that was distributed back in the day, there was equal chance of you encountering either.

As it seems to be the newest revision it's possible the changes were made entirely based on feedback from people playing the game on location back then, with the choice eventually being made to use a more traditional scheme if it seemed like the game wasn't being played correctly / understood. Many games went through revisions like that.

Last edited by Haze; 09/19/23 10:20 AM.
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uKER: It's not difficult to download the ENTIRE mame rom set so just play whatever version you want.
If some random game player downloads x version of the game they won't know the difference either way.
I own the board with later ROM version and dumped it because that's what I do. Be happy you have it and several other versions.
This issue is a nothing-burger.


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