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#123116 01/31/24 08:40 AM
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MAME 0.262

After two long months, we’re back with MAME 0.262! Of course, it’s full of exciting work on multiple fronts. In core media support, MAME now supports FLAC compression for compact cassette images, and Zstandard compression in zip archives and CHD disk images. For maximum compatibility, chdman won’t use Zstandard compression by default, so you’ll need to enable it if you want to use it when creating or converting disk images. For your convenience, unidasm now allows you to specify offsets in hexadecimal or octal.

Three LaserDisc games designed by Rick Dyer are now working: the Japanese version of Time Traveler, the console-to-arcade conversion Thayer’s Quest, and Don Bluth’s Dragon’s Lair. It’s very exciting to see multiple LaserDisc captures combined to eliminate all dropouts from disc degradation and pressing faults for Dragon’s Lair and Thayer’s Quest.

Following up on work in the previous release, MAME now supports Sega’s TV Ocha-Ken system, based on the same technology as the Advanced Pico BEENA. It’s a far simpler system designed for young children, using barcode cards to trigger mini-games. Also from Sega, initial support for the AI computer has been added. No, this isn’t related to the current artificial intelligence craze; it’s a rather obscure system from 1986 featuring a pen tablet and using cartridge and compact cassette media.

Two more Casio Phase Distortion synthesisers have been added: the CZ-230S keyboard and the rare SZ-1 sequencer. The CZ-2230S lacked sound editing features but added a programmable drum machine (using PCM samples) and sequencer. Also in synthesiser emulation, MAME’s Wave Blaster host driver now supports multiple synthesiser modules from Casio, Samsung, and Yamaha. In other musical news, the original version of the very obscure Shamisen Brothers rhythm game from Kato’s has now been fully dumped and emulated.

The microcontroller program for Taito’s KiKi KaiKai was recently extracted. This contains a substantial amount of game logic, allowing the simulation code previously used by MAME to be retired and giving more confidence that the emulation is accurate. Improvements to our Fujitsu MB8841 emulation have fixed persistent issues in Arabian from Sun Electronics. HT1130 microcontrollers are now supported, allowing cheap hand-held “brick games” to be emulated, albeit without sound for now.

This is a big release for chess computer emulation. There are lots of newly supported chess computers from the brands you love, like Hegener + Glaser, Novag, and Saitek, as well as more versions of systems that were already supported. There were also a couple of backgammon computers added, from Saitek and Tryom.

There’s inevitably far more than we have time to talk about here, including an Arabic version of the Mattel Aquarius, an 8" floppy drive controller for the Apple II family, numerous Aristocrat Leisure gambling systems promoted to working, some big software list updates, and lots of code modernised. You can read about all the two months of development in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source code and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

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Vas Crabb #123118 01/31/24 01:14 PM
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Not even a word about Gakken TV Boy which was such a huge mark on emulation and preservation and definitely one of the highlights of this month.

And yet stuff like the arabic version of Aquarius gets mentioned lol

I wonder how the stuff for these summaries is picked really.

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Vas Crabb #123119 01/31/24 01:32 PM
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What's interesting for one person may be the complete opposite for someone else.
It seems to me these summaries are meant to try to appeal to a broad audience (highlighting something for everyone: i.e. people interested in Japanese consoles, people interested in computers, people interested in arcades).

Full disclosure: I have no role in writing the summaries, but I appreciate people using their free time to write them.

Vas Crabb #123120 01/31/24 01:48 PM
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Sorry, but that makes no sense if as you say it's for a broad audience then it would be on the top of the list.

How is it that preserving and emulating the whole library of such a historical system such as the TV Boy is not more interesting than dumping some weird arabic aquarius rom, some gambling games or a floppy drive controller that mostly anyone will even care?

Acquiring and dumping the games alone is a huge task itself considering their insane prices.

Vas Crabb #123121 01/31/24 01:57 PM
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I get you have huge interest in this hardware, but most people have probably never heard of it (raising my hand here). Whereas Arabian-speaking people may very well consider an Arabian language dump more interesting.

Vas Crabb #123122 01/31/24 02:39 PM
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Yes, I agree it should have been placed in cuavas's release notes.

BUT:
https://web.archive.org/web/20201128020232/https://tms9918.hatenablog.com/entry/2020/07/18/002516
All 6 games were already dumped in 2020, although hoarded so IMO not properly preserved (depending on interpretation of 'preserved').

The MAME driver, it's a small driver and wasn't much work for me. It's also not that big a deal to users due to already existing emulation in Takeda's Common Source Code Project.
Having to do fixes to the 6801U4 emulation was more time consuming.

Vas Crabb #123123 01/31/24 02:50 PM
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The summary isn't anywhere near the entirety of what's new even in normal months, let alone a release this significant. If you're relying only on it for what's new you're missing out on cool stuff for every single release.

Vas Crabb #123124 01/31/24 03:16 PM
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You seriously underestimate the amount of goodwill we gain from supporting localised versions of home computers. We got a massive amount of mindshare in China by supporting the CEC line of Chinese Apple II derivatives, which has translated directly to more contributions.

People have limited attention spans, so only a few interesting things will get called out. If you want to talk about what most people are interesting in this time, it’s the LaserDisc games. There’s also a fair bit of interest in synth emulation, and the rhythm game community are pretty curious about Shamisen Brothers.

If anyone has a right to complain about not getting a call-out, it’s cam900. He’s taken it on himself to clean up and encapsulate very poorly-structured MESS-era code, as well as tidying up a bunch of arcade systems. Or maybe Robin Sergeant, who’s shown up out of nowhere and started fixing issues with a very neglected system.

There’s a bunch of other important and/or interesting work in this release that didn’t get mentioned. How about not corrupting memory when mounting CD-ROM images? Or the slotted PCI devices? Or the PXA255 becoming less of a clusterfuck? Or applying alpha when drawing text components so a lot of internal artwork looks less crap? Or Brother PN-8800FXB emulation? Or an LCD game with a radiation scintillation counter?

But you know what’s great about the Internet? It gives everyone a platform. If you think everyone wants to hear about Compact Vision TV Boy emulation, go ahead and promote it.

Vas Crabb #123125 01/31/24 03:21 PM
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Great news, I'm also super happy seeing progress on the Epoch Cassette Vision, the battlevader cart I had taunted me for many years as it seemed undumpable and I eventually sent it to sean riddle with everything else that frustrated me. The most surprising to see was the Sega AI, I thought that would be permahoarded.

Last edited by incog; 01/31/24 03:22 PM.
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Vas Crabb #123126 01/31/24 04:00 PM
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To amplify Vas's point, if you want to promote something in MAME, make a YouTube video about it. It doesn't have to be slick like Bob Zed or Mog's stuff, even just an -aviwrite with a good description can work.

Also, the Sega AI computer is giving me weird nostalgia for something I didn't know existed before the PR came in. In the mid to late 80s, US computer magazines regularly touted advanced Japanese "fifth generation computers" and Prolog as an AI language. Of course, that never went anywhere, but it always sounded like Skynet was about to happen.

There was also a general air of how even cheap JDM machines were crazy advanced and we were lucky to have the IIgs/Amiga/ST and EGA/VGA PCs that could run Japanese games like Thexder and Silpheed, which is laughable now that I can play the actual PC-88 originals.

Last edited by R. Belmont; 01/31/24 04:27 PM.
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