Some of you have no doubt noticed my increased work on MacMAME over the past few weeks. I've taken advantage of a break in work to get back to some of the stuff that I enjoy working on in my spare time, like MacMAME.
To that end, I've got a development path charted, and it is going to be a battle on two different fronts.
The first front is the MacMAME core. By this I mean the part of MacMAME that draws the video, plays the sound and contains all the PC code. I'm gradually shifting this towards the new OSX-only technologies and bringing it into the 21st century, piece by piece. As you all know, MAME on the PC is open-source and free software and naturally MacMAME will stay that way.
This leads directly to the second part - the MacMAME front-end. This is everything you see from the moment you launch the app until you click on the "Play" button. This is where I'm planning on making the largest change. I've laid the groundwork to allow an outside app to set all the preferences for the MacMAME core and launch it with those game settings. In the future (I'm not sure when), I'm strongly leaning towards removing the front-end from MacMAME and turning it into a closed-source shareware app, probably priced around $10.
This means a few things. One, you'll have to pay in the future to get what you have right now for free - or live with the shareware nag stuff and not pay.
Two, this will open the door for other folks to write their own MacMAME front-end apps and charge money for them if they so desire, or open-source one and make something that totally spanks my shareware front-end and makes me want to cry.
My intention of course is to overhaul the front-end so that it's much nicer than it is right now. Probably when I hit the point where it's markedly better is when I'll make the split and start charging. The rationale behind all this is to basically help me justify spending my time on improving MacMAME through legitimate financial incentives.
"But I won't pay!" I hear you cry. What happens to MacMAME if you don't? Not much - it'll basically run as it does now, with PPC assembly cores, fancy blitters and the like based on what it finds stuffed in its own Preferences file, and it'll remain free. It'll be updated separate from the front-end. In the absence of a front-end proper, it'll likely prompt you to pick a ROM and run using the prefs that were set for it by either a front-end or the in-game menus. Configuring MacMAME without a front-end will likely remain about as bare-bones as it is now, with most of the work handled by Command-key shortcuts and menu options.
So this is the part where I stop talking and gather feedback.