Well, after months from the first announcement, the NES software list in xml format has landed in the svn repository: 3625 listed dumps and most of them start in MESS (I had not enough time to extensively test all of them, therefore I only state that they start )...
keep in mind that, despite the long time I spent on it, the list is still very prelimninary: a lot of manufacturers and release years are missing and some alt dumps might in fact be bad dumps or hacks (more investigations are definitely needed for some of them). However, I think the result is not that bas as a starting point
a couple of comments:
- first of all: the files listed in nes.xml are not in iNES or UNIF format, but they are raw dumps of the chips inside the carts. hence, differently from what had happened with previous MESS list, even if you scan with clrmame your rom collection (be it nointro, TOSEC, GoodNES or NonGoodNES) you will probably see a sad 0 as result... how to test the new feature, then?
well, there are two possibilities:
lazy way: you can wait for other people to complete the NES set and to post it somewhere... it will eventually happen, so you can simply sit down and wait hard way: you open src/mess/machine/nes.c and change line 19 & 20 to
#define SPLIT_PRG 1
#define SPLIT_CHR 1
then your recompile MESS and you start playing with the files from your NES collections: every time a iNES or UNIF file is loaded in the recompiled MESS, a prg and a chr files will be created in your MESS directory and these can be rebuilt by clrmame into romsets which MESS can play. In this way you will obtain 99% of the listed files (the remaining ones might require additional split up of the obtained files, but they can be handled manually)
- second comment: if you use clrmame on this xml list, remember to use the "non-merged sets" option because MESS is still unable to load roms from parents for the clones, and therefore split sets are not supported (a fix is in progress, but not ready yet)