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Messages - dmmarti

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Systems I’ve been able to get working:

APF Imagination Machine
Acorn Archimedes
Acorn BBC Micro
Acorn Electron
Bally Astrocade
Bandai Super Vision 8000
Bit Corporation Gamate
Camputers Lynx
Casio PV-1000
Casio PV-2000
Coleco Adam
Creatronic Mega Duck
Dragon 32 (cassettes and cartridges)
Emerson Arcadia 2001
Entex Adventure Vision
Epoch Game Pocket Computer
Epoch Super Cassette Vision
Exidy Sorcerer (included Basic based programs)
Fujitsu FM Towns
Fujitsu FM7 (cassettes and disks)
Interton VC 4000
MGT Sam Coupe
Mattel Aquarius
Memotech MTX
Sharp MZ-2500
Sharp MZ-700
Sharp X1 (supports multi-disk games)
Sord M5
Spectravideo (cassettes and cartridges)
Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer (cassettes and cartridges)
Tandy TRS-80
Tangerine Oric
Texas Instruments TI 99-4A (including 32k ram games)
Tomy Tutor
VTech CreatiVision
VTech Laser 200
Watara Supervision

Additional examples

Here are some additional system examples for the Attract Mode emulator config file and the special *.bat launcher scripts.

Emersion Arcadia 2001

BIOS:  none needed

Attract Mode emulator file:

filename:  Emerson Arcadia 2001.cfg

file contents:

# Generated by Attract-Mode v2.4.1-1
executable           cmd
args           /c cd “D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\" & mess_arcadia.bat "[romfilename]"
rompath              D:\Roms\arcadia\
romext               .zip;.ZIP;.bin;.BIN
system               Emerson Arcadia 2001
artwork    boxart          D:\Roms\arcadia\boxart
artwork    cartart          D:\Roms\arcadia\cartart
artwork    flyer             D:\Roms\arcadia\flyer
artwork    marquee      D:\Roms\arcadia\marquee
artwork    snap            D:\Roms\arcadia\snap
artwork    wheel           D:\Roms\arcadia\wheel

RetroArch_MESS launcher script

filename:  mess_arcadia.bat

file contents:

echo off
set arg1=%1
@echo retroarch.exe -L cores\mame_libretro.dll mess.cmd > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\run_mess.bat
@echo arcadia -rp ".\system" -cart %arg1% > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\mess.cmd


Sord M5


Attract Mode emulator file:

filename:  Sord M5.cfg

file contents:

# Generated by Attract-Mode v2.4.1-1
executable           cmd
args           /c cd “D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\" & mess_m5.bat "[romfilename]"
rompath              D:\Roms\m5\
romext               .zip;.ZIP;.bin;.BIN;.cas;.CAS;.rom;.ROM
system               Sord M5
artwork    boxart          D:\Roms\m5\boxart
artwork    cartart         D:\Roms\m5\cartart
artwork    flyer             D:\Roms\m5\flyer
artwork    marquee      D:\Roms\m5\marquee
artwork    snap            D:\Roms\m5\snap
artwork    wheel           D:\Roms\m5\wheel

RetroArch_MESS launcher script

filename:  mess_m5.bat

file contents:

echo off
set arg1=%1
@echo retroarch.exe -L cores\mame_libretro.dll mess.cmd > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\run_mess.bat
@echo m5 -rp ".\system" -cart %arg1% > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\mess.cmd

These older MESS based systems require a little more work to get them running within Retroarch with the MAME (MESS) core.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is I’ve had to Google many times for some older computer systems to figure out how to actually load a cassette or run it once it’s loaded.

Here’s a good webpage for a few of the more popular computers.

Bally Astrocade Example:

Rom/Game launches

If all went well, Retroarch should launch with the MAME core using the MESS *.cmd file for command line arguments.

Retroarch will start with full keyboard emulation enabled.

This means the ESCAPE key will not work to exit the game and TAB will not work to bring up the MESS GUI config window.

Press the Scroll Lock key to switch to Partial keyboard emulation. Once switched, ESCAPE and TAB will work as expected.

Access the MESS GUI to configure specific controller/gamepad buttons as needed, swap disks sometimes, etc.

Some games use the number pad for game controls, some use ESCAPE as a fire button, some use SHIFT or various other keyboard keys. That’s why the default is full keyboard emulation.

Bally Astrocade Example:

Retroarch config:

Download and extract Retroarch

I renamed the extracted folder (to keep it separate from my standard Retroarch emulator folder). This keeps my MESS based systems together and separate from my other configuration (for MAME, NES, SNES, etc).

I have this version of Retroarch installed here:


Place the BIOS file here:


Once you have Retroarch installed with the latest MAME core and BIOS file, you’ll need to make some adjustments in the core options file.

This sets up MAME so it does not force it to use the software list Hash files.  This lets us use any rom folder name and file naming convention we want to.

filename:  retroarch-core-options.cfg

Add these lines:

mame_softlists_enable = "disabled"
mame_softlists_auto_media = "disabled"
mame_boot_from_cli = "disabled"
mame_mouse_enable = "enabled"

Special *.bat files:

Each MESS based system will have it’s own Windows *.bat launcher script. 

Attract Mode launches the *.bat file passing the rom filename.  This special *.bat file creates a MESS *.cmd file with MESS command line arguments and then launches Retroarch using the *.cmd file.

Here’s our example:

filename:  mess_astrocde.bat

file contents:

echo off
set arg1=%1
@echo retroarch.exe -L cores\mame_libretro.dll mess.cmd > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\run_mess.bat
@echo astrocde -rp ".\system" -cart %arg1% > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\mess.cmd

Line explanations:

echo off
This lines turns off any DOS terminal messages

set arg1=%1
This line is the passed “[romfilename]” value

@echo retroarch.exe -L cores\mame_libretro.dll mess.cmd > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\run_mess.bat
This line creates the temporary *.bat file that will be executed to launch the rom/game

@echo astrocde -rp ".\system" -cart %arg1% > D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\mess.cmd
This line adds the MESS command line arguments to the MESS *.cmd file that sets up how to run the rom/game.
For Astrocade games, they are cartridge based (-cart parameter)

This line runs the newly created temporary *.bat file
This launches Retroarch with the MAME core and tells Retroarch to use the MESS *.cmd file.

Emulators / Re: Running MESS systems within Attract Mode (Windows PC)
« on: July 16, 2020, 08:04:10 AM »
Bally Astrocade Example:

Attract Mode config:

My Attract Mode is installed here:


Here’s my Attract Mode emulator config file:

filename:  Bally Astrocade.cfg

file contents:

# Generated by Attract-Mode v2.4.1-1
executable           cmd
args           /c cd "D:\Emulators\RetroArch_MESS\" & mess_astrocde.bat "[romfilename]"
rompath              D:\Roms\astrocde\
romext               .zip;.ZIP;.bin;.BIN
system               Bally Astrocade
artwork    boxart          D:\Roms\astrocde\boxart
artwork    cartart          D:\Roms\astrocde\cartart
artwork    flyer             D:\Roms\astrocde\flyer
artwork    marquee      D:\Roms\astrocde\marquee
artwork    snap            D:\Roms\astrocde\snap
artwork    wheel           D:\Roms\astrocde\wheel

Attract Mode will launch a special *.bat file (mess_astrocde.bat in this example) and pass it the “[romflename]” value.

Each MESS system will have its own special *.bat file to use (see below).

Setup a display for it and generate the romlist if needed.

Windows PC - Attract Mode - Retroarch - MESS systems

Hey group….ever wanted to tinker around with MESS based systems on a Windows PC build with Retroarch?

I’ve slowly been working through this process and adding MESS based systems using Retroarch.  So far, I’ve been able to figure out quite a few systems using this method.

It’s easier on a Raspberry Pi / RetroPie build to do it - but i wanted to also get it working on my Windows PC build.

I’ve worked out a method to get any MESS based system working and it’s easy to add new ones (it might take a little bit to figure out the exact MESS command line arguments though).

Using this method, you do not need to adhere to the old MESS convention of using the Hash files.  Setting up Retroarch/MAME core to not use software lists makes this possible.

The latest MAME Retroarch core includes MESS built into it so there is no separate MESS core.

Sorry for the long post and I hope it makes sense. 
If anyone would like to see a video demo of this method, let me know and I’ll make one and post it.

I’ll work through the method here and demonstrate it using the Bally Astrocade system.


High level overview of this method:

Attract Mode will launch a special Windows *.bat file and pass it the “[romfilename]” value.

This special *.bat file is located in the Retroarch directory.

The *.bat file is used as a command line launcher script so we can pass MESS based command line arguments to it.

This allows the ability to setup cassette, floppy assignments, memory expansions, etc.

The *.bat file creates a secondary MESS *.cmd file with the MESS command line parameters and then launches it.

This launches Retroarch with the MAME (MESS) core with the new command line parameters and our rom file.



Windows PC Attract Mode
Retroarch with the latest MAME core installed (it has MESS built into it)
MAME/MESS BIOS files (obtained from latest MAME and latest MAME Software List versions)

The BIOS files go into the Retroarch\system folder

General / Re: [HELP] Displays Menu Options...
« on: June 22, 2020, 10:54:34 AM »
Since you already have a 3-tier nested menu working .. you've got that part all handled.

But, I'm thinking, if you are wanting to go to a 2-tier menu like this:

Displays Menu/Main Menu
    | - Consoles (have romlist with all games from all consoles available)
    | - Handhelds (have romlist with all games from all handhelds available)

But....when you go into Consoles ... let's say, you are initially only seeing NES games.  Scrolling up/down through NES games only.  You would like to be able to "go to next console" from there and only see, say SNES games.

Here's an idea:

1. create a master consoles_only.txt romlist
    manually copy-paste all of your current console romlist file's contents into this single large file

2. create a new Consoles_Only display
    set it up to use this newly made consoles_only.txt romlist

Now...setup new filters on this new filter for every console system you have.

Let's say you have the following consoles.


Setup a new filter called "NES" with this:

Emulator = "NES"

Now create 3 more filters:

filter name: SNES
filter: Emulator = "SNES"

filter name: TG16
filter: Emulator = "TG16"

filter name: ATARI2600
filter: Emulator = "ATAR2600"

Setup a hotkey button to cycle through Filters.

I'm thinking what you should end up with is, a new display that has a romlist with every game from those consoles...but the new display is governed by various filters that are setup to only show games from a single system.

The "All" filter will still be there and show all games (but you could remove it if wanted).  Otherwise, you'd just press a button to cycle through the Filters for each system and use Up/Down to scroll the games.

Just replace the samples above with your proper emulator names.

Hope that makes sense (it did in my head when typing....LOL).


Added 440 new system platform videos.

These are done in the same style as EmuMovie's "EM Default (HQ)(4x3)" platform videos.  They are 640x480 system snaps that can be used in various ways within Attract Mode's themes.

Added many more systems along with Collections and Main Menu videos.

Link is in the main post above.

(note: I've also uploaded them to EmuMovies FTP and sent a note to Circo about them)

Hey group,

I’ve been making system media for quite awhile now .. that I re-use when making various themes with.

I’ve also been working on a massive Attract Mode overview file repo to try and cover as many systems/games as I can.

I’ve uploaded them to Github for all to download and use.

You can see them in action in several of my Attract Mode themes.  Here’s a Youtube playlist link to my themes to see demo’s of the various media.  (my themes also have threads here on the forum)

Youtube Playlist link:

Hope some find them useful!



System Images

These are (mostly) larger transparent PNG images for systems.  Most are fairly large PNG images so can easily be scaled down and used for all kinds of theme purposes.

Arcade cabinets (I also made a whole slew of them for the various break out boards)

Github link:


System Flyers

These are 2D flyers for not only systems but also a lot of Collections too. 

There are two styles:

standard:  these are 2D flyers
bordered:  these are 2D flyers with a category white border around them (dictating what type of system/collection its for)

Github links:


System Wheels

These are transparent PNG wheels for systems and various collections.

There are two styles:

transparent:  these are transparent logo/wheel art
oval:  these are oval styled versions of the logo/wheel art

Github links:


System Videos (HQ)(4x3)

These are in the same style as the EM Default (HQ)(4x3) platform videos from EmuMovies.  They are 640x480 system platform videos.

Unfortunately, due to the size of them all, I cannot host them on Github.

I’ve uploaded them all to a 1fichier online storage location.  This way, bulk downloaders like JDownloader can be used to download more than one-at-a-time.

1fichier link:


System Videos (720p)(16x9)

These are in the same style as the Unified platform videos from EmuMovies.  They are 720p 16x9 system platform videos.

Unfortunately, due to the size of them all, I cannot host them on Github.

I’ve uploaded them all to a 1fichier online storage location.  This way, bulk downloaders like JDownloader can be used to download more than one-at-a-time.

1fichier link:


Attract Mode Game Overview Files

I’ve been compiling a large Github repo with game overview files.

They are named using the No-Intro/Hyperspin naming.  I’ve been able to gather quite a large selection from MAME to consoles/handhelds and older computer systems.

There’s almost 50,000 files at this current time.

Github link:

Themes / Re: Unified Theme - theme conversion of Big Box Unified
« on: May 04, 2020, 06:54:05 AM »

Now supports almost 500 different systems. 

The unified_menu theme uses MP4 video files for the menu (usually located in \menu-art\snap).  This theme is used for the Displays Menu/nested menus.

The unified_systems theme includes backgrounds/cabinets/pointers/wheels for nearly 500 systems.  This theme is used for the individual displays.

Here's a long play Youtube demo.  There are timestamps in the video description to easily scroll back/forward.

Download links are in the top post.  The themes are hosted on Github for easy download.

Themes / Arcade1Up 5:4 theme
« on: February 06, 2020, 11:20:48 AM »
I wanted to expand a little bit on jedione’s recent arcade1up related theme and add in a secondary systems theme along with a displays menu/nested menu theme.

This theme is setup for 5:4 aspect ratio TVs.

There are two themes.

*_menu = meant for the Displays Menu/nested category displays
*_systems = meant for the individual systems displays

The download link is located here:

Here is a short video demo of it in action.

General / Re: Romlist Master
« on: January 28, 2020, 08:04:46 AM »
Not really .. and mainly because everyone's rom files are sometimes named differently.

For myself, I came from a Hyperspin background, so I have always been used to using the No-Intro naming standards.  But even with that, not all systems are covered (and not all games in a covered system also).

I started out by converting my Hyperspin XML files into AM romlist files....then generated romlists where I needed them.

To make a single master romlist text file, what I did was, in unix command line, performed a "cat" command against each of my files and pipe'd them into a single large file.

I ended up with a single romlist that contained all of my romlists game entries.  This works for me and my roms, but probably wouldn't for anyone else.

But...that's just how I did it.  I never tried to have AM generate the large single list for me because I knew it wouldn't find matches for it all.

General / Re: Category Filter
« on: January 21, 2020, 06:55:35 AM »
Can you post a few lines from your Attract Mode romlist for Arcade.txt?

I'd be curious to see if your romlist has values within the Category field or not.

You could also use:

Category "contains" maze --instead of equals

Emulators / Re: Amiga emulators setup for attractmode?
« on: January 20, 2020, 07:22:36 AM »
The P-UAE core within Retroarch has been getting alot of updates lately.

It works great using *.hdf files.

You have to have the kickstarts and the WHDLoad.prefs files all named and placed into the \system folder ... but once you have it setup, *.hdf files work great.

If you're a Retroarch user, this lends itself to easy controller setup and the other added options Retroarch has as well.

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