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Mame setup for windows

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MAME: Multipule Arcade Machine Emulator

This is what most people want. After all what is a arcade cabinet with out arcade games right?

MAME is one of the easier emulators to set up..and can be the hardest to "get right". MAME is very customizable and can be tweaked down to the last detail.

First off we are going to assume that you know what MAME is and have it installed at ‘C:\mame’. If you you have no clue what i am talking about go here: [ulr][/url]

(Note: This is written for basic mame and some knowledge of the "command line" is needed. Most front-ends use the command line version of MAME..thus they act like a gui (graphical user interface) If you want a gui version of mame see below.

When you first start mame you will get an error stating no games found. Go ahead and exit. Once you have found games, or roms, place them in your 'roms' directory/folder. If you don't have one you can make one. (Normally in your mame directory/folder to keep everything organized.) (Go here to get test roms:

If you don't like to use a command line you can use a GUI based mame to set up your mame and to even start games. but remember Front ends like Attract Mode use a command line to start games NOT a GUI (basically your front end like Attact Mode becomes your gui to launch games)
See below for versions of GUI based MAMEs note however using a GUI to set up MAME is the same as using notepad+a command the command line instructions need to be read still!

To begin in the command line do this:

You'll need to open a command line prompt:
Press Windows key+R key. A run dialog will pop up. Now type

--- Code: ---cmd
--- End code ---

Once there type:
--- Code: ---cd C:\
--- End code ---
then press enter.

Now, type:
--- Code: ---cd C:\mame
--- End code ---
press enter.

Last type:

--- Code: ---mame -cc
--- End code ---
press enter

This will create a mame.ini file in the folder that you are in. (You can always run the mame -cc command again and have a new mame.ini if you mess it up real badly.)

Now open that file with notepad: 

Your mame.ini will look something like this:

readconfig                1
writeconfig               0

rompath         <-here  (ex. C:\mame\roms, you may do multiple paths with ; at the end of the first line and the beginning of the second line)

   The rompath is the only thing we are worried about right now. You can erase the entire line up to but not including the word rompath. Then type your path to your roms:

--- Code: ---C:\mame\roms
--- End code ---

Now save the changes now type in your terminal mame and start mame by typing mame.exe and press enter. You should see a blue box with a list of games you have. You can press enter to start a game or press esc to quit.

   Your mame now works! You can start MAME from a command line to directly run a game by typing (as an example):

--- Code: ---mame carpolo
--- End code ---

 in a command prompt will start carpolo without the gamelist (which is how front ends like attract mode work).

Rom problems:
   First never unzip a rom unless you know what you are doing! MAME can not load an unzipped rom. Roms can be gotten singly or in "update" packs. You need to have all the needed files in the zip and all the needed zip files. Example: you have but there are other files it needs (.zip) to start. Why not just put them all together? Well you can and mame will be happy and load fine. However, some of these files are in other namco games (e.x. mappy, rally X, ect.) so now you have them twice or more and it's a "waste of space". Load MAME from a terminal and MAME will spit out any errors of missing files and tell you the extra roms you need. (For more go here on that: pdf version here

chd files:
   Compressed hard drive (or compressed hunks [of] data..depending on who you are talking to.) are large (some are HUGE) data files. Mostly this is a hard drive image (ex. killer instinct) or a CD-ROM (ex. street fighter III) or a laser disc (ex cliffhanger). These need to be placed in a sub-folder in your roms folder with the name of the rom. (e.g. C:\mame\roms\kinst\kinst.chd)
Missing sounds:
   With some older games you need what are called sound samples. These are not  emulated sounds per say but raw sound files called by mame at the appropriate time. With out them you do not hear the sounds in the game. Play galaga without sound samples and when you die your ship explodes without a sound..Who wants that!? So after you find the sound samples (again leave them zipped!) you put them in your folder (e.g C:\mame\samples) and in your mame.ini change your sample path:

rompath                   C:\mame\roms
samplepath               <---here (ex. C:\mame\samples)
Now you will have all your sounds!

It’s a little screen! To go full screen look in your mame.ini for:

video                     d3d
numscreens                1
window                    0
maximize                  1
keepaspect                <---here
unevenstretch             <---here
centerh                   1
centerv                   1
waitvsync                 0
syncrefresh               0
scalemode                 none

Change keep aspect and uneven stretch to one (1)

I hope that will get you started with some basics of mame on windows. Happy gaming!

other related windows mame versions:

wolfmame (used for submitting high scores)
mameplus (mame that has graphical enhancements, Outdated but usable with an old romset)
hbmame (used to run home brew mame roms)

             GUI mames:

MAMEXT (Outdated but usable with an old romset)
mameuifx replaced with Arcade64

To set up mame with a GUI most GUIs once loaded you choose 'Options' then 'Directories' and you can set up your paths from there. Basically this allows you to set up your mame.ini file from a gui instead of doing it manually.

Is there a good reason why people want to use these other flavors of mame? I just don't understand it. With a little effort you can compile and patch original mame to remove nag screens, the white box, add high score, add auto-fire and much more . And, if you don't like compiling you can find compiled versions that have already been patched.  Excluding, groovymame which does have a specific purpose for crt monitors and that is not even really needed anymore. Just curious of other enthusiast opinions on this. 

Well mostly they are the same. However, they do add some features that the regular mame does not. Most of th gui based mames add a lot of information in the gui itself. You can display history, the command moves for fighting games, picture of the arcade cabinets and game snapshots for example. MAME plus is command line based, however is has a separate gui if you choose to use it. (It is a separate program.)  It does have one main feature, graphical enhancements. (It uses shaders much like kega fusion or snes9x does.)

 There is a version on mame called advance mame that is made for acrade monitors and graphics cards so the is will look like the arcade originally did, it is outdated however.

The gui can make it easier for new users to set things up. Most people are used to click and pointing. It keeps them from having to use the command line which might be intimidating.

I use mameuifx because it has ways to make test lists so I can make scripts to clean out my mame set easily and quickly.  I used to use mame plus in my windows cab just so I could use the graphical enhancements if I felt like it. it also displayed the list of moves for the fighting games from the menu after you paused it.  My want to use linux in my cab just made me move back to regular mame.

If you are going to build an arcade cabinet with a front end like attract mode you are absolutely right omegaman. There really is no reason to use them. They are just there so that people know they are there.

I have used Mameplus! for several years.

There "were" several advantages using Mameplus! over standard MAME, but many of the advantages have diminished over years....

Advantages (still effective)
#1. Image enhancement filters like HQx, xBRZ filters
#2. Command.dat support (In-game display of fighting game moves)
#3. Removing nag screen

Advantages (now obsolete)
#1. It came with separate GUI called M+GUI, which was much faster than MAME with integrated GUI.
-> But not faster than attract-mode.  ;)

#2. It combined MAME/MESS with single executable (long before devs permitted this)
-> Now it is officially combined by standard MAME...

#3. Sometimes, controversal ROMs are dropped by mainstream MAME, due to various reasons. (For example, Cave SH3 driver). But derivative builds, including Mameplus! tends to ignore such decisions...
-> But the Cave SH3 driver is back to mainstream MAME again, so it doesn't matter again..

...lastly, I'd like to mention that many derivative MAME builds do not describe their difference to the mainstream MAMEs. (What is Ash-build, anyway?). It would be really helpful to have feature-comparison summary on derivative builds.

Thank you for your info there checkist. Yes that is a good idea to make a comparison list. I might do that one day. The builds from command line to gui are obvious. Others not so. I have used and seen far s a I can see they are a lot alike..I would dare say almost the same.

I was using the ash-biuld ..or at least I ran very slow and poorly on my system..where as mame plus! the "standard" version ran fine.

I have looked into HBMame recently. The home brew scene has turned out some good things..and some hacks are fun to play even if they are not "official'.


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