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Author Topic: Front end recommendations for older PC  (Read 491 times)

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Erzak

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Front end recommendations for older PC
« on: November 21, 2017, 01:30:38 pm »
My recently completed cabinet has a old Pentium D 820, 2.8GHz, dual-core, running XP SP3.  I believe this is a Pentium 4?  Has either 2 or 4 GB RAM and a GeForce 8600 GT, so plays MAME and games just fine, and so far seems acceptable for the pinball emulators I've tried (Visual Pinball 9.x and Future Pinball).

Looking for a front end that will work well with a machine of this vintage, and preferably one that still has some level of support.  I've looked at Mala, but the fact that it hasn't had any updates in years, and requires some significant monkeying around to work with newer versions of MAME, make me reluctant to go that route.

I've installed F.E.E.L. and gotten MAME, Fusion, and Future Pinball setup in it.  MAME and Fusion work fine.  Future Pinball has some issues.  While I got the command line and arguments figured out, I run into the following issues:

1) Once the selected pinball table loads (in fullscreen mode), I have to click the left mouse button to get focus on the pinball table.  Until I do that, none of the controls will do anything, so even though the game is fullscreen and that's all that's visible on the screen, it must be in the background to some other process.  I found some references to this issue, and people suggested running Future Pinball as an administrator.  But the account I'm logging in with is already an administrator, so I don't think that's the issue.

2) When I quit the table, Future Pinball exits, but F.E.E.L. isn't restored as the main app.  The screen resolution is correct (low) for F.E.E.L., but I see the task bar, and other Windows elements.  If I have any other apps open, such as a file explorer, I can see them.  The mouse cursor is set to the small/nearly invisible size that F.E.E.L. uses, and moving the mouse doesn't move the cursor normally.  So this makes me think that F.E.E.L. is running but somehow in the background.  If I hit my exit key followed by Enter, it drops me back into Windows and the resolution goes to my default Windows resolution.

I have briefly tried to get Visual Pinball 9.x working under F.E.E.L., without much success so far.

I know Hyperspin would probably not run well on this PC.  I should add, I'm not opposed to paying a nominal amount of $$ for a FE, if it does what I want.

I've installed GameEx Arcade version, and it seems to run okay, a bit slow perhaps, but hard to tell for sure with the nag screens.  Also not sure I'm crazy about the interface, as it has so much "stuff" but I haven't played with much of the customization options, so it's possible that I could make this look/feel the way I like.  Seems to be a fairly long delay when launching a game, and the Windows desktop is visible at times.  I suppose that can be dealt with by changing the Windows desktop to a solid black or something so it's not so obvious?  Future Pinball tables launch and exit properly under GameEx, so that makes me think the problems I'm having with F.E.E.L. and Future Pinball are F.E.E.L.-related.

I like the simplicity of F.E.E.L., but the pinball issues are a problem.  I suppose I could use a separate FE for pinball games, but would really prefer to have one FE that launches when the PC boots up, for simplicity (mostly for other users).

Have read a bit about Atomic, but that looks like it's fairly old and unsupported.  Any thoughts on that, or other "lightweight" FE's?

Thanks,
Eric

Vigo

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2017, 02:47:06 pm »
I believe Mala should be fine for your case - You will want an older version of mame on an older PC anyway. Some basic games are terrible with newer mame and older PCs. I remember being shocked that my older PC couldn't run frogger 100% until I went back a few years for an older Mame.

haynor666

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 03:17:03 pm »
Since F.E.E.L configuration files and functionality is very close to MAMEWAH try this one.

Erzak

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 09:09:15 am »
Since F.E.E.L configuration files and functionality is very close to MAMEWAH try this one.

I thought about that, but it's not being supported at all, and from what I could tell, all of the layouts are not available since they were on a domain that someone let expire.  Will take a closer look though.  Thanks.

brad808

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 09:36:35 am »
The amount of time and frustration put into dealing with old computers hardly seems worth it to me. I've picked up 3 or 4 used i5 Dell PC's for $100/each without too much difficulty when looking. Sure it's $100 but it's also substantially newer, faster, better supported, etc then an old Pentium D.

Erzak

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 12:27:51 am »
The amount of time and frustration put into dealing with old computers hardly seems worth it to me. I've picked up 3 or 4 used i5 Dell PC's for $100/each without too much difficulty when looking. Sure it's $100 but it's also substantially newer, faster, better supported, etc then an old Pentium D.

That is true, and I expect I will upgrade the PC in this at some point.  Or if I build a pinball cabinet, definitely will get a more powerful PC for that.  This one does okay with pinball, but there is the occasional glitch on some tables.

I've been playing around with Attract-Mode, and so far I like it, it runs very smooth, is fairly intuitive to set up, seems to be pretty flexible, and so far it's done everything I want.  The only irritating thing is that their forums are up and down, looks like they're on a free web-hosting site and it only allows so much uptime?

abispac

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 12:34:03 am »
recalbox or retropie for pc

rocomat

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 12:17:13 pm »
Emuloader

1. Choice! Easy to setup, also for mame.

Erzak

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Re: Front end recommendations for older PC
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 10:53:37 pm »
Emuloader

1. Choice! Easy to setup, also for mame.

I don't see anything on the website that says it works with Visual Pinball or Future Pinball.  But if it supports generic command line running of programs, should be do-able.

  
 

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