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Author Topic: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor  (Read 906 times)

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Dracrius

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Found an HD 4350 and a 19" CRT VGA Monitor locally for my MAME Cabinet and I realized my video looks pretty blurry. I had two CRT's die last year so I ran with an LCD for a year as CRT's are hard to come by which SUCKED (damn viewing angles where abysmal). Now I'm realizing I never even had my CRT's setup well. I found GroovyMAME while googling CRT's and MAME but most use it with an Arcade Monitor, TV or PVM. The odd post refers to using it for a PC CRT Monitor but NONE of the guides.

So my question is what do I need to know when setting up GroovyMAME and CRT EmuDriver for a multicade with a horizontal PC CRT? (refresh rate, ideal res etc.) Best/ Only guides I can find are VERY out of date (GroovyMAME 0.170) for GroovyMAME or CRT EmuDriver and only reference use with TV's and therefore setting it up for 15kHz. Which unless I'm wrong I can't do with a VGA Monitor can I?

I'm hoping to setup GroovyMAME to reproduce this effect from another MAME user with a VGA CRT. If I understand GroovyMAME right I should be able to avoid configuring every single games video settings independently like they implied but I do realize I will have to have some Game or Driver specific settings just hopefully not one for every game. My hope is to only have to write game specific ini's for games that do not intiger scale 2x as they used a 2x scale and a Filter to reproduce the scanlines.

cools

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 03:36:00 am »
To achieve what they did, set up super resolutions with the arcade 31KHz preset and enable "effect scanlines" in mame.ini
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Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 09:46:05 am »
To achieve what they did, set up super resolutions with the arcade 31KHz preset and enable "effect scanlines" in mame.ini
Is the Arcade 31KHz preset better. Having not heard anything yet I just started playing around last night and I tried to use the PC CRT 31Khz/120hz but I was disappointed when it removed 1280x960 but kept 1280x1024 as I was hoping to use 1280x960 at least for my frontend if not just going 4x instead of 2x resolutions and using it for all 4x3 games. How would I go about avoiding having that resolution removed?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2019, 10:32:34 am by Dracrius »

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 11:18:37 am »
It may also be worth noting that as far as I can tell it is a true 4x3 monitor not 5x4. As the original max resolution was 1600x1200. I also took the time to try the Arcade 31kHz and most resolutions flickered except 1600x1200 which still had a 75 Hz refresh and if I switch it to 60 it appears to flicker the same way
« Last Edit: August 12, 2019, 01:38:37 pm by Dracrius »

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 05:52:39 pm »
Using arcade 31 will perform linedoubling on all 15KHz games, meaning the faux scanline effect works properly without needing different files for 3x, 4x etc

Make sure you're using super resolutions and then you just need to add in a suitable desktop resolution in user_modes.ini. I find 1280x960 pretty nice.

If you want max monitor res for your frontend you'll need to configure VMMaker with a custom monitor type supporting both frequency ranges, and mame.ini restricted to arcade 31.
Please don't PM me with support questions. Ask in public so everyone can learn!

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 08:05:35 pm »
Using arcade 31 will perform linedoubling on all 15KHz games, meaning the faux scanline effect works properly without needing different files for 3x, 4x etc

Make sure you're using super resolutions and then you just need to add in a suitable desktop resolution in user_modes.ini. I find 1280x960 pretty nice.

If you want max monitor res for your frontend you'll need to configure VMMaker with a custom monitor type supporting both frequency ranges, and mame.ini restricted to arcade 31.
When I use Arcade 31 I still end up with an unusable 1280x960 desktop resolution in the refresh rate settings it only lists 60hz Interlaced and its flickering. Every other resolution I can pick from windows seems fine but My frontend is setup for 1280x960. Will I just have to use a different resolution as that one appears to be used in the list of arcade resolutions I'm guessing as I read descriptions in VMMaker. If I get this right GroovyMAME or the CRT EmuDriver are going to "handle" the refresh rate with the game? I'm a bit confused by that and completely confused by Super Resolutions. Will a PC CRT really accept oddball refresh rates? Windows desktop isnt happy with the one on the resolution at least. Thanks for your help

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 08:41:14 pm »
Also this guide to CRT EmuDriver is giving me a headache the plugging and unplugging from DVI to VGA is doing nothing and my monitor always gets detected so I cant get it to list as Generic and show the full list of resolutions. I noticed if I clone displays the generic monitor has the full list off odd resolutions that arnt showing for my monitor and the guide implies ones step was supposed to make both inputs show as generic instead not my monitor auto detects on both inputs so one always says the monitor name.

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2019, 09:03:11 pm »
I'll admit to being a bit in the dark with GM and 31kHz, but the guide isn't designed for 31kHz. You will never need to unplug or hot-swap your PC CRT. Just install crt_emudriver with it already plugged in.

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2019, 11:09:48 pm »
As I have more specific questions idk if I should close this and start a different post as I've just kept experimenting. I have the Arcade 31khz preset picked with the super res usermode. In theory things work now but I'm still lost on multiple things.

Firstly I have yet to find a way to set my desktop to 1280x960 with these settings I can choose 1024x768 for now but I'd still prefer to use 1280x960 for my front end if I can. After installing the super res user modes the closes is 1280x1024 or my monitors max 1600x1200.
Turns out Maximus Arcade doesn't support 1280x960 anyways. I was trying to switch to it to make my frontend a 4x scale of 320x240. So that the scanline overlay I made for Maximus would match the games scanline effect. Unfortunately my only option is to drop to 640x480 for Maximus or fake it with 1024x768 which was my original res for the frontend. But thats easy enough to play around with my first attempt with 1024 was pretty close but my lines where to thin. 

Otherwise I get Red bars top and bottom of most game when I launch them the first time. I have to go into mame settings in game and toggle the pixel or 4x3 aspect ratio then it disappears but I'd rather not have to do this for every game. Any idea what is causing that?

Also about Super Res should I be setting the horizontal to my monitors max of 1600 rather the the 2560 that is default? I ask because while it works 1941  for example ends up VERY letter boxed with it not even close to filling the screen vertically.

Lastly what do I do for games that now launch black. More then half my roms seems to be using resolutions that my monitor doesnt like. I'll admit, the very few that are launching properly, look far better then they ever did. I was wondering though will almost everything be a little letter boxed now though or can I tweak some things to reduce it? I expect some on odd aspect ratios but for instance Metal Slug 3 use to launch fullscreen with traditional mame and pixel aspect ratio while now it gets black all around but displays 10x more clearly.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 03:33:52 am by Dracrius »

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 05:50:29 pm »
I'm not sure if I can see a difference when switching super res to 1600 from 2560. Some games may fit better but I also redid my screen position and geometry settings.

I still have no idea how to make 1941 take up more of the screen or to show the scanline effect. I'm guessing MAME doesn't even use it if the game is not an integer multiple? How would I change the settings on Vertical games so that they takeup more of the vertical space of the monitor and or what should I set 1941 (342x224) to show scanlines? I'm also having issues with 1942,1943 and 19xx all launching to black screens. What is the rule of thumb for setting resolutions for games that do not work on a monitor? (ie check original resolution and multiply by *blah* or do I have to find the nearest res in the super resolutions? I still dont even know how super resolutions work so I definitely don't know how to use them or set them up on the games that arnt working.

I've also notice a few games that are set to 50 something as a refresh rate seem to just flicker on my screen. What is the "right" way to fix that? From what I've read just changing the refresh to 60 may cause speedups/ glitches so what is the best way to play them without flickering. Original Asteroids is a really bad case of the flickering

Is there no WIKI for GroovyMAME? I cant find one and all this info seems like it should be easy to find! If you have all these features their should be descriptions somewhere. It took me 2 days just to figure out what the heck Arcade OSD was for since basically every part of CRT EmuDriver is left COMPLETELY unexplained. Best I can find is update notes and years of update notes dont explain anything to new users. Let alone GroovyMAME I have tried all day to find ANY kind of an explanation of Super Res but all I can find is that its the "New Big Thing in Emulation" ya thanks that explains how to use it and what resolutions to set. Your install guide is also WAY more complicated then it needs to be because its WAY out of date telling you to do things like install mame first and then GroozyMAME over top or generating the mame.ini by launching it once despite the zip containing everything you need including the default mame.ini with 80% of the settings they tell you to change already being changed. This shouldnt have taken me 3 days to still have a broken setup that wont display half my games.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 06:16:38 pm by Dracrius »

Recapnation

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 07:06:35 pm »
Totally ask for a refund, dude; you've been scammed.

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 07:11:56 pm »
Totally ask for a refund, dude; you've been scammed.
Haha not quite just hopeful I'm actually missing a wiki it's more then rare for a project of this age and quality not to have more documentation that's all. And it looks so damn good on things that work you want to beat your head against the machine till it works. Metal Slug and Ninja Batman are pure eye candy compared to what you get from stock mame!

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 09:53:58 pm »
Try using vertical.ini and horizontal.ini files if you need blanket inis? Copy your mame.ini and rename it in each case, then make changes. Basically, MAME looks at mame.ini first, then vertical.ini, machine.ini like neogeo.ini, then yourgmaename.ini like 1941.ini files in that order, and any new information overwrites the old.

Try creating log files for games that don't work - see Calamity's sig for how to do that.

You should also try reading the mame.ini file though, that's always a good place to start.It's broken up into sections, and then you can google the commands you don't understand, and finally ask on here :)

Totally ask for a refund, dude; you've been scammed.

Ahahahaha

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2019, 08:50:39 pm »
Can someone help me figure out how to adjust a preset? Every time someone suggests a preset its for a 15khz monitor which mine is not so as far as I can tell I can only use 2 presets Arcade 31khz and PC CRT 31kHz/120Hz. I do know it is a 4x3 not a 5x4 as its max res is 1600x1200 and 1280x960 fits correctly while 1280x1024 does not. I need to adjust the resolutions used for vertical games as they leave and inch and a half of black space top and bottom and are the wrong aspect ratio while 4x3 games display perfectly. I want to fix this at the general level before I start tweaking pergame ini's and Calamity implies it has to do with my CRT Emu preset anyways
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 08:53:13 pm by Dracrius »

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2019, 11:46:58 pm »
Try using vertical.ini and horizontal.ini files if you need blanket inis? Copy your mame.ini and rename it in each case, then make changes. Basically, MAME looks at mame.ini first, then vertical.ini, machine.ini like neogeo.ini, then yourgmaename.ini like 1941.ini files in that order, and any new information overwrites the old.

Try creating log files for games that don't work - see Calamity's sig for how to do that.

You should also try reading the mame.ini file though, that's always a good place to start.It's broken up into sections, and then you can google the commands you don't understand, and finally ask on here :)


I have done all of that at one point or another unfortunately most mame ini settings actually have very little in way of descriptions I even scowered the mame wiki which has entries about ini use as in per game etc but no entry on the entries themselves or the ini in general.

I found most of the groovymame stuff spread out around http://geedorah.com in different sections but some of its quite out of date compared to the updates for instance the VMMaker section still says it has no gui yet the version I have does use a gui so idk where to find the odd setting in reference to the gui. Then their are pages of technical info that I can almost understand but all i could really find is "Vertical timing settings" which "Contrary to the horizontal case, vertical amplitude is usually not adjustable by tweaking these settings, only centering is possible in most cases."

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2019, 02:22:21 pm »
You're on the right track. Sorry I've not responded, need time to sit and type. You don't need to adjust any preset I'm 99% sure. Can you take some photos of what you're getting?

(Very few people use this setup hence the lack of info)
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Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2019, 03:53:58 am »
You're on the right track. Sorry I've not responded, need time to sit and type. You don't need to adjust any preset I'm 99% sure. Can you take some photos of what you're getting?

(Very few people use this setup hence the lack of info)
No problem thanks for getting back to be. I'm surprised more people don't use this kind of setup. I lucked out and got this Amtran AT1099DA 19" for $10 off a local classifieds. It blew me away it has every setting I've ever heard of in its osd even convergance. I only just looked up that model number for this post that link give a ton of info even though you dont think I need to should I be using that to tweak my preset. I feel a bit dumb it has a lot of the things mention in presets that I didnt think I would be able to find.

I took a couple pictures to and it looks like its really the resolution 1941 is using I quickly tried other vertical games that are in my cabinet (donkey kong, contra, arkanoid returns) that looked find and the rest of the 1940s series launches to black as well as bat rider and arkanoid (all did work best guesses bad resolutions). 1941 has an odd 224x384 and is running at 1600x384p .I had 2560 before with the same result I changed superres hoping it would help and when it didnt hurt I figure monitor max made sense but I honestly dont understand how they work. I was wondering if I could get 1941 to play on a 1600x768 res so it would be 2x the original like my 320x240 games work out to run at 640x480!

Side question do you know wny my scanline effect doesnt show on vertical games?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 03:56:10 am by Dracrius »

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2019, 05:02:44 am »
Your issue is actually a non-issue, I'll try to explain. GM is doing the right thing using 384p for that game, so you have perfect scaling. That's what you're requesting with the arcade_31 preset. 384 lines at 31 kHz naturally have big borders. You're supposed to correct this by means of the vertical amplitide control on your monitor's osd. If you're lucky enough this setting will be memorized my your monitor. It may happen your monitor can't tell apart 384p and 480p and then this trick won't work since you'll be modifying both.

Then you could do several things. One is forbidding 384p by editing the preset, or simply by removing it from your super resolutions list in VMMaker. Other is using a vesa preset that upscales 384 to an integer multiple like 768, as I suggested in another thread.

My own choice is creating a preset that covers only those resolutions I want to use. It's not too complicated by I can't explain it typing on a phone.

The other issue with the black screen you get with arkanoid etc. is indeed a real issue. It happens with 256p and 512p resolutions and PC monitors that have an EDID. These resolutions are unknown to Windows since they are in the middle of nowhere, and Windows just decides to black them out. Try unchecking "hide modes this monitor doesn't support" in display properties. If that doesn't work, avoid those modes as explained above. Bear in mind fractional stretching will always look worse so if possible it's better to keep 256 and 512 usable.

With regards to scanline effects not showing on vertical games, that's due to how super resolutions are scaled horizontally, which blurs any overlay. Try using -unevenstretchy -nounevenstretchx, not sure it'll help.
Important note: posts reporting GM issues without a log will be IGNORED.
Steps to create a log:
 - From command line, run: groovymame.exe -v romname >romname.txt
 - Attach resulting romname.txt file to your post, instead or pasting it.

CRT Emudriver, VMMaker & Arcade OSD downloads, documentation and discussion:  Eiusdemmodi

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2019, 12:51:45 pm »
Thank you sooooooo much you just explains a lot I was trying to understand! Especially the scanlines maybe I'll try hlsl effect.

I just tried the vesa_768 preset again and unfortunately it doesn't do what you described. 1941 still ran at 1600x384p. I also looked at the VESA preset and I have no idea what its doing since its laid out differently then other presets. For instance one of 3 ranges from VESA_768
Code: [Select]
gtf_range0 384, 480 vs
Code: [Select]
crt_range0 31400-31500, 49.50-65.00, 0.940, 3.770, 1.890, 0.349, 0.064, 1.017, 0, 0, 384, 480, 768, 960 from Arcade 31.5 kHz. Now I found this page and I am trying to learn from it, is that the right place to look? A lot of the information there seems very helpful but slightly out of date. I found the section that describes the format of monitor_specs lines but I don't see how that translates to the VESA format that is very short. But either way Vesa doesnt appear to work as expected in my case. I'm trying my best to understand what the spec line settings do but most of them confuse me as I don't know half the terms. I apologize I'll try my best to compare it to the monitor spec I found for my monitor and see if I can understand some of them better.

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2019, 02:05:42 pm »
The more I read the details the more I worry I should make a custom spec but I can't find a manual for this monitor and idk how to translate some of the info from cnet's specs to use them. Am I going to damage my CRT running it out of spec? I guess from what I can tell its all below spec though but I cant find info on front porch for this monitor.

monitor_specs_{0-6} = "HfreqMin-HfreqMax, VfreqMin-VfreqMax, HFrontPorch, HSyncPulse, HBackPorch, VfrontPorch, VSyncPulse, VBackPorch, HSyncPol, VSyncPol, ActiveLinesLimit, VirtualLinesLimit"

I think the HfreqMax is 96000hz and the VfreqMax is 160 Hz but I'm not sure about the minimums or if I've even got that right. The last two lines baffle me especially because even if I do understand them all the presets have 4 values after VSyncPol not 2 which really confuses me.

*Edit* To be clear I do understand the I cant explain on a phone part if you are away this is not me pushing for a walk through I am just trying to demonstrate that I'm not just looking for someone to make me a preset or walk me through it. I have been trying to understand the presets to edit them myself but I am lost!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 02:15:08 pm by Dracrius »

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2019, 03:26:40 am »
Ahh, the arcade 31 preset is only good for games displayed in their native orientation. For vertical on horizontal you'll definitely need a higher resolution monitor preset.

You'll need to follow Calamity's suggestion for scanlines in a vertical.ini file. Some games will not display at the right aspect ratio, but that's better than blurolines.
Please don't PM me with support questions. Ask in public so everyone can learn!

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2019, 04:04:19 am »
So far the arcade 31 preset gives best results on my monitor as every other preset leaves 1941 looking the same or worse but arcade 31 is the only one that runs most 4x3 at 640x480.

 I spent the day updating my romset to match grooveymame so I haven't tried yet but I'm going to try and force it into a 1600x768 superres rather then the 1600x384 it's defaulting to then I'll adjust the height if I need to. The monitor was setup at 1024x768 to match the front end so I think it should fit better once I know how to make a preset that automatically uses 768 for 384 games. I think calamity expected the Vesa_768 to do that but it doesn't.

 I also feel silly because they mentioned that I should be able to adjust aplatude for that resolution (which I think means size specifically the vertical size option ) from my OSD. I thought it was one setting for all resolutions I didn't realize old monitors would remember different settings for different resolutions. So I was going through all this because I didn't want to screw up all my horizontal games for a few odd resolution vertical games. I have to take off a few pieces to get to the screens buttons though so I won't try till I experiment switching it to 768 then I'll do my final osd tweaks.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 04:07:11 am by Dracrius »

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2019, 03:21:20 am »


I think calamity expected the Vesa_768 to do that but it doesn't.

It doesn't because it finds 384 first, which is a better match than 768, so it picks that one. You need to remove 384 from your system (VMMaker) so GM will pick the higher resolutions.

With the arcade_31 preset 768 would never be picked since the preset itself forbids that, it's limited to 512. For the same reason it wouldn't pick 960 as you intended at some point, since it's out of range, or it'll switch to 960i (=480) if forced to use it. These ranges were created to protect arcade monitors, so it's difficult that GM switches to something that's out of range.

The vesa ranges were added specifically for easy support of PC CRT monitors, which vast majority are multisync. You have these steps iirc: vesa_480/600/768/1024. You pick a vesa preset based on the height of your monitor's preferred resolution (tipically: 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024). Each step automatically includes the lower ones. That's why vesa_768 will still pick 384 if a available: it "contains" vesa_480 too.
Important note: posts reporting GM issues without a log will be IGNORED.
Steps to create a log:
 - From command line, run: groovymame.exe -v romname >romname.txt
 - Attach resulting romname.txt file to your post, instead or pasting it.

CRT Emudriver, VMMaker & Arcade OSD downloads, documentation and discussion:  Eiusdemmodi

Dracrius

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Re: Looking for Pointers on using GroovyMAME with a VGA CRT Monitor
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2019, 10:53:05 pm »
After Playing around with all the different presets and editing Arcade 31, VESA 768 and PC CRT  70kHz/120Hz I came to the conclusion this version of Arcade 31 gives the best results for my monitor.

Code: [Select]
monitor "arcade_31", "Arcade 31.5 kHz - high resolution", "4:3"
        crt_range0 31400-93750, 49.50-75.00, 0.940, 3.770, 1.890, 0.349, 0.064, 1.017, 0, 0, 480, 960, 0, 0

It required very little adjustment from the monitor and gave me 480-960 for all my mame games natively doubling everything so that when I add scanlines the doubled lines are blanked out. Everything looks beautiful and 1941/ 384p games finally look as expected when running at 768p instead of being extremely squashed. While Calamity mentioned adjusting for this from the monitor I still will now to get things perfect but at least nothing is off by extremes!

Thank you very much to everyone for their help!!

Next I plan to experiment with the shaders to see if I can get scanlines that show in Vertical games as well as Calamity said earlier the scaling blurs overlays in those stations.