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Author Topic: MAME 2020 vs 2002  (Read 941 times)

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SteveJ34

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MAME 2020 vs 2002
« on: September 05, 2020, 12:25:59 am »
I joined this forum in 2002 and built a cab a long time ago that was based on MAME .79 at the time.

The cab was scratch built following design by LuSiD's Arcade Flashback, Windows XP, MAME .79 and is still in operation today at my youngest son's place.

Fast forward and its suddenly 2020....

I have a nephew interested in taking my help in a build project, probably a pedestal. This would be PC based system likely driving a LCD on the wall.

I am also intrigued by what has been done with the Raspberry PI and may dabble in a bar top unit or portable 2 player control panel.

My question is, what are the best resources to review in order to understand the games that are emulated and playable today using latest MAME as compared to what I originally built 18 years ago? The suggested hardware in terms of CPU etc given the emulation requirements for more recent games, etc.

Add to that, what is actually feasible to run on Raspberry PI.  I assume there is a specific MAME port for this hardware. (Also reading what I can in the PI forum).

I have been out of the arcade for a long time so I am more of a "classics" man from the 80s but nephew may have interest in much more recent games given his generation.

Thanks in advance for suggestions on how this old man can get back up to speed on the software side of things as well as educate myself on the hardware components mentioned above.



Haze

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2020, 04:13:36 am »
If you use a Pi you're basically still stuck in 2002, as that's where the support scene is for them as most of the earlier ones can't run anything newer at any playable speed.

In terms of proper MAME, there have been an astronomical number of improvements to the emulation of everything from the late 70s games to the early 2000s stuff; just the other week late 70s / early 80s games that have never had sound emulation finally got it, and a large amount of protection devices have been dumped for 80s/90s Taito games in that time, meaning they actually play properly now.  Bugs like the ones that exposed BMs Donkey Kong high score tapes as being emulation based have been fixed too.  Even the like of the QSound emulation used by a lot of high profile Capcom games is leagues ahead of what it was just 2 or so years ago.

I'd say the project has seen a real improvement in the technical ability of those involved since around 2015, and a lot of what was considered impossible at that point has now been done.  The differences might not be obvious at first, but our confidence in things is much higher, and the longer you spend with the things the more you notice how much closer everything is to hardware these days.

You may, or may not agree with MAME doing a lot more than arcades these days (and I'll be the first to say a lot of what I've worked on recently is absolute garbage) but that's where a lot of the new talent has come from; people with backgrounds in technical computing seem to make far better devs than those with backgrounds only in arcades so by branching out and appealing to both groups MAME has benefited greatly.  It should be noted that many of these improvements do have a performance cost, the aforementioned sound emulation for the late 70s / early 80s games requires a good machine, but gives a quality the old samples (where they even existed) can't match.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 04:19:26 am by Haze »

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2020, 10:27:29 pm »
Haze, do you foresee a point where the Pi and MAME might converge again? While it seems unlikely that the Pi will ever be able to keep up with emulating the more modern systems, it would be great if it could benefit from updates to emulation to older systems.
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Haze

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2020, 04:06:02 pm »
You can run a lot of things in current MAME on a Pi 4.

The problem is mostly RetroArch / LibRetro's making.  They offer various old MAME builds that everybody has stuck to, rather than people still doing native ports, or hand picked-ones closer to what each specific piece of hardware can run.

Aside from 'current' (which nobody using RA seems to bother with as it's an always changing version) the newest 'named' version anybody uses is from over 10 years ago, and a butchered one at that.

As a result, rather than using something suitable, or a mix of suitable builds, people end up using 2002/2003 builds 'because everybody else is'  It's a sad state of affairs really, and a major regression from times before RA existed, when people were starting to do native ports of the most suitable versions for each platform.  RA presented an 'easy option' and the masses took it rather than trying to do things properly anymore.

Even on a PC RA really messes up some MAME features, and inexplicably kills performance in certain drivers.

MAME can't fix what is basically a problem that's now part of the culture / scene surrounding those things.

In terms of MAME's requirements we will continue to move forward, within the envelope of what current PC hardware allows.  Some other projects have been held back by about 15 years due to trying to keep within the performance envelope of those devices, but when good emulation (eg the discrete sound sims) really can't be done properly without high requirements MAME isn't going to ignore the advances in hardware that make things possible; we'd rather be giving people reasons to use MAME over something like a MiSter than looking at the trashcan end of the market, and the discrete audio stuff is an area MAME can offer something the MiSTer struggles with.

There will always be things in MAME that are actively improving that are going to be out of reach of whatever the latest Pi is, because the simple fact is a $30 machine is always going to be lagging significantly behind the curve.  As I mentioned tho, plenty does work, not every improvement shoots the CPU requirements up significantly (eg. most of the proper protection emulations are fairly lightweight) and people using old builds for games where newer ones would work better is a scene problem (always trying to accommodate the lowest common denominator) not a MAME problem.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 04:19:49 am by Haze »

mameotron

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2020, 02:05:09 pm »
Wow, does this mean the sound for Vanguard is finally emulated properly?  I'm a llittle more ahead of Steve, I have MAME .92 in my cab.

Haze

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2020, 02:27:54 pm »
Vanguard hasn't seen any recent work.

Keep in mind that the complexity of this work makes emulating the games and getting them running in some form in the first place look like 1% of the work, with this being the 99%; it's many magnitudes more challenging than the initial work and not something that's going to happen for all systems with analog sound components overnight.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 02:31:34 pm by Haze »

fallacy

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2020, 01:34:43 am »
Built my cabinet in 2009 so I still have mame .130. Let me know when Marvel vs Capcom 2 can be played on mame, that will be my q to update.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2020, 02:59:49 am »
Yeah updating mame isn't particularly necessary in terms of just wanting to play games.  I mean it's nice to do it every once in a while when a new game gets improved emulation or whatever but don't sweat it. 

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2020, 12:01:40 pm »
Built my cabinet in 2009 so I still have mame .130. Let me know when Marvel vs Capcom 2 can be played on mame, that will be my q to update.

2008, MAME 0.125 here. Still no incentive to update.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2020, 08:06:21 am »
Built my cabinet in 2009 so I still have mame .130. Let me know when Marvel vs Capcom 2 can be played on mame, that will be my q to update.

2008, MAME 0.125 here. Still no incentive to update.

There are plenty.  You're just choosing to ignore them, or don't have the hardware capable of dealing with them.

As I mentioned in an earlier thread, even just taking the audio improvement to the 70s/80s classics from the previous release is reason enough if you have the hardware capable.  The correct sound makes them feel like almost entirely different games.

You could say the same at any point in those 12 years, and we'd be able to pick a key example from the last couple of releases at the time.

If people want to do themselves out of a world of improvements because they're waiting for one specific thing, that's of course their business, but let's not pretend there aren't massive improvements across the board because that's just spreading misinformation, and that's not cool.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 08:09:01 am by Haze »

Osirus23

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2020, 09:55:40 am »
Built my cabinet in 2009 so I still have mame .130. Let me know when Marvel vs Capcom 2 can be played on mame, that will be my q to update.

2008, MAME 0.125 here. Still no incentive to update.

There are plenty.  You're just choosing to ignore them

Correct. I don't give a ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---. It isn't broken so I'm not going to fix it.

Mike A

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2020, 10:29:18 am »
When the sound is wrong on a game it is broken. If you don't care that is fine. It bugs the crap out of me when the sound is bad. I appreciate the fact that they are still fixing those issues.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 10:48:07 pm »
Hi y'all, I'm just getting started in this hobby. Are you saying if I want Defender to sound like Defender I need to run MAME on a PC, not a Pi?

Haze

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 08:17:41 am »
Hi y'all, I'm just getting started in this hobby. Are you saying if I want Defender to sound like Defender I need to run MAME on a PC, not a Pi?

In general, although I don't think there's much to the Defender sound system for a Pi to get wrong, it's not one that makes heavy use of netlists (maybe there are some filters we don't yet emulate, I haven't checked)

If you want slowdowns closer to real hardware on the Williams games you definitely want to be running on a PC tho.  They're still not perfect, but they've been tuned a fair bit since the versions on a Pi.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 08:23:35 am »
When the sound is wrong on a game it is broken. If you don't care that is fine. It bugs the crap out of me when the sound is bad. I appreciate the fact that they are still fixing those issues.

Indeed, I've argued for a while that 'no sound at all' or 'severely broken sound' should be considered 'not working' in MAME terms.

Sound is an important part of many games.  From audio either telegraphing events, alerting to you something that has happened, or simply just creating the overall immersive mood of a game, it needs to be correct.  It can give you a frame of reference for timing too, if I think to many games I've played the rhythm used for a series of tricky platform jumps can come from something as simple as knowing when the sound effect to a pick-up ends and synchronizing yourself to that.

A lot of arcades did have weak sounds, because the 'standard' for Arcade audio on non-dedicated cabs for a long time was mono audio out of an awful speaker, drowned out by everything else in the arcade, but that doesn't mean you can ignore it entirely and still pretend the game is fine.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 07:47:10 pm by Haze »

negative1

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 04:21:18 pm »
When the sound is wrong on a game it is broken. If you don't care that is fine. It bugs the crap out of me when the sound is bad. I appreciate the fact that they are still fixing those issues.

Indeed, I've argued for a while that 'no sound at all' or 'severely broken sound' should be considered 'not working' in MAME terms.

Sound is an important part of many games.  From audio either telegraphing events, alerting to you something that has happened, or simply just creating the overall immersive mood of a game, it needs to be correct.  It can give you a frame of reference for timing too, if I think to many games I've played the rhythm used for a series of tricky platform jumps can come from something as simple as knowing when the sound effect to a pick-up ends and synchronizing yourself for that.

A lot of arcades idid have weak sounds, because the 'standard' for Arcade audio on non-dedicated cabs for a long time was mono audio out of an awful speaker, drowned out by everything else in the arcade, but that doesn't mean you can ignore it entirely and still pretend the game is fine.

sound is important, i agree.
but to me if the game works without it i'm fine.

i turn the sound down or off, and play my own music for most games, or games i've mastered.
hearing the same sounds or music for hours on end is boring, and distracts me.

good sound is a perk, but not necessary for setting records on games.

later
-1

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2020, 05:55:15 pm »
If you play it and have fun, then its working FOR YOU. If your friends are like mine they couldn't tell the difference.

There is absolutely an objective standard for whether a game is fully working. But there is also a subjective standard which it must meet to be enjoyable to each person. If it meets that standard then rock on. If not, then better hardware is a must. If one is a purist in general then you'll definitely need the best hardware possible.
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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2020, 09:23:01 pm »
Steve,

Backing up to a point before some tangents were taken, you had asked about hardware performance. I believe you can get a used old i4 or i5 processor running Win10 for about as cheap as a raspberry pi. Are there size/space limitations that drew you to a ras pi?

And to your other question, for me personally it would be worth getting a more current version of Mame and a newer romset. 2002-2020 is an awful lot of change logs to have to review. ...but in terms of resources, that's where I would start.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2020, 09:57:55 pm »
^This^

An old pc is always cheaper per performance dollar than a pi. 

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2020, 01:21:11 am »
To the OP and Tobias, there are lots of people running Pi setups (including me) quite happily. The Pi does have its advantages, and it works quite well for older arcade games. Some games require samples to be used in place of hardware emulation.

Also, check out this thread where bbegin has MAME .224 running on a Raspberry Pi 4B, apparently with good performance:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,162889.0.html

Haze, it would be good to know some examples of older games that might test the Pi due to the latest MAME audio emulation, for example. Do you have some specific games to try?
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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2020, 01:33:44 am »
I would argue that the pi has far more disadvantages than advantages.  It's difficult to customize, as Haze has pointed out you don't have the option to run more current builds of mame and it's puny horsepower means you won't be playing a lot of newer games.  Plus you can't (easily) play other stuff not in mame.  It's a really good option when space is limited but that's about it.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2020, 10:17:22 am »
I bought a refurbished Dell Optiplex with an Ivy Bridge i5 for less than the cost of an RPi4 once you buy a power supply and SD card. No reason to hobble yourself with one of those devices unless you're building a handheld or something.

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2020, 10:51:29 am »
Sound is important to me, I dont mind if the tones off slightly or something like that.
But if its stuttering or sounds totally wrong then its a turn off for me, I also dont want to play in silence!

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2020, 12:10:39 pm »
If all you care about is arcade games, a PC (even an old/cheap one) is vastly superior to a Pi.
One of the main advantages of a Pi, aside from small size, is the out-of-the-box support for lots of other old gaming consoles in Retropie, et. al.
I'm sure the same is possible on a PC, but it might be more work. (although I could be wrong?)

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Re: MAME 2020 vs 2002
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2020, 09:33:10 pm »
The ability to play native Windows games on top of emulators makes the PC a no brainer.

Pis are only budget options if you absolutely can't afford a real setup, and honestly, if money's that tight, you'd got bigger problems than playing video games.