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Author Topic: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah  (Read 5205 times)

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jukingeo

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Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« on: December 03, 2008, 09:56:12 am »
Hello all,

I had left the MAME scene for a while but recently a few older computers fell into my lap and I decided to turn them into arcade/jukebox machines.

The goal:

Turn an older computer (Pentium III 1.0ghz 380meg ram) into an an arcade style video game machine with jukebox program.   The game has to look commercial with a commercial front end.  (This right away rules out Game EX.  Even though that front end is popular, I DON'T like the look).

My jukebox program of choice is DWJukebox (formerly known as WinCab) and I want to use this with MAME and a front end.  The operating system will be Windows 98SE.

In the past, I have used MameWah as my front end and I was very happy with that.   I ONLY used MameWah with MAME and never attempted to use another emulator or jukebox program with it.   I do remember that it took a while to setup MameWah, but once it was running it was a pretty solid program that had a very arcade/commercial quality to it.   So in essence MameWah is still my benchmark.

However, I have heard about MALA and went to the official website.  When I looked at the screenshots, my jaw dropped.   Looks wise, MALA seems to have the edge on MameWah.    It also has many more options, including a system that chases LED lights on your controls!!   Needless to say I am wondering if this extra power comes with it's price.  Can MALA run on a Windows 98SE OS?  Is it easy to set up?

So the bottom line question is this:   Out of the two front ends, which one do you like better?  Do list the pro's and con's of each.  I am mostly after responses from those that have used BOTH front ends on a older machine (Pentium III with Windows 98SE).

Thank You,

Geo
"Let me tell you about the time I used a sharpened clamshell to turn a T-Rex into a T-Rachel!" -Buck  Ice Age 3

Ginsu Victim

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 10:52:29 am »
Quote
It also has many more options, including a system that chases LED lights on your controls!!

The program LEDblinky will allow the same thing in Mamewah.

I prefer Mamewah simply because it was the first one I understood almost completely and can make do what I need it to do. It's running everything the way I want, so why spoil a good thing?

Cakemeister

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 11:13:41 am »
Why can't you try both of them yourself and make your own informed decision?
Please read the wiki!

massive88

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2008, 11:56:27 am »
Why can't you try both of them yourself and make your own informed decision?

The correct answer.

They are both very similar as far as functionality goes, the biggest problem with Mamewah is the learning curve, but if you have some experience with it, then it shouldnt be that big of a deal.  I ran about 5 or 6 front ends until I settled on Mamewah, in general they dont take much space, and you can even leave them there set up and ready to go in case you change your mind in the future, or just want a different interface for a while.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 11:58:35 am by massive88 »

jukingeo

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2008, 12:41:31 pm »

The program LEDblinky will allow the same thing in Mamewah.

I prefer Mamewah simply because it was the first one I understood almost completely and can make do what I need it to do. It's running everything the way I want, so why spoil a good thing?

Cool!  I guess then that evens both front-ends out in that department!


Why can't you try both of them yourself and make your own informed decision?


The correct answer.

Ehhh, it is easier to ask :).  If the consensus is close, then trying them both would be in order.  But usually if many gravitate to one over the other by a long shot, then it would make my life easier by setting up one front end.

Quote
They are both very similar as far as functionality goes, the biggest problem with Mamewah is the learning curve, but if you have some experience with it, then it shouldnt be that big of a deal.  I ran about 5 or 6 front ends until I settled on Mamewah, in general they dont take much space, and you can even leave them there set up and ready to go in case you change your mind in the future, or just want a different interface for a while.

It does seem that many still do prefer MameWah even though it is now a much older front end.   If that trend continues I probably will stick with it as well.  Or perhaps use MameWah for horizontal cabinets (as I know it is easier to set it up this way), and perhaps try MALA on a vertical cabinet (since orientation doesn't seem to be as big of an issue with this front end).

Would you (or anyone) know if MALA works on a Windows 98 system?   I know MameWah does, but being that MALA is newer I am not sure.   They were not too specific about that on the MALA site.

Thanx,

Geo

« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 12:51:58 pm by jukingeo »
"Let me tell you about the time I used a sharpened clamshell to turn a T-Rex into a T-Rachel!" -Buck  Ice Age 3

Ginsu Victim

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2008, 03:02:54 pm »
You somehow quoted the wrong person above. I didn't say, "The correct answer," massive88 did.

Ginsu Victim

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2008, 03:05:34 pm »
Quote
It does seem that many still do prefer MameWah even though it is now a much older front end.

Though Minwah still updates it. (Even though he's been M.I.A. since October...)

jukingeo

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2008, 03:48:45 pm »
You somehow quoted the wrong person above. I didn't say, "The correct answer," massive88 did.

Ooops!  I usually like to 'gang' responses together at one time instead of responding to each and every one.  Many forums don't like double posting like that *Cough-Atari* so I got in the habit of doing it in all forums.  Many newer forums do have a button where you can click on each and every post you want to respond to and it gangs all the quotes together for you.  However, sometimes things get messed up when I do it manually  :dunno.

Quote
It does seem that many still do prefer MameWah even though it is now a much older front end.

Though Minwah still updates it. (Even though he's been M.I.A. since October...)

Yeah, I have heard rumors that he 'abandoned' the project, but I am not sure if that is true or not.  It would be a loss though.   I remembered back when I was on Mame-DOS, ArcadeOS was the the "standard" front end.  But that too became an abandoned project and with no other good DOS front ends, I fully made the switch to Mame32.  I never liked it's front end.   There were some "higher end" front ends like AdvanceMame/Menu, but they seemed to be a pain to set up.  Then along comes MameWah and I fell in love with the look immediately.

I did get much help from Minwah in the beginning with setting up MameWah, but after the 'initial' learning curve, it becomes 2nd nature to work with.  I just have to 'remember' when setting it up.   I have not set up a Mame machine in close to 4 years now!

Geo
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 04:03:39 pm by jukingeo »
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youki

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2008, 04:26:34 am »
May i suggest you try also Atomic 0.20 ?

Tutorial here :  http://www.atomicfe.com/EN2/doc/English/index.html


jukingeo

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2008, 08:11:15 am »
May i suggest you try also Atomic 0.20 ?

Tutorial here :  http://www.atomicfe.com/EN2/doc/English/index.html



Animated displays, huh?  SWEEET!

I probably will check this one out in more detail soon.  Last night I tried MALA and for some reason I can't get it to work properly.   I can't get my rom (game) list to show up!  However, I was astounded by the simplicity of changing the setup to vertical display.  WAY easier than MameWah.

Thanx,

Geo
"Let me tell you about the time I used a sharpened clamshell to turn a T-Rex into a T-Rachel!" -Buck  Ice Age 3

arzoo

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2008, 08:21:26 am »
I had left the MAME scene for a while but recently a few older computers fell into my lap and I decided to turn them into arcade/jukebox machines.

If you've been 'away' for a while, you might want to check out the wiki - there are a bunch of great FE's to choose from!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 08:23:06 am by arzoo »
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jukingeo

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2008, 01:03:03 am »
Ok, guys

I managed to get MALA fully running tonight and overall I DO like it.   There were a few minor hiccups, but they were resolved quickly.

Some nice standout features with MALA is how quick and easy it is to set up for vertical monitors.  I remember what a JOB this was to do with MameWah.  Orientation is very easy in MALA.   The downside though is that if you need a vertical layout, and there are not too many of those to choose from as more people are making horizontal layouts.

Another bonus is the ease of setting up background audio.  This was pretty much self explanatory in the configuration menus and within a few mouse clicks I was having background audio piping through the computer on the main front end screen.

There were a few "stupid" issues though.  Like for one: At first when I loaded up a game, you could see the Mame interface through Windows "booting up".  There is a setting in the Mala.ini file called "windowsstate" and that is set to 1 by default.  Setting  it to "0" stops the "Windows" from showing up.   The thing I don't get is that how come it isn't set to "0" by default?? 

Another thing was that when I got a rom list, it was EVERY single rom in existance!  My rom list showed over 5000 listings!  So there was another setting to take care of that...however, I am surprised that that setting wasn't set to filter out all the roms EXCEPT the active ones on the system.

So it was just a couple of minor irritations, but overall I think I might be using this front end over MameWah. 

A test in the near future would be to see how MALA runs under Windows98.

Geo
"Let me tell you about the time I used a sharpened clamshell to turn a T-Rex into a T-Rachel!" -Buck  Ice Age 3

Cakemeister

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2008, 08:54:46 am »
Attaboy! Was that so hard?

Please read the wiki!

jukingeo

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2008, 01:11:11 pm »
Attaboy! Was that so hard?



No, it wasn't.  A few minor PIA's but it wasn't as difficult as trying to set up MameWah (especially the vertical part).   In all fairness to MameWah though, I have not tried to set it up with a computer that was capable of rotating the display.  Very few video cards can do that.   I had only one computer with a rotatable driver for the video card, but I HAD to use that for a Hyperbowl project (considering that game totally works in the vertical realm).  So with the one vertical MameWah cabinet I did, I had a BALL of a time to get it to work.  But I DID do it.

What I was poking at initially was that the Wiki-Front End site says that MameWah doesn't handle vertical displays and that obviously isn't true.  But given the EASE of setting up for vertical in MALA, well it wins hands down.

Overall I am liking MALA.  The really nice feature is that it has the background music which I can share the music library with my jukebox program.  So when the system is "idle" music will play with a specifically set "lower" volume.   Really cool!   I can't wait to figure out how the LED functions work.

Well, time for me to get back to my control panel design.

Geo
"Let me tell you about the time I used a sharpened clamshell to turn a T-Rex into a T-Rachel!" -Buck  Ice Age 3

LLUncoolJ

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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2008, 09:47:42 am »
I am using MaLa with LEDs in the player buttons. I tried using a couple of other FE's but could not get the buttons used for each game to light. Real easy in MaLa, as you scroll through the list, the buttons used for whatever game is highlighted illuminate. If it is a trackball game, the trackball glows (red when active...flashed 3 different color LEDs when in random).
Right now it is set up to flash random, but I have tinkered with LEDBlinky with another FE. I will eventually set that up with MaLa so I can program my own patterns.

I do have a couple of MaLa issues if anyone has any suggestions. First, I had it set up to play a start up movie and everything worked fine. After I completed my control panel and plugged everything in, the startup movie stopped playing. It doesn't even try...no sound or anything. The Play movie on startup box is clicked, nothing else was changed.

The other problem is that when I click the start MaLa with Windows box and click OK, the program crashes. This has never worked for me. I have small children and I'm trying to make this thing as idiot-proof as possible. It would be nice to be able to have them press the power button and have the FE boot up automatically.

Have a good weekend everybody! :burgerking:
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Re: Front-End: Mala v.s. MameWah
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2008, 08:00:46 pm »

The other problem is that when I click the start MaLa with Windows box and click OK, the program crashes. This has never worked for me. I have small children and I'm trying to make this thing as idiot-proof as possible. It would be nice to be able to have them press the power button and have the FE boot up automatically.

You need to visit the mala section.  ;)

The start with windows tries to put something into the windows registry, that coulf fail under vista or prottection software or whatever.

You can use other methods (like I do) like putting a shortcut to mala in the startup folder of windows or having mala as the shell.

Have a look at the wiki:
http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/wiki/Hiding_Windows

  
 

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