10 May 2016

Starting With MESS in QMC2

Since the merger of MESS into MAME with 0.162, you reach both systems out of QMC2. But using MESS requires further knowledge, which honestly speaking is very hard to retrieve. In this post I start to write down my knowledge I collected through a tedious trial-and-error phase. I am by far not at the end of my journey, so expect further updates here from time to time.

But what is it about MESS anyway?
Even more than with MAME, the systems that are emulated in MESS are fascinating just to look at. For example, if it comes to my very first home video system, the (in)famous Philips G7000, it is thrilling to look into this time - much more than actually playing these games. In fact, I only played G7000 because Arcades were not affordable for intense playing and my parents were not willing to buy me a cool Atari 2600 system ;-).
Munchkin - just like on my G7000 at home (click to enlarge)

Take Munchkin: It's fairly hard to play and medium nice, but there are no lives, so if you die the game is over. Compared to other consoles, this really sucked. Nice to see it again on screen after so many years, but certainly no candidate for extensive playing (which is true for nearly every G7000 game).

Setting up MESS within QMC2
- Hash Path: The MAME working directory contains a directory called hash - this is the home for the software lists that you load from out of QMC2. It turned out beneficial for me to specify the hash path within QMC2, so that these software lists load correctly. This can be done at the first start of QMC2 - last option HASH path, or later on in QMC2: Tools/Options/Emulator/Search Paths/Hash Path
- Software list ROMs: In QMC2, the only feasible way for me seems to place the folder containing the software list ROMs in the ROM folder next to the zip file. So if in the case of Philips G7000, the machine ROM odyssey2.zip is in the same folder like the directory odyssey2, which then contains the game ROMs. 

If everything is fine, QMC2 loads the MESS Software List correctly and you can start games from here:

Software List for Odyssey2/G7000 (click to enlarge)
Finding the ScrollLock Button on your Mac Keyboard
The Philips G7000 emulation is one of the trickier emulations - for some reason you must hit the ScrollLock Button in order to get into the MESS GUI and then, for example, exit the emulation. Without ScrollLock, you just can't get out of the emulation easily. This particularly messy if you are in fullscreen mode. So remember from now on: FN+Backspace is ScrollLock

Vital MESS Configuration Tipps (continuous list)
- I recommend that you check out these configuration tipps machine by machine. This means that you configure these settings in the machine-specific configuration of QMC2. This is where QMC2 really shines.
- Window Mode: in particular for new machines to explore; Configuration/Video/Window - Enabled
- Disable Autosave: Save states tend to drive these machines crazy, so disable them; Configuration/State playback/Autosave off

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