29 December 2016

MAME 0.181 and 6100 Views in one year :-)

2016 ends with MAME 0.181, which according to its whatsnew.txt contains a row of nice updates. On the Macintosh side, all remains the same: no Metal plugin and the same issues in BGFX as described in detail before. More to come here.

This year ends with 6100 views, for which I am grateful, considering the rather narrow content published here. The interest in this Blog is quite as expected:
One thing: Please feel free to write any comments you may have, they are more than welcome. 

More to post here.

19 December 2016

BootCamp for Mac Retrogaming - Is it Worth The Hassle?

This post will be about running BootCamp for Retrogaming. As regards MAME, I am interested in a direct comparison between MAME running on macOS Sierra and Windows. 
Eventually the question is whether it's worth the hassle with BootCamp, or whether you can easily stick with your Mac system.

Bottom Line: MAME on Windows is by far faster than on Macs. However, with some tweaking, you get similar results on Macs, but Windows remains the performance king. Probably it makes more sense to tweak your Mac settings, e.g. faster shaders, than installing BootCamp and keeping a Windows system up-to-date all the time.

Here are the details:

18 December 2016

BGFX in MAME - Tweaking and In-Depth Look (plus a video) - Update December 2016

BGFX really rocks and after some MAME Updates, it became my standard shader.

Update December 2016: As explained by Jeeze in a comment to the Performance Test Post, the 'Scale' values in BGFX/HLSL provide for Oversampling. When it comes to modern games, this makes a real difference in quality, while I am unsure about any difference in old games.

CRT-GEOM - click to enlarge
Here are screenshots from Offroad Challenge for comparison. 
CRT-GEOM vs. HLSL vs. HLSL Oversampling

In the enlarged pictures, just look at the shadows to see the huge difference, but overall picture is much smoother. Photos taken by hand.

In the running game, the difference is even more pronounced.

HLSL - click to enlarge
HLSL Oversampling - click to enlarge

CRT-GEOM - click to enlarge
HLSL - click to enlarge

HLSL Oversampling - click to enlarge

So if you play modern games, you will probably want to leave the 'Scale' value to 2, as long as your machine is able to cope with it.

Update October 2016: Due to a much appreciated comment by Jeeze, the main issue for the HLSL performance seems to be a parameter outside of the preferences. As suggested, I went down with the 'Scale' values in lines 177 and 182 from 2 to 1, and this seems to push performance to CRT-GEOM levels. I could not see any difference in quality on first glance.

I also adapted below tables a bit further and need to look further into this in more detail.

Update September 2016: This post is about the settings of the HLSL Chain. But HLSL is very resource hungry, though it runs very nicely under my specs. As explained by visitor Headrush69, his iMac 2011 fails to run BGFX at an acceptable frame rate. Same applies to a MacBookPro 13'' Mid 2012, which fails to run any game properly under full framerate. 

Since MAME 0.176, CRT-GEOM Shader in BGFX is currently my first choice - see this new rewritten post.

This is what you can do to change BGFX very conveniently to your own wishes - but with the example of the HLSL backend.