24 December 2017

Update: Attract Mode for Mac Unofficial Binary (With SWF Support)

Now that the SWF compile bug has been ironed out, Attract Mode is here for Macs:

Update August 2018: No longer needed, Official Attract Mode 2.4 is out!

30 November 2017

MAME 0.192 and QMC2 0.192 Mac Binaries are here!

A good release for MAME on Macs. QMC2 also compiles on Macs after some time. QMC2 looks very good so far, and I will review my QMC2 to-do's all over this Blog to be on par. Happy gambling!

11 November 2017

Performance Test Galore: MAME Performance on Three Operating Systems on one Mac Machine Compared!

My new task was to test performance of current MAME binaries on one machine (my iMac 2013) with these three operating systems:
  - MacOS Sierra
  - Ubuntu 16.04
  - Windows 10

Focus of this test: How do BGFX shaders compare to other solutions if you add Artwork? My suspicion has always been that BGFX never can handle Artwork properly.

Result: As soon as you add Artwork, BGFX performance completely goes down - on all three systems! 

This means that if you want to run your games with decent shaders AND decent artwork, you need to head for different shaders, which are
  - MacOS and Linux: OpenGL
  - Windows 10: Direct3D
The extreme results were very surprising for me, so in the end, it was worth the hassle.

Further insights will follow here. For now, these are the detailed performance results (forgive me that I limited each run to 30 seconds ;-).

03 October 2017

MAME 190, 21.000 views on my site and the state of MAME on Macs

With MAME 190 having been released, just a brief note on where MAME currently stands as it comes to the Mac environument.
  1. First and foremost, I see 21000 views on this site. Considering the narrow topic covered here, this is encouraging. So there are Mac users out there who are interested in MAME emulation. Thank you! And please do not hesitate to post if there is something to mention.
  2. As you probably read in this blog, MAME works quite nice on modern Macs. As regards the Mac build, the METAL backend does not build properly in recent macOS systems. However, the official build from http://sdlmame.lngn.net/ is built on an older MacOSX system and has a working METAL backend. The build from http://choccyhobnob.com/mame/mame/ does not a working METAL backend, and same goes with my own build attempts.
  3. I would really like to write a bit about the Retroarch MAME core with its entirely different approach to game emulation. However, the MAME (current) core for macOS is also outdated since nearly a year and does not build. On modern Macs, I would not mess around with the (running) cores for MAME 2003 or 2014, unless you have a really old Mac machine. I sincerely hope that this will change because Retroarch would be another great option for Mac users.
  4. When it comes to frontends, QMC2 and Attract Mode are out there and in decent shape. This blog contains a lot of information on how to set them up on Macs. As for Attract Mode, I am a bit worried about the lack of updates for quite some time. But addmitedly it works nicely.
The next big thing to come would probably be the High Sierra update, on which I will still be waiting a bit. With an 8bitdo Arcade Stick at home, playing could excel to new levels. And yes, still waiting for the Retroarch MAME core to come back to life. Cheers and happy gaming!

10 August 2017

MAME 0.188 and new insights into the METAL bug

Last week, MAME 0.188 arrived, as always, with a lot of improvements. As regards game improvements, it is very nice to see that the first Game & Watch titles are released with SVG backgrounds built inside, so there is some very nice progress going on.

One of the first G&W titles with SVG backgrounds
On the Mac side of things, I figured out by coincidence that the MAME builds released by r0ni (considered to be official MAME builds for the Mac) have a working METAL backend! r0ni explained to me that he builds under 10.9 (updated LLVM using MacPorts) with the following command:

make PTR=1 TARGETOS=macosx TOOLS=1 NOWERROR=1 -j5

This set of instructions does not work on my system and ends with an error:

ld: warning: ignoring file /Library/Frameworks//SDL2.framework/SDL2, file was built for x86_64 which is not the architecture being linked (i386): /Library/Frameworks//SDL2.framework/SDL2

Undefined symbols for architecture i386:

This means that it is a good idea to work with this build of SDL MAME for the Mac:
So it might be that compiling under 10.12 does not work out nicely as far as the METAL backend is concerned ?!?

03 July 2017

Mid-Year MAME 0.187 with no big news on the Mac side of things

Game & Watch titles look promising, but are apparently missing the overlays for proper gaming experience - as presented by Definitely Russian here:

BGFX/Metal bug still seems to be in place

Otherwise another solid release

20 June 2017

Erockus Arcade 4.0 and MacScene Emulation Forum

As suggested by some of you, I gave Erockus Arcade a try. I was testing the new version 4. Unfortunately my testing did not turn out nicely. Here is a short summary.

1. Erockus is a bare bones frontend without any screenshot or even video preview options. This can fit you if you want to just head for the games and nothing else. But for many of us, MAME is not just playing, but it is about preserving the original feel.

2. The Erockus configuration writes directly into your mame.ini and does not accept manual configuration (at least not of the options it directly handels). An existing mame.ini is backed up. This can be ok, if you are aware of it. 

3. However, after three starts, Erockus stopped working on my system with the latest MacOS Sierra installed. After a startup time of more than two minutes (full romset), it ends up with an error. In my last attempt for this post, Erockus just froze after 3 minutes without any message, so I had to Force Quit.

This is why I could not do any further testing, and I also cannot provide screenshots here. All in all, the software might be ok for your if you are looking for fast gameplay - if it works on your system. In my case, unfortunately.

I also want to mention the MacScene Emulation Forum this time, although I did not succeed registering for some reason ;-). If anybody of you has an idea how to register (is it still alive?), I would consider again. Thanks. One thing is clear: When it comes to emulation, Macs are still a rather difficult environment (to say the least)...

31 May 2017

MAME 0.186 is out

The Change Log for that version is more than impressive, and I very much look forward to hearing Cheeky Mouse sounds again after so long :-). Space Cyclone and first working Game & Watch gems are other things that caught my immediate attention. 

Mac Binaries are available, including a new Homebrew Formula. More to follow.

26 May 2017

CLRMame Pro 4.032 with Wine: Scanning ROMs on your Mac

As of this post, I am doing my first scan tests with the newest CLRMame Pro 4.032 under MacOS. This is possible thanks to the Wine layer that itself can be installed rather flawlessly via Homebrew.

Assuming that you have already Homebrew and Homebrew Cask installed, install XQuartz cask and then wine with Homebrew:
brew cask install xquartz
brew cask install wine-stable
You may also want to head to this excellent summary.

Then download the zip version of CLRMame Pro, then unzip the directory containing the program files to a place of your choice. That's basically it.

Open the Terminal, cd to the CLRMame Pro directory and start the program with

wine cmpro64.exe

This is where I am right now, and now it's time to learn the program with these instructions here. Still being a newbie in correct rom management, I might revert back later until I got comfortable with the process. Enjoy!

29 April 2017

MAME 0.185

Also this update from Wednesday brought no surprises. 

The binary bottle in Homebrew has also been updated. And the BGFX Metal bug is still with us.

I am currently quite occupied with MAME on my Raspberry Pi, which is sometimes a completely different ballpark due to its performance limitations. Still it is incredible fun, and there might be some learnings for low-performing Macs as well. 

29 March 2017

MAME 0.184, Xcode 8.3 and 10.250 pageviews :-)

Today brings version 0.184 of MAME, which I compiled under brand new MacOS 10.12.4 and Xcode 8.3. I am also very happy to report 10.250 pageviews of this blog, which is very encouraging.

Compile was flawless as always. Performance seems in line with previous versions, BGFX Metal bug is still here. So it seems fine for us MAME users to upgrade.

Page statistics show the clear need for shader documentation, in particular BGFX, as well as Artworks. Quite as I anticipated, and I will try to keep focus here. Thanks for your interest.

22 February 2017

MAME 0.183 - Solid 20th Anniversary Release

Today brings us a special MAME release, and changes are many. The Mac binary compiles nicely as always from source and some performance tests indicate that this is rock stable. Also the Homebrew version of MAME made a jump to this version and is now up to date. All in all everything works as expected - and also does not work. Thus no news on the BGFX-METAL bug, but that was not to be expected anyways.

13 February 2017

Porting Retropie/Retroarch Artwork in 16:9 (John Merrit) to official MAME

Short Update October 2019: Mr. Do provides a very nice simple MAME .lay file generator here:


There is incredibly realistic MAME Artwork for Retropie/Retroarch systems out, and I started re-writing them to run for the official MAME build. Work is mainly based on John Merrit's great work and Mr. Do's Layout Files, and the effect is amazing. This also shows the power of the yet simple MAME artwork system. Creativity is your only limit.
Update: I modified the layout file in a way that you can now switch on/off the scratches and reflections on the screen
Update 2: I started a Github repository (see below link).

Within the Video Mode options, you can now choose between:
  • Clear Screen - the screen is shown without any reflections and scratches
Clear Screen - Click to Enlarge

  • Scratch Screen - the screen shows all the reflections and scratches. On top, you can manipulate the Screen Alpha Channel separately from the cabinet. - thereby you manipulate the intensity of the scratches on screen only!
Scratch Screen - Click to Enlarge

27 January 2017

Attract Mode for OSX MAME - Setup Part 2

After successful completion of Part 1, there are many further opportunitites to tweak Attract Mode for MAME for your own needs. Here is a collection of useful hints for further fine tuning of the Attract Mode setup:
  • Configure the Attract Mode Intro Video
  • Configure history.dat to display within Attract Mode
  • Assign game-specific configurations for Attract Mode only
  • Other Emulators (WIP)
  • Including RetroArch Cores (WIP - huge!)
Here are the details:

26 January 2017

MAME 0.182, and BGFX-metal Bug registered

I compiled yesterday's MAME 0.182 and today's QMC2 0.71 without issues - and the BGFX_metal bug still persists. 

But I finally made it into mametesters.org and managed to file a bug report here. As it turns out today, it was the MacOS Password Manager and Safari that kicked me out from mametesters.org at previous attempts. A manual login via Firefox after password reset did the trick. So if you want to login to Mametesters as a Mac user, I strongly recommend you to avoid Safari and Mac Password Manager if you run into strange problems like me, being blocked from the site. If you are at Mametesters.org and are able to confirm the bug, please leave a note there - thanks!

Update: While the Mametesters Bug Report has been closed, a Bug has been opened with the BGFX Github repository: https://github.com/bkaradzic/bgfx/issues/1032 - let's see.

19 January 2017

QMC Alternative: Attract Mode for OSX MAME - Setup, Part 1

Updated September 2018
This is huge, but needs work during setup. If you are willing to spend the time, it's probably the best MAME frontend around. 

If you are ready for manual text edits, this is what you get:
- best layouts in town with video previews that are compatible with the Retropie Attract Mode layouts
- game settings at ROM level
- very flexible and rather intuitive joypad control
- leave your current MAME/QMC2 installation unchanged and play with identical versions in this frontend
- fast at startup
- very accessible text configuration files

Since all of the following has been trial & error, I start with setup instructions from scratch.

1. Download and install Attract Mode for OSXhttp://attractmode.org/download.html - now at version 2.4.1 it is rock solid under OSX and in par with other Operating Systems

2. Start Attract Mode -> Attract Mode directory is created here:
[$HOME -> this is the home directory of your user in Attract Mode terms]/.attract

Note: You will only see this directory if you have enabled 'Show Hidden Files' (with a tool such as Deeper, otherwise you will not see this directory in your Finder!) 
Remember for all further configuration: $HOME stands for your Mac User home directory, this saves you a lot of time and remains portable to other users 
This is the directory where most of your customization happens! Do not touch the directories of your Attract Mode Program (via 'Show Package Contents'), since this will be overwritten with a program update.
3. Enter Attract Mode Configuration: TAB