Request For A More Modern MAME, or RAINE Port


Epicenter

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It seems the one thing that is really conspicuously missing in the emulation scene of the GP2X for me is the emulation of more modern MAME-supported games. Sure, old 1980s games that rely on just 4 MHz Z80s and older are nice and all, but the GP2X is capable of so much more. We've already seen what it can do with the NeoGeo-- a 12 MHz 68000 and 4 MHz Z80, high-quality Yamaha YM26xx series synth and more, all running most of its games at the full 60 FPS with a modest overclock. This should be applicable to the enormous quantity of 68000-based games emulated in modern versions of MAME.

Also acceptable would be a port of RAINE or any other emulator capable of handling the listed games.

I would mostly want this newer version of MAME to play some of my favorite top-scrolling shooters for M68000-based arcade systems. Most notably, these games would have to run:

DoDonpachi (MAME name: ddonpach)
Donpachi (MAME name: donpachi)
ESP.Ra.De (MAME name: esprade)
Guwange (MAME name: guwange)
Dangun Feveron (MAME name: dfeveron)
Strikers 1945 (MAME name: s1945)
Strikers 1945 II (MAME name: s1945ii)
Giga Wing (MAME name: gigawing)
Mars Matrix (MAME name: mmatrix)
Aero Fighters [Emulated in MAME for GP2X already but with major sound problems, the Z80 crashes shortly after running it ] (MAME name: aerofgt)

These games use M68000 processors up to 16 MHz. Given the performance of the Cyclone core at 12 MHz in GNGeo2x and DrMDx, they should run very well. If 16 MHz is too much to handle without heavy overclocking the emulated M68000 could be dropped to ~12 MHz and the games would just be a bit more prone to slowdown. This is OK; the games lagged heavily even at 16 MHz when there were enough bullets onscreen at once.

Other hardware used by these games is mostly comprised of YM2xxx series synth chips like the NeoGeo, and AGAIN like the NeoGeo, a ~4 MHz Z80 coprocessor. There is no hardware scaling or rotation hardware I am aware of, it seems to be done in software on the M68000 if at all. Most of these run at 320x224 (but flipped vertically.) It would be nice if they could be played vertically with the GP2X tilted or scaled and fit onto the machine horizontally like the existing MAME port to GP2X does so well.

Performance should be quite good, as I've even had these run quickly on a 450 MHz K6-2 based machine using nothing but C 68000 and Z80 cores. With such excellent cores as Cyclone and DrZ80 .. I wouldn't see them being that much of a stressor for the GP2X's ARM920T.

Now for the good part. If someone were to develop such a port, I'd offer them OVER $200 for doing so. Probably a good BIT more. It'd be well worth the investment, and it doesn't even need to be said the sort of benefit this would have for the rest of the community, not just for me! Emulated games in newer MAME versions vary widely and go much beyond the range I've listed here (M68000 based top-scrolling shooters.) Granted any game without an ASM core for its processor probably runs slow as dirt, and we can't expect Cruisin' USA to run at acceptable speeds, so on and so forth. However, the amount of games even these 2 CPUs open up to an entire GENERATION of MAME-emulated titles is staggering.

Just putting this out there for anyone who is interested. If anyone else would contribute to such a project, feel free to reply and get that out there, too. :)
 

Epicenter

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I'm sure, Nick. :) Any serious offers? Hell, I'd go up to $1000 (in payments) if someone actually moves forward with the idea. It shouldn't honestly be that difficult given that new MAME versions should compile well to an ARM target with an SDL Interface-- it would really just be a matter of getting an interface in place, I'd imagine, for the most part.
 

Epicenter

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I'm in the Air Force, I don't really have much in the way of expenses. So my money pretty much just goes to what I feel like spending it on. If I feel like dropping a hundred or two a month on a project that is coming along well and that I get a lot of use of it .. well, so be it. :)
 

PSyMastR

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Epicenter posted on May 13 2006 at 07:37 PM said:
I'm in the Air Force, I don't really have much in the way of expenses. So my money pretty much just goes to what I feel like spending it on. If I feel like dropping a hundred or two a month on a project that is coming along well and that I get a lot of use of it .. well, so be it. :)
My dad owns an Avation repair station, and many of the guys there are from the air force.

I dont know if MAME already supports it, but that simpsons game was a blast.
 
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Epicenter

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PSyMastR posted on May 13 2006 at 06:40 PM said:
I dont know if MAME already supports it, but that simpsons game was a blast.

It uses some odd processor I do not recognize, at 3 MHz. MAME would have a C core for it, it may be fast enough with a bit of an overclock. An ASM core, if one exists, for the ARM9 would speed it up a lot. Other than that, it just has a 4 MHz Z80 and Yamaha sound hardware, again ...
 
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Dzz

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Epicenter posted on May 13 2006 at 05:37 PM said:
I'm in the Air Force, I don't really have much in the way of expenses. So my money pretty much just goes to what I feel like spending it on. If I feel like dropping a hundred or two a month on a project that is coming along well and that I get a lot of use of it .. well, so be it. :)
That's a great incentive! Make a more specific bounty -- a specific amount of money with a specific success criterion.
 
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Epicenter

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Well, RAINE would cover most of the games on my list. Not all, but more than half. :) A port of that should cover the whole project in one fell swoop unless they wanted to work on MAME as well. MAME itself, you could break tasks up into driver tasks .. make the Cave driver work, for example, and you've got 5 games knocked out right there (donpachi, ddonpach, esprade, guwange, dfeveron) .. that and a working MAME port to use this driver would be worth well over $150 to me personally. Depending on the amount of effort involved, the amount I'd pay could vary .. and if anyone else wanted to contribute I'm sure there'd be even more incentive to work on this.
 

vobboomg

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I currently have a newer build of mame compiling... but its slow at the moment! I did it because I wanted to play flying shark (the best vertical shooter ever!) - When I`m done with my pc-engine emulator, i`ll work on it...!


Vobbo
 

Feeblez

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vobbo posted on May 14 2006 at 02:42 AM said:
I currently have a newer build of mame compiling... but its slow at the moment! I did it because I wanted to play flying shark (the best vertical shooter ever!) - When I`m done with my pc-engine emulator, i`ll work on it...!
I love Twin Cobra, again by Toaplan, and excellent on the PCE too.
(cheat: at the very start of the game fly into the bottom left corner and drop a bomb for some extra lives)

Anything pre Truxton II i find much more satisfying and playable than any of the newer vertical shootemup's.
(concentrating on a tiny area around your ship that isn't full of a zillion pink or blue bullets is not fun!)
 
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DaveC

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Epicenter posted on May 13 2006 at 11:02 PM said:
It seems the one thing that is really conspicuously missing in the emulation scene of the GP2X for me is the emulation of more modern MAME-supported games.

Well it is MAME you are talking about. It is not made to be efficient it is made to be accurate. MAME is made for big fast PCs with lots of RAM and superfast CPUs, not 200 MHz battery operated toys. The result is that the MAME is a big bloated spaghetti code mess. If it were redone to make those modern games work well it would have to be re-written so much that it wouldn't even be MAME anymore. I mean we don't even have Donkey Kong at full speed with sound yet in MAME let alone the new powerful systems.
 
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sam fisher

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vobbo posted on May 14 2006 at 02:42 AM said:
I currently have a newer build of mame compiling... but its slow at the moment! I did it because I wanted to play flying shark (the best vertical shooter ever!) - When I`m done with my pc-engine emulator, i`ll work on it...!


Vobbo
Please dont let this rush you to stop optimising your PCE emulator. I would really love full speed at 200mhz :ph34r:
 
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Epicenter

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We saved the world from aliens, you bastard! :(

In all seriousness. Yes, I know MAME is quite bloated code, but natively, it runs with very slow C cores. If the video and audio handling code are not abysmally slow enough to drag down the operation of these games, they may well be sped to their full framerate on GP2X hardware (with a bit of an overclock) through the aid of the Cyclone and DrZ80 ASM processor cores. Now, if this is unachievable and MAME's big, fat, messy nature proves to be unable to deal with this, RAINE would suffice.

In fact, the more I look at the two, the more RAINE seems the ideal choice to port.
It supports the majority of the games I'd like to play, and a few others I neglected to mention:

- 19xx: The War against Destiny
- Armed Police Batrider
- Batsugun
- Battle Garegga
- the Darius series
- Gunbird
- Some Megaman titles

All of which are favorites of mine. RAINE already has a Linux port, freely available source, and an SDL target. It natively uses SDL, in fact. All that would likely need to be done is development of a new frontend for it to replace the old mouse-driven one that for obvious reasons, would not be a good suit for the GP2X. Also perhaps, a GFX dumping feature like GNGeo2x uses should RAM become a concern.
 

Epicenter

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Mr_Munk posted on May 14 2006 at 04:05 AM said:
The thought of Dodonpachi on the GP2X makes me dribble. Although playing it would also probably make you blind since even the saturn version looks cramped on a tv set.

Cramped? .. It ran at 320x224-- within TV resolution spec; so if it was 'cramped' it was flipped to Horizontal and scaled down. On the GP2X, you could just flip the machine over to run it in the Vertical orientation-- you can't usually turn your TV on its side as easily. :) The GP2X almost perfectly matches that 320x224 resolution, too. It's the same the MegaDrive (and therefore DrMDx) uses.
 
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