August 31, 2002
Lazarus 3.0 is finally here!!

Ok so it's finally ready. You will notice that there isn't an upgrade patch this time. That is because the dirs.ini and lazarus.ini have been reformatted. This means that in order for this version to work, you need to install it into a FRESH directory and move over any dats skins or other support files. With that being said, here is a list of fixes/features:

Fixed a bug that didn't allow the *text* style searchstrings to work properly.
Fixed the playlists added in the betas.
Fixed the screensaver by ditching it for an external, true .scr file.
Optimized memory useage a bit.
Added just a few intelligent error messages.

Added Filters to the searchstrings, so you can filter off unwanted games from each list.
Added The ability to control the interface's volume.
Added a jump to "next/previous letter" feature for those long gamelists.
Added three new fields which contain the driver info, control info and screen info from the listinfo.dat generated by mame (it it now STRONGLY reccomended that you generate the mame dat from mame itself.)

All aspects of the menus take advantage of event sounds now, and I've finally fixed the "pop" sound (a sound event played when the list is scrolled, or selected)

Added a few special settings that take advantage of the new fields.
Added the option to have solid menus, which should work for everyone.

Consolidated some of the keys for a new shift function similar to how the ipac operates. For a dirty diagram until I get the menu updated click here.

NOTE: As of this version joystick support is broken. It may not come back as It's not a priority to me. For joystick support I reccomend the joytokey program, which works just fine with lazarus.

Posted by Howard at 11:43 PM
Visual Pinball Wrapper 2.0 released!

Ok its done, I've been working on this gem off and on for a while. This enhanced version of the visual pinball wrapper boasts better parsing methods (now you can have "-" in a vpt title for instance) And the ability to choose how often vp checks for the exit key, which can improve performance on slower machines. It also has a built-in mini front end for testing tables. Place it in your visual pinball's "tables" directory for best results and to use the mini fe.

Oh and one more thing... xp/2000 users are treated to the option of having the scoreboard turned translucent. :D You can also force the position of it for best viewing results. This is great for tables with the very graphical scoreboards as now you can double the size and put it right at the top of the screen so you can see it and the table well.

This wrapper works just like the old one, but you can access the new settings and the built in fe by double clicking on the icon in windows. More documentation will follow upon the release of lazarus 3.0 Go check it out at the wrappers page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to a glitch I found in lazarus 2.0 this wrapper will NOT work in lazarus unless you turn off the send full path and send exit keys options in your visualpinball.cfg This is already fixed in 3.0 and thus isn't a major issue.

Posted by Howard at 01:13 AM
August 29, 2002
Of things to come

In case you've been wondering what I've been up to fe wise, the answer is everything! I've got two new wrappers that I'm working on. One is a new command line wrapper that solves all of the issues with the previous one and removes the use of handles, which should make some people happy. I've also updated the visual pinball wrapper to add some special features for 2000/xp users. Check it out here. If you can't figure out what I did then I"m not telling. ;-)

Lazarus 3.0 is almost finished and it adds a TON of new features. Unfortunately that also means I won't be able to offer an upgarde patch as a lot of the files have changed. Don't worry though it's well worth it. This is a huge upgrade in terms of features from the previous betas.

I also have a new skin I'm working on based on the old bad dudes skin. It's pretty slick I think, but you'll have to wait to check it out.

Look for all of this stuff very soon.

Posted by Howard at 03:52 PM
August 20, 2002
Demoncade Skin released!

Perhaps now it's time for something a little........ evil?
Demon Seed sent in this great skin, go check it out!

Posted by Howard at 02:03 PM
August 18, 2002
Lz Mame .61 released!

Ok this has actually been online for a while, but I've been too lazy to link to it. This is your standard build of mame minus the error halts so mame rom errors won't lock up lazarus and other front-ends that wait until mame is closed to resume.

As of now this is a fairly stock build, but I hope to add new features very soon. I'm currently taking requests as to what you want to see included. Before you go all crazy, I'm not a mame developer and my knowledge of C is limited. I do have enough skill to make a build based on bits and pieces of other builds though. So if you have a feature from another build of mame you would like to see the let me know. If the author approves then I'll add it.

Posted by Howard at 04:25 AM
August 15, 2002
lazarus beta 2.3

This is mainly a bug fix beta... it fixes a few issues with the new background music support and other nonsense. Oh and did I mention I optimized the code to increase scrolling speed by about 350%? ;-)

You will have to play around with your scrollrate and artwork scroll rate settings to notice any difference though. I've found that 45/100 gives me a good balance between speed and accuracy. Each computer will need to be tweaked individually.

Oh and expect me to get that special build of mame up by the end of the day.

Posted by Howard at 08:14 AM
Download this skin... this I command

Cobra Commander writes:
"I wasssss onccccce a maaan. If I still had thumbs I would download this skin. "

You heard the reptile, go download the "official" Cobra skin now and show those Joe's who's boss.

Until next time.... COBRA LALALALALALALALALALA !!!

Posted by Howard at 01:22 AM
August 13, 2002
The Manual is Finally Updated

I added a skins tutorial that should answer a lot of questions. I also updated the extras page, and the filters page to give examples of the powerful new filter options.

Posted by Howard at 07:36 PM
Active X issues anyone?

On BYOAC today dink writes:

"My" latest troubleshooting endeavor...

In Lazarus 2.x for Windows 98/98SE/ME.

If you are receiving a "Runtime error '429' error, Activex component can't create object"

It is because you may not have Windows Scripting installed. It seems Windows 2000 and XP users have it installed by default.

Windows script version 5.6 is the latest and can be obtained here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/winscript56/Install/5.6/W9XNT4Me/EN-US/scr56en.exe

I couldn't have said it better myself. :-)

I feel for you 98 users I really do, as your always going to get the short end of the stick. I can't help it really as Xp has everything included and I'm always going to overlook something. Sorry.

Posted by Howard at 03:26 AM
August 11, 2002
Additional support files

Apparently there have been some problems with Windows XP that it doesn't always add the mscomctl.ocx file during installation, so this file has been linked on the right side under the Support Files section. If you get an error about mscomctl.ocx being unregistered, then you will have to download the file and copy it to your c:\windows\system and c:\windows\system32 directories.

The VB6 runtimes have also been linked under the Support Files section.

Posted by OSCAR at 07:36 PM
Logos for Lazarus

A logo page has been added under the Latest Downloads section on the right. The logos shown on the page have been thumbnailed to reduce the page size, and don't look as good as the ones in the download archive.

Many of these images are copyrighted and there is a notice included in the download file. Here is the entire notice (by Howard):

These logos have been collected from various comercial sites are are the sole copyrights of their respective owners. A few of these logos are hand made by me and are thus copyrighted by myself.

Viva-nonno, zinc, ultracade and capcom classics were collected by Boris. I believe he also created the viva nonno logo himself.

Any attempt to alter, sell, or claim these logos without written permission from thier respective copyright holders is strictly prohibited. Distrilbution of this package is only permitted if this text file is included for legal reasons.

I don't want any of you getting sued now do I ? ;-)

Posted by OSCAR at 07:02 PM
Beta 2.2 released

Ok I felt guilty so here is a solution for the invisible command line problem. Just try the beta and see what you think about the options. It also fixes some font cropping issues and fixes the newly added playlist support for the skins. It comes with a new lazarus.ini but if you don't want to have to change all of your settings again put this under the "ShutDownOnExit" entry:

***You can make the command line box appear in different modes when mame starts. Your options are as follows:
***0=hidden,1=maximized(has focus),2=minimized(has focus),3=minimized(lacks focus), 4=normal, 5=normal(lacks focus)
***I don't reccomend any of the modes that lack focus as they can cause display issues for mame.


LaunchStyle=3

Posted by Howard at 08:06 AM
Lazarus in Disguise

I'm feeling very retro lately so I decided to start work on some cool 80's skins. Here's the first in a series. What did I start with? Well the Transformers of course. Also check out the into movie, but I'll be the first to admit that it's not the best of quality. If anyone has the "transition" sequence captured on their computer please send it to me and l will fix it up and post it instead. More are on the way including the "official" Cobra skin.

Oh yeah I know I've been promising to update the documentation and release a new version soon, but hey, I got side-tracked.

Anyway for now at least.... Autobots, transform and roll out!

Posted by Howard at 07:29 AM
August 10, 2002
On news blurbs...

To help cut down on the page size, only the last 14 days worth of news and comments will be shown on the main page. You may view an entire month's news by selecting the month archive link on the bottom right.

Posted by OSCAR at 10:59 AM
Lazarus intro movie

Howard made an intro movie (mpeg) and you can get it from the Skins download page.

Posted by OSCAR at 10:54 AM
August 09, 2002
Command Line Woes

Well it appears that hiding the command line causes a few un-thought of problems.....

Some games in mame have incomplete drivers or incomplete rom dumps. These games prompt you to press a key to continue. Unfortunately you can't press a key on a invisible box, so lazarus just sits there forever.

Well fortunately I have 3 solutions for you. Solution one is to wait until tomorow when I release 2.2.... I will give you the option to show the command line maxamized instead of hiding it. It's still better than before I guess.

Solution 2 is to wait until I have a custom build of mame ready.... It will be the standard mame compile minus the "Press any key message". This is NOT the screen like the "press ok to continue" screen. This "press any key appears" as the roms are being loaded into memory and thus it should not violate the liscensing agreement. A big thanks to SirP for finding the bit of code to comment out before I could get to it. That build should be available soon.

Solution 3 is to group these very few "problem roms" together and make a dat file for them. Then you can set them up as a seperate emu and launch them via the cmd-launch wrapper. It's rather backwards but it would work.

Anyway look for the first two solutions to pop up within the next day or so, and until then stay away from the 64th Street rom. ;-) The compiling instructions will also be posted for those of you who wish to patch their own versions of mame.

Posted by Howard at 10:03 PM
August 08, 2002
Beta Testing

Something Iíve been getting asked a lot lately is ďCan I be a beta tester?Ē I donít think it would be fair of me to pick only one or two so here is what Iím going to do. From now on to the right on the downloads there will be a link to the latest beta. It will contain only an exe so youíll need to patch the latest stable version unless otherwise noted. It will have a point designation so that you can tell it apart from the others. (Like this version 2.1) Full versions are supported but this one wonít be. If you find a bug tell me but donít expect a reply and donít expect me to fix it soon as itís still a beta. I will try to update the beta a lot so check back often.

This version adds the ability to add intro movies for each individual skin. Just place your ďintro.mpegĒ in the proper skin folder to have it play with that skin. Background music for each skin is also now supported. Just put a background.mp3 or alternatively a background.m3u (a play-list) in with the skin.

Posted by Howard at 11:53 PM
A-Player Skins are here!

I got a line from Boris today. For those of you who donít know Boris is the author of the A-Player front-end and several of the best Visual Pin-MAME tables out there. Back in the old RD days he came out with A-Player around the same time. They both had similar features, but Borisís front end was always ahead of me in terms of visual appeal and the flexibility of the skins. Itís taken me a few months just to get Lazarus made, which is finally up to par with his graphically. I even use the same graphics dll as A-Player now.

Anyway, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is it seems that Boris is retiring A-Player. The competition for front ends now a days is getting slimmer and slimmer, which is always a bad thing, especially in this case. The good news is heís ported all of the A-Player skins to work on Lazarus. You need to go check them out because they really showcase the power of the Lazarus skinning options. Boris has also sent me some logos (which will be released soon) and has posted a lot of Lazarus tips on his website, which can be found here.

Posted by Howard at 09:38 PM
August 07, 2002
Let There Be Skins!

Ok we have two skins for you now. One will be oddly familiar and the other is a Izaram orignal that includes an intro movie. Extract these to your themes folder and be sure to install the fonts and move the intro movie to the root folder.

Go check them out at the skins page! And keep those skins a coming.

Oh the main 2.0 download has also been fixed to go with the upgrade patch.

Posted by Howard at 09:23 PM
Lazarus link images

Images banners and buttons for linking to the Lazarus homepage have been added under the Links section on the right. If you choose to link to the Lazarus homepage, please save the images to your server and link only to the main site at http://www.oscarcontrols.com/lazarus. Hopefully there will be some more images and animated gifs available shortly.

Posted by OSCAR at 08:48 PM
August 06, 2002
Doh!

Sorry guys I missed a HUGE bug that will cause problems in 2.0. If you downloaded it prior to this posting then you need to download it again. Please note that as of now only the 2.0 UPGRADE is updated. The full download will be available soon and news will be posted when it is.

Posted by Howard at 08:40 AM
Skinner Bug Found and Fixed

Thanks to Izaram's questions I've found and fixed a bug in the skinner app that caused improper alignment on some systems. I've fixed the zip file accordingly. If you downloaded the skinner prior to now then you need to download it again. Also I have a feeling that 98 users are now going to have a problem... if you do let me know and I'll add a 98/xp toggle so that everyone can be happy.

Posted by Howard at 03:04 AM
Lazarus 2.0 is out!

Man that was quick wasnt it?
Ok here is 2.0 with a few more features:

Skins now let you define the transparency value (xp/2000 only.)
Skins now let you toggle the pulsing highlight.
Skins let you adjust the path label better.
No more annoying command prompt when MAME loads. (Thanks SirP.)
New filter options.

I also fixed a few bugs.

The old skins are no longer compatible with the new Front-end or the new skinner (which I also uploaded to the right.) So you skinners out there will want to pick it up as well. Skins are on the way too.

I will update the manual with the new features in greater detail later.

Posted by Howard at 12:30 AM