The Dragon King
Mame Hooker 3.5 Is Online! 
Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 08:19 PM - Mame Hooker
Ok the release I've been talking about for the last week or so is out.

New Features: (directly from the readme.)

What's New
Added Png support for the displays. (Sorry no transparency.)
Added the ability to use full paths to images in .dis files.
Added keep-aspect option to display files. (Not fully finished yet)
The "%rom%" flag now works inside display files.
Combine those four and it means you can easily make a default.dis that displays your artwork (marquees, flyers, ect) on a secondary display.

I've included two in the displays folder. One displays the marquee fullscreen, and another displays the marquee, cabient image and flyer image.
Understand though that since I don't know where you keep your artwork you MUST modify these before they will work.

Added Generic HID support, meaning if you have the documentation you can control ANY HID device!
For those of you who like to screw around with stuff, I've included scripts that allow you to control the dream cheeky missile launchers!

As promised the new display files and other things regarding mamehooker will be released as the week goes on. That section of the site shoudl be fully updated by monday and then I can go on to other apps that need attention.

Of Missile Launchers and HIDs and other things... (Mamehooker wip) 
Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 01:36 AM - Mame Hooker
I finished what will be the next and possibly final version of mamehooker that actually adds new features. This is because the latest thing I've added is generic HID support! For you non-programmers out there, HID devices are basically generic serial (usually usb or bluetooth) devices that you can talk to via code. Every single device that mamehooker supports is a HID device so that should let you understand just how popular they are. I haven't subjected you to having to send the raw byte commands because that would be cruel, BUT I thought it'd be nice to add generic support for a bit of "future-proofing".


If I stop working on mamehooker and a new device comes out a smart programmer type can add support to mamehooker via scripting.

I tested it on the simplest usb device I own, a dream cheeky missile launcher.

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So far tests are good as I had full control over the device. I went ahead and added dream cheeky scripts to the program so their would be an example of how to do it. I chose this device because it's so simple any idiot could understand what's going on and with two axis and a single switchable output, all with limiting switches, it might prove to be the cheapest possible interface pcb to an afterburner cockpit should we ever get the outputs hooked up in mame. :-)

Btw during my time away I wrote a full-fledged, fully skinnable missile launcher controller for this device which allows you to record and playback motions as well as control multiple devices at once or one at a time. It's the best software for the devices I've seen and unfortuantely I haven't released it ANYWHERE. I'll add a misc section to the site and upload it eventually.

Anyway, this and the new display features were all I wanted to add this version, so expect mamehooker 3.5 to be out tomorrow. The new page with examples, the "official" mame output list and the new display files will appear little-by-little over the course of the week.

The plot thickens.... 
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 07:27 PM - Mame Hooker
I got ahold of Mr Do. The beatmania issue was an oversight on his part. It was one of the first output enabled pieces of art he did and wasn't that familair with the game. He told me that he plans to get better images of the game and re-do those, so I'm gonna hold off releasing the beatmania display files until he is done.

We also discussed one of the games with mislabeled outputs (atari football) and he told me that the outputs were screwed up at the driver and it also effects a few other atari sports games. On top of that he reported the bug and it's went unfixed since 08! It sounds like I might have to put my amature mame dev hat on again and fix some inputs.

I've also found some other driver errors while doing this, I'll list them for documentation purposes.
afterburner (I not II): outputs aren't hooked up.

operation thunderbolt: gun solenoids still labeled as leds

various games with scoreboards: sometimes the digits are numbered right to left (not a huge issue)

subroc 3d: digit numbering is completely and totally screwed up, no logic to the numbering

turbo: digit0 and digit1 don't do anything. They are probably there for the numeric tach, which doesn't work apparently.

Anyway, I'm rounding the bases on these display files and all the ones I can release are pretty much ready. Expect a new page with the finished display files to appear soon!

Is BeatMania THAT unpopular? Or is it just artwork files in MAME? 
Friday, March 5, 2010, 04:44 AM - Mame Hooker
As you all know I'm currently working on display files for mamehooker. I've pretty much finished the actual display files so tonight I was going down the line and "hooking up" each display file by adding scripts to each game's ini file. I started to work on beatmania when I noticed that something was wrong with the original mame artwork file (which is what I use as a base for all displays). Beatmania has both blue AND red lights... I know this because I've played a real machine before. The mame artwork files only have the blue lights. On top of that there are seperate outputs for left and right lights because it is a 2 player game. Again, this isn't how it's hooked up for mame, even though mame properly has all the outputs defined, they just aren't used in the artwork files.

This seems like an error to me, but their might be some reasoning behind it I don't know about, so I've contacted Mr. Do. He's the expert so he should be able to sort it out.

I also found some issues with other artwork files as well, but they are minor and I'm not sure if they are bugs or not.

But the question arises..... the beatmania artwork files haven't been touched since early 2008, so nobody noticed the problem?

So I ask my original question. Is beatmania THAT unpopular? Or is it just artwork files?

Please Comment.
2 comments ( 17 views )   |  related link

Mamehooker WIP 
Monday, March 1, 2010, 11:20 PM - Mame Hooker
I posted some info on what will happen next on the site and then nothing....

So I thought I better post everything's status. The reason I haven't worked on the site or released a new version of mamehooker is simply because I've been busy making display files. Display files for mamehooker can display animated artwork on a dual screen setup just like mame's artwork files, but with all the stuff moved to the secondary screen. I implemented this just before I left a few years back but didn't really release any display files because at the time dual display support had just been implemented in mame and I didn't know how the artwork would be handled. As it stands, mame currently supports artwork files with multiple "views" and each monitor can display a different view. You'd think this would make the display feature of mamehooker obsolete, but unfortuantely this is not the case. If the game in question has a video display(s) then every view MUST have the video display shown on it. This means slowdowns on all but the fastest machines as the game gets rendered twice.

But enough technical data. Long story short, Mr. Do and Friends have been making in game artwork for mame for quite some time now and they also tend to make artowrk for games that had external lamps/scoreboards/ect as soon as mame supports them. In total we have around 50 artwork files for mame that support lamps or 7 segment displays. Since the number is so small I've taken it upon myself to convert them all. (Or at least all that make sense to do.) All the artwork is re-arranged to fit well on a 4:3 display as large as possible. I've currently got all of them done but maybe 4 or 5 in terms of the display files. I've have to go back and hook them up vis scripts though and add in credit for the original mame art authors as well. All-in-all I'd say I'll be done by the end of this upcoming week for sure, hopefully sooner. After that I'll release a new version of mamehooker very soon, update the mamehooker section with all the info I intend to add and then I'll consider that peice of software "done" barring any bugs and set it aside to work on the next thing.

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