The Dragon King
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.
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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.

Site Tweaking.... 
Sunday, February 21, 2010, 11:49 PM - General Site News
I went ahead and updated the about mamehooker page to list the new output devices supported. This page as well as most of the pages on the site will undergo a overhaul in the next few weeks. Examples for mamehooker, as well as downloadable display files and scripts will be added and the direct download link in the menu will probably be removed in leu of a link inside the about page. This way people will HAVE to see what an app is for prior to downloading and read any important documentation it might have.

Mamehooker WIP 
Sunday, February 21, 2010, 05:56 PM - Mame Hooker
Right now mamehooker is the app in active development, mostly for personal reasons. (My cab is getting a hardware upgrade atm.) So I thought I would share my progress.

I saw headkaze's controls.dat viewer and how it can display secondary artwork on a secondary screen and thought that would be a good layout to make for mamehooker considering it supports display layouts. Then I remembered that mh doesn't support pngs, full path names, aspect ratio preservation, nor does it use the "%rom%" flag when loading images in a ".dis" file. Luckily all of this is easy to implement, so I took 20 minutes and added it all! Also I found some nice example code for vb6 that loads pngs purely with gdi+, which means I get to omit png librarys and the like. This is good news for some of my aging vb6 apps as I can remove the functional, but very slow libpng.

I also thought about the dream cheeky missile launcher support and realized how silly it would be to add it. I don't want to be adding hid devices for the rest of the app's life. This lead me to a better idea. Namely all hid devices support pure byte writing to control them. I will instead add a generic hid function that allows you to send a byte string to a device. All you need is the vendorId ProductId and Device number. And trust me, if you know enough about the device to know what raw bytes to send to it then these things are easy to obtain. I'll try to add this for the next version and also support for the DC missile launchers in the form of mamehooker scripts for each direction. If I can successfully do this then, in theory any future input devices that are made for the community can be supported without me, ensuring the app a long life!

Mame Hooker 3.0 
Saturday, February 20, 2010, 12:25 AM - Mame Hooker
After a very lengthly absence, my first NEW piece of software!

Mamehooker adds a ton of features and bugfixes. Main highlights include support for wiimotes, xbox 360 controllers, speech synthesis and more. For those of you that want a more lengthy "what's new" read the readme. I would post it but the last version of mamehooker released to the public was 2.1 and we are on 3.0 now. The link is in the interop section to the right.

While we are on the subject, the mamehooker section will be redesigned to include sample scripts, layouts and real-life examples. Also we've started a mini-project of documenting all the outputs in mame. I will be working on all of that next. Also the source code will be up soon, but I need to clean out the source folder first.

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