After almost two months, we’re ready to release MAME 0.252, the first MAME release of 2023! As promised, there are some big updates, and some of them may require you to make a few adjustments to your MAME setups. In particular, the modules MAME uses to handle input and output (e.g. video, sound and controllers) have been cleaned up, fixing lots of bugs and resource leaks.
First of all, the BGFX video module has had a serious overhaul. Numerous issues affecting artwork rendering have been fixed, and toggling full-screen mode no longer crashes. MAME now saves many BGFX video settings to your CFG files for each emulated system.
Game controller handling has also been overhauled. The downside is that you may need to reconfigure inputs for MAME. The upside is that things should work better out-of-the-box, with better default input assignments for more controllers:
- For Windows users, more XInput controllers are fully supported, including guitars, the DJ Hero turntable, and the Rock Band keyboard.
- For people using SDL builds, like our lovely macOS and Linux users, there’s a brand new joystick input module using the SDL game controller API. This gives consistent assignments for popular gamepads, and allows you to supply your own button and axis assignment schemes if the defaults don’t suit you. If want the old behaviour, it’s still available: just set the joystickprovider setting to sdljoy in your mame.ini file.
- For everyone, it should be easier to navigate MAME’s UI using a game controller, and MAME should choose better default game input assignments for more gamepads.
Of course, we haven’t stopped working on emulation. Newly supported systems include the NABU PC (a Canadian 8-bit home computer and cable network terminal), the I-Star Chess King (a Taiwanese hand-held chess computer of dubious quality), Computer Othello (one of Nintendo’s earliest video games), YoYo Spell (a prototype of the arcade game Little Robin), the very rare English language version of SegaSonic Cosmo Fighter (dumped from the unit previously operated at Sega World Sydney), and Saturn: Space Fighter 3D (a Space Invaders variant from Data East).
The MSX updates haven’t stopped: this release includes support for MSX-DOS2 and RAM expansion cartridges. The Hyper Neo Geo 64 has had some welcome fixes for both 2D and 3D graphics, and there should be more coming in the next release. At the other end of the spectrum, Apple II video has seen a number of improvements, and somewhere in between, S3 ViRGE reached a point where 256-colour mode works in Windows 98.
That’s all we have time for here, but you can read about the whole two months’ worth of changes in the whatsnew.txt file, or download the source code and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.