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MAME 0.177

31 Aug 2016

Today marks the end of the southern winter/northern summer, and time for the hotly anticipated August MAME release. Possibly most importantly, we've fixed the issues that were causing menus to display off the edge of the screen on Windows (MT06335). We've integrated a fix for Aimtrack Dual Lightguns on windows from new contributor Pitou, and the behaviour of XAudio2 sound output should be much improved when adjusting game speed to match monitor refresh rate. Mouse behaviour on SDL builds (Linux/Mac) is also improved. Thanks very much to all the users who reported issues and helped out testing fixes.

We have lots of newly working computer systems to show off: Xerox Alto-II, TeleNova Compis (a 16-bit educational computer from Sweden), Victor 9000, Wang Professional Computer (DOS-based but not IBM compatible), Atari Portfolio (of Terminator 2 fame), and Vector-06C (a mass-produced Soviet home computer). Newly working games include Namco Techno Drive, the original Japanese release of Orca's River Patrol, Korean puzzle game Intergirl, and gambling game Magical Butterfly. Speaking of gambling games, this release is a huge update for BFM, JPM and Maygay fruit machines. John Parker has created a tool that converts MFME layouts to MAME layouts and contributed layouts for hundreds of games. This should make it far easier and more rewarding to work on these drivers.

MAME now includes a driver for a VGM music file player virtual machine (VGM is a popular video game music file format). This feature is primarily intended as a way for developers to test sound cores and do A/B comparisons, as it's a lot easier to just load a VGM test case than to play a game until it uses the sound chip feature you want to test, but it's also a convenient way to enjoy a wide variety of video game music. You can try it out by running mame vgmplay -bitb file.vgm or choosing "VGM player" from the list of systems and loading a VGM file in the appropriate media slot through the internal file manager.

The generic serial terminal and keyboard devices have been greatly improved. This should make computers controlled via serial port far more usable. (Keyboard layout, key repeat, simultaneous keypresses, local echo, auto CR/LF and audible bell have all been improved and/or made configurable.)

There are a number of improvements for MAME developers and contributors. We now allow Unicode characters in C++ and Lua source comments. This can make documentation clearer when referring to original machine labels. Source files must be encoded in UTF-8 with no initial byte order mark. Non-ASCII characters are allowed in comments, but not in most other parts of source files. Source and comments must still be written in English. We've improved build times a little, and migrated a lot of MAME-specific constructs to standard C++14 library features. A number of MAME APIs have been streamlined and modernised. The palette viewer now shows some details about the colour swatch under the mouse pointer (press F4 during gameplay to show, this may be interesting to regular users as well).

Of course, this release also comes with more alternate versions of games supported (including The NewZealand Story, Metamorphic Force, Super Hang-On, Terminator 2, Golden Tee '98, Gulf Storm, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and other fixes and improvements for machines already emulated by MAME (including Midway V-Unit outputs/layouts from Risugami and input/output improvements for gambling/medal games from AJR). For a more complete list of changes, see the whatsnew.txt file. As always, you can get MAME 0.177 binaries and source at the download page.