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MAME 0.181

28 Dec 2016

Happy new year from the MAME team! To help you celebrate, we’re unwrapping an extra-special release this month, with enough improvements to put anyone in a good mood. The exciting news that’s got people talking is that protected microcontrollers (MCUs) from a number of games have been read out and hooked up in MAME. This gives real, emulated sound in Toaplan’s Vimana, Fire Shark (also known as Same! Same! Same!) and Teki Paki, proper emulation of Tokio/Scramble Formation, M-chip emulation for Taito Extermination, Dr Toppel and Plump Pop, MCU emulation for Sega Altered Beast and Golden Axe, and partial sound in World Beach Volley. There’s more coming on this front, so stay tuned for upcoming releases!

MAME 0.181 also marks the debut of Votrax SC-01 emulation in MAME, based on reverse-engineering die photographs. The digital section should be pretty much perfect, although there are still some issues in the analog section (plosives don’t sound quite right). Overall, it’s a huge improvement in Votrax speech synthesis emulation, and a great leap forward in our understanding of how the hardware works. It also means speech samples are no longer required for a number of games.

Building on the ARM improvements in last month’s release, we now have working floppy drives and sound in the Acorn Archimedes driver, and default NVRAM images for the US Aristocrat Mark 5 games. This greatly increases the amount of RISC OS software you can try out, improves the gameplay experience in the Archimedes-based arcade games, and allows you to play the Aristocrat gamblers without having to make your way through the setup process first.

MAME’s discrete netlist emulation library has been expanded substantially in this release, including some new classes of devices like ROMs, and many newly supported logic chips. This will make it substantially easier to emulate arcade games which used discrete TTL logic, and as a test of this new functionality, the TTL video board from the Hazeltine 1500 intelligent terminal is now emulated using the netlist system. There’s ongoing work in this area involving multiple developers, so look out for more exciting updates in this space.

We’ve fixed some fairly significant bugs, including one preventing the debugger from working on Linux or Mac with drivers that use a dynamic recompiler core, and one that could cause MAME to crash when using BDF fonts. The internal UI should be more efficient if you’re using icons now, and issues with spurious key repeats should be reduced. The Beezer driver has been rewritten and should be improved overall.

There are quite a few newly dumped arcade games in this release, including Eeekk!, Simpson Junior (a Korean bootleg of J. J. Squawkers), Power Flipper Pinball Shooting (an updated version of Grand Cross), a version of Momoko 120% with English text, Miss World 2002 (an adult Qix game), and alternate versions of The NewZealand Story, Real Bout Fatal Fury, Space Dungeon, Flicky and Turbo Force. The Apricot PC and Xi are now working, further increasing MAME’s coverage of DOS-based computers that aren’t IBM-compatible. You can also play with the COP44L version of Entex Space Invader, and Mattel Funtronics Jacks and Red Light Green Light.

There are far too many improvements to list here, including lots of fixes for graphics and flip screen issues, but you can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, or grab the source or Windows binaries from the download page and start playing.