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Important usage rules to use software list games with Emu Loader (MESS) Last Update: July 19, 2015
06/17/15 05:40 PM

These are the things you need to know so EL can properly audit games from software lists and tag them as available or missing, and to display preview snapshots, Also to avoid mixing up MAME arcade with MESS... and to make my life easier.
This thread will be updated with new info as MESS support is improved in Emu Loader.

If you handle your MESS games in a different way, please post a reply in this thread explaining how you do it.

1. All game files must be zipped, except CHD/CD/ISO, etc
Emu Loader will not search unzipped files. EL need to get the CRC32 checksum to identify the correct files. Also because games might have multiple files (multi-floppydisk games). Games not listed in software lists (mamedir\hash\ folder) are not supported by Emu Loader.

2. All softlist game files must be placed in a sub-folder using the same name as the software list filenames (\mamedir_hash\ folder) msx1_cart, a2600, amiga_flop, vc4000, etc
Emu Loader will not search game files in machine named sub-folders (like expert11, fx370, a2600p, a1000, 1292apvs, etc), because the same software list can be used by several machines.
MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+, MSX Turbo-R have dozens of machines but they all use msx1_cart software list. It makes sense to ONLY put your game files in a \msx1_cart\ sub-folder.

Also because MAME can have games from different machines using the SAME game name.

Elevator Action (game name: elevator)
This game is found in MAME arcade, MSX1 cartridge, MSX1 floppy, MSX1 cassette, Atari 2600, Atari 800, and other softlists. Other games are like that too: pacman, galaga, goonies.

When auditing games, how will the frontend know which file is from which softlist ? MAME have a very thorough detection system that can do it, searching in machine names sub-folders, but Emu Loader will not do this! It complicates things too much and can lead to a horrifying mess.

Here's how the frontend works:
I have my MAME games in d:\mame_roms\; MESS machines in d:\mess_roms\ and all software list games in their sub-folders: d:\mess_roms\msx1_cart\; d:\mess_roms\msx2_cart\; d:\mess_roms\a2600\; d:\mess_roms\nes

My rompath entry (mame.ini) only have the main folders. Note that you DON'T need to define softlist sub-folders as MAME search in them automatically, and so does Emu Loader.
rompath d:\mame_roms;d:\mess_roms;roms

Game elevator for msx1_cart (MSX1 cartridge softlist) and for a a2600 (Atari 2600 softlist).

For msx1_cart, EL will search in:


And for a2600, file will be searched in:


Very easy to understand, right ? This way you can have your MESS games very well organized. Clean and easy to find.

Snapshots and video previews follow the same rule:
game snapshots files for msx1_cart games must be in MAME's snapshot_directory (mame.ini), but in a sub-folder with same name as the softlist name: snap_dir\msx1_cart\gamename.png.
Zipped images is also supported and need to be in a \msx1_cart\ sub-folder inside
Same for other image categories, image files of other arcade emulators and video preview files.

3. Merged softlist games support
You can have clone game files in the parentname .zip but I don't recommend it. You might have problems in the future when trying to update you game files.

4. Region compatibility between machines and software list games
Emu Loader will NOT support compatibility tags. MAME can run a NTSC game in a PAL machine and vice versa. All is needed is use -cart1; -flop1; -cass1; etc; command line when loading softlist games.
Also because software list games implementation is very basic. There will be no advanced softlist features support in Emu Loader due to the way the frontend was coded. A full project rewrite would be required to fully support MESS machines and softlist games.


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Ciro Alfredo Consentino
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Edited by CiroConsentino (09/29/15 05:14 PM)

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* Important usage rules to use software list games with Emu Loader (MESS) Last Update: July 19, 2015 CiroConsentinoModerator 06/17/15 05:40 PM

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