> My question has to do with usability, because, believe it or not, some of my
> experience is in making command-line programs more useable. That's part of it. The
> other part are things you can't do in the current screen UI, that you can do on the
> command line. For example you can just start MAME and run a game. You don't need the
> command line at all for that, but to get HLSL sliders to save you need to do some
> initial configuration setup. That is something that might be put in the UI somehow.
> My point is that complaining about general ideas, esp. ones some people are really,
> really fond of, like the command line, is a waste of time because it doesn't tell us
> what you really want. It's like going to a car dealership and complaining because you
> can't drive. You should be specific about your complaints. What are the specific
> scenarios that give you grievance?
> Let me approach this from a different point-of-view. What about the emulation of old
> computers? If you want to play Ultima or Wizardry with the Apple II emulator, are you
> going to complain about having to use that command line? You can, but it'd be
> fruitless. You will have to use the command line to get those games running. Playing
> certain games will require a certain knowledge of the system they run on. Likewise,
> using MAME requires a certain knowledge of the CLI. It's very basic knowledge that I
> believe anyone who can read can learn. Devs can do their best to make things as
> accessible and simple as possible by providing good docs and up-to-date information,
> but at the end of the day there is a minimum amount of computer knowledge you'll need
> to have in order to use stock MAME.
I'm sorry don't take that the wrong way, but you seem to be typically the kind of very knowledgeable person who doesn't realize he's talking about a minority when he's talking about the people who love command line.
I don't know in which tech and computer-savvy environment you're living, but I'd believe you know well it's a rather closed elite world.
(in the perspective of today's standards, I hope you're following me on that)
Most people in the world who can use a computer today don't know anything about how computer programs work, they've barely touched anything before XP and broadband.
Command line is the past, some people still use that for work of course, but are we talking about work ? It's leisure, entertainment, hobby, not tech and computer knowledge - that - is essential to the developers only, not the users who are far away from those unneccessary things.
It doesn't make sense also in my eyes that part of something could be done via UI but only continued, completed via command line, it's like trying to deal with un unfinished thing, you have to stop in the middle and finish the task manually. Like driving only halfaway to your home, stop, and walk the rest of the way.
What most normal peole really want can't be more clear I believe: not having to do that, be able to drive all the way.
So now just don't get me wrong: here personally I'm not making any demands for a complete UI fully supporting everything and made at he hands of mamedev, just stating things as I believe they really are, because you guys really give the vibe that you actually can't see how huge the gap is, between people on your level, or even just reasonably knowledgeable users, and the vast majority of the people. Blame Microsoft, or even Google, not the average modern computer user.
So in my opinion, instead of not giving people any choice but to use command line for some tasks at some point, you'd really do a much better choice with a sort of hybrid solution like Haze suggests indeed, or just ensure that everyone has direct access to a fully useable mame.ini, if the former is too much of a problem to put in place in my eyes the latter will do to increase accessibility by a few steps already.
Editing a text file is considerably more accessible to the common than command line will ever be, but whatever the case, yes, I believe whatever it is that allows to avoid using command line completely in the end will always be better.
PS: sorry again I don't play old computer games, I've always been into arcades and consoles, up until the 2000's computers were kind of too expensive and really not all that necessary in my everyday life. Where I live it's only really with the rise of the internet and broadband that home computers have become a common thing, before that time they were things for people who used them at work, and the minority who had the money an time to have personal one(s) at home for games were really the minority.
> MAME isn't about playing the games anyway.