> Haze, it really depends on what the devs are interested in and what their expertise
> I am interested in a lot of things, but I don't have much experience in digital
> hardware. Hence I don't make emulators for MAME, but there are other areas where I
> can make contributions. Devs who can work on emulators are going to primarily work on
> emulators, because that's the most fun thing to do in this project, IMHO. If there is
> someone out there who is interested in pinball and knows enough about it, then they
> will work on it, so long as there isn't something that is more interesting for them.
> Emulating handhelds is still emulation, and thus gets a lot of interest from the
> devs, pretty much all devs. Simulations just don't get that type of treatment,
> neither does a port to Android, and many other things that aren't seen as critical to
> 'preservation'. I've had many devs say to me they do not care about screen simulation
> at all, yet I feel it is an important part of these systems, equal to anything on the
> digital side, esp. being able to reproduce the raw analog video signals. It is an
> example of MAME having to step outside the digital world and figure out how to deal
> with analog functions. It is actually not quite unlike the LaserDisc fiasco.
> Electromechanical interfaces are a difficult thing to tackle. MAME doesn't simulate
> joysticks, steering wheels, and other inputs with a virtual 3D model. Is pinball
> different? What is the extent that we simulate things? How accurate should it be?
> I don't know if it is just inexperience in engineering mixed-signal systems or
> something else, but devs are going to have to learn to compromise and accept
> imperfections in analog simulations, because they cannot be perfect. There has to be
> a willingness to accept something as 'good enough' while keeping a door open for
> better systems in the future. I am not arguing for HLE here. I don't think it ever
> helps. I am just saying that there needs to be people interested in making the
> simulations and the devs need to be open-minded about accepting them.
It's a different set of skills, I'll give you that.
There is compromise already tho, look at the handhelds and the SVG scans going in the romsets, because they're important, and a fundamental part of the machine, even if they aren't really 'digital' data, but traces from scans etc.
The only thing that's constant with MAME, especially these days, is that you never know quite what is just around the corner, all it takes is one person to actually produce a working proof of concept that can be merged in, and as long as the licenses are compatible and the overall direction of things looks good then it can gain momentum.
Look at the recent work on the plugins for example, don't think I would have expected people to be writing hitbox viewers in lua some years ago, or AI players etc. but these days it's what some people are doing.
Honestly, I don't know exactly what to expect in the years to come but I suspect basic simulations of mechanical components are are least going to happen at some point, because MAME now covers so many different systems where such simulations need to exist to make the drivers somewhat functional, and we're not only talking pinball here but all sorts of part-mechanical devices.
Even some simple ones like the coin systems used on some newer games are actually (very) basic analog simulations, as coins must drop between two sensors within a certain time-frame. Likewise I think some of the recent driving game progress requires faking the position of the wheel in response to motor commands in order to pass self-test, which again is a very basic simulation, wanting to know the wheel turned right if the motor pushed it right, even if the actual input device the player is using on the PC didn't (because PC controls don't really work like that, and you can't guarantee somebody has a real wheel connected anyway)