my quest to build a replica donkey kong arcade machine

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Software - MAME

This is a picture of my home office in my basement. Notice the two computers (open cases, of course), two printers, three monitors, broken pink xbox, a million cards, wires, and obsolete hard drives everywhere.

I love it.

This week I took a break from construction to start playing with the software. I screwed my I-Pac chip to the back of my control panel and wired up the panel. If the idea of doing this wiring scares you, I can tell you that it is completely idiot-proof. The I-Pac has a bunch of slots labeled clearly with things like "up," "coin," and "1P start." Just buy a bunch of the connectors at home depot and they fit right on to the blades on the back of the buttons and the joystick. There are a million tutorials online. Then the I-Pac plugs into your computer via USB. It's a beautiful thing.

I downloaded MAME (arcade emulator) and the Donkey Kong ROM file. I read a bunch of tutorials on MAME and got Donkey Kong up and running pretty quickly. But my speakers were popping.

So I did a few google searches and everyone who had sound problems with Donkey Kong on MAME came to the conclusion that their computer was too slow to run MAME properly. Then I tried MAME on my good computer and Donkey Kong ran perfectly.

But did I really want to stick the best computer I had into an arcade cabinet?

I downloaded an earlier version of MAME and the music ran perfectly with no popping! But Mario's (sorry, Jumpman's) jump sound and running sound were missing. I then read that the early versions of MAME didn't have the Donkey Kong sounds included.

More research revealed that I needed to "make sure that frame skip is on." I went to the MS-DOS prompt, typed "mame -cc" to create a configuration file that could be edited, and edited that configuration file in notepad. I changed the "0" next to "autoframeskip" to a "1."

Then Donkey Kong ran perfectly with all music and sounds. That took me HOURS to figure out. I think I'll go back to construction tomorrow.

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