martes, 23 de diciembre de 2008

About MAME datfiles

Auditing and rom management utilities are useful tools, complimentary to your favorite emulator. Since emulators are always under developement (looking for the 'perfect emulation'), changes are always present. These changes are reflected the roms they use too: rom file renaming and new available roms dumps for old games come from time to time. Here's where rom managers come to the scene.

Rom managers help you to audit your roms, deleting unnecesary roms, warning about duplicate dump, missing dumps, bad CRCs, etc.

The way a rom manager is aware of the list of supported games (and roms, samples, artwork, etc. used by every game) is by means of a DATFILE.

An emulator should be able to generate a DATfile containing all the details of every game the emulator supports. If the emulator is not able to generate this file, then the author should provide a companion datfile together with the emulator.

Up to version 0.83, information on all the details of every emulated game by MAME was displayed by using the 'listinfo' parameter:

C:\mame\mame -listinfo

Here's a sample of the output generated:

With the advent of XML, MAME started using a new parameter, "listxml". Since version 0.84, this parameter formatted the output using the XML format:

C:\mame\mame -listxml

Here's a sample of the output generated:

In the case of the MAME emulator, datfiles are created redirecting the output information generated by the emulator itself, to a text file.

For MAME versions up to 0.83, use:

C:\mame\mame -listinfo>mame.dat

For MAME versions since 0.84, use:

C:\mame\mame -listxml>mame.dat

Rom managers must be aware of the differences between datfiles created using -listinfo and the ones created using -listxml. For instance, ClrMamePro uses different profile atributes for this.
There are some datfiles repositories over the net, here are some of them:

But now you are able to generate your own MAME datfiles ;-)

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