This tutorial is to help you with MameUI. Mame is the most compatible and capable multiple arcade machine emulator. There is a large community of contributors working persistently to add new 'drivers', which are actually complete emulators for each of the processors in arcade boards. Arcade emulation is the most popular form of video game emulation. Mame was originally a DOS program. MameUI is the Windows port of Mame. Anyway, note that this MameUI tutorial is not a thorough one. These are just the basics, that the common user would ever need to know.
MameUI comes in two versions: "MameUI64" and MameUI32". MameUI64 is for the 64-bit version of Windows and MameUI32 is for the 32-bit version of Windows.
*If you would like to download MameUI, I have it in my emulators page.
Important things to remember
• Never extract the contents of an arcade zip file because arcade emulators run off of the zip file itself.
• Never rename an arcade zip file because its exact abbreviated name is how arcade emulators can detect it.
• Mame's authors (as well as other arcade emulator authors) are purists who insist on everything to be perfect. Once someone dumps an arcade game 'better', the Mame authors update the code to support the newer dump, rendering the older dump incompatible. Hence, don't expect your bundle of arcade ROMs to run with every release of MameUI.
Placement & Installation
I suggest you make a new folder called "Arcade" within a folder called "Emulation". You don't have to, but it makes things a little easier for you if you're not too computer literate. If you downloaded MameUI from my emulator's page, it will be in a zip file. If you don't know how to extract files from a zip file then read this. When the extracting is complete, double-click on the *.exe to open MameUI.
Understanding Mame's ROM structure
This is an important part of arcade emulation. Click on the "All Games" folder, which is right here. Skim through this list. This is the -full- list of all the arcade games that MameUI can emulate. (Note: MameUI doesn't come with these games! You need to download them separately!) Notice that most of the games are listed several times. You'll see things like this:
1941 - Counter Attack (World)
1941 - Counter Attack (Japan)
Simpsons, The (4 players)
Simpsons, The (2 players Japan)
Simpsons, The (2 players)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (US 980904)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (US 980629)
Street Fighter Zero 3 (Asia 980701)
Street Fighter Zero 3 (Japan 980629)
Street Fighter Zero 3 (Japan 980727)
If you want to play the parent of a game, then all you need to do is download the parent. If you want to play one of its orphans, then you need to download that orphan AND the parent as well. Each of these versions are a different zip file. As you may have already noticed, arcade game zip files are all abbreviated. These abbreviations are shown in this list too, move the scroll bar to the right (this one) to see them.
'neogeo.zip' - A must for NeoGeo games
NeoGeo games will not load until you download the NeoGeo BIOS, which is 'neogeo.zip'. You can download it right here (931 KB). Simply place it in the roms folder. Do not extract its contents, just place the zip file in the folder.
If for whatever reason you're using an older version of MameUI, you may require the older NeoGeo BIOS, which you can download right here (341 KB). Rename it to 'neogeo.zip' for it to work.
Loading a game
Click on the Available folder, which is right here. Your games will be listed here. Simply double-click on it to play it. Your first screen will say some specs about the game, just press any key to continue. Sometimes you have to wait a couple moments for the game to start showing up.
• When adding new games: just drag them into the 'roms' folder and MameUI will auto-detect them when you open MameUI. If it does not then press F5 to refresh, or go to File then Audit all games.
• Is MameUI not loading your games? Continue reading here
Loading a CHD (hard drive) game
Arcade games based on a hard drive require some extra steps. You need two things: (1) the parent ROM, and (2) the CHD file (the hard drive file). The size of the parent ROM is tiny, but expect the CHD file to be around 100 MB. So to get 'em to work, I'll use Killer Instinct as an example:
1. The parent ROM for Killer Instinct is “kinst.zip” and the CHD file is “kinst.chd”. Place “kinst.zip” into the 'roms' folder as you would with any other MAME ROM.
2. Within the 'roms' folder, create a new folder and call it kinst (the exact name of the ROM).
3. Move “kinst.chd” over to this new kinst folder.
4. Open MameUI and press F5 to refresh the ROM list. You should see Killer Instinct come up in the Available list. Double-click to play :)
• If these directions are confusing, this YouTube video would be more helpful.
• If you did the above and the CHD game does not appear in the ROM list, then continue reading below...
Q: MameUI refuses to detect my games as 'Available'!
• Double-check to make sure your arcade ROMs are indeed in the "roms" folder.
• Did you accidentally rename the game? If you did, look in the main game list for its proper name, or just re-download it.
• Did you press F5 to refresh the game list? (or go to File then Audit all games)
Still no luck?
• If you pressed F5 and MameUI still doesn't detect your games, try closing and restarting MameUI.
• If you did the above and MameUI still doesn't detect your games, then you probably downloaded an older dump of the game. The only thing you can do is download the game from other sites, and cross your fingers and hope it's the newer dump. I talk a little more about this here. Or try downloading an older version of Mame...
Old Mame to the rescue!
As I explained here, the Mame authors keep updating the code and making arcade ROMs that are readily available in popular ROM sites incompatible. What helps a great deal when you're having trouble getting games to work is to simply use a (much) older version of Mame. In my emulators page I have a version of Mame from May '07.
• If you get an error that says some files are missing, then that could mean one of several things. This is a very common error among arcade emulators. I go into some more detail on this in: Q: I'm getting errors! How come my games are missing files?
• MameUI might display your screen shifted to the left and cut off part of the screen. Disabling "Switch resolutions to fit" will remedy this.
1. Click on the Options menu then Default Game Options.
2. The "Default Game Properties" window will pop up. Click on the Advanced tab.
3. Remove the check from "Switch resolutions to fit".
4. Click on the Apply button then OK.
If you have a good video card: MameUI will now play all your games at perfect full screen and it'll do it with a slight blur; which will make your games look a lot nicer.
If you have a crappy video card: MameUI will just center your game. No filters will be applied. If you load up a game that has an extra wide screen then MameUI will display it at the highest zoom your monitor can handle.
MameUI keys (controls, window mode, screen shots, etc)
• Players 1-4
I'll color-code them so you see the connection better:
Player 1 Start = Press 1
Player 2 Start = Press 2
Player 3 Start = Press 3
Player 4 Start = Press 4
Player 1 Coin = Press 5
Player 2 Coin = Press 6
Player 3 Coin = Press 7
Player 4 Coin = Press 8
• Player 1 Keys
So if you're playing by yourself, all you need to worry about is pressing 5 to insert coins and then pressing 1 to start the game. Games usually use three or four buttons for play. Here's Player 1's buttons:
Player 1 Button 1 = Left Ctrl
Player 1 Button 2 = Left Alt
Player 1 Button 3 = Space
Player 1 Button 4 = Left Shift
• Other Keys
- If you want to find out the buttons for the rest of the players then just press the Tab key during gameplay, a small menu will pop up. At default the arrows will be pointing at "Input (General)" so just press enter. Use the up/down arrows to browse the list. Press the Tab key to exit this menu, or press the Esc key to go back to the first menu.
- Press left Ctrl + Alt + Enter for Window mode, press it again to go back to full screen
- Press F3 to reset
- Press P to pause
- Press F12 to capture a screen shot, it will be captured in *.png format and MameUI will toss it in the "snap" folder
- Press Esc to quit your game
Enabling your gamepad
Your gamepad must be plugged in before you open MameUI. MameUI won't detect it if you plug it in after you open MameUI.
1. Click on the Options menu then Default Game Options, as shown here.
2. The "Default Game Properties" window will pop up. Click on the Controllers tab, as shown here.
3. Put a check in the box next to Enable joystick input. If this option is shaded out, then MameUI is not detecting your gamepad.
4. Click on Apply then OK.
5. That's it! MameUI has already configured your gamepad's buttons. Though you still have to use keys 1-8 for player starts and inserting coins. If you want to change the buttons on your gamepad then you will have to refer to the Help menu because the procedure is somewhat complicated.
• If MameUI didn't detect your gamepad: First make sure if Windows is detecting it. You'll know for sure if your gamepad works with other emulators. If MameUI still doesn't detect it then it's probably not compatible. If that's the case, there might still be some hope for you if you post your problem on an emulation forum.
Q: Where's "Start"? How the heck do I play an arcade game?
Yeah, arcade emulation is a tad bit different than playing SNES or Genesis. There's two buttons to keep in mind: Player 1 Coin and Player 1 Start. As mentioned in MameUI Keys, "1" is Player 1 Coin and "5" is Player 1 Start. Once a game is loaded press Player 1 Coin as many times as your heart desires. It doesn't matter if you press it 1 time or 100 times. This enters virtual coins into MameUI (a la an arcade machine). That also means you can toss in coins whenever you want, so it doesn't matter to toss all of them in before you start the game. Anyway, once you've finished inserting your coins, go ahead and press "5" for Player 1 Start. The game will now begin.
Q: I'm getting errors! How come my games are missing files?
More than one thing could be causing this:
• You do have all of your arcade ROMs in the "roms" folder, right? Make sure of that first. =P
• Are you trying to play the orphan of a game? If so, you need to download the parent of it in order for it to work. Go here to learn more about parents and orphans.
• Are you trying to play a NeoGeo game? Make sure you have the NeoGeo BIOS.
Still no luck? Let me explain what sucks about Mame...
If you're ok on the two above possibilities, then that means your arcade ROM is an older dump. Unfortunately, the Mame programmers (as well as other arcade emulator authors) are purists who insist on everything to be perfect. Once someone dumps an arcade game 'better', the Mame authors update the code to support the newer dump, rendering the older dump incompatible. Hence you get the missing files errors. You're not really missing files, that's just another way of saying your arcade ROM is old. The only way to resolve this is to download the arcade ROM from other arcade ROM sites, and cross your fingers and hope it's the newer dump. You could also try downloading an older version of MameUI, but finding out exactly which older version works with your arcade ROM is something you need to find out yourself through trial and error. Yeah, this sucks. But it's something we all have to live with.
Old Mame to the rescue!
That being said, simply using a (much) older version of Mame helps a great deal in the effort to get games to work. In my emulators page I have a version of Mame from May '07.
Chapter 2: The History of Video Game Emulation (not affiliated with this site)
Chapter 3: Downloading & Setting Things Up
Chapter 4: Video Game Emulator Tutorials (below)
Chapter 5: Gamepads
Chapter 6: Extracted Video Game Music