Today is a bittersweet day. After a quarter of a century, we’ve decided that it’s no longer in our best interests to distribute MAME as Open Source/Free Software. Wait, that’s not the right announcement… After many fruitful years, we’ve come to realise MAME has achieved everything it can. The project is now in maintenance mode, and there will be no new functionality or regular releases. Hang on, that can’t be right, either! Happy April Fools’ day!
We have an interesting release today in several ways. Yes, the rumours are true, after many years, we’ve added support for another LaserDisc-based arcade system. It’s a system that only ran a single game: Time Traveler, created by Rick Dyer at Virtual Image Productions, starring Stephen Wilber, and published by Sega. This full-motion video game consists of a near-constant stream of quick time events, utilising a mixture of live action video and computer-generated imagery. Although re-living the early ’90s corniness is pretty awesome, this is a milestone because it’s the first LaserDisc arcade game preserved using the Domesday86 Project toolchain. In short, this involves the use of custom hardware to record the raw radio frequency signal from a LaserDisc player’s laser pickup, and then decoding it in software. This frees you from the limitations of LaserDisc player demodulators and video capture devices. As well as better, more consistent video quality, this opens up possibilities like combining multiple captures to overcome disc degradation and laser pickup dropout.
In another first for emulation, MAME 0.242 adds support for systems based on Rockwell B5000 family microcontrollers. This includes several electronic toys from Mattel, and calculators from Rockwell themselves. You’ll also find the first working game based on a Sharp SM530 microcontroller: the Star Fox game watch from Nelsonic.
There are plenty of software list updates this month, including recently-released prototype dumps for Mega Drive, NES and Super NES, all the latest Apple II dumps, and some more of the steady stream of Commodore 64 cassettes. You’ll also see that a big batch of Amiga software has been promoted to working – that’s because the Amiga family has had an overhaul this month, and it’s paid off with substantial improvements in compatibility.
There’s lots more going on, in fact this was a record month for pull requests, with over a hundred and thirty merged, including quite a few from first-time contributors, as well as some regulars. It’s great to have you all with us! There are dozens of reported bugs fixed, too, with a particular emphasis on fixing up DIP switch labeling.