CHRO-MAME
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Software

     CHRO-MAME runs AdvanceMAME for an emulator, and uses AdvanceMENU as its front-end (FYI: A front end is nothing more than a graphical interface that allows you to easily load things.  Without it you need to use the command prompt and type everything you want to run in manually).  It runs in a Windows 98SE pure DOS environment (Windows is set not to boot).  AdvanceMAME and AdvanceMENU were chosen because they were designed specifically for arcade monitors, supporting virtually all known arcade monitors, resolutions, and refresh rates (15KHz, 24KHz, 31.5KHz).  It compliments my Wells Gardner D9200 arcade monitor nicely.

     Both of these programs are difficult to setup.  Documentation exists, but it is not clear in some cases, and it's very complex.  Settings for both AdvanceMAME/MENU are stored in something called and RC file.  This is just a long text document.  Unfortunately, I've yet to have found a page which has a list of all the commands supported by this RC file (and what they do).  There must be several hundred different commands.

     You can download copies of my AdvanceMAME and AdvanceMENU RC files below (both AdvanceMAME and AdvanceMENU use similar, but different RC files).  These RC files are customized specifically for a Wells Gardner D9200 monitor running on a Trident Blade T64 video card in a pure DOS environment.  You can view/edit them in any text editor (like Windows Notepad):

AdvanceMAME version 0.68.1 RC File (2kb - zipped RC file)
AdvanceMENU version 0.68.1 RC File (2kb - zipped RC file)

CAUTION: DO NOT REPLACE YOUR RC FILES WITH THESE AND ATTEMPT TO RUN EITHER OF THESE PROGRAMS.  DOING SO MAY VERY WELL DAMAGE/DESTROY YOUR MONITOR.  FOR REFERENCE ONLY.

     Dual mouse support (trackballs and spinner/rotary controllers) is achieved by using the dual DOS mouse drivers included with AdvanceMAME (the CTMouse and OptiMouse DOS drivers).  These drivers are loaded in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.  These drivers support two Serial mice, two PS/2 mice, or one Serial mouse and one PS/2 mouse.

     I looked and looked but could not find any USB mouse drivers for DOS.  Although my motherboard BIOS supports USB in DOS mode, it will not work with mice.  This has something to do with how DOS was actually designed, and makes it very tough to run anything using USB in DOS.

     These drivers, unfortunately, don't work perfectly.  A single trackball and dual spinners works fine.  When two trackballs are spinning at once, the drivers are only able to read signals from one of the trackballs at a time.  So if two people are going at it in the middle of a trackball game and spin their trackballs at the same time, the cursor on the screen will be extremely jumpy for each player, making them impossible to use.  Spinner/Rotary controllers don't suffer from this problem (only one axis each instead of two).

     This is not a fault of the trackballs or Opti-Pac, but rather the DOS drivers.  If the dual trackballs are hooked up using either the serial ports or USB ports while in Windows 98SE, and I'm running a dual-mouse supporting version of MAME (such as MAME Analog+), dual trackballs work perfectly fine.  Why don't I use MAME Analog+ to begin with?  It won't run in DOS, and it doesn't have support for arcade monitors (it will run fine on them, but resolutions and refresh rates won't be accurate - it stays stuck in 640x480 mode).

     Here are my AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, and MSDOS.SYS files.

     For some reason, Windows 98SE changes two lines in my Autoexec.bat file every time I boot it into Windows.  "SET SNDSCAPE=C:\EAPCI" and "C:\EAPCI\APINIT.COM" are changed to point to the Windows sound drivers (which don't work in DOS).  I haven't found a way to stop this other than never booting into Windows (if you set the file as read-only, it'll still change these damn lines!).  I guess I could just stick this on a floppy and boot it off of that, but that's too slow.:

AUTOEXEC.BAT

SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 T2
SET SNDSCAPE=C:\EAPCI
C:\EAPCI\APINIT.COM
C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRV.ESE
C:\MAME\CONTRIB\OPTIMOUS\CTMOUSE /2 /M /R11
C:\MAME\CONTRIB\OPTIMOUS\OPTIDRV /M /R11
CLS
C:\MAME\ADVMENU\ADVMENU.EXE

 

CONFIG.SYS

DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\HIMEN.SYS
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.SYS NOEMS NOVCPI
DOS=HIGH,UMB

 

MSDOS.SYS

[Paths]
WinDir=C:\WINDOWS
WinBootDir=C:\WINDOWS
HostWinBootDrv=C

[Options]
BootMulti=1
BootGUI=0
Logo=0
DoubleBuffer=1
AutoScan=1
WinVer=4.10.2222
;
;The following lines are required for compatibility with other programs.
;Do not remove them (MSDOS.SYS needs to be >1024 bytes).
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;xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxb
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Hardware

 

Hardware

Reason for Buying

27" Black Plastic Monitor Bezel Used to cover the edges around the D9200. Fits perfectly.
3" Diameter High-Ball Trackball Translucent blue and red.
4-Player Coin Door w/Coin Mechs This genuine coin door has served me well.
Chromed Silver T-Molding Gives the trim that much needed arcade feel.
Coin Door Cashbox System IV Quarters drop into this box.
Competition Joystick How can you play without a joystick?
Custom Printed Marquee Because Kinko's couldn't get their act together and lost my business.
Midway Pushbuttons For the control panel. These come with the cherry micro switches as well.
OscarControls Pro Spinner (Model Discontinued) I love these weighted spinners. OscarControls has since replaced them with newer models.
Player 1-4 Start Pushbuttons Start buttons that identify who is player one, two, ect
Trackball Mounting Kit Needed to mount the trackballs to the control panel.
Trident Blade T64 Video Card (PCI or AGP version) Easy MAMECab - Trident T64.  I used the PCI version to keep my AGP port free for a future video card.
UltimArc I-Pac 4 Joystick, button, and coin-door computer keyboard interface card.
UltimArc Opti-Pac Trackball and spinner/rotary controller interface card.
Wells Gardner D9200 27" CRT VGA Arcade Monitor Easy MAMECab - D9200

 

 

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