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How to setup AdvanceMENU with MESS

 
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MJS
System Leader


Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 177
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:54 pm    Post subject: How to setup AdvanceMENU with MESS Reply with quote

This is a little guide on how to setup MESS together with a frontend called AdvanceMENU.
The goal is to easily launch the emulator and record the input automatically.
For the time being, it is limited to systems with cartridge support only.

Feel free to make any correction/suggestion/proposal/anything to improve it. In my opinion, the easier (and simpler) this gets, the better.

At the moment I'm writing this, the latest version of MESS is 0.104 and 2.4.13 for AdvanceMENU. I've successfully setup them together under Windows, but it shouldn't change much for other OS's.

Here's a screenshot of the end result so that you know what to expect:
(if the image does not show, copy and paste the url in the address field of your web browser)
http://www.angelfire.com/alt/mk/ss.png

I will explain everything as if nothing were already installed. You will probably have MESS already installed and configured, in that case you can skip that part, but it may be a good idea to start with a new copy just in case.

1. Extract both the emulator and the frontend
They could go wherever you want, but I suggest to use different directories.
That is, each program to its own directory. Eg 'c:\emu\mess' and 'c:\emu\advmenu'.

2. Setup MESS
It would be best to write another guide just for this, but I will quickly enumerate the basic things that needs to be done to properly setup MESS for usage with HARP:

2.1. Create the initial configuration file
This is done by running: 'mess.exe -cc'

2.2. Edit the directory options
For the biospath, you can either change it to the location where you store the bios files, or simply put the file(s) in the default directory.
We won't bother changing the softwarepath as we will be passing the cartridges with the full path to MESS, but you can do it if you want.
And change to NUL the following options: nvram_directory, memcard_directory, hiscore_directory, diff_directory (this disables the creation of files that may alter the initial status of the systems, and it's very important for the recordings to playback fine).
The directories section of mess.ini should look similar to this:
Code:
### Windows path and directory options ###
biospath                bios
softwarepath            software
hash_directory          hash
samplepath              samples
# inipath               <NULL> (not set)
cfg_directory           cfg
nvram_directory         NUL
memcard_directory       NUL
input_directory         inp
hiscore_directory       NUL
state_directory         sta
artwork_directory       artwork
snapshot_directory      snap
diff_directory          NUL
ctrlr_directory         ctrlr
cheat_file              cheat.dat

2.3. Disable the new user interface
Otherwise you will have to use the mouse to exit the emulator.
To do this, change the option newui to 0.

2.4. Test the emulator
At this point it is a good idea to see if MESS was configured properly. To do that, run the emu for one of the systems you have available (eg. 'mess.exe msx') and check that no files were created in the nvram, memcard, hi, and diff subdirs.

3. Setup AdvMENU

3.1. Create the initial configuration file
This is done by simply running advmenu.exe.

3.2. Add an emulator entry for each system
We are going to tell AdvMENU that we have more than one emulator, as if each system supported by MESS were a stand-alone emulator. I know this is not very elegant, but unfortunately AdvMENU doesn't have an emulator type for Windows MESS (only for AdvMESS and DOS MESS) and we must use the generic emulator type (*).
For example, to setup MSX and MSX2 systems, you have to add the following to lines to advmenu.rc:
Code:
emulator "mess_msx" generic "c:\emu\mess\mess.exe" "msx -cart %p -record %s"
emulator "mess_msx2" generic "c:\emu\mess\mess.exe" "msx2 -cart %p -record %s"

(*) Doing this leaves out many cool features (like customized menus for MESS, recognition of the media type inside the zip of the software, and more) but well, you can always use AdvMESS to have all those features.

3.3. Configure the location of the roms for each entry
For example, for the default software location, it would be:
Code:
emulator_roms "mess_msx" "c:\emu\mess\software\msx"
emulator_roms "mess_msx2" "c:\emu\mess\software\msx2"

4. Enhance the look of AdvMENU
Of course, this step is optional, and it's just for those who want to customize the look of the frontend. I will mention the most common options you will probably want to change, but you can always refer to the AdvMENU documentation for further tweaking.

4.1. Run it in full screen
This can be done by setting: 'device_video_output fullscreen'

4.2. Change the display mode
For example to use 640x480, you must set: 'display_size 640'

4.3. Disable the background sound
This can be done by setting: 'sound_background_loop none'

4.4. Add screenshots
To do so, you must specify the 'emulator_altss' option for each emulator entry. For example:
Code:
emulator_altss "mess_msx" "c:\emu\mess\snap\msx"
emulator_altss "mess_msx2" "c:\emu\mess\snap\msx2"

That's all.
Whoa, it got longer than expected, sorry about that!
I hope someone find it useful, and please refer to the documentation of both programs if you are having doubts or problems.
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gameboy9
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Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 810

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did get this to work. Thanks for the tutorial.
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gameboy9
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 810

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question - how do I launch AdvanceMESS to playback your Hinotori recording?
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mahlemiut
Supereditor


Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 917
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a wonder MJS hasn't mentioned it yet, but MESS has extremely bad mapper detection, particularly on MSX2. It will get a large amount of cart types completely wrong, generally resulting in them not working at all.

To fix this, you'll need to merge msx2.hsi and msx2j.hsi (there is no msx2j clone). Just open the two files in Notepad (or Wordpad), copy everything but the <hashfile> elements from msx2j.hsi, and paste into the end of msx2.hsi (before the last </hashfile> element).

You may want to do this for msx.hsi/msxj.hsi as well, although I haven't seen any problems there yet.
_________________
- Barry Rodewald
HARP CPC, X68000, Neo Geo Pocket, and Neo Geo AES section editor
http://galemu.emuunlim.com
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gameboy9
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 810

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I've been trying to play back his Hinatori recording... and it desyncs after one minute or five minutes... you choose your doom.
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MJS
System Leader


Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 177
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gameboy9:
Ok, looks like you've already got it to playback.
Thanks for checking it out!

mahlemiut:
I haven't mentioned it because they will probably fix it for the next version (I've already submitted a bug report).
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MJS
System Leader


Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 177
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something else about the problem Barry was talking about:

If anyone is too impatient and want to submit a recording for a game which suffers the problem described, do what Barry explained and it will work. But please, mention it in the description because it won't playback for people with the default hash files.

Once the problem is solved, I will go over the games which I've marked as 'not working' to see which were because of this and of course, remove the comment.
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