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MAME Merged vs Split. Which is better?

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Really just want an opinion. Merged feels more organized and less chaotic, at least when it comes to looking the files. I have not yet tried to check how importing MAME roms in LB works, but I am wondering about two things. Does MAME use the parent rom when a merged file is used through LB and would MAME filter out the clone games of a split set, if all were thrown on it to be imported?

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Importing either works, but I found myself taking the extra 10GB or so hit and going with split. With split I can just drop in an update pack and be fine. With merged I'd either have to re-download an entire merged set or use a program like CLRMamePro to insert the update pack so it's merged right. The path of least resistance for me is Split then grabbing update packs.
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Thanks as always for the helping hand Brad. I used ClrMamePro to update to 0.173. I have to admit ClrMamePro looked all confusing with so many options, but I ended up using it because of the No-Intro's 1G1R. Now it feels way too easy so I use it to update the database through MAME and rebuild the pack. I do not update occasionally, but when I do, I do not mind letting my PC work for a day on the update. The difference for me is 7GB, but I think that might be, because ever since MAME got 7z support, I switched to that. Glad to know it works even as Merged. Once more, thanks a lot.

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i'm confused - you drop in all the clones/alternates and scrape those as well? i would much rather drop in a complete but merged(?) set where there will be only one thumbnail per game. it would be super cool if LB could "stack" alternate roms like it does multiple discs, but the mame naming convention kinda hoses that.

the LB servers will recognize the short mame names during scraping?

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No, LaunchBox internalizes the names in to the long form names. It knows what each game is if you use the MAME Importer. Merged and Split are pretty much the same but slightly different in the same token. It just merges some redundant data, but then it's a lot harder to pick which version of the games you want, you need extra software if you want to integrate update packs but it saves you a bit of space. LaunchBox should work fine with Merged, but it is designed for split packs.

You should watch our tutorial if you need help help on it. Just remember it was made a few months ago, so plug in the most recent version numbers and some stuff will be a tad outdated like the Lightspeed section. This was also on an older version of LB obviously, so some of the UI might be different in places now as well. There are also 3 other follow ups for Arcade as a whole.

 

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cheerz

so LB will actually identify the entire mame set including clones(?) and everything will launch OK using mame RA core? so i have the ideal mame set right now with .174 complete roms in split form? meaning all the clones as well as the parent are separate?

and what do you do about CHD files in mame? i know a number of games cannot run without that additional 400GB of files. i'll figgur it out, shucks.

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I would suggest using Standalone MAME, but MAME RetroArch works too if you already have that up and running. I would also suggest grabbing the most recent pack as well, but make sure to utilize the corresponding MAME version (and the RetroArch 'MAME' core should be the latest if you run the Online Updater often enough). Something actually changed in 178 or 179 that's fairly important apparently.

For CHD files, if the pack is proper, it should be a ton of folders, and in each of those folders are the CHD files. The folders will be named like the MAME roms. You put all of those folders in the root of your MAME roms folder. So you'll have a ton of folders with short hand names, then a ton of zip files with short hand names as well. Don't forget that your Rom Pack should also match the CHD pack on version number, as well as MAME. So if you are running MAME .179, then you'll need the .179 CHD and Rom split / merged pack.

So if you call your emulator MAME, LaunchBox will automatically utilize the MAME Importer, if you want to use a different emulator (or for some reason it doesn't trigger), you'll have to manually start it. During import, there is a screen with check boxes, like look for PDF's and use folder names for game names. On that screen, the last check box is related to MAME. If LaunchBox is going to automatically use this, then that check box isn't there, if you need to enable it manually, that check box will be there and you need to check it. In the later Arcade tutorials I show needing to check it for example, and it's because I'm not calling the emulator MAME (as that wouldn't be right).

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ok, thanks for taking the time. so the games end up having one thumbnail for every file i import? it would be slick to be able to r-click and choose the version to launch.

(BTW before i forget, can you modify the import wizard to also recognize "Disk A", "Disk B", "Side A", "Side B", etc. as related files to enable the "stacking" after import? for the r-click menu launch. seems to current only recognize "Disc 1", etc.)

thanks again

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Letters to denote disks or discs, and the term Side all together don't trip the combination, but Jason knows he needs to add these to expand on that list. What you could do is get a batch renamer, and rename all "Disk A's" to "Disk 1", then remove the games from LB and re-run the import.

Right clicking for the MAME games is actually a really smart idea, and would obviously only work on Split rom sets. That would be a cool idea though so you could more easily check out other versions of a game, or even hacked and bootleg versions. I would suggest that you add that as a ticket item by going to Issues/Requests and requesting that be added for MAME. Don't forget to vote on your own ticket.

LaunchBox is a beast, though the MAME Importer has been available for quite some time. ;)

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I have a bitbucket that asks for this feature to be added during import it can be found here feel free to add support to it so we can see it implemented hopefully.

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ok, i ran the mame importer a few different ways to see how things work after the dust settles. keep in mind i have a long history with japan, japanese, and gaming, so i am actually doing a real document here of gaming history, from the original japan version forward. it's very interesting to see the different regions on their own, much less garish when elements match.

-full set MAME split roms .174 (i had this on hand)
-drag and dump the entire romset onto LB and be sure to choose "MAME" as emulator and set up the stand-alone MAME install

i chose to do the following:
-imported full romset twice (keep them in place, no copying to LB folders) as two different platforms, first time i prioritized USA and second time i prioritized Japan
-NO scraping at this point, only using internal DB for conversion. much faster to get them all in
-made sure to review all the checkboxes in the wizard, i enabled adult/quiz/beat mania/and anything else that might have a chance of running once i get the CHD set. no bootlegs, no extra clutter.
-after import, USA set was about 4600 games (down from 33k) and japan was about 700 (down from 33k)
-quickly reviewed both platforms in LB and switched any obviously japanese titles over to "Arcade (J)" to join the main batch, reverse for USA titles
-deleted any odd extraneous info in game titles, as best i could at that speed
-selected all games in each platform and did a batch edit of "version", left it blank to delete all the odd version info that the wizard found. 
-ahhh, much nicer.

as far as having a "complete" MAME set, it seems hard to even know. it's a vast thing.

thanks

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after all the games have been (mostly) corrected, i will then scrape everything.

it's tough to decide whether i would want one single thumbnail for all the game's variants... you wouldn't see the correct region flyer unless that could toggle as you hover over the r-click menu entries. seems complex. i have been splitting all my romsets by region, either literally using utilities and moving into subfolders, or keeping then in place by doing sneaky windows explorer searches to get the region files i want for drag & drop into LB. i will not alter the MAME romset structure, so it makes it harder to split the regions somehow in LB.

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Well, a potentially less inclusive method I would use is import the set of roms for every region I want. Keep MAME as the emulator and just add the custom platforms to the associated platforms page. So Arcade (USA), Arcade (Japan), Arcade (World), etc, and have them scraped as Arcade. If there was a combination for Arcade, it should show the artwork for the region it can detect, if the artwork was properly flagged for it's region. So what ever you import it as is what it gets, and then the rest would get added to the associated platforms page. All of the artwork attached will still get downloaded for that game though. It starts to get extremely tricky though, now we're getting to the point where we're stacking systems on top of systems, systems on top of different methods. I agree we should probably add in Arcade combinations for different regions, but it may take some time in order for it to get completely up to par, like I said, systems on top of systems, and complicated ones at that. Some of this stuff will also require some Database updates to make sure it's facilitated properly.

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trust me, i hear you. mame and mess are kind of silly in scope. personally, i would be happy with a mame set where each region has been split out, with a single file for each game. MAME's whole approach is to go for 100% and wait things out as software gets more powerful.

BTW, yes, i do the same thing with platform names: "Arcade", Arcade (J)", etc..

yeah it's pretty annoying. it's kind of like trying to catch a flock of geese in trashbag, you just can't get everything.

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i scraped all the general Arcade stuff using emumovies, and damn the images need a lot of cleanup :[ so many weird duplicate screenshots, etc.. i'll try scraping using LB servers next and see what happens. 

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I am on the latest beta and I tried importing a SPLIT mame rom+chd set into launchbox but it would always import every game and all its clones no matter if i clicked "originals only" or "skip clones and prefer region x". It didnt seem to do any difference so I had a lot of games that were imported 10-15 times.

Is that a beta bug or am I doing something wrong?

 

edit: a lot of games also would keep their filename instead of the parsed game name (comg079, comg094, comg107 etc) is launchbox not compatible with 0.180 ?

Edited by illfated

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