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Intellivision emulator


mrrod
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I had been struggling with B17 Bomber and getting the Intellivoice working correctly through Launchbox and Mame.  If you are experiencing the same hopefully this will help.  As well it provides some insight on Mame handing software list driver names vs a path to data files:

In the latest Mame (.218) release notes I noticed there was work done to Intellivoice so it was a motivation for me to try again to get B17 Bomber working again.  Until today I had been having trouble with B17 Bomber launching, it would just click with no speech.  This weekend I finally sat down and took it set by step.  Turns out the command line "M:\Mame>mame64 intvoice -cart b17bomb" worked, now I just had to figure out why it would not work from launchbox.  My emulator settings followed every thread I could find, I used: [Mame64.exe "FULL\PATH\TO\ROM\FILE"] all boxes unchecked and associated platform Mattel Intellivision and command line parameter [intvoice -cart].   Knowing a command line that worked, I started digging deeper.  Comparing the two command lines I noted the difference was one defined a file location and the other a driver name.  This got me digging further into how software lists are handled in Mame.

I am no expert on the subject so feel free to correct any inaccuracies.  When using Mame with any media based systems (PCs/consoles - what was formally Mess) you can either point to media which it will attempt to run or you can use media files that are recognized by Mame.  Developers list, maintain and test files and publish 'recognized media' in the HASH files.  Mame handles the command line [M:\Mame>mame64 intvoice -cart "M:\Mame\Software\intv\b17bomb.zip"] differently then [M:\Mame>mame64 intvoice -cart b17bomb].  Note the first contains the path to a file, the second contains the name of a driver.  The first example is generic and loads B17bomb like every other potential cart, it is going to boot Intellivision and make the identified media available in the cart slot.  This generic approach bypasses anything in Mame that may specifically apply to B17bomb.  The second approach runs the Intellivision and loads anything specific to the B17bomb driver.  Just like an arcade rom Mame will use the pathways in the mame ini files and to be recognized it should be listed in the hash file for the system.  In this case intv.xml. 

Based on this research I was able to get b17bomb to finally work correctly.  In the emulator setup check "Don't use quotes" and "Use file name only...."  the Sample Command line will become [mame64.exe File]. 

I have only spot checked some of the Intellivision games so far but it has been working fine.  I only use roms that match the hash and pass through Clrmamepro.  The drawback to this approach is if you were looking to use a Homebrew rom or any rom version that Mame does not recognize you may see warnings (I have not confirmed this)

Hopefully this explanation helps out others, there is a chance this same issue may occur on other 'Mess' type systems.  

Edited by H2TRSkins
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On 2/22/2020 at 10:46 AM, H2TRSkins said:

  The first example is generic and loads B17bomb like every other potential cart, it is going to boot Intellivision and make the identified media available in the cart slot.  This generic approach bypasses anything in Mame that may specifically apply to B17bomb.  The second approach runs the Intellivision and loads anything specific to the B17bomb driver.

This isn't entirely accurate.

When you use a filename alone, MAME looks in its hash file for corresponding media and uses it as needed. Sometimes systems use the same cart/floppy images you would normally use, on other systems it might directly map cartridge data in memory. This is MAME software list usage.

When you use a complete file path, MAME starts using the media you supply, it ignores any information in it's hash file.

The big difference is the system you are passing to MAME. When you use intvoice, whether using software lists method or explicit file path, that causes MAME to automatically load the Intellivision Voice cart into slot 1.

So these two line should work the same:

Quote

mame64.exe intvoice b17bomb

mame64.exe intvoice -cart E:\Games\Mattel\b17bomb.bin

If you were to run

Quote

mame64.exe intv b17bomb

You would not get voice support even using software lists. It's the system passed that enables it. (intvoice)

Just for completeness, this is also an option: 

Quote

mame64.exe intvoice -cart1 voice -cart2 E:\Games\Mattel\b17bomb.bin

(cart and cart1 are equivalent)

Edited by Headrush69
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