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Zombeaver

Vectrex Emulation Made Easy With ParaJVE

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I had posted some instructions on this a while back but realized this is probably worth posting into a separate tutorial thread for future reference rather than leaving buried in another random thread.

ParaJVE is a Vectrex emulator with built-in bezels and screen overlays, which are really necessary to get the whole Vectrex experience:

ParaJVE 4.png

Setting these up in LB could be a bit of a pain because in order for specific games to be launched via command-line, the appropriate game name had to be sent for each one via -game=[the game title]

So I extracted all the names of the game titles that ParaJVE looks for, and created blank files for them so that they can be imported into LB as "roms". They're not actually roms, they're just telling the emulator which game to start. You can find them below:

Game IDs.zip

These are separated into different categories in the same method that they're separated in the ParaJVE UI. Some of these probably won't be of much interest to most people as there are things like Tech Demos in there. In any case, choose the categories that you want to import, place them somewhere on your computer.

image.png.318061a96213d872b05eb30fd2fdf661.pngFirst let's setup ParaJVE itself in LB. To start, your emulator entry for it should look like this:

ParaJVE 1.png

Add your Vectrex platform (named "GCE Vectrex" if following the LB GDB format) to the associated platforms tab and check to use as the default emulator if you wish.

Now, drag the folders for the Vectrex game IDs into LB and indicate that they're Vectrex games.

image.png.46dcbfef82722388959b757321ea2688.pngWhen you get to the "custom options" part of the import wizard, be sure to select the "use folder names instead of ROM file names for game titles" option, otherwise the game titles will be wrong.

ParaJVE 5.png

Let the import complete and now they can be started and the appropriate game will launch.

You'll probably want to change the controls once the emulator starts. You can do this by going to Controls -> Key Mapping and then changing the Joystick #1 and Joystick #2 controls as you see fit.

Once this is done, go back to your emulator entry for ParaJVE and change the command-line parameter to the below if you want the games to start in fullscreen with no menu:

-fullscreen=TRUE -menu=OFF -game=

And that's it! :D

NOTE: Java is required in order for ParaJVE to work.

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Ah, good point. I actually wasn't aware of that as I just had Java already. I'll add a note about it. Thanks!

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Thanks so much for posting this. I have it working from LaunchBox, but I also use Rocket Launcher and can't get the two working together such that ParaJVE also works. All the other systems defined in LaunchBox work fine. If anyone sees this post and has LaunchBox/ParaJVE/Rocket Launcher working, please chime in.

Edited by dragon57

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2 hours ago, dragon57 said:

Thanks so much for posting this. I have it working from LaunchBox, but I also use Rocket Launcher and can't get the two working together such that ParaJVE also works. All the other systems defined in LaunchBox work fine. If anyone sees this post and has LaunchBox/ParaJVE/Rocket Launcher working, please chime in.

Just wondering, is there a ParaJVE module available for this in RocketLauncher? If so, then it should (somehow) work like most other emulators. If a module doesn't exist then you'll have to incorporate zombeaver's information and make a module for it.

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Yes, there is an official module. I have checked the module notes and performed the only step mentioned. I normally don't have an issue using Rocket Launcher, but this one has me stumped.

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Just wanted to say Thankyou for your tutorial. I have been messing about for days trying to run Vectrex games in LB, first with MESS (with no avail, i hate mess by the way) and then ParaJVE , which is a great emulator for this system. Got it up and running now . Thanks again 

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On ‎11‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 7:11 AM, dragon57 said:

Thanks so much for posting this. I have it working from LaunchBox, but I also use Rocket Launcher and can't get the two working together such that ParaJVE also works. All the other systems defined in LaunchBox work fine. If anyone sees this post and has LaunchBox/ParaJVE/Rocket Launcher working, please chime in.

Just checking in again on this and sorry for the late response. I was able to set it up pretty easily with rocketlauncher with the default settings and the games load up fine. However, I can't get it to show the artwork/overlays in the way Zombeaver did, running ParaJVE directly through launchbox. It's probably because his method calls up the rom files through a different way, using a command line game="file" and the roms do not even have an extension such as .bin, .rom, etc. Not quite sure how to do this with rocketlauncher :)

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2 hours ago, bundangdon said:

Just checking in again on this and sorry for the late response. I was able to set it up pretty easily with rocketlauncher with the default settings and the games load up fine. However, I can't get it to show the artwork/overlays in the way Zombeaver did, running ParaJVE directly through launchbox. It's probably because his method calls up the rom files through a different way, using a command line game="file" and the roms do not even have an extension such as .bin, .rom, etc. Not quite sure how to do this with rocketlauncher :)

You need to make sure your filenames match the ones in rocketlauncher (and it doesn't contain all of them by default either), edit the global module settings for parajve, then go to rom settings. Make sure your filenames match the internal id that parajve uses.

 

 

rl-parajve.png

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The files that I attached in the opening post use all of ParaJVE's internal gameIDs. That's how they're able to work when you use -game= as a command-line parameter. I believe @bundangdon was saying the issue was that they don't have file extensions (you don't use file extensions when you start the games via -game= so I didn't add any). I suppose you could rename them all to be .zip or something.

EDIT: Or I guess it takes a known rom name (which would not match the files I uploaded) and then injects the corresponding gameID? They wouldn't work if that's the case.

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Yeh if he's using the ones you uploaded then the filenames in the module need to be changed, match the filenames to the module or the module to the filenames, either should do it.

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Sorry, I have been sick and have only made it back to this thread today. I ended up modifying the module names to match and everything worked after that. That is something that I had not had to do in the past, so I didn't know to look for that solution. I finally figured it out by turning on RocketLauncher's debugging so and analyzing the log file.

RocketLauncher really is a great add-on once you get your mind wrapped around how it all works. :)

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Hi. I'm sorry, but still lost. The folders you created just get unzipped in the subdirectory structure you have in the /roms/vectrex folder? You said:

"Now, drag the folders for the Vectrex game IDs into LB and indicate that they're Vectrex games."

How? What does that mean? Or did you mean just where you have your roms? I don't put anything in a LB folder, they are all in /arcade/roms/[platform] Or is this a drag and drop feature of LB instead of the import function. When I get to the point of LB displaying what it finds in my folder (I just dumped all the  .zip files in one folder along with the BIOS files which worked in RetroArch minus the backgrounds) it seems to match all my files with the short names on the left and my files on the right. But I haven't finished or tried to run anything yet. Maybe that is where it will fail?

And the games are .zip files. The names are pretty descriptive (ex: Blitz! - Action Football (USA, Europe) (0F11CE0C).zip). Do I have to rename them? And where do they go? Would it be:

/arcade/roms/vectrex/standard games/Blitz! - Action Football (USA, Europe) (0F11CE0C).zip? And leave the zero byte file you have there with the short name (BLITZ)

How does LB actually find the files and how does it now how to scrape the art?

 

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You can do this in bulk (selecting multiple folders), but I just did one game as an example. I'm not sure what files you're talking about, but you don't need any of that. You just need the game IDs that I attached in the opening post. The games are already included in ParaJVE, all the IDs are doing is indicating to ParaJVE which game to start.

 

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@Zombeaver, thank you very much. I will have to do some more reading. I have all the roms separately. I didn't know they came with the emulator. So your structure is simply a way for LB to feed the command line to ParaJVE and ParaJVE doesn't care about files or locations because it is hard coded to find the roms it already has in the "ParaJVE/data/roms" folder, right? Can I override that and have it run the roms from my own folder? Or will that screw up the shaders and all that.  I see a "-game=<path> option.

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@dragon57 I use RocketLauncher too. Since you are an RL evangelist, what are you reasons for using it in addition to LB? I love the "pause" feature in RL and the ability to have multiple emulators per platform and switch front ends. But as complex as all this is, I have only scratched the surface.  Give me a good reason for maintaining my current (seemingly overly complicated) path: BigBox -> LaunchBox -> RocketLauncher -> RetroArch -> Roms. Heck, I'm not even sure that's the right order ;) I may want to keep GameEx AND LaunchBox, but can maybe scrap GE and use just LB with BB.

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24 minutes ago, FlightRisk said:

@Zombeaver, thank you very much. I will have to do some more reading. I have all the roms separately. I didn't know they came with the emulator. So your structure is simply a way for LB to feed the command line to ParaJVE and ParaJVE doesn't care about files or locations because it is hard coded to find the roms it already has in the "ParaJVE/data/roms" folder, right?

Correct.

24 minutes ago, FlightRisk said:

Can I override that and have it run the roms from my own folder? Or will that screw up the shaders and all that.  I see a "-game=<path> option.

Why would you want to? The entire (official) library is already there.

You'd have to edit the configuration.xml to alter the paths. Again though, I don't know why you'd want to do this. Just use the IDs, and it'll start the correct game.

image.thumb.png.a4c15e8e2bc3848450e1d2cc9fc8124e.png

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