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Rom set upgrade procedure with full mame set feature

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Now that we have the import full mame set feature, what process is recommended for when I upgrade my rom set?

In the past I would do the scan for missing roms followed by a scan for new roms. This missed a lot as I believe at the time LaunchBox was using the database to "verify" a game before it added to my list.

Is there a way to do an update that would give the same end result as starting fresh?

A related question... with whatever this upgrade process is, does the related playlists (Capcom, 4-Player, etc.) get updated also?

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So I have done some testing on my end. My thinking was something like the following steps would be ideal.

  1. Update your mame set
  2. Run a "scan for missing roms"
  3. Do a full import

Here's what I have found so far which is stopping the update process.

  1.  If you have a full set imported, doing a "scan for missing roms" will remove any games that chd only (for example Golden Tee Fore series) or similar. This is not ideal as it removes them from any favorites you have setup, any defaults you have setup for specific games (such as launching some specific version), etc.
  2. Doing a full import does get the new full set, but overwrites any changes you have made to the games. This is a major headache as I have taken some time to setup defaults (like mentioned above), made sure certain games that were imported under the wrong name were corrected, etc.

Combining these two issues together means that if you want to stay up to date with the latest, you have a lot of manual work to do each time. Additionally, if we wait and instead only update every once in a while, we further increase the number of affected games, making it both more work and harder to find all of the changes.

Any thoughts here? Is there something I'm missing to make this process easier?

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No, you are not alone in the above limitations.  I did the same thing on a test install with various re-importing cycles and found the same thing.   I actually dithered on if should go back to a backup and not use the feature.  Basically, as you observed, for all practical purposes one cannot make any additions or changes or they will be overwritten (including game deletions).  I tried a custom field (so could put a flag in or additional info) and those also get reverted to blank upon a re-import. It does remember the check box fields such as favorite and hidden as long as you don't delete the game in between import cycles. Additionally, if you click on a game and get the metadata from the LB Database, that data will be overwritten with the MAME developed meta data upon subsequent import.   You also have to watch that don't update with the LB DB Genre and Play Mode fields since don't follow the "MAME way" of things. Of course, easy to re-import to fix in that case.

I did find that if you import a group type, say the "Casino" group and then delete all but a few and do NOT select the "Casino" group on future imports it doesn't touch the the existing Casino games or add in the other ones.  Seems logical but was trying to not have to sift through things to re-delete again.  However, of all the issues the biggest one for me is that if you do delete games within an import group it will re-add them again since no permanent flag assigned so will pop in again. I tried adding the "to be deleted" roms to a playlist thinking maybe it might keep the playlist intact but it removes playlist entries if you delete a game. Again make sense, but was trying to figure a way of nuking the games had no interest in easily after each update without having to go one by one.  The only way I came up with was the playlist route again where I spent time to move ones didn't want to the list and then hiding.  They will remain hidden and within that playlist on subsequent imports as long as don't delete the game. The only problem with that is there is no feature to hide a playlist from Bigbox, so I had this "zzzz-Lame Game-zzz" list in my setup.  I figure I could brute force it by copying the playlist xml file after moving games to playlist but just before deleting and then replacing that playlist on a re-import cycle but that is a bit of a fiddly process and will likely break with a MAME ROM name change.  

I like the genre and play mode Mame metadata but the game info leaves a lot to be desired and in many cases the LB DB has better info.  I just don't like the format of some of the data they use like, "XYZ. released 3 different machines in our database under this trade name..."  So right now, like you found, if you want to do any customizing of the info the re-import is really not an option.  A "lock" field box would like resolve the problem but not sure if that is even on development horizon.   

Edited by sundogak
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