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Troubleshooting MAME High Scores


Jason Carr

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On 5/5/2020 at 10:50 AM, Elhora said:

Even with the new beta, i still have some problems with updating hi-score.

It seems that in many games (specially the first time i play) once i make a hi score, leave launchbox and play the game again, the new hi-score is not recorded.

This is what just happened with Altair and Air Assult. The new hi-score has not been updated

Not all the game behave like that.

 

Debug 2020-05-05 06-37-21 PM.log 183.54 kB · 0 downloads

Debug 2020-05-05 10-30-07 PM.log 33.55 kB · 0 downloads

As far as I can tell, these appear to be hi2txt (or MAME) issues as well. Can you report them? See the instructions in the first post of this topic for reporting hi2txt issues.

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23 hours ago, BlackKnight1965 said:

Any chance that some of the MAME derivatives could be accepted as "official"?  My situation is that I use GroovyMAME to drive 15KHz frequencies on my actual arcade machine with a real CRT.  I can use MAME64, but I am then limited to one graphics mode (640x480 interlaced) that doesn't look nearly as good.  So I have a choice of using GroovyMAME for an arcade-perfect experience or using MAME to allow my high scores to be posted to the COmmunity Leaderboard.  Call me greedy, but I'd like both.  There are so many other ways to "cheat" with MAME derivatives anyway (I'm assuming you could just rename the executable to MAME64.exe, and there must be lots of other things that can't be prevented).  At the end of the day, it comes down to our honor and if somebody wants to cheat, they will cheat anyway.  Not sure how others feel, but I'd rather take the chance that people will cheat but allow those of us who enjoy custom versions of MAME to continue to enjoy them integrated into LaunchBox.  I did switch my default emulator to the stock MAME64 long enough to set the High Score in Missile Command.  Now that I switched back, I can't see the fruits of my labor by checking Information, though. ?

Thanks so much for this wonderful Front End!

I'd have to look into if there are any differences in functionality or command-line usage between GroovyMAME and MAME. I've put so many hours into the high scores features at this point that I really need to move on to new things, at least for now. It's an awesome feature, but I can't spend forever on it, unfortunately. I'll note the request though. :)

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19 minutes ago, alnyden said:

Hi Jason. I updated to the latest beta, but still no luck.  Again, it's not displaying any high scores.  Also, when I sort by "Mame High Scores Supported" and select "yes" it says "no results found."  Attached is the log.  Thanks for your help!

Debug 2020-05-06 10-56-40 AM.log 62.2 kB · 0 downloads

I'm not seeing anything in the logs related to MAME high scores at all, so for one reason or another it's not recognizing your games as MAME games. What did you call your platform with all the MAME games in it? What version of MAME are you using and what did you call your MAME emulator in LaunchBox?

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53 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

I'm not seeing anything in the logs related to MAME high scores at all, so for one reason or another it's not recognizing your games as MAME games. What did you call your platform with all the MAME games in it? What version of MAME are you using and what did you call your MAME emulator in LaunchBox?

Oh, I see.  It's because I have Rocketlauncher set as the emulator.  When I switch it to MAME, it displays the high score.  I just read up on Rocketlauncher not being supported for high scores.  Makes sense.  Thanks for your help!

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3 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

I'd have to look into if there are any differences in functionality or command-line usage between GroovyMAME and MAME. I've put so many hours into the high scores features at this point that I really need to move on to new things, at least for now. It's an awesome feature, but I can't spend forever on it, unfortunately. I'll note the request though. :)

I totally understand.  GroovyMAME does have the same command-line usage, and I verified that I do have a "work around" so your time is much better spent working on other things on your "to do" list.   High score sharing is definitely an awesome feature and the whole LaunchBox community is very appreciative for your amazing work in making it happen!

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2 hours ago, Elhora said:

Here is a new log.

On the same Launchbox session, columns 2 has its hi score updated, while for Fire Shark, played right after, hiscore just didn't update in Launchbox.

Debug 2020-05-06 09-26-05 PM.log 180.41 kB · 1 download

From the log file:

2020-05-06 09:44:45 PM RomPath after M3U build: G:\LAUNCHBOX\Emulators\Mameui64\Roms\fireshrk.zip
2020-05-06 09:48:08 PM Aborting MameHighScores.Parse: No high score or nvram files found.

This means that, for whatever reason, MAME didn't spit out any .hi or nvram files to read, at all. So in this case, there's nothing that LaunchBox or hi2txt could do to read the high scores. I didn't see you play the game, so I don't know exactly why MAME didn't spit out any files, but it could be either because of a bug in MAME or the MAME high scores system, or because no high scores were achieved and the files were never updated.

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@Underoath13

Bubble Booble:
   Sometimes, some mame games doesn't record anything into the nvram until a hiscores is done
   So, launching hi2txt before the session gives you nothing or all scores with value 0, then after the session, a hiscores table full of scores != 0 ("default" one after 1 play) + the new hiscore of the player in the middle
   => nothing I can do here and surely, not a big issue as default scores are rarely very high :)
   

@Ateb

Blazing star:
   The log shows no hiscores saved by mame
   It happens: mame emulation and/or hiscore.dat saving system are not 100% accurate.
   So, no new score hi2txt can decode here, only default one.
   => mame issue for this game, except if you have desactivated nvram saving in some mame ini files (ex: mame.ini => nvram_save 1, nvram_directory nvram)
   => nothing I can do

 

@Elhora @Ateb

Andro Dunos, Metal Slug, Gradius, Blazing star, airass: no updates of score sometimes?
   It happens: mame emulation and/or hiscore.dat saving system are not 100% accurate.
   => if LB log files shows decoded scores; but not your last hiscores inside, mame was not able to save it.
   => Nothing hi2txt can read here, if the nvram/hi files are not updated by mame or hiscore plugin.

 

@Elhora

altair: no updates of score sometimes?
  Seeing the log...
     TRACE: data taken from file: G:\LAUNCHBOX\Emulators\Mameui64\nvram\altair\nvram
     TRACE: structure simple elt: UNKNOWN (226 bytes read on 256)
     ERROR: Wrong SCORE value (0xF212) encoding detected: it can be due to a temporary corrupted .hi or nvram file
     2020-05-05 07:45:33 PM MameHighScores.Parse: No new scores found to upload!
  ...the new "corrupted data detection system" is working and has been able to skip a corrupted nvram/hi files.
  It happens: mame emulation and/or hiscore.dat saving system are not 100% accurate and sometimes record garbage.
  => except detecting garbage and preventing upload of them, nothing hi2txt can do here.
  => And that's a good news to avoid uploading garbage scores

 

@BlackKnight1965

  any mame derivative (like GroovyMame) is supported by hi2txt as soon as the hiscores files are saved in hi/ and nvram/ subdirectories.
  I will let Jason comments on LB side.

 

@Elhora

fireshrk
  Seeing the log...
    2020-05-06 09:44:45 PM RomPath after M3U build: G:\LAUNCHBOX\Emulators\Mameui64\Roms\fireshrk.zip
    2020-05-06 09:48:08 PM Aborting MameHighScores.Parse: No high score or nvram files found.
  ...shows no hiscores saved by mame
  It happens: mame emulation and/or hiscore.dat saving system are not 100% accurate.
  So, no new score hi2txt can decode here, only default one.
  => mame or hiscore plugin issue for this game
  => nothing hi2txt can do here
  

@Jason Carr
   LB Improvement request (important one): log also hi2txt traces when you call it before the play session, so that we can better understand the potential root cause (mame, hi2txt, LB)
   LB Improvement request (less important, but for robustness and less database maintenance): let the user specify the mame NAME (3 letters) he will enter (or more than one, why not) everytimes he made a hiscores and LB should only deal with lines having such NAME. it will fix a lot of strange situations.
 

Ouf... What a debugging marathon this night :)

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Thank you so much for all of that @GreatStone.

8 minutes ago, GreatStone said:

LB Improvement request (important one): log also hi2txt traces when you call it before the play session, so that we can better understand the potential root cause (mame, hi2txt, LB)

No problem; I can get that in for the next beta. Makes sense.

9 minutes ago, GreatStone said:

LB Improvement request (less important, but for robustness and less database maintenance): let the user specify the mame NAME (3 letters) he will enter (or more than one, why not) everytimes he made a hiscores and LB should only deal with lines having such NAME. it will fix a lot of strange situations.

This is a great idea, but my main concern here would be that you could easily destroy an amazing high score if you slipped up when entering the initials. I agree that we could really reduce a lot of issues that way though. But I know a lot of MAME games can be confusing when entering in initials, so I'm concerned that it might end up being a frustrating thing for users if they lose a high score because they didn't get the initials right.

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@Jason Carr I let you decide, obviously. Personally, I am more frustrated by a garbage score coming in the community table, than having to play again to beat my score: I find it more "fair" and "enjoyable" for the global community (better to miss something than corrupt the scores), as we see that emulation or hiscore plugin are not 100% accurate and will never be.

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7 minutes ago, GreatStone said:

@Jason Carr I let you decide, obviously. Personally, I am more frustrated by a garbage score coming in the community table, than having to play again to beat my score: I find it more "fair" and "enjoyable" for the global community (better to miss something than corrupt the scores), as we see that emulation or hiscore plugin are not 100% accurate and will never be.

Any thoughts on this from the community? Come to think of it though, there are a lot of games that don't have any names entered at all. Do we have an easy way of determining what games use names and what games don't?

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@Jason Carr

A generic algorithm remains possible: when you parse hi2txt output, if SCORE+NAME columns are detected (and user configured one or more preferred NAME), take NAME into account. If only SCORE is detected, upload SCORE as it is implemented now, not taking into account any user configuration.

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11 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

From the log file:


2020-05-06 09:44:45 PM RomPath after M3U build: G:\LAUNCHBOX\Emulators\Mameui64\Roms\fireshrk.zip
2020-05-06 09:48:08 PM Aborting MameHighScores.Parse: No high score or nvram files found.

This means that, for whatever reason, MAME didn't spit out any .hi or nvram files to read, at all. So in this case, there's nothing that LaunchBox or hi2txt could do to read the high scores. I didn't see you play the game, so I don't know exactly why MAME didn't spit out any files, but it could be either because of a bug in MAME or the MAME high scores system, or because no high scores were achieved and the files were never updated.

It also clearly says Mameui64, so not standard MAME.

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13 hours ago, neil9000 said:

It also clearly says Mameui64, so not standard MAME.

the fact is i was using MAMEUI64 before the  high score thing. Once the high score were implemented, i just switched to mame but i didn't change the path of the roms to not reconfigure all my paths (i dont know how to do this automatically).  Is that the problem ? because honestly, the "not recording high score" is like 70% of the time but 30%  of times it works (yeah, frustrating specially when i beat my own hi score).

Edited by Elhora
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19 hours ago, Elhora said:

the fact is i was using MAMEUI64 before the  high score thing. Once the high score were implemented, i just switched to mame but i didn't change the path of the roms to not reconfigure all my paths (i dont know how to do this automatically).  Is that the problem ? because honestly, the "not recording high score" is like 70% of the time but 30%  of times it works (yeah, frustrating specially when i beat my own hi score).

The ROM folder name shouldn't make any difference here.

8 hours ago, Elhora said:

i don't know if it can helps, but i've noticed that the hi-score doesn't update when i beat a hiscore in a game i have already played. (in the log here, the first hiscore what updated, the second one was not )

Debug 2020-05-08 12-12-54 PM.log 45.67 kB · 0 downloads

Do make sure you're using the latest beta if you running into issues. Looking at the log file though, it looks like it did upload scores both times.

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9 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

Do make sure you're using the latest beta if you running into issues. Looking at the log file though, it looks like it did upload scores both times.

I use the Beta 7 of Launchbox. As you can see on the screenshot provided  my highscore is 58.600 (which is my first score the first time i played) and in the log you can see my highscore is 136.940, which is the second time i played, and it's not updated in launchbox...

Annotation 2020-05-08 213650.png

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5 minutes ago, Elhora said:

I use the Beta 7 of Launchbox. As you can see on the screenshot provided  my highscore is 58.600 (which is my first score the first time i played) and in the log you can see my highscore is 136.940, which is the second time i played, and it's not updated in launchbox...

Annotation 2020-05-08 213650.png

I see. All I can figure is that maybe there might be some connection issues? The log file states that it attempted to upload that score, so it looks like everything up to that point was working properly. I'll add some further logging to report when the uploads fail, but that's all I can figure happened in this case. It appears that an Internet issue prevented it from uploading correctly. If you're seeing this often, then most likely there's some kind of Internet instability issue.

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On 5/5/2020 at 8:41 AM, Jason Carr said:

For anyone reporting issues, please update to the latest beta. There are fixes to both the high scores in LaunchBox and an update to hi2txt, which should fix many issues. Let me know of any issues that you're still experiencing with the latest beta release (10.15-beta-6).

Also, just as a reminder, keep in mind that we won't be able to help with much of anything without a debug log attached. Please see the first post of this topic for instructions.

@Elhora @Ateb @alnyden @nicr4wks

I must be going crazy, can see a beta-4 download but not beta-6, where are they available for download? ?

 

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4 hours ago, nicr4wks said:

I must be going crazy, can see a beta-4 download but not beta-6, where are they available for download? ?

 

You can update to beta releases by going to Tools > Options > Legacy > General > Updates in LaunchBox and checking the box to update to beta releases. Then you can force an update check by going to Help > Check for Updates.

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