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Current Release:  https://github.com/gildahl/arcadeEIP/release
Documentation:  https://github.com/gildahl/arcadeEIP/wiki
Discussion:  https://github.com/gildahl/arcadeEIP/discussions

arcadeEIP is a custom front-end and launch tool I wrote for my arcade machine over a period of several years due to nothing else like it being available. The main reason for writing it was to allow my arcade machine to always operate in a walk-up-and-play mode as opposed to the menu-first operation of most front-ends. It achieves this by always having a live game running while in standby, and auto-switching games periodically.  The key feature is that the game you see on the screen is always playable by just dropping in a token and/or pressing the start button, just like a real arcade machine. Manual game selection is supported too, of course, but via a minimalistic overlay menu allowing fast selection and launch of any game without needing to exit the currently running game first--something I don't believe any other launcher or front-end supports.  arcadeEIP's hotkey game switching ability also makes it an ideal companion to the Elgato Stream Deck, which can provide your arcade machine with one of the most unobtrusive front-ends possible.

arcadeEIP can be used stand-alone; however, it also has integrated support for LaunchBox, enabling you to use LB as a content manager for its game lists, images, and metadata. When used in this way, arcadeEIP can also be used as either an alternative to or supplement to BigBox as your arcade machine's front-end. Integration with other front-ends is also supported, though not as tightly.

A short overview of arcadeEIP's fuller list of features includes:

  • Live attract mode with auto (and manual) game-switching;
  • Game list browsing and selection without exiting the currently running game first;
  • Direct game switching using hotkeys/hotstrings making it work well with virtual button panels like the Elgato Stream Deck;
  • Ability to function as a full-featured launch engine for all your games;
  • Many conventional front end features including run before/after apps, support for loading custom control panel profiles, etc.
  • Support for custom lists, metadata, favorites, and star-ratings;
  • Display of images such as control panel maps and mame history/mameinfo text on pause;
  • "Bookend" (i.e. startup and exit) screens;
  • Native support for multiple parallel versions of emulators such as MAME;
  • Dynamic marquee monitor support with display of high scores on the marquee;
  • A custom rules engine; 
  • Sidecar rom re-directs transparent to front-ends;
  • A unique and useful command-line front-end tool using simple <system> <title> vectors to run any game from any system.

Lastly, although arcadeEIP isn't technically open source, the source code is available upon request for personal/hobbyist (non-commercial) use and modification. 

Here is a video explaining how it can be integrated with LaunchBox/BigBox and showing a few of its features. 

 

Updated 1/11/2022 (0.3.1.1): A small update including some bug fixes  in BigBox  support and an enhancement for high scores.  See update.txt.
Updated 1/13/2022 (0.3.1.2): Important update that adds support for images (like control maps) on pause, and a fix for missing icons in game menu.  See update.txt.
Updated 2/9/2022 (0.3.2.0):  Major update with support for more information on pause, improved Elgato Stream Deck support, and critical bug fixes.
Updated 2/16/2022 (0.3.2.1):  Important update with full support for the Elgato Stream Deck.  See the following video demonstration.
Updated 5/17/2022 (0.3.3.0): Major update. Please do a full/from scratch install for this version since much has changed. See update.txt for details.
Updated 7/4/2022 (0.3.3.1): Hotfix. Fixed discrete menu toggle keys ( = and - keys now work again ).
Updated 2/16/2023 (0.3.3.2): Hotfix. A couple small bug fixes.
Updated 2/28/2023 (0.3.3.3): Small feature update. Added discrete quit_key= setting for improved Stream Deck support.
Updated 5/19/2023 (0.4.0.0): Ported AHK code from 1.1 to 2.0. Moved source and binary releases to GitHub. See GitHub link below for more information.
Updated 5/24/2023 (0.4.0.1): Hotfix: Added missing icon files to ..\Resources\Icons needed for marking favorites and star ratings.

 

 

Current Release:  https://github.com/gildahl/arcadeEIP/release
Documentation:  https://github.com/gildahl/arcadeEIP/wiki
Discussion:  https://github.com/gildahl/arcadeEIP/discussions

 

 

Edited by Gildahl
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Just released:  arcadeEIP v.0.3.2.0 beta (see original post at top for link).

This is a fairly major update that adds support for multiple images types (including custom types) and display of history.xml/mameinfo.dat text on pause. Beyond this there are critical bug fixes (some long standing), some polishing activity on existing features, and the addition of hotstring support for direct-launch making integration with Stream Deck much easier.  If you happen to have tried out this software previously, it is highly recommended to do a complete fresh install at this point, and let me know if you find any issues or have any suggestions.

I've also added a new video for first time users that walks through the installation process documented in "MAME Quick Start.txt", which happens to also demonstrate some of the newest features. 

 

Edited by Gildahl
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Another fairly substantial update. This one is focused on bringing full practical support for the Elgato Stream Deck to arcadeEIP.  This has been done through the addition of hot strings, discrete menu control hotkeys, better stability to the direct-switch code, and updates to the documentation specific to configuring arcadeEIP to work with the Stream Deck.  This includes both USB hardware versions (recommended) and mobile versions.

tl;dr:  If you want to be able to choose games without ever visiting an on-screen menu, this will do that.  

Here's a video demonstration.  See the docs for more information on how to configure. 

 

 

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New version recently released (0.3.3.0) -- see original post for link. IMPORTANT: A clean install is required with this new version due to new features and substantial changes to many configuration items. See update.txt for details.  Here's a short list of improvements.

  • Added support for interface sound (see sound.txt).
  • Overhauled list management. Added favorites, star ratings, and additional metadata.
  • Tighter integration with LaunchBox making it simple to use LB as a content manager for arcadeEIP.
  • Some graphical improvements.
Edited by Gildahl
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  • 5 months later...

Really love this and am trying to get this to work with Lauchbox/Bigbox but having problems. I built an arcade with stream deck but not quite finished so i am running this on my pc to get used to it. It doesn't see my seed rom or my emulator, i had it working at one time to see the emulator but it can't find my roms. Im not the smartest person in the world but this has me stumped. Used the same path that my launchbox showed for emulator but still no luck. I installed this on an ssd and am putting everything on that for testing.

EDIT: Finally got things figured out so far, I did not have the roms placed in my mame emulator folder for EIP to work standalone.

The Journey Continues....

EDIT: Im getting everything going but have noticed one thing. When I use the menu and change games I see "exiting (game)" but it does not display "Loading (game)"

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mobhit
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Sorry about that. I just duplicated your issue and it looks like it was because the last update I posted was not a final build (argh!).  I just posted a revised zip file above and over on the BYOAC forums labeled arcadeEIP v.0.3.3.2a beta.zip.  Just replace the eip.exe and marquee.exe with the updated ones from the new zip.  Let me know if that fixes the problem.

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39 minutes ago, raptor said:

Like if you click go to mame section directly. like shortcuts to the sections.

Ok, so I think you are wanting a way to jump directly to different sections of the menu.  Currently, there is no support to, say, press a hotkey to jump immediately to a different section -- but it might be a viable thing to add if you could describe your use case more specifically.  With that said, there is a way to customize the default section.  You can do that by setting the default_list value to the sys_key of a system or list_key of a list in the [Picker_Preferences] section.  For example if you set,

[Picker_Preferences]
default_list=mame

...then the starting list will be the MAME list.

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Yes.  I might be able to add a feature so that if you press a physical button (say, a control panel or Stream Deck button) that was programmed with a hot-string, that you could use this to jump directly to a particular list.  If that's something you have a strong interest in, I can put it on a future feature list.

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  • 1 month later...

Just tested, and it does look like commas in the path are currently a problem because the configuration allows one to specify a comma separated list of options following the path.  I will include a fix for this in the next release.

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Thank you, launchbox creates the folder automatically with comma, I can use arcadeEIP as an emulator (tutorial) but then I would have to change everything manually after an update, I have other platforms (Konami Handheld etc) that access Mame.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey just tried this last night. Very impressive. My setup worked great on my test PC but I was getting some odd results on my arcade cabinet - but I admit I still need to go over the documentation some more. Notably however, my autoswitching list was sporadically populating with games. Is there a way to add to the autoswitching list manually besides actually running a game? I ran a bunch of games thinking they would show up in the list but exiting and restarting aEIP there was only a couple games in the list. This wasn't the case on my test rig.

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