With the world of free and open source software ever in need of trailblazers, I thought I might write up a description of my rig as a proof of concept for anyone else seeking to run MAME on GNU/Linux (Fedora 23, in my case).
- Computer and Graphics Card
- Informational Note: I have seen reports of choppiness in MAME, and I have personally experienced it when attempting to run the software on an Intel Compute Stick (it’s only got Intel HD graphics and a tiny little 1.8 GHz Atom processor), but I can say that my setup as described below produces absolutely zero choppiness, so it is attainable with adequate hardware and software, with the below setup being something of a proof of concept template.
- I am using an Intel Core i5-3470 along with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 configured with PCI passthrough in a Fedora 22-supported guest domain.
- I am also using a Rosewill USB Hub for the mouse, keyboard, gamepads, and light guns (all connected to a USB hub on the motherboard which is passed through to the guest domain using PCI passthrough).
- Hardware: I can tell you that the Logitech F310 Gamepad works flawlessly with Fedora 23 and MAME. It’s cheap ($20) and reliable (I’ve had one that has worked for me for over 5 years and still plays like the day I bought it). It has a hat toggle for the directional pad, and that can be a little annoying to some people, but I got over it.
- Prerequisite Software: Gamepads are recognized as joysticks by the Linux kernel, and in Fedora, that means you need to install the joystick-support package before your controller will work appropriately with MAME.
sudo dnf install kernel-modules-extra joystick-support
- MAME Configuration: Once the prerequisite software is installed, it’s basically plug and play. Fire up MAME, head into the device configuration section, and you should be able to simply select controls to be configured and press the appropriate button on your gamepad and observe that it registers correctly. It’s mega simple (as long as you have that prerequisite software installed).
- Light Guns:
- Informational Note: Oh man, do I ever love light guns. The disappearance of light guns from modern consoles has been so disappointing to me. Lots of people will tell you “it just can’t be done” given the fact that light guns of yore relied on CRT monitors and their redraws to function, but fortunately, that’s just some weird myopia from people who apparently think technology can’t produce light guns without that exact method.
- Hardware: The main player nowadays in light gun technology is Ultimarc’s Aimtrak product line. They use an IR emitter / receiver combination to create a reliable light gun which functions much like the Wiimote for the Nintendo Wii. After observing their product (obviously modeled after the Namco Guncon) and its $95 price (that’s the one downside to modern light guns; expense) + what seems to be International shipping and handling (though I didn’t check specifically what the price there would be), I decided to go with www.arcadeguns.com. They have basically cast their own gun case and sourced components from Ultimarc and Cherry to create a very nice three-button light gun. I’ve had it for a few weeks now and I am extremely impressed with the response, accuracy, and feel.
- Prerequisite Software: As with Gamepads, Ultimarc light guns are recognized as joysticks by the Linux kernel. The same software requirements as above (kernel-modules-extra and joystick-support) are required for their use.
- So far, I have not gotten this thing entirely working yet; while Fedora detects the gun as a mouse perfectly, MAME fails to recognize the device. According to a forum post I found on the Interwebs, ill need to make use of a Windows system to use the Ultimarc configuration utility to change the gun over from mouse mode into joystick mode, and then I will need to configure my X server to recognize the joystick as an input device using the joystick driver.
That’s all for now – I basically just wanted to let everyone know that yes, MAME works wonderfully on Fedora 23 The only current limitation I am running into is the light gun support (which I am feverishly working on). But for the most part, you, too, can have your own Free and Open Source Software Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, right in the comfort of your own home.
And another childhood dream comes true (well, almost – once I get that blasted light gun working!).