If you've got a full set of ROMs for a specific version of MAME, then you'll only need to obtain ROMs for the newer games when a newer version of MAME is released, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. For different reasons, ROM sets are constantly being changed - ie, the contents of the ZIP file may differ for each release.
One of the major modifications has been the renaming for all the NEO-GEO ROMs. If we had to make these changes manually, we'd have to rename *hundreds* of ROMs contained in ZIP files. Not difficult, but pretty time-consuming.
But things aren't as bad as all that. Fortunately, there are some programs that make this changes almost automatically, called ROM Managers. The following tutorial illustrates how to update MAME ROM sets using one of the best-known ROM managers: ClrMame Pro.
To update our MAME ROM set we need the following:
- Complete ROM set of an old version
- Dat file of the current MAME version.
- ROM Manager
Fixfiles are files that contain ROMs needed to update from one version to the next. This includes two types of ROMs: ROMs for the new games supported, and ROMs added to previously supported games.
Why is it necessary to add ROMs to previously emulated games?
The MAME Team changes the source code from version to version. This means that some times we have to add or remove ROMs from a game due to some functionality issues.
Dat files are text files with information about emulated games for a particular MAME version. In these files is information about ROMs contained in particular sets: names, merging information, which is the main set and which are clones, CRC for each ROM, etc. CRC is an algorithm used to check the integrity of a file, and is the system used by ROM Managers to identify the ROMs in order to verify their name, size and integrity.
Links to dat files can be found in almost every web page related to emulation. The most important ones (in my opinion) are the following:
http://www.logiqx.com/ - Information, utilities and a big amount of dat files.
http://opothspants.free.fr/rmd/ - If you don’t find the dat file you are looking for here (or in one of the links), then it doesn’t exist.
http://www.clrmame.com/ - dat files to use with ClrMame Pro
We will see later that we can obtain MAME dat files from the executable file of the emulator itself.
As we have mentioned previously, ROM Managers are programs that make our life easier when we have to deal with MAME ROM updates. But they are not just limited to MAME - they can be used with any other emulation system, as long as a dat file exists (and there are lots of them). It can even handle MAME32 add-ons (icons, cabinets, flyers, marquees and the like).
In this tutorial we are going to explain the use of ClrMame Pro. You can find the latest version in the official site: