Why I don't do MAME...

  1. Why I don't do MAME...

    06-29-2011, 09:29 PM
    First and foremost let me point out that I am not asking anything of TGI on this matter. I've no requests or expectations, just sharing an experience that occurred a few months ago.
    ---------------------------

    I had a slew of MAME submissions that were invalidated without my being made aware of it except by one individual on one title. It happened to be a ref that had spoken with me before regarding my arcade submissions. They were NG roms and as such were out of sync; a problem that I found to be present due to loading the wrong BIOS to view the .inp

    By the time I figured out what was going on and test my findings, I was able to have that one submission saved and the rejection of the inp reversed. I did a write up about the issue that didn't get much notice.
    viewtopic.php?f=30&t=25137

    When I resubmitted including this information, I once again discovered after much poking and prying that the roms were out of sync and therefore rejected. I put the matter on hold.

    In the meantime, I found a submission that had a questionable score and upon viewing the inp hosted at TGI, found immediately that the dip settings were wrong allowing for more scoring opportunities in the run. I contested the score formally and brought this up, but what ensued was real debate over why the submission should remain. "Well, he did complete the game" was one answer I got, another from a different individual was, "This score was approved by a ref in good standing, as such we tend to trust that decision". No joke, even though one could see at the very start of the run several dips being altered that were in direct contradiction to what TGI required, the idea of removing it was only reluctantly explored. I pointed out that the performance done after the fact, or the ref who verified it, is a red herring; wrong settings, invalid submission. It was eventually removed.

    Some time later, I found a score that seemed ridiculously outrageous on a title that I've played for years and am very familiar with. I watched the demo and except for a couple of parts that looked questionable, surmised that the player was very skilled. I looked to YouTube in the hopes of finding the video and player there... and I did! I sent him a message to ask about the details of his run, and he was very polite and open about it. He mentioned eventually that he used the Universe BIOS to make the run (Unibios is a hack and should never be allowed). I recorded and saved our entire conversation.

    Having recently had the attention of certain refs, I decided to once again revisit the BIOS issue with the NG roms and subsequent invalidations. I pointed out that just as important as requiring a specific MAME version, just as important as having a specific ROM set, is the fact that the BIOS version must be standardized as well; both to establish a level playing field and also reduce the number of rejected, albeit legitimate submissions from a technical standpoint (there are something like 8 different BIOS sets). I had not alleged cheating or the hacked BIOS at this point, but had planned to bring the issue up for review at a later time. It's fair to mention that one individual while not fully understanding the problem I was outlining, was excited and had suggested that I press the issue with others.

    But what I got was a very nasty and defensive response from a well known ref that stated, put very nicely, "so what, who cares?". Beyond that, it basically insulted the "importance of the title" and stated that lack thereof was enough to basically ignore the issue altogether. What really complicated things for me was the fact that above all else, I just wanted the BIOS settings standardized. Here's where it gets tricky; I could have contested the title and alleged cheating. After educating the community about the BIOS used, and subsequently PROVING that it was used, I could maybe invalidate the submission. But that wasn't my ultimate goal. You see, even though he used a hacked bios which I feel should never be allowed, I also believed his run to be legitimate. But there's the quandary; in getting what I'd be asking for, I'd also necessarily be invalidating his run.

    I thought for a moment of making a big stink about it; primarily the BIOS standardization but also the ref's response, but considering that a submission I had contested before which had obviously failed to match dip settings was so reluctantly removed and prior to that, defended, it seemed explaining BIOS settings and the issue there would be a huge waste of time and get nowhere.

    For those reasons, I decided that it was just more appropriate to abandon participation in MAME.

    Now I'm not active in any other MAME competitions, I'm not on MARP, and I'm not recommending any other service with regard to MAME over TGI. Truth be told TGI has much higher standards than the others. But, considering the lack of a level playing field with some titles, coupled with a few folks that are very resistant to examining the issue, I just figured I would enjoy MAME on a personal, rather than competitive level.
  2. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    06-30-2011, 03:29 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by malignantpoodle
    http://forums.twingalaxies.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=25137
    I honestly skimmed that thread & thought it needed no response: it is instructional more than anything - a good value thread but doesn't directly require nor initiate discussion. I didn't, until now, notice the discussion point at the bottom. I wonder if the refs considered it the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by malignantpoodle
    Now I'm not active in any other MAME competitions, I'm not on MARP, and I'm not recommending any other service with regard to MAME over TGI. Truth be told TGI has much higher standards than the others. But, considering the lack of a level playing field with some titles, coupled with a few folks that are very resistant to examining the issue, I just figured I would enjoy MAME on a personal, rather than competitive level.
    Enjoy it, but still record and submit. Your enjoyment of gaming shouldn't be detracted from just because something isn't accepted by someone (individual or organisation) else. Post them to TG, post them to MARP - if they show up, then they're a bonus to having enjoyed (or been frustrated by) something. Keep a journal of some kind (online or offline) for your own reference of how you've got on & that's your benchmark. Scores posted elsewhere are targets/aims only and aren't true world records regardless of who claims they are - there's no way to prove anything has never been surpassed before unless you control everybody's access to an individual game. Even Guinness can't prove who the tallest man in the world is [for example].
    Lots of 1sts to be surpassed: what are you waiting for? Play the game, submit the score...
  3. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    06-30-2011, 08:53 AM
    Hey, thanks for your response.
    I realize now this wasn't the appropriate place to post this story as it's mostly for announcements and such. If a mod wants to move it to a more appropriate sub forum I'd be delighted.

    I didn't expect much response or discussion regarding the out of sync thread, sorry if I wasn't clear on that. Was just remarking that it didn't get much notice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barthax
    here's no way to prove anything has never been surpassed before unless you control everybody's access to an individual game. Even Guinness can't prove who the tallest man in the world is [for example].
    Good point. Problem is the BIOS settings are something that is not out of TGI's ability to oversee, and is a major factor. All they'd have to do is say, "must use US MVS ver.1 bios" for example, and any ref reviewing the inp has to load it with that bios. If it's out of sync, the wrong bios was used and the score can be invalidated. This isn't an issue about so many factors that TGI may not be able to verify or control. This one is easy and necessary and as basic as requiring a specific rom set. Bear in mind that I couldn't even get that far when discussing it with certain people that had the authority to allow something like this.

    As far as continuing to submit or play on MAME, I have to say that the only reason I submit to TGI is for the score to be approved and on the scoreboard, and compared with other scores with a level playing field. That's the only reason. As far as enjoying the games or tracking my own progress, I kind of do that already. But submitting to TGI is only for the aforementioned purposes, and as such extreme difficulty in getting it done right which led to my no longer submitting means just that; not submitting. No bearing for me on the rest of what I get out of MAME.

    Tbh, the MAME tracking is an absolute mess. There are issues going on that make this look like small potatoes that I won't bother going into. Rather than challenge this albatross head on, I had preferred to help work with staff to clean it up piecemeal, starting with the titles that I was a contender on. There were a couple of members that were very interested in these and other issues, and some that seemed for some reason, quite angry that I was bringing them up. It was like being mad at someone at a gas station who pointed out that one of your rear tires had a flat.
    Being unable to have very basic revisions enacted though made the monster of the mess in its entire scope seem an impregnable fortress of status quo, so it was easier for me to just ignore it.
  4. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    07-02-2011, 09:34 AM
    Well don't give up on submitting, some people still like to see what other people can do
    whether it is the best score or not. But either way continue to enjoy mame as it's the
    best gaming platform around.
  5. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    07-02-2011, 09:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by malignantpoodle
    Being unable to have very basic revisions enacted though made the monster of the mess in its entire scope seem an impregnable fortress of status quo, so it was easier for me to just ignore it.
    Keep chipping away & eventually you'll get through. ;) Good to read it hasn't detracted from enjoying the gaming.
    Lots of 1sts to be surpassed: what are you waiting for? Play the game, submit the score...
  6. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    07-03-2011, 02:26 AM
    That's something interesting about Wlfview. It'll actually tell you which BIOS is being used. If a ref were to have issues playing back a NeoGeo submission, if they ran it through Wlfview they can see what BIOS is being used. I have mine set to "Europe MVS (ver 1)", which on Wlfview comes up as "default" (I tried other bioses [I know, not a real word :D] and they all come up something different). Granted, having a set BIOS would be nice, but if I have issues playing back files, I'll do whatever I can, check whatever I can, and change whatever I can in MAME to try and get it to playback properly (including checking the BIOS), and try on multiple PCs. If that still doesn't play it back properly after many many many attempts, I'll contact the gamer, but I won't downright DQ the score. I'll keep it on my PC and keep plugging away at it. Right now, I have close to 20 submissions from MAME that are having playback issues (five of them are either Gunbird or Raiden).
  7. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    07-08-2011, 08:46 PM
    Even if you are willing to try all bios sets to get it to run, there is still an unlevel playing field because the contenders are doing the run with different parameters in place.

    The European bios is interesting... I'm surprised it's a default for anywhere really (even NG users in Europe won't typically use it on their machines). Aside from it being the least common, it also has some of the most drastic variances.

    The first is that the Euro bios will only recognize one coin chute, and a 2p position requires 2 coins and both players in the game. This has to do with the NG keeping separate credit counters depending upon 1p vs. 2p chutes. Not the case with the Euro. So if I prefer, using a US bios I can play on the right side of the machine in single player mode, having options for that position or characters exclusive to that side. This cannot be done with a Euro bios except in a 2 player game.

    Another major difference is that with Bust A Move. With a Euro bios in, it's Puzzle Bobble. Completely different intro and everything. Game play is the same... except that in one of them (PB1 or 2 can't remember exactly) there is a final boss that awards 10 million points. This is only available when using the Euro bios and will happen with the same exact ROM. I can take my arcade machine, put in Bust A Move cart with the Euro bios, it comes up Puzzle Bobble and can play to the boss. This is just one difference with one game and there can be many, many others. Given that, even if you were willing to review the submission with multiple bios sets, there is still an unlevel playing field as some submit with the US MVS 1, some the Euro, some Japan, some unibios.

    This is why this basic feature needs to be standardized. Not doing so is akin to accepting a DK submission on any machine that would show a DK title screen. Can you imagine?
  8. Re: Why I don't do MAME...

    12-25-2011, 12:33 AM
    The simplicity of it is the point about standardizing of the bios set. Just as a parent rom is generally used for the record, the default bios should be used. (I hardly play games that require a bios, but there must be order.)
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