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Video settings for MAME

Posted: January 21st, 2012, 6:24 am
by Nostalgia
Staff Edit: Please note, this is an old thread and the video settings discussed here have since been superseded by HLSL and OpenGL shaders. Of course, these old settings can still be useful in old MAME versions.

Wasn't sure where to post this sorry but maybe it could turn into a bit of a reference if we get enough helpful posts.

I'm just wondering what video settings you guy use in MAME in terms of filtering, aspect ratio, resolution, etc etc. I really started to notice a few months back that when I saw Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machines playing on youtube, the characters looked REALLY TALL and when I played it on MAME the characters looked way smaller and it just wasn't as cool. Maybe because of nostalgic reasons i'm not sure, but I wanted taller character models in MAME.

I think I have it pretty much configured as good as possible the way I have it now. Can't remember exactly what I did but I just mucked around with different resolutions/aspect ratios and things like that. Now when I play MK2, the characters look a lot taller and the viewing space is kinda squeezed into a vertical letterbox. I prefer it this way rather than stretched to full screen with shorter characters... Call me weird I don't care :sparta:

I don't think it's what I'm really chasing, but I have a 22" widescreen monitor and I don't think 'tall' character models are really designed for it.

Also, I use Kreeds' 2X SAI in image enhancement (press TAB in-game to see this option) for most if not all games. It really smoothens up some games (but not toooo much) :hello:

So now I'll turn the microphone on to you guys and maybe you can give some hints and tips and what settings you prefer/dislike, etc. Because as we all know, MAME and most emulators in general have heaps of video/graphics options. But let's just focus on the options in MAME for this thread please.


Re: Video settings for MAME

Posted: January 22nd, 2012, 6:42 pm
by Hierophant
I became more interested in MAME video settings after getting into the MAMEPlus! build, which now sits firmly at the top of my speed dial for MAME emulation:

Here are my current non-default video settings for MAMEPlus!:

Options>Default Game Options>Global

Core Video
- Brightness correction>1.02 (explained below)
- Sleep when possible>unchecked (doesn't directly affect video, just makes sure MAME has maximum CPU resources available)

OSD Video
- Visual effects>Scanlines75Dx4 (explained below)
- Wait for vertical sync>checked (helps alleviate screen tearing)

- Screen 1: view>pixel aspect (explained below)

- Flicker>0.40 (good for games like Asteroids, but obviously not nearly as good as a real vector monitor)

These days, when it comes to playing arcade games on the pristine display of a high resolution LCD monitor, I prefer a bit of image degradation to image enhancement. In a way though, these settings are still an enhancement from my perspective.

The slightly increased brightness setting turns black into a very dark grey. When combined with the scanline effect, the black scanlines become faintly visible on what would otherwise be solid black areas. This gives the whole game display a nice grainy look that's more reminiscent of a real arcade monitor. The pixel aspect setting for screen view forces the games to appear in their original aspect ratio - no more squashed or stretched graphics. These settings do not create an altogether perfect arcade replica on an LCD, but it's about as good as it can be using only MAME's Default Game Options.

Here are two game screens to demo the overall effect. Pay attention to the in-game black areas to see how I have the scanlines still just barely showing there:

AvP - ... 24-h768-no

MK2 - ... 24-h768-no

For more detailed info on MAME's Default Game Options, you can't go past Strategy Wiki's MAME/Configure guide:

The sections on Display, Advanced, and Screens are absolutely essential if you wanna become a MAME video settings master! :woot:

Re: Video settings for MAME

Posted: January 23rd, 2012, 3:56 am
by Nostalgia
Wow those screens look really good, reminds me a lot of the arcade versions which is cool because as you said, that is what you were going for... Even it meant sacrificing some image 'quality' :wink:

Are the scanlines in those images the one you made yourself or different ones? Wouldn't mind trying them out.

Re: Video settings for MAME

Posted: January 23rd, 2012, 5:20 am
by Hierophant
Thanks! Those Scanlines75Dx4 are normally included with MAME along with a heap of others and are located in the artwork folder. It's good fun going through them all in-game to see which ones you like best. I've also tried the scanlines that I created and they work fine in newer versions of MAME that allow this. For my post though, I wanted to detail options that anyone could easily try.

By the way, very cool topic, mate. This is what MA is all about! :link:

Re: Video settings for MAME

Posted: February 1st, 2012, 9:57 am
by f3rns
Hi guys, I tried Hierophant settings and they look top notch, the only think I tweaked a little was the Image enhancement I used EPX-B so its looks a little bit clearer and mantains the old aracade monitor vibe.

Thank you guys for all your posts and knowledge.

God bless :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Re: Video settings for MAME

Posted: February 2nd, 2012, 2:27 am
by Hierophant
Good stuff, f3rns. I would encourage people to do what f3rns did and keep experimenting with the various video settings in MAME to find what suits you best.

Re: Video settings for MAME

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 4:56 pm
by DoubleVendetta
I just use the standard Andrea's 2x, but then, I'm mostly playing 3rd Strike, which is already gorgeous, and upscaling it much more than that kind of ruins it from what I've seen.