Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to Convert MAME .inp Files to .avi Files

This is a question that comes up a lot, so I'm going to show you the method that works for me with Windows 7.
There are more ways to do this, and if anyone has a better method, I'd very much like to hear about it, please let us know in the comments :)
Just a quick overview: Some versions of MAME let you record the keystrokes of your game while you are playing, so you can watch it later or share it with other people who may want to watch, these are recorded in an .inp file. The only drawback is that in order to watch a replay, you must have MAME, it must be a compatible version, and you must have the ROM of the game you are trying to watch. This makes it hard to share your games with most people.

So what we're going to do is take the .inp file you have made and convert it to an .avi file for uploading to a video hosting service like Youtube, Veoh, etc.

Things you will need:
Xvid Codec
Grolwer Guncam 

These will both require installing.
Once you have Growler Guncam running there are some settings you will want to change.
First you need to set a Trigger key. in Setup\Trigger. Try to use a key that will not be pressed during the game you are recording, I use the backslash key \
The trigger key tells the software when to start recording and when to stop. If you are recording a MAME game, the recording automatically stops when you exit the game.

I had to tweak a few setting in order to get everything to work right. I'm just going to show you screen captures of some of my settings now. (Click these to make them bigger if you want.)

Capture Setup
Advanced Setup
Video Export Setup
With Growler and MAME both running, start your MAME replay and then hit the Trigger key you assigned earlier to start recording. When you are done recording, hit the Trigger key again or just press escape to leave the game and it will stop recording.
After you've made your movie, it will be saved in a .gcf file format, which will probably be a gigantic file.

Select your video by clicking it and then click Export Video as GIF, JPG, AVI.

At first you will only see a picture in the left frame, click the Append Selected Film arrow in the center and then when you're ready, click the as AVI button in the Export Destination Film.
Now you should have a nice little .avi video of your game. Unfortunately the quality of the video isn't going to look as good as watching in MAME, because of compression, and when you upload to a video hosting site it will be compressed yet again, so you may want to consider not using compression.
That's pretty much all there is to it, here are some videos I made with Growler. They don't look super good, but they get the point across.
(These are all me playing :)

Samurai Shodown III Level 8 One Credit Completion MAME

Samurai Shodown V Special Level 8 One Credit Completion MAME

Street Fighter Alpha 2 Expert Level High Score MAME

Samurai Shodown Level 8 High Score MAME

Good luck with your videos and don't forget to delete yor .gcf files after you're done with them, as they tend to take up lots of space!
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Flynn's Arcade

It seems that Disney took my advice and built Flynn's Arcade. Unfortunately I wasn't specific enough about it and they stuck it over in California Adventure instead of Disneyland. I went down there to check it out in December. They only had it open on Saturdays and Sundays during ElecTRONica. So I got there on Sunday, and a nice surprise, I met some of my long lost family there, but they didn't have passes to California Adventure and were only gonna be around on Sunday...I'm sure you can see where this is going. I wasn't about to leave them just to go see an arcade, because I miss them too much. We had a really good time at Disneyland.

Disney said that as they get closer to the premier of TRON Legacy that they would have ElecTRONica every night. Well I was there premier week and it wasn't happening. I was informed Monday by a cast member that the arcade was open only on the weekends. I went back to the arcade area anyways and I could walk right up and look in the windows, but it was closed. The outside facade looked half cool and half half-assed.
Arms raised in defeat.

Looking in the window, it was all old school American style cabs, no deluxe games, and I could see the arcade version of Space Paranoids right near the front doors. They had some neat neon Galaga bugs on the wall, unlit, and I read somewhere that when it's open it has nothing but 80's music playing on the stereo.
There are nice pictures of every game Here.
Some people, myself included, were complaining that there is no list of the games at Flynn's Arcade online. So I'm putting one together. They appear to have:

Space Paranoids
Donkey Kong Junior
Super Cobra
Wizard of Wor
Donkey Kong
Dig Dug
Solar Fox
Pole Position
Robotron: 2084
Ms. Pac-Man
Ironman Ivan Stewart's Super Off Road
Red Baron
Track & Field
Buck Rogers - Planet of Zoom
Space Duel
Missile Command
Mr. Do!
Space Invaders
Defender - Stargate
Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Whirlwind (pinball)

That's quite a selection! I must say that from the outside the arcade doesn't look big enough to hold all of those games. I was going to get myself a $10 stack of tokens for my token collection, but since I didn't get to go inside, I didn't get any tokens. I was able to get some off of Ebay for about $1 a piece though. They are oversized, the same size as a Chuck E. Cheese's token.
Here's a scanned image, they are a lot shinier IRL.
We droped by the Starcade in Disneyland and they had the usual god-awful deluxe games everywhere. But they did have the Neo-Geo cabaret machine still. One of the deluxe games was an arcade version of Mario Kart, which looked kind of interesting. Also, I have to stand corrected, they do have pinball in the Starcade. One game. Pirates of the Caribbean.

A family enjoying a game of Spinmaster on the Neo-Geo Mini.

We stayed in the Grand Californian Hotel, which was just massive and completely awesome. I wouldn't mind living there :)
The Grizzly Game Arcade at the Grand Californian was a small-ish room stuffed with oversized deluxe games. It ran on tokens. I got some and they were just some generic tokens, I spent all of them, as they weren't anything special.
I spent my tokens on fifty cent games of Ms. Pac-Man on a Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Class of '81 machine.
The arcade was empty first thing in the morning. The funny thing was, the Ms. Pac-Man game had a ridiculously high High Score on it. It made me wonder if one of the hotel employees was playing it a lot or something. I vowed to come back later and try to beat the High Score, but I ended up not bothering.

I love Disneyland, it was a really fun trip even though I missed out on Flynn's arcade.
I would speculate on why they only have the arcade open during ElecTRONica, but it'd be hard to say having not been there while it was open.

Disney, I know you read this site. You did a good job on the arcade, even though you screwed up by putting it in California Adventure. How's about keeping it open everyday?
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Friday, February 11, 2011

...and finally...Arcade Infinity IS closing.

That didn't take very long, did it.
Evil wins again.

Last night I made a Twitter post stating that I had heard from Ken Tao, owner of AI, that they were being forced to close their doors (again). This time it's permanent. L.A. County denied the application for a business license extension that was requested by the owners of Diamond Plaza. The County wants the Tao brothers to close shop, pay for a new license, and wait for all of the hearings and city council votes in order to stay open (this could take up to 8 months). Ken stated that it wasn't the money that was the problem this time, it's how long AI would have to remained closed while waiting for the final word, which would have likely been "no" anyway. The arcade is closing its doors on February 26th, 2011.
They're selling off all of their games in this thread. 

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