Johnny’s Workshop

June 1, 2008

MAME – Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

Filed under: Tutorials — april15th @ 9:15 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Remember the joys of playing immensely popular games down at the local arcade? You don’t?

Oh.

Well, screw you. You probably weren’t a child of the ’80s. This post is for people who grew up playing arcade games and wish they could play some of their old favourites again. I played Street Fighter II for a couple of hours yesterday and couldn’t believe how quickly I settled in to my old fighting style again. I suppose the 1991 me would annihilate the current me in any two-player tournament but even with just a couple of days’ practice, I know I’d put up a decent fight.

I so enjoyed Street Fighter II back in the early ’90s that being able to play it again was easily the highlight of my long and tedious, work-filled day. So many memories came flooding back, it was like reuniting with an old friend; one perfectly willing to waste months of my precious youth and take all my 20c coins.

In hopes of being able to provide others with a similar experience, I thought I’d write out a quick guide to acquiring and setting up MAME32 (“a version of the standard Windows MAME build with the front-end built directly into the application”), then downloading and readying a ROM for the emulator. I’ll use Street Fighter II: Champion Edition as the example but you’ll be able to play ten trillion other arcade games, too.

Oh, yeah, I should also mention that this guide is for people using a typical Win32 Platform.

Trust me, the set-up process couldn’t be simpler; it’s on a par with downloading a simple peer-to-peer client and then using it to rob artists of their rightful income.

MAME, of course, is perfectly legal. The legality of the ROMs (the games for the emulator) varies according to the game itself and where you live in the world. Some titles are now in the public domain, others are not.

If flaunting copyright laws is not your thing (nor should it be, lest you’re keen to burn in Hell), you should investigate on a game-by-game basis. For example, the copyright warning at the start of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition informs me that I’m allowed to play because I’m in Australia. Had it been illegal, I would have deleted the ROM that very instant and penned a letter of contrition to Capcom‘s legal department, begging that they forgive me for my having downloaded the game in the first place.

Okay, so here we go:

01. Download MAME32 (m32-062.zip, 3.01MB) from HERE.

02. Unzip the contents of the m32-062.zip archive. You do know how to unzip a simple archive, right? Just right-click on the file and select the appropriate option from the context menu.

The unzipped archive should look like this:

03. Now that MAME32 has been set up, it’s time to acquire the Street Fighter II: Champion Edition ROM. There are sites all over the web that host these ROMs but I got my copy from ROM World.

To save you the trouble of looking for it, here’s a direct LINK to the file (sf2ce.zip, 3.45MB).

04. Unzip the sf2ce.zip archive. This will yield the sf2ce folder, which you’ll then have to move into the roms directory highlighted earlier, giving you: m32-062\roms\sf2ce

05. Now, double-click the mame32.exe file to launch MAME32.

06. With MAME32 open, click File > Audit all games:

MAME32 will then realise you’ve added the sf2ce ROM.

07. Once the audit is complete, just click on the Available folder and you’ll see the Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (World) ROM, desperately awaiting activation (just double-click):

Easy!

The only thing left to do is kick the shit out of Ken, Ryu, E. Honda, Chun Li, Blanka, Zangief, Guile, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat and Bison.

Once in-game, use the ‘Tab’ key to access all the different settings and to learn / configure your controls.

May 27, 2008

Streetbattlefield Fighter 2

Filed under: 3ds Max 9,Battlefield 2 — april15th @ 1:13 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I don’t know what useful and/or exciting things you, my fickle readers, did during the first two weeks of May but a good portion of my precious time was devoted to 3ds Max. The focus of my efforts? Learning how to import, reconstruct and texture some of the more complex models from Battlefield 2 (and its various mods).

After a week of rendering those models and experimenting with different types of lighting, I decided it’d be fun to make a little composition. Originally, the plan was to create an animated scene that I could upload to YouTube but within a few days I changed my mind and decided to do a single frame instead:

Streetfighter 2 and Battlefield 2

An animated version of the scene remains a possibility; it’s just that I’m still hopeless at rigging and preparing the soldiers for this scene would have required a lot more time and effort than I was willing to commit. An experienced animator probably could have done it in no time but I’m an amateur and burdened with other priorities. I still haven’t told my neighbour that I found her cat and that’s something I should have done weeks ago. I’ve also got half a dozen DVD rentals that are seriously overdue.

The idea to recreate Guile’s level from Street Fighter II appeared out of the blue. I knew the Allied Intent Xtended mod included a well put-together F16—modelled and textured by clivewil—and it was probably the availability of that model, more than anything else, that compelled me to try. Growing up, I was a big fan of Street Fighter II, so the prospect of recreating a familiar image and spending a few days reminiscing about my Godlike SFII skills held great appeal.

More importantly, creating the scene allowed me to get better at using textures, Bipeds and the Physique modifier, and required the careful posing of half a dozen 3D models of humans. I’d never tried that before and it seemed a fun way to learn the basics.

Except for the clouds (created in 3ds Max) and the HUD (added via Photoshop), everything in the scene was sourced from Battlefield 2. Well, everything except clivewil’s F16 which, as I’ve already mentioned, was from Allied Intent Xtended, one of the very best BF2 mods going around. Some of the models were tweaked ever-so-slightly because I wanted them to better resemble the objects featured in Guile’s scene. For the most part, though, they were left alone. Battlefield 2 offered the equivalent of virtually everything seen in the original SFII level, so it was just a matter of finding the right objects, importing them into 3ds Max, applying textures, then moving them into position.

3ds Max Scene

The only object that could have been more faithful to the original was the Supply Crate. In Street Fighter II, the corresponding object is a destructible wooden crate (a rarity in video games) and BF2 definitely had one that was suitable but I think the Supply Crate, for this version, has more novelty value.

The scene’s main source of light is a Skylight with its Multiplier set to 1.3, however there are also three Omni Lights; two within the hangars to prevent them from being pitch-black and one in the foreground to increase the overall brightness of the fighters and onlookers. Without the Omni lights, the lighting had a more consistent, realistic feel but video games from that era didn’t really strive for photorealism, so I had no qualms about brightening things up.

As hoped, it was a fun project and though I’m sure it could have been done better, I’m happy with the end result. Happy enough to move on, anyway.

Let me know what you think.

(Click to enlarge)

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