Loemu in operation - simple and clear.  Its a shame then that options passed to the MAME binary has to be done with CLI parameters, IMO defeats the whole object of a GUI.
Loemu in operation - simple and clear. Its a shame then that options passed to the MAME binary has to be done with CLI parameters, IMO defeats the whole object of a GUI.

Following on from our previous article on the Linux implimentation of MAME code, Ive had a chance to run through SDLmame, which is a far more recent release and is currently supported (latest release 29 March 2009)  A different choice of frontend this time aswell, reveals IMO a far tighter implimentation of the MAME code via SDL.

The previous MAME article on Openbytes can be found here.

All the greats are still covered here, however it appears that the issue of fullscreen is as default supported with Loemu which wasnt present on our previous articles frontend software.

Loemu does a reasonable job as acting as a frontend for SDLmame although any parameters you want to pass to the SDL binary have to be added manually within the GUI.  What I would like to have seen would have been “tick boxes” for the plethora of features SDLmame offers.   The .deb packages installed without issue, however I would also have liked to see it automatically create an entry in your applications menu and it struck me as strange that I had to go through the command line to run Loemu when in my opinion the whole purpose of it is to make operation of SDLmame simpler and avoid the commandline in the first place.

Users interested in arcade emulation can, IMO do no better than SDLmame, its recent, its fast and the software base is massive.  I do think though that whilst Loemu is a great little program, there are far better frontends out there and for that reason I cannot really recommend Loemu (I think for those comfortable with terminal, its far quicker to simply use that)  Loemu IMO fails to be suitable for new users aswell for the reasons mentioned above and since the last update for it was 22nd Feb 2008, I think its safe to say that this small project is no longer supported.

SDLMame can be downloaded from the homepage (for Ubuntu users) : http://wallyweek.altervista.org/

Loemu can be found at: http://loemu.pegueroles.com/

So as it stands, in my opinion the definitive Linux implimentation of Mame is SDLmame (until I find out otherwise) however the search for the ultimate frontend continues and Im open to any suggestions as to whats the best.

OTHER FRONTENDS – WAHCADE 0.99pre7:

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WAHCADE - For me more suited to a dedicated MAME box, not my desktop.

As my search for the ultimate SDL frontend continued, I stumbled across WAHCADE another currently supported project written in Python (using the PYgame binding I beleive) A more graphical implimentation and I think this would be well suited for a standalone Mame box.

As a desktop Linux frontend for SDL I personally cant recommend.  Its not because alot of effort hasnt been put into it, but the default switching to full screen and bizzare control method for navigating the menus instantly put me off.  If I am going to dump the commandline for a GUI, I want compact, simple and clear options, I dont want my desktop hijacked into fullscreen when in most cases I am doing several things at once and require my beloved desktop.

Thats not to say this software is bad by any means, but it simply is not what I am looking for and in my case wholly unsuitable to be my frontend of choice for MAME.  Im happier using the commandline.

The latest version of WAHCADE can be found here: http://www.anti-particle.com/index.shtml

Goblin – Bytes4free@googlemail.com