Author Topic: A WolfMAME Issue  (Read 6423 times)

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Offline ChrisP

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A WolfMAME Issue
« on: July 07, 2013, 01:05:45 PM »
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to make a new thread in this forum, but the "General Discussion" thread is so long at this point that maybe breaking the discussion into separate threads is a good idea, rather than having a single omni-thread?

In any case, there is an issue with WolfMAME that has not been discussed or addressed yet.

Simply put, unlike .106, newer versions of WolfMAME do not produce a .wlf file along with the .inp. It is my understanding that the information that used to be put in the .wlf is now somehow embedded into the .inp itself, but I have not been able to confirm this or to find out how that works.

Some might say "then why not just stick with .106 for recordings/submissions?" The reason is that newer versions are superior in many respects, and in one sense in particular: .inp filesizes in newer Wolfs are much, much smaller than those produced by .106. I don't know how they accomplished this (some form of compression, I think) but .inps recorded in newer versions are a fraction of the size, making them much easier to store, share, and deal with.

Since I no longer plan to submit to TG, I'm basically finished with .106, as it's severely outdated. Since December I've done all of my DK playing (including DK, D2K, and Junior) in Wolf .140. But under our current rules, I would not be able to submit because .140 does not produce a .wlf. It's not a huge issue for me because I have the arcade versions of all three games, and much prefer to play on a cabinet anyway, but there are times when I need or want to play on MAME (and will be stuck doing so for Junior until I get the standard ROMset installed on my PCB, and not the "hard" kit I'm now using). Ya never know what kind of run you're going to snag a hold of and it would be annoying to not be able to submit because I don't have a .wlf.

In fact, D2K actually CAN'T be played in .106 because the ROM wasn't added to MAME until some point in the .130s. So, if nothing else, this issue will have to be resolved one way or another once we get the D2K list going. There will never be a .wlf for D2K.

Does anybody know how to extract the .wlf-type info from the new .inps?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 01:20:37 PM by ChrisP »
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corey.chambers

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 03:42:40 PM »
I understand the concern. I believe that you had brought it up once before. At that time I downloaded the most recent version of WolfMAME and I could not figure out how to even record an inp let alone know how to do anything else. Not sure if there is an inp checker like there was for 0.106. I had not pursued it any further because no one had submitted any inp from any other emulator than .106, other than Rick Fothergill's score which was with .101, though it had a wlf file. Because the rules allow for any version of WolfMAME, then I would need to accommodate for the inp from these versions. One of the points of getting the inp and wlf will is because it is easily verified, and it could be verified. But if 't be newer versions of WolfMAME do not have the .wlf file to verify then I would need to either find a way to do the same process as I do with the wlf along with the inp in the wlfveiwer, or just have these players submit under the auxiliary rules. Besides, if the inp that I get matches the stream from a credible player then I don't see good reasons to reject it. I mean, if we don't know the person, they have never showed us their skills over time, they have never posted any scores, and comes out of the woodwork with a streamed game of a million points in a window only format with no audio at all... well, I think you guys get the point. I would need to specify that at least the inp would be required from newer versions of MAME if a new line or addition to a previous line is made to the list rules specifying that if something can't be verified then it can't be verified. But then maybe an accompanied evidence could help... Consider this, if I have an inp from a game that we know was started on Twitch because we could see the program start with the play and record, or maybe a restart in the end which could not be done with an inp playback, or their stream was in the monitor capture format where we could see the programs that were open on the computer, etc then this obviously seems adequate.  None of this is meant to be infallible but lets just say I highly doubt anyone will get passed all of us with a fraudulent score.

If it was an inp playback on a newer version of mame then it would be nice to have a way to check it like I do with the wlfveiwer. I assume that tampering could have been done to the file, though what is the likelihood of this being done, or can it be done. I don't have to deal with many playbacks, let alone from one without a .wlf file but obviously they would need to be checked some way I would think. Especially in the case where they can't prove that it was being created as they played such as was the case with Joe Kassel's recent score submission.

Any thoughts on these differences or anything that we could come up with in the rules to address the matter more specifically?

Offline philt80

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2013, 05:03:26 PM »
I also asked about this issue a few weeks back as I too prefer modern versions of wolfmame. I think at the time Corey said he'd be ok with it if he was able to verify, but that was before the detailed rule set took form...
I guess what we all need to do is dig into the details of Wolfmame and find out exactly what verification measures can be taken with versions post 106. It's my understanding that all versions of wolfmame have extra code that prevents cheating and tool assisted modification. I've often wondered if perhaps the reason so many use 106 is because it was the last "GUI" version of wolfmame released?

I actually prefer commandline wolfmame...it's much easier for me to fire up a game and takes less overhead....also includes games not emulated at the time 106 was released...I know for verification purposes, any version of wolfmame is acceptable for MARP verification...
 
I'll see if I can find anything out that may help and post an update if I do...
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Offline philt80

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2013, 05:30:20 PM »
Actually...a good person to ask would be Rick Carter if someone can get ahold of him....I think he's an adjudicator for MARP, so he'd likely have answers to all questions relative to the how and why of wolfmame verification...

Here's an answer he gave regarding wlf files several years back:
http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/forums/index.php?topic=1138.0
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corey.chambers

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2013, 07:46:09 PM »
I just sent a facebook message to Rick Carter. So I will see what he has to say about a possible verification process for the inp file post .106 which does not also include the wlf file.

Offline ChrisP

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2013, 08:02:16 PM »
I'm confident that there's a way to do check just the .inp, otherwise I can't imagine them removing the .wlf file as a feature.

The MARP forum would know, but I don't have an account there. Maybe I'll make one.

My guess is that the site is down right now, since it usually is.
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4 Quarters :-* - 800K Avg. Per Qtr. :o - No Restarts 8) - No Proof :'(

7/26/2013   Coin 35,946   710,800   18-1
7/28/2013   Coin 35,947   903,700   22-1
8/16/2013   Coin 35,948   694,100   17-6
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corey.chambers

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2013, 08:31:21 PM »
Carter said that he did not know if their was a verification process or not but he did say that the old wlf file information was in the header of the inp file, whatever that means. I had another mention this to me as well. If this information can be edited for some reason, I would like to know that. He said that the creator of WolfMAME is mahlemiut in the forums on the MARP website. I don't have an account there presently. There may be something in the forum too that already discusses this. I have not ventured over there yet.

Offline SQUIIDUX

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 02:41:11 AM »
Corey and i had a long (2-3) day discussion about issues hovering around this issue...
http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=301.0
it also went into the high-score thread which is now moved so watch out for those links in there.

if it is okay with Jeff, i would like to start a Tech Support section on the forum, so folks can ask tech questions and we can answer them. this way we can get to the bottom of these issues for people, and increase our 'hive' knowledge of this game considerably. we could also do benchtests to see how this new versions of mame work and use hex editors to check and see what is actually being store by mame and/or what is up in the game code (z80 disassembled)

i too enjoy my new versions of mame, as i can not have to rely on sound samples and the speed is far superior.
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corey.chambers

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 02:52:57 PM »
Can someone get me an inp file from a newer version of MAME so I can look at it. I still can't figure out how to record an inp with the newer version.

Offline ChrisP

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 04:09:17 PM »
The only way to record or playback in newer Wolfs is from the command line. There has been no GUI for Wolf since .106 (which is silly to me, since non-GUI programs scare off people who don't like using the command prompt. You'd think somebody would have made a GUI since then, but anyway...)

There is a simple built-in GUI that pops up if you click MAME.exe, but it does nothing except start the games and configure general inputs. All other MAME options and switches (the types of things that you CAN manipulate from the .106 GUI) have to be manually set in .ini files or invoked via command prompt, including recording and playing back .inps.

So, if you want to record or playback, this is what you have to do:

- Open a command window. (Go into the folder where MAME.exe is, hold CTRL, right-click, then click "Open Command Window Here". Personally, I made a shortcut to cmd.exe and I just click that.)
- At the command prompt, type: mame <ROM name> -record <inpfilename>.inp
- Or you can invoke the record.bat that comes with WolfMAME and simply type: record <ROM name> <inpfilename>

(Alternate "record" with "playback" if you want to play back.)

I'm working on figuring out how to read the info stored in the .inp header. I'm Googling the everloving shit out of this and I can find nothing. I have to say, it drives me a little insane that there are features in WolfMAME that nobody, anywhere, has documented how to actually use, not even the people who developed those features.

It's just stuff like this:
http://mahlemiut.marpirc.net/

"This diff provides extended features for MAME INP files (input logs) to assist playbackability and curb possible cheating. "

OK, sounds good... now what??


(EDIT: FFS WHY IS MARP *ALWAYS* SLOW NOW?)

(EDIT: Oh, how totally awesome, my MARP forum account has to be approved by an admin before I can ask about this. Sweeeeet!)  >:( >:( >:( >:(
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 04:36:10 PM by ChrisP »
http://donkeykongblog.blogspot.com

4 Quarters :-* - 800K Avg. Per Qtr. :o - No Restarts 8) - No Proof :'(

7/26/2013   Coin 35,946   710,800   18-1
7/28/2013   Coin 35,947   903,700   22-1
8/16/2013   Coin 35,948   694,100   17-6
8/17/2013   Coin 35,949   893,100   22-1

3,201,700: the $1 World Record?
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Offline Monstabonza

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 04:55:42 PM »
Chris I've been doing the same thing, I'm starting to think that we're going to have to search the mame source or try to get a hold of the wlf view source and modify it.
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Offline stella_blue

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 06:13:15 PM »
The only way to record or playback in newer Wolfs is from the command line. There has been no GUI for Wolf since .106 (which is silly to me, since non-GUI programs scare off people who don't like using the command prompt. You'd think somebody would have made a GUI since then, but anyway...)

I recommend that everyone become familiar with the more basic command line options.  Even with WolfMAME 0.106, the command line is the only method I know of to record and playback games that utilize a save state.

I'm working on figuring out how to read the info stored in the .inp header. I'm Googling the everloving shit out of this and I can find nothing. I have to say, it drives me a little insane that there are features in WolfMAME that nobody, anywhere, has documented how to actually use, not even the people who developed those features.

Tell me about it.  I did the same, and came up with bupkis.

(EDIT: Oh, how totally awesome, my MARP forum account has to be approved by an admin before I can ask about this. Sweeeeet!)  >:( >:( >:( >:(

If you haven't heard from them within 48 hours, you might want to follow up with an email.  When I registered for a MARP forum account, I received the following automated response on 06/30/12:

Your account is currently inactive and will need to be approved by
an administrator before you can log in. Another email will be sent
when this has occurred.


You read that date correctly.  The above message was delivered to my inbox on June 30, 2012 (a mere 373 days ago).

I imagine that my account status is floating around in some cyber version of a dead letter file.  I could contact them, but I won't.  At this point, I've pretty much lumped the CAGDC and MARP forums together in the "I don't give a shit" category.

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Offline gstrain

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 09:19:21 PM »
The only way to record or playback in newer Wolfs is from the command line. There has been no GUI for Wolf since .106 (which is silly to me, since non-GUI programs scare off people who don't like using the command prompt. You'd think somebody would have made a GUI since then, but anyway...)

Well, this isn't strictly true.  If you want a GUI all you have to do is use a Front End to MAME. 

MAMEdev considers MAME as fundamentally a command line program.  Back in WolfMAME.106, WolfMAME was based on MAMEPlus which was a Front End to the base MAME (actually I believe the full build process was that WolfMAME was built on MAMEPlus which was built on MAME32 which was built on MAME).  This proved to be a pain in the ass to maintain, so Barry (the guy who wrote and maintains WolfMAME over at MARP) changed it to just build WolfMAME on top of the core MAME.

You can still run a Front End though.  A Front End knows how to run MAME and gives you a nice GUI that knows how to kick off MAME together with all the options available in MAME.  You can read more about Front Ends at http://strategywiki.org/wiki/MAME/Front_Ends

I don't use a Front End, I use the command line, but I just downloaded and installed EmuLoader from http://emuloader.mameworld.info/ pointed it at my WolfMAME .148 directory and was immediately able to record and playback WolfMAME .inp files through a convenient GUI.  Took about 2 minutes to get it running.

I'm working on figuring out how to read the info stored in the .inp header. I'm Googling the everloving shit out of this and I can find nothing. I have to say, it drives me a little insane that there are features in WolfMAME that nobody, anywhere, has documented how to actually use, not even the people who developed those features.

I haven't looked at the WolfMAME source in a while, but I don't think there is very much info in the actual "header" other than MAME version and the romset the recording is for, and maybe the timestamp of the recording.  Most of the interesting bits of the .inp are past the header.  Specifically each frame has all the dip switches in use for that frame as well as any user input, and then info about the recorded speed for that frame.  All of this frame info is compressed in recent versions of MAME (which is why .inp files are so much smaller in recent versions of MAME).  However this also means you can't just use a hex editor to make sense of the .inp file contents like you could in older versions of MAME like .106. 

(EDIT: FFS WHY IS MARP *ALWAYS* SLOW NOW?)

Yeah, the slowness is really really annoying.  I'm not sure what is causing it on the server.

(EDIT: Oh, how totally awesome, my MARP forum account has to be approved by an admin before I can ask about this. Sweeeeet!)  >:( >:( >:( >:(

What username did you register on the forums with?  I can PM one of the admins and probably get your account activated quickly.  Alternately you can try the MARP irc channel #marp at irc.lazynet.org and ask mahlemiut to activate your account (he's almost always on; even if he is idle he'll eventually see your chat message).

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Offline SQUIIDUX

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 02:03:55 AM »
this is what a .wlf file looks like in ANSI:

Code: [Select]
WLF.................Service Pack 1...dkong....0.106 (May 16 2006)........................................................................E5....QQ.......OP.Y@default.................P...................................................D............?ff&?..?...................33.@............................e.......................... .........<x@@..@..... .<x..............................................{..............AW8G
shows rom name, mame version also the windows version (service pack 1, and no im not actually running this you hacking bastards, im sure it is what win7 tells it im using. as a side note, when i run wolfmame XP in my virtual machine it says service pack 3) im sure it also tells how long the playback is so it can be matched up. when i boot back into linux and my XP virtual machine, i will try to poke some values and see what happens
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Offline gstrain

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Re: A WolfMAME Issue
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 03:44:51 AM »
(EDIT: Oh, how totally awesome, my MARP forum account has to be approved by an admin before I can ask about this. Sweeeeet!)  >:( >:( >:( >:(

If you haven't heard from them within 48 hours, you might want to follow up with an email.  When I registered for a MARP forum account, I received the following automated response on 06/30/12:

Your account is currently inactive and will need to be approved by
an administrator before you can log in. Another email will be sent
when this has occurred.


You read that date correctly.  The above message was delivered to my inbox on June 30, 2012 (a mere 373 days ago).

I imagine that my account status is floating around in some cyber version of a dead letter file.  I could contact them, but I won't.  At this point, I've pretty much lumped the CAGDC and MARP forums together in the "I don't give a shit" category.
Mahlemiut was on the #marp irc channel last night, so I asked him to look for the activation note on both of your accounts on the MARP forums.  They should both be active now.