You know what day it is? It's MAME 0.226 day! A lot has happened in this development cycle, and plenty of it is worth getting excited about! First of all, there's a change that affects all systems with keyboard inputs, including most computers. MAME now allows you to activate and deactivate keyboard and keypad inputs per emulated device in the Keyboard Mode menu. When a system has multiple keyboards (for example a computer with a terminal connected to a serial port), you can choose which keyboard you want to type on rather than effectively typing on all the keyboards at once. If a system has multiple devices with keyboard inputs, MAME will start with only one enabled by default. Sadly, MAME doesn't have mind-reading capabilities yet, so it may not always choose the keyboard you want to type on. If you find you can't type on an emulated computer, check that the right keyboard is enabled in the Keyboard Mode menu.
Another batch of layout/artwork system updates are ready this month. More image formats are supported, several long-standing alignment and clipping bugs have been fixed, more parameter animation features are available, and external artwork loads faster. Lots of systems using built-in layouts look prettier, but Cosmo Gang probably shows the biggest improvement in this release (yes, the electromechanical redemption game). Try it out in MAME 0.226, and maybe do a before/after comparison to see how far we've come.
Apple II systems have seen some significant development this month. Firstly, a number of issues with demos using raster split effects have been fixed. The Apple II has no hardware support for raster effects, so these demos rely on open bus read behaviour to work out what the video hardware is doing. Getting this to work requires precise emulation of memory access timings. Secondly, two parallel printer cards are now working: Orange Micro's popular Grappler+ and Apple's Parallel Interface Card. The Grappler+ is well-supported by Apple II software and provides a better out-of-the-box experience if you want to try one of them.
Sega's Tranquillizer Gun was a somewhat ambitious title for 1980, but was largely overlooked at the time. It's finally fully emulated in MAME, with audio emulation and protection simulation being added in this release. We've also added support for Must Shoot TV, an unreleased prototype developed at Incredible Technologies. Step into the shoes of disgruntled ITS Cable employee Chuck and go on a rampage!
Far more has been added this month than we can cover in detail here, like another batch of TV games (including several Vs Maxx titles), support for Mattel Aquarius CAQ format cassette images, and working Sega Mega Play games. You can read all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.