Jukebox Beta 1
February 17, 2006
You're at the home page for Jukebox, a front-end for MAME and Stella that I hope will fill a much-needed hole in the market for emulator front-ends. First, some quick links:
And now, some frequently asked questions...
Jukebox (final name to be chosen later) was designed up-front to have two attributes that I wasn't able to find in other MAME front-ends out there:
- It should be very approachable and easy-to-use by people not familiar with emulators. (The guideline I used is that it needed to be as easy-to-use as the games that are being emulated.)
- It should look good.
The Jukebox Interface. Click here to enlarge.
What are some of Jukebox's features?
- Attractive, retro-looking '60s jukebox interface.
- Invokes both MAME and Stella games through the same, unified interface.
- Multiplatform, capable of running on Windows, Mac OS X, and any Unix variant (including Linux).
- Fully navigable through keyboard controls, facilitating use in arcade cabinets.
- Has a "screensaver" function, cycling randomly through MAME ROM attract modes when not in use.
- Highly customizable display and ROM ordering options.
- Displays game screenshots, automatically filtered to give them an appropriate black-and-white, "retro" look.
As this is an early release of the product, the feature set isn't yet quite rich enough to handle every situation:
- Only 800x600 resolution is supported.
- Only horizontally-oriented monitors are currently supported, though this is a relatively easy fix if I hear enough demand.
What's an emulator? What's an emulator front-end?
Click on the following links to read about MAME and Stella, two popular game hardware emulators. An "emulator front-end" is used to provide a nice user interface to an emulator, which typically doesn't have any user interface of its own. There are many front-ends available, each tailored toward different needs. See above about how Jukebox is different.
What platforms does Jukebox support?
Jukebox can technically run on anything (it’s a Java application), but it’s really designed to work on Windows. (I wrote the front-end on a Mac, but MacMAME can’t be invoked from the command-line so it’s pretty much useless there, though AdvanceMAME may work as an alternative. Linux and other Unix distributions would probably work fine but I haven’t tried it.) I have an XP box driving my arcade cabinet, but I would think Windows 2000 would probably be okay as well…maybe even Win ’98/ME. I've run it successfully on a Pentium III 700MHz and Jukebox is plenty fast there (at least, when you don’t rotate the user interface.)
This is a beta release of Jukebox?
Yes. It will time out on June 1, 2006. By then I should have another release ready.
Is there any documentation for Jukebox?
Yes, download it here.
When will the next version of Jukebox be released?
Not exactly sure, but subscribe to the mailing list and you'll be notified.
When you release version 1.0, will Jukebox be free or for sale?
I'm not sure yet. It all depends on how people respond, how many people respond, and a host of other factors that I haven't thought of yet.
I found a bug.
Though I've gotten Jukebox to work pretty well on my machine, I'm sure there will be problems on other people's machines. Just let me know about it. I can't guarantee I'll fix your problem, but I'll do my best.
Are there any known problems in Jukebox?
Yes. For one, there's a memory leak, so that after a period of running (say, an hour or so), it may stop functioning. Just Ctrl-Alt-Delete to kill the process.
Before I tell you, just remember that 1) I can't guarantee that it will work on your system and 2) I can't guarantee that it will ever work. The amount of time I'll have for bug fixes may be very limited in the future, though if I get enough interest I'll do my best.
Now that you've been properly warned, click below to download the appropriate installer for your system. (Note: downloads are temporarily disabled; they will be back soon.)
What are some planned enhancements to Jukebox?
- Jukebox has a web server built-in, so I'd like it to be able to serve up stats about what games are played most often, etc. (The web server part works right now, but there's nothing for it to serve up.)
- A graphical UI for configuring Jukebox preferences.
- A graphical display for showing control layouts and the meaning of buttons (for instance, when you play Space Invaders, button "A" is "Fire," when you play Donkey Kong, it's "Jump.")
- Switchable game lists. I could see wanting to have multiple games lists: one for all your games, one for just your favorites, one for parties, one for co-op games, etc.
- New graphical effects when games are selected, etc.
- Display iTunes songs on the interface so music can be played in the background.
I have an idea for an enhancement to Jukebox.
Great, just write to me.
Where do I get MAME and Stella?
All content copyright 2006 Greg Maletic.