2: How-to, along with example files
MameWah 1.61 and prior
Section 1: Overview
7/13/2007- I have added
instructions for installing version 1.62.
8/6/05- I have added Section 2 to this page but have
left the first section as it was originally written.]
Okay, this side project began as a mission to find a more user friendly
front end than MAME32 for my cabinet. MAME32 served me well for the
past two years but seeing what others were doing with their cabs made me
want to investigate other alternatives. I initially intended on investigating Mamewah as
well as Ultrastyle
but that didn't end up happening.
The main reason is that I got caught up in everything Mamewah had to offer
and, consequently, did not have the time to give the other two FEs the
attention they deserved.
According to the Mamewah site
"MAMEWAH is an ArcadeOS
inspired frontend for DOS / Windows command line M.A.M.E. (NOT MAME32) and
other command line emulators under Windows 98/ME/2000/XP. MAMEWAH is designed
to hide the Windows environment and also to be controlled purely by arcade
controllers (joysticks and buttons)." It is a British production by
Mamewah was easy to install. I downloaded it and the required system
files from Mamewah's site
. Less than ten minutes later
running on my cabinet with the default settings. Mamewah comes with several default
'skins'. I chose the 800x600 version and did some fiddling with it
with the excellent screen designer.
However, I wasn't able to get the "oomph" I was looking for. Luckily
there is the
has a great many excellent, downloadable skins to try out. I chose a
nice Dragon's Lair skin from their selections. This archive also
includes a wealth of other related resources such as sample configuration
files for various emulators, a great tutorial (which I did not read first),
and other helpful information. A fantastic site!
Dragon's Lair skin (from the
Working with the skin
I downloaded and installed the skin
when I ran it, I could not get the background image to show up no matter
what was tried. After an hour of scratching my head, I searched
software forum and found the answer quickly. The skin was
created for an older release of Mamewah, before the naming standard was
changed. Background images now needed
to be named "mame-main.jpg
". Once this was done, everything worked
I added another image to the screen for the control panel photo (if available). (Note- In case you don't have the control panel art
in the cpanels
folder, they can be found
Another default setting I changed was the graphic that is displayed if there
is no cabinet or control panel art for the game to be displayed. I
simply renamed the default image to something
different to keep anything from being displayed. This just looked
cleaner to me.
Both these actions were simple and intuitive.
More or less everything is
documented in short text files included in the installation directories. The answers were not always
clear to me without several re-readings but I cannot
necessarily fault the docs as I am not always the most careful reader.
As noted in the background above, Mamewah requires only the joystick and the two
player start buttons to run (and, of course, the escape sequence to exit).
Joy up or down goes to the next or previous game in the list, respectively. Left
joy sends you up 25 games, right down 25 games in the list. Player
start 2 takes you to the menu system and player start 1 is always the
selection button. Very, very simple! In fact, the skin I chose
listed the controls at the bottom of the screen. Navigation could not
be any easier or more user friendly. However, we will see how novice
users will react when they see the new interface for the first time.
The time I have spent with Mamewah
thus far has been great. In the coming weeks, as I get time, I plan to
further personalize it for my cabinet. It is a great product which I
give two big thumbs up!
Section 2: How to install Mamewah version
1.61 or before
Note that this is for 1.61 or before. My instructions for 1.62 or
Download the system files zip and the Mamewah installation down from
2) Follow the directions and install the system files; and
3) Do the same
with the Mamewah download.
Now we will examine the folders Mamewah has installed and
begin changing them.
My directory structure
can see how my Mamewah folder structure is set up to the left. (You
can ignore the two extra folders that are there to hold any original files
prior to my changing them.
) If you are following along, make sure that
your folders are set up the same. More than likely, they are already
that way by default.
We will begin with the C:\Mamewah\ini folder. Within
the folder you will place mame.ini
, and mame-1.ini
Also add in pcgames.ini
if you wish to ever play
any PC games via Mamewah (you will!
). The Atari2600 .inis you see
listed can be found on the Atari 2600 page
in case you wish to set that up now, as well.
Next move to your layouts folder (C:\mamewah\layouts\Custom).
Create it, if it doesn't exist. Move
into this folder, at a minimum.
files are slight variations of the mame
layout. Again, feel free to visit the
Atari 2600 page
for its items. You should now have a folder that
looks similar to the one to the left.
As a reference, my MAME installation folder layout is
included to the right. (Click it for a larger image
want to ensure you have a copy of the Windows Command-line Mame
executable in this
directory (C:\MAME\). This can be downloaded from
(top of the list). Mamewah requires the DOS
version of MAME in order to work. You can now copy my
file to C:\MAME\. Once you
download this file, you must change the file name to mame.ini as it is
not named that way at present.
That is all you need to set
up for the Mame folder. (Update- You might not need Mame.ini in order
for your setup to work. It has specific settings that I use that you
might benefit from.)
You should now be ready to test your installation. If
you followed this setup, everything should work correctly now. You
will be taken to your Mame game screen first. It will more than likely
be empty. Just go into the Mamewah menu (Player 2 start button), click on
Games List Options
, then Generate List
. This will create
your list and you should now see all the games listed.
Getting the PC games to show
For the PC games to show, you will need to
create two new folders, C:\pcgames\shortcuts
In the /shortcuts
folder, add a shortcut to each PC game you wish to
see in your list. If you want a screenshot to show in Mamewah, you
will want to capture a screenshot and save it in \snaps with the same
prefix as the shortcut, and .jpg or .bmp or .png as the suffix. For
example, if you have a shortcut for Doom in the shortcuts, you will want to
name the corresponding image as Doom.jpg in the \snaps
This allows Mamewah to associate the two files properly.
Everything should now to set up and ready
to go. You can read the Mamewah docs for the description of what
button does what, but the basics are:
Player 1 Start- Starts the game that is highlighted.
Player 2 Start- Enters Mamewah's menu system.
Coin- Cycles through the current emulator's various subsets (All
Games, Favorites, and Most Played)
Player 2 Coin- Cycles
through your available emulator list (Mame, Atari 2600, PC Games)
I hope this set up has helped you. Mamewah is really
quite easy to set up but you can be tricked up with some of the small
details. If you use the files I've included, these problems should not
arise. Mamewah is a fantastic frontend for my cabinet, I hope you find
it the same for yours.
ScreenshotArchive - Help pages, MAMEWAH Layouts, and screenshots.
MAMEWAH Setup - Great MAMEWAH configuring tool
I have added the Atari 2600 games to my cabinet. To see how
it was done, click the below link.