The first Raspberry Pi build is a MAME machine

The Raspberry Pi was launched nearly a month ago, but these wonderful cheap single-board computers are still on their way from China to the workbenches of hackers and builders around the globe. Although they haven’t shipped yet, plenty of people are chomping at the bit to do something useful with the Raspi. [Nicholas] figured he should hit the ground running, so he emulated a Raspberry Pi to get everything ready for the MAME machine he’ll build when his new toy arrives.

[Nick] found a Raspi VirtualBox image on the official Raspberry Pi forums. After getting a web browser up and running with a few console keystrokes, he turned his attention to a MAME emulator. It’s a relatively simple install (although it did take six hours to compile), but we’re sure the Raspi will be featured in quite a few MAME builds so it was time well spent.

Sure, the Raspberry Pi you ordered a month ago is probably on a container ship in the middle of the ocean right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your build. Just load up a VirtualBox image, check out a few of the tutorials, and you’re ready to go.

Comments

  1. rda says:

    VirtualBox is handy. Wish that all Linux distros made a habit of releasing official VB image alongside each updated iso (yeah, I know there are various unofficial releases around, with the regular drawbacks).

  2. xeracy says:

    This was my plan as well. great to know I can get to work on the OS before my pi ships in may.

    also, are comments moderated now? disregard this, there is nothing to see here.

  3. third says:

    This could make a wonderfully compact MAME machine, you could easily hide the Pi in the arcade joystick itself. Hell, use the GPIO to connect the buttons and you’ll have a custom arcade plug’n’play in no time.

    Also: It’s champing at the bit, champing!

  4. This is exactly what I was thinking a Raspberry PI would be good for. Although there are a few Propeller ports of arcade games, the Prop (not to even mention the arduino!) is too underpowered for this.

  5. Alex Rossie says:

    Lol why did he compile it on a rasbery pi, it has an excellent toolchain

  6. bio says:

    i don tknow if you could say the first … i was part of the dev group and nearly 200 of them went out months ago

    mine is a mythbox ^^;

  7. macegr says:

    They would probably ship from China via DHL. 5,000 small devices, depending on packing…probably 10 or so large boxes, about $2000 in shipping charges and they would arrive within 4 days. At least based on my shipping-stuff-from-China-PCB-assemblers experience. So, no, the delay is not due to shipping, it’s assembly problems.

  8. shigllgetcha says:

    what would be the best way to connect arcade buttons and joysticks to the Pi?

    Would the mini-pac work with linux/raspberry pi?

  9. megaclerk says:

    I don’t know how you could call it first as various dev groups have been building and porting stuff since last year and outside of those groups people on the forum like ukscone & LiamFraiser have been building, porting & releasing stuff for months

  10. tim says:

    The problem is that the ras-pi company is composed of only three people, two pals and the wife who takes care of the blog. With 0 experience in manufacturing.
    And recently they went all skiing!
    But now, Farnell took control, restart from beginning,and they will “soon” release this board.

  11. nxpguy says:

    The pro circuit designers will agree.
    This board with 2 chips, 2 ldos and a few passive components is quite simple to design and produce. This is only a redraw of the reference design of broadcom with a minimalist BOM.
    In addition, the connector layout is a disaster, the inefficient linear supply has no protection…

    How is it possible that this work has lasted over a year?

    • Eirinn says:

      Because you didnT go to market with something better in the meantime… i mean… they gave you a full year to do it – just waiting for you! ;)

    • ScottInNH says:

      +1 to Eirinn…
      Constructive criticism has it’s place, but let’s not forget that the Pi did what they did because no one else was.

      The Pi and Arduino are sad testimony to how _badly_ the embedded hardware market sucks: the “established” manufacturers have been pretending not to notice there is a market for users. It says something when folks in a garage (Pi, Arduino, etc) can basically school the mainstream players.

      I’m looking forward to this cheap open source ARM platform. A while back I focused on the closed-hardware platform for Nokia N800-900 – what a waste. Nokia’s ability to infuriate and betray open source developers is probably unmatched.

  12. Mr Foo says:

    Good lord, it’s hard to know where to start.

    The “Raspi” virtualbox image is an emulator of a more-or-less generic ARMv6 machine. It’s not an emulator of the Raspberry Pi. As such:

    – The fact that software compiled under that image works in that image is no guarantee that it will work on a real device, or even that the same software will compile or run on a given distribution on a real device.

    – Performance of software compiled to run under that image is an indication of how well VirtualBox manages to emulate a generic ARMv6 machine when running on a particular host, and no indicator of how well a given piece of software will run on the device itself.

    That aside…

    Compiling MAME (or any other piece of pre-packaged, already crossplatform software) for any platform is hardly front page news. It’s certainly no “hack”. And it’s very much not the first piece of software (or even gaming software) to be compiled for the Pi itself.

    Let’s also consider that “running MAME” is hardly the raison d’etre of the Pi itself It’s intended as an educational computer for teaching kids to /program/ rather than simply /use/ their computers. “Compiling MAME for Linux” is no more programming, or even computer science, than what’s currently taught in the UK’s woeful ICT classes, which consists largely of “using MS products”. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Windows, Mac, Linux or any other operating system, if all you’re teaching is “using the computer to do X”, you’re producing consumers, not producers.

    So, what *has* come out of the Pi project that might be considered worthwhile?

    Well, there’s a bunch of Python tutorials intended to accompany the Pi. That’s pretty good. There’s a bunch of people porting useful educational software like KidsRuby, Scratch and Squeak. Pretty handy too. And there’s a bloke (well, I’ll admit, it’s me) writing a from-scratch, LISP-based OS for the Pi, and blogging about it as I go. Educational, open source, *and* a hack.

    Compiling MAME? Meh.

    Simon

    • EmuMoogly says:

      Simon, what a humorless cunt you are. MAME is designed with portability in mind but sometimes needs tweaking to run on a new platform. What the fuck have YOU done for the Raspberry Pi, or emulation, or really anything, other than impotent bitching about how what other people do isn’t up to your lofty standards?

      • ScottInNH says:

        Let’s just agree that Simon was trolling, and you took the bait.

        Unfortunately Simon beat you, and you lost, because he prodded you into becoming the angry foul mouthed poster.

        At this point I’d ask the moderators to delete all 3 posts in this thread (including mine), before this turns into a repeat of the “bikes” thread.

      • Mr Foo says:

        Why thank you for that rather delicious little epithet. Let’s not assume I was trolling, though.

        As for what I’ve been doing, let’s have a look:

        https://gitorious.org/lambdapi – mirror of my local git repo containing my WIP bare metal Lisp based OS. It’s BSD based and also intended to provide a certain amount of BSD-based driver code for the peripherals on the Pi.
        http://stm8sdiscovery.blogspot.fr/ – My blog, which, although a bit mouthy and perhaps even humourless, contains a certain amount of technical information on the decisions I’ve taken in the implementation of the above.

        So, Mr EmuMoogly, what’s /your/ claim to fame other than having a foul mouth?

        Simon

      • Alex Rossie says:

        Hahaha!

  13. EmuMoogly says:

    As a MAME developer, I have to ask, what exactly do you think “MAME” stands for that would cause you to write “MAME emulator”? Did the guy in question obtain the money for a Raspberry Pi by entering his “PIN number” into the “ATM machine”?

  14. MooCow says:

    EmuMoogly: What’s this?

    Random guy who doesn’t know shit about acronyms: It’s a Raspberry Pi Rpi MAME multiple arcade machine emulator arcade machine cabinet cabinet!

  15. tuxit says:

    If anyone comes across this article looking to run MAME on their Pi, note that this is about a build of xmame, which is no longer maintained.

    For a recent MAME, you would be better off with a build of sdlmame.

  16. Leon says:

    I am with Simon, what exactly was this “first” thing, and why does he need raspberry hardware if he has a higher power cpu to use anyway ?

    My take on “learning programming” is that the cheap computer would also need a bunch of inputs and outputs, like dip switches, A/D, D/A , relays ..

    Or a package that had something sensible like video cam or sonar or even just bluetooth ?

    Python, Mame. etc can be run inside web browsers or on windows, linux, os X .. where does
    the raspberry add to the ease of learning programming ?

  17. Stevesak says:

    Well, education can be more than just programming. Take a regular windows user, running Mame32, and give them a Raspberry Pi. I would consider it educational to try and get it working on Linux. There is quite a bit that can be learned by a noob

    Aside, it would also be fun to see if it will fit into an X-arcade joystick. One could hang an HDMI cable and USB for power out the back and have a self contained unit. Fun, and educational!

    XBMC on another device would be another fun project.

    I’m just saying that these “fun” projects can still be educational… Perhaps on an OS level instead of a programming level.

  18. problemchild68 says:

    Been busy gumdrops done a case for the Pi:

    And a poll for different colours ;)

    http://shropshirelug.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/colour-your-pi/

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