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XCade is an arcade emulator for Palm OS.

  1. Does XCade come with "Game ROMS" (game programs) or just the game hardware?
  2. Buying ROMs for use with XCade?
  3. Making XCade ROMsets from MAME ROMsets?
  4. Whats this new legal ROM deal? The DMCA being useful?
  5. Does XCade support the Tapwave Zodiac?
  6. Does XCade support the Tungsten T 5-way control? The Sony game controller?
  7. Is XCade a high res full colour application?
  8. What games does XCade support?
  9. Does XCade support audio?
  10. Will you support Configuring the controls? Dipswitch changes? Sound and audio?
  11. Does XCade support expansion media?
  12. Why doesn't XCade include any games with the distribution?
  13. What is a "ROM"? Is it a game?
  14. Are any ROM games included with XCade?
  15. Is there a graphical non-commandline Rommer tool?
  16. How do I run "rommer"? It flashes and goes away!
  17. Is XCade descended from MAME? Whats the history?
  18. Is emulation legal?
  19. Using "MAME ROMs"?
  20. Is distributing ROMs legal? Can I copy my friends game ROMs?
  21. How do I obtain arcade game ROMs legally?

Does XCade come with "Game ROMS" (game programs) or just the game hardware?

XCade itself does not include any "game ROMs" (as the various store websites indicate); XCade is an enabling technology, to emulate the arcade machines the original game ROMs (programs) run on, but you still need to find the ROMs yourself. This is a little ugly we admit, but the companies charge *enormous* rates for us to distribute the ROMs with the application.. so rather than charge seveal hundred dollars for XCade (really!), we charge a small amount and let the enthusiast locate the ROMs himself. You can buy some ROMs at http://www.starroms.com and other sites, or copy them from other emulators, or find some as freeware on the Internet etc. We are however not permitted to help you find them due to our lack of licensing.

Buying ROMs for use with XCade?

As of October 2003, a new company has popped up to try and sell you arcade game ROMS. Once you buy the arcade ROM (or arcade game pcboard, etc etc) you can now use it with any emulator you like, XCade included. This is a fan run store, so please support them if you don't have your own ROM licenses already (ie: If you don't have an EPROM reader, etc). As of October 2003 they only have Atari ROMs (like Asteroids, etc), but are hoping to grow to have more manufacturers. Check their website for prices, but current ROMs cost onyl $2-$6USD each. See their website here

Making XCade ROMsets from MAME ROMsets?

Quoting from a post to a message board: "After a little mucking about, I finally came up with a dat file for the excellent utility ClrMamePro that will ferret out the correct roms for Xcade from your Mame set. It takes a little while to run since it goes through your complete Mame archive matching up roms by crc, but you'll end up with 18 zip files that have the correctly named roms for Xcade. All I did then was unzip them all into one folder and ran rommer for each game one by one, letting it create the .pdb file for each game." Thanks to Igboo for the .dat file and the great idea :)
Get the DAT file here
You'll also want to know ClrMAME's homepage

Whats this new legal ROM deal? The DMCA being useful?

Read this; what are the implications? OKay, so a lot of games are available in "best of" packs, but certainly most games from the good old days are not. So does this make them legal to be distributed? Sounds like it! But read this article and make up your own mind.. perhaps with some clarification we can get some good ROM websites up to make ROMs easier to get? See website here

Does XCade support the Tapwave Zodiac?

We certainly do! We have a Tapwave Zodiac specific version of XCade included in recent downloads, though its important to note that even older XCade's work fine on the Zodiac in portrait mode though with a couple of oddities. So grab the latest download (at least 1.5.2) to find the Zodiac specific version.

Does XCade support the Tungsten T 5-way control? The Sony Game Controller?

Oh yes. XCade natively understands the Tungsten's Directional Pad-style controller which makes the games play very well. It's been reported by those with the Sony game control that it works very well with XCade as well.

Is XCade a high res full colour application?

Definitely. In fact XCade requires high res and colour :) It runs the games at their true arcade resolution. Since these games were originally designed for 20" arcade monitors and are now running full resolution on a handheld display, they look sharp!

What games does XCade support?

Every arcade machine is different, so each game has to be added separately into the emulation. As such we support only a specific set of games (or "rom swaps" of those games). Check the screenshots page to see a picture of each main supported game. For instance, theres a screenshot of Asteroids, so Asteroids is supported. Theres no "Street Fighter" listed, so Street Fighter is not supported :) Watch for new games on occasion.

Does XCade support audio?

For some games only. XCade 1.5 includes support for audio in the Pacman-family of games which include Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Puckman, Hanglyman, and Pengo. Later versions of XCade may support sound for other games.

Will you support Configuring the controls? Dipswitch changes? Sound and audio?

There are lots of plans for XCade; updates are progressing though not as fast as we'd have liked. Be sure to always check for the latest releases and if you're living on the edge, watch the xcade-test and xcade-discuss forums!

Does XCade support expansion media?

XCade 1.4 and later support expansion media fully. This means that you can move your game ROMs (using XCade's built in move function) onto your SD card or Memory Stick media. You can also move the main XCade application to memory stick if your launcher supports it, and if you're sneaky with Filez or other 3rd party file managers, you can even move XCade's skin to expansion media and XCade will detect it and figure out what to do. This means you can use XCade with a zero RAM footprint!

Why doesn't XCade include any games with the distribution?

XCade is an emulator of classic arcade machine hardware, which means it only runs games written for old hardware. We do not have licenses to those games, so we cannot sell those games. We are investigating our options along these lines, and also investigating the options of developing new games for old hardware, or perhaps new games altogether. If we obtain licenses to classic era games, we'll be sure to post news on the website.

What is a "ROM"? Is it a game?

When people say "ROM" they usually mean "game code and artwork". Technically speaking, an arcade or home console game is made up of a large amount of program code and artwork, and this data is split up across one or more ROM (read only memory) chips. If you start up XCade without having given it any game ROMs (from the "rommer" tool) it will complain that it sees "No ROMS!", and you won't be able to play any games since XCade sees no game code to run. Codejedi does not include any games (or ROMs) with its XCade product, as we do not (yet?) have licenses for them. We only distribute an application that can make use of ROMs you already own.

Are any ROM games included with XCade?

XCade enables you to play various arcade game ROMs, however you must obtain these ROMs on your own (see below for some examples). We are not licensed to distribute or sell these game ROMs though we are trying to get these licenses. If you like, contact Sega, Activision, Capcom, etc, and tell them you would like to buy individual game ROMs or licenses, and that they should start selling them.

Is there a graphical non-commandline Rommer tool?

Yes! As of XCade 1.4 we include "WinRommer" which is a simple Windows application that does everything the commandline Rommers do. An OSX version of WinRommer will come along shortly! With WinRommer you simply run the tool, pick a game from the listing, type in or select a directory containing the files making up the ROM-set and hit Convert! A new .pdb will pop out in the same directory you run WinRommer (the "current directory" actually) and you simply send that up to the handheld. A screenshot of WinRommer is here.

How do I run "rommer"? It flashes and goes away!

The initial versions of XCade include "rommer" as a command-line tool, which is to say in Windows you hit Start, hit Run, and then type "command". For Mac OSX, find and run "Terminal". Once you have a command line up, you can run "rommer" from that. We will have a GUI tool for both operating systems soon! (or maybe already have one and forgot to update the question? Check! :)

If you're using Windows, be sure to try WinRommer in XCade 1.4. For OSX, a graphical tool will be available soon!

A basic walkthrough of using the command-line Rommer tool follows.

It is assumed you have already obtained your ROMs and placed them somewhere you can get at them. Remember, Windows command-lines are funny, so if you're not too sure, or are having problems, put the ROMs into a simple path like "C:\ROMS" and not "C:\Program Files\ROMS" - Windows has a hard time with Spaces and long directory names. For Mac OSX just drop the ROMs in your home directory ... see below.

Our example below assumes you have downloaded the XCade distribution, and extracted the XCade contents from the .zip file into "C:\DOWNLOADS\XCADE" (for Windows) or into a directory called "XCade" in your home directory (for Mac OSX). It assumes you have the bare ROM files for a game in "C:\ROMS" (for Windows) or the "ROMS" subdirectory in your home directory (for Mac OSX). For example, you might have 4 or 5 files making up "Space Invaders" in "C:\ROMS", all with funny names. Where you put things is your business, of course, but these paths are used in the example here.

For all examples...

  1. Open a shell or terminal. In Windows, click on "Start", then hit "Run", and enter "Command". For Mac OSX, find and run "Terminal".
  2. Change directory to where XCade is. For Windows, this means for this example, enter "cd C:\DOWNLOADS\XCADE" and hit enter. For Mac OSX, you'd "cd ~/XCade".
  3. We are assuming you wish to convert Space Invaders.

So.. lets do something!

  1. What games can Rommer convert and use with XCade? What ROMs does it need?

    To find out, just run "Rommer" itself, with no arguments, and it will tell you what games it can run. For Windows, since you're already in the right place (see above), just enter "rommer" and hit return. For Mac OSX, it is wisest to use "./rommer" and hit return (also assuming you've already changed into the right directory). Rommer will list the game-names (short form) as well as the ROM files that make up the rom-set needed to support it.

  2. How do I convert a ROM-set into a Palm file for XCade?

    A single game is usually made up of multiple ROM files.. the whole related group is called a ROM-set. Rommer can take a ROM-set and make a single Palm PDB file out of it, for XCade to use. Here is how: If all the ROM-set files are in "C:\ROMS", then you simply pick a game-name (the short form) and run Rommer as follows:

    rommer spacinv C:\ROMS
    or
    ./rommer spacinv ~/ROMS
    (for Mac OSX)

    Thats it! Just upload the newly created PDB file to your handheld (try double clicking on it for instance) and you're on your way.

Is XCade descended from MAME? Whats the history?

XCade has nothing to do with, and in fact pre-dates, MAME.

I offer this FAQ entry as a quick little history and overview of a fun and competitive scene back in the mid to late 1990's. It should serve to shush those who keep thinking every emu author is ripping off MAME :)

The short: XCade came before MAME. Try google, and you'll see a lot of "Jeff Mitchell" references to emulation :) The medium: XCade is entirely code written by Codejedi, from around 1995 through 1998 or so. Parts of XCade were even donated to MAME and we're responsible for a dozen or two dozen game drivers *in* MAME, and at least one CPU core. The long: Lots of people tend to think MAME was the first emulation, since it was probably the first one they saw. However, the reality is actually the reverse of this... there were dozens of arcade emulations before MAME, and it was a great time in online history. People were poking around in the dark and we were all swapping ideas and code like mad to figure out this sort of magic. XCade was one of the first (but certainly not the first.. there was Dave Spicers Sparcade and Neil Bradley's Atari vector emulator to name a few). Most emu's at the time were dedicated to one game or to a family of games (like the Kongulator, an old favourite of mine :). We started noticing patterns in the system.. common code to load ROMs and set up memory, and common ways to use the CPUs etc. So XCade was moving towards merging a few games together into one engine, but it wasn't really elegant at it and when Retrocade came along I joined that crew.. it was very advanced and efficient. Nicola Salmoria had created a remarkable amount of independant emus and started working on MAME, and did a very good job at creating a general system capable of supporting many games. By that time I'd donated a bunch of code to some capable MAME guys and joined Retrocade to work on it instead. At its height, XCade was about 25 games before MAME was onto its feet, and for a couple of months there was some friendly competition as XCade tried to stay ahead in the game count with MAME. As you can see, XCade quickly lost that challenge as MAME was superior and hundreds of people had joined its ranks. Anyway, I had moved over to Retrocade as it was the most technically superior of the time, focused towards efficiency on even lower end machines. As we developed code for Retrocade, we'd hand chunks of it over to the MAME guys, which resulted in lots of drivers for MAME. So MAME is really the offspring of dozens of emulators and the hard work of brilliant people like Nicola and Aaron Giles and hundreds of other anonymous contributors. But certainly it was not first and not the last, and certainly its not all MAME original code. For the curious, you can check for my name in the code and you'll find it :) You'll find my influence a little more often though.. I tended to hand off code to others more, while I focused on XCade and Retrocade. XCade continued to develop privately, as there wasn't much need to release it, but it proved an excellent development and testing platform for Retrocade experiments :) XCade's original source code is still available, although it shows its age.. but it remains simpler to look at than MAME's and serves as a good tutorial on simple emulation :) XCade is old, but it has lots of good code at its height.. proven by the fact it was portable to Palm OS (though with major rewrites and modifications.) Still reading? The longest answer is.. I've supported the scene awhile. Started with writing emulators, then with running a website to display the history of arcade emulation and archive the sources of the oldest emulators (that site is now gone, but I still have the content and you can still see the logos for that site if you look hard ;). I have donated code to numerous projects including MAME, Retrocade, XNES, Handy and a half dozen others I can't even recall. Whew!

It would be cool someday to get together with all the original emu authors (arcade, console, all of them) and drudge up old emails and ideas and make a "scene diary". They were good times. They *are* missed :)

Is emulation legal?

Yes, of course it is! An emulator is a piece of software that simply pretends to be a piece of hardware, like an arcade machine. An emulator is developed through published documentation about that hardware. It is much like creating a screwdriver .. published standards exist and the designers just have to make their new screwdriver fit the same holes an old scewdriver fit. An emulator is designed to fit the same specification an old piece of hardware used to fit.. its just we do it in software instead of with large bulky 20 year old technology :)

Using "MAME ROMs"?

ROMs are ROMs -- they're just dumps of the binary from the chips on a gameboard/cartridge/etc. As such, XCade ROMs are the same as MAME ROMs. The trick is that the filenames for ROM files inside of ROMsets can differ from emulator to emulator.. the MAME guys rename them once in awhile, for instance, while XCade is following the conventions used long ago, so sometimes you'll need to make sure the files are named correctly in feeding them to Rommer. If you've got a romset you're using for MAME on your desktop, just run it through rommer; if rommer complains, look at the filenames.. renaming is usually fairly obvious.

Is distributing ROMs legal? Can I copy my friends game ROMs?

No. Its just like buying a music CD -- if you buy it, you can listen to it, and you can perhaps loan it to a friend to listen to. You cannot copy it and let your friend listen to that copy, since you are then distributing a stolen copy of the music.. but you are allowed to copy it for yourself as a backup. If you own a license to a game ROM, you can play it, and you can let your friends come over and play it. But you cannot copy it to your friend to play, since they are then using a stolen copy of it. So do not distribute your ROMs.

How do I obtain arcade game ROMs legally?

As of October 2003, a new option has arisen! See the first FAQ question; in short, a company (StarROMS) is now selling individual arcade game ROMs!

This is a tough question, but one we wish to address as we sincerely wish to promote the arcade industry and the companies who've built it. Firstly, we are not lawyers but we draw on the existance of other emulators and their discussions. Emulators haven't been suppressed by large companies because they are entirely legal and legit.. but ROMs are intellectual properties owned by companies who make a living selling them. Please respect that.

We will break this up into a couple of other questions, depending on your situation. Please read on and remember we are not lawyers.

Owning the arcade game or motherboard:

The best way to obtain the ROMs is to buy the arcade machine or at least the motherboard that is the heart of the arcade machine. Most classic games can be obtained from ebay for $15 or $20 USD. (Yes, you too can own an original Pacman gameboard or machine, though such true collectibles are generally worth more than $20US). Over the years we at Codejedi have amassed a personal collection of hundreds of arcade gameboards quite cheaply. Once you own the motherboard, you can read the ROMs from it using an EPROM reader. Its your gameboard and so under Fair Use you're allowed to change the format of that ROM as far as we are aware of and to use it within emulators. Never send your ROM file to someone else.

For your information, arcade (and jukebox and pinball!) collecting is an extremely fun and addicting hobby. If you get the opportunity to drop by a local coin-operated auction, do it.. you'll love yourself for it, even if you just play a few old games instead of walking away with a half dozen of them :) (and your significant other will hate you for it!)

We realize this is lots of work, a little pricey, and intimidating, but it is the only true and known way to really own the arcade rights (short of buying them from the company, which is out of the question normally).

Owning another commercial emulator (like a gamepack for Dreamcast or Playstation or PC, say) and downloading ROMs:

We are fairly certain that if you own a ROM in some other product you are welcome to use it in another product, provided you do not have to decrypt it. We have no idea if you are allowed to download the ROM from someone else even if you own it, and we do not know who is breaking the law if indeed they are. And it may vary by country of course.

It is assumed by the online community that due to the Fair Use laws allowing you to change the format of something unencrypted, you may buy a ROM from some commercial licensed distributor and use it in another application. Once you've bought the ROM, it is assumed you can do with it as you please, as long as you do not distribute it yourself. For example, it is assumed you can buy the Atari Collections for Playstation, which run emulation of old Atari arcade games. Once you own that, is is assumed you can then get the ROMs for these games and use them in an arcade emulator entirely legally. We at Codejedi cannot say if this is true or not and as such advise against it, but thousands do it anyway. I would suggest you investigate the legality of this approach.

One often quoted piece of American law states:

Federal US law allows a user to make as many archival copies as necessary, including relocation to a different medium of storage. Title 17 USC Section 117 backs up this claim:

117. Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs

* Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

1. That such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, or,

2. That such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful. Any exact copes prepared in accordance with the provisions of this section may be leased, sold, or otherwise transferred, along with the copy from which such copies were prepared, only as part of the lease, sale, or other transfer of all rights in the program. Adaptations so prepared may be transferred only with authorizarion of the copyright owner.

So we can assume that if you own the ROM be it within an arcade machine, or arcade machine motherboard, or even a licensed emulator from the trademarking company, you're welcome to use it. It is the distribution of the ROMs which is illegal. Please do not distribute your ROMs!

Send email to Jeff Mitchell at support@codejedi.com