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ArcadeOS is really easy to setup and only involves copying the program folder over to the C drive. You can run it right away and set up a few things in the menu before going into the config file (arcadeos.cfg) to fine tune things.

At this point I decided to test ArcadeOS to see if it would successfully launch the same game that M.A.M.E. had. Obviously, if it doesn't then the fault is clearly with ArcadeOS rather than with M.A.M.E. To be honest though, this part of the whole setup was easy, and ArcadeOS just worked right from the word go. I never had any problem getting it to run other than when I tried to launch the executable from C:\ rather than C:\ArcadeOS, it came up with a license file error even when I added the C:\ArcadeOS directory to the paths line in my config.sys file. What this does is specifies at boot up that if you run a command that can't be found in your current directory it will search those directories in the paths line for it and run it from there for you, so ArcadeOS would only run from within the ArcadeOS folder. To make it do that at boot you just need to add the following two lines to the end of autoexec.bat

cd arcadeos

then every time you boot the machine ArcadeOS will start up and you don't see the command prompt.

Without doubt the next part is the toughest and definitely the most frustrating and that is getting the sound to work. If you think Windows 98 was awkward to get drivers working, then try DOS.

This is why I said it was important that you have a Creative Sound Blaster card as there is great DOS support out there for it. Be careful though because there are many different types of Sound Blaster, and even those that look the same may have a different chip set and require a different driver. Although no longer supported by the company, there are lots of forums and sites with tips on getting them to work if you hit trouble.

One such site I found invaluable was this one and there are excellent tips there. such as this;

If you plan to run M.A.M.E. in pure dos you will most likely have to run the DOS initialisation application which comes with your sound card drivers. This allows DOS to hook into the sound cards interrupt.
Some PCI sound cards, like the Pine CS4281 card do not have a DOS installation program. Instead, the drivers are installed via Windows. The DOS drivers are then installed and can be copied to your DOS configuration.

Whatever your sound card and configuration, you will need the following line (or something very similar) in AUTOEXEC.BAT


This sets the sound blaster environment where
  • A220 is the I/O Port address
  • I5 is the IRQ or Interrupt number
  • D1 is the DMA IRQ number
  • T2 is the Soundblaster type (or emulation mode)
The card I used is an Ensoniq AudioPCI and even on a different system it would require different settings so they really are individual to you, and I had a lot of trouble getting this to work.

Basically what I had to do was to disable all the hardware that I wasn’t using in the BIOS. This included things built onto the motherboard such as the serial port, the parallel port, the USB ports, the modem and the on board sound card. To get the best functionality out of these settings I flashed the BIOS with the latest version which will sometimes allow you to manually specify what IRQ a piece of hardware will use.

The reason I did that is to minimise the number of hardware conflicts and problems that my sound card settings would cause, and then any issues I was having should be easier to solve. For me this involved what seemed like a never ending cycle of booting, getting an error, typing

edit autoexec.bat

making changes and rebooting. I know the pain of an annoying BIOS beep. It hurts.

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