WHAT IS MAME ARTWORK ?
Starting with the release of MAME 0.107 in July 2006, Aaron Giles added support in MAME for hi‑resolution artwork for bezels, backdrops, overlays, marquees, control panels, instruction cards, etc., which includes an XML–based file format for the layout — (.lay)
Save these files to your \MAME\artwork directory. To use them in MAME, make sure you enable artwork either in your mame.ini or your frontend of choice. (NOTE: MAME defaults to enable all artwork.)
When a game in MAME has external artwork, it can add missing layers to the game that are not possible with simply the MAME code and the game ROM. To see an example, click here.
IS THIS THE OFFICIAL MAME ARTWORK SITE ?
Technically? No. The only site considered an official MAME website is MAMEDev.org.
There are many MAME‑related websites that offer additional support outside of the official site, that sometimes end up becoming the de facto website for that specialty. In the case of In‑Game Artwork for MAME, this site has seemed to reach that status.
WHAT IS THE GOAL HERE ?
Today we have external artwork support for over 1100 arcade games, handhelds, computers, calculators, and other items that MAME emulates. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider that MAME emulates over 11,000 things, we are barely 10% of the way there.
The main goal is to restore actual artwork for arcade games, and reproduce the actual system cases and artwork for other MAME‑supported items. High‑quality and accuracy to the original are the two key components for artwork that is meant to represent the original game or system. To see an example of accuracy vs inaccuracy, click here. The one on the left is the version that used to be offered by ClassicArcadeGrafix. The one on the right accurately respresents the original game.
Note that accuracy and quality are subjective. This project started back in 2006; I did not have as much knowledge or experience doing all this back then, so there may be games from the beginning that we end up going back and correcting, because of discrepancies that we did not notice the first time around. I have no problem admitting something was not done right the first time, and encourage people to let us know when we have made an error.
HOW ACCURATE IS THE ARTWORK HERE ?
First, I will say that I do not believe anything here is 100% accurate. Color fading due to age is a big factor with most artwork. We try to get colors as close as we possibly can, based on additional sources and documentation when we can. Also, anything scanned here by me was done on a flatbed scanner, then stitched together in Photoshop, so there again could be small discrepancies where we need to manipulate artwork to lineup all of the pieces correctly.
It is not an exact process, but if I had to put a number to it, I think I can safely say all of the artwork here is at least 95% accurate to the original.
HOW TO HELP
The best way for the MAME Artwork Project to continue to grow is outside help. How can YOU help? Here are a few ways:
- Donate TIME. If you are fairly good at cleaning up pictures in Photoshop, GIMP, or PaintShopPro, or know how to vector using Illustrator, CorelDraw, etc., and you have some spare time you would like to spend on helping this project, contact me. You can see the some of the current backlog here.
- If you have artwork available, you can:
- Scan it yourself and send me the files
- Send the artwork directly to me via UPS / FedEx, etc. Also let me know if you would like it sent back or not.
- If you live in the Southern California area, I can bring my equipment to your location and scan the artwork there. I also have no problem spending the night to visit you in Northern California, Nevada, or Arizona.
- If you notice something is incorrect in an artwork file, please let me know. I would rather fix it as soon as possible, than let it go on incorrect for years.
- How to contact me?
WHAT DO YOU DO, MR DO ?
There would be no Artwork Project without the Artwork Team and multiple outside contributions we have received over the years. They will forever have my heartfelt thanks. With that said, below is my role in this project:
- Coordinating all the artwork that comes in and is later released, including quality control.
- Maintaining this website.
- Creating the LAY files for most of the files on this site.
- Artwork on loan from Vintage Arcade Superstore is dug out of storage or disassembled from cabinets by me when I visit their warehouse, then transported home. Scans, stitching, and initial color correction are done by me in Photoshop.
- I initiated the effort to acquire occasional artwork from ClassicArcadeGrafix.
- Reach out to MAMEDev when a game requires a driver update to add Lamp/LED support that is currently missing.
- I have used my own money more than a few times to purchase artwork.
- In the beginning, I just coralled all of the finished products and posted everything here. Over time, I got pretty good at Photoshop and have cleaned up my fair share of artwork, along with the rest of the Artwork Team.
There are other little things here and there, too, but that is the bulk of it. I do this for the passion I have for video games and their artwork, and for the enjoyment that I hope other end‑users get out of it.
Before I got involved in working on MAME In‑Game Artwork, I cut my teeth on Photoshop by simply cropping pics for frontends.
- Back in Fall 2003, I made my first contribution to the Control Panel pics project when Smitdogg was running that project. These were mainly pics I took myself at various arcades, and then cropped later in Photoshop. I ended up taking over the next year, and continued it for a couple more years.
- Back in 1999/2000, TheGuru ran a little site called The Arcade Art Museum. I saved a local copy (minus the dead links) here if you would like to check it out. Many of the pics originally there ended up in the cabinet packs hosted over at MAMEUI. After starting with Control Panel pics, I got interested in trying to get the then current Cabinet pic packs up to date. At the time, the pics in the packs at MAMEUI were lower‑res, and I wanted to improve on that. Again, I went out and took a bunch of pics myself, and scoured the internet for high quality pics. I also contacted Guru, and he sent me more pics he had been holding on to back from the Arcade Art Museum days. Later, Marshall had let me know he also had more stuff to contribute.
- Eldio was the original guy that took care of Marquee pics. He also had not updated things for some time, but with the other two things going on, I did not really have much time to take on a third task. Luckily, Howard Casto decided to start releasing "unofficial" packs of marquees. As he was doing all the work, I figured hosting them here and keeping the site up to date would be easy enough.
- So at one point, this was the
de facto home for those three frontend pic packs.
- After two months of focusing strictly on In‑Game Artwork, I went through my computer and released one more update for all three on October 1, 2006. By that point, there were 1883 Control Panel pics, 977 Cabinet pics, and 1540 Marquee pics. After that, I stayed focused on In‑Game Artwork, and let these other three projects fall to the side.
- In 2009, AntoPisa started his new site, mainly for various screenshot pics for MAME. Eventually, he took over all three, and today Progetto Snaps is the ultimate one‑stop site for MAME frontend related pics and files.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER ARTWORK SITES ?
As stated above, there is no official MAME artwork site, and there are more than a few other places to get artwork for MAME and MAME‑related frontends, but most of those places are geared more toward the widescreen crowd. Much of it is excellent work in its own right, coming from a wide range of talented creators. But on that same point, much of it has a different end‑goal in mind. Some if it will be posted here, with the original creators permission, when possible.
But if the artwork you are looking for lines up with the goals of this site, then I like to believe that this is the place where you want to be watching for new stuff. We started here in 2006, and have no plans of stopping any time soon.
COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK STUFF
MAME and the MAME Logo are Copyright © 1997-2019 MAMEDev and contributors. MAME® is a registered trademark of Gregory Ember. Use of the MAME name and logo on this website is done so with the expressed written permission from the trademark owner. For more information, please visit https://www.mamedev.org.
All trademarked and copyrighted artworks available on this website are the property of their respective owners. Commercial reproduction or sale of any artwork from this website is prohibited.