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Manpage of xmess


Section: Games and Demos (6)
Index Return to Main Contents

BSD mandoc


xmess - THE Arcade game machine emulator for UNIX/X  


xmess[.x11|svga] [-options ] gamename  


Some examples for those who are in a hurry.

If you don't have/want a frontend, you'll mostly use xmess (with a well defined xmessrc) in the following way:

xmess ladybug

Plays Ladybug with all options defined in xmessrc. If there is no xmessrc the game starts with the buildin defaults.

xmess defender -frameskip 1 -cheat

Starts defender using a frameskip of 1 and cheat is enabled. Useful for slower computers, if the game is running really slowly. And of course if you want (have?) to cheat. ;-)  


The main issue involves ROM images. ROM images are protected under the copyrights of their authors, and CANNOT be distributed in the same package as xmess. Download any ROM images at your own risk and responsibility.

xmess should be distributed under terms of the license in doc/readme.mame

XInputExtensions based Joystick support. Source code is entirely pure hack work. No sample code, no info at all was found (only library reference manual) and is copyrighted by me (Juan Antonio Marmnez). Use it under terms of GNU General Public License.


Also, the xmess authors ask that you DO NOT distribute any ROM images with either source code or binaries of the xmess emulator.  


xmess is the (M)ulti (A)rcade (M)achine (E)mulator for UNIX-(X). It emulates the hardware of realy many classic arcade game machines.

Most games allow you to specify one or more options to control the behavior of xmess and the game of your choice. Below is a complete list of all the available options:

*** Digital sound related ***
-dsp-plugin , dp string
Select which plugin to use for digital sound
-list-dsp-plugins , ldp
List available sound-dsp plugins
-[no]timer , [no]ti
Use / don't use timer based audio (normally it will be used automagicly when nescesarry)
*** Sound mixer related ***
-sound-mixer-plugin , smp string
Select which plugin to use for the sound mixer
-list-mixer-plugins , lmp
List available sound-mixer plugins
*** Video Related ***
-bpp , b int
Specify the colordepth the core should render, one of: auto(0), 8, 16
-heightscale , hs int
Set Y-Scale aspect ratio
-widthscale , ws int
Set X-Scale aspect ratio
-scale , s arg
Set X-Y Scale to the same aspect ratio. For vector games scale (and also width- and heightscale) may have value's like 1.5 and even 0.5. For scaling of regular games this will be rounded to an int
-[no]autodouble , [no]adb
Enable/disable automatic scale doubling for 1:2 pixel aspect ratio games
-[no]dirty , [no]dt
Enable/disable use of dirty rectangles
-[no]scanlines , [no]sl
Enable/disable displaying simulated scanlines
-[no]artwork , [no]a
Use/don't use artwork if available
-frameskipper , fsr int
Select which autoframeskip and throttle routines to use. Available choices are: 0 Dos frameskip code 1 Enhanced frameskip code by William A. Barath
-[no]throttle , [no]th
Enable/disable throttle
-[no]sleepidle , [no]si
Enable/disable sleep during idle
-[no]autoframeskip , [no]afs
Enable/disable autoframeskip
-maxautoframeskip , mafs int
Set highest allowed frameskip for autoframeskip
-frameskip , fs int
Set frameskip when not using autoframeskip
-brightness , brt int
Set the brightness (0-100%%)
-gamma-correction , gc float
Set the gamma-correction (0.5-2.0)
-norotate , nr
Disable rotation
-ror , rr
Rotate display 90 degrees rigth
-rol , rl
Rotate display 90 degrees left
-flipx , fx
Flip X axis
-flipy , fy
Flip Y axis
*** Vector Games Related ***
-vectorres , vres string
Always scale vectorgames to XresxYres, keeping their aspect ratio. This overrides the scale options
-beam , B float
Set the beam size for vector games
-flicker , f float
Set the flicker for vector games
-[no]antialias , [no]aa
Enable/disable antialiasing
-[no]translucency , [no]t
Enable/disable tranlucency
*** X11 Related ***
-x11-mode , x11 int
Select x11 video mode: (if compiled in) 0 Normal window (hotkey left-alt + insert) 1 Fullscreen DGA (hotkey left-alt + home)
*** X11-window Related ***
-[no]cursor , [no]cu
Show/ don't show the cursor
-[no]mitshm , [no]ms
Use / don't use MIT Shared Mem (if avaiable and compiled in)
-[no]xsync , [no]xs
Use / don't use XSync instead of XFlush as screen refresh method
-[no]privatecmap , [no]p
Enable/disable use of private color map
-[no]xil , [no]x
Enable/disable use of XIL for scaling (if available and compiled in)
-[no]mtxil , [no]mtx
Enable/disable multi threading of XIL
-[no]run-in-root-window , [no]root
Enable/disable running in root window
-root_window_id , rid int
Create the xmess-window in an alternate root-window, mostly usefull for frontends!
-geometry , geo string
Specify the location of the window
*** XFree86 DGA Related ***
*** Video Mode Selection Related ***
-[no]keepaspect , [no]ka
Try / don't try to keep the aspect ratio of a game when selecting the best videomode
-displayaspectratio , dar float
Set the display aspect ratio of your monitor. This is used for -keepaspect The default = 1.33 (4/3). Use 0.75 (3/4) for a portrait monitor
-disablemode , dm arg
Don't use mode XRESxYRESxDEPTH this can be used to disable specific video modes which don't work on your system. The xDEPTH part of the string is optional. This option may be used more then once
*** X11-input related ***
-[no]grabmouse , [no]gm
Enable/disable mousegrabbing (also alt + pagedown)
-[no]winkeys , [no]wk
Enable/disable mapping of windowskeys under X
-mapkey , mk arg
Set a specific key mapping, see xmessrc.dist
*** Sound Related ***
-[no]sound , [no]snd
Enable/disable sound (if available)
-[no]samples , [no]sam
Use/don't use samples (if available)
-fakesound , fsnd
Generate sound even when sound is disabled, this is needed for some games which won't run without sound
-samplefreq , sf int
Set the playback sample-frequency/rate
-bufsize , bs float
Number of frames of sound to buffer
-volume , v int
Set volume to <int> db, (-32 (soft) - 0(loud) )
-audiodevice , ad string
Use an alternative audiodevice
-mixerdevice , md string
Use an alternative mixerdevice
*** Input Related ***
-joytype , jt int
Select type of joysticksupport to use: 0 No joystick 1 i386 style joystick driver (if compiled in) 2 Fm Town Pad support (if compiled in) 3 X11 input extension joystick (if compiled in) 4 new i386 linux 1.x.x joystick driver(if compiled in) 5 NetBSD USB joystick driver (if compiled in)
-[no]analogstick , [no]as
Use Joystick as analog for analog controls
-[no]mouse , [no]m
Enable/disable mouse (if supported)
*** Fileio Related ***
-biospath , bp string
Set the BIOS search path
-softwarepath , swp string
Set the software search path
-CRC_directory string
Set dir to look for crc files in
-samplepath , sp string
Set the sample search path
-inipath string
Set the ini search path
-cfg_directory string
Set dir for saving configurations
-nvram_directory string
Set dir for saving nvram contents
-memcard_directory string
Set dir for saving memory card contents
-input_directory string
Set dir for saving input device logs
-hiscore_directory string
Set dir for saving high scores
-state_directory string
Set dir for saving states
-artwork_directory string
Set dir to look for artwork files in
-snapshot_directory string
Set dir for screenshots (.png format)
-diff_directory string
Set dir for hard drive image difference files
-ctlrl_directory string
Set dir for saving controller definitions
-cheat_file string
Set the file to use as cheat database
-hiscore_file string
no help available
-sysinfo_file string
no help available
-messinfo_file string
no help available
-record , rec arg
Set a file to record keypresses into
-playback , pb arg
Set a file to playback keypresses from
-stdout-file , out filename
Set a file to redirect stderr to
-stderr-file , err filename
Set a file to redirect stdout to
-log , L filename
Set a file to log debug info to
*** Mess Related ***
-rom , cart
All following images/roms are seen as carts/roms
All following images/roms are seen as floppies
All following images/roms are seen as casettes
All following images/roms are seen as carts/roms
All following images/roms are seen as serial ports??
All following images/roms are seen as snapshots
-language , lang string
Select the language for the menu's and osd
-[no]fuzzycmp , [no]fc
Enable/disable use of fuzzy gamename matching when there is no exact match
-[no]cheat , [no]c
Enable/disable cheat subsystem
-[no]debug , [no]d
Enable/disable debugger
-debug-size , ds arg
Specify the resolution/ windowsize to use for the debugger(window) in the form of XRESxYRES (minimum size = 640x480)
*** Frontend Related ***
-list , l
List supported games matching gamename, or all, gamename may contain * and ? wildcards
-listfull , lf
Like -list, with full description
-listgames , lg
Like -list, with manufacturer and year
-listdetails , ld
Like -list, with detailed info
-listgamelist , lgl
Like -list, with specialy formatted extra info for generating gamelist.mame, also see -listgamelistheader
-listsourcefile , lsf
Like -list, with driver sourcefile
-listcolors , lcol
Like -list, with the number of colors used
Like -list, with devices and image file extensions supported
-listromsize , lrs
Like -list, with the year and size of the roms used
-listroms , lr
Like -list, but lists used ROMS
-listcrc , lcrc
Like -list, but lists used ROMS with crc
-listsamples , ls
Like -list, but lists used audio samples
-listsamdir , lsd
Like -list, but lists dir where samples are taken from
-verifyroms , vr
Verify ROMS for games matching gamename, or all, gamename may contain * and ? wildcards
-verifyromsets , vrs
Like -verifyroms, but less verbose
-verifysamples , vs
Like -verifyroms but verify audio samples instead
-verifysamplesets , vss
Like -verifysamples, but less verbose
-[no]clones , [no]cl
Show / don't show bootlegs/clones in the above list commands
-listclones , lcl
Like -list, but lists the clones of the specified game
-listinfo , li
List all available info on drivers
-listcpu , lc
List cpu usage statics per year
-listgamelistheader , lgh
Print header for generating gamelist.mame, also see -listgamelist
*** Internal verification list commands (only for developers) ***
-listmissingroms , lmr
Like -list, but lists ROMS missing
-listdupcrc , ldc
Like -list, but lists ROMS with identical crc
-listwrongorientation , lwo
Like -list, but lists any games which use the orientation flags wrongly
-listwrongmerge , lwm
Like -list, but lists any games which use the clone_of field wrongly
-listwrongfps , lwf
Like -list, but lists any games which use the FPS field wrongly
*** Rom Identification Related ***
-ident , id
Identify unknown romdump, or unknown romdumps in dir/zip
-isknown , ik
Check if romdump or romdumps in dir/zip are known
*** General Options ***
-[no]loadconfig , [no]lc
Load (don't load) configfiles
-showconfig , sc
Display Running parameters in rc style
-manhelp , mh
Print commandline help in man format, usefull for manpage creation
-version , V
Display version
Show this help
*** Arguments ***
the name of the game you wish to play. You better choose one. :-)

Note: There are really many options. You can set the default options and / or options per game in xmesss config files see the RCFILES section below.  


Most game ROM images come in ZIP files. Download the ZIP files for the games you want, and move them to a directory of your choice (i.e. it is a good idea to put them all in one dir).

Note: There is no need to unzip the games in a separate directory, because xmess has zip file support through zlib.

xmess uses a ":" seperated rompath to find out which dirs to search for roms/samples. The default rompath is XMAMEROOT as defined in the Makefile during the compilation (normaly /usr/local/share/xmess). If you put all the zipped-ROM-Files in this dir everything will work automagicly.

The rompath will be overwritten by any rompath in xmessrc. Which can be overwritten again with the -rompath commandline option.

xmess searches every dir in this path for roms (and samples) in the following way:

<dir>/ filename.ext)
<dir>/gamename/filename.ext.gz(containing filename.ext)
<dir>/gamename/ filename.ext)

Note: If your neogeo games can't find neogeo.rom put it in a dir called neogeo somewhere in your rompath, or put it in somewhere in your rompath.  


After running xmess i.e. xmess ladybug you will see two screens.

The first with a copyright message (PLEASE READ THIS!). If you type (ok) this screen will only come up again after the cfg-file of the game (romname.cfg) will be deleted.

Another screen shows information about the game. Hit any key to continue.

Note: If you want to see this information screen again, you could press <TAB> and select <Game Information> or hit <ESC> and restart. ;-)

The game will then go through a `hardware self-test' (remember, xmess is emulating game HARDWARE). After the self-test, you are `in' the video game. Feed the hungry machine with some coins (key <5> for one coin) then start (key <1>) it. For more coins and player read the next section (KEYBOARD COMMANDS).



While playing a game, there are certain keyboard commands available for you to use.

<1> (the number `one')Start a 1-player game.
<2> (the number `two')Start a 2-player game.
<3> (the number `three')Start a 3-player game.
<4> (the number `four')Start a 4-player game.
<5> (the number `five')Insert coin (slot 1).
<6> (the number `six')Insert coin (slot 2).
<7> (the number `seven')Insert coin (slot 3).
<8> (the number `eight')Insert coin (slot 4).
<Tab>Toggles the configuration menu.
<~> (Tilde)Toggles the `On Screen Display'.
Use the up and down arrow keys to select
the parameter (global volume, mixing level,
gamma correction etc.), left and right to
<P>Pauses the game.
<Shift+P>While paused, walk to the next frame.
<F3>Resets the game (start with
`hardware self-test').
<F4>Shows the game graphics. Use cursor keys
to change set/color, F4 or Esc to return to
the emulation.
<F9>Changes frame skip on the fly.
<F10>Toggles speed throttling.
<F11>Toggles speed display.
<Shift+F11>Toggles profiler display.
<F12>Saves a screen snapshot. The default
target directory is SNAP. You must create
this directory yourself; the program will
not create it if it doesn't exist.
<ESC>Exits the emulator.
<L-CTRL>is mostly used as a button.
<L-ALT>)is also mostly used as a button.
<arrows>will emulate the joystick, pad or
trakball. If you have a joystick (pad,
trakball ), you can use it with the
Input-Related options: -joytype, -jt
and/or -[no]analogstick, -[no]as

For a complete list of the usefull keys in xmess start a game, press the <tab> button, select <Input (general)> or <Input (this game)> and you see a complete list of the related keys.  


You can put the most commandline options in an (r)essource (c)onfiguration (rc) file. To generate a `clean' xmessrc you type in your ${HOME}/.xmess directory:

xmess -sc > xmessrc

Now you have a good base to build your specific rc-file. Here is a piece from this file to tell you how the syntax works.

    ### X11-window Related ###
    cursor                  1
    mitshm                  1
    xsync                   1
    privatecmap             0
    xil                     1
    mtxil                   0
    run-in-root-window      0
    root_window_id          0
    geometry                640x480

    ### XFree86 DGA Related ###

    ### Video Mode Selection Related ###
    keepaspect              1
    displayaspectratio      1.330000

The number `0' is equal to `no' or `false' and `1' means `yes' or `true'.

Some parameters like `geometry' needs a string `800x600' and some others like `displayaspectratio' use a number `1.330000'.  


The following environment variables are used:

HOMEThe user's home directory. (normally set by the login process.)
DISPLAYX server to display in.


The config files are parsed in the following order:

/usr/local/share/xmess/xmessrcglobal configuration
${HOME}/.xmess/xmessrcuser configuration
/usr/local/share/xmess/xmess-x11rcglobal per display
${HOME}/.xmess/xmess-x11rcuser per display
/usr/local/share/xmess/rc/<game>rcglobal per game
${HOME}/.xmess/rc/<game>rcuser per game


There might be some bugs. Take a look in the doc-dir for more info, because the xmess-project is always in progress. :-)  


Lots and lots and lots of thank to everyone for there great help on the xmess project. I would like to thank the following people and of course anyone I've forgotten.

Thank you all,


  1. Fathers of the mame-creature (main version)
        Nicola Salmoria
        Allard van der Bas
        Mirko (Mix) Buffoni (General Mantainer)
  2. Fathers of mess
        Brad Oliver
        Richard Bannister
        Ben Bruscella (current coordinator)
  3. Original UNIX/X11 port
        Allard van der Bas
        Dick the Ridder
        Juan Antonio Marmnez
  4. Unix maintainer
        Hans de Goede
  5. Alpha specific issues
        Christian Groessler
  6. Sun specific issues
        Keith Hargrove
        Mathis Rosenhau
  7. Irix specific issues
        Tristram Scott
  8. GGI maintainance
        Gabriele Boccone (original port)
        Christian Groessler (current maintainer)
  9. OpenGL code & maintainance
        Mike Oliphant
 10. Network code
        Eric Totel
 11. Perl scripts for automation of some porting issues
        Bill Adams
 12. xmess rpms
        Jeremy Hansen
 13. Mailing list maintainer
        Chris McCraw
 14. Bits and pieces
        Christian Groessler
        Torsten Paul
 15. AIX Sound code
        Chris Sharpp
 16. IRIX Sound code
 17. German readme
        Robert Hamberger
 18. Documentation (SGML, HTML, MAN ...)
        Rene Herrmann

    And now you've come to the end of this man(ual).
    Have a lot of fun




This document was created by man2html using the manual pages.
Time: 17:33:07 GMT, October 23, 2013

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