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Step one is grab a bunch of roms, eg from https://archive.org/
now we try and sort through mame roms and remove the ones that do not make sense on a real mamecab, eg drop the mahjong and the home computers and mechanical etc etc.
Hardcoded decisions so it is up to you to mess with js/sort.js and change the filtering if you want.
This is nodejs so should work anywhere but we are assuming you are using bash here.
This repo is also published to https://www.npmjs.com/package/mamelist
so you could skip this first install step and just use
instead as a replacement for
.mamelist in the instructions bellow.
npx will auto download from npm and run using node.
First clone this repo and cd into it then...
npm install ./mamelist
This will install dependencies and do a test run that will also explain the command line options available.
From here on we assume your mame files are in ~/mame/ so your roms are in ~/mame/roms/ you will need to adjust that if they are somewhere else. First get listxml from your mame, this does assume you have mame installed and working.
mame -listxml >~/mame/mamelist.xml
Then convert this xml file to a json file with some info striped and some info added, this will only include roms that you have. Think of this json as enough information for a reasonable launcher.
./mamelist parse --dir ~/mame
Finally we make a ~/mame/romsort with subdirectories full of sorted roms, these roms are hardlinked files so do not actually take up any more space.
./mamelist sort --dir ~/mame
Now I can copy the roms I want from these directories to my arcade cab, I actually only care about 19xx so I just grab that dir. What to do here is up to you, the roms have been sorted into folders and I found that rather helpful, for me it dropped a lot of files that I do not care about as they do not make sense in a real arcade machine.
There will be duplicates, so best to merge them all into one folder when copying.