FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is this such a problem?  Why is setting this up so involved?  Isn't there an easier way?
EL takes a long time to load all the unavailable games on my PC.  Can I speed it up?
Is there any other way to manage sort lists?  (It's a pain remembering Master is VpinMAME, etc.)
I have a ton of categories in the EL games list that don't mean anything (frequency, video, etc.)  How can I get rid of them?
Why don't you use the custom games manager to add tables?
Where do I get all the images?
Your images don't match EL's defaults, for example, Screenshots are shown first, but EL calls these title screens?
EL supports 7 image types, but I only have 4 and I wind up with all those unavailable image windows, any suggestions?
How do you get the FAQ files to work?
What is that controller layout on the screenshots page, and how can I make one?
Your icon colors do not match the official EL release?
Why are all the screenshots of EmuLoader and not Arcade@Home?

Why is this such a problem?  Why is setting this up so involved?  Isn't there an easier way?

There are really two issues involved here and different answers to each of them.

The first issue is "Why don't people write more front ends to automatically set up Visual Pinball, like they do with MAME?"

The problem here is the lack of structure within Visual Pinball.  In MAME, if I have the Asteroids Rom on my machine and MAME lists Asteroids in the gamelist, the frontend can be pretty certain that Asteroids is playable.  With Visual Pinball, I could have thirty tables installed that don't require any Roms to play.  Or I could have the Attack From Mars Rom, but be using version 1.1, 1.1xf, RC2, or RC3 lite of the .vpt file.  This is a good thing in that it allows people with slower machines to enjoy less realistic tables while allowing people with fast PC's the most realistic gameplay, but it is a nightmare for a frontend programmer.

The second issue is "Why is it so much harder to add Visual Pinball to a front-end and why do I want to do it this way?"

The issue here is the VP interface.  Most frontends allow you to start a game from the command line, e.g., C:\mame\mame.exe 1942  In VP, the only way to start a table is by starting the VP editor and loading a table, or by double-clicking on the .vpt file.  You could also use the Start command in a batch file, but even then, you still quit back to the table editor.   The biggest drawback here is if you are setting this up for your kids to play, they could accidentally delete half the table and save it broken without really even knowing they'd done anything.  THAT is a big argument for using my procedure!

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EL takes a long time to load all the unavailable games on my PC.  Can I speed it up?

Actually, the latest version is about three times (or more) faster than the first editions:-)))  Here is what I do, though.   I actually have FOUR versions of EL loaded on my PC in different directories.   "C:\EL" for MAME games that I actually have and play only, "C:\EL (Full)" for a standard MAME directory,  "C:\ELP" for pinball games I actually have and play, and "C:\ELP (Full)" for a full pinmame directory.

To set this up, start with clean installs of EL for the "full" and custom directories.  For the custom builds, open each of the 14 dat files mentioned in the EL Setup Background section and delete everything from them except leave one game entry in one of the files.  Now modify and copy this entry to add the games that you will want to play.  Using this method, EL loads almost instantly, even on a P 200 MMX!!!

The "full" versions are used when you want to find out a game name or see if a game you want to play is included in the official build.  Another advantage of this is that you can update the "full" version with each new (pin)mame release, without worrying about overwriting your custom-added games.

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Is there any other way to manage sort lists?  (It's a pain remembering Master is VpinMAME, etc.)

Actually, there is!!!  You can also use the Favorites manager.  I use this in EL for MAME as follows: Create a User named "2-Player Games"  Use add to favorites to add "Tetris, Twin Cobra, Top Gunner, 1941, etc." to his favorite games list. Create a new user named "Asteroids Type". His favorite games are "Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe, Blasteroids, Space Duel, etc."

Now you can select User "Asteroids Type" and click on Favorites and only these games will appear.

For Visual Pinball, you might create users such as "VpinMAME Tables", "Bally Tables", "Dual Flipper Tables", etc.

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I have a ton of categories in the EL games list that don't mean anything (frequency, video, etc.)  How can I get rid of them?

Right-click in the games list and select "View - Show/Hide Games List columns"  Uncheck everything except "year, manufacturer, name, clone of, and category".

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Why don't you use the custom games manager to add tables?

I always found it easier to just edit the .dat files, and this allows me to put the games where I want them, but then again, I'm weird that way ;-)

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Where do I get all the images?

For now, just check my links page.

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Your images don't match EL's defaults, for example, Screenshots are shown first, but EL calls these title screens?

Yes, I know they don't and they never will.  I use in order going left to right across the computer screens: Screenshots, Flyers, Tables, Backglasses, Playfields, Instruction Cards, and Hint files.  Sure the captions don't match and I will get a "No Cabinet" warning when I am viewing Playfields, but you get used to what image should appear and it doesn't matter.  The hard thing is setting up your directories to tell EL that Titles will be in C:\Snapshots, etc., but you only have to set that once.

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EL supports 7 image types, but I only have 4 and I wind up with all those unavailable image windows, any suggestions?

On recent versions of EL, you can work around this with the User Profile feature.  Select "Advanced Tools - User Profiles" and select User Profile Editor.  Select Create new profile and enter a password for the profile.  On the preview pictures tab, uncheck the last 3 "Show Image" boxes.  Save the Profile and select it using the "Advanced Tools - User Profiile" menu.  Shazam, only four image windows.

WARNING:  While you are creating the profile, do NOT uncheck the "User Profile" tab or you will never be able to exit the profile (useful for parties, etc.)  If you do this accidentally, open the C:\ELP\emuloader.ini file and change the line UserProfile=1 to UserProfile=0 and save the file and restart.

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How do you get the FAQ files to work?

Create a text file for each game named gamename.faq (bttf.faq).  Save the file in a folder and specify the folder under the "Files - MAME Extended Options" tab.  Click on the little book icon at the top to open the file.

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What is that controller layout on the screenshots page, and how can I make one?

It tells me what controls to press on my HotRod style arcade controller that I've been planning for two years and haven't gotten around to building yet!  This page has details on building your own hint files.

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Your icon colors do not match the official EL release?

Right, actually you can use any 256-color or less image for the default Icons in EL.  I just rearranged the names because I like green, blue, and yellow for icon color.  The neat thing also is EL actually "reads" these icons into the "Show Icon Legend" window, so it will match your changes :-))

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Why are all the screenshots of EmuLoader and not Arcade@Home?

Errrm, arrrr, uh, You weren't supposed to notice that.  A@H is a great front end, but I use EmuLoader almost exclusively.   Since it is popular and since I figured out how to make it work, I included A@H instructions on this site.  But I would have a hard time getting A@H set up to do it justice.  If you have screenshots of A@H running VP, send them  to me and I will add them.

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