Controller Config Files

What Are They For?

The controller specific config files are designed so that you can configure the abundance of controllers available on the market to work with MAME. If you consider that you can get up to 14 buttons on a controller, multiple sticks and dpads, you can configure each one to do something in MAME. You can even make specific controller config files that work exclusively on individual games or systems.

MAME config files use XML and so are not for the beginner but are incredibly useful if you have special controllers.

The Easy Way :)

Here's a little shortcut for all of you not brave enough to read the whole section (Head Hurt Already?) O.K. to save time you can load the game you want to remap into MAME, remap the controls in the in-game menu (press tab and go to Input (this game)). Exit the game and Mame will save a config file in the cfg folder in your Mame folder. What you can do is open the config file (named gamename.cfg) and copy / paste the changed keys into your controller config file. This saves trying to work out the names for your controllers function and writing all those lines of code. (Note: make sure that you delete any <counter> and <mixer> commands that may be copied)

The Hard Way :(

Open up the C:\Mame\ctrlr folder. It will look something like this...

As you can see the configurations are now held in files not folders.

You will see the XML files for the controllers which are saved with a .cfg extension . Now a .cfg file normally doesn't have a default application to open it and if you have MS Outlook it'll default to that (which is a pain!), You'll need to open it in Notepad to edit a .cfg file. You'll find notepad in the Start -> All Programs -> Accessories menu. Open it up and in the file menu select open. Find your MAME/MameUI folder and open the ctrlr folder. You won't see anything there until you change the Files of Type option to all files. You can now open up a controller file to have a look...

As you can see it's quite (OK VERY!) complex at first glance but it is very structured so once you've worked out the structure its as easy as normal controller ini files (Still quite complex then!) It also looks worse on this page as the tabbing is lost!

OK... the basic structure. First of all the config files are read by MAME from top to bottom so every time you add a system to the config it overrides the other previous ones. For example a config file with some default commands, some m72 driver commands and say r-type specific commands would need to be set up with default first, m72 second and r-type last as otherwise commands will get overwritten as Mame loads them. Confused? You will be... To sum up go default, drivers, games. That's it.

Here is a simple controller file....

What it does is use the start button on my Wingman Cordless controller as the player 1 start button. All I have to do is save it as Wingman.cfg and I can use it in Mame either from the command line option -ctrlr Wingman or from Mame32's Controller config window.

Let's have another look and I'll explain a bit more...

If you look you cand see that for every command it has a start and an end. For example <input> is always followed later by </input> to close the command (note the backslash / on the close). This is fairly standard format for programming and html too. The trick is to use a single tab for every opening command and a tab back for every closing command as this helps you keep track of the commands.

The first line <mameconfig version="10"> just tells Mame that this is a config file.
The second line <system name="default"> sets which game system or game the config file will affect. Default affects all games but you can use driver or game names too.
The third line <!-- Test input configuration file --> is a comment on the file and doesn't affect anything. You can type what you want between the <!> as long as you have the exclamation mark.
The fourth line <input> tells Mame that an input command will be changed.
The fifth line <port type="START1"> sets the command that will be changed. You can see a list below of commands extracted from the old ini files, I think most are covered there.
The sixth line <newseq type="standard">KEYCODE_1 OR J1_Button_9 give the key press or controller movement to be used for the previous lines command.
The seventh line </newseq> closes the newseq command. Normally you'd put it at the end of a newseq line but I moved it down to help explain it.
The eighth line </port> closes the port command so that any more lines wont affect that command.
The ninth line </input> closes the input command for the system stated above it.
The tenth line </system> closes the named system off so you can add another system to the cfg file if you want to.
The eleventh and final line is </mameconfig> . This is always the final line as Mame wont read any further when it reads this.

There is another command <remap> which is used like this...

<remap origcode="KEYCODE_UP" newcode="KEYCODE_8_PAD" />

From what I can make out it will take the command in origcode and use it for the command used in the newcode too so one change will affect two codes (This might be completely wrong though)

Thats about it for XML based cfg files so far but keep reading down the page as all the commands and movement names are there and you'll need to know about them too.

These are the key codes supported in MAME...

If you notice there are a couple of types above. You have...

KEYCODE = This refers to a key on your keyboard. You will see which one next to it.

JOYCODE = This refers to a joystick movement or button press and what joystick number to use.

MOUSECODE = This refers to a mouse button click.

KEYCODE NONE = This is used if you don't want to associate any key with a control

CODE_NONE = Same as above.

CODE_DEFAULT = Uses the Mame default key


CODE_NOT or ! = Stops a specific key combination being read e.g If you want to disable the Alt-Tab that opens a full screen use...




CODE_OR or | = Lets you add more than one key for a control command e.g. Player 1 Fire using the CTRL key and Joystick Fire Button 1 is...




SPACE = If you just leave a space between codes it will perform both codes at the same time e.g if you wanted to define a key for a down-left motion on a controller use...


Now for the controls you can change.

Heres breakdown of these commands

UI = A command used by Mame in its user interface e.g. in-game menus / save states etc...

JOYSTICK = A control movement by an arcade joystick or button.

PEDAL = A footpedal on an arcade cabinet

PADDLE = A paddle could be twisted approx. 180 degrees

DIAL = A dial can be turned as much as you want.

TRACKBALL = A ball that a user span to control a character. e.g. used in Marble Madness

AD_STICK = Analog joystick controls

OSD = On screen display functions.

_EXT = The reverse of a controller e.g. P1_PADDLE = Left Movement P1_PADDLE_EXT = Right Movement

There are a couple of other commands for lightguns etc... but you'll need to find them for yourself.

Using Your Config.

To use your config in the command line version of MAME you will need to add the ctrlr option to your command line e.g.

Mame puckman -ctrlr wingman

In MameUI go to the Default Options and select the controllers tab. You can select your controller from the "Default input layout" option halfway down. Once selected MameUI will use it and any game specific files you've created by default.

IMPORTANT! There is one last thing you need to remember, If you change a key in the Mame UI itself and not using an ini file, it is stored in the cfg folder. Changing keys in the MameUI does not affect the ini files. With this in mind, If you muck things up by using the in-game menus you will need to delete the default.cfg file and more than likely the gamename.cfg (replace gamename with the name of the game you've shagged up) to correct the error.