Mame is a great thing. The portable SDLMAME is an even greater thing. It’s hard to find where to get it. The official home page is http://rbelmont.mameworld.info/?page_id=163. It really needs a better home page. It’s not even the first site that comes up in a google search.
After downloading it, make sure to read the contents of the readme files. There is a lot of information in SDLMAME.txt that should not be ignored. For example, I missed the fact that I had to change a line in the makefile to compile it for a 64 bit processor. There is also information there about how to compile it on various targets such as the PS3.
Once the exectuable is created, it is time to play some games. You may want to think twice about just playing the games though. There are some options that will help make the games run more smoothly. To create a default mame.ini file run the command ./mame -createconfig. The result will be outputted to the mame.ini file. Look through the file to see if there is anything of interest that needs to be modified.
The multithreading option can really speed things up on machines with multiple cores. I recommend that it be turned on. The autoframeskip option is another one that I turn on. When it is on, mame will automatically add to the frame skip when needed so that the game will run at 100% speed.
There are a lot of games that don’t play fast enough to be playable. Don’t be suprised if you hit a game that just doesn’t run quite right. With the tweaks above, that number is greatly reduced. Have fun 🙂