Arcade Overlays


Hi John,

If you wont be linking here, is there somewhere else those of us who use MAME directly for arcade emulation can follow your work and overlays? I would love to try out the new updates. Thanks for putting these together!


It would be great to know where your mame overlays will have a home. I’m setting up mame now and would prefer to use the zipped .lay file version instead of RetroArch.

Your work is awesome John


Thanks for your reply John. I hadn’t thought about the smaller playing area causing any issues with the scanlines. This is my first time using a shader so I’m not sure what “right” is supposed to look like. I’m just reading the notes in the shader files now and learning what the moire effect is (you can make it out quite clearly in the bottom pic, Kung Fu Master). I will have a play around with some values and see what I think looks best.

With regards the realism in your overlays, it wasn’t so much the background photo, which will of course look real (my photo was just one I found on google images, I’m sure there are better options out there if I could find them), but the textures and wear and tear on the cabinet and bezel. Some of your cabinet edges and trims look very real indeed. I will have to practice!


Try looking for the most common resolutions in the Mame roms you play then try and get a rough size based on a multiple of that resolution. For example, 320x240 could try 3x which would be 960x720 and see if that fits your screen area. If not, try to keep things as simple as possible. So if you have a 800 width, see if you can get a 600 height. Or, Divide your current width by 1.333333333333333, and try to keep it as close to 4:3 as possible. That may help the scanlines only if there is enough width and height to look right, and not look uneven, or just wrong.

In Mame, this is much easier because the width and height is used in the lay file, so no messing around in a front-end, or manually moving the image across the X and Y coordinates.

The realism is hard to achieve unless you have access to a real cabinet. I have a real full size Fruit Machine, so I use high-res images of the edges and T-moulding to get the effect. The screen effects are done in Photoshop using the layer effects, Lighten, Darken, Multiply, etc… Just pick the one that looks right.

I will upload a pack as soon as I have a video ready, and a complete pack ready. I will use a file storage site, and link them on my Youtube page.


Amazing work! Looking good! :slight_smile:


I started a conversion into the MAME format here:

Still way to go :slight_smile:


I’ve been enjoying those marvelous overlays, but one detail bothers me. I can’t seem to get the orange colors in Space Invaders Deluxe. Only a black and white screen. Any way to fix this?


What would be the least demanding crt glsl ovelay? Looking for a basic scanline/crt shader with minor impact on performance.

Is there anything even faster and simpler than crt-hyllian-fast.glsl?



Great stuff, many thanks! Two observations:

  • Both zips miss the _noref and _noshade pngs.
  • In my configuration (plain vanilla MAME 0.185) I need to adjust the screen values so that I can see the entire screen. In the case of Burning Force, I adjusted as follows and it fits very nicely:

And as far as I recall, there is no need for a .cfg file, this is just for Retroarch usage, but not plain MAME.

Since these are great, would you mind if I include them in my repository (as mentioned in this thread)?

Cheers, Stefan


Apologies, I was too fast. I further tweaked burnforc as follows:

<overlay element="screen_mask">
  <bounds x="565" y="220" width="868" height="651" />
<backdrop element="screen_bezel">
  <bounds x="565" y="220" width="868" height="651" />
<bezel element="bezel">
  <bounds x="0" y="0" width="1920" height="1080" />

This is what it looks like on my 27inch iMac in MAME Fullscreen (so I had to significantly reduce the Screen size to have the entire screen shown):

As per my previous question: I thought that you wanted to do three displays, one with scratches and reflection, and the other two without those. At least this is how the default.lay files are structured. Thus my question.

Do you have issues with these settings here? Is the screen size then too small?

Cheers! Stefan



Take this to your own thread and stop flooding mine.


Has anyone used these bezels in rocketlauncher?


Finally mastered GIMP and started creating my own MAME bezels. I can now create glass effect bezels using John’s glass scratched/dirt effect and have created different sized blank bezels to add artwork from other unified bezels which are great if your don’t have the time or inclination to make your own. Making your own bezel is very satisfying and creating the lay files to fit the screen but it can be a huge learning curve. Worth it though. Check out Derek Moore on YouTube for basic and advanced bezel making. I just need to master now how to create my own scratched bezel look without having to use the same template that John has made. I’d like a little more reflection in mine.


Cool. Seems like a few people are taking John’s amazing work as a starting point. It would be great to have a unified repository for all these realistic MAME bezels where people can upload and edit their files so that with the 100s of cabinets, the overall work can be divided and concurred rather than each person reinventing the wheel. These bezels add more to the gameplay than I ever imagined. I’m also really looking forward to John’s updated MAME layouts.



MAME still rules when it comes to arcade emulation. The shaders and scanlines auto-rotate when going from horizontal to vertical, no messing around with temporary solutions. The shaders themselves, when a lot of effort is put into setting them up correctly, look so much better. Scanlines just work, and you don’t need to worry about things like integer scaling.

The artwork overlays work so much better because you can calculate all the settings from your artwork, screensize H+V - fullscreensize (1920x1080…etc…) and put the values in the lay file and it just works. But now you have the ability to put multiple overlays in one zip, so you can have stand-up and sit-down cab overlays and all selectable from the gui.

I’m not knocking Retroarch, it’s still the most amazing computer and console emulator. But for pure arcade, MAME still rules king. And because it’s less messing around than Retroarch for overlays, I will be sticking with MAME for my overlays.


This is why i’d like to get these working with rocketlauncher, so i can keep using mame. I enjoy the realism, but would prefer less glare. detracts just a tad too much.


I agree that MAME is still the way forward. I’ve been involved with arcade gaming for the last 30 years and nothing beats the crude authentic art work like the original art. Sure there are some non existent or very hard to find art (Irems Image Fight being one) so I have had to make my own. My own spin looks great but doesn’t beat an authentic marquee. I have spent many hours on my bezels which include all different views and will post them shortly. I would love to see a unified bezel repository folder which grows over time to include people’s efforts and then you can just amend the lay file to suit your preferences. I do have to say how great your work is John and I was very impressed when I saw your bezels last year and this inspired me to master GIMP. Making bezels is now a bit of an obsession. I make sure I have a glass version of every game as well as a non glass and other variants as I love the look. These screens did get scratched and dirty during their era. I lived through the smoky 80s arcade era visiting Mancunian and Blackpool arcades in the 80s so have first hand experience of the greatest ever entertainment medium in my opinion that one can experience. Let’s not forget the ash trays on the front of the cabinets and the cig burns. I think we can leave that element off the PNGs though (lol!). I stick to MAMEUI as it’s a lot easier to manipulate. Getting bezels to load for each ROM even when you have correctly placed the PNG and configure files where they should go on Raspberry PI is a complete nightmare. I’ve used Floobs auto install but getting additional overlays to work each time you load up a rom is so problematic it’s not worth the hassle. Just run MAMEUI from a PC and enjoy without the pain.


You can reduce the glare by adding colour to alpha in the layers section in GIMP or remove it completely by rubbing out the screen area.


also, in rocketlauncher you can cycle your bezels with a keypress. i love their bezel feature.


There are plenty of central repo’s for artwork it’s just to big of a monster to collect together and organise.

Metalzoic done a mega pack for RocketLauncher which now resides on the EmuMovies site and FTP because it’s to big to manage, Libretro has a repo with Johns and Floobs (iirc) for use with retroarch, which I will be adding 1000 of the Ines Sonkun converted from the Metalzoic pack. Then you have Mr Do’s authentics, Progetto Snaps, Phulshoff @ RetroFE’s pack, Big10p (iirc), Krackerman’s new UHD marquee bezel set and everybody else in between with their own style methods and packaging preferences.

A guy asked me about using my site as a home for everything but it was beyond my skills/finances to sort. Basically all the images in one place and a database that would add the correct config file on the fly as you download. Be it a retroarch overlay cfg, RocketLauncher ini or MAME lay file.

It would be awesome to see a central home, as the work that goes in is outstanding. John’s skill shines through along with many others but I think the task is out of reach without an active group to team up and the server/storage space to keep it going.

I expect the EmuMovies community ftp may be an option but organising it would be very difficult. I love a bezel and keep my eyes on the various communities creating them.

Also with MAME versions updating every month there’s a likely chance the sets become a little outdated in the way they are packaged.

Just gotta thank the people who create this stuff and accept whatever they feel like sharing with open arms.