I would like to understand the difference between FBNeo and MAME!

I started studying more about arcade emulators recently, and I still don’t really understand the versions of MAME and Final Burn (alpha, Neo, 2006, 2003, 2010 etc.) work.

Currently I use it in all arcade roms in my retroarch with FBNeo, and from my tests almost all of them (I say almost because I haven’t tested 15 thousand roms) work without problems in FBNeo, in MAME it is very complicated, among 10 games that I only play 3 or 4 work.

So my doubt is: Final Burn would be the best emulator for arcades and as MAME actually works with roms, we already have a lot of problems with incompatibilities. Or does one emulator have nothing to do with the other?

If your romset works with FBNeo and not with MAME, it is possible that you have the FBNeo romset. Each system has its own romset and although they can be compatible, or even start and be playable, most likely they will give you errors. It is recommended that you have the romset of the Core you are going to use.

MAME has worked well in RetroArch, although the integration was not very good, now they are making important improvements and optimizations.

FBNeo is a descendant of MAME and it was made with the user in mind, it is focused on gameplay, it is faster and it is perfectly integrated in RetroArch. It also includes most of the HBMAME games.

If in doubt, this is the best place to start. https://docs.libretro.com/guides/arcade-getting-started/

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I’ve seen and read about this subject, but I didn’t think it made sense that some roms work well on one and not on another. And looking carefully, the same rom that works on FBNeo on Mame may or may not work, that’s what I don’t understand, these versions and everything from one emulator to another, since in my opinion they are the same!

So, keep using them, maybe someday they will work!!

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No, FinalBurn Neo is the descendant of the FinalBurn project, which was the first arcade emulator for boards like After Burner and CPS2.

All of this is thoroughly explained in https://docs.libretro.com/guides/arcade-getting-started/ though.

You can read more about the difference between MAME and FBNeo at https://github.com/libretro/FBNeo/tree/master/src/burner/libretro#difference-from-mame


I hear about this. I always thought it was based, the image that FinalBurn has had has always been a copy of MAME, the information was scarce and nobody really cared, what we wanted was to play.
(Or maybe they were the victim of a wave of hate, it’s not the first time you see this).

What I do know is that it was the first to emulate CPS2, that was a world event. And that FBNeo is a fork of FinalBurn Alpha, and this replaced the original FinalBurn, which in its early days was called FinalDave. Which had to close, precisely because of a legal problem with CPS2.

… ah!! and that one of the new features of FB Alpha was network play.

I’d say it’s not really a fork since it’s the direct continuation written by the same devs (minus that Barry Harris scammer). FinalDave was the nickname of the author of FinalBurn, i don’t think FinalBurn was ever called like that but i could be wrong.

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It is a formal way of calling it, Fork can be a new project or a continuation, you can also talk about a re-launch. As long as it is positive for the image of the project. And ignore the scammer, it’s the best thing to do with those people.

I have a feeling it was the name, before its official launch, but my memories are unreliable and I can’t get a source of information, if there wasn’t before there is less now. Maybe Dave can shed some light, that information is good to keep.

I also believe that it is not a fork but a direct continuation but without the “problem” in the team.

But from all these discussions, I still don’t understand one thing. Every time a MAME version is released, roms must be compatible with it, but what makes this happen, since from what I understand, FBNeo doesn’t need it!

Again, the arcade documentation fully explains why bad dumps exist and why they are getting replaced over time. It is also mentioning that FBNeo uses the latest known good romsets, just like MAME.


This question is better posed than saying, “in my opinion they are the same!”.

And it is very important that these things happen because there are things that we assume as obvious and do not have to be so and serves to polish / refine the documentation, which in itself, is very good.

In this section of the guide “Step 3: Use the correct version romsets for that emulator” they explain why it has to be the same fullset of your emulator, but I will illustrate the situation better. I’m not an expert, that’s why I always get corrected so I learn too.

Each file that you find inside the zip is a dump, that is to say it is a real chip of the arcade that is passed to digital. They are parts of the hardware, video, sound, etc. And these files are shared between games.

Dump the arcade is much more complicated than a console, because it is necessary to disassemble the machine, remove each chip, rip the chip file with special devices, reassemble the machine and then make the emulator compatible with those dumps files.

Extreme example: If you add a new machine with a new system, you have to modify the emulator to understand and run those files. If by chance the audio dump file is the same as the Mortal Kombat one, you have to modify it to make it compatible with the new system.

Also there can be updates, replacing bad dumps or new and more accurate dumps from an old game.

It also happens something very common, they change the names or the order and they have to match exactly.

In any case, if your emulator or core 0.258 looks for a game, and the one you have doesn’t match exactly, it won’t work. Or you might have an old version of the dump file, it might work, but it will give errors.

This happens with MAME, FBNeo, Flycast, Kronos or any system based on MAME roms, it can work or not, you can have a fullset of 0.251 and most of them work on core 0.258.