Return to the main Frequently Asked Questions page.
Can I play MAME on an arcade monitor or on a TV screen?
Yes, MAME can be used with real arcade monitors, and using such a monitor will give you a much better arcade picture than a computer monitor. However, you need a video card that supports 15 kHz output, or in some cases 25 kHz if your monitor is medium res. Driving a 31-48 kHz VGA, SVGA, or XGA signal to an arcade monitor can damage it permanently. For more details and help on making this work, please see the Build Your Own Arcade Controls website and forums.
For the use of MAME on a TV screen, you need a video card that provides TV-out support. The picture quality will be lower than a monitor, however many people have reported good results because most raster games in MAME run at low resolutions. If you use a TV connection, using S-Video, Component, or RGB Scart inputs will often lead to better results than composite or RF inputs.
For some examples of what MAME looks on a computer monitor, an arcade monitor and a TV screen, see this monitor output comparison courtesy of Oscar Controls.
Can I play vector games on a vector monitor?
Indeed you can. With the Zektor's Vector Generator, you can use a special DOS-only version of MAME on a suitable vector monitor or Vectrex game console.
How do I get the best look with MAME on an LCD display?
Can I take a picture of my screen while I am playing?
Yes. At any time you can take a snapshot of all the active video screens (there may be more than one). By default, the F12 key is configured to take a snapshot. The resulting file or files will be placed here:
PNG files are viewable in most image programs, and directly in Explorer under Windows by double-clicking them (assumes you have Windows XP or later).
All the games appear sideways on the screen (ie. rotated by 90 degrees).
Why do I get lots of screen tearing when I play certain games?
When will MAME use Direct3D/OpenGL to emulate 3D games?
Probably not ever, at least in the sense this question is likely being asked. MAME now uses Direct3D (and SDLMAME uses OpenGL) to composite and scale the game graphics, artwork elements, and MAME UI displays, but the actual 3D rendering is always done in software in order to ensure consistent operation across different video cards and operating systems.
Additionally, the bottleneck for many 3D games in MAME is actually their insanely fast RISC processor rather than the actual 3D rendering. This is the case in games such as Crusin USA, Killer Instinct (which has no 3D hardware anyway), and Gauntlet Legends.