A new 'u' release of MAME is now available. The biggest underlying change in this round is some internal code movement. In previous versions of MAME, the OS-specific code was responsible for all the frameskipping, throttling, fast forwarding, and timing behavior. What ended up happening is that most ports simply copied the Windows code, made a couple of tiny tweaks, and left it as-is. As of this version of MAME, all that logic has moved into the core video system, which means that there is less work for the OS-specific port maintainers to do. This is the first of a series of changes in this direction, which will mean that ports like SDLMAME and MAME OS X have less code to maintain.
As a side-effect of this change, the "frames_to_run" command line parameter has changed to "seconds_to_run", which is the same concept but uses the more neutral concept of time rather than frames. This is in preparation for a future time when games like the vector games will use asynchronous frame updating instead of using the frame rate hack we currently use.
In addition to this change, Zsolt Vasvari has been taking on the task of cleaning up the usage of video parameters in MAME. This involves converting older drivers to using the new, more accurate video timing functions. It's possible there will be some regressions as a result of this, so be on the lookout and report bugs to MAMETesters. Sebastien Volpe also submitted an improved Kaneko driver which brings several of those games closer to playable.
And finally, you may notice a slightly different look to the default font. I have been wanting to replace the default fixed-width font with a proportional font ever since the new video code went in, but have been finding it difficult to find a good BDF font editor (or a font that I liked that was compatible with the MAME license). I finally got fed up with this situation and threw together a quick PNG to BDC font converter (BDC is the binary cached version of BDF files that MAME can read) and designed a basic low-resolution font. As always, if you have a high resolution display, you are better off converting a TrueType font at high point size to BDF and using that, but for those using DirectDraw, the new font should be a good legible default, and the proportional sizing means more text will fit on those cramped game screens.