FRI is a ROM manager that I have worked on in my spare time since Summer 2007. FRI’s goal is to simplify the execution of ROM images by bringing all of the use’s ROMs of game cartridges into one place, making it easy for the user to find a specific or new ROM to play, and simplify the selection of the correct emulator for any given ROM.
Here is a screenshot of the FRI version 18.104.22.168 main window with no search filters applied.
Here I typed mario kart into the title search box.
Clicking onthe Advanced Search button gives the user more options.
For example, here is the result of an advanced search for all Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 ROMs that are categorized as English or an unknown language and are a not known bad image dumps.
Sorting the results by community rating brings the some of the best ROMs to the top. At the time of this writing community ratings only include some Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis games, however FRI checks for updates to the community ratings file every time it starts, and will automatically pull it from my web hosting and apply the changes if I make a new version available.
FRI can pull ROMs from multiple file locations. This allows more flexibility to the user, and offers some very convenient solutions. For example, a user may have a desktop computer with a large ROM library and a laptop computer with a small ROM library. FRI allows the user to add the local and remote libraries (via network share) into each copy of FRI. When both computers are on the same network, the user can then right-click on a ROM that is in his desktop computer’s local library and have FRI send a copy to his laptop computer’s local library. While both computers are on the same network, the user could also select any ROM displayed and it would just run, regardless of the file’s location. In addition, when the laptop doesn’t have access to the desktop computer’s network share, the user can hide all of the unavailable ROMs by doing an Advanced Search.
When FRI scans for ROMs it automatically picks out all of the ROM files and infers a lot of information about each ROM, including platform, language, image health, status in the public domain, region, and number of players. The information is totally dependent on the contents of the ROM’s file path/name. Below are the default Vocabularies that come with FRI, which are completely user-editable.
The most important (and most difficult) part about FRI is telling FRI what emulators use what platforms. Note how the “Compatible Emulator Detected” column shows whether or not an emulator is configured to work with FRI for each of the known platforms. For now users have to locate, download, and configure the emulators themselves (which is the status quo for most emulated gaming), and then tell FRI where each executable is and what platforms each emulator supports. As FRI integrates more with my web hosting, I plan on having a simple selector to download, configure, and integrate emulators with ease. The emulator lists would of course be updatable by me at will.
For more information about FRI, see entries about it on my blog.