I've used MAME for a long time, and MESS before it was rolled into MAME. One of the problems that affects first time MAME users is directory setup. We have ROMs, CHDs, Software Lists, Extras, Media... I understand how to set up MAME but many people new to MAME or people who would like to use MAME struggle with setting the directories. I have a possible solution to simplify the directory setup, maybe two.
When MAME ROMs and other files are downloaded they are typically labelled as [MAME Version] - [Files Type], or some similar nomenclature. Many MAME users store their files as 'A Directory > [MAME Directories]' or 'MAME Drive > [MAME Directories]'.
1) Is there a reason we can't use a file type flag (a text file that says what the directory stores) in each directory so that MAME can scan for the file type flag and thereby detect the purpose of the files in each directory and sub-directory thereof?
2) I think I'm right in thinking MAME is able to discern different file types (e.g. ROMs, Software Lists and Extras) based on the file headers, so would it be a big leap to tell MAME to test a few files in a directory and then determine the purpose of those files in that directory in order to autodetect MAME directory settings?
My thought is this: it would be easier for MAME users and new users if we could point MAME to a parent directory or to a specific drive and say, 'Hey, MAME, scan that drive and do your thing'.
Have I misunderstood how to configure MAME all these years or are there technical reasons for not implementing auto detection of directories and file types in those directories?