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Welcome to The Official Site of the MAME Development Team

What is MAME?

MAME is a multi-purpose emulation framework.

MAME’s purpose is to preserve decades of software history. As electronic technology continues to rush forward, MAME prevents this important "vintage" software from being lost and forgotten. This is achieved by documenting the hardware and how it functions. The source code to MAME serves as this documentation. The fact that the software is usable serves primarily to validate the accuracy of the documentation (how else can you prove that you have recreated the hardware faithfully?). Over time, MAME (originally stood for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) absorbed the sister-project MESS (Multi Emulator Super System), so MAME now documents a wide variety of (mostly vintage) computers, video game consoles and calculators, in addition to the arcade video games that were its initial focus.

License

The MAME project as a whole is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, 2 (GPL-2.0), since it contains code made available under multiple GPL-compatible licenses. A great majority of files (over 90% including core files) are under the BSD-3-Clause License and we would encourage new contributors to distribute files under this license.

Please note that MAME is a registered trademark of Gregory Ember, and permission is required to use the "MAME" name, logo or wordmark.

MAME 0.227

31 Dec 2020

It’s time to say goodbye to 2020, and we’re doing that with the release of MAME 0.227, the fruit of our extended November/December development cycle. A lot has happened in these two months, in terms of internal improvements to MAME as well as user-visible changes. If you’ve been following along with development, you’ll have noticed that we’ve migrated MAME to C++17, overhauled the Lua interface, further streamlined and enhanced the emulated memory system, and cleaned up a lot of ageing code.

MAME 0.227 adds preliminary support for macOS on AArch64, also known as “Apple Silicon”. Please note that we lack a native A64 recompiler back-end, and there are some issues with our C recompiler back-end. If you’re running an A64 build of MAME, you can disable recompilers for most systems that use them with the -nodrc option on the command line. You may get better performance for emulated systems with MIPS III or PowerPC processors by running an x86-64 build of MAME under Rosetta 2 with recompilers enabled. (Yo, ’sup dawg. I heard you like recompilers…)

Lots of long-standing issues have been fixed in this release. Missing platforms in stage 15 of Sega’s Quartet now appear properly. This relies on a protection microcontroller feature that we were previously unaware of. Protection features that are only used late in the game have been a recurring source of frustration not just for emulator developers, but also for arcade bootleggers, and even publishers re-issuing old games in new formats. It seems Sega missed this feature in their Astro City Mini release. Another long-standing protection issue was fixed this month that made Atari’s Rampart impossible to complete on Veteran difficulty. This one was actually a regression that managed to stay unresolved for years, possibly because the game’s high difficulty makes it difficult to reach. While we’re on the topic, protection simulation has been added for the versions of Sega’s Carnival that run on Head On hardware.

While protection emulation may encompass the most noticeable fixes, lots of other things that have been improved as well. Graphical issues have been fixed in Chase Bombers, Championship Bowling, and Prop Cycle. NFL Blitz ’99 no longer skips animations in attract mode. DIP switch descriptions have been corrected in 3-D Bowling, Bloxeed and Mahjong Tenkaigen. Game switching now works on Multipede, and Klax bootlegs are playable, with working sound.

It wouldn’t be a MAME release without new supported systems. This month we’ve got TV games from dreamGEAR, JungelTac, LexiBook and Senario. As always, the quality varies enormously. New versions of 1944: The Loop Master, Cookie & Bibi 2, F-1 Grand Prix, Forgotten Worlds, and Narc have been found and dumped. One of the newly supported Narc versions is particularly interesting, as it appears to be an early test version, lacking a substantial amount of content found in other versions of the game. Another incomplete copy of Unico’s Master’s Fury was found, which could be combined with the previous incomplete set to make the game playable.

Finally, there are a few improvements to the internal user interface. There are more controls for screenshots, aspect ratio and scaling accessible from the Video Options menu. You can now use NOT codes when assigning analog joystick axes to digital inputs. The menus for the Cheat and Autofire plugins have been made more consistent.

Of course, there’s far more that we don’t have space for here, but you can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, and get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. It’s been a very tough year for a lot of us, but it’s still been a great year for MAME development. Thanks to everyone who contributed this year, even if it was just a kind word or helping out a user on a community forum. Have a great new year, and keep the spirit of digital preservation alive!

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Lua in MAME: Time for an Overhaul

27 Dec 2020

If you’ve been following along during our extended November/December development cycle for MAME 0.227, you might have noticed that we’ve migrated MAME to C++17. As part of this, we’ve upgraded the C++/Lua interface library to sol3. This has necessitated a shake-up of the Lua interface code. We’ve taken this opportunity to re-think some of MAME’s Lua interfaces.

Some of the changes are not backwards-compatible and will require scripts to be migrated. However, we believe these changes make our Lua interface more robust and efficient as well as making the Lua syntax more idiomatic. We’ve exposed more functionality, too. Most of the breaking changes fall into a few categories:

  • Better aligning the Lua interface with MAME’s architecture.
  • Using container wrappers rather than building Lua tables.
  • Replacing simple getter methods with read-only properties.
  • Moving the Lua API reference to our documentation web site.

In particular, using container wrappers makes a lot of properties far more efficient because the collection no longer needs to be iterated and copied into a Lua table for every access. We’ll go through most of the breaking changes and touch on some of the new functionality here. There will still be occasional changes to the Lua APIs going forward, but we’re not anticipating another major upheaval like this soon.

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MAMEdev presents: Video Klein

13 Dec 2020

Thanks to the kind generosity of Wolfgang Nottebaum, managing director of Video Klein Automatenbau GmbH, we can provide ROMs for several German video poker games. The ROMs are freely available for personal use. Most of the games come from Video Klein’s popular Witch Card series. Notably, Witch Strike is one of the many games designed to comply with the letter of laws banning video poker games by eschewing playing card graphics and gambling terminology.

The ROMs are available for download from our ROMs page. All the games have internal artwork that shows the control panel button lamps. The buttons are clickable if you run MAME in windowed mode with mouse capture disabled. For games that require initial setup, instructions are provided on the download pages.

MAME 0.227 Release Delayed to December 2020

14 Nov 2020

The slipping of release dates is nothing new in software development; it can, and does, happen with some frequency, for a whole assortment of reasons. That said, with an aim towards increasing the transparency with which the MAME team operates, we have taken the unprecedented step of announcing it, and issuing a (hopefully) reasonable explanation as to why.

The simple, and non-technical, reason for this decision is that the overall stability of the codebase, after some major changes under the hood in order to rectify technical debt after the release of MAME 0.226, is not where we would like it to be. As with many projects, we have a boilerplate set of tests which are run on a regular basis. When any major change to the core codebase occurs, there is the chance for instability – for reasons which will be clear in the more technical description to follow, the change was downright guaranteed to cause issues, despite the overall benefits once these issues are rectified. The metrics that have come from those tests indicate that the rate at which we are burning through regressions is not such that we can be reasonably assured of having a stable build by the time that it is necessary to have one to maintain a monthly release cadence.

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MAME 0.226

28 Oct 2020

You know what day it is? It’s MAME 0.226 day! A lot has happened in this development cycle, and plenty of it is worth getting excited about! First of all, there’s a change that affects all systems with keyboard inputs, including most computers. MAME now allows you to activate and deactivate keyboard and keypad inputs per emulated device in the Keyboard Mode menu. When a system has multiple keyboards (for example a computer with a terminal connected to a serial port), you can choose which keyboard you want to type on rather than effectively typing on all the keyboards at once. If a system has multiple devices with keyboard inputs, MAME will start with only one enabled by default. Sadly, MAME doesn’t have mind-reading capabilities yet, so it may not always choose the keyboard you want to type on. If you find you can’t type on an emulated computer, check that the right keyboard is enabled in the Keyboard Mode menu.

Another batch of layout/artwork system updates are ready this month. More image formats are supported, several long-standing alignment and clipping bugs have been fixed, more parameter animation features are available, and external artwork loads faster. Lots of systems using built-in layouts look prettier, but Cosmo Gang probably shows the biggest improvement in this release (yes, the electromechanical redemption game). Try it out in MAME 0.226, and maybe do a before/after comparison to see how far we’ve come.

Apple II systems have seen some significant development this month. Firstly, a number of issues with demos using raster split effects have been fixed. The Apple II has no hardware support for raster effects, so these demos rely on open bus read behaviour to work out what the video hardware is doing. Getting this to work requires precise emulation of memory access timings. Secondly, two parallel printer cards are now working: Orange Micro’s popular Grappler+ and Apple’s Parallel Interface Card. The Grappler+ is well-supported by Apple II software and provides a better out-of-the-box experience if you want to try one of them.

Sega’s Tranquillizer Gun was a somewhat ambitious title for 1980, but was largely overlooked at the time. It’s finally fully emulated in MAME, with audio emulation and protection simulation being added in this release. We’ve also added support for Must Shoot TV, an unreleased prototype developed at Incredible Technologies. Step into the shoes of disgruntled ITS Cable employee Chuck and go on a rampage!

Far more has been added this month than we can cover in detail here, like another batch of TV games (including several Vs Maxx titles), support for Mattel Aquarius CAQ format cassette images, and working Sega Mega Play games. You can read all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

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Keeping up with C++

16 Oct 2020

Starting with the December 2020 development cycle (after the anticipated release of MAME 0.227), we will switch to compiling MAME as C++17. Compiler and standard library support for C++17 is now sufficiently widespread that we can update and benefit from the new functionality. The minimum compiler versions and corresponding standard library versions with adequate C++17 support are GCC/libstdc++ 7, clang/llvm/libc++ 6, and Visual C++/MSVCPRT 19.14 (Visual Studio 2017 15.7). This will be an increase in the required clang/llvm/libc++ version.

A small number of C++17 standard library features that are not yet widely supported will not be permitted. The following standard library features will not be permitted until support is more widespread:

  • Parallelism TS (P0024R2)
  • Updating references to C standard to C11 (P0063R3)
  • Elementary string conversions (P0067R5)
  • Splicing maps and sets (P0083R3)
  • Hardware interference size (P0154R1)
  • File system library (P0218R1)
  • Polymorphic memory resources (P0220R1)
  • Mathematical special functions (P0226R1, ISO/IEC 29124:2010)
  • std::shared_ptr/std::weak_ptr with array support (P0414R2)
  • std::is_aggregate (LWG2911)

MAME 0.225

30 Sep 2020

Whether it’s the Autumn harvest moon, or the ornamental plum blossoms are blowing in the Spring breeze, it’s time for something special: MAME 0.225 is out today! We’ve got some big updates that benefit everyone! First of all, MAME’s sound output system has been overhauled, with better sample rate conversion and mixing. This makes pretty much everything sound sweeter, but on top of that, the Votrax SC-01 speech synthesiser has been tuned up. Does anyone here speak Q*Bertese? SC-01 speech has been added to the Apple II Mockingboard card, too. While we’re talking about Apple II cards, Rhett Aultman has ported the CS8900A Crystal LAN Ethernet controller from VICE, allowing MAME to emulate the a2RetroSystems Uthernet card.

Other across-the-board enhancements include more artwork system features (you’ll start to see this show up in external artwork soon), an option to reduce repeated warnings about imperfectly emulated features, and several internal improvements to make development simpler. Significant newly emulated system features include the Philips P2000T’s cassette drive from Erwin Jansen, the Acorn BBC Micro Hybrid Music 4000 Keyboard, internal boot ROM support for the WonderSwan hand-helds, and initial support for the NS32000 CPU.

Newly emulated systems include several TV games from MSI based on arcade titles, a couple of Senario Double Dance Mania titles, Sun Mixing’s elusive Super Bubble Bobble, a location test version of Battle Garegga, a couple more versions of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and three more Street Fighter II': Champion Edition bootlegs. Some of the immediately noticeable fixes this month include 15-bit graphics mode refinements for FM Towns from r09, gaps in zoomed sprites on Data East MLC and Seta 2 fixed by cam900, Galaga LED outputs lost during refactoring restored, and clickable artwork remaining clickable when rotated.

As always, we can only fit a few highlights here, but you can read all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

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