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MAME Project History

...and MESS

What's New?

A project as big as MAME certainly has had its ups and downs during the course of its existence. A comprehensive list of what has changed in the project from a source code point of view is available in the various whatsnew.txt files that can be found on the Previous Releases page. The content of these files has also been extracted into our wiki in the Previous MAME Versions section.

Chart of MAME Development

Supported ROMs

An alternate measure of the success of the project is to simply count the number of supported sets. The chart at the right (click for a larger view) shows the overall trend since the beginning.

Vector PDF file

Daily Work-in-Progress 1999-2004

Another fascinating way to look back at the project's history is to peruse the incredibly detailed Daily MAME Work-in-Progress (WIP) pages. From February 1999 through July 2004, Santeri Saarimaa took on the challenging task of maintaining a detailed daily work-in-progress report of MAME development. These page represent a peek into what was happening during one of the most active times in the project's development.


Two tables are provided for people that want to know more about the project's history.
The first one right below, lists what are considered major milestones of the project.

Then there is a much bigger table (super-set of the one below), listing every MAME (and MESS) release, important milestones, date of release, number of parents, clones, devices, CHD (for MAME only), Mechanical and non-working sets. These data are also used for the graph.

MAME Complete History Table

Project Milestones

MAME Project Milestones
Release Version Milestone
31 Jan 18 0.194 Hyperstone E1-XS recompiler. Improvements in cheats, lua scripting, internal debugger, disassembly. Improved support for TV games. More LCD handhelds.
29 Jan 18 - This list now uses UI reported numbers for graphs (since 0.171). Parents include BIOS.
27 Dec 17 0.193 Windows binaries GCC7 (SSE2 minimum). Tiger handhelds. Many new arcade.
29 Nov 17 0.192 Many games improved. New prototypes added. Many Aristocrat MK5 additions. IGS PGM2 software improved. Fixes for FM Towns. Many PC software list additions.
25 Oct 17 0.191 Many improvements by Haze. Experimental Hitachi SH3 recompiler, improvements for Saturn, MIPS3, Voodoo. Many software list additions.
27 Sep 17 0.190 Gaelco additions, ZX Spectrum slots supported. Improvements for HP systems.
30 Aug 17 0.189 On-going parameter fixes. Many performance improvements and bug fixes. Good progress for DECO cassette system. Improvements in GUI.
26 Jul 17 0.188 Some protections were cracked. First INTELLEC 4 emulation. More handheld LCD.
28 Jun 17 0.187 More Game & Watch, some original protection implemented, improvements in shaders. Many little updates.
29 May 17 0.186 Many arcade additions and improvements. More handhelds including some Game & Watch. Improvements for TI-99. Improvements in command line parameters (speed and patterns supported).
26 Apr 17 0.185 Fix for multiple button assignment to sub-devices. Many software list additions.
29 Mar 17 0.184 Non-emulation improvements. Many new arcade dumps. New chess computers. Improved Famicom emulation. Many new BBC and PC software list additions.
22 Feb 17 0.183 Many rares to celebrate MAME 20 years. Improvements for Amiga/C64. Added some handheld games.
25 Jan 17 0.182 Continued serious work on various MCUs. Implemented PortAudio.
28 Dec 16 0.181 Many MCUs are implemented improving sound in many games. Votrax SC-01 emulated. Further ARM improvements (Archimedes). Debugger works on Linux/Mac.
30 Nov 16 0.180 Improvement in ARM CPU, in turn improves Archimedes emulation. Acclaim RAX sound board emulated, bringing improvements to some classics.
26 Oct 16 0.179 No more debug build. 32bit binary is marked as such. Some rare systems added. Big software list cleanup. Whatsnew includes some software list details.
28 Sep 16 0.178 UI more modular (DATs described in LUA, not hardcoded) and other UI improvements. Many machine fixes. Many new layouts.
31 Aug 16 0.177 Some big bugs got fixed (dual lightguns, menus out of screen). Many new computers added in machines. VGM file player. Improvements in serial/keyboard devices.
27 Jul 16 0.176 Cooperation with Debian team. New shaders. More progress on SPARC machines.
29 Jun 16 0.175 Much work on emulating Sun SPARC machines. Many new software list CHD dumps added (esp. for PSX).
27 Apr 16 0.173 Plenty of new graphics scaling modes. Support for large archives (>4GB and newer archive features). Some work towards Universal Windows App support (UWP).
30 Mar 16 0.172 First MAME release with new license. New documentation. Major ini changes. Extended BGFX renderer (planing to move completely to). Improved screen effects. Major improvement of file handling support.
04 Mar 16 - MAME is now Free and Open Source software based on GPL-2.0+ license.
24 Feb 16 0.171 MEWUI merges with MAME replacing default MAME UI for most platforms. Initial BGFX work. Support for videosnaps capture.
27 Jan 16 0.170 LUA support (back) in. More video filtering/effects work.
01 Jan 16 - MSYS2 based tools to build MAME.
30 Dec 15 0.169 Modernized core to C++14. First release to build clean in Raspberry Pi 2 and other ARM Linux targets.
29 Jul 15 0.164 New address space created for decrypted opcode accesses.
27 May 15 0.162 MESS merges with MAME.
20 May 15 - MAME starts work to become Open Source.
25 Feb 15 0.159 Massive addition of mechanical games.
20 Oct 14 - Project (also) on GIT.
10 Oct 14 0.155 Raiden II / DX finally working.
07 Apr 14 0.153 Independent palettes (as devices) and other architectural changes and major code modernization.
05 Nov 13 0.151 Major NeoGeo driver updates.
17 Sep 13 0.150 First release after abandoning u intermediate releases. Major video interface changes. Many new video devices because of the change.
23 Jul 13 0.149u1 Last u release. Major work on the definition of devices.
10 Mar 13 - Site on new server.
11 Jan 13 0.148 First mention of MESS along with MAME in release news and first MESS binary in site, widening the foundation towards project merging.
07 Dec 12 - Support for Python (and new dev tools).
30 Oct 12 0.147u2 New and more flexible implementation of device callback module.
21 Aug 12 - Project (MAME and MESS) moved to SVN.
20 Aug 12 0.146u5 New dev tools including support for building QT4. Massive addition of mechanical games and clones (not necessarily working).
30 Jul 12 0.146u4 Initial support for netlist emulation of discrete circuits. Pong is back in MAME.
26 Apr 12 - Miodrag Milanovic (Micko) takes over from Kale.
19 Feb 12 0.145u1 7zip support and change in CHD format (CHD v5).
15 Aug 11 0.143u3 Device ROMs separated from drivers in loading and listing.
24 May 11 0.142u4 HLSL effects added.
05 Apr 11 - Angelo Salese (Kale) takes over from Aaron Giles (longest standing yet - with Nicola Salmoria close behind) as MAME coordinator.
24 Jan 11 0.141u1 Implemented mechanical games (pinball, redemption, bowling etc.). Imported drivers from PINMAME.
29 Jul 10 0.139 Larger binary due to on-going move to C++ work.
17 Jun 10 0.138u2 Modern implementation of devices as derived classes with mix-in interfaces.
15 May 10 0.138 MESS gets support for Software Lists.
11 Mar 10 0.137 SDLMAME is now part of the main source package.
13 Aug 09 0.133u2 Many renames.
02 Aug 09 0.133u1 39 in 1 (MAME rip-off originally added in 0.117) now working. Huge number of renames.
19 Mar 09 0.130u1 Major change in CHD file format (CHD v4).
26 Feb 09 0.129u5 More hardware components are becoming "devices".
17 Feb 09 0.129u4 Added some AGEMAME drivers.
29 Jan 09 0.129u3 First implementation of device callback module.
21 Dec 08 0.128u7 Internal (source) changes: Global Machine pointer eliminated, CPUs are "devices".
01 Nov 08 0.128u2 renovated.
19 Aug 08 0.127 First laserdisc game emulated (Cube Quest).
07 Aug 08 0.126u4 Cheat re-enabled (read-only), renovation continues.
06 Jul 08 0.126 New universal recompiler engine (started few u releases earlier), cheat engine in the middle of renovation (disabled).
26 Jun 08 0.125u8 MAME debugger included all the time.
21 Feb 08 0.123u2 First implementation of a generic device interface.
01 Dec 07 - New server for
15 Oct 07 0.120 First official x64 build. Further source tree clean up (started few u releases earlier with new development tools).
19 Jul 07 0.117u1 Major changes in input system. Basic UI to select a game.
10 Jul 07 0.117 Interesting little fact of history: MAME for the first time includes a preliminary driver of a bootleg multigame arcade that is based on a hacked early version... MAME!
20 Jun 07 0.116u2 CPS3 decryption added.
17 Jun 07 - SDL headers/libraries. Build SDLMAME out of the box.
26 Feb 07 0.112u3 Major changes in sound generation.
12 Feb 07 0.112u1 MAME code reorganized, separating game drivers from emulation core in the source tree.
07 Feb 07 - MAME 10 year anniversary. Wiki added in
05 Feb 07 0.112 CPS2 decryption fully implemented.
16 Nov 06 0.110u3 Added support for split CHD.
20 Aug 06 0.108 High score support removed.
25 May 06 0.106u2 New video system, focused on letting the video hardware do compositing (enabled by default in 0.106u3 - Jun 1)
03 Jun 06 0.106u1 First version of SDLMAME released.
23 Jan 06 - is finally an .org (and on new servers).
14 Sep 05 0.100 Added back support for some gambling games.
14 Aug 05 0.99u2 Video-based gambling games added (drivers ported from AGEMAME).
03 May 05 0.96 Changed the license to be based off of the BSD license, with commercial restrictions.
18 Apr 05 - Aaron Giles takes over from David Haywood as MAME coordinator.
07 Apr 05 - is born ( actually initially).
27 Feb 05 0.93 Major sound system reorganization around streams.
15 Feb 05 0.92u1 Raiden Fighters 2 (et al) finally working.
13 Feb 05 0.92 Sega improvements and clean up.
24 Nov 04 0.89 New debugger added.
24 Oct 04 0.88 Sega FD1094 decryption added.
20 Jan 04 0.78u6 Internal reorganization of memory system. Beginning of effort to merge separate maps for read and write accesses.
21 Nov 03 0.77u1 CHD v3. "hdcomp" tool, got replaced by "chdman". (internal release)
11 Nov 03 0.77 3dfx Voodoo emulation added.
06 Oct 03 0.74u2 Removed the concept of TESTDRIVERS, making all drivers available in all builds.
09 Aug 03 0.72 First emulation of the SP0250 speech chip.
12 Jun 03 0.70u1 CHD v2.
05 Jun 03 0.69u3 First release to have intermediate 'u' updates.
15 May 03 0.68 David Haywood takes over from Nicola as MAME coordinator. Added SHA1 hashes in addition to CRCs to reduce hacks and prevent collisions.
06 Apr 03 0.67 First dynamic recompiled CPU core added: MIPS3.
12 Jan 03 0.63 First actual CHD (Wargods).
04 Jul 02 0.61 Added initial support for artwork external to games.
01 May 02 0.60 Removed SoundBlaster FM support as software-based emulation finally became better in almost all cases.
22 Mar 02 0.59 Aaron Giles implements CHD (Compressed Hard Disk - later Compressed Hunks of Data).
06 Feb 02 0.58 "Machine drivers," previously hard-coded structures, now initialized by macro-based constructors, allowing configurations to derive from each other.
24 Aug 01 0.54 First release to call out MAMETesters bugs.
19 Aug 01 - First checkins for AdvanceMAME (0.37b16).
16 Aug 01 0.37b15 (MESS) First Win32 MESS release.
12 Aug 01 0.53 Abandoning of "beta" numbering scheme.
24 May 01 0.37b15 Windows takes over from DOS as the primary development target. MAMEW becomes MAME and MAME (DOS MAME) becomes DMAME. Restructuring of parents and clones.
17 Jan 01 0.37b11 Initial support for discrete sound emulation.
06 Nov 00 0.37b9 First proper 32-bit CPU added (68EC020).
26 Feb 00 0.36rc1 Removed Pong and gambling game drivers.
11 Jan 00 0.36b14 Major reorganization of driver configuration structures.
10 Oct 99 0.36b6 (MESS) MESS versions are synced to MAME versions (MAME source override.
08 Aug 99 0.36b2 Konami 052001/053248 CPU first emulated.
05 Jul 99 0.35b3 License change. First history.dat support.
24 May 99 0.35b13 Switched to PNG from PCX as the main screenshot image format.
15 Feb 99 0.35b3 Internal tilemap code added. Previously many drivers did tilemaps their own way.
04 Oct 98 0.34b4 Began using CRCs to identify ROMs.
30 Aug 98 0.34b2 First DSP core added: the TMS34010.
16 Aug 98 0.34b1 First BIOS (NEOGEO). First appearance of Neo Geo games, which have been the source of much controversy ever since.
03 Jun 98 0.1 (MESS) First public release of MESS.
03 May 98 0.33b1 Public betas started; previously users would have to wait several months between releases. The series of betas were sometimes followed by some rc (release candidate) versions.
- 0.32 0.32 does not exist to avoid confusion with MAME32.
25 Apr 98 0.31 Atari slapstic first emulated. Timer system added. Built-in ZIP file support added.
08 Jan 98 0.30 First official "non working" game, Future Spy. YM2151 support added.
07 Sep 97 0.28 First 68000 game emulated (Rastan).
10 Aug 97 0.27 Nicola returns as MAME coordinator. MAME switched away from the GPL license.
18 Jul 97 0.26.1 First release of MAME32.
14 Jul 97 0.26 First vector games added to MAME.
02 Jun 97 0.23 First FM synthesis-based sound chip supported — but only through a hack to use the OPL on a SoundBlaster card under DOS.
26 Apr 97 0.19 Mirko Buffoni takes over from Nicola as MAME coordinator.
20 Apr 97 0.18 First version of X/MAME checked in.
02 Apr 97 0.14 First version to use samples - Donkey Kong.
26 Mar 97 0.13 High score saving support added.
23 Mar 97 0.12 First multiple-CPU game emulated (Burger Time).
13 Mar 97 0.10 First non-Z80-based game emulated (Centipede).
18 Feb 97 - First version of MacMAME released (0.4).
16 Feb 97 0.4 First not playable game added (although there is no official concept for "non working" yet).
05 Feb 97 0.1 MAME 0.1 released.

This page has been heavily modified and enriched in May and June 2016, by NLS, using historical data from various sources. A big thanks to Fujix for the original chart idea and AntoPISA for his "renameSET" detailed files that helped immensely to build the statistics.