back to article Open source power-up on the way for arcade game emulator MAME

MAME – the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator – is going open source. MAME is beloved of retro-gamers, who delight in its ability to run the ROMs of vintage cabinet and console games on Windows, MacOS and Linux. A single Tweet last week – see below – set the cat among the pigeons for fanciers of such fare. MAME is going open …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IIRC, this represents more a return to its roots. The main reason MAME went away from a boilerplate open-source license to a homebrewed one concerned the use of the MAME name and the use of the code by unscrupulous commercial interests.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would love

    to see a proper, polished GUI with the ability to slap in a range of peripherals, ie trackball and buttons, multiway / dual joysticks.. Try playing "Defender" on a keyboard... Tempest is another with a simple but not implemented control. Or proper light guns..

    This could turn out to be excellent news indeed.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Or proper light guns..

      Proper light guns need a CRT unfortunately. Best you'll get these days is some camera based fakery like the wii pointer (which actually works really well for light gun style shooters, but it's not "proper"!)

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Or proper light guns..

        "Proper light guns need a CRT unfortunately. Best you'll get these days is some camera based fakery like the wii pointer..."

        Indeed they do... but now you got me wondering how successfully could one emulate those with some dirt cheap accelerometers / gyros and a small MCU, provided one "calibrates" the weapon before use... time for a Kickstarter maybe...?

    2. bonkers

      Re: Would love

      Or just try playing "Defender" at all...

      I still love it, far more than anything since. It wants your money, not your time, so its bastard hard. I'm not even that good, 20k is about my maximum, but that won't stop me hacking a £3 keyboard to make another "proper" controls board.

      The history of Defender is quite interesting, a solo programmer, eight or nine buttons, it was nearly chucked out for being too complex.

      1. xslogic

        Re: Would love

        I have to admit, I tried it at the local showing of the games master exhibition and... Yeah, I preferred using left and right on the computer versions instead of having a "turn around" and "thrust" button.

        Might have gotten used to it if I'd spent a bit more time on it but - limited time and all that.

    3. David Lawrence

      Re: Would love

      I couldn't agree more!! made my own 'arcade coffer table' using an old LCD, PC motherboard etc etc plus some nice joysticks and buttons but I'm no programmer and it all boots up to Windows, then starts MAME which has to be operated with a keyboard/mouse until you choose the game you want to play. I wish I was clever enough to put a nice GUI on it but wouldn't know where to start :-(

      1. MacGyver

        Re: Would love

        "I wish I was clever enough to put a nice GUI on it"

        Google MAMEUI, then simply add the source of it to the source of MAME, and compile with MAME 64 compiler and 45 minutes later out pops MAME with a shiny new interface. Modify the mame.lst in the source folders to remove any of the 30,000 unwanted games if you are feeling froggy.

  3. adam payne Silver badge

    Everyone needs a little MAME in their life

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good News

    This is a really good piece of news.

    They're moving from a custom license which restricted commercial use to a BSD 3-Clause one for most of the project. The main thing this will do is allow the original copyright holders of the games to make use of the code created by the MAME developers when releasing their own retro packages.

    Originally this was prohibited because the MAME developers wanted to protect themselves from being seen as helping facilitate the creation of unofficial game boards running the emulation software instead of using the original components. Even bare boards without ROM files included could have brought about unwanted legal action against the developers.

    The news here is two-fold. The BSD-3 movement comes mostly from the desire of the developers of the sister project MESS who have been seen their software dismissed by museums and educational institutes because of the custom license despite having the highest quality emulation for a large number of obscure hardwares.

    The move to change MAME to BSD-3 comes at the same time as the two projects are being combined into a single new MAME entity that does everything from arcades, handheld games, popular 8-bit, 16-bit and even some 32-bit home systems to other machines that were only ever used in business. This is a huge step in trying to make MAME a more useful application for a wider audience and a very generous move by the developers. It has taken almost 20 years but MAME is finally growing up and making a case to be considered as a serious piece of software.

  5. John Styles

    To be fair, when MAME came out the world was young and all sorts of things had all sorts of weird licences.

  6. Zot
    Coat

    Doorway drug.

    So many people have thousands of stolen 'ROMs' on their disc drives. Have they even thought of the consequences if someone who owns the copyright finds out? No, not at all.

    All this theivery is the start of a long and dodgy lifetime of software theft.

    No, really. :p

    1. MacGyver
      Megaphone

      Re: Doorway drug.

      Had to go check that my ROMs were still in my cabinet with all these ROM thieves running about as you say. It's OK, they are.

      Funny thing is that if someone really did steal my ROM chips, I could use the ones the MAME users have to re-program some real ones for me. I'm curious, how much does Nintendo charge for a new set of Donkey Kong replacement ROMs? Oh, wait, that's right they don't sell them anymore.

      If it wasn't for a lot of those MAME programmers (and their ROMs), a lot of old games would just be gone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doorway drug.

        "Funny thing is that if someone really did steal my ROM chips, I could use the ones the MAME users have to re-program some real ones for me. I'm curious, how much does Nintendo charge for a new set of Donkey Kong replacement ROMs? Oh, wait, that's right they don't sell them anymore."

        Because they make a dedicated multicase retro cabinet that does Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong, Jr., and Mario Bros. It's a regular at my local Dave & Buster's.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Doorway drug.

      As soon as the vendors start selling the ROMs again I'll be happy to get all legal. Until such time, I can't see a jury actually convicting for having copied ROMs. Distributing them maybe, but not "owning" one.

      Heck at that point I might even download and install MAME.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doorway drug.

        And like I said, since they make money selling dedicated cabinets, that locks out the hobbyists. And since their copyright is still in effect and since they're actively using the material and making money off of it, the law stands with them. Their copyright, their call.

  7. Zot

    It's amazing how many excuses people invent to protect themselves from guilt.

    "I did it because.... etc". there's no reasoning with people that take what they want for free.

    They'll justify their actions by making up all sorts of thing,

    You might as well say, "it's a fair cop, but society's to blame." ;)

  8. Daz555

    Minor copyright concerns aside (particularly the old stuff) lets not forget the huge value the MAME project has had in preserving videogame history. If it were left to the companies who made these games (many now long gone of course) then many of these games would be lost forever.

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