The transition of MAME’s licensing to the BSD/GPL licenses was completed in March 2016. With the license change, most of MAME’s source code (90%+) is available under a three-clause BSD license and the complete project is under the GNU General Public License version 2 or later.
On May 27, 2015 (0.162), the games console and computer system emulator MESS was integrated with MAME (so the MESS User Manual is still the most important usage instruction for the non-arcade parts of MAME). Cabinets can be built either from scratch or by taking apart and modifying a genuine arcade game cabinet that was once used with the real hardware inside.
The MAME core coordinates the emulation of several elements at the same time. These elements replicate the behavior of the hardware present in the original arcade machines. MAME can emulate many different central processing units and associated hardware.
The resulting files are often generically called ROM images or ROMs regardless of the kind of storage they came from. A game usually consists of multiple ROM and PAL images; these are collectively stored inside a single ZIP file, constituting a ROM set. In addition to the "parent" ROM set (usually chosen as the most recent "World" version of the game), games may have "clone" ROM sets with different program code, different language text intended for different markets etc. For example, Street Fighter II Turbo is considered a variant of Street Fighter II Champion Edition. System boards like the Neo Geo that have ROMs shared between multiple games require the ROMs to be stored in "BIOS" ROM sets and named appropriately.
MAME emulates well over a thousand different arcade system boards, a majority of which are completely undocumented and custom designed Apple II ROM games to run either a single game or a very small number of them. The approach MAME takes with regards to accuracy is an incremental one; systems are emulated as accurately as they reasonably can be. Bootleg copies of games are often the first to be emulated, with proper versions emulated later.
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These elements are virtualized so MAME acts as a software layer between the original program of the game, and the platform MAME runs on. MAME supports arbitrary screen resolutions, refresh rates and display configurations. Multiple emulated monitors, as required by for example Darius, are supported as well. In May 2015, it was announced that MAME’s developers were planning to re-license the software under a more common free and open-source license, away from the original MAME-license.
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Cabinets inspired by classic arcade games can also be purchased and assembled . The MAME project was started by the Italian programmer Nicola Salmoria. It began as a project called Multi-Pac, intended to preserve games in the Pac-Man family, but the name was changed as more games were added to its framework.
- This was a great introduction to the famous FPS for people who exclusively had consoles.
- This is a battle of good versus evil here, with The Master and Tanzra facing off for world domination.
- Much is the same from the first game, but it just works.
- Luke gets force powers and can deflect blaster fire with his lightsaber now.
Besides encryption, arcade games were usually protected with custom microcontroller units that implemented a part of the game logic or some other important functions. Emulation of these chips is preferred even when they have little or no immediately visible effect on the game itself.
For example, the monster behavior in Bubble Bobble was not perfected until the code and data contained with the custom MCU was dumped through the decapping of the chip. This results in the ROM set requirements changing as the games are emulated to a more and more accurate degree, causing older versions of the ROM set becoming unusable in newer versions of MAME. The original program code, graphics and sound data need to be present so that the game can be emulated. In most arcade machines, the data is stored in read-only memory chips , although other devices such as cassette tapes, floppy disks, hard disks, laserdiscs, and compact discs are also used. The contents of most of these devices can be copied to computer files, in a process called "dumping".