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Earlier this month, developer James Addyman got his emulator, Provenance, working on the Apple TV Developer Kit provided to developers via lottery, and now developer Kevin Smith has gotten the popular MAME game emulator running on the device.

In the video below, a tvOS version of the MAME emulator is demonstrated on the fourth-generation Apple TV. For those unfamiliar with MAME, it stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Over the years, several apps with the MAME code have snuck into the iOS App Store, letting people illicitly run old arcade games.


In the video, Smith shows several old arcade games running on the Apple TV, including Donkey Kong, Galaga, Street Fighter II, Raiden, and Metal Slug - Super Vehicle. All of the games are said to run well, though there are some lingering sound issues with a few of the titles.

The video's description includes some of the technical hurdles that had to be overcome to get the emulator working on tvOS.
I created a target for tvOS and set about getting the code to compile for arm64 (Mandatory for AppleTV), fixed a variety of compiler and linker errors. Removed code which was incompatible with tvOS frameworks and simplified code to work on tvOS. Added a basic icon compatible with tvOS. I added some tweaks to the source to allow the pause button to exit the game and supporting the resolution for the 1080p display.
While developers have been able to get emulators running on the developer versions of the fourth-generation Apple TV, which were handed out to help developers create Apple TV apps, emulators won't be available on the tvOS App Store. Apple doesn't allow emulators on iOS and will likely adopt the same policy for tvOS.

There is a possibility that emulators will be able to sneak into the tvOS App Store in the future, buried deep within legitimate apps, but as on iOS, such apps will only survive for hours before being pulled once discovered by Apple.

Article Link: MAME Emulator Shown Running Well on New Apple TV
 

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
Isn't sideloading thru Xcode now possible? My experience with emulator apps that sneak onto the store is problematic as once you switch to a new device it won't be restored or not compatible with the newer OS's. But, if the developers of emulators are not trying to profit off app sales can't they make the package available to sideload?
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

Suspended
Jul 10, 2008
4,197
9,050
Building one is simple. Getting it approved and into the App Store is the challenge.

Isn't sideloading thru Xcode now possible? My experience with emulator apps that sneak onto the store is problematic as once you switch to a new device it won't be restored or not compatible with the newer OS's. But, if the developers of emulators are not trying to profit off app sales can't they make the package available to sideload?

You can create apps for your own organization. So companies can make custom apps just for their employees to use.

I suppose someone could open source the emulator and then people would compile it themselves within Xcode and run it at home. Though I imagine it would be a nightmare. People struggle even with the simple jailbreaks already. Imagine a bunch of people with little technical knowledge attempting to compile such a program. There would be a billion support threads all over the internet when they hit a compiling error.
 
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Bevz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2007
816
137
UK
It's a shame they won't allow it because these games, despite being so old, still hold their own against a lot of the Top 50 on the app store. Just goes to show; a good game is always a good game, no matter how old it is.
Encouraging that they run so well too!

Personally, i'm with jmh600cbr and i'll just wait for them to open source it and i'll compile and load it onto the ATV myself.
 

nutjob

macrumors 65816
Feb 7, 2010
1,025
502
This is clearly against Apple's rules. It downloads code and that code is subject to a copyright violation to boot.
 

oatmealdome

macrumors newbie
Sep 28, 2015
3
2
This is clearly against Apple's rules. It downloads code and that code is subject to a copyright violation to boot.
There's no need to abide by Apple's rules as long as it isn't on the App Store. Besides, the app doesn't even download the ROMs, and the ROMs themselves are OK to have (note: this may still be a legal grey area, I can't remember right now) if you dump them yourself.
 

rfahey79

macrumors member
Oct 22, 2014
74
78
Yeah, it's only copyright infringement. Surely all the companies that made the games will understand and will be perfectly okay with Apple letting it slide.

The companies themselves should just create their own emulators with a built-in store that takes in-app purchases and make available all of their titles for a fee, $.99 - $4.99 per title would be a fair price to pay to have "legal" access to titles you enjoyed playing as a child, or whatever.
 

agsystems

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2013
1,182
1,125
Finally some more news about the much anticipated :apple:tv..... :)
This is cool but wouldn't it make more sense to build something that can be sold in the App Store? Looks like he might be spending 100+ of hours getting this to work so that he could play this on its own Atv. This guy is so talented he could be creating the next big game.
 

usarioclave

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
1,447
1,506
Some ROMs are considered abandonware, in that there's no recorded copyright holder anymore. Even for the copyrighted ROMs possession of the physical ROM may grant you the ability to "move" that to an emulator. That'd be a novel argument even if anyone bothered to sue (ie: is it the equivalent of "place shifting/time shifting?").
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,235
356
Raleigh, NC
The companies themselves should just create their own emulators with a built-in store that takes in-app purchases and make available all of their titles for a fee, $.99 - $4.99 per title would be a fair price to pay to have "legal" access to titles you enjoyed playing as a child, or whatever.

I think Sega does that for a few games. Pretty sure the Sonic games on the store run off an emulator.
 
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nutjob

macrumors 65816
Feb 7, 2010
1,025
502
There's no need to abide by Apple's rules as long as it isn't on the App Store. Besides, the app doesn't even download the ROMs, and the ROMs themselves are OK to have (note: this may still be a legal grey area, I can't remember right now) if you dump them yourself.
Yes, I bet 99% of users of Mame users have old arcade machines sitting in their garage.
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,694
I'm confident enough to build in Xcode as long as these emulators are open sourced
MAME has freely available source code but is not "open source". Primarily because it prohibits commercial use.

This is cool but wouldn't it make more sense to build something that can be sold in the App Store? Looks like he might be spending 100+ of hours getting this to work so that he could play this on its own Atv.

Enthusiasts will just download his source code, build it on Xcode themselves, and sideload to their Apple TV. So it's not his "own" Apple TV.
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
13,006
3,560
Boston, MA
Yeah, it's only copyright infringement. Surely all the companies that made the games will understand and will be perfectly okay with Apple letting it slide.
Emulating software is not copyright infringement. The rom may be, though that's something of a gray area for older carts.

Regardless, apple isn't responsible for me logging into a website and downloading an illegal movie through safari despite that capability being very real. Neither should they be responsible for a person installing roms.

Simply put, this is just a stance they've taken. They also ban pornography from the AppStore, despite it being legal, simply because they want to.

I'm not terribly bothered either way, but this is more a matter of "not fitting with our ideals" than a matter of black and white copyright infringement.

This is cool but wouldn't it make more sense to build something that can be sold in the App Store? Looks like he might be spending 100+ of hours getting this to work so that he could play this on its own Atv. This guy is so talented he could be creating the next big game.
Some people do this just as a hobby. Some get hired based on the work they're able to demo, too. You're not wrong in your assessment, except that not everybody does everything for money. This guy may very well just be an enthusiast that likes to share his work with others interested in the same.
 
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agsystems

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2013
1,182
1,125
MAME has freely available source code but is not "open source". Primarily because it prohibits commercial use.



Enthusiasts will just download his source code, build it on Xcode themselves, and sideload to their Apple TV. So it's not his "own" Apple TV.
I see what you are saying...now that IOS9 is also running on aTV - there is a hope for a jailbreak

Even though its looking like a tall order since there is "company" offering 1 million US$ to anyone that can jailbreak ios 9 (this might be scam)

ZERODIUM's Million Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty
https://www.zerodium.com/ios9.html
 

mdelvecchio

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2010
3,121
1,060
The companies themselves should just create their own emulators with a built-in store that takes in-app purchases and make available all of their titles for a fee, $.99 - $4.99 per title would be a fair price to pay to have "legal" access to titles you enjoyed playing as a child, or whatever.
some companies have. many of Atari's titles are available.
 

CFreymarc

Suspended
Sep 4, 2009
3,969
1,149
Emulation of hardware is not copyright infringement.
True. That has been tried in court and passed muster. However, the ROM images of the individual games lifted from the original arcade games is infringement. You can make the Orphaned Work argument but many of these are still living IP. The movie PIXELS features a lot of these old games thus keeping the IP alive (one of the reasons this movie got the green light.)
 
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