Earlier this month, Apple handed out new Apple TV Development Kits to select lucky developers, and it looks as if developer Kevin Smith has been making good use of his dev kit. Kevin has a MAME emulator running on the new Apple TV.
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.
As seen in the video, Smith runs several classic arcade games on his Apple TV, including Doney Kong, Galaga, Raiden, and more. Smith says all of the games run well, although there are a few titles with sound issues.
On the video’s YouTube page, Smith’s description describes some of the technical issues he had to overcome to make the emulator work on the new set top box:
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 Smith isn’t the first developer to get an emulator up and running on his development Apple TV, (developer James Addyman, has created an emulator for the new Apple TV called Provenance), it isn’t likely that any of the emulators will be available in the tvOS App Store once it is up and running. Apple has long had a “no emulators allowed” policy in the iOS App Store, and will likely carry that policy over to the new App Store as well.