|Platform(s)||Windows, Linux, Nintendo Switch|
|License||GNU GPL v3|
melonDS is a work-in-progress Nintendo DS emulator aiming for better performance than DeSmuME and to emulate Wi-Fi and local multiplayer capabilities. It is developed by Arisotura (formerly known as StapleButter), a former contributor to DeSmuME, and has been available as a libretro core since version 0.6.
- Official builds also available on Github (Windows, Linux)
- Switch port (WIP) (Some games play at a playable frame rate, but is still far from perfect, don't except to play games at full speed yet)
- Vita Port (Not maintained)
As of 0.8.2, melonDS offers:
- Nearly complete core (CPU, video, audio, ...)
- OpenGL renderer, 3D upscaling
- RTC, microphone, lid close/open
- Joystick support
- Various display position/sizing/rotation modes
- (WIP) Wifi: local multiplayer, online connectivity
Though it's not as mature as DeSmuME in some areas, it's a relatively simple emulator to use and has potential.
There is currently work on emulating the DSi and is planned to be a feature in version 0.9. So far, it has been able to boot into the home screen of the DSi's firmware, but requires a lot of files to be dumped in order to work. It is not ready for general use yet.
Like most emulators, development has been rocky with at one point the sole developer putting the project on a hiatus in May of 2018 leaving this to-do list for anyone who wished to contribute improving the emulator, which is still open-source. On July 2018 it was announced that development was going to continue for melonDS and has since showed high hopes for 2019.
There is very little to tweak in terms of improving performance (which can be a good or bad thing). This is mainly due to the developer's goal of accurate emulation rather than providing game-specific hacks.
The new OpenGL renderer is still being developed, meaning that there's a slight chance some models/textures may not render correctly.
From the README on GitHub:
- melonDS requires BIOS/firmware copies from a DS. Files required:
- bios7.bin, 16KB: ARM7 BIOS
- bios9.bin, 4KB: ARM9 BIOS
- firmware.bin, 128/256/512KB: firmware
- Firmware boot requires a firmware dump from an original DS or DS Lite. DS firmwares dumped from a DSi or 3DS aren't bootable and only contain configuration data, thus they are only suitable when booting games directly.
- DS BIOS dumps from a 3DS can be used with no compatibility issues. DSi BIOS dumps should be usable too, provided they were dumped properly.
These files can be found here, just rename the BIOS to match.
In order to use the OpenGL renderer, you must have at least OpenGL 3.1. More information can be found in this FAQ.