|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 know as StapleButter), a former contributor to DeSmuME, and has been available as a libretro core since version 0.6.
- Official builds (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)
As of 0.8.0, melonDS offers: savestates, microphone support, better compatibility, the ability to simulate the close/open function of the console's lid, OpenGL rendering and upscaling of 3D models, and Wi-fi/Local multiplayer (Still WIP). Though it's not as mature as DeSmuME in some areas, it's a relatively simple emulator to use and has potential.
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.
The UI is still pretty barebones with very little to tweak in terms of improving performance. This is mainly due to the developer's goal of accurate emulation rather than providing game-specific hacks.
The new OpenGL renderer is still in an experimental phrase and can cause issues with certain graphic cards such as not loading models correctly, freezing the screen, or, at worst, freezing your entire computer. If any of these problem occur, then change the 3D renderer in the back to "Software".
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.