|Platform(s)||Windows, Linux, Nintendo Switch|
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)
- JIT Beta build (0.8.3) - Developed by Generic (aka RSDuck). Adds a JIT recompiler which improves CPU emulation speeds. Will hopefully be merged into the main project and may offer better performance on other ports, like the Switch, in the future.
- Switch port (WIP)
- Vita Port (Not maintained)
As of 0.8.3, 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 are also plans on adding support for AR cheats in the near future.
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 shown potential.
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 OpenGL renderer is still being worked on, meaning that there's a slight chance some models/textures may not render correctly.
On October 15, 2019, Arisotura released the beta version of an emulator called melonDSi, an experimental melonDS branch for DSi emulation. So far, it has been able to boot into the home screen of the DSi's firmware and boot some DSiWare, DSi-Enhanced games aren't working yet. The beta requires a lot of files to be dumped in order to work (most of which are console-unique), more information can be found here.
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. If you do choose to look elsewhere online for system files, be warned that there are old hacked dumps floating around that breaks if the WFC configurations are altered.
In order to use the OpenGL renderer, you must have at least OpenGL 3.1. More information can be found in this FAQ.