BBC Micro using MESS core...?


A BBC Micro core would be great for Retroarch, but meanwhile I read that MESS supports it, but there’s not much Information around I can find. I can’t seem to get it working, so does Retroarch support BBC Micro through the MESS core?

The MESS core is based on a old version, I believe the BBC driver broke at some point in the past and was later rewritten. So you might have to use a recent version of the MAME core where MESS was fused in.

They seem to have the BBC Micro core working in the latest version of Batocera via MESS:

I have also previously requested a BBC core and and Acorn Electron core - would be great to see it in Retroarch \ Libretro.

Recalbox also now supports the BBC Micro: Too many links for my first post but you can find it on the Recalbox site.

I’ve been trying to get it added to ArkOS: and contacted the owner of Beebem who has given permission for it’s use on other platforms:

Response from Beebem owner: Hi Rik,

Good to hear from another retro and BBC Micro enthusiast! I’m all for widening the audience for retro projects and BeebEm in particular.

BeebEm has already been used in a number of bundled emulation systems. The issue of licensing does always raise some questions. Back in 2009 I got the agreement from all of the BeebEm authors to switch the licensing of the Windows build to GPL2.

The Linux build of BeebEm though, which a lot of these third party systems use, pre-dates this GPL change, and no-one (to my knowledge) has yet updated the sources to bring them in-line with the latest Windows version. So, licensing for the Linux sources remains as the original author (Dave Gilbert) specified in the COPYING file (attached). Having said that, I’m sure Dave would have no problem with BeebEm being included in an ArkOS build, as long as it was freely available.

More of an issue is licensing for the BBC Micro OS and BASIC ROM images. Although some effort has been made to establish who owns the copyright for these ROMs, it has never been fully resolved. There remains a risk that a commercial entity may at some point object to the use of the ROMs (although no-one has ever contacted me regarding use of them).

The Linux port of BeebEm is available here:

There may well be some further updates available for the Linux port scattered across the Internet - I’ve never looked in any detail!

I’ve not seen recallbox before. It looks like they picked up the Linux port and, even though they have kept their repo private, I doubt they have made any significant modifications to it.

Hope all of this helps. If you do port BeebEm to a new system, I would be happy to add a link to it from my BeebEm site.

Kind regards, Mike

On 30/04/2022 07:56, Richard Wadsworth wrote:

Hi Mike,

I hope you don’t mid the approach. I’m a child of the 80s and grew up with home computing. My favourite systems of all time are the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro. I’m also heavily into emulation and retro gaming, particularly retro handhelds such as the Anbernic RG350M and the RG351M. Where possible I’ve been championing the use of BBC Micro emulators onto new systems to allow more people to experience the mighty BBC Micro.

I can see that Recalbox have used your emulator in their latest build:

I’d like to be able to use your code in a couple of the most popular handheld systems: ArkOS and AmberELEC. These are strictly non profit and are done by the love of the community. I’ve raised this ticket to see if we can get BeebEm added to ArkOS but the lead developer has come back saying it is not publicly available - see below.

Can you let me know if you have any objections and permission to use BeebEm in these retro handhelds to bring the BBC Micro experience to the a wider community?

Many thanks


You can save this…

bbcb -rompath "E:\Temp\bbcb" -flop1 "E:\Temp\bbcb\" -autoboot_delay "1" -autoboot_command "*cat\n*exec""!boot\n"

(Substituting your paths) as commando.cmd, and load it as a rom in the Current MAME core.

Make sure you have the MAME rom in your rompath folder.

FYI… the rompath folder can be a different folder path than the actual game rom folder, to make scanning easier.

It should be fairly straight forward to write a script to output a *.cmd for each rom you have.