MAME Naming Conventions


To promote consistency and readability in MAME source code, we have some naming conventions for various elements.


For better or worse, the most broadly recognised script in the world is English Latin. Conveniently, it’s also included in almost all character encodings. To make MAME more globally accessible, we require Latin transliterations of titles and other metadata from other scripts. Do not use translations in metadata – translations are inherently subjective and error-prone. Translations may be included in comments if they may be helpful.

If general, if an official Latin script name is known, it should be used in favour of a naïve transliteration. For titles containing foreign loanwords, the conventional Latin spelling should be used for the loanwords (the most obvious example of this is the use of “Mahjong” in Japanese titles rather than “Maajan”).


Where the primary audience was Mandarin-speaking, Hanyu Pinyin should be used. In contexts where diacritics are not permitted (e.g. when limited to ASCII), tone numbers should be omitted. When tones are being indicated using diacritics, tone sandhi rules should be applied. Where the primary audience was Cantonese-speaking (primarily Hong Kong and Guandong), Jyutping should be used with tone numbers omitted. If in doubt, use Hanyu Pinyin.


Use ISO 843:1997 type 2 (TR) rules. Do not use traditional English spellings for Greek names (people or places).


Modified Hepburn rules should generally be used. Use an apostrophe between syllabic N and a following vowel (including iotised vowels). Do not use hyphens to transliterate prolonged vowels.


Use Revised Romanisation of Korean (RR) rules with traditional English spelling for Korean surnames. Do not use ALA-LC rules for word division and use of hyphens.


When diacritics can’t be used, omit the tones and replace the vowels with single English vowels – do not use VIQR or TELEX conventions (“an chuot nuong” rather than “a(n chuo^.t nu*o*'ng” or “awn chuootj nuowngs”).

Titles and descriptions

Try to reproduce the original title faithfully where possible. Try to preserve the case convention used by the manufacturer/publisher. If no official English Latin title is known, use a standard transliteration. For software list entries where a transliteration is used for the description element, put the title in an info element with a name="alt_title" attribute.

For software items that have multiple titles (for example different regional titles with the same installation media), use the most most widespread English Latin title for the description element, and put the other titles in info elements with name="alt_title" attributes.

If disambiguation is needed, try to be descriptive as possible. For example, use the manufacturer’s version number, regional licensee’s name, or terse description of hardware differences in preference to arbitrary set numbers. Surround the disambiguation text with parentheses, preserve original case for names and version text, but use lowercase for anything else besides proper nouns and initialisms.

C++ naming conventions

For C++ naming conventions, see the relevant section in the C++ Coding Guidelines: Naming conventions