Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Luck of the MAMEish

Great News Everyone!
  I have some exciting news of just how much of a lucky SOB I truly am, but I will get to that later.  Currently I would like to go over a few things that some people have asked me about and also discuss some changes to the Control Panel.

Prices of Equipment
  I was asked to list prices of everything I will be buying, and I will be reporting these now.   I recently purchased two sets of an eBay bundle that I posted earlier.  The total cost for that was $67.90 plus $4.90 shipping.  I got 4 joysticks, blue, yellow, red, green, and 28 buttons.  I am now looking for trackball, which is a great segway into my next topic

Trackball Placement
  My brother's control panel has the trackball placed fairly high up, and we have run into some issues when getting into the bowling games where we hit the plexiglass covering his TV.  This issues arises from the trackball being too close to the TV.  Most trackball only games avoid this issue by angling the monitor more so than "standard" upright cabinets.  By standard I mean the traditional, beat'em ups, fighter, platformers, etc.  I plan on  moving the trackball down farther on the control panel and moving the one and two player controls out further.

Lucky SOB
  Now without any further delay I will present my exciting news.  My wonderful wife was looking on craigslist yesterday and found something in the free section....

Tah Dah!
  This was an arcade cabinet shell that a very nice man was giving away for free.  Thanks Kate, great find! I talked to the guy a little when I went and picked it up.  He buys and repurposes arcades.  He was in the process of cleaning out his garage and needed to get rid of this cabinet.  I didn't take any pictures but he did have a Neo-Geo Metal Slug cabinet which I geeked out about while I was there.  He helped me load up the cabinet, and now a LOT of work is already done for me to start building!  Thanks so much Jody.

Here are a few shots of the arcade standing upright.

I went about the process of breaking down the arcade cabinet.

The internal cabling and power supply were still intact, and the bezel and glass front as well as the control panel and power switch on top.  The power switch I got very excited about, I would like to mention that I am trying to do a one button to power on everything setup, but I am still trying to figure this whole thing out.  I believe I will be needing to modify a power strip.
  This cabinet was converted into an Ehrgeiz game, which I went back and checked my collection (more blogs possibly later) and found that I have a copy of the Ehrgeiz fighter for the original Playstation. 
There were a few star key screws that I had to borrow a special bit for to get out.  Thanks for the help Taylor!!

I was able to get into the back and noticed the connecting metal straps(?) that hold the CP down.  I plan on repurposing these to hold my new CP in place.

Here is the CP opened up and then completely removed. 

Here is the control panel removed.  After looking at the original button layout I assumed this was a MK3 cabinet because of the 6th button placement.
After removing the glass on the front I was able to get to the Bezel and Bezel stickers.  I was able to removed the Ergheiz label and found that this was originally a MK 4 cabinet, or at least as far I as can tell.

 I then removed the marquee glass and dismantled the speaker wires.  I was able to take all the wiring and power supply out of the cabinet.

   Here is the newly gutted cabinet.  Now I can begin working on the control panel, and TV/monitor placement.  I still cannot believe that I was able to get this, and for FREE!!!  Unbelievable, thank you so much Kate for finding this, you are the best wife ever!

Monday, August 27, 2012

MAME Update

Buying The Hardware
   While discussing with my brother the frustration I was having with expensive arcade parts from online stores, he told me that I should check on eBay as items can be listed cheaper and I could find a good deal on there.  So off the eBay I went and he was right. 

  While shopping around for arcade parts for the arcade, I came across a multicolor joysticks and buttons bundle on eBay from DirtCheapTrading.  This includes 2 joysticks and 14 buttons of the colors they have listed for your choosing. 

  Since I am copying my brother's setup, I will need 6 buttons for players one and two, and 4 buttons for players three and four. The 6 buttons will be to handle most fighters, and the 4 buttons for players three and four, is for Dungeons and Dragons games, which need 4 buttons to play.  All the other 4 player games usually use 2 buttons.  I will also need the buttons for 1 - 4 player and an exit button.  In total I will need 25 buttons (12 for players One and Two, and 8 for players Three and Four, plus Player 1,2,3,4 buttons and an exit button).  I will need to by two sets of this bundle to get all the buttons I need and I will have extras as well.
  I am also going to need to figure out how to handle the 1-4 coin up option within games.  I have given this some thought, and I do not want to have to bother with inserting a quarter into the machine multiple times for every game I play, and also have to deal with 4 people doing this simultaneously, so I believe I will give each player their own color button to "Coin Up" in the game.  I can handle this with the extra buttons I will have left over from the bundle deal from DirtCheapTrading.

More Ideas
  I have had more ideas for my MAME cabinet. Since I will be using the multiple colors of joysticks and bundles, I plan to make this work with the artwork I want to do for the control panel.  Instead of having two opposing forces flying at each other, I want to have each player represented by a certain color and have corresponding arcade charters represent that color on the control panel.  This is somewhat reminiscent of the Gauntlet or TMNT arcade control panels.  I would also like the characters on the panel to be interacting with each other.  This is probably a too daunting task for someone with very little artwork skills, but I like a good challenge.

More To Come
  That is it for this blog post.  I hop you are enjoying yourself so far, I know I am!  Till next time, Goodbye! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The MAME Adventure

Greetings Everyone!
  I have decided today that I am starting a blog.  I will be blogging on the topic of entertainment, and more specifically Video Entertainment.  I plan to seek out the fun and exciting entertainment options.  For my first project I will be building a MAME arcade.  For those that are unfamiliar what a MAME arcade it is, I will explain.

What MAME Is
  MAME is a computer program that is distributed for free, which some people call shareware or freeware.  MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.  Which basically means that the program MAME can emulate multiple arcade machines...let me break it down a little more for you.  Emulators are programs written by very intelligent people that emulate a piece of hardware, i.e. a Super Nintendo emulator will emulate what the Nintendo console does within a computer program.  When people dump the contents of a game, say Super Mario World onto their computer, this is called a ROM (Read Only Memory).  When you run the Nintendo emulator and execute the Super Mario World ROM file you have it will play the Super Mario Bros. Game.  Make sense?  I hope so.
  Now, arcades are a little different as they in themselves are separate computers.  They do not all operate on the same hardware like all Super Nintendo games do.  So the very intelligent people must them make a program that can Emulate Multiple Machines.  With this we have MAME which can read the the information dumped for Arcades onto computer and emulate the arcade cabinets specific hardware to play it...Well most of the time.  We can get into that later though.
Initial Ideas
  I have some initial ideas starting out for this project.  My brother built a MAME cabinet awhile back, so I have to luxury of having a lot of the planning already done for me.  I plan to mimic his arcade design which is a 4 player plus track ball control panel.  He built the cabinet and control panel by himself(I helped a little), and I plan on doing the same thing.

Fanart is important to me for this, and I plan on developing my own for the control panel.  I am thinking of something along the lines of two opposing forces coming to a collision in the center of the control panel, i.e. a Marvel vs. Capcom kinda deal, or if you remember the good old days of FOX after school cartoons, the end of the opening for X-Men!

Other than this I really don't have any other ideas for fanart.  I plan on consulting my brother for information of what worked well and what didn't for his cabinet, and also the BYOAC website, which my brother turned my onto.  If you have not checked out this site and are interested in arcade building, hobby, etc.  I highly suggest you do so, great information resource.

Till Next Time
  Wish me luck and join me on my first entertainment adventure!  I am sure there will be bumps in the road, and not everything will turn out as it should, but it should be fun!!!  Thanks for tuning in!