Thursday, September 6, 2012

Artwork And The Control Panel

The Artwork
  I am finally done with the artwork layout for the control panel, and I think it turned out well.  I stated earlier that I wanted to have a hodge podge of arcade characters with the joystick colors they represent within that area of the CP.  I was also hoping for interaction, but I found out that, that was asking a little too much.
  Let me start by telling you what I did for the artwork.  I first went and gathered a bunch of vector graphics of arcade characters that I had planned out for the artwork.  Each character represented a color, for example I had Scorpion (MK) for yellow, and Ken (SF) for red.  If I could not find a vector drawing of the character and I still needed them, I would look for a very high resolution of the character and then photoshop out the background.  This turned out to work pretty well for a substitute.
  Now, the reason I need vector drawings is so I can re size them and they will not become blurry.  I was taking a risk with the high res drawings, but for the size I needed them they still looked good.  If you want to know the sites I used for the vector drawings, it is the Arcade Art Library.  They have a vector section that you can use for your arcade art.
  Now without any further ado, here is my CP artwork.

This really came together quite well, as I stated earlier.  I really started downloading images and tweaking anything that I needed to with photoshop.  I then built the layout with indesign, which my wonderful wife showed me how to use!  I then started to try and carve out "themes" within each player.  So player 1 (blue) and 2 (red) have mirror characters for each other.  i.e. Mario mirrors Blue Bubble Bobble (sorry don't know his name...or her name), and Ken mirrors Captain America, etc.  The two dinosaurs, which are from Primal Rage, also mirror each other as well as create a throw back to the two dragons within the Mortal Kombat least for me they do :)  Player 3 (green) and player 4 (yellow) also have some mirrors, as they each have a "big" character, Hulk and Anarkis, and they also have a "flying" character going toward the center, Frogger and Yellow PacMan ghost.  I also included each character from Guantlet as the colors are the same, and there are other things I could talk about but I won't.  Now that the CP art is finished I was onto building the control panel!

Control Panel Production
  I started out by downloading the layouts for the trackball and the joystick/button layout.  I was able to find these with a quick Google search for Arcade Joystick Layout.  Now, the size of the CP I was initially going to go with, which was 62" x 19", I felt was too small after laying out all the joysticks and trackball layout.  I wanted more space for people to rest their hands, and so I lengthend the CP to 21"

  After I was comfortable with the layout, I then marked all the buttons/joysticks and started drilling holes.

  Here is a shot of the holes being drilled, I used a 1/8" drill bit, and a rotary saw for my cuts.  I will also be borrowing my friends Router for the trackball mounting and T-Molding.

Shot of the first joy stick hooked up, I was geeking out about this.  This really is a ton of fun.

Here is the CP with all the holes drilled.

Here is the CP with all the buttons hooked up.  I really did this just for fun, and decided not to do the joysticks since they are a pain in the a$$ to assemble.

Now with all my holes drilled I placed the CP on the arcade to see how it would sit and how it looked.  It looked pretty good, and at about the size I assumed it would be.


Lining Up The Artwork
  I still have a lot I need to do for the control panel, such as wiring and mounting the trackball, but I went ahead and got a test piece of the artwork printed.  It cost me about $9 to get this done, and I highly recommend it so you can see how the artwork will line up with the CP.  Now, to let you know I did go back and edit the artwork after I expanded the CP length.

Here is a shot of the test print laying on the CP.  Not everything lined up perfectly, but I am able to tell where the buttons may pop through someone's face, and if I needed to move anyone around.  I noticed that Anarkis may get covered by a button, and Ken is also in danger of this.  Also, the MAME logo in the center is in danger of being cut for the Trackball.  I have since moved these things around, and it should help with the final print.
So I have now ordered the artwork to be delivered at my house.  I went to Office Depot who were considerably cheaper than the competition.  I paid $50 for a sheet of 62" x 21" high gloss paper.  Anywhere else I went I was look at $65 - $80.  It should arrive soon.  Now, I am off to start cutting the trackball and wiring the control panel, this should be fun!  Thanks for tuning in.

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