Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 37

Thread: Mame Cabinets, new listener, yes!

  1. #1

    Default Mame Cabinets, new listener, yes!

    Hello,

    I'm a new listener and I'm going through the archives at work. I love the podcast guys keep up the great work. Is there a podcast that details how you all came together? If so what one? I got back into retro games about a year ago. My first child/son was on the way and I wanted to get a collection going to give him the full experience. He's 9 months now, sooo it's still going to be a while before we're playing street fighter.

    Your podcast inspired me to start a project I've been wanting to do for a long time. Build a mame cabinet. I had a pc that was doing nothing so I've started the journey. It's a Pretty good pc, quad core 2.4ghz, 8 gbs of ram, ati 4870 512mb. So I've spent the last two weeks downloading roms, artwork, and movies for hyperspin. It's going to take a long time to get this thing up to snuff. The artwork, themes, and getting the roms working is a big task. Anyway I was hoping you guys, and your listeners could help me with a little advice for the cabinet.

    A couple of things I'm wondering about are:

    1) Is there an x-arcade alternative for a pre-built joystick setup. I've heard there are places where you can get custom ones built. Do you know any? The reason I'm asking is because I heard that the build quality of the x arcade isn't top notch, also I want a more uncommon look.

    2) Cabinet shape/plans what do you suggest as far as the shape of the cabinet. I definitely want an upright, I was probably going to find some classic plans. I want a big screen. Can anyone suggest anything different or point me towards some good plans?

    3)MDF, Plywood, or Particle board. I don't know what I'm doing but I want something that isn't going to be too expensive and will look good. Are there places where I can buy artwork that you can stick to the sides?

    4) What's up with the roms that show loading until 100% but then nothing happens? Also why won't any of the Neo Geo roms work?

    Any other helpful advice you can provide for my venture would be great!

    Thanks ahead of time for your help!

    Thomas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia USA
    Posts
    3,961
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    We talked about how we got started a few times, the first episode has the most important parts as I recall.

    1. You can always buy the raw buttons, joysticks, spinners etc. and a keyboard interface like the iPac or Keywiz and build whatever you like. It is much easier than trying to retrofit a dismantled xarcade.

    2. You can find cabinet dimensions on the web with some searching, and if your handy you can certainly make one. However it is almost always cheaper and more authentic to just buy a cab and convert it. It is harder to get details like the coin door, marquee etc. to look right. Sub $100 for sure for a good cab missing various game parts or just plain broken, under $50 or free if you look hard enough in most places. Where do you live?

    3. MDF isn't bad, good particle board is more accurate, and again a good cab is probably better. As for the artwork there are many sources, gamegavel, ebay, and dedicated shops like arcadeshop.com. What you are looking for is called side art (on the sides) CPO (control panel overlay) kick plate (front art on some games) and the marquee (lighted sign on top). It is almost certain to cost you more to buy those separate than a good clean cabinet.

    4. Talk to UKMike

    Other than to again say it is best to just convert an existing cab not much, in the end a MAME machine is a PC in a wooden box. Don't be put off by building your own control system using a controller. All you do is wire the buttons, joystick etc. to the controller with one wire each, link them all to ground, and plug the USB/PS2 connector into your PC and the computer thinks your using a keyboard while your playing with authentic arcade controls. The most complex board is still very simple when you think about it.
    Retrogaming Roundup Co-host and host of the Hardware Flashback.

    Follow us on Facebook!

    Email me with your hardware problems to be answered on the air; techquestions@retrogamingroundup.com

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks so much for your insight!

    I don't have a lot of tools and I'm not super handy so I might just get an old cab. How easy is it to setup those glowing and blinking controls? Are the x arcade controls any good? I'm not too shy around electronics, I've been building computers since the 486 days and I used to mod ps1's.

    I live in Ontario Canada, I'll start looking around for cabs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia USA
    Posts
    3,961
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    The xarcade stuff is not commercial quality, not junk mind you, but isn't as tough and does not have the look and feel. Just get the real stuff and you will have a better platform. Glowing buttons of which there are many types, are easy to setup, just an extra two wires. Although it is a matter of taste I find less is more, just a nice authentic button and joystick panel looks clean.
    Retrogaming Roundup Co-host and host of the Hardware Flashback.

    Follow us on Facebook!

    Email me with your hardware problems to be answered on the air; techquestions@retrogamingroundup.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Lancashire, UK
    Posts
    4,424
    Blog Entries
    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    Is there a podcast that details how you all came together?
    The first one has an intro from us all.

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    1) Is there an x-arcade alternative for a pre-built joystick setup.
    Like Scott says, make your own control panel, it is much easier and much better than modifying an X Arcade or similar. If you want glowing buttons you will be replacing the stock ones anyway, plus you will need extra wiring in the harness to light them, so just go that little extra step and build it yourself with an i-Pac.

    http://www.jamesonline.net/arcade/im...airecab042.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    2) Cabinet shape/plans what do you suggest as far as the shape of the cabinet. I definitely want an upright, I was probably going to find some classic plans. I want a big screen.
    You should go for a reclined monitor I think, so you can get a big ass one in there, and I like the Defender style personally.

    http://www.jakobud.com/plan-list.php

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    3)MDF, Plywood, or Particle board.
    You get what you pay for. Ply will be the most expensive, but rock solid. MDF the cheapest but not as sturdy when you kick it after dying for the 20th time.

    Again, I would echo, get an existing cab and refurb it.

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    4) What's up with the roms that show loading until 100% but then nothing happens? Also why won't any of the Neo Geo roms work?
    Could be a low spec PC but you have that covered, so it could be the romset version. You have to match your romset to the mame version you are using.

    To exclude everything else, do your testing from the command line rather than through the frontend. MAME uses basic commands and switches, so try to run pacman with no sound intially

    (from the mame directory at the command prompt)

    mame pacman -nosound

    if that works try

    mame pacman

    and build it up from there. If you have such a powerful system it may try to run them too big so you may need to specify a resolution with an extra switch, but the frontend should handle it nicely.

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    Any other helpful advice you can provide for my venture would be great!
    Read this, it covers the start to finish of my own project from a couple of years ago.

    http://www.jamesonline.net/arcade

    Incidentally, my own cab PC just crapped out with a hard drive issue. I did have a backup of it but that too has failed so now I am trying to recover everything rather than rebuild the whole thing.

    At the same time my daughters laptop died as well as my wife's, so it has been a week of rebuilding computers.
    Before you insult a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you insult him, you'll be a mile away, and have his shoes.
    Jamesonline.net
    RetroGaming RoundUp
    Follow us on Facebook

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    119

    Default

    I'm not replying to this message because I speak with any kind of authority on this topic, I only do so because coincidentally I am on the home stretch in building my own MAME cabinet (just put the first coat of paint on the other day) so I can share my experiences while they're fresh in my mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by oddword View Post
    Hello,

    1) Is there an x-arcade alternative for a pre-built joystick setup. I've heard there are places where you can get custom ones built. Do you know any? The reason I'm asking is because I heard that the build quality of the x arcade isn't top notch, also I want a more uncommon look.
    As already stated, strongly consider biting the bullet and designing/building your own control panel. The Ultimarc iPac is the board that interfaces to your PC. What it does is translate button presses and joystick movements into keyboard presses, and then you map the controls accordingly in MAME. Very simple, actually. Items to consider:

    Re: Joysticks

    - make/model. There are several options out there, with widely differing opinions on what is best. Really, it seems to come down to what types of games you like to play. For example, a good Street Fighter II joystick may not (read: probably won't) make for a good Donkey Kong joystick.
    - 4-way vs. 8-way. Some games (usually older games like Pac-Man, DK, Frogger, etc.) only recognize up, down, left, and right and if you hit a diagonal, your character behaves unpredictably. Enter the 4-way joystick, which eliminates this issue. I've played these games with 8-way joysticks and they're still playable, but it really does suck when you lose a life in a good game strictly due to the controller you're using. There are also joysticks that are switchable between 4- and 8-way. Make sure you research before you buy.

    Re: other controller types
    - trackball. Do you need/want it? If you can't come up with a decent list of trackball games that you MUST play, then I'd say skip it. It takes up space on your CP and can be pricey. You either need to buy another interface board or buy a trackball that is plug and play via USB (this is what I did with mine--product is called Ultimarc U-Trak). Purists will cringe, but aside from the classic trackball games like Centipede, Missile Command, and Marble Madness, the trackball can be used in MAME to "fake" your way through other games that originally used analog controls (i.e. Star Wars, Pole Position). Something to consider.
    - spinner. I don't have one on my CP. Again, really think about whether you need it or not. Aside from Tempest and Arkanoid, I can't even think of any games that originally used one of these.

    2) Cabinet shape/plans what do you suggest as far as the shape of the cabinet. I definitely want an upright, I was probably going to find some classic plans. I want a big screen. Can anyone suggest anything different or point me towards some good plans?
    I decided to be a hero and completely design and build my own. I have no regrets, but there are definitely some things I would do differently if I was given a mulligan. I fully expected that, but the other thing is, this project has taken waaaaaay longer than I originally expected. Thing is, if you have standards for your work, you're constantly going to be taking on little challenges in order to address little details that are just bugging you about how something looks, etc. I'm not much of a "handy man" with wood working but I'm not a total blank slate either. I definitely have learned a lot building this thing. Whether you want to do a scratch-build is up to you, my only recommendation is that you don't even consider it unless you have (or have access to) the following tools (among others):

    -circular saw
    -jigsaw
    -router with slot cutter bit, straight bit, and flush-trim bit
    -at least 4 big (2-3 ft) clamps, and assorted smaller ones

    3)MDF, Plywood, or Particle board. I don't know what I'm doing but I want something that isn't going to be too expensive and will look good. Are there places where I can buy artwork that you can stick to the sides?
    I went with MDF. This material leads to an end product that is nice, but the process of getting there has made me HATE working with this stuff. It's heavy as hell, it disintegrates into a fine dust that gets EVERYWHERE (including your lungs) when you cut it, screws sometimes pull out of it if you're not careful, etc.

    4) What's up with the roms that show loading until 100% but then nothing happens? Also why won't any of the Neo Geo roms work?
    I'd recommend you try to hunt down a reasonably recent version of MAME with a set of confirmed working ROMS and leave it at that. In other words, don't concern yourself with always trying to have the latest and greatest MAME version, because there is a good chance you'll break many of your games when you change versions. I'm running v122.

    Any other helpful advice you can provide for my venture would be great!
    If you have any other questions that you would like answered by somebody with very recent experience slogging through a MAME project, let me know. Like I said, I'm not an authority but it's all fresh in my mind right now.

    Good luck
    Check out CYN CITY:
    http://cynicaster.blogspot.ca/

  7. #7

    Default OI

    You guys are the best. I'm working though the mame themes on hyperspin and getting them all installed. Thank you so much for the help, I'll keep you posted on my progress!

    V1.22 fixed sooooo many games! Why do newer version of mame have less compatibility? Strange.

    Listening to ep 1 now.

    Thomas

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia USA
    Posts
    3,961
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Super point about the 4/8 way switchable, you want that, good catch. Mame comes and goes, one version plays a game great, and the next version won't buyt it will do other games well. Their stated goal is accuracy so if they make a change that results in a 40 frames per second game turning into a slide show they consider it a good move. I recall in a really early version, maybe 20 or so, Mrs Pac ran great on a P2, many versions down the road and it needed a P4. My favorite for solid performance with a good game selection is version .66 which will turn any old P4 into a nice machine using the DOS version of Mame. Many of those embedded all in one boards, and mobile device versions use .32 because it had low overhead and works well on ARM CPUs.
    Retrogaming Roundup Co-host and host of the Hardware Flashback.

    Follow us on Facebook!

    Email me with your hardware problems to be answered on the air; techquestions@retrogamingroundup.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Lancashire, UK
    Posts
    4,424
    Blog Entries
    45

    Default

    I have a friend who always chases the latest MAME version including all the CHD files and who has no end of trouble.

    I have a DOS machine running dmame 0.66 on an old 800MHz PC that runs fine and my cab runs 1.01 or something similar.
    Before you insult a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you insult him, you'll be a mile away, and have his shoes.
    Jamesonline.net
    RetroGaming RoundUp
    Follow us on Facebook

  10. #10

    Default

    Can you make Mame cabinets run off of the coin slot by wiring it to the J-pac??

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Retro Gaming RoundUp