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SpaceBooger
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iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by SpaceBooger Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:24 pm

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I have two different iMac G3s and want to turn one into a dedicated emulator machine (NES, Genesis, SNES and MAME?).
I want it to boot up to a front end and have nothing but a controller attached to it.

In the end I want just the bean shape computer and a controller - perfect for the kids.

Here are the two machines I have access to (can only use one):
http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_500_indigo.html
http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_se_dv_400.html

I am not a Mac guy and don't know where to start, so any ideas on if I should reformat and boot to OS9, OSX or Linux?
What emulators should I use?
Any idea on a frontend and how to boot directly to it?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by cward24 Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:08 pm

I have a new world imac g3 such as the ones that you have listed. I installed linux on mine. There are only a few distros that still support the power pc. Off the top of my head it would be debian, gentoo (possibly), crux ppc, and mint ppc. Mint PPC is what I use and you can install MAME on it. or probably the easiest way to do what you are looking for is to install MAME OS X. That is if you have a copy of OS X already installed.

But this is just off the top of my head.
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by isiolia Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:56 pm

The main issue you'll run into, on the Mac OS side at least, is that only fairly old software will ever work on it. There are emulators, but I'm not sure of a front end.

SNES 9X would come to mind, as that was left as a PPC/Intel hybrid that won't work on newer versions of OS X.

While either OS 9 or OS X 10.4 or earlier would be limited in terms of software, I'd almost be inclined to go with OS 9. For general retro computing use, there's just a relatively small window of software in the PPC OS X-only realm, compared to Classic MacOS, or stuff that has an Intel compatible version for newer Macs.
If you can't find a front end, what you could consider is making a limited user for the task. In OS 9, I think you can create a Panels user type that can only launch applications from a simplified interface. I recall using it for a waiting room Mac way back when. Not as seamless as something like XBMC, but easy to figure out.
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by SpaceBooger Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:20 pm

I found this frontend for Mac OS X 10.4.10
http://www.emulaunch.com/
This might be the route I take, I have to look into if it is controller controlled or mouse.
Like I said in the end I only want the computer and a controller - no mouse or keyboard if possible.
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by CRTGAMER Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:58 pm

I have two iMac G3's, a beautiful computer. It will not run videos 100% speed and some newer emulated games would be choppy. That Front End you posted might just work. Some preliminary stuff to maybe consider first though.

Keep OS 9.2, update the Bios and then install OSX 10.4. The Bios upgrade is very important, you will get a dead computer if you install OSX without the needed update.

With both OS installed, you have the Option to run more emulators and maybe even find some OS9 games worth trying out. The OSX Mame Front End is not as powerful as Windows with all its various list features. However, there are add on Front Ends to supplement Mame with some of the list features.

These do require the Mouse which is handy when dealing with say a 1000 Arcade Rom game listing. A keyboard also is a quicker way to scroll down to "Pacman" by pressing "P" instead of just using a controller to drag thru the listing.

CRTGAMER on Feb 11, 2012 wrote:I can't over emphasize enough about checking and updating the Firmware before installing OSX. The iMac will brick if you install OSX and the firmware is not up to date. The newest OSX that will run in your G3 is Tiger 10.4. The Firmware is very easy to do, just make sure the power stays on during the process.

Firmware Info: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1395

Keep OS9
You can install OSX right on top of OS9 with the option of keeping OS9. You don't even have to Dual Boot, just leave OS9 in there and boot OSX normally. If an OS9 game runs, OS9 will boot in the background, very non intrusive. You really want to keep OS9. Unlike newer Macs, the iMac G3 has the unique capability of running both OS. Very handy for all the classic games such as the ones I mentioned earlier. Believe me its worth keeping and does not take too much room. At least burn all the OS9 folders to a CDR in case you want it later on.

I would get a bigger IDE drive, easily found for around ten bucks. This serves a couple of purposes. Keep OS9 20gb drive as a backup, just in case you did not do the Firmware correctly. OS9 needs to be running for the Firmware update. The bigger drive gives plenty more room, a 20gb will fill very fast.

I burned a backup of the OS9 folders and dumped them on the newer drive after installing OSX. It works either by Dual Boot or Auto loading when an OS9 game needs it.
Be sure to max out the memory, an easy inexpensive upgrade.

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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by SpaceBooger Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:24 pm

The one iMac wont boot and the one that does already has 10.4 installed (fresh with no OS9 on it for classic mode).
I am having trouble finding any emulators that work with 10.4, all of the ones I want (NES, SNES, Genesis) need 10.5 or ClassicOS.
CRTGAMER any ideas on what emulators to use or what to do next?
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by CRTGAMER Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:20 am

SpaceBooger wrote:The one iMac wont boot and the one that does already has 10.4 installed (fresh with no OS9 on it for classic mode).
I am having trouble finding any emulators that work with 10.4, all of the ones I want (NES, SNES, Genesis) need 10.5 or ClassicOS.
CRTGAMER any ideas on what emulators to use or what to do next?

Try swapping the drives to confirm if the drive from the dead computer will boot in the working iMac. This will confirm if the drive or computer is bad. Also will confirm what OS is in it, hopefully it is OS 9.2. If it is OSX, a chance the other iMac did not get the BIOs update which can only be done under OS9. You can also plug an external VGA monitor in the dead iMac in case it were the CRT acting up.

CRTGAMER wrote:I burned a backup of the OS9 folders and dumped them on the newer drive after installing OSX. It works either by Dual Boot or Auto loading when an OS9 game needs it.

Emulators I have on my G3 iMac OSX 10.4
1. Mame with Mame InfoX
2. RockNES
3. NEStopia (Faster EMU)
4. Stella 2600

Pretty sure there are many more. That InfoX Front End for Mame is not needed, but is handy when you want additional game search list options.

There is also a game controller program called Emulator Enhancer by Richard Bannister. I get the impression he has the copyright for this since I have not seen any other controller programs for the keyboard controlled emulators. Not a big deal for me since I have a few controllers wired into keyboard PCBs.
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by SpaceBooger Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:27 pm

I already tried all the emulators you mention, all from the site you find Emulator Enhancer.
He has multiple versions of each emu, I will keep trying until one works, but if you don't mind the next time you have a chance check the versions that are running on your rig. I would appreciate it, but if you cant I will try each of them.
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by WARvault Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:35 pm

I spent a good deal of December swapping HDD's in my very own DV400. It had been running a 250gb w/Ubuntu 10.04 install as a mp3 player, digital photo frame, podcatcher, torrent slave, party robot!
I swapped the original OS9 drive into it to try use for MAME. Works okay for older games, Konami beatem' ups, CPS1 games but Neo Geo games don't work. I really don't know what to do next with this machine, it has some weird lockup issue, regardless of OS...
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Re: iMac G3 into dedicated Arcade/Emulator

by CRTGAMER Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:54 pm

SpaceBooger wrote:I already tried all the emulators you mention, all from the site you find Emulator Enhancer.
He has multiple versions of each emu, I will keep trying until one works, but if you don't mind the next time you have a chance check the versions that are running on your rig. I would appreciate it, but if you cant I will try each of them.

MacMame 103u2
Stella 3.8
Nestopia 1.4.1
RockNes 4.01

SpaceBooger wrote:In the end I want just the bean shape computer and a controller - perfect for the kids.

MacMame will give you the best speed and a huge variety of games. For Example a random letter, these both are very good obscure games. :idea:

Kids - Liquid Kids
Parents - Logic Pro
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