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dsheinem
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dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month(ish)" project - DONE!?

by dsheinem Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:47 am

I am spinning this out of the PA/NY meetup thread...

So I am thinking this shindig may be the perfect excuse to turn my spare 27" CRT monitor and HTPC into a MAME cabinet. Anyone with previous experience with building one think I can get that done in a month? Basically I just need the cabinet and perhaps the x-arcade joystick...

Maybe a few lightguns, too...

fvgazi wrote:If you have a cab built, should only be about a couple of days work. If you need to make the cab... I suspect a month would be enough. I don't know what HTPC is but I'm assuming that is the PC running the whole thing.

The hardest part would be taking the CRT out of the TV and hooking up inside the cab. Modding the X-arcade joysticks should be easy. Hell, if you're building the entire cab from scratch you can just build the player surface and put in all sanwa/semitsu/HAPP parts the way you want (i just love making joysticks and I don't know why).


Yeah, the Home Theater Nettop PC will be running everything.

I don't have a cabinet, so I will need to find an arcade cab to repurpose or build one myself. I know there are lots of tutorials, plans, and instructions on the web.

I am actually thinking of building two cabs at once to just get it done with:

1) a standup cab with the 27" computer monitor and an X-Arcade stick (plug+play + sturdy construction + trackball for $200 is very appealing) and

2) a separate smaller bartop cabinet that uses an LCD in tate mode exclusively for shmups.


The HTPC is smaller than a Wii, and the idea of just simply moving it from cabinet and plugging in the monitor and controls is very appealing.

What I am dreading is all the frontend work. I just installed XP Pro on the PC since it runs a bit faster than Win 7 (which is what was on there), and will soon be shopping around for frontends. Any suggestions?

Also, any ideas of what I should expect to spend on materials if I make my own cabs?
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by CRTGAMER Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:05 am

You might not have to gut the CRT if the cab has enough room inside. Removing the back shell might be enough.

I use the built in front end with Mame and very happy with it. Search by name, year, vector or rastar, controller type or manufacturer. I love the way the game list jumps to say type in "GA" to Galaga.

The X-Cade controller is an easy way or you can go custom by using an iPac or gutting a PC keyboard yourself. This allows endless possibilties of the style controls you prefer.

http://www.ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

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dsheinem
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by dsheinem Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:11 am

CRTGAMER wrote:You might not have to gut the CRT if the cab has enough room inside. Removing the back shell might be enough.

I use the built in front end with Mame and very happy with it. Search by name, year, vector, controller type or manufacturer. The X-Cade controller is an easy way or you can go custom by using an iPac or gutting a PC keyboard yourself. This allows endless possibilties of the style controls you prefer.

http://www.ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

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Yeah, I get that there are advanced ways to do things, but I really want simple. The X-Arcade joystick looks like it is a simple solution. The less I need to do with soldering or wiring the happier I'll be. Is there a better alternative to the X-Arcade? What about lightguns?

I also want to be able to avoid using the keyboard as much as possible - so a frontend that fires up when I wake up the PC and turns off with a simple button press is ideal. I want this thing as "closed" as can be once I get it all set up.

Are there frontend cfg files or torrents or something that have things all premapped for the X-Arcade or similair? I would hate to have to fire up each game one at a time and set the controls each time I play something new...
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by CRTGAMER Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:19 am

dsheinem wrote:Yeah, I get that there are advanced ways to do things, but I really want simple. The X-Arcade joystick looks like it is a simple solution. The less I need to do with soldering or wiring the happier I'll be. Is there a better alternative to the X-Arcade? What about lightguns?

I also want to be able to avoid using the keyboard as much as possible - so a frontend that fires up when I wake up the PC and turns off with a simple button press is ideal. I want this thing as "closed" as can be once I get it all set up.

Are there frontend cfg files or torrents or something that have things all premapped for the X-Arcade or similair? I would hate to have to fire up each game one at a time and set the controls each time I play something new...
I don't have the X-Cade controller, I think it does have a Mame configuration. If not mistaken, I think it goes with the Mame default settings which means the stick itself can select a game from the built in Mame front end. One of the X-Arcade buttons should emulate the Return key or the left mouse button. You could also use the Trackball which emulates the mouse to select a game.
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by AppleQueso Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:23 am

dsheinem wrote:I also want to be able to avoid using the keyboard as much as possible - so a frontend that fires up when I wake up the PC and turns off with a simple button press is ideal. I want this thing as "closed" as can be once I get it all set up.


It takes some tinkering in your OS, but it's more than possible to do.

BYOAC's forums are a great place to ask for help on all of this by the way.
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by fvgazi Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:30 am

I have one concern hooking up that CRT. What video connection are you planning on using?

I'm only asking because if you want to do RGB you can get an encoder for $80 if you're having trouble gutting the CRT. That way if you wanted you could also not only use it as a MAME cab, but switch in arcade PCB's like a supergun. I think you would need a vidoe switch to go back and forth between them though. Oh man... when I get a house this is what I'm doing. From what I gather the HTPC is very small so you could rig a "dual" system in there.

I've never built an entire cab, but I plan on building a Supergun this fall/winter after my wedding. I'm budgeting $150-$200 because the RGB encoder is probably the most expensive part. I think I will build a wood enclosure myself and probably leave the power supply on the outside.
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You already have the MAME brains and CRT = free (at this point anyway)
I've never looked to hard for the Xarcade sticks = $150-$200
Wood + Building material = $50-$150 depending on the wood, what features you add to the cab and how you mount the CRT.

or

Repurposed cab = $0-$300? assuming you would get a junky POS to gut.


I think a reasonable budget not to go over would be $500 MAX. I don't even think you would need even that much if you're creative.


**EDIT**
I didn't even think about sound options!!! This could bring you up a bit building the cab from scratch.
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dsheinem
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by dsheinem Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:36 am

fvgazi wrote:I have one concern hooking up that CRT. What video connection are you planning on using?


The monitor is VGA connected to the HTPC with a VGA/DVI connector cable (HTPC only has DVI and HDMI out).

I am not sure where that leaves me with the other stuff you mentioned...

I do think I can build a cab myself for much less than it would take to buy one. I think my wife would even enjoy helping me with the woodworking. I am thinking $350 should be reasonable including the joystick. I also want to sell off some games to help finance it so that it basically costs zero...that will help convince the wife as well :)

Today I am playing around with the PC to get MAME up and running and reacquaint myself with the basics of the program.
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by noiseredux Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:38 am

if the monitor is VGA then how are you gonna use lightguns?
AppleQueso wrote:The thing you need to realize is that eventually Noise will do everything, especially all those things he said he'd not do.

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dsheinem
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by dsheinem Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:48 am

noiseredux wrote:if the monitor is VGA then how are you gonna use lightguns?


I need something like this, which is now discontinued:


http://www.act-labs.com/products/gun1.htm
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Re: dsheinem's "MAME Cabinet in a Month" project

by noiseredux Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:49 am

ah, interesting.
AppleQueso wrote:The thing you need to realize is that eventually Noise will do everything, especially all those things he said he'd not do.

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