Posts Tagged ‘arcade’

MAME today showed LIFE!!

So, Phil came over and finished installing the MAME drivers on the computer we’re using.  Success!  The image shows up on the tv, the driver works and games are visible and partly playable!  He spent some time mapping commands to the controls, although there are several buttons and joystick switches that aren’t working quite right.  Also, I didn’t realize that you need separate buttons for 1 or 2 player selection AND add coins for each player.  My job for this task is to install two more buttons (I’m thinking of adding switches behind the “coin” buttons with some LEDs to light them up).  Another task is to cut back some of the cabinet so the control board will sit nicely.  The joysticks stick out too far and don’t allow the board to lay flat.

Phil’s coming back maybe this weekend or next week with his voltimiter to try to find the problem with the malfunctioning buttons and joystick switches.  He’s also going to figure out what voltage is feeding the light bulbs so we can put the right ones up in the marquee.  I’d like to close that up and have the lights be functional soon.

I’d gotten some small computer speakers from Goodwill last night, but they did not work so I’ve got to take them back and get some others. That’s it for the MAME right now! Wahoo!

MAME key map for controls 112409


The key map

Key map

Now that the controls are ready, a lot of the MAME is out of my hands. My friend, Phil, was interested in setting up the computer to run the emulator. He’s decided to run Linux on the computer and has been trying to find something that will allow output to an old tv.  My other friend, Alex, has spent a lot of time finding games. He’d also mentioned to me that he’d map the emulator keyboard commands to match the buttons/joystick wiring.  I sent him this picture today so he’ll know which key is associated with which button.  I also took a few minutes and fixed the hole where the second joystick is going so it didn’t interfere with it anymore.  We’re just waiting for the computer stuff now and then we can test it!  Yay!


MAME: joysticks! 103109






I finished wiring the joystick bases and other buttons from the control panel to the keyboard board! Yay!  … Although, the hole through the wood is not quite big enough for the second one, so I have to take the box off the back, and grind the hole out a bit more before I can get the handle through.  AND… I haven’t tested them yet, so I don’t know if they work or not.  I’ll have to wait for Phil to come and bring his voltimeter.  I really should just get one for myself.   Phil also needs to finish working on the settings on the computer so it’ll work with the tv.  SO CLOSE!!

And then … the pretty-fying!

My MAME: fourth

Now, while I was working on the control panel and mouse hack, my friends, Phil and Alex, were working on hacking the keyboard board.  It’s nice to have buttons and joysticks, but how do you get them to talk to the computer?  We referred to many web tutorials and decided to take an old keyboard apart and use it’s board to receive the control panel actions.

First, you’ve gotta take an old keyboard apart. What you’ll probably find inside is a rubbery, nubbly sheet,  three transparent sheets of plastic, and the board.  I plan to use the nubblies in a tentacled costume later, but you might just throw it out.  Two of the three clear sheets are lined with conductive material that, when the dots come together, complete a circuit and are identified by which row and column are closed.  Warren and I spent an uncomfortable evening following the little metal lines around, labeling which keys were on that line.  We made a chart that shows which row and column each key was associated with for later mapping in the MAME software.

But the boys got to play with the board.  First, they pulled out the connection pins in the board where the transparent sheets used to hook up to it, and then they soldered wires into the spaces.  We decided spades at the ends of the wires would let us hook up and change multiple buttons most easily.  The board hooks up to the computer using the same port the keyboard always did, but now it will interact with buttons instead.

My MAME: Third

So, while I recovered my composure from the final roller-ball-debacle, I installed a shelf to put the tv on in the case.  In original arcade games, a CRT monitor rests inside a particle board frame.  This monitor doesn’t have a hard case, like we think of when we think of monitors or tvs.  So, there was just a glass screen, tube, and lots of wires and stuff all over.  The cabinet I bought didn’t come with one of these.  So, I had to come up with something that would work with my computer.  I got an big ol’ 22″ CRT monitor from a friend, but it was way too big.  So, a friend volunteered his old 22″ television.  To hold this tv, I needed to install a shelf that would support it at an angle to follow the arcade angle.  Didn’t take much, and the shelf was installed, but the tv tipped back, so I had some metal binding handy and we used it to support the top part of the tv.  My dad helped me slide the tv in the cabinet and accidentally cut his hand on the metal strip.  Poor Dad.

Now the tv is in the cabinet, although it doesn’t fill up the space available for the monitor.  AND, the case is still pretty big and I’d need to cut a hole in the back door so it could be closed.  But, I don’t really want that… What I’d like is an LCD monitor that would just lay in the space available all nice and neat.  I’d need to find a regular old monitor – not wide screen – and it’d need to fit a 23.75 x 23.75″ opening.  Also, I’d need to look into how bad the angle would be on the LCD panel.

BUT – we’ve got a way to look at the games now!  YAHOO!!

My MAME: Second

Buttons.  I needed buttons.  And I knew where I was going to find them.  While Warren and I were at the Maker Faire in San Diego last June, we saw tons of vendors from all over the country. And one just happened to be from Hillsboro.  SurplusGizmos.  They had to have them.  And I was not wrong. What I didn’t count on, was how much other AWESOME stuff they had!  Phil and I went shopping for the MAME. We bought 15 buttons with switches, two joystick bases, an old roller mouse pad, a keyboard splitter cable, adapters, and an old keyboard.  We bought a few other things, too, like wires, and shrink wrap cover things, but we haven’t used them yet.  I spent $50.

I picked out these white edged buttons because they came in several colors and it included the switch. The other buttons with the black edges did not include the switches and were the same price.  I also liked that I could dismantle the button and may be able to install LED lights into them some day. But I’m going to wait until we get everything working before I start to worry about its appearance. The down side is that if one of the legs of the parts that holds the switches in place gets moved, it flexes out easily and no longer secures the switch – so it won’t work.  I’ve had to wrap three legs with electrical ties and tape so far.

The third picture shows what I was guessing might be the button layout. But, with some input from Warren, I changed it a bit and, on March 25th, my dad set me up at his drill press and I cut holes out of a piece of plywood I picked up for free at the Home Depot.  Their scrap lumber section is too cool.  The random piece I picked out fit PERFECTLY in the cabinet – I didn’t have to cut it down at all!  So the fourth picture shows the buttons put in the control panel, the squares show where the joysticks are going to go, and behind the panel you can see the partially dismanteled roller mouse getting ready to be installed.

That was a project in itself! First, the mouse case was molded at an angle so it wouldn’t fit right against the board. Second, cutting the ball cradle away from the whole assemblage was a pain and left grey plastic dust all over my work room. Third, I had to do lots of fiddling with brackets and spacers to be able to attach the base to the back of the control panel. Fourth! Alex reminded me that, if we were going to use the roller ball as the mouse for the computer and not just as a game controller, we needed to be able to access the right and left mouse buttons.  Grrr. I ended up just drilling holes over the switches which can be triggered by using a crochet needle or paint brush.  And last, but definatly NOT LEAST! oh, I can’t go on…  I’ll talk about it in the next installment…

My MAME: First

I spent a couple days looking at web pages , emailing some friends of mine who are good with computers and know games (Warren, Alex, and Phil).  Part of that included looking at craigslist to see if anybody was selling parts and what the prices were.  It all seemed pretty do-able for me.  I was excited to try some soldering and learning about computer boards, and the stuff I didn’t feel like I could do (working with Linux), I figured the boys could.  While the boys weren’t as enthusiastic as I had hoped, craigslist satisfied my new passion.  I discovered that cabinets range widely in styles, availability, completeness, and prices.  I contemplated building my own particle board cabinet for a while, but happened upon one being sold for $50.   I liked its curvy lines.  And with a working coin door, I decided I couldn’t build one for less money or hassle, so drove down to Eugene with Warren to get it.  It was about March 24th…

We met in the Sears parking lot where the owner and his wife brought the cabinet with them.  We stood out in the parking lot for a while, talking about his passion for arcade games and he gave me some ideas on how to find parts and people as resources.  I decided I wanted it and, as I dug the money out of my wallet, I ventured “Would you take $40?”  Oh!  Not only am I exploring the world of arcade machines, but BARGAINING too!  The wife responded “Good girl, of course he will!” and he sheepishly agreed.  He offered me a control panel for $25, too, and at the time I didn’t like the button configuration and wasn’t sure how I’d be able to cut a hole in the metal for a roller ball so I said no thanks.  After I’ve been working on my own control panel, I’m kind of sorry I didn’t counter with “I’ll take them both for $60!”

I convinced some other friends to join me and carry that super heavy cabinet up the stairs to my second story apartment. It was awkward, but not too bad.  Well, actually, I didn’t carry it, so I don’t know how bad it was! They said it wasn’t too bad.  I like how it looks in my living room – it gives the room some height.