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The STARFORCE NEO - Smallest All-in-One NeoGeo MVS System

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#1 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:03 AM

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Ola Retrogamers, 

 

Last winter I presented the STARFORCE PI Electronic Tabeltop Mini-Arcade on this forum to gauge interest and collect feedback which I could use in preparing a Kickstarter campaign to produce this all-in-one system with a solid arcade experience (www.starforcepi.com). We unfortunately fell short at 49K of the 190K funding goal, but it was a pretty good response, with some decent coverage by techblogs. Because of this I decided to continue working on this project together with Hartmut Wendt (hwhardsoft.de).

 

In parallel to working on a small-volume limited release run, I decided to explore the possibility of building a Neo Geo MVS into the smallest and lightest form factor possible. This was to compare actual Neo Geo games on original hardware with the more budget friendly emulated experience of the SFP. After roughly 4 months of working, tinkering, cutting, thinking and cursing I finished a fully functional mini Neo Geo MVS system: The STARFORCE NEO All-in-One System.

 

The entire build cost around €600, using original and premium components, with a further €150 euro for the extra controller and multicart (161-in-1 MVS to AES shell conversion + box).

 

Check out the attached pictures for an impression of the system, and visit the STARFORCE PI blog for a little more information on the system.

 

SPECS:

 

·         Authentic SNK Neo Geo MV-1B hardware

·         Neo Geo MVS Cartridge Compatible

·         2x Neo Geo Controller Inputs (Player 1 & 2)

·         Integrated SEIMITSU Joystick & 6 buttons (Player 1)

·         Integrated 8” 480p LCD Screen (4:3) + HDMI Output

·         SmallCab SuperGun to SCART-to-HDMI

·         SGL3000 Scanline Generator

·         Logitech Z120 Internal 1.2Watt Stereo Speakers

·         3.5mm Headphone Stereo Jack

·         BeQuiet! Silent PSU SFW Power 2 400W

·         Vintage 1982 Minitel 1 Converted Case

·         Dimensions: 23 x 25 x 26 cm 

 

 

I'll post some pictures and a video of it working with the multicart soon, and I will prepare a build report for the blog so you can have a look at the internals, and how I made certain features. I'd appreciate any feedback, questions and insights you can offer.

 

Enjoy!

 

Marcel

SFP Development Team

Attached Thumbnails

  • STARFORCE_NEO (1).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (2).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (3).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (4).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (5).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (6).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (7).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (8).jpg
  • STARFORCE_NEO (9).jpg

Edited by StarForcePilot, Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:15 AM.


#2 GoldenWheels OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:13 AM

The design is very sleek and elegant yet feels old (in a good way) somehow.

 

When you run the video to a TV via the HDMI out, does the console's screen still work?



#3 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:24 AM

The design is very sleek and elegant yet feels old (in a good way) somehow.

 

When you run the video to a TV via the HDMI out, does the console's screen still work?

 

It does, the HDMI conversion from the SCART output is split to the internal screen and to an open HDMI-output port on the bottom. The output will conform to the external display aspect ratio, but the internal screen remains unchanged (4:3 ratio). Also, the scanline generator is placed between the supergun and SCART-to-HDMI converter, so scanlines are on both the internal and external display (which can also be turned off with a switch on the back). See attached an image of a very early hardware test with split HDMI output signal.

 

sfneo_preview.png


Edited by StarForcePilot, Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:24 AM.


#4 Newsdee OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:25 AM

Would it be possible to make "Supergun" version that accepts JAMMA without the MVS internals?

#5 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:37 AM

Wow, now that is legit.  I don't know if it's quite the smallest--Ben Heckendorn made a bulky handheld about a decade ago, but I like this one much more.

 

Have you had trouble with smallcab?  My only order with them (around last xmas) was the worst online shopping experience I've had in recent memory and I've given up on ever getting it resolved.  Bad to the point where I won't even use the part of the purchase they did manage to send me because it reminds me of them.

 


Edited by Reaperman, Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:39 AM.


#6 128Kgames OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:03 AM

Cool, but at $700 only the most diehard of Neo collectors might be your market, did you post this over on neo-geo.com?  I'd be curious to see what the response is.  

 

What are the two buttons under the ABCD buttons?  They seem out of place if you are going for an authentic MVS look.  Also confused: that sure looks like an AES cart shell in the pic, not an MVS. 



#7 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:27 AM

These are sheer works of art!   :love: 



#8 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:39 AM

Would it be possible to make "Supergun" version that accepts JAMMA without the MVS internals?

 

Sure. in fact if you don't need to bother with the cartridge slot you can save quite a bit of room in there. What did you have in mind?

 

 

 

Wow, now that is legit.  I don't know if it's quite the smallest--Ben Heckendorn made a bulky handheld about a decade ago, but I like this one much more.

 

Have you had trouble with smallcab?  My only order with them (around last xmas) was the worst online shopping experience I've had in recent memory and I've given up on ever getting it resolved.  Bad to the point where I won't even use the part of the purchase they did manage to send me because it reminds me of them.

 

 

 

I thought this might be more up your alley :) Argh, Ben Heck of course! I was trying to be careful with the bold claims of smallest all-in-one NeoGeo in the world, but I couldn't find any cabinet or MVS that was quite this small, so I just went ahead. I didn't have any problems with Smallcab really, I got my order relatively quickly and it all worked fine, so that was it in terms of interactions. Actually, their supergun is really very user-friendly, made the process a lot easier. So what happened with your gear? 

 

Cool, but at $700 only the most diehard of Neo collectors might be your market, did you post this over on neo-geo.com?  I'd be curious to see what the response is.  

 

What are the two buttons under the ABCD buttons?  They seem out of place if you are going for an authentic MVS look.  Also confused: that sure looks like an AES cart shell in the pic, not an MVS. 

Yeah, it's a one-off build, and it took a lot of time to get right. I think you can make it a lot cheaper than I did though, I opted for a 65 euro power supply and Seimitsu gear, I'm sure you can be more economical than this. Was also a bit of trial and error in there, so I lost a bit of money on components (melted case, wires). I'll post the components list when I've finished the build blog on it. And I'll head over to neo-geo.com actually, good point.

 

I was trying to move far away from a typical MVS look, with some trace reminders here and there, but predominantly a home console. This is why I also took a 161-in-1 screaming yellow multicart and put it into a broked AES shell I had, refurbished it and added some new artwork to the shockbox and cart, so the SFNeo had a gamepack that goes with it. But it takes MVS cartridges. The additional buttons could be reset to be start/coin, test, or a repeat of the ABCD buttons. I haven't really done that, but it's not in the way. I've made it so that the arcade buttons click into the top transparant faceplate, which can be removed and replaced with a different faceplate with some other button configuration. The joystick is attached to a lower faceplate, which has a large opening for the buttons to allow for different button placements.

 

These are sheer works of art!   :love:

 

Cheers, I appreciate that :)


Edited by StarForcePilot, Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:54 AM.


#9 Newsdee OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:55 AM

Sure. in fact if you don't need to bother with the cartridge slot you can save quite a bit of room in there. What did you have in mind?


Well basically I already have an MVS and a Smallcab supergun, so it would be cheaper, but less elegant of course, if I could plug them externally. I guess it could be SCART with a DB15 cable for controllers...

#10 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:06 PM

I'm not sure what to make of this.



#11 fdurso224 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:14 PM

Hi guys.

 

Really amazing looking unit. Slick looking that has a retro look to make it distinguish from the rest!

 

I wouldn't mind seeing this baby in action with a video soon!  :)

 

Anthony...


Edited by fdurso224, Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:16 PM.


#12 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:50 PM

Oh this is indeed right up my alley.  There's no way this doesn't play just incredibly well, and your cases are as slick as ever.  The seimitsu gear is a little unexpected, but still awesome, especially for the shmup side of the mvs library.  (that's my favorite side of the MVS anyway)

 

How'd you get the cartridge to orient that way?--the mv-1b's halves must be contorted as heck in there.  Did you case the cart upside down, or completely redo the connection between mvs halves?  An easy option might have been an MV-1c straight out the top behind the monitor--but that'd ruin the sleek shape a bit.

 

Long ago I debated a slightly similar MVS project.  Something of a slim (flatscreen) bartop unit, with one set of controls, and the the cart sliding in just below the screen (above the controls) serving as a bit of its own marquee.  Of course I ran out of interest in the napkin-sketching phase.  But if you're looking for a 'next idea' and happen to know a bar owner who's getting sick of the standard megatouch, there you go. 

 

 I didn't have any problems with Smallcab really, I got my order relatively quickly and it all worked fine, so that was it in terms of interactions. Actually, their supergun is really very user-friendly, made the process a lot easier. So what happened with your gear? 

 

Short answer is that they didn't send me half of what I bought and failed to refund.  Extremely odd, because they emailed me before shipment telling me that one of the missing items wouldn't ship and that they'd refund me.  I gave up nagging them shortly after they stopped responding.  Perhaps the worst part is that I really do enjoy their supergun and controller, but haven't used either since my last email.


Edited by Reaperman, Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:01 PM.


#13 Newsdee OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:07 PM

The case reminds me of a Minitel :D

Can I ask what do you use as SCART to HDMI converter?

Edited by Newsdee, Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:09 PM.


#14 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:17 PM

Hi guys.

 

Really amazing looking unit. Slick looking that has a retro look to make it distinguish from the rest!

 

I wouldn't mind seeing this baby in action with a video soon!  :)

 

Anthony...

 

I'll get some extra pictures this weekend with some games working on it, and the video is coming soon :)

 

 

Oh this is indeed right up my alley.  There's no way this doesn't play just incredibly well, and your cases are as slick as ever.  The seimitsu gear is a little unexpected, but still awesome, especially for the shmup side of the mvs library.  (that's my favorite side of the MVS anyway)

 

How'd you get the cartridge to orient that way?--the mv-1b's halves must be contorted as heck in there.  Did you case the cart upside down, or completely redo the connection between mvs halves?  An easy option might have been an MV-1c straight out the top behind the monitor--but that'd ruin the sleek shape a bit.

 

Long ago I debated a slightly similar MVS project.  Something of a slim (flatscreen) bartop unit, with one set of controls, and the the cart sliding in just below the screen (above the controls) serving as a bit of its own marquee.  Of course I ran out of interest in the napkin-sketching phase.  But if you're looking for a 'next idea' and happen to know a bar owner who's getting sick of the standard megatouch, there you go. 

 

Short answer is that they didn't send me half of what I bought and failed to refund.  Extremely odd, because they emailed me before shipment telling me that one of the missing items wouldn't ship and that they'd refund me.  I gave up nagging them shortly after they stopped responding.  Perhaps the worst part is that I really do enjoy their supergun and controller, but haven't used either since my last email.

 

I used Sanwa gear on the STARFORCE PI which I liked, but I wanted to get a better idea of the Seimitsu gear as well, so I thought this was a good opportunity. I like the joystick, but I'm used to more click to my buttons. I flipped the MV-1B upside down, and really only had to cut into the ABS black casing for some extra spacing, the board itself stayed completely intact. I did buy a MV-1C initially, but really didn't want to cut into the top case, and the base had the perfect size for an MVS cartridge so I changed it to the MV-1B which fit perfectly. I kind of avoided the arcade cabinet look completely, but I have something in mind for my next project. Not gonna give much details, but it's gonna be SEGA based :)

 

That's rough, it's always disappointing to deal with crappy sellers, kind of ruins the whole experience. The supergun they have is a decent bit of kit though, I'd love to make use of this again for something else.

 

The case reminds me of a Minitel :D

Can I ask what do you use as SCART to HDMI converter?

 

It IS a Minitel :) Well, the case at least, I gutted it and built in an entire MVS system, and it worked out pretty well. I only recently found out that Philips did the same thing in the 80s with the Philips N60, which was a Minitel with a Magnavox in it. I used an HD converter from Amazon, with videosignal coming from an SGL3000 Scanline Generator which gets its signal from the SmallCab Supergun connected via JAMMA to the NeoGeo MV-1B board. A bit convoluted, but this way the extra HDMI-output also gets scanlines and it looks crisp.


Edited by StarForcePilot, Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:05 PM.


#15 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:51 PM

Gaming on the STARFORCE NEO

sfneo_neogeo.png?w=700

Neo Geo MVS (1990) was the one system to beat them all! I grew up with SEGA’s Master System and Mega Drive, but my cousin had a Neo Geo AES with Magician Lord. I played that game only six minutes when I was 10 years old, and that memory has stuck with me forever. Now, to relive that time with the STARFORCE NEO (2016)!

 

Allright, so the STARFORCE NEO works – let’s play some games!

sfneo_metalslug3.png?w=229&h=229&crop=1sfneo_metalslug1.png?w=229&h=229&crop=1sfneo_metalslug2.png?w=229&h=229&crop=1

Metal Slug (1996) No one quite does Run & Gun games like Nazca does, specifically through their excellent Metal Slug series. The first episode of the franchise still stands as the most shining example of the 16-bit platformer era, and will remain my favorite game of the system.

sfneo_tophunter1.png?w=346&h=346&crop=1sfneo_tophunter2.png?w=346&h=346&crop=1

Top Hunter (1994) I bought an MVS in my 20s and this game was one of four games I had for it, and easily my favorite, second only to Metal Slug. The graphics are beautiful and the two-player mode is so much fun, it’s a bit of a goofy concept to get into, but really worth it.

sfneo_samuraishowdown2_2.png?w=229&h=229sfneo_samuraishowdown2_1.png?w=229&h=229sfneo_samuraishowdown2_3.png?w=229&h=229
Samurai Showdown II (1994) Extremely popular fighting series often remarked as one of the best games of all times just left me frustrated as I got my ass handed to me over and over again. Still, can’t deny it awesomeness.
 
sfneo_8man1.png?w=346&h=346&crop=1sfneo_8man2.png?w=346&h=346&crop=1

Eightman (1991) Based on a 1963 manga, you are a quick-running cyborg superhero that has to blast his way through beat’m up mayhem! It’s a bit stale, but I enjoyed it.

sfneo_shocktroopers2nd2.png?w=229&h=229&sfneo_shocktroopers2nd1.png?w=229&h=229&sfneo_shocktroopers2nd3.png?w=229&h=229&

Shock Trooper 2nd Squad (1998) Not really like the first version of the game, still a great mix of destruction and cartoon run & gun violence. Just a solid bit of fun!

sfneo_mutationnation1.png?w=346&h=346&crsfneo_mutationnation2.png?w=346&h=346&cr

Mutation Nation (1991) Neo Geo is classically known for its fighting games, but I’ve always been more interested in the platformer games. Mutation Nation is another beat’em up game that is great fun with some sweet action!sfneo_viewpoint.png?w=700

Viewpoint (1992) An isometric shooter game that I actually only got into with the STARFORCE NEO. It’s really challenging, but really quite spectacular, and the music is amazing!


Edited by StarForcePilot, Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:53 PM.


#16 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 1, 2016 2:50 AM

sfneo_blog.png?w=700
 
People are digging the SFNeo so much that I’m getting daily requests asking me to build and sell more! That’s very cool, and I’m flattered, but no. Building a system like this is kind of insane, costly and timeconsuming. I've made a build blog that covers the motivation behind the system, the components used, how I made the curved screen with vacuumforming, a walkthrough of the initial hardware test, and the rational behind a rather convoluted video-signal transformation scheme. 
 
Check the STARFORCE PI Development blog on the full story: Building the STARFORCE NEO
 
Blog excerpt:
 

'I kept the general L-shape of the MV-1B board with the black ABS plastic cartridge holder, removed the casing of the scart-to-HDMI converter & power supply and screwed them to the back of the ABS cover. I stacked the scanline generator and SuperGun on the top of the MV-1B board, and made sure it had some space between them. The audio came from two small Logitech speakers that I ripped apart and placed right behind the screen.'

sfneo_blog5b.png?w=346&h=346&crop=1sfneo_blog5a1.png?w=346&h=346&crop=1
snk-neo-geo-mvs-neo-mvh-mv-mv1b-one-slotsupergun-light.jpg?w=136&h=136&crop=10b6cd067dd9fbeb5982e0ee94159f2e3.jpg?w=141qnnzfqs2l-_sy355_.jpg?w=136&h=136&cropimg_0039.jpg?w=136&h=136&crop=1

Edited by StarForcePilot, Sun May 1, 2016 2:52 AM.


#17 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 7, 2016 2:44 AM

Hey, crazy Funsters! Let's see this bad-boy handle some choice NeoGeo Arcade Gaming Action in this 10 game STARFORCE NEO vidya!

 

 

Also, check out how I build the STARFORCE NEO with off-the-shelf components and a few vintage pieces:
https://starforcepi....-starforce-neo/

 

componentslist.png


Edited by StarForcePilot, Sat May 7, 2016 2:58 AM.


#18 Merendino OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 7, 2016 5:56 PM

I want one of these SO bad. Excellent work sir.



#19 StarForcePilot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 23, 2016 8:53 AM

Here’s a little walkthrough of the STARFORCE NEO system in comparison with the STARFORCE PI, side-by-side.

 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: neogeo, arcade, mvs, aes, console, starforce pi, all-in-one, bartop, tabletop, homebrew

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