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John Stamos Mullet

Arcade1up modding debate

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Ok, not really a debate, but just looking for anyone's experiences with this stuff. So I'm currently trying to decide which route to go:

 

  1. MAME on a laptop. I have a Lenovo T420 with a busted screen using Win 7 that would perfect, but makes it less easy to configure the power switching.
  2. RaspberryPi MAME/Retroarch combo (cheap, easy - limited, and gameplay might be affected by screen tearing/laggy controls)
  3. Dedicated JAMMA board like a 60 in 1 etc. I've read/heard some awful things about these especially the ugly menu layouts that you can't change and bad/inaccurate sounds and gameplay - but they are literally plug and play.

 

I'm modding a vertical cab (Galaga or Pac-Man - which ever ends up being easier to mod), so I only care about Vertical games with 4 or 8 way stick controls, as I'm not interested in spinner games and Trackballs are a lot of work to get installed. I'll probably end up picking up a Centipede cab at some point if I really want that.

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Raspberry pi has the most popularity on reddit. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Arcade1Up/new/

 

4 will take awhile before people actively use it.

 

PC modders are a lot less, because of cost, size, heat, etc.

 

The 60-1 is probably the least hassle because the games are good to go,

and you just need to deal with the cables, power etc.

 

----------------

If you want expandability, and more games, Pi and PC are the way to go.

 

If you want to get up and running, the 60-1.

 

later

-1

 

 

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on my icade conversion I panel mounted a button for power and ran a wire over to the netbook's power switch and soldered it 

 

keep in mind pi's dont exactly have a graceful power solution either ... or storage (well the pi4 finally gets usb 3 but they are hard to find for most people since they just came out, and dunno the status of retropi to take advantage of it)

Edited by Osgeld

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My vote would definitely be to use MAME on the laptop you already have.  If you don't want to wire a switch, there could be a way to set your Lenovo to always power on when it is plugged in.  Look in the BIOS.  If so, you can plug it into a power strip and then just turn the power strip on to get it started.  You still have to shut down to power off, but you can do that easy enough.

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3. Dedicated JAMMA board like a 60 in 1 etc. I've read/heard some awful things about these especially the ugly menu layouts that you can't change and bad/inaccurate sounds and gameplay - but they are literally plug and play.

 

 

I plan to make a 60-in-1 and a 19-in-1 so that pretty much cover 90% of the games I want to play

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So I'm going to experiment. 

 

I have my my old laptop with Hyperspin/MAME set up, and I just bought a RaspberryPi. I downloaded the Hyperpie image from Arcadepunks, so I will test/compare it with hyperspin/windows 7.

 

Before i I tear down the cab, I'm going to test both and see which gives the best results. I'm hoping the Rpi is decent, because then powering up the system is much easier to configure and I don't have to worry about Windows 7 crashes/startup repair menus to

deal with. 

 

I bought the monitor appropriate video board and a led-lighted 10 button/stick/usb encoder upgrade kit as well so I don't have to solder or damage the original equipment.

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50 minutes ago, Boba Debt said:

What's the advantage of using a computer or RPi VS a 60-in-1 or a even a 19-in-1?

 

 

The 60 in 1 uses a really old version of MAME, so a few games are inaccurate timing/color/display-wise. It has bad sound on a number of games. Gyruss is reportedly unplayably bad, and it's one of my favorites. Also - on the 60 in 1 - when you finish/lose a game it dumps you back to the iCade menu, so then you have to go select that game again if you want to play again, instead of just going back to the attract screen like a real arcade game does.

 

also - the menu to my eyes is ugly as sin.

 

Most of it is probably just my personal preferences and not that big of a deal to others, but I like a project, and I like to get it as accurate as reasonably possible.

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"when you finish/lose a game it dumps you back to the iCade menu"

 

That doesn't sound good.

 

Even if you trim half the game from the 60-in-1 menu it would be aggravating to go back to the same game ever time

 

 

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I would do the Pi, just to keep things small and clean, but easily configurable. Sounds like you've got a plan though. Please keep us posted how it works out!

 

So you got one of the mini-cabs after all?

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6 hours ago, Boba Debt said:

What's the advantage of using a computer or RPi VS a 60-in-1 or a even a 19-in-1?

 

 

the op already has it, it already has a screen, it already has mass storage, it already has a power supply

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Ever since some guys here helped me get whatever version if MAME i'm using, I've been happy. X arcade and MAME, works well for me. I'm always thinking how to make it better but then I play a lot more than I tinker...and that's probably a good thing.

 

Whoops...just read the title of thread. 

 

Anyways...good luck!

Edited by atarilovesyou
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11 hours ago, Boba Debt said:

What's the advantage of using a computer or RPi VS a 60-in-1 or a even a 19-in-1?

 

 

 

4 hours ago, Osgeld said:

the op already has it, it already has a screen, it already has mass storage, it already has a power supply

AND . . . the emulation is A LOT better in MAME.  Plus you aren't limited to 60 games.

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"Plus you aren't limited to 60 games."

 

I have been looking at the lists of these other systems that claim to have 1000+ games.

 

It's easy to pad the numbers when you have 98 Street Fighter versions  listed...….

 

I look at a 60-in-1 (vertical) and I see about 40 games that I'm completely happy with and the 19-in-1 (horizontal) has about 12 games I would play often.

 

So I don't really see the large game lists as a positive.

 

 

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In MAME, you control the games.  I have an older version of MAME, and I can run every game supported by that version.  In my favorites alone, I have more than 200 games with no clones, knock offs, or repeats.  The full list of games available is more than 2000, so when someone says "Have you ever played this arcade game," I can go find it and play it more than 98% of the time.  I configured the software myself of course.  I guess if I paid someone to set it up then I'd be at the mercy of whatever ROMs they put on there.  Another plus of self-configuration is that you know all of the ROMs actually work too.

 

 

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So I spent the week tweaking the RPi for MAME. Holy shit this thing is awesome. I have 60 original, vertically oriented classic era games on it, no dupes or alternate versions, all games I actually have played and enjoy. 

 

Emulation station on the Pi is super easy to work on, and rotate the Hardware for vertical orientation. Tested every game, configured. Also added a custom boot splash video for the Pi (the same one that plays when the original Arcade 1up boots)  and a custom menu that uses the Arcade1up logo, screenshots, marquees, and a text list that looks totally pro.

 

Tomorrow I'll be doing the big teardown, and adding a few buttons to the front panel for coin/player 1. I'm going to leave the original Pac-Man control panel in place, untouched, but use the player 1 & 2 buttons for fire/jump buttons a and b. And then mount a couple on the front angled panel for coin, etc. that way I can keep the original control panel graphics and deck protector stock.

 

also swapping out the stock buttons and stick for better quality EG starts lighted LED colored buttons and stick. 

 

I will try to video the work and post it to youboob.

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Can't wait to see the video

 

Is you game list the same as the normal 60-in-1?

 

How does it work with the mix of 8/4/2 way Joystick Games?

 

How is your menu system set up

 

 

 

 

Edited by Boba Debt

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2 hours ago, Boba Debt said:

Can't wait to see the video

 

Is you game list the same as the normal 60-in-1?

 

How does it work with the mix of 8/4/2 way Joystick Games?

 

How is your menu system set up

 

 

 

 

No, it's not the same list. Mostly, yes, but there aren't redundant "faster" or "Japan" versions of games. 

 

All you really need is an 8 way stick. 8 way sticks work fine on 4 and 2 way games. I know some arcade purists tell you not to play Pac-Man or Donkey Kong with an 8 way because the arcade had a 4, but honestly, if you've ever played them on MAME using an 8 way game pad, it's the same thing. It's not 100% Arcade accurate, but then neither is the size of the cabinet, or the LCD screen, or running on emulation, or a million other things about these, so there's little reason to be picky about that.

 

2 way games have no issues with an 8-way. Left is still left, right is still right, and you can't hit both at once.

 

Having extra sticks mounted on these tiny 18" control decks is awkward for adult sized hands/bodies. 

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As far as I know, the 60-in-1 doesn't have any repeated games.  On my card there's about 10 -14 games that I have no desire to play so they'll be disabled.

 

 

I have read that 8-way sticks can cause problems in a 4-way games if you hit a diagonal direction.

 

So I started to think about making 3 separate 60-in-1 machines and the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of not having so many games in a  single cabinet.

 

PLUS it gives me a reason to mod some of my favorite cabinets - Galaga, Pacman and Centipede.

 

 

 

 

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the only issue arises when you hit one of the switches before the other, which happens, so you think you pushed up and it goes right (or whatever combo) 

 

most sticks today have the option to remove a plastic part and re-orient it to be 8 way or only 4 way which is limiting unless you come up with some quick change method, or honestly you get used to playing 4 way stick games on a 8 way and with a short amount of time you become more precise with your movement and its not a big deal 

 

I use an 8 way all the time, sure it's a little disorienting when frogger moves left when you slap up but within a few play sessions your mind adapts 

 

for what its worth I use a short stick on my icade made by zippy, mainly for the fact that machine's distance from control panel to bottom of screen is so short I needed it for meat hand clearance and 2 its a lot less floppy and easier to direct intentionally on a small form factor

 

20180813_214824_HDR.jpg 

 

 

Edited by Osgeld
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Still haven't had time to complete the video yet because I haven't completed the mods yet. however, it is a fully functional WIP. Here's what is done so far.

 

So it's basically the same Arcade1UP/RPi mod that ETA Prime has videos for on Youtube, with a few minor changes:

 

1. drilled holes in control deck for converting 2-way joystick to 8-way, and added hole for additional fire/jump button.

2. swapped out joystick and buttons for higher quality EG Starts stick/buttons w/ lighted LED.

3. Set up the Raspberry Pi 3B I bought at Target, using the official standard build from the Retropie website. Originally, I started with a "pre-configured" image called Hyperpie that I downloaded from Arcadepunks.com that is supposed to be similar to Hyperspin for the PC. It sucked. Was slow as shit to boot (like 1.5-2 minutes until usable menu), and ran like ass on my RPi. Almost made me rethink using an RPi. The official RPi build, once configured for your controls, boots in under 12 seconds to a fully playable menu. It's faster than the official Arcade1up Galaga board in booting.

 

All told I spent an extra $100 or so on it. RPi was $34. Video driver board to connect HDMI to the monitor was $29. Single joystick and 8 lighted LED buttons was $19, heatsink case fro RPi was $9. I used an old powered Harman Kardon PC speaker for the sound, wired up to the built in speaker.

 

Now - Raspberry Pi stuff: had to take a self-taught crash course in RPi to figure this stuff out.

 

One thing that isn't obvious is that if you've going for a Vertical only cab - the RPi doesn't do that elegantly out of the box. Yes, Raspbian OS does have a setting to display_rotate= that you can add to your config.txt file to set the screen rotation at the bare metal level. However, it has a HUGE performance hit with rotating 90 or 270 degrees (vertical cab orientation.) You can use it, but you will get really bad screen tearing on everything above resolutions higher than 640x480. You still get some on 640x480, but not as bad. I found it unusably distracting.

 

Emulationstation is the front end that drives Retroarch and other emulators on Retropie. It is ok, and the themes are fairly easy to configure and edit as they are xml files. But the above mentioned rotation stuff causes problems in the menus as well, with video snaps cutting off half the image and screen tearing when changing views. Until very recently Emulationstation had no way to rotate the screen in software.  However, if you install the "experimental" dev version of Emulationstation, you can do screen rotation in software, which has no performance hit like above, but it's not obvious that you can do this. I had to google the shit out of this to find out how. You have to go into the configuration manager and manage packages and install the dev version from experimental packages and then add --screenrotate 3 (270 degrees) to the autostart.sh file that calls up emulation station on boot. This also fixed the video snaps getting cut off in the menu, and I can run all games at 1280x1024 with no screen tearing or lag.

 

You CAN hook up the Arcade1up power switch directly to the RPi to control it's power state, connecting the cable to pins 5 and 6 on the Pi's jumpers. but the default will be that off is on and on is off, so if you want it to behave like expected, you have to take the switch housing off the control panel and physically reverse the switch in the housing. This is because it sends a shutdown signal to the RPi, not a power up signal. Reversing the cables/pins doesn't help, as it's a simple connected/disconnected state switch, and connected tells the Pi to turn off.

 

Configuring the buttons is it's own adventure, since you need to do it for any games that use 2 buttons. Easiest way to do this is to launch a game, while having a standard keyboard connected to the Pi, hit Tab on the keyboard to bring up the MAME menu, and remap the control like you would normally in MAME.

 

Getting the artwork via "scraping" is built into retropie, so Emulationstation will reach out to the internet and download screenshots, marquees, etc and populate your menus for you from the onscreen config menus. Or - you can download them yourself and copy them over into subfolders of your roms folder, name appropriately (snap, marquee, etc.)

 

I intentionally made this a strictly 8-way joystick, 2 buttons or less cab. I don't care about fighting games with 6 or 8 buttons and left all the horizontal games off it except for a few pre-1984 classics.

 

Things I still need to do:

 

1. take the mini-amp out of the powered PC speaker housing and drill a hole to have the volume knob accessible somewhere, probably on the back panel.

2. finish configuring controls for all games. some I just haven't gotten to yet.

3. possibly alter the default "Carbon" theme to remove the text game list, and have it just show the Marquee and video preview, so you only cycle through those images. apparently to do this I will need to leave the text there, but position it off-screen with negative positioning values.

 

Note: if you are working on the Carbon, or any other Theme files and you want to remove some text item that is a list or other text item: DO NOT set the font size to 0 thinking that will make it invisible. That will cause emulationstation to crash out to a prompt on boot. the only way to fix it at that point is to get into the xml file and change the font setting back to normal - which you can only do if you SSH/FTP into the RPI while it is on, or take the SD card out and edit it manually in Linux or using drivers to access a linux formatted drive in Windows. Found that one out the hard way.

 

I have to say - even with the minor screen rotation issues and not really knowing anything about RPis, it was really easy to configure with the official image, and for $270 between the Cab, riser, and Pi/controls stuff - it's totally worth it for  the ability to have a fully functional MAME cab with nice looking artwork and a really quick build time.

 

But I'll say it again - these Arcade1up cabs out of the box, for $350+ even with a riser for only 2 or 4 games, with no option for screen smoothing, no access to MAME config settings, and noticeable frame skipping, and with the shit-tier controls they come with is still a rip-off. So if you're not planning on modding it like this, and you can only find them at full price near you - proceed with wallet caution. Diminishing returns await. You better really love the tiny amount of games it comes with. Also - If you order a deck protector for these, expect it to take a week and a half to two weeks to arrive (which is ridiculous in 2019) and 50/50 chance of it being broken and unusable, and having to contact their almost non-existent customer service to get a replacement.

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