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236 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 21457 27-Apr-2008 20:03
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Hi

A mate and I are starting to build a MAME machine in a cabinet, to reminicent the old days. At the moment it looks liek we will build a 'coffee table' one.

Has anyone here built one before? Not many plans around I must say so its just trial and error.

What joystick would you recomend? I am thinking of about getting the X-Arcade 2 but this looks a bit big and heavy..



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54 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126647 27-Apr-2008 21:46
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Hi there i would reccomend using the MAMEWAH frontend since you can shut down your PC directly from the application and make it boot whenever you turn on your computer usually i'd say the X-Arcade models are good but since you think there oversized i would go with a custom joystick setup, first off by buying a iPac controller and hooking it upto your usb port then look for single buttons and a arcade looking joystick and wire them though the iPac controller it might take abit of effort looking around for the right buttons but in the end it will be worth it, heck you could even pull apart an old atari joystick and rewire it then use that. The iPac controller is a keyboard encoder so say you can setup button1 to corrospond with A and button2 to corrospond with B etc.

So if you do choose to follow the path of the iPac controller i can reccomend a few places to get joysticks\buttons to wire up

For the joystick, Ultimarc is known to have a good variety of Joysticks even though they pretty much look the same in shape.

For the buttons there are two main variations, The microswitch and the leaf design.
The leaf design is generally accepted as the better feeling button, but is harder to maintain. The mechanism beneath the button can get out of alignment, resulting in dead buttons, and is difficult to re-align. The microswitch style buttons have a slightly stiffer feel than leaf buttons, but are less prone to dead button syndrome. Microswitch buttons also make a click sound every time they are pressed, while leaf buttons do not. Another thing to point out is that leaf buttons get harder and harder to find as the days go by.
Happ Controls & Ultimarc have a wide variety of microswitch buttons, so pretty much type of microswitch button should be found at one of those two websites. The only place i know where to possibly get leaf design buttons is from Wico but im not 100% sure if they still do leaf designs.

There are also two different kinds of microswitch pushbuttons - vertical, and horizontal. Usually you'll find horizontal, but vertical pushbuttons are out there too, You might be asking which should i choose my personal opinion would go with horizontal since there seems to be a major design flaw in vertical pushbuttons which i would explain but that would turn this already long post into a text of bible proportions.

I'm sorry if this response is a little large but i hope this does help you out in your search for MAME bliss.



236 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126690 28-Apr-2008 08:30
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Thanks heaps for that info!!!  Sounds like you might have done this before....:)

I am off do look at the joysticks mentioned above.. I must say the X-Arcade does look the real deal in terms of sheer robustness. Every review I have read says its pretty much built like a tank!!

 
 
 
 




236 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126691 28-Apr-2008 08:44
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Just one more thing Komissar -  Can I ask what spec PC are you using to run MAMEWAH?

I am thinking of using an old DELL GX150 (Intel Pentium III 1 GHz) with 256MB RAM.. Is this way too low specs??

xpd

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  Reply # 126715 28-Apr-2008 09:58
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You may find some "newer" games a little sluggish on a P3 , but a majority should run fine.




XPD / @DemiseNZ / Gavin
 
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104 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 126718 28-Apr-2008 10:04
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For ease of setup and quality, I'd suggest going with the Playstation 3 Hori arcade stick. Its available from the Gamesman for $119.

It's USB based and has been proven to work with emulators (MAME ahoy) AND Hori provide the best quality sticks/buttons.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 126722 28-Apr-2008 10:18
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I took the lazy route and bought an upright cabinet, with joysticks, speakers and a USB connection from trademe (about $230 if I recall correctly). All I had to do was plug-in a PC and 19" CRT. If you want to use an old-skool screen then you need a video card that can suppor that.

There are dozens of sites you can find on Google telling you all the options, including this one on bulding a MAME box in 24 hours:
http://chris.polymathic.net/cabinet/index.shtml




104 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 126741 28-Apr-2008 11:03
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Wow, that link is amazingly cool.

I'm very tempted to make my own now.


54 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126755 28-Apr-2008 12:15
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mailmarshall: Just one more thing Komissar - Can I ask what spec PC are you using to run MAMEWAH?

I am thinking of using an old DELL GX150 (Intel Pentium III 1 GHz) with 256MB RAM.. Is this way too low specs??


Well i've built 3 seprate MAME boxes in my time, two table tops and one proper arcade box which i've built 2 of them for friends and one for myself.
The baseline PC Specs for my MAME Machine follows:
Pentium 4 2.8GHZ
1GB DDR
Nvidia 7600GS
And i havn't seen mame lagg once, With your P3 1Ghz, 90% of the games out there should run without a hitch but there will be a few that will lagg a tad on a 1ghz processor but anything over the 1.8ghz mark and you'll have no issues with lag, id also suggest upgrading your ram to atleast 512Mb if your planning on using MAMEWAH otherwise your boot times [Windows Side, not before the sam32 is loaded] may take awhile but if that doesn't bother you then you should be all set to go!. By the way another 256MB of ram is so cheap you'd think it fell off the back of a truck.



236 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126756 28-Apr-2008 12:23
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Cheers for that everyone.. Very useful info indeed.

Komessar: have you got any pics of ya table top ones?

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 126767 28-Apr-2008 12:58
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For my own MAME machine i have a tabletop, I built it based on the Whamocade design with a few different design variations here and there to suit my own personal needs and wants. I've used leaf design for all the "player" buttons and microswitchs for "Player Start" which works out good for me since i love the feel of leaf design buttons, only problem would be the maintenance and every now and then realign a few of the buttons which isn't a massive issue but can be a real pain the butt, But in saying that its well worth the nice feel the button gives compared to the little bit more stiff microswitchs.

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104 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 126789 28-Apr-2008 13:52
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Daaaamn thats cool.




236 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126818 28-Apr-2008 14:55
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Wow - thats AWESOME!!!

I noticed that you have buttons on both sides (where the seats are and the on the sides as well). For simplicity sake, the display can be in portrait mode or landscape mode.

How does the system work out that you want to play in either mode?

How many players can you have all up playing at once?

You have done a fine job I must say.

54 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126846 28-Apr-2008 17:17
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Mailmarshall:How does the system work out that you want to play in either mode?
It's all reliant on the frontend software you use and can be easily changed by changing your display option, Although i have gone one step futher by editing the .cfg file so I have different settings for different games, eg 1942 runs portrait whilst say Aliens Vs. Predator runs in landscape. But during protrait it has different settings for the iPac Controller so the two contollers at each end become player 1,2 whilst the side controllers become player 3,4.

Mailmarshall:How many players can you have all up playing at once?
It all depends upon the game so you can play between one to four players, 4 player Simpsons or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is great fun with a few of your friends. The good thing about alot of 4 player games is that they only use 2 buttons so it's pretty simple gameplay for even the most biggest Acrade Novice around.



236 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126861 28-Apr-2008 18:30
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Thanks again Kommisar.. I presume when you mention front-end software, this is the MAMEWAH??

All I can say is that I am green with envy after seeing ya setup!!!

54 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 126866 28-Apr-2008 18:41
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Yeah by frontend i'm talking about MAMEWAH but there other frontends out there but in my personal opinion MAMEWAH does justice and more. Just remember though if you're going to use this as a dedicated retro machine it is not nessacary to run XP\VISTA infact if your going to make a dedicated MAME console it's a good idea to think about using Windows 98SE since it boots far faster, also the windows boot sign can be easily disabled or customised so that when one of your friends happens to power up your MAME machine it'll be just like the real thing as the user would only ever see the MAMEWAH frontend as the computers turned on. To some people the sight of windows on there arcade machine can really kill the retro vibe.

If you ever need a hand doing a build and you live near the wellington region i'd be more then happy to help you out or even if you just get stuck you're more then welcome to leave me a message, ill reply asap.

Anyway good luck with your MAME build once its done you'll be enjoying the countless hours of fun that retro gaming has on offer, i've had my MAME box for around 2 years now and im still yet to get sick of it.

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