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Author Topic: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)  (Read 3349 times)

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RobbyMac

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Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« on: April 08, 2010, 11:43:55 pm »
I love my mame...
My son loves it more.

I'd like to be able to limit the amount of play. I don't have a coin door, and aside from installing some sort of mechanism in the side (glass doors on the front) I'm wondering if theres an alternative way to limit his gameplay.

Don't get me wrong, i like that he enjoys the classics, even with a computer, ps2 and nintendo ds at his disposal. But theres a limit... And I had to pick which games I;d play as a kid with a limited amount of quarters... It'd can;t do any harm to limit his gameplay with say 5-10 'credits' per day.

So, does anyone have some alternative solution? Make a user account that somehow tracks the credits input per day?
Or maybe even a default, with a password 'override' that I could use whenever I wanted to play it and hes already maxxed out the limit?

Any ideas?

opt2not

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2010, 11:55:24 pm »
I don't know of a software solution for this. I know Mame hasn't much in terms of parental controls...

You'd either have to bite the bullet and get a coin door, or plug your mame cabinet into one of those christmas light timer plugs...when the timer goes off, the cabinet shuts off (not very eloquent, but it's the best i got).

DJ_Izumi

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 12:47:02 am »
or plug your mame cabinet into one of those christmas light timer plugs...when the timer goes off, the cabinet shuts off (not very eloquent, but it's the best i got).

Those this are REALLY bad for technology.  Just cutting off the power to a computer or console can potentially damage it.  Sure it almost never happens but once in a while it does.  Four years ago my cat killed 512mb of ram just by stepping on the power switch on the powerbar under my desk.  That's all it took, cutting power with a switch generated enough of a small over-volt to damage the RAM.

They'll work almost every time but the time it damages something will be the time you're pulling your hair out in anger.

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2010, 12:56:10 am »
so put the monitor on the timer? unless your kid is so good he can play blind.
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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2010, 01:11:04 am »
so put the monitor on the timer? unless your kid is so good he can play blind.

Hey Tommy can play pinball blind, so ya never know.

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2010, 02:38:24 am »
When he gets into your tools or the kitty litter you will regret limiting his arcade playtime  ;D
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RobbyMac

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010, 07:33:27 am »
LOL Hadn't thought of him cracking it open with my tools. I don't think hes quite there yet, maybe a few years down the road.

Currently we set a timer, and it works. I was just thinking if he had a set amount of credits he might choose his games with care, try to play as long on one credit, etc. Much like when we were kids with a limited budget of quarters.
Currently he just hops on metal slug or the like and hammers the coin button a ton.

I guess a coin door it is. I have room on one side, so I will look into a coin door, or another smaller coin mechanism.

drventure

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2010, 07:41:56 am »
Yeah, I wouldn't hook up any kind of timer directly to the power of the cabinet.

I suspect there's plenty of little utility type apps that allow for timed shutdown of a cab.

Here's one, though it's a paid version
http://www.accuratesolution.net/solutions/automatically-turn-off.htm

But even that's not a great solution. It's just a time based solution. Ideally, I'd think you'd want to give physical "credits" for game play, a bit like an allowance, maybe? But that would require a coin door of some sort. I guess I think that would be best because it links the game play to  a physical, tangible element.

Alternately, you might be able to come up with a glovepie or autohotkey script to convert one keypress into another, up to a limit.

So, say your P1 and P2 were mapped to the A and Z keys. Mame wouldn't react to those keys at all.

Now, you have an autohotkey script that basically says,

I've got X credits available.

If there's more than 0 Credits and I see an A or Z pressed (the actual coin buttons) kill the keypress and instead simulate a 5 or 6 (the keypress MAME expects to see).

If there's 0 credits left, just kill the keypress and be done.

Best would be to set the AHK script to only do that when MAME is the actual application with focus, I'd imagine.

I haven't done much AHK scripting, but from what I know about it, I suspect it could accomplish this.


I've actually had a similar thought about my cab with respect to my daughter. Having infinite credits available completely changes the tone of the old arcade experience, makes it more like a console.

Ok, done rambling.

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2010, 11:16:00 am »
Would something like a VBscript work?

Quote
//automatically turn off computer
//by VBStechnologist
VBS set diaolei=createobject("wscript.shell")
VBS dim shijian,guanji,hua
VBS shijian=time
VBSCall hua=inputbox("Please enter interval type: 1:minute 2:hour 3:day")
if hua=1 then
VBSCall guanji=inputbox("How many minutes later to turn off computer?")
if datediff("m",shijian,time)>=guanji then
VBSCall RunApp ("rundll32.exe user.exe,exitwindows")
VBSCall RunApp ("shutdown -s -t 0")
elseif hua=2 then
VBSCall guanji=inputbox("How many hours later to turn off computer?")
if datediff("h",shijian,time)>=guanji then
VBSCall RunApp ("rundll32.exe user.exe,exitwindows")
VBSCall RunApp ("shutdown -s -t 0")
elseif hua=3 then
VBSCall guanji=inputbox("How many days later to turn off computer?")
if datediff("d",shijian,time)>=guanji then
VBSCall RunApp ("rundll32.exe user.exe,exitwindows")
VBSCall RunApp ("shutdown -s -t 0")
endif
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RobbyMac

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2010, 11:27:46 am »
Giving him x amount of tokens to spend each day (or even save for a big weekend binge) is probably simplest. I do have 2 small coin mechanisms from a diehard arcade we're maming. I might be able to rig one up in my cab.

I like the autohotkey idea though. I've had limited experience with autohotkey but I will look into it.
I could then likely program an 'override' or 'reset' key combo for the instances where I wanted to reset the counter.

I wonder if I can set the variable by date, so it auto resets each day. Then he doesn't have to play all in one session. Plus it might prevent just rebooting the machine to reset the counter.

Currently we use a timer. when it buzzes, he's to finish off whatever game he's on. But I think i'd rather not use a timer and opt for credits instead.

I wish I knew vb

decisions decisions

meany

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2010, 03:42:18 pm »
Here is something new to try  THE HONOR SYSTEM.  Back in the day when my Dad told me to do something I followed the directions.  You can still time him but tell him he has only 5 credits per game (or whatever).  Why let technology try to monitor HIS honor.

gryhnd

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2010, 04:22:33 pm »
The Gameex front end has some parental controls built into it that should take care of that for you. I seem to remember seeing timers and what not.
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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2010, 05:48:47 pm »
+1 to meany.  There's no harm in playing games. If you see he is on there for a couple hours, tell him its time to go outside or something. Installing timers n crap... Why? Be a parent and assert yourself as the parent. Problem solved. But don't be so controlling either. Just because you were limited in quarters doesn't mean your kid has to be in order to turn out the same way you did.
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pmowry

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2010, 06:01:45 pm »
Why? Be a parent and assert yourself as the parent. Problem solved.

And we should take this advice from someone not wearing pants?  :laugh:

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2010, 07:48:55 pm »
How can I rig the change machine in my gameroom to only dump tokens x number of times? ??? ;)
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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2010, 07:55:13 pm »
hmm only put the amount you want it to feed out in it, every morning add 5 tokens to it and then he pulls out 5 tokens...  Coin Door is probably the best option IMO.  I do like the programmer's idea for the hotkey macro with a counter...  thats a great solution if you can get it to work.

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2010, 09:37:19 pm »
Yeah, but then where am I going to keep my other 2,495 tokens? ;)
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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2010, 10:01:46 pm »
Also, keep in mind that some games keep track of how many coins you put in them etc in the maintenance menus.  For example, Smash TV.

Tell him you can tell how many times he plays by bringing up that options menu.  Show him.  But then tell him a white lie that you can see ALL games in this fashion.   >:D

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2010, 10:42:17 am »
Another option that could work...I think??  I could be talking out my rear, but perhaps you could map a button combination to credit.  Meaning that you'd have to press, say, 2-3 buttons for a credit.  You can figure out the logistics.  It would require you to be there (for the top secret credit entering) and that's not always ideal.  I'm not sure how old your son is...if he's young enough, that could work as you'd most likely be around when he's playing.  If he's older, there's a good chance he'll figure out the credit combo.  I'm not necessarily recommending this key combo, but more so trying to get the wheels turning.

Also, if he's only playing games that require credit after credit, versus stuff like DK, Pac Man, Asteroids, etc., please consider the possibility that he'll lose interest in the classics if his credits are revoked.  I know my kids wouldn't last on 10 credits in Bubble Bobble, EDF, Trog, etc. and would most likely walk away and pick up their DS's.


JustMichael

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2010, 05:54:54 pm »
I vote for the coin door option also and you might want to get mechs that will accept the BYOAC tokens (then you might want some BYOAC tokens too).  If you only have so many tokens, that is how many times you can play/continue and when they are gone they are gone.  Of course you could provide ways for him to earn more tokens...

RobbyMac

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2010, 12:52:20 am »
He's 8 right now.

He can be trusted and is honest. But I wouldn't put it past him to milk an extra credit or two in 'the heat of battle'. But it's certainly not a parenting issue where I cannot control him or his use of the arcade. If it were, I wouldn't be posting here, I would simply unplug the machine.

While I do feel it's important to limit his gameplay (which we've been doing with the oven timer), I feel it's equally important to teach him 'budgeting' as well. Choosing this route means he has to decide what games he's going to put his 'money' toward and more importantly what he's going to get out of it. Somedays he may feel like blowing it all on some game that uses alot of credits and only gets him 5 minutes. Others he may choose to play games he's good at to get the most time/gameplay for his buck. As long as he learns a little about choosing what he spends his 'money' on.
One issue I can foresee is that he may not choose to play new games because he doesn't want to risk his 'money' on an unknown game. But thats what previews are for, and that's what 'father and son arcade times' are for.

I have seen the byoac tokens and may go that route. I need to research coin mechs and token usage. Though I am not sure I need a large quantity of them.

I do like many of the ideas that cropped up. The autohotkey is intriguing.

PsychoMikey

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2010, 06:20:47 am »
Maybe a program like this can help.
Just set it to block the coin 1/2 during a certain schedule.

http://www.absoluteshareware.com/most/disable-enter-key/


Personally I'm not a big fan of the coin budgetting idea. Especially because right now he can play unlimited for a set amount of time. limiting the amount of coins might mean limitting the amount of fun he is getting out of the cab in total. The really point is preventing him from over playing, not the way he is playing/enjoying it, right?
« Last Edit: April 13, 2010, 06:25:29 am by PsychoMikey »

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2010, 12:01:02 pm »
Not sure if you came up with something yet, but when I was a kid, my parents used poker chips.

We got a set amount per week. I think each chip equaled an hour we could watch TV or something. Use all the chips in 2 days?? Done for the week.

Once in a while they'd offer "bonus" chips to accomplish a certain chore. Also, if we had chips left over at the end of the week, they'd pay us .25 per chip(of course this was in the 80s when you could take a quarter to the penny candy store and load up)

Maybe increase it to $1 or whatever.

Either way, it would limit his time and also teach him how to budget..
« Last Edit: April 13, 2010, 12:04:27 pm by reptileink »

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RobbyMac

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2010, 09:39:52 pm »
Good idea. I has lots of poker chips... not sure they'll fit in the coin slot though ;)

No I've not done anything yet... still tinkering/planning. Works been pretty busy, 5 acres of grass needs some tlc (along with all the lawn equipment), and the bass are biting. So it will be a while.

But I think there are alot of good ideas here that I'm sure others will find useful if I don't use them all.

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2010, 10:15:59 pm »
Your options are always going to be limited as no front-end/emulator setup commonly used in the community supports true timed or credit-restricting feature that is 'universal' and carries between platforms. Even if you do fit a coin door, remember that the 'coinage per credit' is set differently from game to game within MAME (as determined by the game rom's default bios setting) so even if you give your kid a set amount of tokens, he could end up short-changed if you have not set the game to be '1 coin per play'. Think of the following situations;

- Take for instance Galaga or Donkey Kong, which generally had 1 coin counter, was 1 coin per game by default and attributed credits evenly between players, whereas Mortal Kombat 2 or Marvel vs. Capcom want 2 coins per game by default, or multi-player games like Turtles, Knights of the Round etc. where the coin/credit added is sometimes attributed to a specific player/position based on the coin slot/counter that reads it.

- Coupled with this, if your son adds a credit then intentionally or accidentally quits back to the front-end during play or before he used the credit, the credit would be lost as front-ends do not tie into a 'universal' credit system like this.

Many have asked before if software exists or can be written to overcome these issues and whilst some claim they have modified popular FE's to do this and some even demonstrated it, I doubt the system is flawless and rightly so - such software is frowned upon as although it seems fine for legitimate reasons like yours (I once wanted to do it myself) there is too much scope for it to be abused in commercial settings and the MAME devs want to keep that heat off them. It's a shame but if you are running a full MAME setup with a complete rom collection and knew how to do it, you'd have to address all the games on your system to overcome both these issues above to have it working correctly. The only place you will see it is on xxx-in-1 boards where they use a custom FE and MAME hack to accomplish this on a limited number of games, and they're still as illegal as ---fudgesicle---.

Not saying you're gonna be this serious about it as you aren't trying to set the system up for commercial use, but I imagine you were hoping such software existed for legit reasons, so just giving you the heads up as to why it doesn't.

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2010, 10:28:51 pm »
Behavior modification.  Tell him the cabinet now applies electric shock if played for more than 30 mins.  After he plays for 30 mins zap him with a tazer and say 'see?'

RobbyMac

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2010, 12:52:11 pm »
 :laugh2:
I would but the police in martinsville beat me to it.

Well no.. no plans for commercial use. I'd seen a thread about that earlier, where someone had a counter of sorts that kept track of credits across all games in mame, and how it was 'not allowed'.
I'm not interested in going that far with it (credits across all of mame), but I guess it would be the next logical step.

As for the credits costing more for some games, he'll just have to live with it.  :laugh:

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Re: Limiting gameplay on Mame (quarters? other?)
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2018, 12:18:41 pm »
I had the same problem designing an arcade cabinet for my kids. I thought infinite credits would make the games pointless but I didn't want to remove the continue option totally. That is why I designed a joystick system with an integrated credit counter. The system disables the insert coin buttons unless credits are available and includes a little challenge (a Simon Says game) that must be won in order to obtain them.

You can see the project at https://www.hackster.io/user3853574654/arcade-joystick-x4-plus-simon-game-384309 and https://github.com/gambaman/ArcadeJoystickX4PlusSimonGame. You can also see a video demo at https://youtu.be/ENW7n0ni5kg.

  
 

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