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Author Topic: The UltraCade Project  (Read 2828 times)

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Overtkill773

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The UltraCade Project
« on: May 26, 2012, 11:38:22 pm »
Hey guys, pretty new to the site. My friend sent me a link to here the other day when I told him I wanted to start working on an Arcade Machine and so far its been extremely helpful. I was so lost on what to do and where to start, but for the most part I know what to do now.

I've drawn up some sketches for an upright cabinet that I think will be a pretty cool summer project. I've always wanted an Arcade Machine, but paying $3,000 and up was WAY out of my budget.

Im thinking about naming the project "Ultra-Cade" after the machine that was in a local roast beef joint in my town. I used to spend hours on that machine and there were like 30 to 40 different games on that thing.

I got a few things im not sure on... 1. I got a 16" PC Monitor, will it be enough for a standard sized cabinet? if not what is usually the standard size? (I also got a 36" Flatscreen, but im not sure if i want to use it) 2. Would a laptop work? I got a couple ones that are from 2007 and such, im guessing they got enough power in them to run some old emulators (I hope) 3. No one has given me a ballpark area for how much building one of these is going to cost. I'm thinking around $1,000 is that about right?

Hopefully I can get started on this project within the week, and I look forward to sharing my progress with everyone :D
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drventure

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 11:54:09 pm »
"Ultracade" is a company started by David Foley, who, for a variety of reasons isn't much loved around these parts.

In reality, that whole thing goes back before me, so I don't much care one way or the other, but from what I understand, he got into some dicey business "dealings" and was recently convicted (well, plead guilty to conspiracy).

Might not be the best name....

But, regardless of all that, welcome aboard! It's a fun hobby to get into.

To answer your ??

16" is likely going to be WAY too small for a normal size cabinet. You might use it for a second monitor, though, in some project.

I'd think a 2007 laptop would run most MAME games just fine. If you want to run the newer, 3d type games, well, probably not so much. A lot will depend on the proc speed. Mame isn't helped much by the graphics card (though it is to some degree). So the faster the processor, the better off you are.

I tried running Mame on a Toshiba Satellite at one point that dated back to at least 2002, maybe as far back as 2000. It didn't go well. But that'd be a MUCH lower power machine than anything built in 2007.

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 12:14:46 am »
Ahahaha thanks for the heads up on the "ultracade" fiasco lol Now I gotta find a different name.

I figured the 16" was too small, well, looks like this 36" flat screen is gonna be the monitor.

I dont plan on running any newer 3D games (although im thinking about stuffing my old xbox 360 in where the coin box is and have it be a separate system inside the arcade. Push the "return coin" button for power lol) I got a few games circling inside my head, definitely going to have to get Varth, Megaman X and Gauntlet :)
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PL1

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 12:35:51 am »
Welcome aboard, Overtkill773.

Lots of good questions, but have you considered these:

1. What games you want on your cab? (Early 80s classics? Mortal Kombat types?)

2. What controls do they require? (8-way joystick? 4-way joystick? How many pushbuttons? Spinner? Trackball? Trigger stick? Analog joystick? Star Wars Yoke? Steering wheel? Pedals? :blowup:)

3. How many players at one time? (1, 2, or 4?)

Once you have a good idea on 1 and 2, you can start looking for the right combination of encoder and controls, since each type of games works better with certain controls.

Give yourself some time. There are so many great options to choose from, but if you don't do your homework, you may end up wasting time and money. I actually made a spreadsheet in Excel and put in product names, prices, and sources/links so I could budget and play around with different configurations.

If you want to know if the laptops will work, load it up and try. My 2006 Toshiba Satellite runs MAME just fine.

As to how much a cab will cost. . . It depends on how you answer questions 1-3 and, of course, as much time and money as you're willing to sink into it. :lol


Scott

P.S. Just noticed you like Gauntlet. Check out the 2 player versions if you're not looking at a 4P control panel.

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2012, 01:07:23 am »
Im thinking a bunch of different types. But nothing that will require more than an 8 way joystick with 4 - 6 push buttons (Im thinking 6 because of some Super Nintendo games I want on it) I'm even hoping for some N64 and PS1 games, but If thats going to be more than 6 push buttons then I might have to scrap that, or wait until some of them are released on to Xbox Live Arcade lol

I'm thinking 4 players, for games like TMNT Arcade, The Simpsons Arcade, Gauntlet, etc etc

I kind of want to get started on the project as soon as possible because I can get side tracked very easily and a project like this can easily go to the "I'll get to it eventually" pile, which later becomes the "What was this for?" pile lol

As for time and money, im a bit tight on cash, but I got all the time in the world lol So I guess that works out XD
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PL1

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 02:21:10 am »
So, sounds like you're looking for:

P1 + P2 - 8-way Joystick + 6 buttons each
P3 + P4 - 8-way joystick + 3 buttons each (IIRC, that should cover almost all 4 player games)
Admin buttons as desired (P1-P4 coin+start, escape, enter, pause?, tab/menu?)

46 inputs, so far.

At first glance, it looks like you're probably looking at the I-Pac4 or the Lono2, or 2 of Vigo's ZD ReMatches


If you want to play Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, you might want either a 4/8 way switchable or a dedicated 4-way wired in parallel w. P1 joystick.

Another way to have support for 4P games is to plug in USB gamepads for P3+P4.

BTW, are you sure you don't want Marble Madness, Missile Command, Tempest, Arkanoid, or Omega Race? 
No spinner or trackball games at all?


Scott
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 02:32:03 am by PL1 »

DaveMMR

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2012, 02:49:59 am »
I kind of want to get started on the project as soon as possible because I can get side tracked very easily and a project like this can easily go to the "I'll get to it eventually" pile, which later becomes the "What was this for?" pile lol

As for time and money, im a bit tight on cash, but I got all the time in the world lol So I guess that works out XD

Piece of advice is take your time. When you rush through it you end up with concessions and mistakes you may regret later on and/or cost you more down the road.  Plan, plan, plan. Don't rush it.

As for your monitor, why not try to get a 19", 25" or 27" CRT. Big enough but fairly inexpensive.

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2012, 04:31:52 am »
Hmmm...a 4/8 way switchable sounds nice. But DAMN thanks for doing the math, 46 inputs wow lol.

Definitely going to have the admin buttons, and thanks for pointing me in the right direction for what I need. That I-Pac4 looks intimidating XD

Having P3 and P4 using gamepads would definitely help out with money and work. Hmmm, Yeah I think i'll do that. It'll help with the design as well.

I'm 100% sure I do NOT want a trackball or a spinner. Not my types of games lol.

Hmm...I think a CRT monitor is just a bit too bulky for me. So I think i'll stick with the flat screen monitor. I'll try and find a 25" or 26" that seems like a nice size

Also, I guess I really should take my time. I'll keep planning and designing and whatnot. Thanks for the help :D
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PL1

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2012, 10:43:48 am »
Hmmm...a 4/8 way switchable sounds nice.
There are a number available. RandyT recently released the Omni2, Andy at Ultimarc has some switchable sticks.  Not sure if Bryan at Paradise Arcade has any that switch like this, though. These guys are the "Big 3" suppliers, completely trust-worthy, and are active here on the forums.

Definitely going to have the admin buttons
One thing that Bryan *definitely* does right is LED buttons.  Even if you don't light them, they are easy to print your own inserts, or he has a variety of inserts in color or B+W.

That I-Pac4 looks intimidating XD
The looks are deceiving.  Daisy chain the grounds, 1 wire to each switch. Piece of cake.
The only bad news is that since you are using gamepads for P3+P4, you have more encoders you can choose from.  ;D  GGG and Paradise both have Xin-Mo variants that might save you a lot of wiring time and effort.

Having P3 and P4 using gamepads would definitely help out with money and work.
If you're using USB gamepads, these feed-throughs are a slick way to connect and disconnect them or a keyboard, as needed. Lizard Lick used to carry them, but that site seems to be having trouble lately.

I'm 100% sure I do NOT want a trackball or a spinner. Not my types of games lol.
Had to ask--I've been playing TONS of spinner games since I got my TT2 from GGG and my trackball doubles as a mouse. With the right front end program and configuration, you won't need them, though.

Hmm...I think a CRT monitor is just a bit too bulky for me. So I think i'll stick with the flat screen monitor. I'll try and find a 25" or 26" that seems like a nice size
Flat screen. . .low build price. . . fast build. . .have you considered a full size Vigolix? It's the latest rage.  Even PBJ complimented it!!??!!  :lol  OK, show of hands, how many of you *did* mark your calendars when that happened?  If the Vigolix is too radical, there's this classic.

Hope these ideas and source suggestions help you as you fast-track your cab.


Scott
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 11:46:08 am by PL1 »

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2012, 04:09:05 pm »
Thanks again for the recommendations.

Those LED Buttons looks amazing!

The Vigolix and the classic style looks good, but I want my own custom design (I drew it up last night) I dont mind something thats going to take longer to build, I was just anxious to get started on it lol
"There is no knowledge that is not power"

PL1

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2012, 06:25:42 pm »
That's what I love about BYOAC.

Tons of cool toys to drool over, lots of friendly advice and so many inspiring builds.

Word of caution though. After gawking at Pixelhugger's Mission Control and Ond's Retro-Futuristic builds, I glanced forlornly at my very rough work in progress. Within moments, I found myself curled up in the corner, rocking gently, sucking my thumb, clutching my security-blanket and plaintively repeating "My happy place. . . . My happy place. . . ."  :laugh2: Those guys sculpt some truly breath-taking works of art.

Can't wait to see how your build progresses. . . just try to finish faster than Mission Control.


Scott

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2012, 07:19:15 pm »
ahaha yeah I saw the Retro-Futuristic build last night and I instantly went back to the drawing board to make a different design LOL Im going to shoot for a "Demonic"  Altar design. Maybe get some Bat wings in there somewhere lol
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mgb

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2012, 12:07:35 am »
Welcome to the forums,
  As was already said, just remember to be careful in your planning stage. It sounds like you definitely understand the need for budget. Sometimes that means that you need to do without some things.
Good luck on your project.

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 02:09:25 am »


So this is the general idea of what im shooting for. Im thinking about changing the look of the base (seems too square, not enough flare to it) Im always open for suggestions on what to change and whatnot. If you cant read my hand writing its (from top to bottom) "Speakers" "Monitor" "Fold Out Controllers" "Tubes Support, Cooper?" "Bumpers" "Coin Door"

I want the base to be big, because i'm going to be stuffing a laptop, an xbox 360, a dvd player (its the core component for my surround sound system) and a subwoofer in it. (as well as pretty much all the other components)

On the side you can see the "U" shape, thats going to be a holder for P3 and P4 gamepads

The box with the handle is what im trying to shoot for, for my arcade controls. I want a "Twist and Pull" system, where you twist to unlock and then pull it out so it locks in place. Im thinking about having some "legs" or support beams for the controller that come out to help keep it in place.

I was thinking 6 ft tall would be good (since im 5'7" and my house is not really big)

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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PL1

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 12:44:01 pm »
Not trying to threadcrap, just wanting to clarify your vision on the project.

It looks like you're trying to design something that looks nothing like the typical arcade "refrigerator box".  It has tubes and curves. . . and a coin box? Will that will work with the rest of your vision, or will it end up like Le Chuck's "Dick on the face" story?  >:D  Just asking.

"Form follows function" - It sounds like you're combining these functions:
1. Home entertainment system for watching DVDs
2. Console gaming
3. MAME gaming

The questions that come to mind are:
How will the 3 connect? Shared controls for console and MAME? Separate MAME P3+P4 gamepads?

People usually sit for movies and console games, but often stand for arcade games. Will the screen height/size/distance work for both?

With the gamepads on the side, will the wires be long enough and routed so that they don't interfere with or get pinched by the front doors.  Are these for MAME, the 360, or both?


The box with the handle is what im trying to shoot for, for my arcade controls. I want a "Twist and Pull" system, where you twist to unlock and then pull it out so it locks in place. Im thinking about having some "legs" or support beams for the controller that come out to help keep it in place.

Please tell me this was not your inspiration.  :duckhunt  Just kidding.

How about something like this. Front panel (red) hinges up, CP (blue) slides out on heavy duty drawer sliders (yellow).  Tabs on the back of the front panel drop down behind the CP to lock it in place. Lift the front panel to unlock and retract the CP.


Scott

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2012, 02:38:20 pm »
SWEET JESUS....I think I got a "Dick on the face" story. WHY THE HELL DID I DESIGN THAT? lol I blame lack of sleep >.< *Back to the drawing board*

Crap, you're right I dont think the xbox would be a good idea. I think i'm blowing this all out of proportion and I should just stick with a traditional arcade machine for the 1st build lol. A man can dream cant he? lol

ahah that was not my inspiration for the controllers XD I was thinking about a movie I saw that had that kind of general idea (it held like a virus or something i forget) But that design for the controllers is actually pretty cool. :)

All of these questions I should've been asking myself >.<
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PL1

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2012, 03:12:58 pm »
SWEET JESUS....I think I got a "Dick on the face" story. WHY THE HELL DID I DESIGN THAT? lol I blame lack of sleep >.< *Back to the drawing board*

Crap, you're right I dont think the xbox would be a good idea. I think i'm blowing this all out of proportion and I should just stick with a traditional arcade machine for the 1st build lol. A man can dream cant he? lol

ahah that was not my inspiration for the controllers XD I was thinking about a movie I saw that had that kind of general idea (it held like a virus or something i forget) But that design for the controllers is actually pretty cool. :)

All of these questions I should've been asking myself >.<

Remember . . . Friends don't let friends build a dick on their face.

Nothing wrong with the X-Box, just wanted to be sure you had thought about how it would work together with the rest of the system, what controls you were using with it, and had good cooling.

Cool design for the controller holders -- it can work fine. Just wanted to be sure that the controllers and holders work and look like part of the total concept, since this is a concept build.


Scott

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 03:16:21 pm »
Actually the xbox is a good idea :) you just have to get some hacked pads or hack them yourself :)
myself im at the drawing board for a wii/xbox/xbox360/ps3/mame console the consoles and mame will be run compliments of an assortment of adapters and the x-arcade stick altho by end of it the X will stand for the ammount i pay for the joys/buttons to replace there meh average ones and of course ill dismantle whats needed from the original :) and they will all use the vga cable i aquired a while ago :)
your main concern is will you be sitting to use it OR standing :)
flexihose ideas are fun tho i can imaging a couple of hoovers being disected to get them lol or do you plan on knicking robbie the robots arms lol:)

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2012, 05:06:26 am »
Yeah im definitely just going to stick with the "traditional" upright arcade cabinet. I'll have my dad help me with the marque and art and whatnot (he's an amazing artist that doesnt have the stones to get a portfolio together and go work for Marvel or Dark Horse lol)

With the Xbox I was thinking of having it be a separate component. So if I use a TV for the monitor all that would be needed to switch between the Arcade and the Xbox was to simply change the input on the tv. Make a "doggie door" or something for the disc tray. I kinda want the "Insert coin" button to be rigged to turn on the xbox..either put dropping a quarter in or just simply pushing it in. (might have to make another small button as well for the wireless controller syncing...dont need to worry about a button for the disc tray though, the 360 has that covered via the controller)

As for the sitting / standing dilemma im going to have to go with "both" ...because I enjoy long hours of gaming, but Im a heafty guy and standing too long results in my feet spontaneously exploding :) So I guess i'll just have to pull up a chair when I feel weary XD

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2012, 06:06:32 am »
Did you get the PM I sent the other day about Louis Tully's "coin door" and NovagemCDRs?

Have you considered how much real estate inside your cab a real coin door is going to eat up. and how that will affect where you can put your X-Box?

One way to do it is to put a Tully's-type "door" with a couple of the NovagemCDRs wired to P1 coin and P2 coin + a third NovagemCDR in the center with your own custom printed X-Box 360 logo wired to the X-Box power switch.

As far as the standing/sitting goes, maybe a barstool or two?


Scott

Overtkill773

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Re: The UltraCade Project
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2012, 08:29:15 am »
Yes I got your PM, Yes I completely forgot about it :) (Best memory of the year goes to....)

That tully type door sounds like an excellent idea. I will definitely do that.

Barstool sounds good, but its just easier (and cheaper) for me to just grab a chair from the kitchen table lol
"There is no knowledge that is not power"