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Author Topic: 4-Player Build Considerations  (Read 2670 times)

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PL1

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4-Player Build Considerations
« on: February 12, 2014, 11:17:41 pm »
Malenko brought up an interesting idea here about changing the order of joysticks in some 4-player games.

Most people set up the joysticks/encoder in a 3, 1, 2, 4 configuration so the vast majority of games (1 or 2 player games) have players 1 and 2 in the center.

For some 4-player games, if you change the in-game control settings so MAME has players in a 1, 2, 3, 4 configuration it will match up with the screen -- farthest left on the control panel = farthest left on the screen.

I dont think it'd be a huge deal for turtles, xmen, and the like but it'd pair the players up oddly in NBA Jam, Open Ice, etc.

One downside to the idea is possibly causing confusion if you have labels/start buttons with the player# imprint instead of a generic "start" label/vinyl button sticker.

Here's what I'm trying to figure out:

1.) Has anyone tried this?  Any feedback?  Is it worth the effort?

2.) How to fit the idea into the FAQ -- any suggestions?

The closest thing in the wiki is the 2Player Management page.


3.) List of 4-player games, preferably broken into games that work better as 3, 1, 2, 4 and games that work better as 1, 2, 3, 4.


Scott
EDIT: We'll probably make a seprate wiki page that covers special considerations for 4-player builds.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 09:52:01 pm by PL1 »

clok

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 09:37:35 am »
when i built my machine way back in the 2000's i set my 4 player up like this 1-3-2-4  to give the most room when 2 players are playing. 1and 2 both have 6 buttons (redo I would have made it 7) and 3 and 4 have 3 each. Again if I built one over.. i think i would go 2-3-1-4   those 2 center spots are best.. and in single player my setup has the 1st player way out on the left  of my frankenpanel.  In single player it would be nicer to be closer to center. Of course then you fight the fact that almost all 2 player games would have you mixed up (streetfighter) you would be criss crossing... so you get back to either remapping for specific games, or?

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2014, 09:44:35 am »
My problem with moving everyone around just comes down to the fact that you are trying to reinvent the wheel.  Most 1-2 player cabs have the player dead center to the screen.  And most of us are used to being in that position.  It would seem counter productive to move the 1&2 players anywhere but dead center.  Thus leaving 3 and four on the sides.  Also most of the time it's hard to get four players to agree on playing the same game at the same time.  So most of the time your four player games end up just being a 2 player co op any way.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 09:48:18 am by jdbailey1206 »

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2014, 10:37:07 am »
I guess you CAN play 4-player games with 4 players but probably it is more common to play those with only 1 or 2 players. Therefore I would still use the 3-1-2-4 layout.

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2014, 10:39:43 am »
My problem with moving everyone around just comes down to the fact that you are trying to reinvent the wheel.  Most 1-2 player cabs have the player dead center to the screen.  And most of us are used to being in that position.  It would seem counter productive to move the 1&2 players anywhere but dead center.  Thus leaving 3 and four on the sides.  Also most of the time it's hard to get four players to agree on playing the same game at the same time.  So most of the time your four player games end up just being a 2 player co op any way.

 :cheers:
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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 11:47:22 am »
I guess you CAN play 4-player games with 4 players but probably it is more common to play those with only 1 or 2 players. Therefore I would still use the 3-1-2-4 layout.

I can agree, and disagree. its like going to a movie, the best seats are center of the row, but when 2 people sit side by side you share the armrest (simple example).  that may or may not annoy you. If you put a seat between um they have some space.  Of course then you are both not centered as perfectly as you could be. me Im not a thin guy, and most of my friends are not either, so you put 2 of us in front in the 2 middle spots.. we jam and bump. Not to big a deal till you play an hour or two (and we have )..  my 1-3-2-4 setup is ok.. i will admit I dislike the 1 on the far left side.. when i play singel player, but 75% of my gaming is with a friend, so i felt it was the best.

it really comes down to if you mind griinding on each other ( and I'm making a far bigger deal of it then it is).. i just prefered more room, and sacrificed an Ideal center spot for 1 player for it.  I know having a 4player , when we all playing is ... well way to tight for me.. but you get into it you soon forget.

So i agree.. 3-1-2-4 is  the best for view as long as comfort is ok..  i dont like mine (1-3-2-4), but for comfort i don't like 3-1-2-4.. sometime you just gotta do what is the best.. and now, im 50/50 on it.. if i redid I would think long and hard on it.

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 12:02:49 pm »
One downside to the idea is possibly causing confusion if you have labels/start buttons with the player# imprint instead of a generic "start" label/vinyl button sticker.

Most 4 player games don't have a start button. Instead they use an action button as start. LEDBlinky + RGB buttons = Problem solved.

PL1

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2014, 12:08:41 pm »
Obviously, in MAME there will be compromises and idiosyncracies that people can work around, adapt to, or mitigate during the design stage.

The specific example that Malenko was looking at was TMNT.

On screen, the turtles are displayed:     1, 2, 3, 4
On the CP, the players were arranged:  3, 1, 2, 4

Player 4 is in the "right" place (screen position = panel position), but the other three players are looking cross-wise at their score and lifebar.

I understand that it is rare to have a 4 players on the game at one time, but in the 4-player version of TMNT, the turtle you play is based on the player position. (left-to-right 1=Leo, 2=Mikey, 3=Donnie, 4=Raph)

I think the difference is in whether you approach it based on player# or character.   :dunno

I'd still like to know if anyone has actually tried the 1, 2, 3, 4 remap on a 4P panel and if they liked it.

Just because something is commonly done, it doesn't mean it's the best or only way to do things.
(See: angled joysticks and marble contact paper   :lol)


Scott

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 01:01:17 pm »
We've been considering a more modular approach to this. For our application, we want the entire control panel (even down to each individual player position separately) to lift out of our "chassis" and replace empty holes with a fill spacer. If we wire the switches with receptacles instead of direct to the control board, we can drop in as many as we want and wire them to any position as long as we maintain the same wiring from panel to panel.

One of the demo videos shows CAT5 used for wiring. If that were just turned into an RJ45 receptacle or two, then just swap the connections depending on what game your playing. As for automatic switching... I dunno. Might just be easier to have something remap the positions in software. But this would work very well for our unique application.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 01:09:00 pm by edgeofblade »

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2014, 02:22:28 pm »
You can use ctrlr.ini files to create separate inputs for different games.  Once they are set, your buttons change for each game you select as long as you have a corresponding controller file in that directory.

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2014, 03:08:18 pm »
Back on topic. :bat

I'm not asking HOW to do this.

I'm asking IF anyone with a 4-player panel has mapped the player positions for TMNT(or similar game) to 1234 instead of 3124.

If you have tried this on a 4-player panel, what are your observations?


Scott

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2014, 03:12:48 pm »
Back on topic. :bat

I'm not asking HOW to do this.

I'm asking IF anyone with a 4-player panel has mapped the player positions for TMNT(or similar game) to 1234 instead of 3124.

If you have tried this on a 4-player panel, what are your observations?


Scott

Okay.  First what you have to do is find your settings in MAME..... >:D

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2014, 04:48:01 pm »
That's why I suggested you try it with just 1 game and see the results. I actually forgot that the 4 player version of Turtles and Simpsons had the character determined by which player's start button you hit. I can see the issue with the player start buttons, if I ever make a 4 player panel, the start buttons will have the generic player 1 start icon to avoid the labeling issue you are describing.    Sorry I brought it up :/ lol  But if you do give it a whirl, be sure to post your results!  :applaud:
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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2014, 05:51:58 pm »
No problem, Malenko -- Felsir and I agree that you asked an interesting question.   ;D

I'm not planning on making a 4-player panel -- ever.   :lol

Just asking for actual experiences to see if there are any pros or cons that people should consider so we can include the info in a proposed '4-Player Build Considerations' wiki page.


Scott

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2014, 07:11:10 pm »
Sorry, just addressing the previous poster with one way to do this.  There are other ways too of course, but some people may not be as familiar with ctrl files.

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Re: Player order in a 4-player setup
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2014, 07:22:32 pm »
In keeping with people without 4 player panels weighing in.......

When you choose a playing position on 4 player games like TMNT and The Simpsons, you are mainly choosing a character.
It's not so much that you're player 1 or 2, but you are Marge or Homer.

In my mind it makes the most sense for the players to be in the same order as the characters appear on the screen. (1 2 3 4)
It seems weird to me that if you wanted to be the leftmost character, you'd choose one of the controls in the center.

IMO, we should compile a list of 4 player games which work this way; the characters appear on the screen in order and the character chosen is based on player position.
There aren't that many 4 player games.  It can't be that big of a list.  That way someone can go back and individually remap those games.

EDIT:  What the hell, I came home early from work due to weather...will update as I test.
Reference list of 4 player games: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,16101.msg127936.html#msg127936

Games where character is based solely on player #:


Bomber Man World
Brute Force
Captain America and the Avengers
The Combatribes
Crime Fighters
D.D. Crew
Dark Adventure
Desert Assault
Double Dragon 3
Escape Kids
Exvania
Gauntlet
Gauntlet II
Gauntlet Dark Legacy
Gauntlet Legends
Growl
Heated Barrel
Main Event
Mercs
Metamorphic Force
Numan Athletics
Punk Shot
Quartet
Rampage
Rampage: World Tour
The Simpsons
Sunset Riders
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time
Thunder Zone
Vendetta
X-Men 6 player



notes:  allows you to select character
EDIT: DECIDED TOO MANY TO LIST
Alien Storm
Arabian Fight
Arabian Magic
Battletoads
Battle Circuit
Bucky O'Hare - can choose character, but scores & power bars in order
Blazing Tornado
Stone Ball
X-men 4 player
Dungeons & Dragons
Warriors of Fate
WWF WrestleMania
WWF WrestleFest

FINAL (FOR ME ANYWAY): NO PLANS TO FURTHER UPDATE THIS LIST
I crossed out Gauntlet Legends/Dark Legacy because they didn't really fit my criteria.
You are stuck with a color, but are allowed to choose a character.

As stated below, if I had a 4 player panel I'd set most of the games to 1 2 3 4.
Even if your player position doesn't limit you to a certain character, having them that way makes more sense with the positions of the scores on the screen and such.
All of these games will allow you to play a one player game from the player 2 position.  You don't have to stand on the end just because you have player 1 mapped there.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 10:47:48 am by BadMouth »

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Re: 4-Player Build Considerations
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2014, 09:51:40 pm »
Here's a list of special considerations for 4-player builds compiled from other threads.

Anything else that should be included?

* Angled Joysticks = bad (include pic and text)

* P3 and P4 don't need more than 4 buttons for MAME games

* Put coin and start buttons where you don't have to reach across another player to press them

* Some games assign credits based on the coin slot used so you'll want a coin button for each player.

* Put Exit, Pause, and other admin buttons where you won't accidently hit them while coining up/start during spirited play

* If you want to play 2-player games with 2 sticks per player (like Karate Champ Player vs Player, Smash TV, or Total Carnage), you'll want the P3/P1 and P2/P4 joysticks to be close to the same reach distance from the player (find pic of gauntlet CP for negative example)

* The position of the buttons for P3 and P4 can cause them to turn closer to or further away from the player next to them.

* Make a test panel and have 4 large players test for elbow room

* How do you plan on moving it? Casters on side for easier transport through a door? flat dolly?

* IPac4 has an overlap between P2 buttons 5-8 (undefined in MAME) and the default P3 joystick directions.  You'll want to change those P2 buttons and enter the new settings into MAME.

* Don't drill any holes until you have decided on the art work if any and its position on the CP.

* Most people set up the joysticks/encoder in a 3, 1, 2, 4 configuration so the vast majority of games (1 or 2 player games) have players 1 and 2 in the center.

* For some 4-player games, if you change the in-game control settings so MAME has players in a 1, 2, 3, 4 configuration it will match up with the screen -- farthest left on the control panel = farthest left on the screen.  When you choose a playing position on 4 player games like TMNT and The Simpsons, you are mainly choosing a character.
It's not so much that you're player 1 or 2, but you are Marge or Homer.

* One downside to remapping is possibly causing confusion if you have labels/start buttons with the player# imprint instead of a generic "start" label/vinyl button sticker.

* List of 4P games where player #s/characters are in a 1, 2, 3, 4 (left to right) configuration -- compiled by BadMouth :notworthy:
Bomber Man World
Brute Force
Captain America and the Avengers
The Combatribes
Crime Fighters
D.D. Crew
Dark Adventure
Desert Assault
Double Dragon 3
Escape Kids
Exvania
Gauntlet
Gauntlet II
Gauntlet Dark Legacy
Gauntlet Legends
Growl
Heated Barrel
Main Event
Mercs
Metamorphic Force
Numan Athletics
Punk Shot
Quartet
Rampage
Rampage: World Tour
The Simpsons
Sunset Riders
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time
Thunder Zone
Vendetta
X-Men 6 player (X-men 4 player allows you to select character independent of player position)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 10:26:51 am by PL1 »

BadMouth

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Re: 4-Player Build Considerations
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2014, 10:09:34 pm »
I'm about 2/3 through a list of 4 player games. I'm done.

Those listed are ones where your character is dependent on which player number you are.

I've left out those that allow you to choose your character regardless of which player number you are.
Also those where everyone's character looks the same, but they are different colors.
Not everyone has a different color joystick for each player and the colors they have may or may not apply to the game.

After fiddling around with all these 4 player games all evening, I think I'd just make all the 4 player games 1 2 3 4.
I don't really see much reason not to.  I don't think the little symbols on the start buttons would cause much confusion as long as they are located logically.


EDIT: Numan Athletics = 4 player Track 'N Field  :lol
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 10:54:00 pm by BadMouth »

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Re: 4-Player Build Considerations
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2014, 11:12:08 pm »
Thanks much, BadMouth.  :notworthy:   :notworthy:   :notworthy:

Copied the game list into my earlier post with the list of special considerations for 4-player builds.

Anything else that should be included when it gets wiki-fied?   ;D


Scott

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Re: 4-Player Build Considerations
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2014, 11:14:40 pm »
Anything else that should be included when it gets wiki-fied?   ;D


I'll leave that for someone else to answer tonight.  It's been a long day and my brain has shut down.  :dizzy:

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Re: 4-Player Build Considerations
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2014, 04:00:37 am »
Not sure if it deserves a mention (maybe it's too obvious):
Some games have a "shared" coin stack (where it doesn't matter in which coinslot the coin goes) and others have a coinslot assigned per player (like Gauntlet where each player adds energy via their coin). Thus all players do need their own start and a coin button.

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Re: 4-Player Build Considerations
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2014, 10:30:01 am »
Good call, Felsir -- added to list.   ;D

Anyone else have suggestions?


Scott