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Author Topic: My first build: "Mimic"  (Read 12332 times)

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Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2016, 11:35:29 pm »
Wow that looks great.  :applaud:

I can't even imagine how long it must have taken to get the hi res bezels and artwork together for it all but it looks so good together. That joust shot looks fantastic.

Thanks!  I'm really glad you like it.   :D 

The art has been a long term project, indeed.  I think I've got about as many hours in that as I do in fabrication and design.

Your marquee panel on Blip - is it 1366x384?  Mine is a little too tall, at 1366x480, but I might be able to adapt my adaptations to fit yours if you'd be interested.

menace

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2016, 06:53:00 am »
Awesome cabinet!  That dynamic marquee is sexy as hell.

Unfortunately we may now have to have a new rule that people with obviously too much woodworking skill can only post grainy out of focus pictures so the rest of us hackers don't feel so bad  ;D

I'm looking forward to the video!
its better to not post and be thought a fool, then to whip out your keyboard and remove all doubt...

Token

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2016, 08:04:54 am »
Restricting windows to a portion of the screen is not easy.  I was able to use some nvidia specific software to choke the 1920x1080 screen down to 1440x1080, but it wouldn't resize any smaller than that, so portions of the native desktop display are inaccessably out of reach.  (I think Maximus was able to get his all the way down to a 1080x1080, though I'm not sure how he did it.)

Maximus used Powerstrip for custom resolutions. However, this utility centers your custom resolution (you can make some micro-adjustments off-center). On my build, I was able to just center the screen physically and so didn't need to adjust it.

artyfarty

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2016, 05:33:50 pm »
On my Slimtendo/RetroEcho build, I created a custom resolution in the Nvidia control panel.

I'm running Windows 10, with a GTX 750ti.

In the Nvidia control panel, go to Display->Change resolution->Customize->CreateCustom Resolution. Then you can create a 1080x1080 resolution, which gets displayed in the middle of the monitor for Windows and anything that runs.


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Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2016, 05:45:42 pm »
I want a video.  Make it happen!

I'm looking forward to the video!

... I guess I've got a video to shoot, then.  Give me a couple days, I'll try to put something together.

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2016, 12:02:07 am »
By popular* demand, here's a short video of Mimic in action and the transition between games.

Mimic, switching games.

(For the sake of keeping this short, I switched fairly quickly between games, which makes the gradual fades of the control panel lights seem a little too slow.  In normal use, the fade duration is nice.  Also, this video was shot on a potato, which overexposed a lot of the brighter stuff on the screens that are of course not all bright white in reality - sorry.)




*:  Well, two.

drakmarr

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2016, 01:07:32 am »
Super nice job!!!


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Slippyblade

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2016, 01:36:18 am »
Good lord that is amazing.  I want it to have my children.

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2016, 01:48:06 am »
Good lord that is amazing.  I want it to have my children.

 :laugh2:   Thanks!  That makes it worth my trouble to have shot the video, right there. 

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2016, 02:52:19 am »
I guess there's a few things I might as well explain before anybody calls me to task on them, from the video. 

Just in case everyone but PBJ is too polite to say the following:

"Championship Sprint... without 360 wheels or spinners?  On joysticks?  That's terrible!"
Yes.  It is.  But it's equally terrible for both players, so it's still a fair race, of sorts.  The computer cars will of course ruthlessly destroy you after a few races - but they always did that.  (Or maybe I always sucked at Sprint.)

"Armor Attack used an array of buttons, not joysticks!"
This is true, and if I set Mimic to the alternate 'Solo' mode, it maps 4 buttons in a horizontal line for one player in a pattern like Phoenix shows.  But, that only accomidates one person.  This video is in the default (2p) mode, and moving Turn Left + Turn Right onto the sticks makes it fit two players.  (Same deal with Rip Off and Space War.) 

"Why does Frogger light 4 buttons?  Frogger has ZERO buttons!"
The throw on a Servostick in 4-way is kind of long for the tap-tap style of Frogger.  I was testing to see if the game played better if I just tap buttons for movement.  (This button layout is basically a D-pad, after all.)   It's...  maybe a little better, but it's very weird.  I am undecided, so for now, they both work.

"That's not the correct marquee art for Shadow Over Mystara!"
Yes.  Because the real marquee art on Shadow Over Mystara sucked.  I made my own.

"Lunar Lander isn't a trackball game!"
True.  But the throttle was an analog input.  The trackball is my only analog control.  It's quite playable, with vertical trackball roll mapped as throttle.  I figured it was this, or motorize a throttle lever that pops out for that one game, and that way lies madness.

"All these wheel-based driving games.  With no wheel.  What is WRONG with you?!"
I initially had a notion of building a detachable steering wheel L panel that could swap with the current blank L panel below the fixed CP, which would have stuck the wheel out the center of that tall grey vertical wall.  That lead me to do the graphics work for those games and add them in.  I later decided that panel was a terrible idea and that swapping it in and out would kludge up an otherwise slick cabinet far too badly... but in the meanwhile, I had kind of gotten used to driving those games with the trackball.  It's not that bad!   At least, until I build a sit-down racing cabinet for all of them, someday.  Then I'll take them off this machine.

Token

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2016, 05:25:22 am »
This whole thing is great, but it's the custom-made front end that really impresses.

I'm a hyperspin guy, but your Fe is perfect for this set-up.  :cheers:

stigzler

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2016, 10:11:11 am »
Wicked. When you select a game it sounds like there's a motorised whirring - what's that? Or do I need to stop eating cheese before bed?

You haven't got a friend with a HD Potato have you? Been awesome to see this closer in HD.

harveybirdman

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2016, 10:19:16 am »
It's impressive despite all of the caveats you mentioned.

Personally the different sized screens for each game would drive me nuts, so I don't think I'd ever use the virtual bezels but from an aesthetic point of view it's no less impressive.

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #53 on: January 22, 2016, 11:00:08 am »
Wicked. When you select a game it sounds like there's a motorised whirring - what's that? Or do I need to stop eating cheese before bed?


The whir is the motors on the two Servosticks.  The front end keeps track of whether the prior game was 4 or 8 way; if that does not match the game you just selected, then it rotates the actuators to spin the restrictor gates on the sticks the correct direction. 

2 way Games like Joust or Battlezone feel a bit better on the 4-way setting, as that gives you an angled pocket to fall into versus a perpendicular wall to possibly slide against.

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2016, 11:09:19 am »
It's impressive despite all of the caveats you mentioned.

Personally the different sized screens for each game would drive me nuts, so I don't think I'd ever use the virtual bezels but from an aesthetic point of view it's no less impressive.

Thanks!  Appreciate the frank feedback.

That is a tradeoff that one could favor either side of.  I'm using different sized screens for each game because I'm integer scaling the screen, and many of the games ran at different resolutions.  So if a game were actually, say, 256x224, I would probably go 3x on that and make my display 768x672 to have room for some bezel and to keep the playfield about right.  Keeping it on the integer means there's a minimum of resampling going on to fit the LCD, because uneven resampling is what drives me nuts.  Integer scaling also helps with making the scanlines hit the source pixels correctly.

If different sized screens are what drives you nuts, though, it'd be simple to set up the art and .lay files to make every game have a precisely matching screen size, at the expense of the scaling being non-integer sometimes. 

Betafini

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2016, 01:44:39 pm »
Wow.  :notworthy: I love this cabinet.

If I may ask, how long did it take to build? Frontend AND cabinet...

harveybirdman

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2016, 01:53:39 pm »
It's impressive despite all of the caveats you mentioned.

Personally the different sized screens for each game would drive me nuts, so I don't think I'd ever use the virtual bezels but from an aesthetic point of view it's no less impressive.

Thanks!  Appreciate the frank feedback.

That is a tradeoff that one could favor either side of.  I'm using different sized screens for each game because I'm integer scaling the screen, and many of the games ran at different resolutions.  So if a game were actually, say, 256x224, I would probably go 3x on that and make my display 768x672 to have room for some bezel and to keep the playfield about right.  Keeping it on the integer means there's a minimum of resampling going on to fit the LCD, because uneven resampling is what drives me nuts.  Integer scaling also helps with making the scanlines hit the source pixels correctly.

If different sized screens are what drives you nuts, though, it'd be simple to set up the art and .lay files to make every game have a precisely matching screen size, at the expense of the scaling being non-integer sometimes.

All good to know if I ever build an arcade project with an LCD which will be let me see.... NEVER   :cheers:

vettetek

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #57 on: January 22, 2016, 02:39:55 pm »
All good to know if I ever build an arcade project with an LCD which will be let me see.... NEVER   :cheers:
Then WHY are you reading this thread?? :laugh2:

harveybirdman

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2016, 03:26:55 pm »
Because its pretty damn good.  I can like Wu Tang Clan but still hate rap...
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 04:09:32 pm by harveybirdman »

n3wt0n

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #59 on: January 22, 2016, 05:00:33 pm »
Very nice looking build. I really like the simplicity of the front end from what I could see in the video. Great thought to create a nice clean cab and let the marquee and screen do all the talking.

 :applaud:

wp34

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #60 on: January 22, 2016, 05:15:05 pm »
Well done laythe.  This is a great cabinet and I enjoyed the build pics.

 :applaud:

wp34

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #61 on: January 22, 2016, 05:19:41 pm »
Sorry for the dumb woodworking question but does this work similar to a CNC?

So, I know the normal go-to tool for inletting a control panel is a router, but, I like my milling machine, and thought I'd give it a try. Turned the speed up, and used a big end mill to rough it out, a small one to touch up the corners.






Brouhaha

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #62 on: January 22, 2016, 06:49:40 pm »
I'm really, really digging your cab  :cheers:

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #63 on: January 22, 2016, 11:14:33 pm »
Sorry for the dumb woodworking question but does this work similar to a CNC?

It's actually more a metalworking question, which may be why the tool is unfamiliar.  I just happen to be using it on a piece of wood here.

Yes.

Many CNC machines are computer controlled milling machines.  The difference is somewhat like an Etch-A-Sketch, versus an old pen plotter or vinyl sign cutting machine.  At its heart, CNC is basically a system by which you can get a computer to accurately and rapidly spin the handles for you along a predefined path - but the types of machines driven by CNC programming generally existed before the computers did.  So, all the mechanical principles of the machine are similar, but I turn the knobs by hand.


If I may ask, how long did it take to build? Frontend AND cabinet...

Cabinet, it was about two months between first sawdust flying, and it being finished and installed.

Front end, most of the programming happened over a span of about two weeks... but, there's a lot of extenuating circumstances to that.  I did -not- write a user maintainable, extensible, configurable front end that is versatile, simple to administer, sure to work on any combination of hardware and software, and well documented - because I had no use for any of those things.   I wrote a front end to do exactly one thing, on one set of hardware.  If I want to reconfigure it, I do that by hacking on the source code directly and then recompiling it.  Easy, for me, but not really viable for another user.  By analogy,  what I needed was not a very fancy 1/4" drill - what I needed was one 1/4" hole.  So it's not like I whipped out Mala in two weeks or anything like that.  It's purpose built, and that simplifies the task greatly.

Collecting and fixing up marquee and bezel art for it has taken by far the most time.

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #64 on: January 22, 2016, 11:32:56 pm »
I don't often make it into PA to check things out, but am glad I did tonight.

Beautifully clean build with nice lines, elegant control illumination and the visuals are possibly the best I have ever seen.

 :applaud:

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Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #65 on: January 23, 2016, 05:12:43 pm »
Menace, Drakmarr, Slippyblade, n3wt0n, wp34, Brouhaha and CheffoJeffo - Thank you. 

I was not anticipating such a positive reaction when I started this thread - this has really been a pleasant surprise to me.  It makes me glad that I posted - for the commentary, and because it suggests that some other people might get some ideas they like out of seeing what I've done here, just as I did from reading the other project threads here before I began.

flylear45

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #66 on: January 25, 2016, 06:05:19 pm »
Beautifully executed concept. I personally very much like how you used bezels to keep the image as pure as possible. I do NOT have your patience to duplicate your effort, though.

Kudos sir, and congrats on having a fantastic looking and functional plaything.

edekoning

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #67 on: January 27, 2016, 07:59:23 am »
Man I love that whole dynamic bezel/marque thing. Looks stunning! Though I also found that the marque made the cab look top heavy, its not that noticeable once the the cab was placed in an alcove. Good job on the front end  :applaud:

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #68 on: February 06, 2016, 04:30:56 pm »
Here's an image out of my plans that better illustrates how Mimic fits together internally, in case anyone is considering a similar approach.  Screens are highlighted green, and the centered viewable 1080x1080 area of the main screen is shown in blue.


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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #69 on: February 06, 2016, 05:28:20 pm »
Nice diagram. Always nice to see how everything manages to fit inside. Again, thanks for sharing!
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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #70 on: March 02, 2016, 04:08:52 pm »
How big the main TV? Like what size is the actual screen (including the hidden part)?

Also, are there any issues with sync when running an LCD vertically like that? Like do you get sync/scanning issues that run from left-to-right instead of the usual top-to-bottom? Or is it just a non-issue?
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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #71 on: March 02, 2016, 04:49:51 pm »
2016 BYOAC upright of the year right here... ;)

It's a long year yet, but the amount of custom work that went into this thing still makes my head spin, and wish I paid more attention in computer class....lol.

Great work, better attention to detail!  :applaud:

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Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #72 on: March 03, 2016, 12:00:49 am »
How big the main TV? Like what size is the actual screen (including the hidden part)?

It's a 46" 1080p bottom-end Samsung TV.  The screen glass measures about 40" x 22 1/2", and the case isn't much bigger than that.  So, flipped portrait, it's 40" tall and 22 1/2" wide.     The square that remains showing is 22 1/2" by 22 1/2", which equates roughly to a 32" TV (though there are no square TVs that I know of.)

I think 46" is about the right size for doing this.  It'll fit in a 24" wide classic cabinet if you like.  It gives you enough room and resolution for readable functional bezel instruction cards and whatnot, if you are careful with your graphic editing.  A game shown full screen without bezel becomes Really Almost Too Big.  (I make a few exceptions in my setup for things like Xybots, where you were playing on one corner of the screen anyway - making that huge isn't a bad effect overall.) 

Also, are there any issues with sync when running an LCD vertically like that? Like do you get sync/scanning issues that run from left-to-right instead of the usual top-to-bottom? Or is it just a non-issue?

If you don't have vsync enabled, sure - you'll occasionally see the tearing artifact as a vertical tear line, instead of as the usual horizontal tear line - but I don't find that to be a big plus or minus.  It's no worse looking than the normal artifact, just slightly different, and it becomes a non-issue if you can vsync.   I also haven't had any problems with viewing angle.

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #73 on: March 03, 2016, 12:08:22 am »
2016 BYOAC upright of the year right here... ;)

It's a long year yet, but the amount of custom work that went into this thing still makes my head spin, and wish I paid more attention in computer class....lol.

Great work, better attention to detail!  :applaud:

Hehe, thanks!    :D  Feel free to nominate it when the time comes, if you still feel that it deserves it by then.

I'll go back and add some completed pictures to the beginning of the thread, now that it is finished.

Vincefaro

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #74 on: March 04, 2016, 07:34:58 pm »
This is just great work. After seeing this and blip I think my plans for my cab, HAVE to be changed . I just need a Dynamic Marquee . I was going with a Tron Theme, But i think I might scrap it for a more generic theme and get a dynamic marquee , It just adds so much to the cabinet.  Really nice work. I guess i will save on artwork and printing, to pick up the right LCD for the marquee.

CSL

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #75 on: March 04, 2016, 08:14:41 pm »
Great cab and great execution, that marquee is brilliant. Bit big but it works so well.

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #76 on: March 06, 2016, 12:34:32 am »
This is just great work. After seeing this and blip I think my plans for my cab, HAVE to be changed . I just need a Dynamic Marquee . I was going with a Tron Theme, But i think I might scrap it for a more generic theme and get a dynamic marquee , It just adds so much to the cabinet.  Really nice work. I guess i will save on artwork and printing, to pick up the right LCD for the marquee.

Great cab and great execution, that marquee is brilliant. Bit big but it works so well.

Thanks!   I agree, it's a bit big.  The ideal panel is the spanpixel that Blip uses...  but buying one stateside would literally have cost me more than the total price of Mimic as built.  I was getting numerous quotes at around $1,300 - so I decided I could live with this.

One thing I'd like to say about LCD based dynamic marquees, for those who haven't seen one in person.  An LCD panel isn't totally *right* replacing a CRT, and I really understand the people here who are therefore still holding the line of "CRT Or Bust".  That said, an LCD is totally right as a marquee.  The arcade original marquees were generally a backlit color film translucency, usually lit by flourescent tubes.  This LCD monitor is, internally, a backlit color film translucency, lit by flourescent tubes.  So, from any distance beyond nose-to-the-glass where you can see the pixel screendoor, it's a perfect feeling fake.

At one point in my development, I had some animations going on up there.  I learned that - for me, at least - it's actually a lot worse.  As soon as anything MOVES up there, it's obviously an LCD screen.  But as long as you only leave a static image up there, it looks like every other arcade marquee - aside from it just magically always being the correct marquee.

So, if you're thinking about it, I'd highly recommend it.  The effect in person is better than pictures suggest.

thagerty

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #77 on: April 10, 2016, 04:35:53 pm »
Beautiful build! I wondered when someone was going to use a vertical LCD TV this way.

nVidia custom resolutions (via nvidia control panel) are your friend for this kind of project. Very easy to do and has been around for ages. However, you also have to check the scaling method used under "adjust desktop size and position". This may have to be changed depending on your TV and your methods. I do this to have a 21:9 resolution (3840x1640) in my UHD TV for my racing games on my simpit.

I just got done setting up MAME on my virtual pinball cabinet. The playfield screen is used to play MAME games similar to how you do (42 inch vertical), but my entire screen is always exposed. I use Pinball X as my front-end.

I feel your pain when it comes to "lay" files. Even with the nice bezel art out there (I collected everything I could find), there is no way to completely fill my screen with ANY bezel art. So I used Rocket Launcher to manage bezels. I use a "default" bezel / background (or a random one) that automatically works for all games while allowing the game to fill up as much of my screen as possible (with HLSL effects for scaling,etc). If there was a MAME bezel / artwork that filled the leftover space nicely enough I would use it. There is nothing normal about my setup so its never going to be perfect.

I made over 2700 marquee images for the backglass screen (which acommodated the various different sizes), so I am NOT going to make hundreds of custom lay files.... especially after spending all this time making media for around 500 pinball games (1500 videos!). Not to mention I have hundereds of MAMe gameplay videos to do.... (no other source for videos available for this kind of setup for MAME, and I'm too picky)

This is what I'm talking about.... its not as nice as your bezel setup, but its the best I can manage with this type of cabinet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c11Vhd-136k





Again, great job and beautiful execution. You have inspired me to maybe make use of my spare 42 inch TV for another project!
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 05:00:28 pm by thagerty »

Laythe

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #78 on: April 13, 2016, 02:38:03 am »
Beautiful build! I wondered when someone was going to use a vertical LCD TV this way.

Thanks!  Though, I'm not the first.  I think Maximus might have been (with a plasma), or maybe Token if you are specifically only talking LCDs.  I am probably missing some folks, I apologize - who here does have the earliest claim on slinging an oversize 16:9 display in portrait?   (I owe them a  :cheers:

I feel your pain when it comes to "lay" files. Even with the nice bezel art out there (I collected everything I could find), there is no way to completely fill my screen with ANY bezel art. So I used Rocket Launcher to manage bezels. I use a "default" bezel / background (or a random one) that automatically works for all games while allowing the game to fill up as much of my screen as possible (with HLSL effects for scaling,etc). If there was a MAME bezel / artwork that filled the leftover space nicely enough I would use it. There is nothing normal about my setup so its never going to be perfect.

I've got just a few more bezels to go, my target is for every game in my list to have a custom .lay layout and bezel and I'm maybe 98% there.  I have to manually adjust the bezels anyway from Mr. Do's excellent work, because I want the screen portion to be integer scaled so I can line the scanlines up correctly, I dim them way down so they look more like cardboard instead of glowing CRT phosphor, I paint vignetting and scanlines on the monitor area directly in the .PNG (which is almost free as compared to HLSL effects), and I'm frequently thinning the bezels down a great deal to look right aesthetically on my setup.  The square "screen" is pretty easy to fill completely, which is nice.

In a lot of cases I've had to paint my own incorrect homage bezels - many cabinets simply never had bezel art, so for them I'm remixing the control panel overlay art into bezel art.  Otherwise, the often cool control panel art would go unused, because I just could not figure out a way to give Mimic a dynamic control panel overlay.  I wanted to.  I thought of a lot of half baked ideas.  Tight grid-packed LED lighting with missing elements to make holes for the controls to go through... retroreflective glass bead screen material CPO with a topside projector in the speaker panel under the marquee monitor...  back projection from the foot of the cabinet shooting up onto a translucent CP and an insanely clean wiring job to avoid shadows...  no.  None of it was going to work well.  Defining my own custom colors for RGB lighting the controls per game was as close as I could get.  Maybe someday we'll have scissor-cuttable OLED film and somebody can do it then.

RetroGreg

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Re: My first build: "Mimic"
« Reply #79 on: April 20, 2016, 02:04:24 am »
Wow, Laythe. This is really an impressive cab. The screens are gorgeous and I really like your control panel. Great job with the software. The amount of work you put into configuring it really shows. Shout out for the cool admin panel too  :cheers:.

  
 

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