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Author Topic: Metropolis-based build w/dynamic marquee  (Read 1032 times)

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Absoludacrous

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Metropolis-based build w/dynamic marquee
« on: January 06, 2020, 07:24:10 pm »
So you'll have to forgive me for this, I know this isn't the way these project threads are supposed to go since the project is near complete. But given that it only turned out how it did because I basically lurked this forum heavily for months, I wanted to both show off the project and say thanks to the members of this community that unknowingly walked me through the process.



This whole thing was conceived as a way to work on something with my dad, since he loves woodworking. It seemed like the perfect bridge between our two hobbies, since they don't tend to overlap too often. So he basically handled all of the woodworking, while I handled all of the wiring and software. So really most of the credit goes to him, because he had by far the harder job. It was the first time either of us had done anything like this, so a lot of lessons were learned and there are things I would do differently a second time, but overall I'm very happy with how it turned out.

I eventually settled on OND's Metropolis as a starter since space was the biggest limitation (well, that and money, but the cost got out of hand pretty quickly). So I basically started by using OND's plans while also looking at what vaderag had done with his cab. It seemed perfect since it was was relatively thin and shallow. I did end up with a slightly wider monitor, so a few adjustments had to be made there. The other big difference was wanting to incorporate a second LCD screen to create a dynamic marquee, since I was planning on using Big Box. So the marquee space had to be made a little taller. I could only find one monitor even close to the dimensions I needed that wasn't a million dollars, so the marquee space basically had to be designed around it. My biggest fear was that it was going to end up freakishly large, but it only ended up adding an extra inch or so total. The LCD wasn't wide enough to go from end to end on the unit, so I decided to get a couple vinyls that I could backlight to bookend it.



I had originally planned to use MDF, but my dad wanted to go with plywood to keep the arcade light. Since he was the wood guy, I deferred, and I think it was the right decision in the end. With castors on the bottom panel it moves around fairly easily, even on carpet (but not so easily that it slides during play). We cut the sideboards and used a slot-cutting bit for the t-molding, which was by far his least favorite part. We cut out a large back door in the rear panel and attached it with hinges. A bezel was cut for the monitor and we built a wooden frame behind it to keep it locked in. We had also built a similar frame for the second LCD, but then when we to put up LEDs to backlight the side vinyls you could see the shadow of the frame. So we had to remove it and made wooden block clasps instead, similar to a picture frame.

Somewhere in the process the speaker panel sort of turned into two pieces, angling the speakers higher than in the original design, but we rolled with it. The speakers are just 2.1 logitechs I grabbed off Amazon for cheap and are basically held in place by a wooden block frame.




For artwork I went with re-sized MK2 sideart, since my childhood dream was always to own an MK2 cab. Went with red t-molding for similar reasons. I knew I wasn't going to stick with the MK button layout, so rather than adapting that cp artwork I went with a space design that was vaguely reminiscent of the MK2 marble. For the marquee side pictures I kept the space theme going and took an image that was easy to divide in two halves and kind of drew attention to the LCD in the middle. These are probably the most subjective part of any cabinet design, but I'm pretty ok with how it all turned out.



We cut a coin door into both front panels and a hole above it for one of those car mount usb panels (with a cap so it basically fades into the cab when it's not in use). This way I could easy plug in extra controllers if I wanted to do 3 or 4-player games. Since space was the biggest limitation having a 4-player control panel was the first thing on the chopping block.



The control panel itself was designed to be able to handle everything up to PS3 emulation and Steam games, so I went with a 2-player, eight-button layout based on Sega's Astro City. The sticks are Industrias Lorenzo to keep the MK feel, and the buttons are Seimitsu (that's just a personal preference thing; I've always leaned more towards their buttons than Sanwa). I also wanted a trackball and spinner. I knew going in that they were going to be superfluous, but this was probably the one and only time I was ever going to build an arcade, so I figured it it was now or never. I had never really played trackball games, but I remember constantly reading reviews of arcade compilations that downplayed the games in them because you couldn't use a trackball the way they were intended. And I always wondered how those games were supposed to be played, so I figured this was my chance to finally found out. I got both the trackball and the spinner from ultimarc, along with P1 and P2 start buttons, a yellow led coin button, and 4 rgb buttons for setup.



I knew I wanted fancy LED buttons, but I also wasn't willing to sacrifice quality parts for them, so I figured just having the four in the upper right (plus the coin and trackball) would give it that effect (while also not overpowering the cp in light). I'm really glad I went this way, because honestly these buttons are terrible. I can't imagine using them for any kind of serious play. But for the purpose I've put them in for, they're great. There's also LED strips going down the sides of the front panel, which was an idea I shamelessly stole from vaderag. I think his actually turned out better though.

The wiring is honestly a mess. One of the things still left to do is to see if I can clean it up some, but everything at least works, including the coin door. I learned a lot about wiring through this process, and had to buy a few extra parts and make more wires than I initially planned (including a lot of extension wires). We also put in some pinball buttons on the side, though if I were to make this again I would move them a little closer to the front.



All of the power is run through surge protector connected to an outlet, which has two spots that are always on and two spots controlled by a switch on the side of the cab. This way I can shut everything off from there. The computer bios and monitor and are all set to power on as soon as they receive power, so when you flick the switch the entire unit boots right up.



I'm using an iPac ultimate and running all the controls through it. I had updated the firmware to try to get Xinput, but the real star of the show is Schwing's Keyboard2Xinput. Using that solved all my headaches of being able to switch seamless between older games/mame/trackball/spinner/etc and modern stuff like MK11 and SFV. I was banging my head for days against the iPac firmware trying to make it work how I had pictured it in my head, but Keyboard2Xinput just fixed everything.

The cab itself is running a PC on Windows 10, using Launchbox/Big Box. So when the unit powers on, it boots straight into Big Box while also loading Steam, the ipac software, and keyboard2xinput in the background. I'm using an old Dell Optiplex with a pretty decent video card to make up the lost ground so it can play modern stuff. Everything runs on high at 60fps.



And that's basically it. Everything came together more or less how I had originally visioned it in my head. Definitely took more time and money than I anticipated, but I absolutely love this thing, and my dad has saved pictures on his phone that he shows to everyone he passes in the street. It's pretty funny seeing him so excited about something video game related.

So thanks again to the people on this forum, especially in OND's thread and Schwing. Here's a couple more pics of it in action, including the dynamic marquee:
















There's still a lot to be done, but it's pretty much all launchbox-setup-related. That part has been extra slow because I'm also in the middle of setting up a microPC using a Ryzen 3400g, so I've basically been setting up launchbox on my main PC so I can image it to both the arcade and the micro as I update it. We also pre-drilled a hole on the side to run a lightgun cable through, but I'm waiting to see how the Sinden turns out before I make any decisions on that.

I should also add that I got all the artwork printed through Game on Grafix, who did a great job and turned it around fast.

If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer it. Really just wanted to make this thread to say thanks though.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 10:19:25 pm by Absoludacrous »

Ond

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Re: Metropolis-based build w/dynamic marquee
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 02:57:31 pm »
I really like hearing about BYOAC projects that builders got their dads involved with.  I got my passion for woodworking from my dad.  This has turned out nicely!  I'm glad you found my design useful.   :cheers:

Absoludacrous

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Re: Metropolis-based build w/dynamic marquee
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2020, 03:46:10 pm »
I really like hearing about BYOAC projects that builders got their dads involved with.  I got my passion for woodworking from my dad.  This has turned out nicely!  I'm glad you found my design useful.   :cheers:

Thanks! It really helped being able to apply what he was saying about woodworking towards something I kind of already had a good grasp on. Usually when he would talk about building a chair my eyes would just glaze over and I would nod politely. Which is exactly what he would do whenever I talked about anything game related. So it was really the perfect window for us to kind of understand what the other was doing. And now I have a much better idea about what all of the things in his garage do and can probably, maybe, use like half of them. And now I know why he only ever asks for Home Depot giftcards for Christmas. That's an expensive hobby.

And thanks again for you plans, they were great! I had gone over so many possible designs on here, youtube, reddit; at one point I had even just downloaded a pdf of the original MK2/KI cab. But I came across your design and it was like that's it, that's the one. Once that was locked down everything else just came together.

rtkiii

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Re: Metropolis-based build w/dynamic marquee
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2020, 03:56:17 pm »
Really like the LCD bezel.  I wanted to do that in my cab back in 2013 but the funds just did not work out...nice work!  Looks great!