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Author Topic: Planning portable 4 player CP  (Read 903 times)

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DronttiEdvard

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Planning portable 4 player CP
« on: March 11, 2017, 09:40:11 am »
Hello guys, you have awesome and addicting forum and it is nice to join here after lurking around for 3 weeks.

I have born in 1990 so I have grown up with NES, gbc, ps1&2, DOS games following up with 32->64 bit pc games. I do not know how big role actual arcade games will play in my retro machine but please be gentle.

I am planning to build 4 player portable control panel which has 8 way joystick and 8+2 buttons for each player. 2.0 sound system, 17" flip screen from dead laptop as backup if there is no TV to connect. Inbuilt powerful pc that can run stuff like csgo, lol, wow, overwatch etc smoothly.

You may ask why so many buttons and why it should run modern games. Well, I want to play playstation games with it and it will be the pc that I take with me to LAN parties. I already have bad htpc and gtx 660 2gb laying around useless and by upgrading cpu & mobo with like 70€ I should run ps2 emulation smoothly and csgo with 150 fps.

I really need advices from you guys to order right parts, choosing the best OS, planning the panel, woodworking, artwork, setting up controls, emulators, frontend etc. Correct me if I am doing something stupid with these.

PC specs: G3258 @4.5ghz, gtx 660 2gb, 8gb ddr3, h81 or z97 mobo

Operating system:
I am thinking of Windows 7 or XP 32-bit version. Arcade and console emulation is easy with any OS, but it gets hard when I want to play 16 bit DOS games and modern games too. Physical address extension should fix 4gb memory limit of 32 bit system, but does win 7 and XP run old pc games just as good? Or what so you suppose?

Arcade parts:
a) 125€ for full 4 player kit including ipac 4 with wiring harness
b) 270€ for 4x Sanwa stick, 32x happ buttons, 10x non brand buttons and ipac 4 with wires.
The price difference from only ipac4 with wires to full 4 player set is only 30 euros!!
I also understood that DOS games need ps2 keyboard to work, so do I need to order my ipac with ps2 cable?

Control panel:
I will start to sketch it in sketchup when I get home from Thailand in 4 days. I am trying to keep it within 120cm*59cm (48"*23") which is max size for gameongrafix sticker. It will look something like this: http://m.imgur.com/a/rsWrR but it will have screen, no trackball and button layout like: http://www.slagcoin.com/joystick/layout/cluster36_s.png You will hate me for this, but p3p4 joysticks will be angled 45 degree as we all have grown up with playstation controllers and up and down are hard in our spines. Try to speak me out from this if you want.

Artwork:
I am planning to make 300 dpi photoshop pic, add my sketchup there and then break every single copyright law by slamming 1000 layers of HQ fanart of my favourite game characters from deviantart. Something like this guy did http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-eMr024LEzkY/UEkroR9yEuI/AAAAAAAAAVQ/YweME9ULvRM/s1600/Arcade+CP.jpg

Woodwork:
I am planning to use birch plywood 19mm / 3/4". I will use cp overlay as template for cutting holes. I am trying my jigsaw skills as cutting holes 4 holes for 2 fans and 2 speakers in shape of pacman, tmnt, sonic and something red, maybe toad from mario? There is some nice pumpkin templates for those in google search. Add some led lights and it should look quite cool?

Sorry for huge wall of text and bad english. Please give me your opinions what to do! ^^

yotsuya

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2017, 11:32:04 am »
If you want to play console games, why use arcade controls?
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 11:44:41 am »
It also works as giant keyboard with no ghosting for those 100's of 4 player splitscreen dos games  ::) Thats what I miss most from childhood, 4 kids, 1 keyboard. Want to keep friends close and fight games imo are better with arcade controls, if for some reason gamepad feels better for 8some classics I can always add ps3 controllers in.

And maybe over time friends will be like "oh boy, we are up for some big nostalgy trip" when I take that huge panel out. Normal pc with gamepads wouldn't get them in mood.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 11:49:20 am by DronttiEdvard »

paigeoliver

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 10:24:16 pm »
You are far from the first person to come up with this idea, and the results have never been all that pretty or all that fun.
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.

paigeoliver

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2017, 10:36:23 pm »
Also, at age 27 your days of lugging this thing over to your buddies house to play 4 player TMNT games are so numbered that you don't even know it.
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2017, 10:45:41 pm »
Actually 3 of my nerdiest friends are living under same roof with each others. I visit there quite often and we have actual LAN parties atleast once in every 3 months. Also we drink quite alot and it is quite common to have 10+ friends in house 1-2 days each weekend. So I do not believe that it would be that rare situation at all. None of us have girlfriend/children or anything like that. Normal day we just sit on teamspeak 8+ hours a day and play modern games over internet

paigeoliver

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 09:48:43 pm »
Actually 3 of my nerdiest friends are living under same roof with each others. I visit there quite often and we have actual LAN parties atleast once in every 3 months. Also we drink quite alot and it is quite common to have 10+ friends in house 1-2 days each weekend. So I do not believe that it would be that rare situation at all. None of us have girlfriend/children or anything like that. Normal day we just sit on teamspeak 8+ hours a day and play modern games over internet

Not rare now, but look back at this post and see if you still have all that going on at 30 or 35.
 
And what I mean is that big projects like that are big investments and should be built for the long term. I put my primary Mame cabinet together in 2003 and still use it today with few changes. That is why I discourage people from building portable panels, and half scale midget cabinets for their 5 year old kids. Build something you will not only still be using in 2031 but that will still have a long life ahead of it at that point.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 09:52:49 pm by paigeoliver »
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 10:34:29 pm »
I got your point. But to be honest, building 2 player CP would still cost like 80% of what 4 player would. (Still need to buy same pc parts, full sheet of plywood, artwork, sound system, paints, tools etc. Full size cabinet would not have that much use even right now and I can always upgrade and build cabinet for my panel if I feel that I need one. Its not like it would be buried in 5 years, it will be there with me in future and it works just as good for 2 players too if there isn't that much of friends to play with then. And who knows if I find a girlfriend who likes games and end up wirh having 3 kids or something.

Mike A

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2017, 11:13:38 pm »
You have 10+ friends in their late 20's and none of you have wives, children, or girlfriends. :o

yotsuya

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2017, 11:24:05 pm »
Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2017, 11:39:20 pm »
You have 10+ friends in their late 20's and none of you have wives, children, or girlfriends. :oj

I think that if I count 30 closest friends of mine, 5 of them have girlfriend and 2 of them have a kid

Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.

Haha, it seems that I am too stubborn to change my mind over anything so this might be the best tip out there  ;D

paigeoliver

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2017, 01:36:08 am »
I am actually trying to push you towards building a full sized cabinet for your own place. The portable will end up broken, stolen, or covered in dust before you know it, while you will still be banging on that full sized cabinet 20 years from now. Also, if you build a real cabinet now then you can probably still do it CRT, good luck doing that in 10 years.
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2017, 05:13:16 am »
I am actually trying to push you towards building a full sized cabinet for your own place. The portable will end up broken, stolen, or covered in dust before you know it, while you will still be banging on that full sized cabinet 20 years from now. Also, if you build a real cabinet now then you can probably still do it CRT, good luck doing that in 10 years.

Yeah, just checked old CRT tv's from local websites. There is 36" monster on sale for only 20€  >:D But I am living 15km out of city and people do not visit me that much and if someone does, he is up for a fishing trip and not gaming. I can utilise my old corner pc table as place to keep it and put some sort of tv in front of it but I guess that my best chance to ever get people to play with me is actually taking it with me and hook it to friends tv.

Risk of it getting broken is high when 400kg of drunken meat leans to it and spills beer over it but I can live with that. I can always replace broken parts, its just money, dust can be swiped away. But having good time with friends is priceless :)

morton

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2017, 12:08:41 pm »
You have 10+ friends in their late 20's and none of you have wives, children, or girlfriends. :o

Think of all the disposable income and free time!  :lol

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 11:03:34 am »
I got your point. But to be honest, building 2 player CP would still cost like 80% of what 4 player would. (Still need to buy same pc parts, full sheet of plywood, artwork, sound system, paints, tools etc. Full size cabinet would not have that much use even right now and I can always upgrade and build cabinet for my panel if I feel that I need one. Its not like it would be buried in 5 years, it will be there with me in future and it works just as good for 2 players too if there isn't that much of friends to play with then. And who knows if I find a girlfriend who likes games and end up wirh having 3 kids or something.

Have you considered building two 2-player CPs that connect together? One could house the PC, and the other could just contain a USB encoder (which are dirt cheap on Ebay). The overall cost would only be marginally more than building a single 4-player CP, and you'll have a lot more flexibility.
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DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2017, 04:21:39 am »
I got your point. But to be honest, building 2 player CP would still cost like 80% of what 4 player would. (Still need to buy same pc parts, full sheet of plywood, artwork, sound system, paints, tools etc. Full size cabinet would not have that much use even right now and I can always upgrade and build cabinet for my panel if I feel that I need one. Its not like it would be buried in 5 years, it will be there with me in future and it works just as good for 2 players too if there isn't that much of friends to play with then. And who knows if I find a girlfriend who likes games and end up wirh having 3 kids or something.

Have you considered building two 2-player CPs that connect together? One could house the PC, and the other could just contain a USB encoder (which are dirt cheap on Ebay). The overall cost would only be marginally more than building a single 4-player CP, and you'll have a lot more flexibility.

Actually I had idea of doing it as 2 player panel + 2x 1 player CP's with those zero delay usb. But then there are these things to consider.
1) sofa tables aren't normally wide enough for such arrangement, 1 or 2 people would need to hold controller on their lap and it isn't really optimal. 4 player panel can go over the edges and still be stable.
2) I'd need to fit pc, ipac, lcd controller (and psu for it), amplifier, 2 speakers and wiring to that 2 player box and still have nice airflow there. Or I could cut out screen and sound system and it would not have any use on summer cottage.
3) DOS games, I am not sure how good dosbox can manage controls from 2-3 different input devices and specially usb inputs. Mine bombers, wings, triplane turmoil, liero, slicks'n'slide etc finnish freeware games from 90's are what I really want to play most in 4 player.
4) carrying around more pieces

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2017, 01:32:33 pm »

I finally got home and did this first SketchUp.
What do you think?  ::)
Does layout look good enough so that I can start planning artwork for it?
17.3" LCD screen from laptop, which can be folded down when playing on TV.
4 LED lighted holes cut in shape. Green and yellow holes for fans, blue and red holes for speakers.
I am kinda afraid that Sonic / TMNT holes might broke quite easily. Any other quite round iconic characters in those colors that I might consider?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 01:34:26 pm by DronttiEdvard »

Ian

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2017, 01:56:59 pm »
---steaming pile of meadow muffin---... that is a lot of buttons!

Don't angle players 3 and 4. Make sure their orientation is facing the monitor like players 1 and 2. Otherwise Yeah that thing just looks heavy. You have a lot of panel there. Maybe try and slim it up???
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DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2017, 02:41:14 pm »
---steaming pile of meadow muffin---... that is a lot of buttons!

Don't angle players 3 and 4. Make sure their orientation is facing the monitor like players 1 and 2. Otherwise Yeah that thing just looks heavy. You have a lot of panel there. Maybe try and slim it up???

I was about to angle those 3/4 as in theory that makes so much more sense. But I am quite sure that green joystick would not fit in the box if angled so maybe I just keep all north.
Yes, it will be heavy. I am estimating about 30kg (66 lbs). But I don't really know where to make it slimmer, only thing that I could do is bring those 10 buttons and screen more down and take like 5 cm out of its depth but it doesn't really make much difference in weight.

Any ideas how to get 2D template from SketchUp to photoshop?

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 04:09:13 pm »
---steaming pile of meadow muffin---... that is a lot of buttons!

Don't angle players 3 and 4. Make sure their orientation is facing the monitor like players 1 and 2. Otherwise Yeah that thing just looks heavy. You have a lot of panel there. Maybe try and slim it up???

I was about to angle those 3/4 as in theory that makes so much more sense. But I am quite sure that green joystick would not fit in the box if angled so maybe I just keep all north.
Yes, it will be heavy. I am estimating about 30kg (66 lbs). But I don't really know where to make it slimmer, only thing that I could do is bring those 10 buttons and screen more down and take like 5 cm out of its depth but it doesn't really make much difference in weight.

Any ideas how to get 2D template from SketchUp to photoshop?


No I am sorry I don't know how to get sketchup to photoshop.... sorry. Just make sure all of the joysticks are facing north. No angles...
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thomas_surles

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2017, 04:16:48 pm »
Where's Scott at on this?

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 04:21:40 pm »
Commodore Scott-Bot is currently recharging.
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DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2017, 04:41:08 pm »
Okay I managed to get that template to photoshop on right resolution @300 dpi. Gameongrafix says to use RGB colors but does not mention if I should make it 8 / 16 or 32 bit color. 32 bit color photo would be 1.1 gb and magic wand does not work with it. Can I use lower colors?

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 06:14:36 pm »
Where's Scott at on this?
So . . . I'm the only one allowed to post this?   >:D

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2017, 07:30:17 pm »
Where's Scott at on this?
So . . . I'm the only one allowed to post this?   >:D

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You do it so well...  ;D


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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2017, 11:13:45 am »
If it were me, I’d agree with the previous poster who said a full-sized cabinet is a better investment, but if the ability to take it with you is a primary design criterion, then I guess that won’t work for you.

This is a very ambitious project that I fear will do lots of different things, but none of them well.  But hey, if after reading the comments here you’re still convinced it is what you want, then so be it; only you can decide that. 

I think this thing will be cumbersome as all hell to carry around—3/4” plywood is pretty heavy stuff.  Personally, I’d be looking to find a good deal on a flatbed truck, or at least to find ways of making the thing as light as possible.   

Cutting those fancy shapes out of ¾” plywood looks like more of a job for a CNC machine than a jigsaw—if you are able to pull that off with a jigsaw without it looking like crap then kudos to you.  Maybe an alternative would be to cut the shapes out of something else that is thinner and attach those.  Perhaps some acrylic/plastic type stuff from Home Depot that you can cut with a Dremel to get the intricate parts done.  Spray the backside of the plates with tremclad and flush mount them on the box for a clean look.  Or heck, don't even bother cutting the acrylic--just stencil it and back-light it for the same basic effect. 

You’re probably going to be disappointed with the built-in display.  Since it is attached to the control box it will probably wobble around during play and drive you crazy.

Have realistic expectations for how fun it will be to play modern games on this thing.  If a modern game is playable with a d-pad and only the “face” buttons on the controller then it should map just fine to arcade controls.  But keep in mind that lots of modern games (if not most of them) rely heavily on shoulder buttons and analog sticks, which do not map to arcade controls very well at all.  Playing such games on your controller will likely be disappointing at best, and totally infeasible at worst. 

Best of luck!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 11:15:30 am by Cynicaster »

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2017, 05:14:57 pm »
How are you going to haul that thing around? Do helicopter blades spring out of the middle of the control panel?

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2017, 07:50:57 am »
If it were me, I’d agree with the previous poster who said a full-sized cabinet is a better investment, but if the ability to take it with you is a primary design criterion, then I guess that won’t work for you.

This is a very ambitious project that I fear will do lots of different things, but none of them well.  But hey, if after reading the comments here you’re still convinced it is what you want, then so be it; only you can decide that. 

I think this thing will be cumbersome as all hell to carry around—3/4” plywood is pretty heavy stuff.  Personally, I’d be looking to find a good deal on a flatbed truck, or at least to find ways of making the thing as light as possible.   

Cutting those fancy shapes out of ¾” plywood looks like more of a job for a CNC machine than a jigsaw—if you are able to pull that off with a jigsaw without it looking like crap then kudos to you.  Maybe an alternative would be to cut the shapes out of something else that is thinner and attach those.  Perhaps some acrylic/plastic type stuff from Home Depot that you can cut with a Dremel to get the intricate parts done.  Spray the backside of the plates with tremclad and flush mount them on the box for a clean look.  Or heck, don't even bother cutting the acrylic--just stencil it and back-light it for the same basic effect. 

You’re probably going to be disappointed with the built-in display.  Since it is attached to the control box it will probably wobble around during play and drive you crazy.

Have realistic expectations for how fun it will be to play modern games on this thing.  If a modern game is playable with a d-pad and only the “face” buttons on the controller then it should map just fine to arcade controls.  But keep in mind that lots of modern games (if not most of them) rely heavily on shoulder buttons and analog sticks, which do not map to arcade controls very well at all.  Playing such games on your controller will likely be disappointing at best, and totally infeasible at worst. 

Best of luck!
Thanks for your opinions man! :)

I have matured up the idea little bit and done some more SketchUp.
1) Less buttons - I am still not quite sure about layout, mostly if I should do 6/7/8 buttons for p1&p2 and where to place coin/start buttons
2) Made CP slightly smaller and moved buttons further from edge - now palm of hand can rest over the panel.
3) Added 4 gamepads inside the box. - makes PS and modern gamepad games so much better
4) Round holes - you are right, I do not have skills to do those shapes and those might get broken anyway.
5) Added carrying handles to back side - should make it easier to carry around alone.

How exactly would that laptop screen be any more wobbly attached to arcade CP than it was when still on my laptop? Anyway, its just backup screen if there is no TV to connect.

I never planned to play modern games with arcade controls if game doesn't support it. When I said that it needs to run modern games, I wanted to get opinions about PC's OS, hardware and software so that it could handle it all best way possible. I will have keyboard, mouse and gamepads with me for those modern games.

With these updates, do you think that it will do lots of stuff better than the first sketch?




How are you going to haul that thing around? Do helicopter blades spring out of the middle of the control panel?
Good one, maybe I will replace those plastic handles with some kind of quadcopter thing!
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 07:53:19 am by DronttiEdvard »

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2017, 08:36:38 am »
I was partially serious. That thing is going to weigh a ton. That design is not portable at all.

DronttiEdvard

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2017, 10:32:07 am »
I was partially serious. That thing is going to weigh a ton. That design is not portable at all.

I did some simulation, it is not portable as game boy or anything but one man can easily drag that around for like 200 meter which is longest distance that I'd need to move it at once anyway.

yotsuya

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2017, 12:26:57 pm »
Just let the Bro build what he digs. No need to try to talk him out of it.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Cynicaster

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Re: Planning portable 4 player CP
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2017, 12:30:21 pm »
1) Less buttons - I am still not quite sure about layout, mostly if I should do 6/7/8 buttons for p1&p2 and where to place coin/start buttons

Don't rule out using the front/sides of the box for coin buttons. 

Quote
How exactly would that laptop screen be any more wobbly attached to arcade CP than it was when still on my laptop? Anyway, its just backup screen if there is no TV to connect.

When you play games with arcade joysticks and buttons, your hand movements can get pretty forceful during intense games.  A screen coupled directly to the controller will probably wobble around more than you'd like.  This problem is mitigated on full-size cabinets by their size and mass.  A tabletop controller might not have that damping effect.  I've had problems with this sort of thing in the past. 

  
 

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