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Author Topic: *Alpha SDK Ready!* - Major League SkeeBall -- Cross-Platform SkeeBall Controller  (Read 9437 times)

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Sharkdoc

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  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Watching, just picked up a project machine and very curious how this will play out. Missing the marquee on mine so liking the lcd replacement. I've used ipac on a mame cabinet before. So basically imagining ripping the guts out of mine and adding a Pi with Ipac. Curious which switches you are using. Would love to test the software out too!

zimmer62

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I would love to test this out.  I've just picked up a beer ball unit that has a build in LCD and PC...  I'm sure I'll have to hack something up to make it work, but that shouldn't be a problem.

My background is software development.  Mostly in C# if you need an hand with anything I'd love to help!


nipsmg

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Shark and zimmer:  check PMs.

stangx

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Finally got back to this project.  One side of new optical sensors are installed. Other side should be done Friday. Will post video of nipsmg games in action. Amazing work nipsmg :notworthy: :notworthy: :applaud: :applaud:

newmanfamilyvlogs

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As was mentioned in an earlier post, so few people have room for a SkeeBall machine, but I've always loved physical interaction games like this.

I could see the software being applied to a custom build in the footprint of a traditional arcade cabinet that plays similarly to those handheld 'pinball' games, or a pachinko machine. An inclined pegboard with cutouts/catches, flippers at the bottom, and standard pinballs. That would allow for an arbitrary number of holes as well. The play field could be constructed by a series of interlocking 3d printed plates.

zimmer62

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I've been working with my Beer Ball machine, to try and see if I can interface this software with the minigen board that's already in it.

Beer Ball has a PC in the scoreboard that connects to the a minigen controller board under the lane via RS232 Serial.

I was able to capture some packets and make sense of reading some of the packets.  When putting the machine into diagnostics mode, it sends out a diagnostics status request packet which returns a machine state with all of the sensors, and switches encoded into two bytes.  I've got that down a working quite well I should be able to have a program that simulates keystrokes or whatever is needed to run this game. 

I do have to figure out if I can force a ball release.  The strange thing about this game, is that the PC is hooked to the board, but it appears the board does it's own thing and just reports the score back to the PC when polled.  Pretty much like it could run without the PC's beer ball software. (Which I haven't tested)  I'd like to keep physical modifications to the machine to a minimum, and reversible.

A couple problems I see for me right now are:
1) The machine might not let the me trigger a ball release (I don't know this for sure, but I don't see a serial packet that's job is to trigger the ball release)
2) The mingen board seems to be responsible for the audio.  Some other games from BayTek have an audio input on the minigen board, but beerball does not, so I might have to bypass the speaker or see what happens adding the audio input jack to the board.  If that doesn't work having a separate audio system when running something other than beer ball mode.

If I can't get the machine to let me trigger a ball release I might be forced to make a machine modification... Another option is to double up on the sensors so that each system runs independently of each other.


geoffb

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Great looking front end - what do I need to build one?  I have wanted a Skee Ball for a while, but no luck finding one - If I build one what HW do I need?  Pi, PC or ??

thanks

nipsmg

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Geoffb, where are you located?

nipsmg

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Finally got back to this project.  One side of new optical sensors are installed. Other side should be done Friday. Will post video of nipsmg games in action. Amazing work nipsmg :notworthy: :notworthy: :applaud: :applaud:

Don't know how I missed this.  Looks great.  Why is the game so offset on  the monitor?

Sorry there hasn't been much progress on this.. work has been hell.   I'm also working on a MAME project simultaneously.  I have my optical sensors and mounts, I'll probably end up doing something with them in the spring, which means updating the system to allow for optical switches and not require the ball drain switch.

stangx

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The offset was due to windows update. Looks perfect now. I too have built a full Mame system and a visual pinball cab. Full VR setup with Sim Racing at the other end. Seems though after a few beers everyone ends up on the skeeball. I put wire switches in as I needed up and going quickly for a child's birthday party. One side of the optical sensors are done. Will now wait till you update to optical to do mine. Thanks again for all the time you have put into this.

stangx

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All optical sensors are now installed and working great. The only game that does not score correctly is classic skeeball as the key mapping is different from the other games. 100 holes score 50, 50 to 10 holes all score 10. Any way to change that would be awesome. Other than that the games are all scoring and working great. Put a speaker system behind the TV, so now the games with sound are even better. Gotta love games with sounds it adds to the whole experience.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 07:05:45 am by stangx »

nipsmg

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NICE.  It seems like within the next week or so the average temperature in my garage should rise up above negative 4 Billion degrees Fahrenheit, and I'll get back to work on the skeeball, so I should be motivated to make some updates and to able to implement support for optical sensors.

Stangx:  how did you handle "gutterballs"? 




stangx

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The sensor is right where the ball starts to go down the return lane. That is why you can't throw your shots too quickly. Has to register ball count before next ball can score. Here is a pic where the gutter sensor (ball counter) is. Also I used existing wires in the machine. 5.5V power supply with sensors hooked up to an I-pac2 from Ultramarc. For the key mapping.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 10:33:21 am by stangx »

nipsmg

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No new updates on the software (yet), however, I wanted everyone to know this runs PERFECTLY on an Atomic Pi.  $35, windows 10, hooks up via HDMI, works full speed.   Just pulled out he old PC and mounted this in the cabinet with standoffs. 

Perfect, cheap ($35 ish) solution.

Gumpyme2

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Is there somewhere I can buy a Pi with this SkeeBall loaded on there and how to connect the scoring sensors and buttons?  I’ve built a Mame, so I think I could get it working if there were directions how to wire it all up.  This looks so awesome!

nipsmg

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nope.. and I'm having some issues with the Atomic Pi.  Turns out--- it works fine in windowed mode, but not so much in fullscreen (no audio in fullscreen)..  which is infuriating.

I may switch to linux, which will be *my* first test of the cross/platform capability of the code.  It *should* in theory just run on monogame 3.6 on linux, but i've never actually tried it.





Gumpyme2

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I bought a project machine and would be happy to help test. ( Also a Beerball ironically.)  I have built a Mame Cab, but it was a challenge!

nipsmg

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Watching, just picked up a project machine and very curious how this will play out. Missing the marquee on mine so liking the lcd replacement. I've used ipac on a mame cabinet before. So basically imagining ripping the guts out of mine and adding a Pi with Ipac. Curious which switches you are using. Would love to test the software out too!

I'm using the stock switches, I just hooked them up to an iPAC-2.   Make sure when you say a Pi, you mean AtomicPi, NOT a raspberry pi.  I have not successfully gotten this to run on a Raspberry Pi yet.

Howard_Casto

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nope.. and I'm having some issues with the Atomic Pi.  Turns out--- it works fine in windowed mode, but not so much in fullscreen (no audio in fullscreen)..  which is infuriating.

I may switch to linux, which will be *my* first test of the cross/platform capability of the code.  It *should* in theory just run on monogame 3.6 on linux, but i've never actually tried it.

I don't know if this helps, but I tend to make most of my apps run in "fake" fullscreen mode.  By fake I mean you just take the window, remove the borders and auto size it to the desktop upon startup.  Fullscreen tends to cause problems with arcade software, so I try to avoid it. 

nipsmg

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Howard:

    I can do that. -- I'm just annoyed by it.  It worked fine on the old PC, but there are some notorious issues w/ the Atomic Pi and audio drivers.  I'm build on MonoGame 3.6, and I think 3.7.1 is out, so I'm going to try to update to the latest version and recompile and see if it was just a monogame issue.

    I specifically built auto-scaling into the engine to support variable resolutions.  I don't know if that will work right with the window, but it might.




Howard_Casto

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Welcome to my world.  People don't realize that the majority of software development time is fixing fiddly bugs or compatibility issues.  It's the main reason I dramatically scaled back what I make for the hobby... getting it to work on my machine is easy, it's getting the damn thing to work on everyone's machine that gets you. 

nipsmg

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Yeah.. I've got a little more work to do re: supporting optical sensors, then I'm going to open source it.  I'd love people to contribute to it and extend it.
I'm not going to sell it, so I don't really care.

And that way... got a problem on your machine?  Here's the code and some instructions, happy debugging! :)

Gumpyme2

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I am trying to figure out what to buy and wire up in advance of the software coming out.  Any suggestions?  Is there a thread somewhere on the physical build?

•   a display of some kind to put in the top of the cabinet.. (this one fit nearly perfectly per this thread: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073JYHTV6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1),-  I’ll size this to my beerball machine and see if it will work.
•   HDMI Cable
•   AtomicPi
•   A keyboard encoder.  Do I need something like a KeyWiz or IPAC-2?
•   7 Optical sensors- suggested Adafruit 2167 3mm beam break sensors
•   Amp and speaker
•   7 Buttons- (maybe joystick encoder if the buttons will be on the other side of the machine)
I would also like to see LED support.  It may already have this, but it would be cool when starting another game (or just having a button for it) if it would make the sounds like when it releases all the balls.

nipsmg

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Just a heads up, I do not have support for optical sensors yet.  You can buy them, but I won't have that support implemented any time in the next month or so as I just started a new job.  I have them too, but haven't implemented them.

The scoring for the classic skeeball game relies on the ball hitting every switch on the way down, which won't work with optical sensors.