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Author Topic: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)  (Read 2182 times)

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Pacmaniac

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4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« on: December 24, 2018, 03:29:16 pm »
Admittedly, I started this project earlier in 2018 (probably started planning in late 2017), but didn't necessarily think about starting a project thread b/c it's been a slow go (we work full time, my wife travels, we've been slowly renovating a house or, and we have a toddler) and as I'm still a relative novice in re: woodworking, I've spent a lot of time researching here and other places to try and make sure I have a good first pass at it. Hopefully, other folks who are taking their first shot at this and feel the same reservations will get something out of this thread as I post and update.

My background in video games

My earliest gaming memories came from the health and racquet club my parents belonged to when I was a kid. First are of a Pac-Man cocktail machine that sat in the bar area, where I remember watching a guy running the pattern into the deep levels of the game, only to be pulled away b/c my mother was done with her raquetball match and wanted to go home. The second was of a Journey cabinet in the game room at the same club, which explains why I even know what that bizarre, odd-ball game is. The other memories I have are of Tapper and Spy Hunter at the bar my dad used to go to for happy hour when I would occasionally tag along. My first console system was a Vectrex, which I just rescued from my folks basement and cleaned up, and still plays like a charm.

Basic Inspiration

After a lot of googling, I landed on this Instructables project, which formed my basic thinking and approach to the cabinet. This blog/archive site helped me think a lot about control panel layout and spacing basics and I think is a good resource for beginners like me.

Why a 4-player pedestal?

After LetterBombing a Wii a few years ago and spending some time at one of those barcade-type joints, I realized that my friends and I still enjoyed playing some of the major multiplayer games from our youth (NBA Jam, The Simpsons, TMNT, X-Men). I also acknowledged that while we have plenty of sq. footage in this house, there was no place in the layout that made for a dedicated cabinet that would be easy to play and enjoy. This explains both the pedestal, and the decision to build this in a way that I could but casters on it that could roll into and out of the way.

Why 4 players and a trackball?

My wife said the one game she really enjoyed when she was a kid was Centipede. I'm sure the guys will play some Golden Tee. I apparently like to up my difficulty level.

Materials and components

Materials

5 x 1/2" plywood in 2'x4' sheets
1 x 3/4" plywood scrap from other projects (for the base)
~10' 2"x4"s
~10' 1"x4" pine boards
~16' 1"x2" pine boards
Lots of 1 1/4" wood screws
2 x Apexstone gas shocks


I'll update this when I have more time, as I'm well into the build, but, the kiddo is off school and up from her nap, etc.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 04:51:56 pm by Pacmaniac »

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2018, 09:41:21 pm »
Step 1: Mock up a control panel

I started as I'd seen suggested in a number of places-by mocking up what I thought the control panel could/should look like. As I mentioned in the intro post, I used Slagcoin.com to get a feel for the right spacing and orientation of buttons, etc. If you look closely enough at the attachment, I did a lot of T-square and protractor-oriented work. Yes, I went to Target and bought a little protractor and compass to help with this effort.

Ultimately, I decided against drilling for the buttons you see in yellow here. I'd thought initially about including them for things like Centipede and Golden Tee/Silver Strike, but the P1 and P2 controls are close enough in proximity that I don't feel too worried not having them, as those games will get played less and I'd start to run into Franken-panel type concerns. What I still haven't mapped on this mock up (and aren't on the actual panel yet) are the Player start buttons and admin buttons, which I'm still thinking about before I get into knocking more holes into this thing.

pbj

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2018, 10:26:04 pm »
Don't angle the P3 and P4 sticks.
This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2018, 12:06:32 am »
Don't angle the P3 and P4 sticks.

Fortunately, I did a fair bit of scanning the archives here before I got too far, and I plan to mount the joysticks all facing the same way.

ETA: I appreciate folks providing the insight that allowed me to land on this decision.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 05:04:38 pm by Pacmaniac »

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2018, 09:19:58 am »
Step 2: Cut the control panel and box

After a fair amount of time with the protractor and compass (and a test run of a single six-button setup on a scrap piece of wood), I decided to start with cutting and drilling a control panel and box. Figuring that I could always tweak a base and sides to this thing, and figuring that the CP would be a more time-consuming part of the build, I dug in. You'll see here that I've marked for the trackball based on some relative assumptions, and if you look real close, you can see pilot holes for the sticks. I wanted to get the sticks in my hands before I went about drilling those holes for sure.

I did all of the measuring, etc. by hand to plan it out, cut the sides and angles with my circular saw, then used my cordless drill to drill pilots before using a 1 1/8" forstner bit to complete the button holes. I still need drill admin and player start buttons, but I want to be sure I get the panel truly oriented on the box before I get too cute. So far I'm happy with the results, though getting the trackball cut and placed will really tell me how I'm doing.

For the box, it was really just a matter of measuring the length and angles of the panel, and giving myself a small overhang of ~1" on all sides but the back. For the bottom of the box, I cut a piece to fit flush with the box, and then used my plunge router to cut a 1/4" deep groover around the outer edge in order to hide that bottom edge a little bit. I'm not planning on any t-molding for the bottom, but I may get annoyed with the look when I start to put it together and do the box over again. (First timer, and all that.)

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 02:01:31 pm »
Step 3-(ish): Cutting the sides, front and base and mock assembly

Given that I'm still a relative neophyte with regards to woodworking, I did a fair bit of checking and double checking of things as I've been cutting and mocking stuff up. So, before I started gluing and screwing, I put everything together with the help of a few clamps, in part to see how well the box and panel would sit on the frame, and to make sure that I felt like the panel height was correct. Right now, the panel sits at about 39" high in the front, and only about 39.5" at the far back, meaning I didn't quite get the slope quite the way I wanted. However, I have really good alignment between the front panel and where the sides meet it, so I'm inclined to leave it as is, and wait to see if it really causes any trouble for the folks playing (mostly me and a small number of close friends)

« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 02:04:19 pm by Pacmaniac »

opt2not

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2018, 02:50:13 pm »
Don't angle the P3 and P4 sticks.

Fortunately, I did a fair bit of scanning the archives here before I got too far, and I plan to mount the joysticks all facing the same way.

ETA: I appreciate folks providing the insight that allowed me to land on this decision.

I like this guy

yotsuya

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2018, 03:12:14 pm »
Don't angle the P3 and P4 sticks.

Fortunately, I did a fair bit of scanning the archives here before I got too far, and I plan to mount the joysticks all facing the same way.

ETA: I appreciate folks providing the insight that allowed me to land on this decision.

I like this guy

Thats why we keep bringing it up, right!
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2019, 02:42:41 pm »
Obviously, it's been a bit since I've updated this thread, and I've clearly dispensed with the idea of posting step-by-step progress. Frankly, there are more skilled folks here that new builders should be reading before they come through this thread.

That said, I've gotten a fair amount done since the last update:

1) Got MAME software up and running on the 2004 Gateway (WindowsXP!) that this sucker will be running on and began cobbling together a game list.
2) Sanded, primed, sanded, painted, sanded, (fixed something I f'd up) painted, etc.
3) Assembly of the base cabinet, including securing the CPO box to the top.
4) Installed t-molding on the base cabinet.

What's left?

1) Wire and attach the control panel.
2) Install t-molding on control panel.
3) Cover up screw heads on front and side panels

One thing I'll say is that I'm actually pretty happy with how it's turning out, though I'm definitely coming up with a list of things that I'm finding myself saying 'oh, well, if I do this a second time, I'll do this differently'. Still, I'm learning a ton and am not unhappy with the design.

pbj

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2019, 04:49:21 pm »
Id put the player start buttons across the top of the control panel, remap those on the front to credit buttons.

This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2019, 05:36:09 pm »
Id put the player start buttons across the top of the control panel, remap those on the front to credit buttons.

That is indeed the plan, to use those buttons for coin/credit. The CP has holes drilled across the top already for P1-P4 starts.

Gilrock

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2019, 05:51:30 pm »
I've never built a 4-player but everyone says to not angle the P3 and P4 controls.  It sounded like you agreed but then it looks like you already cut the holes angled.  Just pointing it out because you said you were going to make sure the joystick was oriented straight but I believe they meant buttons also.

PL1

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2019, 07:01:45 pm »
*** Cue the obligatory "angled sticks" diagram. ***

Green = good.  Red = bad.



https://web.archive.org/web/20160809113045/http://newwiki.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?title=FAQ#Orientation
-----------
Angling the P3/P4 buttons makes it easier to not bump elbows with P1/P2.

Your body naturally tends to turn so the stick and buttons are the same distance from your body.

Ergonomically arranged, angled buttons do not cause problems with gameplay like angled sticks do.
- As always, a cardboard mockup is your friend.   ;D


Scott
P.S. If you like dual-joystick games like Smash TV or Karate Champ (partial list here), you might want all four sticks in a horizontal line for two-player dual-joystick fun.

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2019, 07:09:10 pm »
I've never built a 4-player but everyone says to not angle the P3 and P4 controls.  It sounded like you agreed but then it looks like you already cut the holes angled.  Just pointing it out because you said you were going to make sure the joystick was oriented straight but I believe they meant buttons also.

I was going the route that PL1 notes above, though I'll admit that I worry about having angled my button layouts for 3/4 a bit more than I should have. But, I did cardboard mock ups and put people on both it and the actual panel before I painted, and everyone seemed good with it.

Now, of course, the first time I get four grown men playing TMNT or NBA Jam, we'll see how well the testing translates to reality. :)

Gilrock

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2019, 07:48:09 pm »
Yeah that's the photo I had seen a dozen times.  I guess I'm getting old I thought the buttons were all straight...my bad.

Pacmaniac

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2019, 04:00:15 pm »
So, I'd let this thread stay dormant for far too long, considering that I actually did finish the project near the end of February. After playing it for a while, and moving it back and forth from it's resting place to where it sits in front of the TV, I'm generally happy with it. If I ever rebuild it or do a new CP for it, I'd angle the top button arrangements a bit less, and possibly make the top a touch wider to allow for enough shoulder space for that to happen. I'd also relocate my Enter/Pause/Escape cluster from the top-center of the panel, as we've had a few instances of the Escape button getting pressed by someone following through on a Golden Tee drive. For a first effort, I'm generally pretty happy with how it turned out, and it was a great learning experience.

(ETA- I have no idea why the photos inline are posting on their sides like that. They are properly oriented on my laptop and when I click on them....)

« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 04:24:45 pm by Pacmaniac »

pbj

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Re: 4 Player Pedestal (First Time Build)
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2019, 05:00:36 pm »
Needs a bigger screen.

This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.