Main Restorations Software Audio/Jukebox/MP3 Everything Else Buy/Sell/Trade
Project Announcements Monitor/Video GroovyMAME Merit/JVL Touchscreen Meet Up Retail Vendors
Driving & Racing Woodworking Software Support Forums Consoles Project Arcade Reviews
Automated Projects Artwork Frontend Support Forums Pinball Forum Discussion Old Boards
Raspberry Pi & Dev Board controls.dat Linux Miscellaneous Arcade Wiki Discussion Old Archives
Lightguns Arcade1Up --- Bug Reports --- Site News

Unread posts | New Replies | Recent posts | Rules | Chatroom | Wiki | File Repository | RSS | Submit news

  

Author Topic: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...  (Read 1314 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Arcade1980

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30
  • Last login:October 17, 2020, 02:05:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« on: September 02, 2020, 06:31:17 am »
This is getting ridiculous as I am thinking of building a new CAB and listing out the titles that I want, but realizing that just 1 control panel doesn't work for all games. 

For example: Gorf/Tron needs a Tron like joystick, trackball for Centipede, Spinner for Arkanoid, 2 Joysticks for Streetfighter, 6 buttons for fighting games,  and various configurations.

My thought is to build different control panels and swap them into the cabinet depending on the types of titles - just curious what the thoughts are in such scenarios of so many titles with different needs for configuration layouts.


Gilrock

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 557
  • Last login:October 10, 2020, 10:47:32 pm
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 08:43:53 am »
I say build a Robotron cab and forget about all other games. :)

mahuti

  • Wiki Master
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2660
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:22:18 pm
  • Back from the dead.
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2020, 10:37:48 am »
This is an oldie but a goodie:

http://beersmith.com/mame/cabinet.htm

I don't love it, but... it's versatile  :laugh:

Quote
My thought is to build different control panels and swap them into the cabinet depending on the types of titles

I have 4 cabinets, 3 that have interchangeable panels. I think I have 8 or 9 panels, and I'm always thinking about additional ones. I think if you consider them in terms of using them like a "conversion cab kit" then they're great. If you want to make them hot-swappable, that adds a lot of complexity, just in terms of software configuration. From doing something similar to what you suggest here are the lessons I learned.

1. Pick a set of games with very similar controls that you like. Try to keep that set as limited as possible, and build a panel to support those games.

2. When that panel is installed, show only that list of games. Having 4 cabinets helps me have a variety of types of games without feeling like I need to swap a lot. If you really want to have some kind of fast swap option, power down the cabinet, change the panel, and use a script after start up to change the game list to suit the new controls.

3. When you make the first panel or two, build a really good panel template and make a bunch of blanks at once. Then when you have an idea for a new set of controls it is a lot easier to implement quickly.

4. When you wire each panel, try very hard to make the wiring line up with the default controls so you don't have to reconfigure MAME to suit a certain control. Rewire until you get it right, try to never mess with whatever your default MAME controls configuration is.

5. If possible try to use the same encoder on each. This is more expensive, but can be simpler in the long run. Mini-Pac with Opti is a good choice.
https://www.ultimarc.com/control-interfaces/mini-pac-en/

That said, my panels use just about everything. GGG Gp-Wiz 40, GP-Wiz 49way, iPac 2 (a really really old one), Opti-Pac, Opti-Wiz, Pimoroni Player X, UltimateIO, Zero-Delay (lots of delay) etc.

I do like these for price: https://www.adafruit.com/product/4518  They don't have a player 2 input though, which I don't like. A lot of my panels are built for 1 player, but a lot of old games allow 2 players to switch back and forth.

6. If possible, put all of your cabinet & game controls somewhere besides your swappable panels. Game Exit, Coin, maybe Player 1 & 2 buttons, and any other service buttons. Having less inputs means that you have more flexibility on your encoder choice, and also means that you can have a consistent way to interact with your cab controls. Sometimes space required by odd-sized controls makes it difficult to put important things in the same place without insanely careful long-term planning.

7. Plan to put artwork that fits the controls on the panel. Build a panel and get artwork done before starting on another one... otherwise you'll never order the artwork. Maybe do 2 at a time.

Just as an FYI, these are the panels that I have so far... I think.

1. Street fighter 6 button 2 player panel.
2. NeoGeo 4 button 2 player panel panel
3. 3 button trackball panel
4. u360 + 3 button & spinner panel
5. Discs of Tron panel with up/down spinner & tron stick
6. Rotary panel for ikari and similar
7. u360 + 2 button classics panel (probably should have had 3 buttons... but the art is printed and would look weird with an extra button now)
8. Space Encounters yoke with push/pull & 2 thumb buttons
9. Spy Hunter yoke with hi/low shifter (work in progress)
10. a ridiculous show panel that has a trackball, satan's hollow stick, and a top-fire joystick. It sucks, but I had the extra controls so I just threw them on one of my blanks for fun.

I'd still like to make more panels. I'm always coming up with something.
Formerly known for the (apparently now defunct) arcadeartlibrary

Jimbo

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 893
  • Last login:Yesterday at 04:59:50 pm
  • I have no idea what I'm doing.
    • Wood Finishes Direct
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2020, 12:27:45 pm »
Where do you keep all those panels dude!?

mahuti

  • Wiki Master
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2660
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:22:18 pm
  • Back from the dead.
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2020, 12:52:10 pm »
They're hung up by their panel clamps or on shelves. They aren't that big.... something like 23.5" wide. The biggest one, the Space Encounters panel is pretty big... it sits on a shelf.
Formerly known for the (apparently now defunct) arcadeartlibrary

Jimbo

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 893
  • Last login:Yesterday at 04:59:50 pm
  • I have no idea what I'm doing.
    • Wood Finishes Direct
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2020, 02:16:59 pm »
cracking job!   :applaud:

Mike A

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4830
  • Last login:Yesterday at 10:46:29 pm
  • card carrying purist
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2020, 02:20:05 pm »
Those CPs look nice.

Vocalitus

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 58
  • Last login:Yesterday at 07:44:25 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2020, 04:31:58 am »
I remember around 1999 or sometime around then a guy called 1UP (link) made a panel that had pretty much everything on it on two internal wheels that had joysticks, Atari Yoke, Tron Panel Etc.

Which was pretty cool but not the one in the link above as the one I am thinking of was a cabinet called a low boy (??) and the panel had interchangeable panels that locked the controls in place. 

Would that be more practical for today's machines?

Arcade1980

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30
  • Last login:October 17, 2020, 02:05:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2020, 07:05:19 am »
Hi Mahuti:

Great information - very helpful and thank you for sharing all the tips and context!  ^-^

Makes complete sense all you said, so luckily I haven't built anything yet as I'll put the thought into this.  So all your CPs are around 2 feet wide, are they with varying depths, or are you making them the same depth for easier mounting to the CAB?

I'd be very interested to see your Cabs - do you have any pictures to share?

Cheers

mahuti

  • Wiki Master
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2660
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:22:18 pm
  • Back from the dead.
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2020, 12:35:07 pm »
Quote
So all your CPs are around 2 feet wide, are they with varying depths, or are you making them the same depth for easier mounting to the CAB?

They're all about 23.5x 7.25 or 7.5... something like that. They're all pretty much the same thickness. I use 1/2 or 5/8 inch MDF for the panels... I can't recall specifically I've used various types of plywood and hardwood over the past 20 years as well, but ultimately settled on Lowes MDF, as it cuts smooth with very fine detail, no chipping and is a bit less prone to ripping, tearing and the other MDF problems.

Another important note, is that i use this style of panel clamps because they're a touch more forgiving than a lot of the rigid clamps. The spring keeps the panels in tight, while allowing for just a tiny bit of variance of installation. It takes a bit of attention, because you have to make sure when you're building panels that #1 the placement of the clamps is consistent, #2 the clamp position won't interfere with wiring. Popping open a panel clamp blindly is a quick recipe for ripping out wiring if it's not tied down. The backs of my panels are pretty neatly done for this reason. Lots of zip ties, wire screw downs and heat-shrink tubing.


Space Encounters
I have a few pics on my phone. The Space Encounters game was a salvage from the student union of a local college in about 2009.  It'd stopped working many years ago and got shoved in a store room. Some "artist" found it and was going to do something terrible to it, but started to feel bad about it and gave it to me. The guts weren't working, no matter what I tried, so I gave them away. The control panel was a yoke with unusual swiper pots built for Space Encounters... I modified the yoke to use regular pots. Because of the way it attaches, I built a replica of the base of the yoke that could have swappable panels put on it, then designed artwork around the original look and feel.

Defender
The Defender machine was another student union rescue from Nathan Strum in California back in 2001.  When I got it, it had been converted into Ten Yard Fight. It doesn't use swappable panels as it is a few inches wider. I basically just have it in a Defender configuration. You can see a pile of early 2000s BYOAC stamped tokens on it.

Terra Cresta (Satan's Hollow)
The Terra Cresta (Satan's Hollow) machine was a purchase for $100 from Super Auctions back in 2001. Someone had gutted it, it was just wood by the time i put my hands on it. All of this time I've left it as Terra Cresta, but I'm planning on stripping the paint and doing something more interesting with it later this year. I've been overhauling it a bit during the lockdown. I put in a... 24" CRT, and cropped a portion of the top of it. So the inside space is nearly filled with monitor that can look decent doing vertical and horizontal games.

Rough Rider
My other cab is a Dynamo that was a "Rough Rider" cabinet that I found out in the trash a few years ago. Stupid game. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do with that one visually. The moment I got it, I peeled off the Rough Rider art... man it's so bad.

Gottlieb Soccer
The pinball in the background is a Gottlieb EM Soccer. Someone gave it to me back in 2002 or so since it didn't work. I pissed them off by replacing a few fuses and cleaning some switches and having it running withing a day of them giving it to me. :-D
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 12:54:18 pm by mahuti »
Formerly known for the (apparently now defunct) arcadeartlibrary

shponglefan

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1563
  • Last login:Yesterday at 07:43:01 pm
  • Correct horse battery staple
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2020, 01:20:23 pm »
Years ago I experimented with swappable panels. It's not that difficult to do from a technical perspective. The biggest challenge I found was storage. Because the underside of the panel has the more delicate bits, you want to plan a storage system to accommodate things. Turns out just leaning them against a wall isn't the best idea. :/

Howard_Casto

  • Idiot Police
  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 18854
  • Last login:Today at 12:27:54 am
  • Your Post's Soul is MINE!!! .......Again??
    • The Dragon King
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2020, 01:22:51 pm »
I did it and I regret it.  I do like occasionally playing those two or three games I need to swap out for, but it's not worth the hassle.  When I move my mame cab I'm going to make a new cp box that just supports the standard layout. 

KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1212
  • Last login:Today at 12:27:07 am
  • Flap Flap Flap
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2020, 02:16:15 pm »
Add me to the list of converts away from swappable panels. It's a hassle storing the extra panels and switching them out. I used printer cable connectors for quick wire swapping, so that part was painless, but it's just not the same as having a set of controls ready to go. My panels were able to stand on their sides, so I didn't have to worry too much about the undersides, but the panels were still taking up space. If you have ever had multiple consoles hooked up to the same single port on a TV, where you have to physically swap in whatever console you're using at the moment, then you probably know the pain of swappable panels already. If all that doesn't sound like a big deal, then go for it. It's not too difficult to make a decent modular system.

Awesome game room, Mahuti!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 02:18:02 pm by KenToad »

mahuti

  • Wiki Master
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2660
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:22:18 pm
  • Back from the dead.
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2020, 02:26:13 pm »
Quote
but the panels were still taking up space

In my case, I have an unfinished basement. I just screwed hooks into the floor joists above me and I can hang the control panels off of their panel clamp brackets from the ceiling. I don't change them out that often. In my case it's more akin to having a console collection with most of them boxed at any one moment. Having multiple cabs makes it easier though... like having a tv for each console.

Quote
Awesome game room, Mahuti!

Thanks. Once I get a few projects wrapped up and moved out of there, I'll have to make a post in the "Project Announcments" or find some thread dedicated to game rooms and post some pics. There's some cool stuff in there.
Formerly known for the (apparently now defunct) arcadeartlibrary

Arcade1980

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30
  • Last login:October 17, 2020, 02:05:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2020, 01:05:23 pm »
Thanks for posting the fabulous pics!! Your CABs look amazing!

Is the 7.25 or so depth of the control panel you find enough for a trackball - factoring the distance needed to roll the ball?

I used the same clamps in my CAB and it can be a bit finicky in my case to align and clamp....it's a tight fit, and gets in the way of wires unfortunately.

What are the plans for the "Terr Cresta" CAB?

Quote
So all your CPs are around 2 feet wide, are they with varying depths, or are you making them the same depth for easier mounting to the CAB?

They're all about 23.5x 7.25 or 7.5... something like that. They're all pretty much the same thickness. I use 1/2 or 5/8 inch MDF for the panels... I can't recall specifically I've used various types of plywood and hardwood over the past 20 years as well, but ultimately settled on Lowes MDF, as it cuts smooth with very fine detail, no chipping and is a bit less prone to ripping, tearing and the other MDF problems.

Another important note, is that i use this style of panel clamps because they're a touch more forgiving than a lot of the rigid clamps. The spring keeps the panels in tight, while allowing for just a tiny bit of variance of installation. It takes a bit of attention, because you have to make sure when you're building panels that #1 the placement of the clamps is consistent, #2 the clamp position won't interfere with wiring. Popping open a panel clamp blindly is a quick recipe for ripping out wiring if it's not tied down. The backs of my panels are pretty neatly done for this reason. Lots of zip ties, wire screw downs and heat-shrink tubing.


Space Encounters
I have a few pics on my phone. The Space Encounters game was a salvage from the student union of a local college in about 2009.  It'd stopped working many years ago and got shoved in a store room. Some "artist" found it and was going to do something terrible to it, but started to feel bad about it and gave it to me. The guts weren't working, no matter what I tried, so I gave them away. The control panel was a yoke with unusual swiper pots built for Space Encounters... I modified the yoke to use regular pots. Because of the way it attaches, I built a replica of the base of the yoke that could have swappable panels put on it, then designed artwork around the original look and feel.

Defender
The Defender machine was another student union rescue from Nathan Strum in California back in 2001.  When I got it, it had been converted into Ten Yard Fight. It doesn't use swappable panels as it is a few inches wider. I basically just have it in a Defender configuration. You can see a pile of early 2000s BYOAC stamped tokens on it.

Terra Cresta (Satan's Hollow)
The Terra Cresta (Satan's Hollow) machine was a purchase for $100 from Super Auctions back in 2001. Someone had gutted it, it was just wood by the time i put my hands on it. All of this time I've left it as Terra Cresta, but I'm planning on stripping the paint and doing something more interesting with it later this year. I've been overhauling it a bit during the lockdown. I put in a... 24" CRT, and cropped a portion of the top of it. So the inside space is nearly filled with monitor that can look decent doing vertical and horizontal games.

Rough Rider
My other cab is a Dynamo that was a "Rough Rider" cabinet that I found out in the trash a few years ago. Stupid game. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do with that one visually. The moment I got it, I peeled off the Rough Rider art... man it's so bad.

Gottlieb Soccer
The pinball in the background is a Gottlieb EM Soccer. Someone gave it to me back in 2002 or so since it didn't work. I pissed them off by replacing a few fuses and cleaning some switches and having it running withing a day of them giving it to me. :-D

mahuti

  • Wiki Master
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2660
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:22:18 pm
  • Back from the dead.
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2020, 06:29:47 pm »
Quote
Is the 7.25 or so depth of the control panel you find enough for a trackball - factoring the distance needed to roll the ball?

Not for something like Golden Tee where everyone feels the need to swoop their arm as hard as they can. I never felt the need to do that in any trackball game. If you really want a dedicated trackball machine, make the panel flat with the bezel of the monitor so people can do that big arm swoop.

Quote
and gets in the way of wires unfortunately.

All the clamps basically do unless you plan for them. I use a lot of zip ties, clamps and heat shrink to keep the stuff well away from the clamps.

Quote
Your CABs look amazing!

Thanks for the kind words

Quote
What are the plans for the "Terra Cresta" CAB?

I'm going to basically make it colored about the same red as the original. Then I'm going to make it into a custom theme called "Masters of Grayskull" and make it look a bit like the styling of the Attack Trak and Talon Fighter and use other Masters of the Universe theme elements. I have the side art mostly done, and some of the other stuff figured out. It's going to look like something that was a legit designed game from back in the day, but use a totally new MOTU theme.

Formerly known for the (apparently now defunct) arcadeartlibrary

Cynicaster

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 396
  • Last login:Yesterday at 12:04:44 pm
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2020, 02:33:51 pm »
I implemented this about 2-3 years ago on my cabinet because I really wanted a better way to play Robotron and other twin stick shooter games. 

From a purely technical standpoint, it was pretty straightforward to retro-fit this capability, even though it wasn't planned for with the original cabinet design.  It only takes about 1-2 minutes to swap panels, and since the iPac is part of the cabinet, there are no issues with having to power down or configure anything when switching. 

I don't regret doing the second panel but I will say this: I had plans for 2-3 other more "specialized" panels and I don't see that happening now.  Two's company, three's a crowd.  As others have said, storage is annoying and when a panel is only useful for a very limited set of specific games then the reality (at least for me) is that panel is bound to sit around and collect dust.  Changeover time of 1-2 minutes might sound sporty, but believe me, any shred of inconvenience associated with playing a certain game is going to result in that game rarely ever getting played.  If I can play game 'A' simply by moving through a menu and hitting start, or game 'B' that requires me to install a separate panel (and then remove it again when done), then it's going to be game 'A' 95% of the time.   

IMO, swappable panels become more useful when they're not super-specialized.  For example, since I had lots of room on the Robotron panel I decided to put in an Asteroids button layout (which works well for several games besides Asteroids), and also a set of 3 buttons in the blank space between the dual sticks, so I can easily play conventional 8-way joystick games.  This way, I can just swap that panel in and leave it there for extended periods of time, and still be able to play a lot more different games than just Robotron-style ones.  What I've been doing is switching back and forth between the two panels every few months, which I've enjoyed a lot.  Lots of games play equally well on either panel, but there are lots of games that are only possible on one or the other, or are vastly superior on one or the other.  So switching every few months kind of encourages me to focus on different types of games while still providing lots of choice regardless of which panel is on there.     



jimmer

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 551
  • Last login:Yesterday at 02:36:54 pm
  • I want to play Defender like at the arcade.
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2020, 04:15:48 pm »
To OP.

It's a great idea, and not that hard  :)

Hot swappable is easy to solve:  put a USB encoder on each panel. I use $4 pro-micros. 

Software is easy. I run Attract_Mode with a custom gamelist for every panel I make, choose the list with a button under the panel.
I don't do it, but you could easily run different MAMEs for each panel if that make configuration easier.
 
Storage: you've got a big empty box right in front of you that's good for 3,4 maybe 5 panels.

You probably won't need a lot of panels unless you want a lot of esoteric controls.

Gorf and Tron are both ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---, so you don't need to worry about those.

On forums jimmer speaks for himself as a Defender fan, not as proprietor of www.jbgaming.co.uk  << Is that advertising or disclosure ? or both ?

telengard

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 766
  • Last login:October 26, 2020, 12:44:29 pm
  • Yeah, it's a classic! 18+ on BYOAC and still goin
    • S T U R C A D E
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2020, 11:02:51 am »
Not sure if you have started w/ the the interchangeable panels path.  My cab initially did that and I was pretty unhappy with it for a bunch of reasons:

- Hard to install with just 2 hands (gotta hold it and plug it in), could probably be designed than mine differently to avoid that
- Mine were large and storage was an issue
- Despite lots of planning, I could never get the layouts/controls I wanted

My solution was a completely modular panel which I feel is easier to deal with and gives a TON of flexibility and is easier to store.

https://bsturk.github.io/mame/controls.html

Could never go back to the full interchangeable panels, it allows for even large controls like a paperboy or star wars yoke.  I'm working on pole position wheel and shifter modules now.
S T U R C A D E     M.A.M.E. Cabinet
http://www.briansturk.com/mame.html

Mike A

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4830
  • Last login:Yesterday at 10:46:29 pm
  • card carrying purist
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2020, 11:14:43 am »
How long does it take to switch out controls, and can a random person walk up to your machine and figure it out?

telengard

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 766
  • Last login:October 26, 2020, 12:44:29 pm
  • Yeah, it's a classic! 18+ on BYOAC and still goin
    • S T U R C A D E
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2020, 12:09:59 pm »
How long does it take to switch out controls, and can a random person walk up to your machine and figure it out?

An individual control, like a joystick is pretty quick, definitely quicker than a full panel.  Doing a completely new layout takes a little longer, but I like that flexibility.

A random person?  I think so.  I've color coded the keystone jacks and cables so it's pretty dead easy.  Having said that, I'm the only person who really uses it.    :lol
S T U R C A D E     M.A.M.E. Cabinet
http://www.briansturk.com/mame.html

bobbyb13

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 171
  • Last login:Yesterday at 05:28:41 am
  • I'm TRYing to build arcade controls!
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2020, 03:41:59 am »
Mahuti's replies here could be stickied because they are so informative- and wise.

And Mike A is correct- these are not noob friendly to build or to swap panels and play, but a fun challenge to make happen.  And like telengard, mine is largely for me, so...

My cabinet layout has three tiers.
Upper deck (effectively the area behind the marquee) has the PC, stereo amp, speakers, etc and is accessible through the removable top panel.
Middle deck holds 27" CRT accessible through standard large removable back panel.
That all left enough room to have a rack for the 4 panels in the lower section under the monitor deck with a door on the side for panel storage access.

The fake coin door on the front is where you reach through to undo clamps, swap harness connectors and push up on the panels to swap over.
The U-HID and GGG OptiWiz that run everything through the two DB25 interfaces sit on a small shelf in the storage bay (just below the monitor shelf.

Not beautiful (yet) but functional thus far.

Maybe I'll finish it before I die.
Why'd you kick me?
Where's your brain?

GeoMan

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 173
  • Last login:October 23, 2020, 02:10:01 pm
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2020, 07:32:41 am »
A panel with 2 programmable Ultrasticks (can be configured by software as 2 way, 4 way, diagonals, analog, e.t.c), a Spinner and a Trackball will allow you to play most arcade games.

DaveMMR

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3201
  • Last login:October 23, 2020, 07:34:31 pm
    • TeeVee Games
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2020, 10:26:44 pm »
The one good thing about swappable panels, as Mahuti demonstrated, is that it does offer you the opportunity get creative with artwork and layout, even if you are repeating controls.

The next cabinet I build, whenever that eventually happens, I definitely want to leave it open to swap out if, say, I just want a single joystick smack dab in the middle, or a Defender layout with artwork, etc.

That said, I think it is a good idea to just have one generic, crowded panel first that will cover the basics (two players, 8 ways - possibly with a four-way option - maybe a trackball or spinner if space permits - etc.)  This way most games are ready to play and you're not swapping back and forth because you want to play Centipede one minute and then Robotron the next and then back to Pac-Man. 

But I don't think there's anything wrong with leaving it open if you want to have a special panel for whatever game. (e.g. I wouldn't mind having the option to swap in a two trackball panel, mounted at 45 degrees, to have that very infrequent game of two-player Marble Madness.)

Just make sure to have a good storage solution and you keep the wiring tidy and tied down to avoid unnecessary damage (maybe protected by some sort of light weight enclosure like plexi?) 

csnow

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 169
  • Last login:Yesterday at 09:58:23 am
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2020, 06:36:38 pm »
I would much rather swap a control panel than have one of those Frankenstein panels that supports a gazillion games.   I have a Rec Room Masters pedestal unit that I use for XB1 and PS4 shumps/fighting games.  They design their products so you can swap CPs between the four or five different models they have.  Fortunately, I had space for multiple machines for each major layout i.e. 4 -way vert, 8-way vert, horizontal, etc.  If I didn't have the space, I would definitely do the multi control panel setup. 

@mahuti - Very nice work. 

wcndave

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 146
  • Last login:Yesterday at 02:37:56 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Swapping out Control Panels depending on games...
« Reply #25 on: Yesterday at 07:22:31 am »
I agree with everyone!

Personally I don't really like the modular panels, as they don't look as good.
However having lots of panels means buying some things many times, storage, more work etc...

I went for the multiple panels idea, but slightly differently.
First of all, I wanted to build a panel that would do almost anything, in case it took me a while (or never) to build the next one.
So, having put all the generic controls (coin, start, power, mouse buttons) off the main panel, I made the top of the panel using quick clip hinges (think they are called euro style hinges in US) and connected everything with parallel printer cables.

For golf, it needed the ball to be much further back from the screen, so I made the panel on rails, and it all slides out about 20cm.

So the concept is.  Slide out, open the top of the panel (just the top part, not the whole thing) like a car bonnet / hood, take out two printer cables, click off, and click in a new one.

The joysticks are 4/8 way adjustable from the top.

What I added later, and you can't see here, is a spinner just above player 1 button 3 (yellow), where the spinner can be removed and a small 20cm steering wheel added.

this covers 95% of games



So I never made another one.....

If I did, would they get used?  I agree with comments above, if friends are looking through your games, and say "do you have XXX", and you look up and say "yup, I'll change the panel, won't take a minute", they just say "it's ok, we'll play some donkey kong instead..."

Most of the time, people, including me, play short bursts of many games for nostalgic reasons only.  So build a panel that covers as much as possible.  But it doesn't have to be a frankenpanel.

I would like I guess

2 trackball for ramparts - would get used 30 mins a year.
4 player eg gauntlet - would get used 1 hour a year
Tron specific, probably good for after burner and some others - might get 4 hours a year
Driving games that have shift, pedals etc... there's so many different ones - but this one might get regular use
firing joysticks for tank type stuff - might get 30 mins a year.

So it's not ever been worth it, there's plenty on there to keep us all happy.

There is a USB hub underneath, so I have added steering wheels with pedals, light guns, usb joy stick capability for those odd occasions...

Hats off to those who are dedicated enough to build either modular panels, or multi-panel systems, maybe one day I will join you!
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 01:46:20 pm by wcndave »