I am looking to put together a Mame control panel. Up to now I been using mostly pre-made stuff, similar to the X-arcade panels. I wanted something more intuitive based on the style of games I play.
I have been exposed to Mame around 2000 or so, but I have not really created my own cabinet or anything up until now.
At any rate in terms of my game playing style, a little background is in order. I grew up in the early video game era and played many of the early classics when they came out: Space Invaders, Asteroids, Defender, Pac-Man, etc. My interested remained pretty strong in the early games up until the late 80's.
I do not care for the newer arcade games and pretty much dislike the current "arcade" (or family fun center as they are now called) infestation of fighting and driving games.
There are very few driving games I like: Pole Position, Spy Hunter, Outrun, Road Blasters (again older games in general).
Also from the early era there are very few trackball games I liked: Centipede, Missle Command, Capcom Bowling.
Again is true of spinner games such as: Arkanoid, Breakout, Tempest, Tron.
There were many more tank or two stick games that I played during this era: Battlezone, Vindicators, Smash TV, Crazy Climber, Robotron.
I very rarely play with other people and most of the people I do play with have similar gaming interests as I do. Many of the early 80's games were of the alternating player type so a control panel for two players is not mandatory.
Given this realization, I decided to go with a control panel that would be interchangeable instead of trying to fit every single control needed into one very large and awkward panel.
Given the fact I was going to create a smaller cabinet, or even a wallmount/countertop unit, an all in one control panel was out of the question.
My ideas for an interchangeable panel were gleaned from the BYOAC site. So the next question that came up would be what to do first?
After much thought, I believe the interchangeable concept offered on Craig's Roswell 88201 cabinet was the way to go.
Craig mentioned (in another post) that his creation of the Defender panel (on the page above) will play about 90% of his games. I did a bit of digging and compared layouts (on KLOV) and I do find that he is correct. So I decided my first control panel would be based on his concept of the Defender/Stargate style panel.
I attempted to contact Craig for dimensions of his panel, but alas, his email address is no longer functioning. Thus now I am turning here for help.
I am a bit out of the loop in terms of MAME control panels and I forgot what the standard size panel was. I also don't know how far to space the controls apart, that would be comfortable for long term playing.
I do not intend to copy Craig's design to the letter. For one, Craig is employing a two way joystick on the left. I think this would be a waste and would like to put two 8 way/4way joysticks in place. The presence of two joysticks would open the door to some of the tank games and two joystick games that I like to play. However, given this kind of setup would necessitate the incorporation of selectable 4way/8way joysticks. While I do have some arcade parts and I do have 4-8way joysticks, they are of the type that you have to take apart to reset. That isn't good for this scenario. So that is my next question, what is a good quality joystick that I can easily convert from 4 way to 8 way without taking the whole thing apart?
At one point in time, I do remember that one company made restriction "plates" that bolted to the top of the cabinet and that changing two parts of the plate would alter the directional control of the joysticks. I am interested in this concept, but if nowadays there are ways to get around them, then I am all ears.
As for buttons, I have many of those already and I am good to go.
I am wondering if there happens to be a computer program by now that allows you to create panels and print them out in full size. I figure I could test my button placement that way and perhaps even make a cardboard mock-up first. I am not sure if they have programs like that by now.
Anyway, any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.