The NEW Build Your Own Arcade Controls

Main => Main Forum => Topic started by: _) (V) (-) on November 17, 2006, 12:17:56 pm

Title: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: _) (V) (-) on November 17, 2006, 12:17:56 pm
Hey guys,

I have yet to finish my first cab but is proving to be a hit and I can now see the need for a 4 player setup. I'd like to get together some games like The Simpsons and TMNT that feature simultaneous player action. I'd still need to research this a little further, to see what games require what controls etc... 

Anyway, I have pretty much 'blown my wad' (of cash that is) on the first (WIP) cab but I have some extra parts sitting around and just might be able to pull off a second one for cheap.

I have:
Existing cabnet, (was used for rackmount audio equipment)
PIII 800MHz 512 Meg Ram PC
21" Viewsonic CRT monitor
4 green handle Happs joysticks
30+ buttons and switches
several used trackballs
and a 3' by 5' laminated table top for a CP (green woodgrain, Yikes!)

Information about games to run on it.
Time to put into this project

I figured 4 players and a general green theme, Hmmm . . . 
And then I dug up Rgecko's old SHELL SHOCKED project thread.
(Awesome job he did on that one!)

Anyway, getting to the point of this post, I've got a few questions for the general consensus.

1) Is it really necessary to have 7 buttons for each player?
I see many of your CP's only using 4 buttons for P3 & P4.
I kind of like this uncluttered design but hate to think I'd be leaving anyone short changed on the controls.

2) Lots of debate over 'angled joystick placement' in many of the old threads I've been reading. I like the idea of making a little extra elbow room for the middle players and will be using that configuration. (Remember the panel I have to work with is only 36" wide.  Has anyone every REALLY regretted the angled layout after they'd finished their projects?

3) So far the only games I know for sure we'd like to play on this setup are The Simpson's and TMNT. As my experience is with the early to mid 80's games, I'm not real familiar with the latter stuff. Kind of interested in fighters or other action titles. Can anyone recommend a good source for researching more potential games?

**I've seen lots of type about the wiki but I can't say that I've figured out how to use it effectively yet. I'd really like to stumble upon a database of games sorted by # of players and a listing of required controls for each. Seem to remember someone here (Spystyle maybe?)  had a program that sorted ROMs by these options so you could 'weed out' all the ones you didn't need/want. Wish I'd left a train of breadcrumbs to that one!

4) Are there any games they would require 2 trackballs?  Cuz I've got balls to spare now, might as well put em to use someplace.

5) With 4 players smacking away at the controls in a wild frenzy, there has got to be some encoder overload at some point. Could you guys voice your thoughts on the better encoder to use for these 4 player setups? I'm figuring 1 for joysticks & buttone, another for trackball(s) as a minimum.
Also, when using multiple encoders, is it OK to mix say 1 Key-Wiz and  1 iPac? Do they ever conflict or anything weird like that?

OK, I'll try to stop babblin and give you all a chance to pipe in. I'm sure I'll have some more ?'s after awhile. I'll even try to get some preliminary pics to post.

Supermegawarhead thankies to any and all replys!
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: divemaster127 on November 17, 2006, 12:58:30 pm
Seven button are not required its for a neo geo style setup, but buttons are cheap i use 4 player buttons & 4 credit buttons.  Also I would use a ipac4, with a usb trackball & usb spinner its easy to hook up.
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: Turnarcades on November 17, 2006, 01:21:57 pm
Excellent concept geeza. I worked for months on a design to convert a regular 2-player generic compact cabinet into a 4-player machine. I spent ages trying to create a layout that would accommodate 4 players without cramping up the players or ending up with a huge eyesore for a panel.

I eventually came up with this layout:<p><img src=>

<p>Sorry I don't have the dimensions available anymore but if it helps the control templates are the word templates avalable on this site. You should be able to work out some dimensions using that. As I understand it, no game uses more than 4 buttons for the extra players, and even those ones are rare. It is nice however to have extra buttons for 4-player games in other emulators, such as bomberman, micro machines etc. and this many people do not consider. I'd say 4 is plenty, plus a credit and start button for each, if you aren't using a coin door.

My design is very compact, not complex and when I built a cardboard prototype it was perfectly comfortable without bulking out the machne too much. All you would need is some strong L-brackets for additional support.
Oh, and the ever-reliable ipac4, or a couple of the new minipac interfaces.

Just an idea anyway......!
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: SithMaster on November 17, 2006, 01:25:03 pm
bucky ohare, gi joe, xmen, cowboys of moo mesa are good 4 players.
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: leapinlew on November 17, 2006, 03:36:25 pm
Sunset riders/Gauntlet/Ghostbusters are decent 4 player games

Smash TV, Total Carnage are good 2 player games that require 2 sticks

Vindicators and a few other games are good tank games that require 2 sticks and 1 stick be button topped.

There are plenty of driving games that are 2+ players - they would require a few spinners.

As for the seven buttons.... I'm not sure if you build a dedicated cabinet for 4 players how often that 7th button would be used. For the sake of making it easy - I'd probably give player 1/2 6 or 7 buttons and player 3/4 4 buttons.
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: ahofle on November 17, 2006, 06:19:22 pm
Vindicators and a few other games are good tank games that require 2 sticks and 1 stick be button topped.

Minor correction for Vindicators at need 2 buttons per stick (one to fire and one to rotate the turret left and right. 

I'll add some of the early 4 player coop beat em ups like Crime Fighters and Vendetta as recommended 4p games. 
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: NickG on November 18, 2006, 08:23:33 am
3)  For Mamed games, if you install Mameplus you can sort the game list by control types/ number of buttons, etc. to research games.  Download the artpacks and you will have screenshots as well.

4)     My favorite multiple trackball games are Marble Madness (2 trackballs,) Rampart (3 trackballs,) and Sonic the Hedgehog (3 trackballs.)     

Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: _) (V) (-) on November 20, 2006, 09:55:05 am
Thanks for all the tips and input guys, Keep em coming!

I started diving up the real estate for the controls and have decide to angle the P3 & P4 stuff.  Would be interested in that Word control templates  layout thing you mentioned Samshaw. Have to go hunting for that ASAP!

I'm having some problems with the angle of the joysticks, seems 45' would make the most sense, but a 65' slant just feels a bit more natural for the P3 or P$ when playing a regular game. (Points more towards the top of screen)

The 2 joystick/player games could be a good argument for the 45" option however. Guess I'll have to set up a test board and do some 'field research'  ;D

Should have a postable picture soon. Stay tuned!
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: Crowquill on November 20, 2006, 11:37:52 am
For a fairly quick list of games, go to MAWS:

In 'advance search' you can sort by player type, controls, etc.

The 36" wide CP shouldn't be much of a problem, the original TMNT's was just under 37". For the plans for it see Apparently, Captain America had a 36" panel. The midway 4-player cabs are similar too.

Most Konami games have been mentioned, but Sunset Riders was always a favorite of mine. Also, NBA Jam, Captain America and the Avengers, Battle Circuit, Captain Commando, Hit the Ice, and the Capcom Dungeons and Dragons games. Anyone know if Spider-Man runs at full speed yet?

Don't forget that you could also play 3-player games. Highlights include Rampage, Xenophobe, Alien vs. Predator, Alien Storm, Mercs, Knights of the Round, Armored Warriors, and Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. I've yet to meet a kid that didn't think Rampage was cool. And if you're looking for a chuckle there's always Moonwalker.  :)

I can't think of many multi-trackball games. Marble Madness, Rampart, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Pound-for-Pound are all I can think of.

Why is it that Capcom's 4-player beat-em-ups are forgotten? I've yet to play a bad one. They usually have really nice graphics and artwork too.
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: Brumaz on November 21, 2006, 02:42:44 am
3)   Vendetta is an awesome 4 player game  :cheers:
Title: Re: making a cheap 4 player cp
Post by: _) (V) (-) on November 21, 2006, 08:43:33 am
Thanks for the pointers Crowquill, I'll investigate them asap.
My experience was with late 70's  to mid 80's games so I'm kind of lost on the newer stuff.  MAWS sounds like just what I'm looking for.

I forgot to mention above that I was planing to mount the monitor about mid cabnet and with the screen semi-horizonatial. This really changed the dynamics of the cab from what I am used to seeing but this seems like the right idea to me.  Was thinking of doing the mirror thing, but geomerty is not really my bag I guess.

Here are a couple pictures to give you guys an idea of what I'm hackin away at here.

#1) First one was very dark, I tried to brighten it and it started looking washed out. But you can see where the monitor is peeking up from behind the CP form. I plan to paint the bezel flat black and add some trim molding along the edges. You can also see the cutaway sections I am thinking about making. I experimented with the angle of the monitor and this seems to be the best at avoiding glare for 6" players. A little bit it in the bottom 1" of the screen if your much taller than that tho.

#2) The 'layout' picture is full of MS Paint style graffitti in an attempt to show where I wanted to make the cuts with a bit more detail. I'm still not 100% finalized on the exact angles yet and wanted to get some input from the pro's here before I introduce the wood to the saw. 

Notice the area that would be below the marquee, I am not sure if I want to go with a straight horizontial cut, or an angled one, That's why it looks like some freaked out shelf bracket there.

I'm also having some trouble with the section where the inner edge of the CP meets up with the lower edge of the screen.  The plan was to hindge the CP to flip up and outward (towards the players) for service or whatever.

Feel free to shout out the names of any cabnets that are close to this configuration so I can hunt them down and study them before chopping away with reckless abandon.

Thanks for all the input, like I said before, this place is awesome!