The NEW Build Your Own Arcade Controls

Main => Project Announcements => Topic started by: atarihomestar on October 10, 2007, 11:16:09 am

Title: A long time coming...
Post by: atarihomestar on October 10, 2007, 11:16:09 am
Well, I think I've sufficiently talked my wife into letting me do this, so here goes:

I'm going to make something.

And that's about as much as I know.  Well, I know that it's going to be an upright.  But that's about it.

I don't know how to lay out the controls on the cp, or what controls to include. Here's the problem:  I played a lot of video games at the arcade when I was in high school, but they seem to all have weird cp layouts. 
  Toobin' (5 buttons (in an odd configuration))
  Gauntlet (4 players),
  Heavy Barrel (8-way rotaries),
  Cabal (2 trackballs-1 per player)
Anyway, I'm at a loss as to what controls to include.  I don't really want a frankenpanel (and not because I think it's hard for them to look good (wife factor) but because I think that they don't look like you'd be comfortable playing with some of the controls. I'm kind of leaning towards making the standard one like Knievel seems to do a lot.  But I'm just not sure.  And I want to be sure.

So, can you all help me out and tell me what your favorite games are to play, and the cp layout for them (much like I've done above.)  That would help me to figure out which layout would allow me to play the most games that I like.  And that my friends might like.

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: shardian on October 10, 2007, 11:21:06 am
My favoritest arcade game of all time: WWF Wrestlefest.  ;D I play that one all the time in MAME. I would love to have a dedicated Wrestlefest. (Note: If anyone within driving distance of WV has one, I'd trade a MAME machine for it.)
Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: Kaytrim on October 10, 2007, 11:34:19 am
Ah the choices that face every builder.  Take a look through the control panel database (sticky thread in the main forum).  This will give you a good look at the various choices in front of you.

First thing to consider is how much play time each control will receive.  Standard two player 8-way joy and buttons will be at the top of most peoples list.  These will be followed closely by a 4-way joystick, trackball, then a spinner and a driving wheel and shifter.  Now we get to the more specialized controls.  The rotary joystick is in that list as well as multiple trackballs, 3 and 4 players, multiple spinners, and finally the star wars yoke and 720 joystick.

If you have a short list of controls then build a panel with those controls.  If you have a more diverse selection then look at possibly building multiple panels or a modular system.  One other thing to keep in mind is how wide your doorways are.  You don't want to build a cab that is wider than the doorways from your build site to the final location.  If you control panel is too wide then make it so it is removable for transport.

That should give you some things to chew on for a bit.  Just remember this is a hobby so have fun.

Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: Bartman on October 10, 2007, 01:06:43 pm
I would second most of Kaytrim's comments.  For me, just starting, I went with basics.  Two sets of joysticks with 6 buttons, and a trackball with a button on each side.  I plan on playing with this configuration for a while with the CP unfinished to see how I like which controls I have and their placement.   I figure I can always get another piece of 2'x4' particle board for $5 and try a new layout or add controls as I miss playing certain games.   Once I find a layout that makes me happy, then I'll finish it off properly with laminate or probably a CP overlay from

Good luck and let us know how it progresses.

Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: atarihomestar on October 11, 2007, 01:22:17 pm
Thanks for the replies.  I've made a couple of decisions:

1) Although I know this lacks creativity, I think that I'm going to try and copy Knievel's Evolution machine.  I love the footprint on that thing, and I think it looks great. It wont be a complete copy, since...

2) I've decided that since I can't decide what controls I will use the most, I will make my cabinet so I can swap control panels (hence, not a true "Evolution".) So my first control panel's layout will look (hopefully) like Evolution's layout (2 sets of 8-way joysticks with 6 buttons, a 4-way joystick, trackball and spinner.)  Maybe later I'll make some dedicated cp's that I can swap out easily.

I'll order the parts for the control panel as soon as I figure out what and where to order from.  Then I'll make a cp using some cheap piece of wood, get it all working and make sure I like the layout.

Kaytrim, no worries about me remembering to have fun.  Just reading about other peoples machines is a blast.  I'm sure it will be fun making my own.

Any thoughts on what parts to get and where to get them would be appreciated.  In the meantime, I'll do more research and let you know what I decide.
Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: Kaytrim on October 11, 2007, 01:40:53 pm
If you are going down the multi panel path then make 2 simpler panels to start with.  The first one would be a fighter panel and another for the trackball and spinner.  Then maybe a third for 4-way games.  Doing it this way you panels can be smaller and not stick out the sides.  Each CP can have it's own interface card(s) and just be one or two  USB connections to plug in with each panel.

Just something to think about.

Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: atarihomestar on October 11, 2007, 02:41:07 pm
That's a really good idea Kaytrim.  If I could construct the cabinet so that swapping these control panels in and out would be a breeze, I'd be all over it.   Also, I think I'm going to use an IPac.  I wonder if I need to have an IPac for each cp, or if I can have the IPac attached to the cabinet, and each cp uses it.  That could sure cut down on the cost of the cp's.

It'd be nice to have some place to store these things.  Maybe have the front bottom of the control panel open up revealing some felt-lined slots where each control panel could be stored.  Maybe the control panels will be too big for that, I don't know.  Seems like it'd sure beat storing them in a closet or something.
Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: Kaytrim on October 11, 2007, 03:01:24 pm
As far as storage then you are limiting yourself.  Look at my FrankenMAME project, it started out as a modular panel system.  I used network cables and a GPWiz.  I had issues with the sloppiness of the fit of the panels.  My skills have improved so I might give it another go or I might continue with the modular system I have in progress.  Right now my cab sits with 2 joysticks and 2 6-button panels they get the most use.

Title: Re: A long time coming...
Post by: XyloSesame on October 11, 2007, 03:42:36 pm
I considered making a modular panel as well, but decided I would be doing good just to find time to make one.

I thought it would be cool to have modular panels on drawer slides, with each having their own storage beneath the actual CP.

If the CP area contained a slide, then the panels would just be pulled out of their storage area, connected to the CP drawer slide, and plugged in via USB. As long as you're not wanting a coin door, it seems like you should be able to fit 4-5 modular panels below the CP in use. The joysticks would sit higher than the actual CP, so you'd need a hinged face on each "drawer" to mask the void, but it all seems do-able.

I have no idea if my pie-in-the-sky idea was explained with any clarity at all...