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Author Topic: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner  (Read 17549 times)

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KungFuJoe

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My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« on: August 30, 2005, 06:54:08 pm »
I just got 2 of them yesterday and since they are USB, decided to just plug them in, and either hold on the to the base with one hand or, if I needed to use a button, squeeze it between my legs (sitting down of course...that would look awkward standing up!). 

Right out of the box, one of the spinners had an issue with the "wheel" rubbing against some black component (possibly the sensor...if I'm completely off with the terms that's because I'm pretty clueless about the names of the components of a spinner).  The wheel is made out of some type of flexible material so I tried to bend it out of the way slightly...that didn't work so what I did was to spin and spin it and it sort of "grinded" out the wheel a little and that eased it up.  The other spinner was fine.

In terms of configuration...there was none...being USB, I just plugged it in and both my system and MAME immediately recognized it. 

Now...the important part...gameplay.  I tried 3 games...Arkanoid, Tempest, and Championship Sprint (I bought the steering wheel attachment, but didn't attempt to put it on as there's no way I would be able to hold it with one hand (needed to use other hand to hit the "accelerator")).

Arkanoid:

This one gets a mixed review.  I had to bump up the sensitivity to 255% (max) to get as close as what I remembered it to be in the arcade.  Basically, I remember you could move the "stick" from one side of the screen to the other with only 180 degrees....maybe even less.  Set to 255%, I got it to about 270 or so.  Also, for some reason, it doesn't seem as responsive...like there's a tiny bit of sluggishness when changing direction.  It was definitely still playable.  I also want to mention that some of the "sluggishness" might be due to the size of the spinner knob being smaller than the actual Arkanoid knob.  A larger knob means less of a twist.  Good thing the knob is easily removable/replaceable.

Tempest:

Surprisingly, the spinner worked very well for Tempest.  Just by setting the sensitivity to 100 (or was it 150)...I was able to get the response I was familiar with in the arcade...even being able to spin it (as well as I could from my lap) freely.  No sluggishness here like there was in Arkanoid...though it could be combination of the way the game is played, and my overall memory (haven't played Arkanoid in the arcade for probably over 10 years).

Championship Sprint:

This one was actually surprisingly good.  Considering I was playing with the spinner housing pressed between my legs and was NOT using the steering wheel attachment, the response was very good (had to bump it up to 100%...somehow it defaulted to 25%).  I can only imagine that properly mounted, and with the steering wheel attachment, that game play will be very comparable to the arcade (except for the most serious spinning).

As for the steering wheel attachment itself...it is a bit smaller than you'd expect and it doesn't exactly look very impressive, but it is solid, has a nice decent weight to it, and I'm sure you'll be able to spin it freely with no problems (important in Sprint).  The small size actually has a benefit as most people won't have a hard time integrating it into their cp design.

All in all, it's definitely worth the money.  Only the most serious/hardcore arcade classic gamers will want to spend the money for the top of the line spinners.  When you also consider it comes with a USB interface built it (saving further money and time), and the steering wheel attachment (saving even further cost and space), this combo is perfect for the budget minded, or those who wants to save space, but should satisfy the majority of gamers out there.

KenToad

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2005, 07:06:09 pm »
Cool, thanks for the review, KungFuJoe.  Can you change the sensitivity of these spinners through windows control panel?

I'd love to see some pics and a further review of the steering wheel in action.  Also, have you tried Ironman yet?

Cheers,
KenToad

KungFuJoe

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2005, 07:40:12 pm »
I haven't thought/tried to change sensitivity in the control panel.  Now that I think about it, I don't see why not...it acts just like a single axis mouse.

I haven't tried Ironman, but I'll try it out tonight.

As soon as I get my CP made and mounted, I'll post pics...and give another review.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2005, 08:04:13 pm »
cool. Have you tried 2 together, and can you use three spinners at the same time, i love championship sprint and all those others. geeez im pumped

KungFuJoe

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2005, 08:22:08 pm »
Haven't tried two together, but the general consensus is that you would need AnalogMame or AdvanceMame to utilize 2 "mouse" devices at the same time.  This is probably something I will try out in the next day or so.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2005, 10:27:04 pm »
but, in all honesty, is it at all worth it to pay 50 dollars more to get the slikstik?  Just seems crazy expensive for such a seemingly small upgrade.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2005, 10:40:54 pm »
but, in all honesty, is it at all worth it to pay 50 dollars more to get the slikstik?  Just seems crazy expensive for such a seemingly small upgrade.

I have one of these spinners, and much prefer the Oscar I used for a bit a while back.  The Ezarcade spinner is adequate, but not great, IMHO.

If you like spinner games, yes.. it's worth the extra money.  If you just want to add a spinner to your CP for a game you might play once a month, it's fine.

That's my .02
first off your and idiot

Man I love the internet, haha.

Necro

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2006, 06:58:37 pm »
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but won't this work out to being about the same cost as the Slikstik spinner for someone with no spinner/interface board to begin with?  (and isn't that a better spinner?)

I'm dying to get a spinner, and trying to figure out my best approach to hack one, but a relatively decently priced purchased one would be nice as well.

KungFuJoe

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2006, 07:14:52 pm »
The mame spinner is USB native...so no interface board necessary.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2006, 07:30:35 pm »
Gah, I'm an idiot.  I was thinking this was the post for the review off the main BYOAC.com page for a spinner.  Sheesh. 

How did I miss the august posts?  I need a good smack upside the head. (and a good spinner :( )
« Last Edit: January 04, 2006, 07:52:23 pm by Necro »

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2006, 05:02:50 pm »
Anyone have a link to these spinners?

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2006, 11:25:40 pm »

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2006, 06:38:55 pm »
FYI the problem with Arkanoid is universal in mame. Arkanoid's spinner was geared hence why you have to turn the sensitivity way up in mame.

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2006, 02:38:34 pm »
FYI the problem with Arkanoid is universal in mame. Arkanoid's spinner was geared hence why you have to turn the sensitivity way up in mame.

Actually, the problem is spinner based, not MAME based.  Any spinner that  has this kind of problem in Arkanoid is using a low-res encoder.  The lower the res, the bigger the problem.  Cranking up the sensitivity will make it "playable", but instead of the paddle moving smoothly across the screen, it will "jump" from one location to the next.

Arkanoid:

This one gets a mixed review.  I had to bump up the sensitivity to 255% (max) to get as close as what I remembered it to be in the arcade.  Basically, I remember you could move the "stick" from one side of the screen to the other with only 180 degrees....maybe even less.  Set to 255%, I got it to about 270 or so.  Also, for some reason, it doesn't seem as responsive...like there's a tiny bit of sluggishness when changing direction.

The responsiveness problem is also the result of a low-res encoder wheel.  You can crank up the "sensitivity" (or step multiplier) to make it playable, but you still need to turn the knob at least the distance of one "spoke" on the encoder wheel in order to change directions.  The greater the distance between spokes, the less responsive it will feel.

Quote
I also want to mention that some of the "sluggishness" might be due to the size of the spinner knob being smaller than the actual Arkanoid knob.  A larger knob means less of a twist.  Good thing the knob is easily removable/replaceable.

Actually it is just the opposite.  A smaller knob provides more movement with less "twist" (distance to move at the outside surface of the knob).  People like putting big spinner knobs on their panels because it looks nice.  Smaller knobs will play better on most games.

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2006, 03:03:08 pm »
Always good to hear from a spiner expert who may have one for sale soon!   ;D

Please!

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2006, 03:33:34 pm »
FYI the problem with Arkanoid is universal in mame. Arkanoid's spinner was geared hence why you have to turn the sensitivity way up in mame.

Actually, the problem is spinner based, not MAME based.  Any spinner that  has this kind of problem in Arkanoid is using a low-res encoder.  The lower the res, the bigger the problem.  Cranking up the sensitivity will make it "playable", but instead of the paddle moving smoothly across the screen, it will "jump" from one location to the next.

Arkanoid:

This one gets a mixed review.  I had to bump up the sensitivity to 255% (max) to get as close as what I remembered it to be in the arcade.  Basically, I remember you could move the "stick" from one side of the screen to the other with only 180 degrees....maybe even less.  Set to 255%, I got it to about 270 or so.  Also, for some reason, it doesn't seem as responsive...like there's a tiny bit of sluggishness when changing direction.

The responsiveness problem is also the result of a low-res encoder wheel.  You can crank up the "sensitivity" (or step multiplier) to make it playable, but you still need to turn the knob at least the distance of one "spoke" on the encoder wheel in order to change directions.  The greater the distance between spokes, the less responsive it will feel.

Quote
I also want to mention that some of the "sluggishness" might be due to the size of the spinner knob being smaller than the actual Arkanoid knob.  A larger knob means less of a twist.  Good thing the knob is easily removable/replaceable.

Actually it is just the opposite.  A smaller knob provides more movement with less "twist" (distance to move at the outside surface of the knob).  People like putting big spinner knobs on their panels because it looks nice.  Smaller knobs will play better on most games.

RandyT

RandyT,

Is it possible to have a non geared spinner as sensitive as the geared arkanoid spinner by using a finer wheel, or is it just possible to get "close enough"?

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2006, 12:11:06 am »
Is it possible to have a non geared spinner as sensitive as the geared arkanoid spinner by using a finer wheel, or is it just possible to get "close enough"?

I don't have an Arkanoid spinner in front of me, but Kremmit has reported that it has an 20.25  to 1 ratio which would give it somewhere in the vicinity of 486 effective spokes.

Now let's take a look at what is going on with Arkanoid.   The horizontal resolution of the game is 224 pixels, with "border" graphics occupying 16 pixels and the paddle occupying 32 pixels, that leaves us with 224-16-32=176 possible paddle positions.

It has been discovered that Arkanoid uses a 1x decoding scheme which delivers 486 pieces of movement data.  As a result, Arkanoid only needs a dial movement range of 132 degrees to move the paddle from one side of the screen to the other.

So now the $64,000 question, how close is "close enough?"  That's going to be for you to decide.  If you were trying to replicate the feel of the original control, you would want the paddle to move 176 positions, using only 132 degrees of motion. 

So, let's take a really gross example to get an idea.  Suppose your encoder wheel had only 20 spokes, which would give you 80 logic pulses per revolution (using modern 4x decoding methods).  132 degrees of motion with that spinner would equal about 29 logic pulses of the encoder wheel!!  This means that the on-screen player would need to move in 6 position increments!!   This would make it virtually unplayable as the control scheme was originally intended.

In fact, given the limitation in MAME (perhaps this is what SirP was referring to) one would need to use an encoder wheel with at least 48 spokes to mimic the movement range of a true Arkanoid spinner, even with the sensitivity at MAX (again, skipping positions on-screen).

So, here's what you do:

Turn the sensitivity up as far as it can go and live with the extra movement required ( Poor option, and might not even work acceptably with a low-res encoder wheel)

or

Get yourself a spinner with highest resolution encoder wheel you can and crank up the sensitivity to get a very good approximation of the original (better option as this can feel like the original, even if it means moving in 2 or 3 pixel increments.)    Edit:  There are now spinners available which have enough resolution for accurate gameplay with all games.

or

Get an original Arkanoid spinner (No longer the best option, but good for perfect authenticity for a couple of games)


Any questions :) ?

RandyT


EDIT:  Cleaned up some numbers for accuracy purposes.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2006, 12:38:05 pm by RandyT »

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2006, 02:14:02 am »
how about just using a pot instead of a spinner? since you don

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2006, 02:55:30 am »
how about just using a pot instead of a spinner? since you don

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2006, 08:32:38 am »
It might work, but you'd have to be very conscious about re-centering  every time.

It might work even without centering...

Let say the pot was turned all the way anti-clockwise...start the game and the paddle is in the middle.  Now spin the pot all the way clockwise - the paddle should move to the right hand limit and stop (before the pot reaches it's limit).  Now if MAME is clever enough it might be OK when you turn the pot back anti-clockwise...

...on the other hand it might not, I don't know...

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2006, 09:29:16 am »
It might work, but you'd have to be very conscious about re-centering  every time.

It might work even without centering...

Let say the pot was turned all the way anti-clockwise...start the game and the paddle is in the middle.  Now spin the pot all the way clockwise - the paddle should move to the right hand limit and stop (before the pot reaches it's limit).  Now if MAME is clever enough it might be OK when you turn the pot back anti-clockwise...

...on the other hand it might not, I don't know...

Even so, suppose the first action you need to make is to the left?  You would try to turn the dial counterclockwise, and then hit the hard stop.  Like I said, you'd have to be concious of where the dial was at any given time and keep it centered it for it to work well.

Seems like one could do it, but it's probably not the best situation.

RandyT


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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2006, 09:38:11 am »

Any questions :) ?

RandyT


Great explanation.  The only questions I have are about the offering you are working on and how you are handling the issue specifically...number of spokes, number of pixel increments you can achieve in arkanoid with that 66 degree setup, etc.
But if your not ready to divulge this kind of info, I'm a patient guy.  :angel:

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2006, 09:48:20 am »
when using a pot mame will auto recalibrate if you turn the pot all the way left then right, witch you should have time to do since the ball doesen

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2006, 09:58:00 am »
Randy, are you planning on coming out with a spinner?  I'm debating buying this spinner, but would rather save the money for a few more months and get one from you (which from everything else I've read/seen about your products, are always quality).

Just curious, as I dont want to spend more then I have to (you know, trying to buy a house and all).

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2006, 10:00:27 am »
Using a pot spinner sounds like the same issue as using an actual arkanoid spinner:  You have a control thats only good for a couple games and you still need another spinner for all the other spinner games.

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2006, 10:23:20 am »
Randy, are you planning on coming out with a spinner?  I'm debating buying this spinner, but would rather save the money for a few more months...

It won't be months.....:)  And it won't be perfect in this situation either.  Better, but not perfect.  Although, "perfection" may be an option a little ways down the road.

And one more comment to make on  the analog pot thing.  It's hard to say what MAME will do with this setup once you have the calibration dialed in (in Windows) to use only 66 degrees on the pot.  Seeing as how the extra range of motion is going to be ignored before MAME ever gets to look at it, it might not work at all like some are thinking.  The only way to know for sure is for someone to try it.

BTW, Arkanoid is a pot control type game.  Just like Pong, Breakout, Avalanche and any other game that uses a paddle.  All that extra resolution the designers built into that spinner was meant to replicate the virtually unlimited resolution of an analog pot.  So why the trouble and extra expense?  It was most likely a marketing decision.  By the time Arkanoid hit the market, all of the aforementioned games had been out a while and operators had plenty of opportunity to get exposed to the nasty fact about pots.  They are high maintenance and problematic.  They have a pretty specific lifespan, act up when they get dirty, etc.  So to successfully market the game to these wary operators, they would have needed an improvement to the controls and this was it.  They succeeded, but ended up with a control that was not easily duplicated by the likes of those trying to re-create the experience. 

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2006, 10:51:50 am »
Maybe a spring-centered pot, like on the Jakks Pacific Ms. Pac Man games, would do the trick.

Unless you've got a real Arkanoid spinner, of course.  ;D  The ratio, for anybody that's really interested, is 20.25 : 1, with a 24 tooth encoder wheel.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2006, 11:07:52 am »
Although, "perfection" may be an option a little ways down the road.


RandyT,

so down the road, could a wheel like this company provides
http://www.thinmetalparts.com/metalwheels_Detail.htm
do the trick.  ie, their one inch wheel with a 512 resolution seems like it would do the trick for arkanoid and still keep a small footprint....or am I confused (like I often am)

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2006, 12:24:27 pm »
Although, "perfection" may be an option a little ways down the road.

so down the road, could a wheel like this company provides
http://www.thinmetalparts.com/metalwheels_Detail.htm
do the trick.  ie, their one inch wheel with a 512 resolution seems like it would do the trick for arkanoid and still keep a small footprint....or am I confused (like I often am)

I don't want to know how much those things cost....They are referring to them as "inexpensive" relative to laser etched glass.  To me, that means about 30 or 40 dollars each.  I'll drop them an email and find out (if they bother to respond :))

But yes, something like that could be used, just not with the optics I have.  The optics would need to have tiny little apertures, probably even smaller than those used in a mouse.

There are more cost effective ways to do this, that don't require that kind of precision or expense.

RandyT

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2006, 12:42:26 pm »
I understand price is an issue, but I would gladly pay an extra $30 for a "perfect" spinner.  Heck, I paid around $80 - $90 each for the tornado spinners I have, sounds like you'll be under that even if you used an expensive wheel.
But sounds like you've got something else in mind anyway, so as you were.  :D

PCtech

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2006, 01:46:52 pm »
Anyone have a link to these spinners?

http://www.ezarcadesolutions.com/

I put one of these spinners in the first cainet I built, and I've had no complaints. I've heard great things about the Tornado, but haven't tried it myself....but I used to be a big Tempest fan, and the EZARCADE spinner is pretty close, and a decent price.  For the price, I was expecting something similar to a hard drive hack I've seen on the net, but I was impressed with the solid construction.
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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2006, 10:42:53 am »
Hey PCtech, any way you can post some pictures of this spinner installed?  I had never seen this product before.  I might have to look into one at that price.

Anyone have a link to these spinners?

http://www.ezarcadesolutions.com/

I put one of these spinners in the first cainet I built, and I've had no complaints. I've heard great things about the Tornado, but haven't tried it myself....but I used to be a big Tempest fan, and the EZARCADE spinner is pretty close, and a decent price.  For the price, I was expecting something similar to a hard drive hack I've seen on the net, but I was impressed with the solid construction.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2006, 11:08:29 am »
I did some digging.  This company used to go by the name Mamespinner.com.

Do a forum search for mamespinner for more reviews like this one:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=41865.0

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2006, 04:36:32 pm »
Ok, I sent an e-mail to the address listed on the web site a week ago.  No repsonse.  He may have just lost my business.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2006, 04:27:38 pm by jcroach »

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2006, 04:00:16 pm »
Well let me first start by saying hello.  Maybe its not right for me to comment here but I thought I would. My Name is Kyle Mobley and I am the builder of the EZMount Spinners.  I don't usually check these forums, but I had gotten an email from a person who was interested in a spinner and he had pasted this thread into his email. 

Jcroach,

I am usually really good about answering emails. I checked through mine both at work and at home and I don't see an email from you.  If you would like to ask your question here, I would be happy to give you an answer. you can also email me at my private address at kylemobley@comcast.net.

Just a little background. Yes I used to have a site called mamespinner.com. I was forced to change the name during the whole copywrited MAME name problem.   I do this mostly as a hobby, and have changed the design of the spinners more then a few times, trying to get the best performance for the smallest amount of money, as well as keeping it simple. Even if the parts were to cost me say $10.00, If it takes my 2 hours to build one , then I would have to charge more. Plus I was never a big fan of having to buy and extra interface baord to get things to work. Most of us want a clean plug and play solution and thats what I was trying to do.  If anyone has any questions, please let them fly. I have always told people that if they were looking to build a cabinet where the spinner was going to be the #1 controler used, Pay the big money, get the best spinner you can. But if your like me where you use it only for a handful of games, and would rather put your money into other other places in your cabinet, these have been a nice economic solution.


I don't want this to sound like a commercial, because I think these forums should be a nice open discussusion on the likes and dislikes of different spinners out there.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask me here or send me an email.

Kyle

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2006, 04:46:04 pm »
Thanks Nelix6030

I didn't mean you any ill will by calling you out in public.  i just never heard back from you on my e-mail.  I just sent you an e-mail, but for the benefit of the board, here are the questions I asked:

Do you have any other pictures of this spinner installed?  The one on your web site is a little small and blurry.

Does the spinner appear as a mouse in WinXP?

Does your interface have any connectors for buttons?

What's the shaft length? Is it adjustable? Can it be mounted in control panels of various thicknesses?

How does the spinner body connect to the control panels?  Bolts from the top side? Screws from the bottom side?

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2006, 02:26:48 am »

Hi!

Would I be able to use such a spinner in games like Puzz Loop, Out Run and Hang-On besides Arkanoid?

Thanks!

Nicholas
 

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2006, 08:13:36 am »

Hi!

Would I be able to use such a spinner in games like Puzz Loop, Out Run and Hang-On besides Arkanoid?

Thanks!

Nicholas
 

Yeah, you bet.  It shows up like a one axis mouse in windows so you can use it for any games that will accept mouse input.  I got an e-mail a while back from the manufacturer.  I'll post his answers and pictures when I get a chance.

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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2006, 07:23:43 am »
Did you get the chance yet??

:)

Oh, by the way, how big is the spinner? I need to find out if there's room inside
my CP.






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Re: My review of ezarcade's mame spinner
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2006, 07:32:35 pm »
Oh well, better late then never I guess. I ran across this post and though I would post the measurements of mine since I had just gotten it in the mail.

Mine has the Aluminum Metal Spinner. I don't know if the plastic spinner is smaller or not.