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Author Topic: Announcement: Ambience App  (Read 16522 times)

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TheShanMan

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Announcement: Ambience App
« on: July 29, 2008, 02:49:16 am »
Do you like Andy Hofle's Arcade Ambience sounds? Are you looking for the ultimate way to incorporate them into your game room to give you a good "I'm in an arcade" feeling? That's what I've created the Ambience app for!

Here is what I consider the ultimate Ambience setup: Get a second sound card and hook up speakers that are outside of your cab - ideally positioned a bit behind and to either side of you. The Ambience app will play Arcade Ambience (or any other sound files) on those speakers, separate from normal game audio.

It runs in the system tray and can be configured by right clicking on the icon. It can play the sounds randomly or in order. It can optionally pause when MAME is paused as well as when the screensaver is on.

And if you don't want to go to the trouble of setting up a secondary sound device, you can still use the Ambience app on your main sound device, but of course it will mix with the audio coming from MAME and any other apps.

But really, you've spent so much time creating the perfect cab - why skimp here? Finish the job right! I tell you, I absolutely love the environment it creates in my game room. It was well worth the effort!

Thanks to Andy Hofle for creating the awesome Arcade Ambience sounds (http://arcade.hofle.com), and for hosting my app on his site.

Download here: http://arcade.hofle.com/ambience1.zip



BTW, here are the products I used to mount and wire my speakers:
So not terribly pricey. The cable shop is in my hometown but he has awesome prices and he's a great guy. You may want to get an extension for your power supply too if you want it powered on with your cab.
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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Minwah

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 08:09:24 am »
Nice idea!  :)

headkaze

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2008, 09:14:50 am »
Nice one TheShanMan :) I added this to the Wiki's Audio Utilities section.

ahofle

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2008, 12:41:06 pm »
 :applaud:

I wish I had the hardware to try this out properly. 
Actually thinking about it, I do have the hardware, but the basement is finished/carpeted and I have no place to run the wires!  :hissy:
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 01:04:08 pm by ahofle »

TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2008, 01:23:51 pm »
So is my bonus room. Here's what I did. In my case I had the benefit of being on the top floor. I mounted the speakers on the walls up by the ceiling and ran the wires through a hole into the attic, and back down by my cab. The left speaker had no attic access though because that part of the room is an A frame with no attic above. Fortunately that one went right above a window, so I ran the wire down the window behind the blinds, then down to the floor and along the wall by stuffing the wire between the carpet and the baseboard, all the way to the cab. If I hadn't done that, I would have run the wire down the corner where the 2 walls meet, and probably would have painted it to match the wall.

Hope that helps spark some ideas on how you could do the wiring. I was concerned with what my wife would think about how it looks, but it totally passed the wife test and she likes the end result almost as much as I do! Again, it was well worth the effort, so if you can figure out a workable wiring scheme then give it a go.

Heck, if you've got an extra sound card and speakers (or can borrow one from another system) then I suggest starting there and putting the speakers on either side of your cab. That's how I ran mine for a couple of months while I was working on the app, before I bought the stuff to mount the speakers. It was a good way to try it and get an idea of how much I'd like it - but once I finally mounted the speakers it exceeded my expectations!
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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TheShanMan

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Re: Ambience App
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2008, 06:09:57 pm »
BTW, I am very open to naming suggestions. I called it Ambience App due to a lack of creativity but would welcome ideas. I wanted the connection to Arcade Ambience to be reflected in the name (with permission from Andy), but that's not a requirement.

So let me know what your ideas are! I'll give the person with the winning name a free copy of the software. ;)
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2008, 03:49:27 pm »
Just curious if anyone is using this or plans to use it - I recognize it's not the kind of thing you implement in an hour so I'm not surprised that no one has reported using it yet. I'd really like to know if there is any interest in it though, and if there is anything I can do to help anyone who wants to set it up.

I initially made it for my own benefit so no big deal if no one but me cares about it. ;)
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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TheManuel

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2008, 05:34:58 pm »
I'm wondering about performance impact.  I have an old computer which runs most games I like full speed but requires some tender loving care to maintain its perofrmance optimized.  If I install a separate sound card, which I happen to have, would the sound card do all the work and not affect CPU performance?  I would be running the sound files from my secondary storage hard drive so there would be no competition for hard drive access in most games.

I know the logical answer is "try it and see" but wante to get a feel about what to expect ahead of time.

Thanks.
"The Manuel"

TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2008, 05:58:13 pm »
I'm not running a low end system, but I've found the cpu usage to be very low, like 1% or thereabouts IIRC. It uses a widely used commercial audio engine (fmod) that fortunately is free for non-commercial use. So it's very stable and very optimized.

The user interface (configuration) uses .NET but in my experience .NET overhead seems to be very low, and when you're just running it in the background the .NET side is doing virtually nothing anyway. My app basically just tells the engine "play this file" so it shouldn't add hardly any overhead either.

That's a long-winded way of saying, I think it will work fine for you, but of course you never know for sure until you try.

Since you have another card anyway, install it and hook up some speakers just to give it a try - don't worry about mounting them for the optimal experience yet. Just do a little trial. Hopefully it will not impact your games. If you do, please post your experiences here!

BTW, if anyone is thinking "I'd like to see how well it works but don't have a 2nd sound card" you can run it on your main sound card too. You'll get mixed ambience and game audio, but at least you can see if performance is OK for you and then decide if you want to get hardware for it.
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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TheManuel

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 07:41:25 pm »
Thanks for the feedback ShanMan.
It sound encouraging.
I will sure give it a try and let you know how it goes.
"The Manuel"

facesmiths

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2008, 10:04:23 am »
personally I plan on running this through a  machine that will be dedicated to jukebox cabinet. running it on a machine that the games are on only seems needed if there is only one machine in the room. later I would like to run an ambient machine (not software just prerecorded sounds on an MP3 player set to random) that will simulate certain other environments for an automate I will be opening here in Oklahoma. rooms and halls with cave sounds another area that will have constant rain sounds and in that area there will be a couple ION generators running to give that fresh ozone smell with a humidifier and AC unit running a bit higher to really finish off the touch on the area. of course I will mod the walls to suit too heh heh. this really is a great idea and I am downloading it but what I want to know is can I put in my own sounds and make it a general ambiance generator instead of just being arcade oriented?
as for ideas on what to call it I think you have at least half the idea already if I come up with any thing I will send it your way.

TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2008, 11:53:08 am »
Facesmiths, you can use whatever sounds you want. It doesn't come with any sounds. The main intention is to use Arcade Ambience, but the list of sounds is totally up to you.

The thing I like about running it on my cab is that the sounds start when the cab starts and (optionally) pauses when mame pauses or the screensaver starts. Nothing wrong with running it on a dedicated machine, but you'd lose those features. Now, in the future I might make a second mame cab eventually. I might have to make a network-enabled version when I do that! ;D

Let me know how it goes, and if there's anything you wish it could do that it doesn't!
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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Ummon

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2008, 04:28:37 pm »
I've been thinking on this kind of thing for a while and figure it was probably possible in Windows, albeit with some tinkering and such. Music was a separate source (and fairly non-intrusive if run right) in the arcade - makes sense to do the same, and now it's a bit easier with one machine.
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TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2008, 05:35:56 pm »
Ummon, it wasn't really created with music in mind, though there's no reason it can't be used for music. If you find that it's missing anything that would be useful for playing music, please make it known. For instance, one thing I imagine would be useful for playing music would be to specify a directory rather than individual files, so as the contents of that directory change, Ambience App would automatically handle those changes. Not really needed for Arcade Ambience, but maybe for music.
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Ummon

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2008, 03:27:58 pm »
I'm surprised you didn't automatically think of it for a jukebox-type of application. Certainly in such case a directory specification would be far more convenient just in that it would select the whole set of files rather than having to add all of them.
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TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2008, 04:11:09 pm »
I made this app specifically to meet my needs, and I was already aware that jukebox apps exist, so it wasn't (and isn't) my intention to make another jukebox app. You can already multi-select files from the "add" dialog. The only limitations at this point are that it doesn't recurse into subdirectories and that it is a static list of files (i.e. if you add a file to the directory, you have to also add it to Ambience App).

And for my needs, adding individual files makes more sense. I have a directory with all the Arcade Ambience files, but I'm not currently using the '92 file because I didn't spend much time in the arcades during the '90's, so listening to that file doesn't do much for me.

To make a long story short, I'm certainly willing to consider features that are more music friendly, but don't expect this to morph into a full featured jukebox. I will always use it to play Arcade Ambience files, so that type of scenario will probably always be the central focus of the app.

I do appreciate the feedback!
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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TheManuel

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2008, 04:29:45 pm »
How about adding a module to it that does your taxes?
You could updated every year as tax laws change.
 ;D
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2008, 07:07:21 pm »
Two things:

Do jukebox apps have the feature this one does? If not, perhaps they should. If they do, then I guess disregard that below.

I haven't used jukebox apps, so have no idea of their details features. I understand your intent. The only parameter I suggest adding is to search sub-folders so that one can simply select their music (or whatever) directory and all files will be played until the user decides to stop it.
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2008, 08:18:41 pm »
 :applaud:

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2008, 03:40:46 pm »
Quote
I have a directory with all the Arcade Ambience files, but I'm not currently using the '92 file because I didn't spend much time in the arcades during the '90's, so listening to that file doesn't do much for me.

That's sad, as 92 is the best one. He added pin sounds to that one and they are rather prominent. Maybe you could convince the guy to take an earlier one and add pins and some of the other sounds he added to 92. Although it is my favorite, I will admit he added a few to many "Hyroken!" into it... but, meh...
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TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2008, 10:16:09 pm »
Curious to know if anyone is using this. I wrote it for my own use so I'm fine regardless of how many people use it - it's not an ego thing for me. But the way I have implemented this in my cab (as described earlier), it is definitely one of the highlights of my mame system, so I just want others to get as much benefit from this as I have.
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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Ginsu Victim

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2008, 11:35:15 pm »
No, though if I had a use for it, I'd consider it.

Ummon

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2008, 07:38:40 pm »
Not using it yet, though I have a copy in wait for if/when I do.
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2008, 01:49:04 am »
What a waste of time. Just put 75 or so arcade games in your gameroom and leave them all running.

 ;D
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2008, 06:47:27 am »
What a waste of time. Just put 75 or so arcade games in your gameroom and leave them all running.

 ;D

I go to that room in my dreams.  ;D
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 11:45:48 pm by loadman »

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2008, 11:25:02 pm »
I really like this idea.  I just happen to have an extra sound card and some cheap speakers kicking around.  I can easily see having speakers on the back of your cab firiing back and reflecting off the wall back at you - kind of like the rest of the arcade is back there somewhere.

I will be using this on my new project... thanks for this!

TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2008, 01:13:58 pm »
You're welcome! Glad to play a small part in your project - your tokens sure are a nice touch for mine!

I'm very interested in hearing how well your bouncing idea works. If it's possible (extension cables), might I suggest putting the speakers behind and to the sides, ala surround sound speakers? Just setting them on the floor to test would be fine of course. I'm really curious to hear a comparison between that configuration (which is what I'm using), and your idea. I suspect that mine gives the best end result, but of course it is more effort to finish the job (wall mounting, running the wires in a finished manner). It would be cool if your idea is at least almost as good.

When I was developing the software and before I got my cables and wall mounts, I just had my speakers sitting on the floor on each side of the cab, facing forward. So not quite the same as your idea and while I liked it, my surround sound positioning is MUCH better.

I would appreciate you keeping me up to date on how it works out for you!
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2008, 02:14:07 am »
This is a fantastic little app...very little overhead on my tests and tweaking the volume produces an amazing "arcade ambience"...great work on this and thanks!
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2008, 10:51:10 am »
Glad you like it! :)
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2009, 05:50:47 pm »
Is there some way to control the sound level of Ambience?  If not, would be a very handy feature.  That way I could dial down the sounds in Ambience but have MAME running full volume.

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2009, 12:47:01 pm »
So I take it you're not running it on a second soundcard, right?

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2009, 02:03:59 pm »
I don't konw as if that'll make obvious sense to him, a simplicity though it is.
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2009, 10:49:15 pm »
I think it would be possible to add, though as Ginsu hinted, it's designed to run on a second sound card so you can position the speakers strategically in your game room to create more of a sense of being in a real arcade of that era. If you've got a second sound card (which can be had very cheaply, btw), then you can control the volume of that sound card separately from the primary sound card, and you of course can also adjust the volume on the speakers themselves.

If you would confirm which kind of configuration you have I can decide whether or not it needs to be implemented. Also, if you only have 1 sound card now as a way to evaluate this but plan to ultimately implement the 2 sound card approach, I would prefer not to spend time doing that. Instead I would suggest using a program that will change the volume of the mp3's themselves (MP3Gain may not be the best tool for the job, but it's an example of something you could use if you need a suggestion).

So have you actually been using this for a while now or are you just trying it out? I don't know that it's being used by many people so for people who are using it, I'd certainly like to know what they think of it!

I don't konw as if that'll make obvious sense to him, a simplicity though it is.

I'm not even sure I understand that sentence, Ummon. ???
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2009, 07:34:59 am »
Hi there,

I can't get the application run under Vista. Is this a common issue?
I followed the instructions in the readme and installed everything I had to...

Thanks for any advice,
Usul

TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2009, 07:38:04 pm »
You're probably the first to try! :laugh: I have a Windows 2008 Server vmware image at work (it's basically Vista Server). I will try to get it working there when I get a chance and report back. Don't hesitate to remind me if I forget though! :)
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Add Ambience to your mame cab setup

arzoo

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2009, 08:47:48 am »
Hey ShanMan and Usal,
For some reason Microsoft decided to disable the "Stereo Mix" recording device in Vista. That may be the problem. Try this:

Right click the volume icon in the system tray and select “Recording Device”. Or you can open the “Sounds” dialog from the control panel. On the Sound “Recording” tab, right click on any blank area and select “Show Disabled Devices”. This should then add a device that may be called “Stereo Mix” or “What You Hear”. Right click the new device and select “Enable”.
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Ummon

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2009, 05:43:22 pm »
I don't konw as if that'll make obvious sense to him, a simplicity though it is.

I'm not even sure I understand that sentence, Ummon. ???

Seemed to me that you were re-stating the requirements of the situation in using the app, and I wasn't sure the person was going to get it, since they hadn't in the first place. I think that's what I meant. Anyways, it comes to mind that if you have a card with a rear speaker jack, you could route only ambiapp sound to that?
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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2009, 02:48:28 am »
Quote
Hey ShanMan and Usal,
For some reason Microsoft decided to disable the "Stereo Mix" recording device in Vista. That may be the problem. Try this:

Right click the volume icon in the system tray and select “Recording Device”. Or you can open the “Sounds” dialog from the control panel. On the Sound “Recording” tab, right click on any blank area and select “Show Disabled Devices”. This should then add a device that may be called “Stereo Mix” or “What You Hear”. Right click the new device and select “Enable”.

Unfortunately this is not working for me. I can't even get the ambience software start at all. Executing the exe results in a windows error message.
Any support is miuch appreciated.

Thanks
Usul

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2009, 04:29:19 am »
Unfortunately this is not working for me. I can't even get the ambience software start at all. Executing the exe results in a windows error message.
Any support is miuch appreciated.

Thanks
Usul

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TheShanMan

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Re: Announcement: Ambience App
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2009, 03:37:08 pm »
Finally tried this in Windows Server 2008 (server version of Vista) in vmware, and it launched without issue. Perhaps it's related to UAC (permissions)? You could try turning that off and see what happens. Otherwise, I'll need more info on what exactly is happening (e.g. error message).

Sorry for the slow reply... I've gone on a couple vacations recently, been getting ready to sell our house, buying arcade games... So I haven't been super active here.
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
Sketchup video of my gameroom
Add Ambience to your mame cab setup

  
 

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