Arcade Machine - Upgrade

It's been about 18 months since I finished the cab and haven't done any more to it since, except for increasing the game library.

It was always going to happen, that when I got my hands on any new hardware I would upgrade the PC components. 

That day has come, with the arrival of my new dev machine, I found myself with a spare machine. 

Setting up

After I had moved the House PC's down through the heirachy, my old dev machine went downstairs and the house PC now became spare. This would then find a new home driving the cab.

I had been running mame on this PC anyway so I knew it would work well and It had a half decent graphics card which meant I could enable mame's hlsl options and it was a tad more powerfull and would run some games that I couldn't on the old hardware.

I was hoping that I could pretty well just put the disk out of the cab into the new PC and, well, it would just work. Install a few drivers and would be prety painless. Not quite. The old IDE drive wouldnt even boot on the new PC. The new PC had a Sata motherboard, it also had an IDE slot that the CD drive connected to and I thought I could stick the HD in there and boot from it but no, it wouldn't have it at all, so was time to dig out the XP disks once again.

Here we go again, almost

Ready for the pain of last time (see part 1), I inserted the XP disks and started a new install, then the service packs and the .net upgrades and so on and so forth. This time thankfully, after a quick google search was able to find all the drivers for my motherboard and sound and these installed relatively seamlessly. Then the nvidia drivers and well, that was it. Took a few hours but done.

Not as bad as last time

I had backed up the game folder containing my mame and daphne setups earlier and copied these to my dev machine for a bit of reconfiguring, so we were ready for 'cab plus'.

Reconfiguring the software

In theory, I should have just been able to restore my backed up mame and daphne folders and it will all just work and sure enough, it did!


I wanted to take advantage of the graphics card I have now and get the hlsl support for mame to do all the work of making the games look correct with effects like scanlines. So, I removed all my custom game specific ini's and put back in the original mame.ini with default settings. It worked and looks lovely with all my vector and non vector games all displaying correctly.

Now your kids can enjoy beating the crap out of each other.

One thing I did notice was that the old Namco games like Galaxian and Pacman had vertical scanlines instead of horizontal. Correct, however as these used to play on rotated monitors so would have been like that. I had previously set mine all to be horizontal including these, so consider this an improvement. Still, not sure about Galaxians. It looks a bit weedy now, or maybe it's just me.

Better or worse, not sure

One thing I had forgotten to back up was the OS settings for my desktop and launching Hamster and my startup and shutdown scripts but these were easily googled and set up as before.

Im using Instant Sheller to hide my windows OS by replacing the windows loading screen with a cusom bitmap and setting the desktop to black and modifying the mouse pointer. Instant Sheller also can set your mame frontend on start but unfortunately Hamster wouldn't work when run like this. I think its something to do with the relativity of the path its executed from and it wasn't able to locate the mame executable. No matter, I just added a shortcut to Hamster in the startup folder.

So I can modify my setup without booting into windows and copying files about, I have a couple of batch scripts that run when the machine starts and shuts down. The startup script copies files from a usb into my mame folder and copies the snap folder back onto usb on shutdown, so I can take screenshots.

This was acheived like this.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12434863/executing-a-batch-script-on-windows-shutdown

Updating Mame

So, the cab is upgraded and now I want to update the game library.

First on the list is Virtua fighter Kids, I couldn't run it before, the Pc wasn't up to it but now it is.

Next, I really wanted Fix It Felix, in fact I wanted to add a Wreck It Ralph category with all the games from the film, well some of the good ones anyway.

I knew that some cab builders have built Fix It Felix jnr cabinets but wasn't sure how possible it was or wether I could set it up from Hamster so I looked it up to see how other cab builder have done it. The internet as usual brings up lots of examples and I managed to get a 'leaked' version of Fix it Felix jr which was based on the flash version that is playable on the Disney website. This has some config options that allow it to fill the screen and remap the keyboard as well as to other keys but also to other devices, perfect. It was soon mapped to my joypad and coin inputs and scaled to full screen. Better still it runs from the command line and configures nicely to Hamster.

I must admit this was all going too well and I can't put a foot wrong but in fairness makes up for my 1st attempt. So now the cab inards are in a self contained PC box so future maintenence should be a lot easier and I have a new game list. Iv'e added a new category 'WreckItRalph' which are some of the games from the film which will be good for the kids, Qbert and Tapper they are finding interesting!

I've also added Robotron which was missing from the Williams group and a bunch of 2 player games.

My current playlist now looks like this.

shooter

  • Space Invaders
  • Galaxians
  • Space Firebird
  • Asteroids
  • Asteroids Deluxe

wreckitralph

  • Fix It Felix
  • Qbert
  • Tapper

arcade

  • Bubble Bobble
  • Rainbow Islands
  • Donkey Kong
  • Ms Pacman
  • Track n Field
  • Escape Kids
  • Bomberman

williams

  • Defender
  • Robtron 2084
  • Joust
  • Sinistar

quest

  • Ghosts n Goblins
  • Ghouls n Ghosts
  • Gun.smoke
  • Kung Fu Master

2player_coop

  • Sunset Riders
  • Metal Slug
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Metal Slug 4
  • Metal Slug X
  • Crackdown
  • Xybots
  • Bonanza Bros
  • Mega Twins

fighting

  • Street Fighter 2
  • Super Street Fighter 2
  • Virtua Fighter
  • Virtua Fighter Kids

laserdisc

  • Dragons Lair
  • Space Ace

 

Nice one sony, lets get the kids involved in beating each other up early

The man himself, Fix it Felix