12th August 2002

Almost there now....

  • The Opti-pac has been bought and installed and the trackball is now wired in and running. Now I can play games like Missile Command, Rampart, Crystal Castles and Centipede how they were supposed to be played. Also, games like Star Wars and Out Run are now much easier to play with the trackball than the joystick. The ball also controls the windows pointer, so if I can bring the machine indoors, I can use it as a PC without needing a mouse...
  • Just got to finish off finalizing the game list and sort out a dodgy connection in the coin mechanism...

10th July 2002

Well its taken a long time but I've finally got round to (virtually) finishing the machine and updating this page. The main updates to the machine are:

  • A new, bigger, control panel, including a tracker ball from an old Crystal Maze SWP machine. Once the tracker ball is connected to an Opti-Pac board the two central buttons will also hopefully be usable as the mouse buttons.
  • I've moved the I-pac board to just inside the front of the control panel so it's easily accessable if I want to connect the PC keyboard.
  • A faster CPU (466 Mhz) for a but more oomph, requiring a new ATX case. The power switch for the PC has been connected up to the old 'Escape' button from the Crystal Maze machine.
  • I've installed ArcadeOs as a front end, which boots from DOS and provides a really polished look to the menus. This also means I can switch the machine off by just pressing the 'Escape' button, without having to worry about shutting down windows and all that rubbish.
  • A 17" monitor that was going to be skipped at work, which makes the screen far more easy on the eye. It protrudes from the back of the cabinet a bit, but it shouldn't be visible once its indoors.
  • Castors from and old box I liberated from work to enable me to move it around a bit more easily. I've added a 'valance' around the botton of the machine to make it look a bit neater and hide the wheels.
  • The front glass has been painted with black paint to mask the monitor surround.
  • The exterior of the cabinet has been painted with black paint. The paint came from B&Q and is designed for use on metal or exterior wood, so it gave quite a good finish even with just one coat.
  • The control panel was covered with sticky back plastic with a got from a local signwriters. I might even be tempted to make some 'repro' sideart a some point...

Still to do:

  • Acquire an Opti-Pac board and wire up the tracker ball.
  • Somehow, fit an arcade steering wheel which I managed to pick up quite cheaply from Ebay.
  • Maybe fit a red surround to the top of the cabinet around the marquee to make it look better.
  • Finish deciding which games I want on the main menu.

MAME Machine 2

Click thumbnails to enlarge...

31st July 2001

I am in the process of building an arcade cabinet with a PC inside and a proper control panel so I can play all the MAME emulated games as they are supposed to be played. It's different to a lot of MAME cabinets you see on the web in that it's a lot smaller, and doesn't have loads of buttons. The idea was to make it simple and unobtrusive (as far as possible for an arcade machine!) so I can have it in the living room...

The front doors have had a fresh coat of hammerite to cover the rust. They now look as good as new. I've got hold of some black card to make the monitor surround, so that is the next job on the list...

The machine is now working, including the coin mechanism (set at 20p per credit), but the following jobs still need to be done:

  • Make monitor surround.
  • Paint cabinet (use some real sideart stickers?)
  • Optimize the PC to get some of the games to run faster.
  • Configure the front end software so I don't need to use the keyboard or mouse.
  • Make new control panel to accomodate the Trackball.

Parts used:

  • Cabinet (built myself, approximately £20 worth of MDF, screws, etc.)
  • VGA Monitor (£15) - 14" old monitor from Lanscape Computers in Brighton
  • Arcade Monitor (£20) - Philips CM8830 (Friday Ad) for use with the JAMMA harness
  • Control Panel, Coin Mechanism, etc. - from my JAMMA cabinet at the moment, until I source some new ones
  • 233 Motherboard, PSU, Case - from Steve
  • Video Card - from Disco Stu
  • Sound Card - from Ken
  • CD ROM - from Paul
  • Floppy Drive (£3) - Lanscape Computers
  • Keyboard encoder (£28) - IPAC from Andy Warne, which allows the arcade controls to be connected through the keyboard port
  • Keyboard (£1) - Lanscape Computers
  • Mouse - Can't remember where is came from, but it was no more than a few quid
  • IDE cable, floppy cable (50p each) - Lanscape Computers
  • Atari Trackball (£6) - from eBay, to be converted to operate instead of the mouse
  • Internal strip light (£12) - Wickes, to light up the marquee
  • Barrel lock for coin box door - (£6) - from eBay

Parts still needed:

  • None

MAME Machine 1

Click thumbnails to enlarge...

Further Information