Arcade Machine

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Projects
IMAG1287.jpg
Participants Andreasr, Control-k, Realitygaps, Wizzup
Skills Programming
Status Dormant
Niche Software
Purpose Fun

Arcade Machine

We own an Arcade Machine, of which we have replaced the contents with an Intel PC, running Linux. It has a custom game launcher and support for many emulators, such as MAME, UAE and other emulators.


Usage

Games

TODO: Re-create this list and only list games that are easy to use...

List of games:

Native (Intel)

  • superhexagon
  • Jamestown (works with joysticks)
  • Syobon (not yet! Ubuntu didn't have it in their repo ☹)

Amiga

In UAE, just add the games as floppies.

  • SWIV (Great shoot them up game)
  • Pinball Fantasies

SNES

...

Plan / Wishlist

DONE

  • Wheels
  • Power button

TODO

(Shortened from Justa's original mail for readability)

  • Get external USB controllers. (Wizzup bought two SNES USB ones and will donate them -- they are currently being shipped)
  • New and more physical input buttons
  • Make the uinput-software much more user friendly
  • Clean up the inside of the machine, bundle cables.
  • Move the keyboard/mouse/touchpad into a drawer
  • Fix a light inside of the cabinet
  • Look at the test and volume controls inside of the cabinet
  • Improve the launcher and uinput-mapper stuff
  • Improve the game launcher
  • Add more games (only when they work nicely / well), perhaps we can have a "tested games" launcher and an advanced mode.
  • (Re)Paint the cabinet.

Modifications

First step of redesign control board

- Added two fixed wheels and two swivel-wheels under the base -- To be able to move the thing around

- Added a hole that runs from the 'cabinet' part into the 'base' part -- Since I had the console removed already, it seemed smart to make some kind of hole in the base AND the cabinet that'd allow running a cable through for lighting/whatever.

- Drilled a hole on the underside of the 'button-table' to let USB cables through -- To start getting rid of the 'kabel-salat' that plagues the arcade-machine, I moved the USB-hub from the 'coin-door' to a location inside of the cabinet; allowing the keyboard + pad to be connected a little more tidily. Also in preparation for other (suggested) changes

- Removed all the blue tape holding the access-hatch closed; replaced it (for now) with a single screw -- This is not permanent; but the use of blue tape all over the place was not making things look nice. The screw is just a kludge. There is a mechanism on the back of the access-panel that we could re-use, if I could figure out how it was supposed to work. Simply making a spring-loaded latch there would work fine too.

Details

The cabinet we have is a 'generic' model designed to be able to run a number of games, originally.

We stuck a PC in there and replaced the CRT with an LCD. The controls connect to the PC via a 'JPAC' module from Ultimarc; connected to the PC via PS/2 There are a number of USB-cables running from the PC to other devices. Including the keyboard + Touch-pad that are currently 'seated' at the top of the cabinet.

The PC runs Linux. It autoboots into an AWESOME desktop that has a full-screen 'program selection' window open which was programmed by Wizzup and Control-K as a way to easily be able to select the game/program/function you'd like to use.

The cabinet has the following controls

- A coin-return; now used for 'on/off' (wired to 'ATX poweron' i believe) - Player 2 start (on front edge) - Player 1 joystick - Player 1 button 1 - Player 1 button 2 - Player 2 start (on front edge) - Player 2 joystick - Player 2 button 1 - Player 2 button 2

The cabinet has a light-switch on the back to power on/off the light that illuminates the logo at the top.

The cabinet has two speakers. Not clear if volume is wired up via volume-control button on the inside of the cabinet.

The cabinet is designed to be used either in 'seated' mode or, in it's current configuration, when standing. To make this possible, the cabinet is constructed out of two sections. A main section housing all the electronics, etc, and a 'pedestal' at the bottom that can be separated from the rest by removing two bolts. This raises the height of the entire machine about 40cm's or so.


Video

We replaced the built-in monitor with a TFT monitor. (TODO: Resolution?)

Sound

The sound works and is connected to the computer as well. (TODO: Document how)

Power button

The button next to the coin slit is now (also) a power button.

Input

We have written our own Game Launcher frontend and software to do advanced input remapping.

Arcade Machine input

The input can be read as PS2 (and USB); using a chip that we got alongside the Arcade Machine:

http://www.ultimarc.com/jpac.html http://www.ultimarc.com/jpac2.html

The Arcade Machine input exposes itself as a single keyboard over USB and PS/2. This is problematic for most games, with the exception of MAME and a few emulators. Some games expect an input device per player, so one "keyboard" then simply is not enough.

To solve this problem we have written software that can split one keyboard up into multiple virtual ones: https://github.com/MerlijnWajer/uinput-mapper ; http://hetgrotebos.org/wiki/uinput-mapper


Coin Input

This should be handled by the Input over PS2/USB as well. It is probably mapped to some a key.

Old text

Common tasks

There are a few simple tasks until we've written a pretty interface + set of scritps.

It mostly boils down to two tasks:

1) disable/enable the "keyboard" interface in X (to avoid double input):

 ~/disable_*.sh or ~/enable_*.sh

2) start/stop uinput-mapper with the right configuration:

 sudo input-read -D /dev/input/by-id/usb-Cypress_I-PAC_Arcade_Control_Interface-event-kbd | sudo input-create configs/techinc.py

And just hit ^C to stop it.

Writing our own input driver

Axes to axes, Buttons to buttons

Code: https://github.com/MerlijnWajer/uinput-mapper

For instructions, see: http://hetgrotebos.org/wiki/uinput-mapper

And the techinc.py config can be viewed online:

http://googleco.de/uinput-mapper/tree/configs/techinc.py

Map:

  • Creates two joystick input devices in /dev/input
  • Both joystick devices are mapped sanely.
  • HAT0X / HAT0Y seem to work now that we specified absmin and absmax.

Keys are mapped like this:

 HAT -> HAT0X, HAT0Y
 Red Buttons, left to right: BTN_0, BTN_1, BTN_2
 Yellow Button: BTN_3


User Interface

Using the menu

There is a custom menu for the arcade machine, it should start automaticly. You can use the left joystick to choose a game/program. Press the most right button of player 1 to start it. For games that are not added yet, xterm is also in the menu.

Restarting the menu

If the menu is closed and you want to start it, the python script is in "/home/techinc/arcade/game.py", run it using python2.

Adding programs

You can use the supllied GUI in the menu, it will ask some questions. You can either choose a file to run or insert a custom command Then it asks for a name and descition Finaly, you will need a picture, you can use the standart questionmark, insert a file or taka a screenshot. When you take a screenshot, the command will be executed (so make sure it is alright) and after some seconds scrot is used to take a picture.

You can also edit the ~/arcade/gamelist.conf file for more flexebilety.

Removeing a program can be done by pressing [DEL] in the main menu while you have the program selected.

Fixing a broken menu

Sometimes things go wrong when adding games, specifecly while adding a screenshot, this can make the menu crash. You can fix it by removing the broken entry from ~/arcade/gamelist.conf manualy.


Games

in general

Let's not overload the console with ALL MAME games, make a selection and allow people to make wishes, otherwise you have clutter

Suggestion: focus on at least 50% co-op games! Fun is best shared! ;)

metal gear, swiv, bubble bobble, alien vs predator, metal slug, ikari warriors, gauntlet, smash tv, TMNT, Rampage, NARC, etc.

anything that makes fun together :)

Other uses

  • We can use it to control a variety of stuff. (light, sound)
  • We can hook other consoles into it.
  • Some kind of game that integrates with the space? interacts with some light / stuff around the arcade machine
  •  ???


To-Do List

  • wheels! Everything that can move is not in the way Done 20141116 - Justa
  • power and/or reset button
  • make selection of like 50 MAME games - ask Mailing list for everyone's top-3 nostalgia favorites?
  • USB/HID controls vs. input-mapper - Wizzup and Justa have to fight that one out...
  • reinstall OS on SSD
  • have it make coffee (hack a saeco inside for no reason)
  • strip the PC and mount it inside - reduce clutter while busy
  • investigate less heat production / better ventilation