Saturday May 18, 2024

MAME Arcade Machine

Getting A Little MAME Going in 2009!
Just recently picked up an arcade cabinet -- it's actually somewhat of a sad story, because it was a semi-working Naomi Marvel vs. Capcom 2 that has (I think) a 25" monitor.  The sound wasn't working, so I was diagnosing that.  The monitor colors were screwed up, so I'm still not sure if there's any way of fixing that..  Anyway the sad part is while trying to figure out the sound issue I popped the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 cart out and put it back in and have been getting an error with that cart ever since -- and it's about $150 just for the cart and MAME doesn't emulate that game yet.  But the good news is, I should be able to at least play around with MAME some and get an idea of what I want to do when I build my own cabinet.

I've already played around with modifying a Hot Rod Arcade Stick earlier this year and put an I-PAC (  I wanted to get something cooking and figured at the very least I could part out the HAPP controls in the unit and use them in an arcade machine eventually.  The conversion from PS/2 to I-PAC worked out incredibly well.

I'm also thinking I'll ultimately want to make a smaller table-top system I can put on a bar or something.  I found a neat project for Micro-MAME that really takes a small MAME cabinet to the next level!  Not sure if I'll go quite that small but the idea of using a very small form factor PC that is low power and low heat would be great -- won't have to have huge noisy fans in it and won't need to compromise space for anything but the monitor.  Disadvantage is it won't be able to run newer games since it won't be a top of the line CPU/video card in a small form factor.

2009 - Year of the MAME?
I've had this project on the backburner for several years now and have been getting psyched about it again recently. In 2006 I bought an old-school [heavy] Megatouch (bar-top touchscreen game) and it's pretty cool knocking back a few cold ones while playing Photo Hunt. Still, I like the thought of building something on my own and every time I see a cocktail arcade cabinet I get excited. So I'm definitely going to be doing some more research on cabinet designs and parts I will need to pull this off. I'm saving up money for a house currently so this year is likely out of the question, but thinking in 2009 I'll be in a great position to really get this MAME project rolling.


Project Delayed
I haven't been able to get the funds necessary to purchase all the hardware as quickly as I would have liked. I had been looking into a tabletop MAME system (single player) to at least get my feet wet -- but even that is out of my budget at the moment. This project is delayed until further notice.


Cabinet Designs
Haven't had a ton of time to research in the last week.. too much going on in work, not enough programming hours in the day =) After doing a little research today though, I'm pretty sure I hit the "Jackpot of MAME Cabinet Plans" that I was looking for.

Talking Octopus's Arcade Cabinet

I've been back and forth on whether or not I want to incorporate a trackball and doing a 4-player or 2-player control setup. The plans this individual went off of were actually designed for 2-player controls, but he wanted 4-player. So now it's just up to me to decide. In addition he lists all associated parts and.. get this, hooking up a Dreamcast controller to the controls. I have a Dreamcast accumulating dust, as I'm sure many people do -- they don't sell for more than $20 or $30 on eBay.. and it's hard for me to justify giving something away that's still a great system. Playing Soul Caliber with the arcade controls would be pretty sweet.

Now I have to work on a list of things to buy to get the control end of the project moving along. Now that I have some cabinet plans to work off of I'll have a better idea of parts I'll need. Still not sure on the TV vs. arcade monitor -- if I had an extra TV sitting around I'd definitely go that route, but I'm also not sure how difficult hooking up a real arcade monitor would be.

Some information on monitor choices for MAME machines: - VGA to arcade monitor tutorial - Great information on the types of monitors/tvs you can choose to use as arcade monitors and recommendations.


My first order of business with this MAME project is to figure out what style cabinet and controls I want - the only reason I'm worrying about cabinet design at this point in time is the number of buttons/joysticks and placement are going to depend on the cabinet design I choose. Otherwise, it's more or less to get my feet wet in this MAME project so I can say "Yeah I've started my MAME project, now hows about that bet money you had against me?"

In any case, I figure the steps to this project in order of difficulty are: build controls, build cabinet, install monitor, install computer, followed by endless fun or tears depending how well it all goes. Luckily, there are a ton of other people that have built MAME machines and I should be able to get a decent idea of what I need for controls. I will be posting some links & resources as I find them, as well as any purchase I make.

Tutorials/Useful Sites:
Happs Controls - As far as I'm aware, one of the better places to order arcade controls from.
Arcade Controls - Tons of information specifically on MAME cabinet building. Great site.


The Idea
I haven't started yet.. but I will shortly being buying some materials for a MAME project. I've been saying I was going to build a MAME machine for, oh.. 5 years now - but now I actually have a place to put a cabinet. There are tons of tutorials and resources online for this application, but if I can't find a really nice concise resource I will attempt to take my stab at a tutorial for building a MAME machine.

A good link for building a mame arcade cabinet
Posted 06/29/06 6:13PM by Mame-Arcade
See my mame arcade project, you can contact me for help...