SK

Welcome to my Arcade Cabinet Design website.

The arcade cabinet that you see on the left is a drawing that I made ,ring my student period in Delft. I created this cabinet with all the rubish that I could find without spending much money. It was using a pentium 233 running dos-mame. The joysticks came from an old pac-man machine and buttons from a local guy dealing in pinball machines. All buttons and the 2 joysticks are soldered to a ps2 keyboard with copper wires for each key. I bought a Sony Trinitron TV with video-s input which was connected to an very uncommon vga to tv device that was in some cases able to bring a descent color image. As a coin door I use a coin proof device from a shower and the coins that I inserted would fall on the ground next to me for infinite credits. 2 small speakers were glued to the cabinet and 3 hot bulbs were illuminating the perspex logo that I printed on my Epson Stylus color printer. Oh boy was I happy with the results. We have played hours and hours in a row and I though that I had build the perfect machine.  However, I was wrong...

That was 22 years ago.







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The pictures above are from taken in Delft in 1997. The wood that was used was lying around in the house. On the right the connections to an old keyboard are visible. Finding out the right keys to allow multiple keys presses at the same time, was quite tricky. In the middle, the Arcadde was moved outside during the DSC intro weekend.








Recently I read an article about new methods that have been developed over the years to fully enjoy 240p RBG experience of original arcade games. After reading many articles and watching many videos, I realized that I had to modify several parts of my current arcade cabinet. The most important part was the emulation software that is nowadays capable of converting a 31kHz VGA signal into a 15kHz RGB signal that exactly match the original game resolutions and framerates. Getting rid of the interlaced 480i videos modes and seeing the true 240p video modes with perfect scanlines has changed the way I look at Arcade Cabinets these days.

The following sections are created to help anyone who is trying to create the perfect Arcade cabinet.








Superkeuk

Designing your Cabinet dimensions

Probably the most complicated task is to start the actual building of your cabinet. Especially because in a later section you will read that a big CRT monitor needs to be installed that should be able to fit within the available space. Since I am currently designing a new Cabinet that should hold a large Sony 27'' PVM monitor, I really need to use 3D modelling software to make sure that my monitor is actually not sticking out at the back and also is tilted enough to ensure the perfect viewing angle. Luckily I have been able to experiment with several angle using my old cabinet, to find out that it is very important to put your monitor under a very steep angle. In fact the preferred angle may be so steep that your monitor will tumble over, if it would not be fixed at the top.



Also very important is the fact that the cabinet needs to have the side panels to extend way beyond the monitors front bevel to prevent incoming light and light reflections. (Another reason why you want you monitor tilted a lot). I will soon visit (or may already have visited) the National Game Museum in Zoetemeer, to find out if other cabinet sizes and shapes would be preferred. Also the height of the joysticks and the location of the buttons should be carefully positions, especially because I want to have convenient space for two people playing at the same time, standing next to each other.

At this moment, I have created a simple 3D sketch of my monitors dimensions, such that I can see how deep my cabinet should be. In my final design, I will include a 6mm glass plate as well to protect the Monitor screen and to greatly improve overall looks. When using the appropriate 3D modelling software, you can determine and fix a rotational axis, such that you can easily see that effect on different tilt settings.








On the right, I have quickly rendered an intermediate result of the design phase in progress. This is my first attempt to get a feeling of how I want the design to be.
  • It should be possible to open and close the front panel for easy access.
  • I want a heavy glassplate in front of the screen that should be firmly fixed. But it should also be possible to take it out fron the front of the cabinet.
  • The panel width should be sufficient for two people playing next to each other.
  • The amount of buttons should be at least 4 per person, including a player 1 and player 2 button. The credits need to be enabled via the coin door, but a coin button must be present for setting up the machine software.
  • With my current system I only have digital inputs and no analog inputs, meaning that I cannot play games like: Outrun, Space Harrier, Arkanoid, Marble Madness and many others. For this I will soon test a track ball and a spinner. How well I can play a race-game without a steering wheel is something I have to find out.
  • The screen should be lowered with respect to the edges. In the picture on the right, still is still not the case for the bottom part of the monitor. This also holds for the glassplate.
  • The top of the cabinet should be higher than me (1.83m), so here the highest part is 1.95m. This way the illuminated logo will be at the perfect position, slightly tilted.
  • During the creation of my first cabinet, I realized that adding wheels is a useful addition to the comfort. To prevent side movement. to front 2 wheels need to be fixed, the other 2 should be able to rotate. However I am still thinking about a simple mechanism to be able to lift the wheel such that the cabinet is standing directly on the ground.
  • It must be possible to quickly swap the PC in case of issues, like a failing HDD.
  • It should have a main switch, an removable extension power cord and some spare power sockets at the back.
  • The front of the cabinet needs to be inclined such that you can freely put your feet on the ground while playing.
sk





SK

In search of the perfect scanlines and true 240P images.

After some reading on the internet and testing several different methods, I realized that it is very simple and also very cheap to create the perfect Arcade Simulator. Forget about expensive up-scaler , down-scalers and dedicated arcade video cards. What you need is the following:

  1. An old Pentium 4 PC with AGP slot or better a Duo Core PC with PCI-E slots
  2. A old CRT RGB SCART TV or better an CRT RGB Monitor (BNC or SCART)
  3. An old compatible AGP ATI Radeon card or better an PCI-E ATI Radeon card.
  4. A simple VGAtoRGB cable or better a VGAtoRGB converter.
  5. An old PS2 keyboard or better an USB keyboard convertor
  6. An old set of PC speakers or better an old amplifier with car speakers.
  7. A CRT protection circuit.
  8. GroovyMame Emulator for Windows XP
  9. CRT EMU driver for Windows XP


1.
The power of the PC is depending on the games you are going to play. The following games from section 1 will be running at 100% on a pentium 4 PC with an ATI Radeon 7200 and ATI Radeon 9200. The games from section 2 show consistent slowdown on any pentium 4, even though the games are not in 3D. Also with other pentium 4 motherboards I have seen slowdowns even for many games in Section 1. So either get yourself a fast motherboard with Pentium 4, or get a duo core instead. Also not that some games CANNOT run smoothly at all. For example, MSLUG 2, does not run smoothly when many sprites are on the screen. This issue seems not directly CPU related but is an artefact of the emulator and specific game itself. Game will run smoothly most of the time, so most people will be extremely happy with the performance. Memory is not so important as 512MB or 4GB will give you the same results in most (all?) cases.

2.
Forget any flatpanel display you might own, since the games will look bad on them. Whatever tricks you apply, a CRT will always give you much better video quality for games with original resolutions lower then 640x480. Since all games in game section 1 have resolutions below 640x480, you will need you video card to be able to provide you with these low resolutions. Some examples are:
Metal Slug: 320x224p 59.18Hz
Green Beret: 240x224p 60.60Hz
Commando: 256x224p 60Hz
The ONLY way to get your CRT display these modes correctly, is by making sure that your video card can natively support them. This is possible thanks to the CRT EMU driver.
The best monitor you can get would probably be a professional video monitor or called a PVM by Sony. Sony PVM 's and BVM's are absolutely fantastic, but may be hard to find, especially if you want a large size. Arcade monitors will do too of-course but require extra HW to be connected to your 15kHz vga card. Finally, an old Sony Trinitron TV with scart input will do great too, since the RGB and Sync signals are directly accepted as well. The S-logo on the left is taken from Metal Slug 2, on a Sony PVM 2054QM taken with an iphone 6 camera.
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3.
Most ATI cards are compatible with the CRT EMU DRIVER, that is needed to set the VGA vertical output frequency to 15kHz for the CRT instead of the default 31kHz (or higher). An ATI Radeon 9200 for AGP motherboard or an ATI Radeon HD4670 for an PCI-E motherboard are excellent choices and these cards are almost freely available on the internet.
Note that the ARCADE VGA card is also an ATI card where this software is already available on the card itself. We can do it better and much cheaper.

4.
VGAtoRGB sound easy, but may be the most complicated topic for many. If you own a RBG monitor you have either SCART input or BNC input.
For VGAtoSCART you can buy the UMSA. This will convert 15pin VGA to 21 pin SCART and adds 2 audio inputs aswell. Besides the high price, it also does NOT protect your monitor if 31kHz is being transmitted.
For VGAtoBNC you can buy cables with 4 and 5 BCN outputs. The cable with 4 BNC outputs will most like combine the vertical and the horizontal sync together, which be not be a good thing for your VGA output. I would opt for an VGA to 5BNC cable, because then you know exactly what you get: R, G, B, H & V. R=Red, G=Green, B=Blue, V=Vertical Sync 60Hz, H=Horizontal Sync (15kHz/31kHz etc).
For aSony PVM you have only 1 BNC for your input Sync. Also for the SCART connector, just 1 pin is used for the SYNC. This SYNC input is called Composite Sync and expectds the H and V signals mixed together in a special way. This must be done by LOGIC ports and NOT by connecting the together as you sometimes see.



SK

Great Vertical Arcade Games

Section1: (100% Pentium 4)

1941, 1942, 1943, bombjack, commando, ddonpach, dkong, dkong3, dkongjr, donpachi, frogger, galaga, galaga88, gaplus, gunsmoke, guwange & gyruss.

Section2: (<30% Duo Core)

Ikaruga





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SK

Great Horizontal Arcade Games

Section 1: (100% Pentium 4)

720, aburner2, aerofgt, airduel, alpham2, aof1-3, arkanoid, armwar, asterix, avsp, bagman, bionicc, bjtwin, blazstar, blktiger, block, bloodbro, bmaster, bouldash, breakers, bubblem, bublbob2, bublbobl, buggychl, cabal, cbdash, ccastles, cninja, cobracom, congo, contra, cyberlip, ddragon1-3, digdug, dino, elevator, elvactr, fatfury1-3, ffight, gaiden, gaunt2, gauntlet, gberet, ghouls, gng, goldnaxe, gradius1-3, gtmr, hharry, ikari, indytemp, joust, joust2, jrpacman, kof94-98, kungfum, lastblad, lastbld2, ldrun, maglord, marble, mercs, mk3, mpatrol, mslug1-5, mslugx, mspacman, msword, mtwins, nam1975, ncommand, neodrift, ninjak, nspirit, opwolf, outrun, pacland, pacman, pang3, paperboy, pengo, pitfall2, popeye, rambo3, rampage, rastan, rastsaga, roadrunn, rthun2, rthunder, rtype, rtype2, rygar, salamand, samsho1-4, sbrkout, sengoku1-2, sf2, sfa1-3, sharrier, shinobi, shocktr2, shocktro, silkworm, solomon, sonicwi1-3, spacedx, spinmast, ssf2, ssi, ssriders, timeplt, tmnt, tophuntr, tp84, trojan, twincobr, wb3, wbml, wboy, willow, xsleena, zaxxon

Section 2: (100% Duo Core)

dmnfrnt - Demon Front;
elvactr - Elevator Action Returns

Section 3: (<30% Duo Core)

Zero Gunner 2




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