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Conversion of arcade to mame

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Topics related to the hardware and software used in setting up a MAME cab IE. Jpac, frontend and OS

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    #16
    Originally posted by OzStick View Post
    the ArcadeVGA with the J-PAC is the easiest way yo go.
    And the quickest. Even someone like myself would take a few solid hours setting up a Linux+AdvanceMAME+SVGALib setup. I think my record for an ArcadeVGA+J-Pac is currently around 15 minutes, including time wasted waiting for Windows to reboot.
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      #17
      With the Ipac/Jpac you will not need the 'extra' buttons for pause etc as the Ipac shift function lets you use the joystick for pause, tab, tilda & enter.

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        #18
        Originally posted by merchant View Post
        oops, my bad.....maybe the ipac and arcadevga is the best way then..
        You are a little confused.

        The I-PAC is a keyboard encoder, plain and simple. It plugs into your PC via PS2 or USB and is recognised as a keyboard. Instead of having keyboard buttons though you have to wire it to the arcade buttons and sticks yourself.

        A J-PAC is also a keyboard encoder. However as a JAMMA cabinet is already pre-wired to the JAMMA harness the J-PAC plugs into the PC via PS2 or USB and as with the I-PAC is recognised as a keyboard but instead of having to wire the buttons yourself it uses the JAMMA fingerboard. Now as the JAMMA harness is also used for sound to the cabinet speakers, coin mech and video to the monitor chassis the J-PAC also interfaces to these and has a VGA connector to interface to your PC video card. However you either need a video card that can output 15KHz or an arcade monitor that supports 31KHz VGA signal unless of course you go with the option Elvis has stated regarding using AdvanceMAME which can do it in software for you. I believe the J-PAC does have an inbuilt video amp also. Remember the JAMMA standard is for 2 players with 3 buttons so these are catered for via the JAMMA fingerboard on the J-PAC, for extra buttons the J-PAC also has screw terminals to support up to 8 buttons per player.

        An ArcadeVGA card is simply a PC video card that has been setup to output 15KHz signal and using it with a J-PAC is the simplest and fasted way to get a JAMMA cab running off a PC. I had my PC precofigured with MAME and after installing the ArcadeVGA card has the machine running games within 15 minutes. Getting the sound working through the cabinet speakers took a little extra time though.
        Bite my shiny metal ass!

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          #19
          Originally posted by RetroGame View Post
          With the Ipac/Jpac you will not need the 'extra' buttons for pause etc as the Ipac shift function lets you use the joystick for pause, tab, tilda & enter.
          I always turn the shift functions off. My kids and missus are chronic button mashers when something goes wrong (say, they lose a life and need to continue). Start+ any direction, and all of a sudden they are pausing the game, changing the volume, etc. Very frustrating, as MAME tends to save alot of those settings to files when exiting the game, and loads them back in on next play. It pissed me off no end when I found the kids had been on the cab and changed all sorts of shit thanks to their button mashing, so I used the Ultimarc programming utilities and set the shift function to an unused input.

          Also, the shift key when set will not register an input until the button is RELEASED. This makes for laggy input from whatever button you set it to. Not so bad for 1P start I guess, but it was yet another thing about it that annoyed me.

          The biggest downside to the i/J-Pac is the default mapping for the shift key. I believe the KeyWiz is superior there, as it's "shazaam" key (same as shift) is a entirely separate input, which you can simply not wire if you don't need it. And if you do want it, you can wire it as a separate button, or simply bridge it to another button and have it perform just like the I/J-Pac. Giving the end user choice is always a winner.
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            #20
            Originally posted by elvis View Post
            Also, the shift key when set will not register an input until the button is RELEASED. This makes for laggy input from whatever button you set it to. Not so bad for 1P start I guess, but it was yet another thing about it that annoyed me.

            The biggest downside to the i/J-Pac is the default mapping for the shift key........
            I nearly agree with you Elvis, but then you can assign the Shift Key as "NONE" so the I-PAC etc won't use it at all. The beauty of the Ultimarc encoders is that they offer almost unlimited flexibility, provided that you are prepared to think outside the square a little.

            Cheers,
            Chris
            www.ozstick.com.au

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              #21
              thanks for the posts guy's.

              Ithink I would like to go with using Dos or linux as the setup just download free dos and advance mame to check it out. Been a while since I played with dos would be great to have some help from someone in brisbane to set it up if I get stuck ....hint hint Elvis
              I live at Algester so I imagine I wouldn't be to far from you.

              I was also thinking about using my toshiba laptop (pentium 4 2.4 with 512meg ram and geforce 4) for now until I get a cheap pentium 4 for a couple of hundred dollars I can permenantly mount inside the arcade cabinet. Would this be a problem at all as it goes to the lcd screen by default on the laptop?

              How much harder is linux than dos? to set stuff up can I just get a ghost of someone elses drive or is there a lot to do with mounting drives and video cards etc?

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                #22
                Moved to the appropriate section of the forum. I've also made this thread a sticky, it has a lot of useful information.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by OzStick View Post
                  I nearly agree with you Elvis, but then you can assign the Shift Key as "NONE" so the I-PAC etc won't use it at all.
                  Yes, but then the last key you assigned as the shift key still gets the "lag" of only outputting data when released. At least, it does on my generation of I-PAC. Things may have changed in newer versions, seeing as it's all run from a small on-system piece of software. Not that you generally need your 1P start button to be input-accurate to the microsecond, mind you.

                  Either way, in the grand scheme of things it is the tiniest of nit-picking in an otherwise brilliant piece of hardware, and I should be careful to not make it sound like such a big deal. I feel I harp on that point too much and a too often.

                  Originally posted by myti4 View Post
                  Ithink I would like to go with using Dos or linux as the setup just download free dos and advance mame to check it out. Been a while since I played with dos would be great to have some help from someone in brisbane to set it up if I get stuck ....hint hint Elvis
                  Yeah no dramas. Always glad to help a fellow Brisbanite. I do warn you however that the next few weeks (and weekends) for me are flat out, so I can't help hands-on for a while. Email/forum/PM help (or remote logon if you use Linux) is doable of course.

                  Originally posted by myti4 View Post
                  I was also thinking about using my toshiba laptop (pentium 4 2.4 with 512meg ram and geforce 4) for now until I get a cheap pentium 4 for a couple of hundred dollars I can permenantly mount inside the arcade cabinet. Would this be a problem at all as it goes to the lcd screen by default on the laptop?
                  You should be able to change the primary output in the laptop's BIOS.

                  Originally posted by myti4 View Post
                  How much harder is linux than dos? to set stuff up can I just get a ghost of someone elses drive or is there a lot to do with mounting drives and video cards etc?
                  Linux has several pros over Windows/DOS:

                  1) All config files are plain text, and live in one folder. "Ghosting" an image from one machine to another and setting everything up requires modifying maybe 5 files to make it work on brand new hardware

                  2) All drivers are kernel based - if you install new hardware, rebooting is all you need to detect the new device and have the system load the right kernel module (essentially a "driver" in windows speak). No need to manually add/remove drivers ala Windows/DOS.

                  3) No hidden config files. No black magic. Everything in Linux is open and viewable. You can literally copy an existing Linux system in realtime to another hard disk, reinstall the boot manager with a one-line command, and away it goes. There is no need to use "ghost" or other expensive proprietary software duplication systems. In fact, that's how Linux "installers" work. No registry, no mysterious closed boot sectors, no binary-only files. All plain text and open to the user.

                  Those three points together make Linux a much easier system to copy/manage/duplicate/upgrade than Windows/DOS.

                  Cons:

                  1) LINUX IS NOT DOS. It sounds simple, but you won't believe the crap I have to deal with when people swear black and blue that they should be able to use Linux because they are DOS savvy, and then end up ****ing something up. Linux (and it's command shell, BASH) don't use DOS commands, and don't use DOS syntax. If you are not prepared to read documentation, Linux will be "hard". If you are capable of reading a manual and following plain english instructions, Linux is "easy". Again, there is no black magic. People who can't follow instructions will have problems with Linux. I know, because I've seen it happen countless times.

                  I'm more than happy to give "Linux lessons" either at your place or mine (again, see my disclaimer above about the coming months' schedule).

                  EVENTUALLY I am planning on writing a comprehensive step-by-step guide to installing Linux and getting things like XMAME, SDLMAME, and more interestingly AdvanceMAME/AdvanceMESS (MAME=arcade, MESS=console) on a real arcade monitor with real arcade resolutions and modelines working (even Arcade King wouldn't be able to tell the difference ).

                  In the meantime, have a look at these two sites if MAME+Linux interests you:
                  Link (Click the "software" link)
                  Link (Click the "Linux" link)

                  EasyMAMECab in particular documents about 4 different ways to set up Linux and MAME. Remember that Linux doesn't force you to do anything. You can pick the type of setup you want. For people who need their software to tell them what to do (the "I want just one simple option" folks), this can be scary. For people who like customisation and choice, this is very exciting.
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                    #24
                    [QUOTE=myti4;35850]I was also thinking about using my toshiba laptop (pentium 4 2.4 with 512meg ram and geforce 4) for now until I get a cheap pentium 4 for a couple of hundred dollars I can permenantly mount inside the arcade cabinet. Would this be a problem at all as it goes to the lcd screen by default on the laptop?
                    /QUOTE]

                    I dunno about the newer ones but all the old Toshiba notebooks I have or have had (except my old Libretto) have a switch so it knows when the lid is open or not plus the power buttons are generally on the outside. In which case if you have it shut and power it on plus have something plugged into the 15 pin VGA connector it tends to know to use the external display.

                    My Dell on the other hand has the power button on the inside above the keyboard which is bloody stupid IMHO.
                    Bite my shiny metal ass!

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                      #25
                      Another vote here for looking up EasyMAMECab - a very useful website that contains info on setting up a PC with DOS, Windows or Linux which should help you immensely in deciding which is the right way to go for you.

                      A few of us should put or heads together and come up with a "Home Arcade Primer" for those out there attempting their first cabinet. I always tell my customers that a successful result is all in the planning, so it would be good to have something in writing that outlines exactly what I mean by that!

                      Cheers,
                      Chris
                      www.ozstick.com.au

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                        #26
                        going to look at a p4 today when I wake up (the joy of working for myself)
                        so I will be able to not worry about using my laptop. I think I might do a tutorial on how I have done it with some pics for other guy's as I really am not sure about a lot of things and guess that when I work them out I should share them so other people don't have problems. thanks for all the help so far

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