Originally Posted by sewerrat
The Arch Rivals games I remember have only two buttons per side and this one has three.
It could be an operator conversion, but it doesn't really matter.....you're going to MAME it anyhow right?
A P3 650 computer (former HTPC) with a ATI 7200 video card and a decent sound
This isn't going to cut it for alot of games, anything made in the early 90's or beyond is going to drop frames like crazy. For my mame cab I run a 1.4Ghz Athlon and that runs most games just fine. The only time I have a problem is on some of the super modern ones, and frankly no machine will play them well.
If you go with this computer setup, I have a feeling you're going to be disappointed. Heck, I just threw out an entire P3 800Mhz machine that I ran at 900Mhz because it was too slow for just about anything.
Here's what I need to decide:
Screen - do I buy something to convert VGA out so this monitor, put in a PC CRT monitor, or buy a TV and use the S-Video out of the ATI
If you want the old-school real arcade look, you can go with a TV that has svideo input...it'll look sufficiently low-rez (read: Authentic) for most mame games and should be able to handle vector games (asteroids, Tempest, etc) convincingly in that "this machine has been around the block a few times" kinda way
. You can even play PC games on it if you dont mind the resolution hit. I've played Counterstrike on my LAN from my mamecab on a 20" flatscreen TV and it was perfectly fine...hardly as good as a pc monitor but definately fine for me to play on.
Controls - I want to play Golden Tee and it looks like I could easily mount a trackball right in the middle of this cabinet and use the existing buttons and joysticks for the rest. Do I need more than 3 buttons+joysitck per side? Will I severly limit my gaming choices with this setup?
Depends on what games you want to play. I have a 4 player control panel.
Two of the sticks have six buttons each..this covers all your fighting games.
I also have a spinner for Tempest, Tron, some of the driving games, etc. Oh yeah, and a short stubby 4 way ball-top joystick just for playing the old school 4 way games like Pacman, Donkey Kong, etc, where an 8 way joystick just screws you up.
The two other sticks (say players 3 and 4) are towards the edges of control panel, and these sticks have fire-button tops with 4 other buttons near them. Why this way? Two reasons.
1) If you want to play dual-joystick games like Smash TV or Total Carnage 2 player, you need 4 sticks.
2) If you want to play a game like TRON or a game like ASSAULT, or any game that requires your hand be on a "trigger stick" while still using some other control or buttons, the button-top joysticks work for this.
I plug in a USB trackball if I want to play Golden Tee (PS: Dont bother with the MAME versions, they look awful....get the PC version of Golden Tee Golf). Its not a real substitute for an installed arcade-quality trackball, but I really dont play many trackball games so I didn't miss it.
The only controls I really dont have on my board are spinner joysticks, for games like Ikari Warriors or...time soldiers...hmmm i'm sure there are others. I actually have the joysticks but never installed them (didn't want six sticks either).
Coin Slots - it has working coin slots, how do I interface this with the PC?
Unless you want to charge people, don't bother....its a pain for very little benefit. You can, however, if you want to. get a good MAME interface board designed for PC's and just wire up the coin slot microswitches to MAME and then map the controls to the "add coin Player 1, Add Coin Player 2" interfaces on the layout.
Any other does and dont's from anybody who's been there, done that?
Yeah, start simple. This can become a huge pain in the ass if you aren't careful.
Buy arcade quality joysticks and buy a quality arcade/pc interface (I used one from Ultimarc, good for tons of controls...including the spinner unit), otherwise you'll be hacking **** together for years unless you are really dedicated. Take your time, dont rush it together just so you can play Pac Man.
Step one for you will be to install the roms and see whats unplayable on it.
Then think about a display...Svideo into an analog CRT tv will look authentic.
You can buy an actual arcade monitor that lets you plug VGA right into it, but they aren't super cheap..and they are also dangerous as snot if you aren't used to working around exposed CRT's. There's enough juice in an exposed CRT to kill you 10 times over if you aren't careful, so most people dont mess with them, but you may be bolder than I was