Wednesday, August 03, 2005

MAME cabinet: testing the TV out

My Radeon 9250 and cheap Chaintech sound card arrived last week from Tiger Direct and I finally got around to plugging them into the old machine on Sunday evening.

I plugged in an old 20" TV that we've got lying around and set things up so that the Windows desktop would come up on the TV-OUT all the time. The desktop didn't look great, but I increased the font size so it's usable. I fired up Mamewah, and it looked pretty good.

When I launched Pacman to give that a go, I was really surprised at how much better it looked on the TV than it had on the monitor. The sharp edges of all the graphics were softened, and the end result was that it looked much more like Pacman used to look in the arcade.

The picture wasn't perfect, as it's not a very good TV, and it doesn't have S-Video in, so I'm using a homemade S-Video to RCA cable.

With the experiment considered a success, I hauled the old PC downstairs, along with the control panel. When I get a moment, I may set it up with the old 27" Sony, just to see what it will look like. If I get it set up on a table down there, then it can even be used for quick gaming sessions in between working on the cabinet. I've got to keep up my enthusiasm, naturally.

I may have to start thinking about coin doors and mechs again soon, as well as Plexiglass or Lexan for the marquee. Over at Jeff's ultimate MAME arcade machine, he used the marquee retainer PVC from Happ Controls, which looks like a pretty easy way to secure the marquee--certainly beats trying to screw it in place, which can be difficult with some of these materials, especially near the corners. Seeing I'll probably be ordering coin doors from Happ Controls anyway, it might make sense to grab some of this too. It comes in ten foot lengths, but the excess can be sold off to others... such as my brother, who's contemplating a MAME cabinet of his own.

I'm holding off on ordering from Happ Controls yet, though. I want to get nearly finished the cabinet first, because I know the minute I place the order, I'll remember something else I can only get from there.

There's wheels, mounting brackets and a host of other little hardware items that I'm going to need, but I think I'll just depend on local hardware stores for that kind of thing. I'm still not certain exactly what I want for wheels and/or leg levellers on this thing. Ideally, the wheels will be recessed under the unit so that they aren't visible, but you can still push it around easily. Not sure how I'll mount the leg levellers, or how they'll be adjusted once the unit is stationary, but I guess as long as there's enough clearance underneath to reach in with a wrench, that should be fine.

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