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Desired Results

 The end result is, of course, to have a machine that has arcade-like controls and is easy to use (duh!).  I want a machine that looks like an arcade machine with arcade controls.  I will accomplish this by using components from the Happ Controls catalog.

Control Panel

Instead of trying to cram the "most-used" controls onto one control panel (and being inspired by the Roswell 88201 cabinet) I have opted to go for multiple control panels that can be swapped out on demand. I also want to implement some kind of "standard" for the interface between the various control panels and the PC in order to ease construction of new control panels and interfacing all control panels with 1 connector.

I also had a crazy idea to use some kind of dot-matrix LED cluster that could be programmed what to display on the fly.  Then (using a custom frontend) you could display on the actual control panel what each control did for that specific game!  It would also give a cool looking effect on the control panel, with the glowing LED's on it.  Any suggestions on how something like this could be done easily and fairly cheaply?  email me!

So far, I have several control panels planned for the cabinet:

  1. 2 Joysticks/6 buttons for each
  2. 4 Joysticks/2 buttons for each
  3. 3" Trackball with joystick
  4. Spinner and joystick (Tron-style) (spinner based on TwistyGrip's design)
  5. Flight-stick (Star Wars style, inspired by Joey's design)
  6. Steering Wheel with pedal(s) and High/Low shifter
  7. "Other consoles" panel, including interfaces for original gamepads for Atari 2600, Nintendo, SNES, etc...
There will probably be other control panels, depending on money/need/etc...

Goto the Control Panel Page for more info

Cabinet Design and Construction

For this project, I have opted for an upright style cabinet.  Using some drawings and schetches I found on misc. sites (and from what I remember of the bulk of upright arcade machines), I drew up my design based on "what looks/feels right".  It will remain to be seen whether or not the design is comfortable.

Instead of using particle board for the whole cabinet, I have chosen to use a frame/sheathing construction method.  I will build the frame of the cabinet first with 1x2's (jointed together), then I will sheath it with 1/4" plywood.  Hopefully, this will be just as strong (if not stronger) than p-board, and it will be alot lighter too!

Goto Cabinet Construction for more details

Cabinet Innards (PC, Monitor, etc...)

Inside the cabinet, I will use the following specs for the PC:

I have also chosen to engineer the cabinet so it has a keyboard/mouse drawer on the front just under the control panel bay, so it will still be relatively easy to get around when I am not playing games (perish the thought!).

As far as Operating Systems, I will probably go with Windows 95.  Windows 98 (in my humble opinion) is too buggy and Windows NT (my OS of choice) has next to no DOS support.

I will also be developing my own front-end to show which control panel is suited best for which game.

On to "Cabinet Design"

This page last updated 9/21/99