Thursday, January 31, 2008

How it started

From the first glimpse of that sweet old Nintendo cabinet, I knew that was what I wanted to build for my MAME-project. The idea of getting myself a Royal Video universal-type arcade cabinet was abandoned and I started to do a lot of research.

I bought buttons, joysticks and an I-PAC (for connecting it all to a PC USB or PS/2). Meanwhile I was searching for a proper monitor. I didn't just want to use my LCD- or CRT-monitor. That would be easy but not true to the real arcade feeling. Then I stumbled upon a Hantarex 21" videowall monitor. Seems like a good choice for a MAME-project because it is the same brand as used in original arcade cabinets and this one even has VGA-input! So no need for buying a J-PAC adapter or whatever to connect my PC to the monitor. Just Plug and play.

Got my PC up and running for MAME. After a clean install I tuned Windows XP to the fullest so it would look more and more like an arcade machine and not Windows. I set it up like this:
- 'Change the way users log-on' setting (no more welcome and shutdown screen)
- Auto-logon (so no user input needed)
- don't show the Boot GUI (Windows XP logo and loaderbar)
- Boot to MAME-frontend instead of the Windows Explorer Shell, so no Windows graphics whatsoever)

And probably some other settings, but these are the most important ones. Although I still have to get rid of the mouse-cursor in some way.

About the software, I mentioned the MAME-frontend. At this moment I am experimenting with MAMEWAH because it's one of the most popular ones. The frontend 'hides' the windows-look of the emulator you're using. In my case, MAME32. A windows-based emulator.