BUILDING A CUSTOM ARCADE MACHINE
After selling over 200 gaming machines since Decemeber 2017, I have really gotten confident with the software involved in making these tiny arcades. I have decided I am confident enough to branch out and try my hand and producing full sized arcade machines. You can follow my progress here. I will keep posting pictures until the first machine is complete.
For my first full size arcade I decided to try me hand at a bartop style machine. I chose this style for two reasons. Size of space I have is limited and my work area is cluttered enough as it is, and cost of materials. Originally I wanted to cut the wood and do all of the build from beginning to end by hand but time forbid me from diving in too deeply. I instead opted to buy from http://www.monsterarcades.com/ and I later regretted it.
The kit arrived quickly (about 6 days) and everything I had ordered was included except for the PSD templates which I needed for making the vinyl wrap art.
One of the main reasons I chose to buy from this company was their offer of including all the templates with each machine. After 3 weeks of calling and emailing with no response, I had finally decided that I would make them myself but just before I did someone responded on the Monster Arcades Facebook page and offered an apology and the files I had sorely missed!
If anyone out there is going through the same frustrating process and finds this page, here are the files you are looking for.
I decided to start over on this project and build a whole new SD Card image from scratch but I started with the most recent build of MotionBlue which I downloaded from ARCADE PUNKS. The base install sucks up about 16gb because of all the art involved but it runs very nicely and is a great adaptation from the usual RetroPie or Recalbox builds I have made.
Bellow is an example of what my stock MotionBlue frontend looks like.
I did some digging and finally found the location of the system art files that I want to alter!
ATTRACT MODE > LAYOUTS > MOTIONBLUE_4X3
Next I plan to replace them with my own custom video backgrounds and to redesign the frames used in the menu layout. When I am done it will look a lot more professional.
RETRO GAMING SYSTEM (UPDATE)
After many months of tinkering, this is the most recent version of my retro gaming system. As you can see it has really come a long, long way! It has a 7 inch touch screen intended to make it easy to use with KODI and a few more than 16,000 games are stored on it now. After many hours of "testing" with my friends, I am slowly moving towards a version that can be installed in my cars dashboard for entertaining passengers and playing movies and music. The system can be plugged into any HDMI TV when I want to use it at home, and can also run on rechargeable lithium batteries when on the go. The next version will also contain every game from the first Playstation console (PSX), Capcom Play System 1, 2, 3 and all of the games from the Sega CD. I am still searching for a complete ROM set of ScummVM. Once found, I will add that into the following build as well.
Also of note, I have had so much interest in these consoles that I have started an online store. To date I have sold almost 70 consoles!
This week I slapped together a little video advertisement for fun. Check it out below and feel free to share!
LIVE VIDEO ART WITH MEGALODON
Earlier in the week my good friend Aaron called me up and offered me a VJ gig with Megalodon in Denver at Summit Music Hall. I haven't gotten behind the curtain in a while so I jumped at the opportunity to dust off my VDMX skills. I dug up and re-purposed some older video clips from a few different past projects and pre-programmed a fairly dynamic palette of effects, oscillators, colors and audio reactivity first thing in the morning. In the evening we set up an LED wall to form a 180 degree curve around the DJ booth. Megalodon tore the house down. Special shout out to my good friend Shawn on the lasers, Aaron and of course Teva from Photon7. Thanks guys, it was a blast!
Check out the video and photos below.
building a custom retro GAMING console
This year while celebrating 3/14 (Pi Day!), I decided a good place to start would be to build a retro-gaming console/multimedia center for my own home using the Raspberry Pi.
Below is the hardware specifications:
The Raspberry Pi 3 is the third generation Raspberry Pi. It replaced the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B in February 2016. Compared to the Raspberry Pi 2 it has:
- A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
- 802.11n Wireless LAN
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Like the Pi 2, it also has:
- 1GB RAM
- 4 USB ports
- 40 GPIO pins
- Full HDMI port
- Ethernet port
- Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
- Camera interface (CSI)
- Display interface (DSI)
- Micro SD card slot (now push-pull rather than push-push)
- VideoCore IV 3D graphics core
The Raspberry Pi 3 has an identical form factor to the previous Pi 2 (and Pi 1 Model B+) and has complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1 and 2.
At first I decided to use RetroPie OS but I eventually migrated to using the Recalbox OS for these builds. I did this ultimately because of its much more user friendly start menu and better integration with certain types of controllers. My goal was to ultimately build a user friendly multi-emulation console for everyone to use.
I also wanted it to feel more like a futuristic video game museum than a just an arcade so I built my system with custom splash screens, a custom theme and a heavy emphasis on packing as many games and consoles into it as possible. At this time it contains about 14,000 video games (admittedly, not every one of them are working but most games do).
I created a bit of art to replace the splash screens and loading screen on the system. Below are a few of the prototypes.
I even explored the idea of a video splash screen but didn't ultimately like it as much. Sometimes simple is better.
I also modified the systems vanilla theme into one a little more becoming of my museum.
P I C T U R E S C O M I N G S O O N
I started by installing the OS simply by following the guidelines located on the wiki.
Afterwards, I downloaded a large part of my MAME and MESS rom files from The Internet Archive Library, which has a great arcade section (for those of you interested in the preservation of historical game files).
I downloaded the rest of my huge rom collection from various internet sources. Over the course of about a month of trial and error I eventually just rebuilt many of the rom sets based on dat files using the software clrmamepro.
After a great deal of tinkering I now have the following consoles working efficiently:
- SUPER NINTENDO
- NINTENDO 64
- SEGA GENESIS
- SEGA MASTER SYSTEM
- SEGA 32X
- GAMEBOY COLOR
- GAMEBOY ADVANCE
- VIRTUAL BOY
- TURBO GRAFX 16
- CAPCOM PLAY SYSTEM
- MULTI ARCADE MACHINE EMULATION (MAME)
- ATARI 2600
- ATARI 5800
- ATARI LYNX
- NEO GEO
- NEO GEO POCKET
- NEO GEO POCKET COLOR
- ATARI 2600
- ATARI 7800
In follow up, I highly recommend the project to anyone looking to get their first taste of Linux while tinkering with something fun, or who might be interested in learning about single board micro-computing.
My friends all loved it so much I began selling these builds to interested parties. All together they cost about $140 each.
If you would like to purchase one these retro arcade systems for yourself please use the form below.
VIRTUAL LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
For a short time now I have been experimenting with a wonderful program called Mandelbulb3D to create virtual worlds from complex mathematics. In this section I intend to show off some of my favorite "photographs" that I have taken while exploring those worlds. These photographs and my time spent using this software is in preparation for a larger project which will utilize these tools and others to accomplish a much larger task.
GESTURAL INTERFACING WITH AUDIBLE SCULPTURES IN VIRTUAL SPACE
Gallery audiences controlled the virtual sculpture by simply waving their hand over an optical device at varying distances and angles. Doing so resulted in the sculpture changing shape, rotating at different speeds, varying its axis, and surging in size. The virtual sculpture would react with ever changing sounds that would warp and surge with each interaction as well. The sounds of metallic clanking and grinding metal were controlled by movement of the participants hands in and around the invisible beam.
Available below is an example of one of the screensavers that I built in Quartz Composer. It features the artwork of Andrew Chumbley. The background audio track is also my own.
3D PRINT EXPERIMENTS
Entirely computer generated, these machine crafted Godforms are made lovingly by virtual hands. Hollow at their center to save on material costs they are crafted from the finest in PVC.
Warning: Polyvinyl Chloride is known by the state of california to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm.