Archive for the 'Arcade' Category

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Virtual On Oratorio Tangram Arcade Stick Tear Down

This is an actual arcade stick from a Japanese Virtual On Oratorio Tangram (VOOT) arcade machine. I believe these are also used on Outrigger arcade machines and the sticks used on Virtual On Force are very similar, only differing in color and the style of the thumb button. These are completely different than the home-use sticks for Saturn, Dreamcast, PC and even the newer Hori twins-sticks which use Sanwa Parts.

If you or anyone you know owns one or more of these sticks, or even just parts and are willing to sell please get in contact with me.

Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat Arcade Control Panel Dimensions and Button Layout

For a while now I’ve needed to map out the dimensions of my Killer Instinct 2 arcade machine so that I can print out new artwork and ensure that the button and joystick holes all line up.  To do this I created a pair of bulls-eye hole center finders. I got the idea from Pocket83 on Youtube here:

For My hole centers I used clear “Binding Covers” that I bought at Staples, these are essentially thicker versions of transparency paper. Using this material instead meant that I could have some overlap between the bulls-eyes without much trouble. I also marked circles at 24mm 30mm and 57mm as these are either exactly or very close to the most common hole sizes you’ll find in a control panel. I found the center hole finders are actually extremely accurate and I used a level to ensure that both the machine and the center lines were horizontal for accurate off-set measuring.

ki_bullseye

Here are the dimensions and button positions of the KI2 control panel (should be the same for KI2) Units are in inches, and everything is to the nearest 1/16th.

killer_instinct_arcde_control_panel_button_dimensions

I also have a Mortal Kombat 3 machine at my disposal so I took the liberty of mapping out the dimensions of that as well:

mortal_kombat_arcde_control_panel_button_dimensions

This should be similar for other Midway games from that era. MK4 should be identical except for the placement of the start buttons. War God should be the same. And MK1 MK2 and Wrestlemania should be the same except without the run button.

Hopefully others will find this information useful, I know I looked everywhere for dimensions on these control panels to no avail before taking the time to measure them myself.

StepMania (In The Groove) Improved Light Output

I have a Dance Dance Revolution machine that I installed a PC in to play StepMaia instead. I wanted to get full light output working on StepMania only to discover that because of the way it was programmed the port addresses are hard-coded and because my StepMania PC uses a PCI based parallel port card I would have to modify the source and recompile…

I thought this was a exceedingly DUMB design so I did something about it.

I have some programming abilities (albeit not with C++) so rather than modify the source I decided to write a new parallel_lights_io.dll that works the way SM should have worked from the start. That way anyone who wants to add light output to SM can do so by simply adding these files to to their installation directory. Basically all this does is provide you with a .ini file that you can modify with your port addresses instead of having to do it in your source code. (also it uses the freely available and better inpout32.dll instead of the licensed and buggy io.dll that SM was built to use)

Download it here: Improved StepMania parallel_lights_io.dll

If anyone is interested in the source code let me know.

Supported Versions:
This is tested and working on SM 3.9 Plus Redux and OpenITG Beta 2 in Windows XP… I wont work on any version that has light output intentionally disabled in source (which means vanilla SM 3.9 and 4.0 will not work) I haven’t tested it on any other releases or OSs…

If you’re using a Linux build then you don’t need this… this is only for Windows.

If you’re at all interested in getting light output working please feel free to download and try this out… I’m interested to see how it works for other people. You’ll obviously need some hardware output on your parallel ports to see it working.

Hardware:
I’m using a Rosewill RC-304 dual parallel port PCI card (it’s also low-profile if you’re using a half-height PC case) though any properly installed parallel ports should work

As for building a light driver board for your parallel ports there are literally hundreds of ways you can do it… some great info can be found here: http://www.epanorama.net/circuits/parallel_output.html#realworld

If your intention is to hook this up to a real DDR Arcade machine. DDR has a light driver board already installed, you simply need to invert the parallel port outputs by using an opto-isolator OR a few 74 series inverter chips…. OR utilize the transistor/diode/resistor circuit for relay output described in the link above. The circuit requires a lot more soldering but I’m using that because it’s self-powered from the parallel port which makes for a cleaner install (opt-isolators or inverter chips would require an outside power source)… the DDR driver boards don’t draw much current, they’re just checking for an on/off value on the pin…. If you try to power a lamp any larger than an LED then you’ll likely blow out your parallel port which would be bad.

Here are the pinouts for the DDR light connectors as well as the parallel port pins used by StepMania:
Player 1 Platform Lights (10-pin White Connector)
1 black logical ground
2 green-red player 1 up arrow lights
3 blue-red player 1 down arrow lights
4 purple-red player 1 left arrow lights
5 gray-red player 1 right arrow lights
6 white enable pad (tie to logical ground)
7 brown (unknown)
8 N/C
9 N/C
10 N/C

Player 2 Platform Lights (10-pin Orange Connector)
1 black logical ground
2 green-red player 2 up arrow lights
3 blue-red player 2 down arrow lights
4 purple-red player 2 left arrow lights
5 gray-red player 2 right arrow lights
6 white enable pad (tie to logical ground)
7 brown (unknown)
8 N/C
9 N/C
10 N/C

Cabinet Lights (10-pin Red Connector)
1 black logical ground
2 N/C
3 N/C
4 purple-brown player 1 button lights
5 gray-brown player 2 button lights
6 green marquee lower right floodlight
7 blue marquee upper right floodlight
8 purple-red marque lower left floodlight
9 gray-red marquee upper left floodlight
10 green/yellow earth ground

Sub Woofer Lights (6-pin White Connector)
1 black logical ground
2 gray subwoofer lights (both)
3 N/C
4 N/C
5 N/C
6 N/C

For reference here are the parallel port pinouts for stepmania 3.9

SM Parallel Light Output
Parallel Port 1 (LPT1):
1 N/C
2 marquee upper left floodlight
3 marquee upper right floodlight
4 marquee lower left floodlight
5 marquee lower right floodlight
6 player 1 button lights
7 player 2 button lights
8 subwoofer light left
9 subwoofer light right
10-17 N/C
18-25 logical ground

Parallel Port 2 (LPT2):
1 N/C
2 player 1 left arrow lights
3 player 1 right arrow lights
4 player 1 up arrow lights
5 player 1 down arrow lights
6 player 2 left arrow lights
7 player 2 right arrow lights
8 player 2 up arrow lights
9 player 2 down arrow lights
10-17 N/C
18-25 logical ground

I’m also opting to go with 36-pin Centronics connectors on my light board so that I can use off-the-shelf printer cables… for reference here is how the DB-25 (parallel port) connector maps to a Centronics-36: http://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/cable/parallel.html

The Centroincs 36-pin connector ends up being mapped out like this:
Output pins (same numbers as DB-25): 2-9
Ground pins: 16-17, 19-30, 33
Pins with No Connection: 1, 10-15, 18, 31-32, 34-36

Parallel Port Hardware Testing:
If you’re having problems and you want to test your hardware with a program other than StepMania then I recommend this app: http://lpt-port-test-utility.software.informer.com/3.0/

I used that myself quite a bit when developing this little dll. you just plug in your port address and you can turn on and off the output pins on the parallel port to test out your hardware without the use of StepMania.

—————

I’m just happy to get this working for myself but if it this helps someone else then that’s even better…

Killer Instinct 2 machine is done… for now

So I finally “finished” my killer instinct 2 arcade machine de-conversion.

Here are the changes I’ve made since the last update…

1. Tuned the monitor. The convergence on the monitor was way out of whack because the yoke was lose (missing a few wedges) I replaced the wedges aligned the monitor and build some homemade convergence strips to improve the image. I couldn’t get the convergence perfect but it’s better than it was and everything is secured properly now so it wont be falling out of adjustment again. I also manually degaussed the monitor because it needed it badly.

2. Added a light shield above the monitor glass, it bugged me that the marquee light was leaking into the monitor glass, a small strip of poster-board and some staples fixed that easily.

light_blocker

3. Repaired some of the structural wood that was lose, this picture is of the monitor bezel and glass support, it was coming lose and twisting so I pulled it, put fresh nails in it one size larger and then glued it in place. Now the bezel even lines up with the monitor better than it did before.

ki2_monitor_glass_support

4. Kick panel fill, smooth and wrap. I glued wooden dowels into the holes left from a lock bar, then I bondoed them smooth and filled some rough edges along the bottom. Sanded that and the black portion of the sides smooth. Once everything was dry and smooth I wrapped it in Matte-Black 3M Di-Noc Vinyl (the same stuff they use to wrap cars).

5. Coin doors were powder coated, all the parts cleaned and rebuilt, even put some fresh bulbs and new locks in there.

ki2_kick_panel_4

6. Touched up paint on the control panel box and some scuffs in the side art.

ki2_touch_up_paint_2

for reference here is what it looks like before the touch up paint:

ki2_before_touch_up_paint

7. All new fresh T-Molding

ki2_t-molding

 

There are a few things that still need to be done but I can’t do them until I find the parts…

  1. I need a coin door blank to fill in the bill validator slot
  2. I need a control panel overlay to replace the matte black placeholder I have there now
  3. I need a midway 120mm fan mount for the cooling fan
  4. Not needed but I’d like new graphics for the control panel box front and sides

Sadly none of those parts are readily available so I’ll simply have to keep an eye out and buy them if and when I see them pop up for sale.

Killer Instinct 2 Deconversion

Last month I cam across an eBay auction for a former Killer Instinct 2 arcade machine.  I say “former” because this poor machine was converted to “Turkey Hunter USA”. A conversion generally means spray-painting all of the original cabinet artwork black, replacing the computer board and the marque and finally gutting the old control panel, covering over the original control panel art with new art and drilling fresh holes for the new controls. It’s quite sad to see, and it’s something I hated doing when I worked in an arcade.

Killer Instinct 2 is my all-time favorite arcade game, they’re pretty uncommon to find in arcades these days and they’re fairly uncommon among collectors as well and growing in value.  The cabinet for sale had the turkey hunter controls and PCB removed so it was just a cabinet and monitor with Turkey hunter art work. $200 +another $150 or so for freight shipping. I decided to buy it and this is what I got:

machine_01 machine_02

I had a lot of parts to order, I had to buy buttons and joy sticks, a Killer Instinct Marquee, new control panel lexan overlay and art, and the condition of the monitor and power supply were completely unknown and of course I had to buy a Killer Instinct 2 PCB, without that it’s just a fancy box. Lots of other little things such hardware, wiring, connectors, etc.

Paint Removal/Cabinet:
First thing was getting the paint removed off the original artwork, this was first because I wanted to get it done out in the garage before moving the machine indoors. I first tried a product called Lift-Off, which worked but not very well, I then switched to a different product called Citri-Strip, which was fantastic. The results:

ki2_day3_01 ki2_day3_02

I also attempted to remove the Turkey hunter control panel graphics, after unbolting the plastic overlay I tried both a heat gun and goo-gone to separate the new control panel art from the original control panel art, the results, sadly, weren’t that great:

ki2_day1_03 ki2_day1_04

You can see that the new art work pulled up some of the paint from the original art, leaving nasty white lines of missing graphics. Even if that wasn’t the case there were three additional holes drilled in the original overlay around the player 2 joystick and the colors were all faded and dingy (the Killer Instinct logo on the Control panel top is supposed to be red just like the Killer Instinct logo on the control panel front).

I managed to find a new, never used Killer Instinct 2 marquee, which made for the easiest and best looking part of the cabinet “deconversion” so far.

ki2_day2_02

Of course even this took some work, the marquee was for a conversion kit (meaning for people who wanted convert a non Killer Instinct machine to Killer Instinct 2) so it needed to be trimmed to size.

Electronics:
The power supply was making some horrid noises, it wasn’t even the original power supply. I pulled it and bench tested it and found that the output voltages were way off so it was getting junked. The monitor was making some horrible noises too, the PCB I put int to test it wouldn’t boot (due to the bad power supply) so I couldn’t determine if it worked or not.

For some odd reason there were hundreds of finishing nails among other bits of hardware on the floor so I cleaned all of that up to prevent any electrical shorts and I bought a new power supply, then modified it to fit in the original mounting location (the junk one that came with the cabinet wasn’t original and had just been screwed into the floor)

ki2_day3_03

This let me boot it up but sadly the monitor wasn’t showing a clear image

I pulled the monitor chassis and bought all new capacitors and a new flyback, I also planned to replace a few small parts related to image sync  to fix the horizontal sync issue the monitor seems to be having. Here is the chassis with all of the new parts installed:

ki2_day4_01

No good, after reinstalling the image quality was better but the monitor couldn’t hold a sync; it was even worse than before. After getting advice from a few experts they told me to check that I hadn’t installed one of the new parts backwards… after pulling the board back out again and checking I found that the part in question wasn’t in backwards but the solder joint wasn’t strong enough, fixing that, and reinstalling the board I get a nice stable picture. Some small adjustments still need to be made but on a whole the picture looks great.

Control Panel:
Not only was the original control panel gutted and then drilled out when it was converted but all of the original control panel wiring had been cut out of the machine as well. I had to completely disassemble the control panel and install new tee-nuts for the joysticks. I bought all new buttons, joysticks and switches. I couldn’t find a Killer Instinct 2 control panel harness for sale so I would have to build one. I found a harness for a different Midway game that used the same style connectors and wiring colors so I bought it. Repinned the connectors for Killer Instinct and then routed, trimmed, and crimped a disconnect onto each wire. Here is what I started with (just 2 wires!), and what I built:

ki2_day3_06 machine_04 ki2_day4_05

Control Panel Overlay and Monitor Bezel:
I still haven’t been able to find new control panel art, so I made myself an temporary cover-up out of some black poster board. I also bought a reproduction laser-cut lexan control panel overlay and I had new monitor bezel stickers printed from some scans that I found online.

ki2_day4_09 ki2_day4_08 ki2_day4_07

The Results so far:
So I’ve got all of the electronics fixed and rebuilt the cabinet has been washed clean of all the Turkey Hunter conversion stink, the last bit is to plug in the Killer Instinct 2 PCB I bought and fire it up:

I got a few games in and I’m really happy to have all the work so far pay off.

What’s left to do:
I’ve still got some finishing touches to do here is the list

  • touch up paint on the side art to cover up scuffs and scrapes
  • repaint the front lower section of the cabinet
  • replace a coin door light bulb
  • find and install a bill collector blank for the hole in the coin door
  • find and install a proper control panel graphic
  • properly mount the KI2 PCB
  • install a cooling fan for the PCB
  • fine-tune the convergence on the monitor
  • built a light shield to prevent the marquee light from bleeding onto the monitor bezel
  • install new t-molding

I’ll get some of the larger items on this list done soon, but other items might take a while to source the right parts. I’ll do an in-depth wrap up video once I’m 100% done.

Arcade Control Panel

So recently it was announced that they’re releasing a Tournament Edition of the new Mortal Kombat game due out next year.

As a long time Mortal Kombat fan this is obviously something I’m excited for, I’m even more excited since it’s an all new developer making the game and they seem to be making it a true sequel to the original 2D trilogy as opposed to continuing with the 3D mess that the MK series had become.

The Tournament Edition has me really excited because, well it’s a CE, which I love, but it’s also going to be limited to only 20,000 copies. The biggest thing about this CE is that it includes a Joystick as the main bonus item.  I’m making this post because it seems that a lot of people fail to realize how much of the “real deal” this included joystick is.  Allow me to demonstrate.

Here is a photograph showing the joystick included with the Tournament Edition:

Take a close look at the controls, that is a Happ Ultimate Joystick and Happ arcade buttons with Cherry micro-switches. I worked in arcade repair for several years, nearly ever arcade machine from the 2D Mortal Kombat era uses these joysticks and these buttons…

Need further proof? Take a look at these pictures:

That is an actual Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 arcade control panel, it’s a conversion machine but those are the buttons and sticks included with the kit from Midway. I wired this control panel myself, and this machine is sitting in my game room, and those are two Happ Ultimate joysticks and Happ buttons with cherry microswitches way back from 1995.