Welcome to Woodonics Arcade !
This project is to create a Real Wood Arcade with an Intellivision theme with a Simple interface. Starting in 2003 it has slowly progressed and continues to be tweaked and altered to meet these goals. June 2008 marks its 5th Birthday and it has started to receive a major software/hardware overhaul. If you have any comments/questions please post in the Blog on the left or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These two pics are from its second configuration some time in early 2006. Note the cabinet doors where the Marquee should be and the nice unpainted pine interior.
The pic below taken in 2006 ( third configuration) after major alterations to the Marquee and with the interior painted. Note the two players beta testing the Windows ME software setup and playing 1944.
More testing below, again in 2006 , but this time with Super Burgertime.
Picture below represents the Coin-Ups newly installed in 2006. Note the Similac can to collect quarters and the large Windows ME computer which both have now been replaced. Also the speakers where soon moved from down below to behind the Marquee. The speakers produced a muffled sound in the original location due to the thickness of the wood.
The Pic below shows my first attempt at a Arcade Interface using Windows ME (altered with 98lite)and Mame32 . Effective and simple but uncool.
Merry CHRISTMAS 2007 !
Project Mission- Like with any project its hard to stay on topic. I had the original idea of using every emulator available playing every game imaginable. Well that may be Ok but it makes things complex and unstable. So my Project Mission evolved to keep things easy and simple so even a five year old would have no problems operating the Arcade. No easy task with all the complex temptations out there.
Project Goal To Re-live the Excitement and Joy of the Video Arcade Era through the eyes of Children.
Project Timeline - I started planning to build an Arcade in 2001 after finding an interesting Arcade web site. I took the great leap in 2003 by completing the original cabinet prototype. I used the cabinet prototype from 2003-2005 as a computer workstation . Although cool and compact its height made it uncomfortable for prolonged typing and mouse clicking. Funds permitting, in 2006 I modified the cabinet, installed the controls, added a new computer, coin slots, and the monitor Bezel.
Quarters are required to my kids dismay in order to Play but a Mouse is not required. All the games can be played through the use of the joysticks and buttons. Since MAME 32 is automatically launched at startup the mouse/keyborad are not even required to launch/setup the ARCADE.The Hardware The computer was assembled with some spare parts I had in the barn:
Raidon 128mb Video Card
MSI 6378 Mainboard
128 MB memory
1 GB Hard Drive
19 inch Flat Screen Monitor
The Joysticks,Buttons, and Encoder are from Ultimarc in the UK and cost approximately $150 US.I opted for the wiring kit which was very economical.
This part of the project was truly painful. I gave a test run on almost every MAME front end available. I also installed DOS, Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows ME.
Nothing seemed to work well for me. Windows 98 was unstable and didn't have great USB support for my PEN drives(Geek Sticks). I use these for quick updates and file transfers. DOS had memory management issues. Windows XP was sluggish with the hardware I have. Windows ME worked well, didn't require a lot of system resources but its install didn't leave me much room on my 1 GB hardrive for MAME.
My solution was to use 98lite . If you are not familuar with 98lite, it is a free utility that does wonders installing Windows 98 or ME . I opted for the registered version but the free version still has many useful features. What it did for me was shrink Windows ME to a tiny stable footprint leaving enough space for MAME and its games. Windows ME without Explorer, or Outlook, Restore etc. is extremely stable and incrediably fast. 94% system resources free. I don't think I have every seen a number like that before with Windows. Windows ME, MAME 32 , and my favorite ROMS only use about 700MB .
I decided to use MAME 32 as the front end because it the easiest to configure and use. In the spirit of keeping things simple and small I opted to use a game list in a large font without game screenshots/pics. As long as a child can read somewhat they can scroll through the list of games with the joy stick and click with a button which one they want . I also put MAME 32 in the start up sequence, so when the computer is booted it goes directly to this simple game list. This bypasses having to look at the Windows Desktop and find and click the MAME icon with the mouse.
This part of the project was time consuming . It took days to rotter the button and joystick holes and install the buttons and wiring. Lots of crimping involved. And just designing the button layout took alot of thought. I used Ultimarc controls.
The Games Based on the Project Mission of simplification, instead of having a game list of the entire 6000 available arcade games. This would be alot like having 6000 channels on your TV. You would never find what you really wanted to watch. This would also be too overwelming for a five year old. So I developed a short list of about 250 of the best/most popular Arcade games.
Unfinished Business The only thing left remaining to complete is the Marquee on top. I have been undecided on what to official name it. I am bent on naming it "Woodonics" but my kids prefer "Arcade". That name does match my Project Mission of keeping things simple.
Better than the real thing?...not that the kids remember the real thing. It was a little bit before their time. Unlike the original Mine is not made of partical board, its the real thing. 99% Wood.
I tried to use an Intellivision theme but the only place where this showed, was in the Bezel.
The Bezel on the front of the Arcade is made with 2 sheets of plexiglass with photos of Intellivision Box Art sandwiched in between.
The WEBPAGE I searched deligently for a free webpage to show off my Arcade project. Zoomshare was the easiest and most full featured I could find. And best of all it is FREE. This is my first web page , and I was up and running in about 1 hour. I had a steep learning curve not knowing anything about making a webpage. Wth Zoomshare all the tools are available and you don't need skills or knowledge of the FTTP/HTML stuff which I never could figure out anyway. To promote the webpage I joined several webrings and submited my Web Address to google. So amazingly if you type Woodonics in Google you get this page. Very cool.
Defender Screenshot !
How is My ARCADE Project Different ?
What makes my Arcade Project different from others is my use of real wood. That is probably also why it took such a long time to construct. The wood is simply clamped and glued together. I didn't use any screws or metal doo hickies . The controller unit is simply made of 2X4 lumber glued together and cut to shape. The sides are made of tongue and groove lumber, again clamped glued together. I stained the outside in white with 2 coats and then used 3 coats of diamond clear varathane. I stained this to prevent the wood from turning amber color with age. The other unique feature is the sliding Controller Top hiding the keyboard and mouse underneath. Usually Arcades use sliders for a keyboard/mouse only. The interior I painted with 2 coats of a nice soft blue color I had left over from painting the closet.
Okay, so I did complicate things by adding about 1000 Super Nintendo Games. But Mario is nice clean Fun !
Kids at Play !
Super BurgerTime !