June 2002

I decided to interface the controls to the PC using an I-PAC from Ultimarc. I'm not affiliated with this company, but I do have to say, it is an excellent product. It's probably not brain surgery to hack a keyboard or a game pad, but the time savings is worth the pittance that Andy is asking for this product. This worked right out of the box and allows me to use "shifted" buttons to perform configuration and other operations without relying on a ton of buttons on the control panel. For instance: Pause is activated with Player 1 Start + Player 1 Down. It comes pre-programmed for MAME, but there are tools to remap the input if you need to.

I purchased some Happ Super-8 joysticks, a slew of horizontal push buttons, and a 3" trackball (don't forget the mounting kit). They have a great feel and come well recommended from Build Your Own Arcade Controls. BYOAC is also a great all-around reference for this cabinet building obsession. While I was placing the order at Happ, I threw in a plastic bezel for a 19" screen. I could have gotten away with spray painting a piece of cardboard, but it really adds a finished look. Don't forget to get the cup holders for the side of your cabinet!

The buttons and joysticks are working great. I still need to build a control panel that is large enough to mount all of the controls including the 6" mounting plate for the track ball.

This is the area where I expect to spend the most of my time - tinkering with new layouts and such. I'm also anticipating the Act Labs light guns so that I can play some of the shooting games without cheating with the mouse.