Feb 27 2013

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Due to the vast amount of spammers trying to spam the comments, I’ve turned them off. If you have any questions, you can send an email to (no spaces) I wont get spam at gmail dot com

Thanks and happy arcading!


Dec 5 2011

Folding panel assembly


Dec 5 2011

It’s been a while

Defender Mame at the office

I’ll be updating with as much steps as I can remember and borrowing my posts from the forum at arcadecontrols.com: Defender MAME Project

Since my last post, I completed 95% of the Defender cab. So what happened? Once I got it to a place where it was up and running, I brought it to work and let my co-workers beat on it. I’ve had to reset the PC after power outages and remap the controls a bunch of times after someone(s) accidentally remapped the controls a bunch of times, but luckily, nothing major has failed. This winter, I plan to take it home & fix everything. The next steps are going to be:

Definitely need to do:
• add stiffer joystick springs
• add external power button
• add external USB ports
• move internal sound board controls to external
• replace the wing latches
• replace front door wire stop
• clean up the wiring
• add the final paint and decals

Wish list
• get a faster PC
• install Maximus Arcade
• add pinball plunger
• add motion sensor
• replace marquees with lcd dipslay
• install Visual Pinball/PinMAME
• devise method for push button transformation from 1 to 4 player


Jan 30 2010

Cab Takes Shape


Jan 30 2010

Installing the SOSS hidden hinges into the panel


Jan 30 2010

Cutting the Sides of the Cab


Sep 9 2009

How Does It All Fit Together?

This is a quick visualization designed to get a sense of the dimensions for the unit. A lot of the geometry profiles are built full size in Illustrator then imported to Strata, extruded then positioned. It ensures everything fits the way it’s supposed to and that I’ll also have a full parts list when complete.


Sep 5 2009

Prototype Panel Wired

With the prototype panel wired and assembled, I’ve begun testing configuration and layout of the controls. This test run is performed on the iMac running “MAME Library” and “MAME OS X” plugged in through the USB port. With all of the controls wired up, there are a total of 8 USB connectors coming of the top deck. Currently, I only have a 4-port USB dock, so a full test won’t be possible until I can pick up another 4-port at the local electronics store. This test run was performed using the main control deck, player two and three sticks and the trackball.

The main control deck is the top the defender layout. It contains “Ultimarc’s “Mag-Stik Plus” with 10 buttons manually wired to the I-PAC 2 board. The I-PAC was custom encoded using John Keoni Morris’s “MacIPAC.app” The first thing noticed is how high the sticks feel from the deck. The original Defender cabinets have the stick riding closer to the deck which which gave easy access to the reverse button. These sticks screw in from the bottom and the remaining stick just up through the hole. I’ll be glad to play them once they’re sitting deeper on the final 1/2″ plywood rather than this 1/4′ test plywood. I may even toy with adding an additional spacer to sit it even lower. I like the feel of the Ultimarc control. It’s a 4-way/8-way stick with 4 switches that sit horizontal at the bottom of the shaft. They that make a satisfying “click” when they make contact.

This is the first time I found an emulated version of defender to be playable. That includes home console versions as well as MAME where I find extremely difficult to play defender using a keyboard or any of the console controllers. Having an actual deck to play from makes the game fun again. The spacing of the buttons feel great and instinctive and even though the original defender joystick was limited to up an down, the 4/8-way stick does a fine job.

prototype wired

Players one through four all use the Ultimark “UltraStik 360″. Although a bit pricey, these are the easiest to wire up. These controllers come with a harness to allow 7 buttons to be connected directly to the joystick and from the joystick to the computer is just one usb cable. This stick acts like a giant analog controller. I used it to play the fighting game and although it does have quite a long throw, I found it to be quite responsive. This test had Players 2 and 3 connected. I wanted to make sure two people can play comfortably. I did a test run with Mrs. Martoon where, not only did I discovered that her cat-like reflexes are a valuable asset to kicking my ass but the controllers also have plenty of space for two people to sit side by side with adequate room to play.

The final game test was Robotron. Unfortunately, the MAME setup on my MAC does not allow for individual mapping of controls for separate games. As a result, I could not control the character using the two analog sticks. I was forced to use one stick to move and the buttons to shoot. Less than ideal. I’m hoping this will be different once I move my tests over the PC.


Mar 10 2009

Building the test Control Panel

This post is kind a of a big deal. It represents the first real step towards building this crazy thing.

defenderdesktop2

Click the image for a giant desktop-sized render

Earlier in the week I brought home some 3/4″ plywood, but realized that it would be too thick and cumbersome for this control panel. I returned it & bought two replacement sheets , one 1/2 inch and the other 1/4 inch. Quarter inch is way too thin for a good solid control panel, but perfect for a test board. I didn’t want to spend a lot of much time cutting and drilling into something that was thicker than it needed to be, especially for just a test.

Cutting Plywood

Cutting Plywood

I used my plans from Illustrator to measure and lay out the marks onto the plywood for where the cuts were going to be.

Need to modify

Need to modify

Doing this test build gives me the opportunity to see what tools I’m going to need. Also to get a feel for the panel— to see where I need to tweak or make any changes.

The trackball needs to be moved over to the left. I originally laid it out so it sat dead-center on the control panel. Aesthetically, I liked the position, even though it slightly overlapped the joystick casing directly to it’s right. I thought I might be able to counter sink one or the other to make it work. Once I cut out the hole and mounted the trackball onto the board, it became apparent that no amount of counter-sinking would make it work, not to mention that quickly spinning the ball to the top-right would probably result in me snagging my hand on the joystick, bending the stick or bruising my hand. Either way, It was too close and the trackball had to be moved to the left.

Track ball overlap

Track ball overlap

To get the holes in the right place, I printed out my button positions from Illustrator which were drawn at 100%.

Hole Location

Hole Location

I printed those out to several pages and tiled them together. Laying them out on the wood, I was able to use them as a template to mark out the centerpoints.

Tapping the center points

Tapping the center points

Once the holes were tapped, I drilled. I used two paddle bits, 1 1/8″ for the buttons and spinners, and 1/4″ for the joysticks. The joystick holes seem a bit small, especially for the UltraStiks. They have a much further throw than the MagStickPlus’, so when I do the build using the thicker plywood, I’ll be sure to drill larger holes for them.

Test Panel from below

Test Panel from below

With the sample panel laid out, my next plan is to pick up some quick connectors and do a practice-wire-it-up.

Test Panel from right

Test Panel from right

That be it for now. The next step is to wrap up the plan measurements on the computer. Finalize the graphics for the overlays, bezels and stuff, do a bit more research, then begin a final build.

1 Player Button

1 Player Button


Feb 26 2009

The first batch of controls have arrived

What a glorious day! The first shipment of supply arrived this evening. A box of buttons with an arcade style trackball. (UPDATE: the second shipment appeared today. Now with all of the controls accounted for, minus some shipment damage on one of the joysticks, I should be able to get started on testing the board layout soon.)