Bill- have you completed your MAME cabinet review? If not, do you have any updates.
To answer Mark...
Ha ha, yeah, I have the "mad skillz" to write my own front end. I'm actually content with the way I have MAME32 working so I may just use GameEx as a launcher and just run MAME32 directly, as I'm doing now. It all depends on how reliable GameEx is with Daphne and Visual Pinball. If I have similar issues I had setting up MAME through it, then it's getting the boot. Life is too short to endlessly configure these things.
I actually found that tweaking each game individually really is the only way to go. For instance, you would think with the way my control panel is and using the standard "Slikstik" setting in MAME32, something like Street Fighter II would work by default. It didn't. Button 6, which generally acts as the right mouse button, wouldn't register. So what did I have to do, change it to "Standard" under Street Fighter II, then I was able to register the sixth button correctly. Same thing with certain games with scrolling - if I didn't manually turn on "Triple Buffer", there was some shimmer. These are things you only learn through hair pulling and tweaking, tweaking, tweaking. So now I have a satisfactory control panel access, exit sequence, button mapping, analog settings, light gun settings, etc., all optimized for my setup, all from the control panel (the light gun is hidden in the photo, but it's the Act Labs one).
Yes, it's still in the laundry room as seen in this older photo, next to a dehumidifier set to 45% humidity regulation. We're in the process of selling our house and buying a new one, and the new house will have a finished basement, so it's going there more than likely. The bitch will be getting the thing moved without having anything damaged (if the buyers of our house want to buy it off me, it would actually be easier for me to get another one), but I'll cross that road when we get to it (I'll remove the control panel and move that part myself, though, otherwise it wouldn't fit through doorways).
A buddy of mine is actually coming over tonight to finally REALLY put it through its paces. As kids, we used to play arcade games at places like movie theaters and bowling alleys, games like Gauntlet, Mario Bros., Crossbow, Arkanoid, Crystal Castles, Marble Madness, etc., so it should be quite fun to really pound away on the thing with him.
Two weekends back, it was me, my wife, sister and sister-in-law. We played Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Pooyan, Mario Bros. and a few others. It was lots of fun, but more of a casual thing. In fact, it was the first time I really had anyone else play it. It's what inspired me to finally do the last of the tweaks last night.
I have to figure out how to do games like "Super Sprint", though, because it's looking for a peddle setup. I need to figure how to assign it to a button. I think using the spinner would be satisfactory as a steering wheel for games like that. I realize there are wireless steering wheels which might work well in my situation, but frankly since there aren't any that are free spinning, I don't see much point. I still may try to figure a way to do some type of steering wheel snap-on thing for the spinner. I have one for a stand-alone spinner I have, but it's a different configuration on the arcade machine.
Mame32 can be operated with command line too. Why not take a dab at writing your own front-end? No I am just kidding. That would take too much of your time.
Geez I am still green with envy of your machine but think it's great that you are enjoying it so much. So you and the family were arcade gaming the other day. So what games were played? And who played what? Is it still sitting in that small laundry room?
-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-
I actually have it working exactly as I wanted it to now. There is actually a bit of a learning curve with MAME, slikstik and arcade monitor settings. In any case, I have MAME32 going exactly like I want it at about as arcade perfect as one can get on a dual joystick, multi-button, spinner, trakball configuration (no gas pedals!). The only thing left is to set up a non-intrusive slick front end that just transparently works on top of MAME32. After that, it's time to get to Daphne and Visual Pinball...
No, I'm not ready at this time. I may wait until I move into a new house if that happens within the next few months. In any case, it will still be a few months more. I did play it for the first time extensively with the family on Sunday even without the optimal front end and fully setup controller mapping. Great fun!