Ground up Arcade Emulation Setup (Computer, Monitor, Cab Considerations)

mohmandm

New member
Hi all,

Completely new to arcade emulation. I'm tinkering with a guy on met on the set of a shoot who is great at rebuilding custom cabinets but hasn't had experience with creating emulation setups. I'm currently plotting out the main guts for the job and wanted to get the experts thoughts :)
-Computer: Trying to get something that's cheap but will do the job up through GameCube system. I honestly don't think I'll dive into PS3 or WiiU for example. Here's one I found quickly on Best Buy: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo...-1tb-hard-drive-black/6325578.p?skuId=6325578
-Monitor: I'm hoping to have a 32" screen mounted into the cab. I'm thinking it will auto adjust between 4:3 and 16:9 right? I don't care about black bars for 4:3. Not sure if a computer monitor vs. tv monitor monumentally changes things based on usage. Current target: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/tcl-32-class-3-series-led-hd-smart-roku-tv/6315439.p?skuId=6315439
-Cab: He has a centipede cabinet available that he can use as a base. We'll have to get into if the 32" screen size will work but what are your thoughts on the space for a 2 player setup with enough buttons to play the vast majority of games available for MAME and other systems?
-Misc: How do you do save states with arcade cabs? Do you have to go to the back end with a wireless keyboard or can you get dedicated buttons in the play area?


THANK YOU so much for the help!
 

pix07

Member
As far as i know it uses buttons connected to keyboard in MAME.

Im dont know anything about gamecube.

From web MAME save buttons:

F7 Load a save state. You will be requested to press a key to
determine which save state you wish to load. Note that the save
state feature is not supported for a large number of drivers. If
support is not enabled for a given driver, you will receive a
warning when attempting to save or load.

SHIFT+F7 Create a save state. Requires an additional keypress to identify
the state, similar to the load option above

Make sure you use LEFT-SHIFT F7 to save to a location. The FAQ don't think it mentioned it.

If still not working, check your setup in MAME. Go see what you have it setup to, or setup it up the way you want it of back to default.

It's a good idea to check the Save State folder in the left field of the MAME GUI first for games with full save state support. Other games that are not in that folder may still be able to do save states, although in this case the stability of the function is not guaranteed.

The defaults are Left Shift+F7 to save and F7 to load. When calling up these functions you then need to pick numbers or letters on the keyboard as positions to save to or load from. For example, you play for a while and decide to save>go Left Shift+F7 then press 1 to save to position 1>you want to continue later>go F7 then press 1 to load from position 1 and get back to where you were. You can keep adding new save/load positions on other keys as you progress through a game to build up a collection of handy save points, or if you're not fussed you can just keep overwriting the same position.

Saved states will automatically go in the sta folder of the MAME root directory if you ever want to clear anything out.

Sources:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=33233.0

https://mameaddicts.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=1647

https://www.epforums.org/showthread.php?44763-MAME-save-load-states-HELP!

And about make arcade cabinet consider RetroArch.
 
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ulaoulao

Controller Man
Staff member
-Computer: I'd never buy a ready made computer and whatever you buy make it a intel. If you don't you will regret it.

-Cab: I would go custom, there are so many advantages like it fitting a Tank control board, or common controller setups and monitors. Make a cab is fun, sure but so much is already thought of.

-Misc: Most front ends have auto save states, they will save on exit and load on lunch. You can assign hotkey by using key combos with tools like joy2key.
 

mohmandm

New member
ulaoulao really appreciate the feedback. I guess my only concern with doing a custom cab is cost. The guy I have on deck who refurbishes vintage cabs only has so much inventory and going outside of it ends up driving up costs considerably. For a two player setup, are there any you've experienced that suit emulation setups better than others? Finally, the PC's within my price range are spec'd with i3 processors, 8GB Ram and 1TB or 512 SSD with integrated graphics. Does that seem like a good baseline?

Edit: forgot to mention in my previous post. If storage space is an issue, any drawbacks storing Roms/Emulators on an external HD?
 
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ulaoulao

Controller Man
Staff member
For a two player setup, are there any you've experienced that suit emulation setups better than others?
They all will work with 2 players. Retro Arch is a good way to go for that sort of thing.

Finally, the PC's within my price range are spec'd with i3 processors, 8GB Ram and 1TB or 512 SSD with integrated graphics. Does that seem like a good baseline?
i3 is fine but integrated graphics is one of the worst tings you can do. It takes form your onboard ram and uses the CPU more so then a dedicated GPU. You will not run Dolphin with this well at all.


Edit: forgot to mention in my previous post. If storage space is an issue, any drawbacks storing Roms/Emulators on an external HD?
Externals are fine, just get USB 3.0 for less waiting.
 

mohmandm

New member
They all will work with 2 players. Retro Arch is a good way to go for that sort of thing.

Apologies, for this question I was more wondering physical spacing of the cabinet. For example, if you're trying to install all the buttons and joysticks needed for a two player setup, will you physically have enough space on a more vintage, centipede cabinet.

Thanks again
 
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