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toxy

arcade circuit board production

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I'm working on an application with the future goal of putting it in an arcade type setting. I know its probably kind of lofty and I've got a long ways to go, but I'm thinking that I'll have a prototype done in a few months using a pc, so if it comes out good I may need to know how to make quite a few of them. Currently I have these questions: 1)Where can I start learning about the issues involved in arcade game production? 2)Is it silly to think that I could make a prototype using a pc plus a homebrewed arcade setup and install it at a real site to see how it does? 3)To plan for my goal of "mass" production - if this involves arcade sytle circuit boards - what langauges/libraries should I be using for development? toxy

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Alot of newer Arcade boards are based on PC hardware anyhow, in fact, many are simply nothing more than standard, off the shelf parts in a special, secure case with the proper interface addaptors and a customized OS. Others are based on recent consoles, and are essentially suped-up versions of their home counterparts. Sega's NAOMI and Sammy's AtomisWave hardware are based on the Dreamcast for example. Sega's recently announced board is PC based, using a Pentium 4 and an nVidia graphics chip. Others are based on Xbox, PS2, Gamecube, Saturn, PS1 and the N64.

As for mass production, I would use Linux/OpenGL if you are comfortable with that environment, or shoot for WindowsXP Embeded, both on a standard PC hardware platform. There unfortunately are no available ready-made PC-based arcade platforms open to developers, but using a mame-like setup you should be able to get a good foundation. Most of the newer high-res arcade monitors accept VGA-style inputs, although the cabling may be hard-wired. Failing that, there is a card based on the Radeon 9200 chip which has been designed to output to older, standard-res arcade monitors called, I believe, ArcadeVGA. Mostly this is marketed towards mame-junkies who want a more authentic experience, but it might be useful if you want standard res (320x240, 15khz) and don't need DX 9.0 level features such as shaders 2.0. High-res, in arcade terms, is most likely 640x480 so take that into account in your design (ie - readable text size/UI elements) but if possible make it resolution independant in case you want to do a PC release later.

Adding in some more info: As the above poster said, Arcade units are exposed to harsher conditions than mose typical PCs. The power may be cut off unexpectedly, the arcade itself may be a smokey environment (which is bad for HDDs) and kids may beat on the machines, so physically the hardware/OS must be able to withstand these things.

A company called Roxor Games publishes titles based on linux PCs, one of the modifications they made was to modify the OS to basically be ready for power-down at any moment, another thing they do is to house their hardware/software in a tamper-resistant case.

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Agreed. Your best bet is to develop your title for arcade is to design your software to work on an off-the-shelf PC. A good number of arcade games you see nowadays have standard PC components inside 'em. There are a few companies that have come out with standards for hardware and controls (joystick, light-gun, etc). You might wanna google for 'em.

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Wow - you guys are really awsome, thanks for the replys!

Ok, so I'm thinking that Linux and OpenGL would be the best way to go. Here are a couple question on it though:

1)I don't have too much Linux experience, but lets say I use SDL, shouldn't that take care of the majority of my inexperience on the platform - at least in handling the media portion of the application?

2)Would the OS modifications(i.e. handling power offs,cutting the OS down to what I need, etc.) be overwhelming for a guy who doesn't have this type of Linux experience?



I do have a couple of years of experience developing for Windows so this may be an easier choice for myself + it would be cool if I could use c#. 1 more question:

3)If anyone here has built a Windows XP Embedded platform, can they can they say if its a reasonable project for someone who has mostly standard application development experience on the Windows desktop and mobile platform?

Thanks again!

[Edited by - toxy on September 6, 2005 6:54:39 PM]

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