After a long hiatus, I finally got back to the mame project this past week! I got everything fully working software/hardware wise. The only thing left to do is build the ATX to JVS power adapter. Here's what I ended up doing (mind you I used 100% salvaged PC parts
PC: My parents gave me an old tower they had on hand. My pops was wiring up something with the front USB ports, mis-wired it and completely blew the harddrive in the tower (to the point that no data could be recovered from a data center). He was so **** at the machine that he left it as-is, and simply bought a pre-made box and gave me the old "leftovers". Before powering anything up, I undid all the power and front panel wiring and redid it to the manual's spec, omitting the front USB/headphone jacks, temp gauge, etc since the motherboard will eventually be mounted to my blast city's wooden plank. I fired it up without a HDD and sure enough, nothing else was fried! I had a spare xbox harddrive (20gb) on hand which I "zeroed" using the Maxblast software (previously was xfat file system, and the pc didn't even recognize the drive). After that completed, I loaded up Windows 2000 professional (most stable windows IMO) and ran all of the updates bringing it up to SP4. I installed the video drivers (came with an ATI All in Wonder AGP 8x video card). Finally, I installed a sound blaster live 24bit PCI audio card that I had kickin around in the scrap pile (integrated on-board audio SUCKS). So far, everything was a success on the hardware front.
Onto the fun part... moving the PC from my LCD to my 'tate blast city. Unfortunatley, the All-in-wonder would NOT go lower than 800x600 resolution (bummer!), however it turns out my WeiYa chassis can display it, although it looks like ****. Anyways, I used the integrated ATI utility to rotate the desktop 90degrees to the left. So far so good, I now had 800x600 vert windows
The next step was to then load up mame, MaLa (front end) and the roms I wanted to use.
I was planning on doing 640x480 31khz for the video mode, but then realized NONE of the graphics filters created desirable results. The scanlines were either not there, too vivid, the pixels on the sprites looked blurry, basically it looked like crap. So that being said, I found a very nice bit of software called "Soft15khz". Soft15khz works on-top of ATi and Nvidia's display drivers and enables 15khz, 24khz and 31khz video modes. They won't be selectable from the desktop, however if an application calls for 320x240 video mode, it'll display it just fine. Fortunatley for me, MaLa supports 15khz in the gui, and can have mame do fixed 15khz... score! So- the video was sorted out without using the Arcade VGA video card.
On to the controls. As some of you may or may not know, a few weeks ago I decided to make a Playstation 2 to Jamma adapter (hacked pads terminating to jamma edge). I just happened to have a Playstation 2 to USB adapter on hand which I ended up using for the controls (Mayflash brand 2 player adapter). To my surprise, the hacked joysticks worked flawlessly with the adapter, MaLa's gui and mame! So now I had player 1 and 2 wired up and working, however I still needed the keyboard to insert credits and exit back to the gui. No bueno. The goal here is 100% keyboard and mouse free. I tinkered around in mame a bit and found out you can actually macro multiple buttons to do a command (just like the Jpac does by default!) So anyways, I was able to make P1 start + down insert credits and P1 and P2 start exit back to the GUi. NICE!
For the audio, I got a 1/8" mini jack to female RCA stereo adapter. My blast city's audio amp was more than powerful enough to amplify the audio, so I didn't have to worry about building a mono amp.
The final step of my adventure was to tweak the front end. Mala comes with a very nice tool which enables you to drag and drop create your own interface. Its extremely easy to use and customize... I had my perfect gui up and running in about 20 minutes (my gui shows screenshots for each game, manufacturer, copywrite date and game title)... everything I wanted and nothing more
So long story short, all 120 hand selected shmups play 100% fullspeed, in 15khz. The final step of my project is to construct the JVS to ATX power adapter, uncase the motherboard and HDD and mount everything on the wooden plank inside my blast.
***TOO FRUITY FOR THIS BOARD