So it has been 3 years since part one of this post, and it appears I did not meet my goal of completing the arcade machine that year. Yet again I have been bit by the arcade bug, so i’m back to working on the cabinet. I’m going to finish this thing if it kills me. As promised we will start to go down the journey of the arcade.
Back when I first started looking into this, the first challenge was how do you interface the control panel to your computer. There were not many options. You could hack a pc joypad, or you could hack a computer keyboard. Both of these devices once modified could enable you to convert button presses to inputs on your computer. I chose to hack a keyboard. I ended up hacking two keyboards. The Year was 2004.
The hacking process looks like this.
Without going into full detail, a keyboard works by crossing two terminals together to create a key stroke. To hack a keyboard you extend the terminals (seen above) with some cable, and then create a way to wire the buttons to cross the correct terminals. Once i completed wiring the keyboard, i then had to cross every possible combination of connections, and document them all into a chart figuring out what keystroke each crossed connection created. Needless to say this was crazy involved took a lot of time. The surprising part is I did this TWICE!
This one came out much nicer because I encased it in an old VHS case.
Next was how do i use a trackball, on my pc… you guessed it, hacked mouse!
Ive showed you enough hacking. So as you can see this was a lot of work. At the time things called “keyboard encoders” were just coming out. these things were designed to take an input and convert it to keystrokes. It’s basically a professional hacked keyboard. In 2004 these devices were over 100$ so a hacked keyboard was the way to go. Now the Prices have come down, and keyboard encoders are fully programmable you should never need to hack a keyboard and a mouse again.