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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:06 pm 
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If you're really looking for a cheap option, sacrifice one Genesis controller by removing the IC and wiring the eight outputs directly. It won't be a compatible pinout with the existing DE9-joystick game consoles (none support 8 digital outputs).

The Neo Geo DA15 port could be worth mimicking instead.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:17 pm 
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It appears I found a solution:

Image

Image

So I don't have to mess up the port on the controller itself, (soldering, unless the wires will actually stay in the sockets) I've found some extension cords for the Neo Geo on ebay. (Apparently, it's just a standard computer cable like the Genesis.) All of this put together is pretty expensive, but it's still cheaper than a Jamma control stick and probably more comfortable. Plus, if I do want to switch to a control stick, there is also the one available for the Neo Geo, although it's more expensive than the already expensive gamepad.

Edit: A new post was made while I was writing this:

lidnariq wrote:
The Neo Geo DA15 port could be worth mimicking instead.

It appears I wasn't quite as clever as I thought. :lol:

Yeah, I'm going to go with a Neo Geo controller. Even if it's more expensive, I don't really feel like destroying a Genesis controller.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:39 pm 
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Well, I actually did find a reasonably priced supergun, and with Neo Geo controller ports: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Supergun-ProGa ... SwOyJX6pvu The only thing that sucks is the lack of component or even composite output. However, I know of a couple VGA to composite (not component, sadly) adapters, but they all have a 5V DC plug. The supergun wants an ATX power supply though, so it's not like an arcade power supply to where I could just screw this onto the front of it along with the Jamma wiring harness, so I have no idea how I'm going to power it. I could use the included 5V DC to USB and a USB wall adapter, but then my arcade machine setup would be taking up two wall outlets and just look even more ghetto.

There's actually a 3/6 button Sega Genesis to Neo Geo controller port by the same seller (I presume it uses the unused pins for extra buttons), so I don't have to spend $100 on two Neo Geo CD controllers, thank God. There's even one for the SNES and the PS1/PS2, but I don't like how they mapped the buttons (luckily they show you how it's mapped in a picture).


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:24 am 
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http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=246043508
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:CP_System_II

Wow, what a load of incorrect information! Since when did CPS2 games have 24-bit RGB and 8-bit transparency?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:52 am 
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The CPS2 does have 24bit RGB though. A bit (or rather, byte :lol:) overkill, but since the CPS1 had 12bit RGB, it was probably easiest to just double it. (Definately the biggest improvement; I much prefer the sound of CPS1 games, those without added Q sound of course.) 8bit alpha transparency is a load of BS though; it's pretty clear that person has no clue what they're talking about. I don't know why people keep bringing up the Neo Geo's increased memory range for graphics when even it used bank switching by the end of its life. The biggest sin of all from that thread though, is the guy calling the SNES SFA2 port impressive for the hardware. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:26 am 
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All the CPS2 games I've seen only use 12 bit color.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:20 pm 
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From what I've been reading now, I think we're both wrong. A good number of sources seem to claim that it uses 12bit RGB, but with 4 bits of luminescence, which seems pretty odd, but you've got to figure that it probably would have been more work to get 15bit RGB and 1 bit of luminescence like the Neo Geo. This lines up from what I've seen; things like the background of Ryu's stage in Street Fighter Alpha 2 would show more obvious banding if it were 12 bit color, and taking a screenshot and analysing the color values, they don't match 15bit RGB being rounded to 24bit RGB for the display, like the M92 or other arcade machines I know that use 15bit RGB.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:15 am 
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A Neo Geo controller connector is definitely the standard for a supergun, and all the ones I own have them. If you're gonna build your own you might as well go with that. It's a very easy plug to get ahold of, it's able to map more buttons than the MegaDrive one, and also uses direct switches with no signal modulation.

Don't convert arcade video signal to composite. If you want to use it on a standard American TV, get a component encoder (I got one for around $50), and don't build it into your supergun. Just hook it up externally, so you can get decent video quality from all your other consoles, too.
The base supergun (a power supply + wiring from a JAMMA connector to the PSU and plugs for controls and a SCART video output) is actually really cheap, but it takes some work to make them. You probably want adjustable resistors (potmeters) on both the Red, Green, and Blue video signals, since these can easily vary between games.

As for the chips, most arcade games will have some special chips that makes the games difficulty to bootleg (and often you'd even see them scratching out the manufacturer and model logos), but in all of the 60-70 arcade PCBs that I own, I have NEVER seen one that doesn't use standard sizes ROM chips, making them very easy to replace.
Typically program ROMs are even socketed EPROMs, making them very homebrew/hack friendly, since the developers would usually need to make changes close to release, or even afterwards if exploits were found in the arcades. Sound and graphics data tend to be mask ROMs, but it really depends on the game. I even got my EspGaluda with an extra hacked rom that allows saving the high score data.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:32 am 
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Espozo wrote:
I've always wanted to own an arcade board, but while I regularly see deals for system boards with shitty games for less than $250, the games you'd actually want to buy the system for go for well over $500, with few exceptions. In addition, it's almost impossible to get game boards by themselves for some reason, unless the ratio of system pcbs to game pcbs is roughly 1:1.


The $500 price point and above is usually reserved for rare'ish shooters, most arcade games shouldn't set you back that much. What games are you looking for in particular? Personally I found most of my games for less than $100, or even $50, but the prices in general have gone up a bit the last few years. Some of my games cost a fortune, but those are specifically selected titles that I cherish more than any other games I own.

Regarding the system pcb to game pcb ratio:
The only arcade system that was ever really succesful with separately sold catridges was the Neo Geo. To a smaller extend ST-V and PlayChoice (both based on console hardware) and the PGM (a Neo Geo clone). Even the CPS2 and the Taito F3 system, which are the only other "major" cartridge based arcade systems I can think of, are usually sold along with the motherboard, since that's how they were distributed to arcades, to be plugged into generic JAMMA cabinets. SNK were the only ones who really got away with expecting arcades to have (one or more) existing Neo Geo cabinets they could just plug loose carts into.

Other systems which have both motherboards and daughter (game) boards don't work well with switching out games. Examples are the Konami GX variants and CPS1. Even separating the games from their motherboards can be difficult (compared to cartridges), and only certain motherboards will work with certain games. I've never seen anyone switching out these games, and I wouldn't recommend trying it. If you're looking for CPS1 games, don't buy loose daughter- or motherboards.

Furthermore, some CPS1 games did indeed have the suicide thing. It's easier to hack/fix than CPS2, but most likely you'd end up with one that needs fresh batteries, and won't work if you start switching out the ROMs. The ones that have it are usually the later ones, like Three Wonders, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs and King of Dragons. Fortunately the CPS1 games that I own (Varth, Pang 3, and Ghouls n Ghosts/Daimakaimura), don't have it. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:38 am 
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Sumez wrote:
Espozo wrote:
while I regularly see deals for system boards with shitty games for less than $250, the games you'd actually want to buy the system for go for well over $500

The $500 price point and above is usually reserved for rare'ish shooters, most arcade games shouldn't set you back that much. What games are you looking for in particular?

When I was a regular on TetrisConcept.net, the second and third Tetris the Grand Master games were fairly expensive, such as roughly $1,600 for the TGM3 PCB. Or have they come down since then?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:50 am 
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TGM3 is a strange one, since it relies on Type X hardware, similarly to most other newer arcade games, such as Street Fighter IV.
The game itself is not a PCB, it's just a hard drive and a USB dongle or something like that. I never really got into the Type X series of "arcade hardware", since it is literally just a Windows PC with a specific hardware configuration. I'm not really interested in that stuff.

I don't know when you were on TC, but I bought my TGM2 PCB around three years ago (just before the game attracted new attention via AGDQ), and the price point has grown to nearly three times what I paid since then (and I paid a lot, too). It's definitely one of the most expensive bare arcade PCBs out there.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:43 pm 
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Sumez wrote:
The base supergun (a power supply + wiring from a JAMMA connector to the PSU and plugs for controls and a SCART video output) is actually really cheap, but it takes some work to make them.

That one supergun I found was $80 including shipping. It's pretty pricey, but if I were to make my own, I'd have to buy a soldering kit, (I've used one a dozen times at school and my grandfather's shop, but I don't own one) which would cost about $30, then the JAMMA harness, video converter, and Neo Geo plug ends and whatnot, which at that point, I probably wouldn't be saving more than $20. I still need to get a power supply, but while the ones with -5V are slightly more expensive, they still aren't ever over $30 if even that.

Sumez wrote:
If you want to use it on a standard American TV, get a component encoder (I got one for around $50)

Most American CRTs don't have component cables. Thank God mine does though. (I don't mean to brag, but it's also a 27" flatscreen CRT. :wink:) I'd prefer to get a VGA to component encoder so I don't need another cable (and I can use my CRT for my computer if I want to), but I haven't been able to find one, only SCART to component converters.

Sumez wrote:
Just hook it up externally, so you can get decent video quality from all your other consoles, too.

I don't own any consoles with a SCART connector, and I'm not even sure one with a VGA connector exists. Not really related, but it pisses me off how expensive GameCube component cables are. Wii component cables are much, much cheaper, but I prefer to use my GameCube for GameCube games so I don't have to deal with the menu.

Sumez wrote:
in all of the 60-70 arcade PCBs that I own

Plan on opening an arcade? :lol:

Sumez wrote:
The $500 price point and above is usually reserved for rare'ish shooters, most arcade games shouldn't set you back that much. What games are you looking for in particular?

The games I have any interest in owning are any of the original three Street Fighter IIs, Strider, Ghouls and Ghosts, Final Fight, R-Type, R-Type II, R-Type Leo, Ninja Baseball Batman, Undercover Cops (Alpha Renewal or Japanese), In the Hunt, or Gunforce II. I'm not aware of any of the CPS1 games I would want being rare, or the original R-Type, but aside for Street Fighter II, they all go for an arm and a leg. The ones I didn't mention are actually pretty rare and go for even more; in retrospect, Gunforce II going for $300 on the one eBay auction I bided on probably wasn't that bad of a deal.

I know all M92 games will work on the same game board if you just switch the ROM chips; the sound is supposed to be encrypted for each board or something, but I know that it's been cracked. However, because people know this, that means that even shit like the original Gunforce goes for $200. Not many games use the M72, but they all use boards that System16 calls "similar base hardware to M72, but all with slight differences", whatever that means; it's the exact same V30, Z80, and YM2151, all at the same clockspeed. The video hardware looks the same, with all the games I've inspected having the same 384x256 resolution, 15bit color, and 512 total onscreen colors. I presume the only difference between them is that the video hardware registers changed places or something to prevent piracy.

Sumez wrote:
Furthermore, some CPS1 games did indeed have the suicide thing

Only the later ones; all the ones I want don't, luckily.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:42 pm 
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For 240p/480i that you'll be getting out of any JAMMA board, properly encoded S-Video will look as good as component. Plenty of (later) CRT TVs in non-SCART regions have S-Video in.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:11 am 
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Espozo wrote:
That one supergun I found was $80 including shipping. It's pretty pricey, but if I were to make my own, I'd have to buy a soldering kit, (I've used one a dozen times at school and my grandfather's shop, but I don't own one) which would cost about $30, then the JAMMA harness, video converter, and Neo Geo plug ends and whatnot, which at that point, I probably wouldn't be saving more than $20. I still need to get a power supply, but while the ones with -5V are slightly more expensive, they still aren't ever over $30 if even that.

$80 is a fairly good price for a supergun I think. I'd just go for that. I recommend investing in a soldering kit anyway though, it's a great thing to have when you're getting into this stuff.

Quote:
I'd prefer to get a VGA to component encoder so I don't need another cable (and I can use my CRT for my computer if I want to), but I haven't been able to find one, only SCART to component converters.

I'm not an expert on this, but that is probably because with RGB SCART you are expecting a 15khz signal (240p), while VGA supports all sorts of resolutions that would make converting to component a lot more complex (or maybe not, I'm not actually sure how component works).
Either way, when dealing with most arcade hardware (up until around Naomi and Atomiswave), 15khz video is all you need to think about, so there's no advantage in the VGA standard aside from the more practical plug.

Quote:
Plan on opening an arcade? :lol:

I just like video games :)

Quote:
The games I have any interest in owning are any of the original three Street Fighter IIs, Strider, Ghouls and Ghosts, Final Fight, R-Type, R-Type II, R-Type Leo, Ninja Baseball Batman, Undercover Cops (Alpha Renewal or Japanese), In the Hunt, or Gunforce II. I'm not aware of any of the CPS1 games I would want being rare, or the original R-Type, but aside for Street Fighter II, they all go for an arm and a leg.

Yeah... Those are all pretty expensive games :P Not sure if any are in the $500 area aside from GnG (at least that's what I paid), but the R-Types could definitely push it.

Quote:
However, because people know this, that means that even shit like the original Gunforce goes for $200.

I had no idea it was easy to convert the original Gunforce. Might try to look into that, though I'm not a fan of conversions... In my mindset, if you aren't playing the original game, it might as well be mame.
I paid around $30 for Gunforce :P


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:46 am 
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It's not really easy to convert Gunforce to Gunforce 2 or other M92 titles, if only because the way the program ROM is mapped prohibits a straight ROM swap. You have to pull an extra address line and re-do the /OE decoding in order to map H1/L1 at 0x80000 instead of 0x40000, which is the max a stock GF1 board will do. Your other obstacle is the encrypted sound CPU, which applies a decryption table to the fetched opcodes, but not data.

I made a program to decrypt M92 sound programs, where it must be fed a trace log from the sound CPU from MAME, and uses that to build a map of known program counter locations. This mostly works, though corner-case code is not hit if it didn't get executed during logging.


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