While this project is moving along slowly, it is making progress.
For Christmas I ordered the X-Arcade Tankstick. They were having a great sale at the time, $150 for the trackball equipped 2-player tankstick. While I was originally going to buy all of my equipment individually and wire-up the control panel myself, this price was too good to pass up. I would barely be able to buy new hardware for that price and I would still haven to wire it and mount the hardware. While I did consider removing the hardware from the supplied case, I can’t bring myself to do it. I am not a wood-worker and I couldn’t build something as nice. I just built my own box to hold it to the cabinet. So it’s a big box, with another box, holding a smaller box. Lot’s of boxes. So the controls are nearly done. I just need to router (just got a router this week) the edges, sand, prime and paint.
I also got the front-end software working. That was a CHORE. Seriously, it took freakin’ forever. It’s no fun feat finding a front-end that works with all of your software. All front-ends require some type of third-party files in order to get some emulators working correctly. Between tracking down all the files you need, getting a version of MAME that supports the ROMs you would like to play and trying to interpret tutorials in foreign langauges, it’s a tedious bout of Googling, message boards and trying to find support files/information that is current. Was it fun? Only if you like staring at a monitor long enough to make your eyes bleed.
In the end, i went with the front end, MALA (http://malafe.net/). I passed over it and tried every other popular front-end possible, until I finally went with MALA. It looked very blah, no bells or whistles. I wanted a little bling, but by the point that I turned to it I was pretty aggravated by all the other choices that I had spent hours working with, and this didn’t seem to have it. Honestly, I was really wrong about MALA, it’s fabulous! It has lots of options, easy set-up, great tutorials, support that’s current and up to date, easily configurable for some eye candy and it’s real easy to create your own layout.
Alright… I’m done talking about this for now. Progress has been made and there’s more to come.