Sunday, 16 December 2012

Project Icarus Part 2

Image from

This is probably the last update this side of the year, but some progress to report.

Firstly, I have had a lot of interest in this, so much so that I am now building two versions. One the original planned Icarus. The second a two player version which you can plug into a television,with the intention of selling them.

For the purposes of this blog, they will be referred to as Icarus I and Icarus II.

For an indication of what the two player version will look like. Take a look at

Whilst I think that is a cracking bit of design, I want to create something that takes you back to a pier by the seaside circa 1989 , but with a powerful bit of umpf under the bonnet.  This is probably going to be a project that is measured in months not weeks.

So going back to Icarus I

Good news, the monitor turned up - bad news no PSU- doubt that will arrive before xmas.
Good news,  I finally got MAME running on Ubuntu. I did this by first removing Ubuntu, following these steps

Then installed MAME by using the following

Bad news, painfully slow and using the controller kept taking us to the ubuntu desktop

Good news, found something that did work and that is puppy arcade pictured at the top by Scott Jarvis.
I got this to install fairly hassle free, but it does not recognise my wifi driver -cant be arsed to look into why and don't care.

Good new, it works and at a very reasonable speed. I can now move the project over to my workbench. Here is Double Dragon (classic game - remember the whip?) running

I also had a quick fire up of  the sega genesis emulator with Puppy arcade and the controller (after configuring) worked perfect with that too.  Nb. as this drove me nuts first time (ALT + ENTER Exit full screen)

Finally what will make the enclosure of Icarus I arrived this week, a lot of prep to do on it, but I now have dimensions to work to. Just need to get my head around hydraulics first....

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Project Icarus - Part 1

Project Icarus

I have had an idea for a MAME cabinet which I am keeping stum at the moment as I don't want to spoil the surprise. All I will say is, I make cufflinks out of bullets - expect anything

First thing was to order some arcade controls. I got them from arcade world on ebay along with an IPAC2 controller. For the first build I am more concerned about getting from a to b and finding out what is going to be involved, so it probably wasn't the most economical purchase. I was a little bit disappointed that no wiring instructions came with the controls, considering the cost.

To get my head around it, I put the controls into a small lever arch folder from WH Smiths.

Next I went off on bit of misadventure and a waste of a saturday night; I am planning for MK1 to use a raspberry pi as i need something that is small. MKII will use a mini itx and I thought I would refresh myself on Linux

I managed to get a copy of ubuntu onto an old asus eee-pc and installed MAME and that was as far as I got.  After several sudo this and sudo that. I gave up. I mean seriously guys ? how complicated can you make something !!

So, I installed MAME on my mac which i not ideal as I wanted the eee-pc so I could work on the project from my workbench.  I am not usually a fan of youtube tutorials, but I did find this one to be very helpful

With MAME installed , and a few roms downloaded from I was ready to get my head around the wiring

Firstly, I would highly recommend using different colour wiring, unlike what I have done. Secondly, It is actually very straight forward. A couple of things I couldn't get my head around at first was whether the grounding ran through all the buttons and joystick, or they were two separate loops. Its one loop. Also, It wasn't immediately obvious what was the NC and NO on my switches.  This is where the lever arch file came in most handy as I was able to swap things around very easily and quickly.

Here is a short video showing the controls working on TMNT, bit hard one handed but you get the idea

Next steps, is to find the key component for my enclosure and work out how I am going to fit everything in.


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