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Since I have no problem digging into big projects in my garage as well as figuring out all the technical stuff associated with computers and systems (which is my day job), I decided to build the cabinet from scratch.

Instead of making your traditional arcade cabinet, I decided to build something where you could have all your different controls available all at once. I envisioned 8 different setups in a octagon, with a monitor in the middle which would rotate around to the current game station.

After doing some basic drawings, I decided that 8 was too many and that 6 would be a better number and make sure the thing didn't get too big.

The first step was to start gathering parts. I had lots of misc motherboards and stuff for the computer part and ended up using a PII 233 and a 9gb SCSI drive along with a Lucent Orinoco wireless network card which can commuicate with my Apple Airport Base station for easy updates and remote configs. Of course it would be running Linux. Installing Xmame on linux was probably the easiest part of the whole project. Downloaded and installed some RPM's and I was ready to roll. Finding ROMs was just a little bit harder, but not too much.

The next step was finding a nice big monitor. I checked out EBay a bit, but then remembered about RePc and headed down there to see what I could find. And find I did. A 20" Sun GDM-20D10 fixed frequency monitor for $75. This was not the easiest thing in the world to get going, but with a little research and playing around with XFree86 modline settings I got it working. The modlines I used were as follows:

(I'm still tweeking my final modlines...)

Check out the XFree86 and Video Timing Calculator links for more information on this subject.

I also needed some game controls. There is lots of stuff available at Happ Controls but I also found a local supplier, Music-Vend right around the corner. Sometimes you need instant gradification instead of waiting around for stuff to show up in the mail.

There were a couple of things I had to wait for though, one was a sound card (I didn't seem to have one around that would work with Linux, most were old weird ISA cards), so I got one off EBay. I also needed an interface card to go between my arcade controls and PC. After doing a little research I ordered an iPAC interface.

So, now that I had my basic parts it was time to start building the rest of it.

next: Building the Mushroom