Looking to build or get a machine to play System 256 games

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    • Looking to build or get a machine to play System 256 games

      Hello there,

      My ultimate goal is to either build a machien or modify a machine to play Namco System 256 games along with running a MAME emulator. Based on my own research, it seems that I should get one of those DVD drives for Namco System 256 along with any game and card that I want. If I want to run MAME, I should also get something like a Raspberry Pi 3.

      Now to be honest, this whole process intimidates me. I just want someone to talk to so I can better understand the entire process of building or modifying an arcade machine.
    • acblunden2 wrote:

      CRT based cabinet or LCD based cabinet
      This is the first question you need to answer.
      The answer to this will greatly effect how you connect a MAME rig, be it PC or PIE.
      Darksoft: CPS3, CPS2, F3, MVS
      RGB: RECO v2, HAS v3
      invzim: Jammafier v1.6b
      XianXi: JNX Raiden, SC Taito Classic, SC Sega System 16/24
      Frank_fjs: JAMMA Extender (Special Edition)
    • Appreciate the replies. I already did try a Namco System 256 game on MAME and it didn't work. I read that System 256 isn't supported all that well on MAME yet.

      This makes me willing to go get a 256 DVD drive unit and a separate R Pi 3 for MAME if that makes sense. If this can be accomplished, how would I go about making these dual boot?

      As for screen, I don't have a machine at all so I'm open to either. I'm not picky. I just want my games to play nice and smooth.
    • You're talking to a bunch of arcade snobs here buddy :). Answers to your questions will be tilted in the direction of the most authentic experience possible. But given your stated requirements, I would say go with an LCD based system. There isn't a finished solution that will allow you to easily switch between an RPi3 and System 256. You'll need to unplug and replug the controls. Then use the LCD display's controls to switch between video and audio. The point here first is to be able to enjoy the games. Your buddies will love you. And only us arcade snobs would snicker at you. But we all know it is about enjoying the games. All that arcade purist stuff comes in second.

      With that said, not sure how authentic of an experience you are looking for. But given that you requirements are unique and your experience with getting going on both are in the beginning phases, probably best that you get like an Xtension Cabinet. Or building something that will allow for a control panel and an LCD display. With this cabinet, you can add an LCD display of your choice to switch between your two video and audio sources. Make sure you have a display that accepts VGA as System 256 uses VGA output for video. That leaves just the controls to switch between. In this case, you would want to build your control panel with terminated molex connectors. Then unplug and replug as you switch between systems.

      That probably would get you the fastest to where you want to be. Now after you get going and you become more arcade snobbish, then things will change. But you'll pick up some valuable experiences along the way and will be better able to carve out what you really want later down the line.
    • A dual cab JAMMA/MAME is not that complex to build with the right hardware. It all depends on how far you want to go.

      I have a JAMMA/JVS/MAME setup, ideal would be if you have a trisync monitor, then you could output 15khz (JAMMA), 31khz (JVS...) and 24khz. I Don't have a rpi for MAME i have a PC with a reflashed video Card and special drivers and a special MAME version so that i can output the native resolutions and frequencies (whatever the monitor supports)

      A Ultimarc J-Pac is what you need to plug the MAMe PC to Jamma, at 256 side you also need a Namco Jamma adapter and everything linked with a Jamma Switcher.

      You just need to be careful with the monitor frequencies (a Standard PC / Rpi will not match the arcade monitor frequencies without some previous work)
      LOAD "*",8,1

      The post was edited 3 times, last by deibit ().

    • Agreed, but the poster says "RPi3" for MAME and as "plays nice and smooth". From that alone, I am going to conclude he is not aware of the expertise involved in building a PC to run Calamity's drivers for 15khz output. He probably isn't aware of scanline emulation with HLSL or GLSL if he is saying RPi3. He isn't aware of the difficulty with getting HyperSpin or AttractMode running as his front end. The effort investment for someone like you or I to get going with that is easy enough. But don't discount the fact that going from RPi3 to PC for MAME is a huge leap in expertise and probably his biggest hurdle. True a Jamma switcher will work. But requires him to build a MAME PC. If so, he has hours of reading ahead of him to get there. I think he just wants to play the games.
    • Maybe it's just me.. but "plays nice and smooth" with MAME can only be achieved with CRT monitors and some hardware/software that displays the exact resolution and the exact clock frequencies of the original PCB.

      That would mean (for example): PC + ATOM15 + CRT Emudriver + GroovyMAME + Trisync CRT Monitor

      For "quick and dirty" I would just get a Pandoras Box 4 and call it a day...
      LOAD "*",8,1
    • S246/256 will NEVER work in MAME. The hardware is just too powerful and there are too many secrets locked up in custom chips. forget it and forget Model 2/Model 3/Lindbergh etc etc.
      Just buy a S246/256 box and a S246 JAMMA/JVS I/O board. Plug it in and play. It really is that simple.
      There are many many games that will never be playable in MAME. If you look at the history, MAME is basically done or dead (depending on your take) and very few improvements are being done nowadays (actually since about 2012). If you want to play 80's/90's games, MAME works ok but you need an i7 6700K to cover everything that does work. For newer stuff forget MAME.
      To play MAME in a cab all you need is a JPac, a FAST PC (i7 6700K) with any Geforce video card and either a piece of software called 'Soft15k' so you can use it in an old cab, or a VGA-capable monitor like the Wells D9200 etc.
      I did it using my Taito Egret II cab and fitted a Wells D9200. With a JPac it's basically plug and play.
      I have a "Build a MAME Cab The Easy Way" tutorial on my site. Read it and you will be MAME'ing in a cab in minutes.
    • if you want the ultimate MAME CPU, go for the Pentium G3258, I have it set at a conservative 4.2Ghz clock and it beats almost any i7 in the market (single core tasks) for a fraction of the price.

      You need the best single core performer for MAME, multicore beasts are of no use for Retrogaming purposes..
      LOAD "*",8,1
    • acblunden2 wrote:

      but the poster says "RPi3" for MAME and as "plays nice and smooth". From that alone, I am going to conclude he is not aware of the expertise involved in building a PC to run Calamity's drivers for 15khz output
      I have to say I agree with this statement again fully.
      The Pie isn't going to give you 15khz video, so if you stick to the CRT (tube) based cabs you'll have lots of issues.

      Only exception to this would be a Tri-sync CRT monitor (15/24/31k) that would make a perfect JAMMA/JVS/MAME display without a ton of conversion effort.

      I think given the complexity of setting up and maintaining CRTs the OP would go with LCD.
      Sure its not the most authentic experience under the sun, but our options for scaling 15k>31k keep getting better.
      While our options for outputting 15k video haven't changed/advanced much since Calamity's Groovy MAME.
      Darksoft: CPS3, CPS2, F3, MVS
      RGB: RECO v2, HAS v3
      invzim: Jammafier v1.6b
      XianXi: JNX Raiden, SC Taito Classic, SC Sega System 16/24
      Frank_fjs: JAMMA Extender (Special Edition)
    • deibit wrote:

      if you want the ultimate MAME CPU, go for the Pentium G3258
      ^this is the best CPU for MAME, In my experience it will outperform everything but the top of the line i7s and it only costs about $40.

      MAME doesn't support 3D acceleration for emulation which means any 3D intensive game, even if emulated perfectly wont run on your PC as the CPU alone wont be able to handle the graphics processing.

      once you get past the mid-90s you'll need to look to other emulators that DO support 3D acceleration such as as "DEMUL" for NAOMI/Atomiswave, "SuperModel" for Sega Model 3, and "Model 2 Emulator" (the most cleverly named emulator ever) for Sega Model 2. Some Taito Type X stuff and other games that were built for PC based hardware can be made to run natively in Windows as well.

      System 246/256 isn't emulated any where but I wouldn't be surprised if at some point PCSX2 (the most excellent PS2 emulator) added support for PS2 based arcade hardware. For now if you want to play those games you need the original hardware.

      ------------

      For a machine I would recommend buying a Blast City or similar cab, beautiful tri-sync monitor, lots of space inside and wired for JAMMA. then put a 2 board JAMMA switch in it hook one up to a PC running GroovyMAME and CRT_EmuDriver through a JPAC and hook the other up to your System 256 PCB with a JAMMA I/O

      Groovy MAME is a special build of MAME that allows for native RGB video output exactly like games were designed to run, CRT_EmuDriver is a special driver for ATi graphics cards that allows them to output RGB resolutions (without this your card will do VGA only). and JPAC is a video amp and keyboard encoder that lets your PC plug right into any JAMMA capable arcade cabinet. IMO this is the most authentic experience you can via emulation PERIOD. and it's going to be worlds more accurate than Pi based emulators or multi-boards like Pandora's box.


      -----
      Source: I have 3 machines running similar setup to what I described above.
      Buy 3D Printed Parts: bit-district.com
      Projects: instagram | blog
      Games: VAPS | VOOT | UMK3 | RFM | Vewlix | FiF Jr. | KI2 | E29 | Net City | DDR | Flash Beats
      Wanted | For Sale/Trade
    • It seems I'm getting some conflicting opinions but that's ok.

      What I mean by "nice and smooth" is that it doesn't lag much. It doesn't have to be 1080p or anything fancy.

      How much of a financial investment is this going to be for me? I was hoping to keep this around the $500 range but it seems that might not be feasible.

      Regarding the Namco System 256, is this what I need: ebay.com/itm/182191382719?_trk…geName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT and if so, is that fair value?

      Is it truly difficult to configure a CRT to work with MAME and 256? Is LCD much easier? That seems to be what I'm gauging here with the responses.
    • CharGP02A wrote:

      Is it truly difficult to configure a CRT to work with MAME and 256? Is LCD much easier?
      Truly difficult? No, I sure with some research and experimentation you'll get it working, after all we've all done it (speaking about other members here).

      Is LCD much easier? Yes, and not just for configuring MAME!

      IF you get a CRT cab, you'll quickly find yourself having to learn about CRT maintenance.
      Convergence problems, cap problems, neckboard pots, flyback adjustments... And let's not forget, if you don't properly discharge first, you could potentially die (unlikely less you suffer from a heart condition but if you're holding the tube when it happens expect to drop it *SMASH*).

      Oh above a Blast City was recommended, I had one and let me be honest with you... That CRT while looking nice is loaded with issues!
      If you get a 2931 (auto switching) it runs the risk of the "black goop of death" have a read (stolen from AO)...

      The "black goop of death" has nothing to do with the failure of a MS2931 chassis. The black goop is potting compound released from the 750 A1 component near the flyback transformer. It is not actually your flyback melting. The potting compound is non conductive and is simply a sign of age. Some monitors may have an issue with the protection circuit; this can lock you out of some of the resolutions and may make you think that the monitor is dead. Jumping H sync and Vsync together should change the resolution and revive the monitor. It was rumored on the Japanese forum 2ch that there may have been a batch of MS2931 released around 1998 which was more likely to experience failure, however it is unknown what the fault is and whether or not it affects only all or some MS2931 manufactured in 1998. Net city monitors (ones made from 1999-2000) may or may not be affected.

      If you get the 2930, it's not auto switching and you need to be flipping dips in addition to changing boards/sources.

      Twistedsymphony named the New Net City as the best stock tri-sync CRT in existence, I'm inclined to agree with him.
      Darksoft: CPS3, CPS2, F3, MVS
      RGB: RECO v2, HAS v3
      invzim: Jammafier v1.6b
      XianXi: JNX Raiden, SC Taito Classic, SC Sega System 16/24
      Frank_fjs: JAMMA Extender (Special Edition)

      The post was edited 1 time, last by jassin000 ().

    • All LCDs have lag... PERIOD, the best low-lag LCDs like those used in competitive gaming or medical equipment, still lag about an average of half a frame(~8ms)... no manufacturer lists lag ratings... "response time" IS NOT LAG if you want to find a low-lag LCD go here: displaylag.com/display-database/ if your display is not on that list and you can't find anyone who has performed a "leonard bodnar" test on it then you can assume that you have no clue what the actual lag is... people's options on how much lag a display has, is almost universally terrible.

      I could write a novel on all the reasons LCDs blow for Classic arcade gaming, there are multiple. However if you are going to use an LCD for MAME, after low lag you're going to want to go as HIGH resolution as possible. because you're going to need to run CRT emulation in MAME to make the games look not like blobby dog-shit. and higher resolution is better for better CRT emulation.

      Getting a CRT to work with System 256 is a breeze... you juts plug it in, getting it to work with MAME requires the special drivers and a video amp (which is built into the JPAC device).

      Getting an LCD to work with system 256 will require a video converter board for SOME games but not for others, getting it to work with MAME requires you just plug it in, HOWEVER in order to run CRT emulation in MAME requires just as much as much software tweaking as getting the CRT drivers setup...

      Assuming you actually care what the resulting picture looks like, it's the same amount of work no matter what you do.


      For $500 you can buy a system 256 and build a proper MAME PC, but that wont include the cost of the display, cabinet or any controls
      Buy 3D Printed Parts: bit-district.com
      Projects: instagram | blog
      Games: VAPS | VOOT | UMK3 | RFM | Vewlix | FiF Jr. | KI2 | E29 | Net City | DDR | Flash Beats
      Wanted | For Sale/Trade