02 January 2020

Building a light gun arcade machine

I've been working on an arcade machine project on and off. My brother put together the screen and case while I worked on the internals and software.

It's still not completely done, but below are some shots of the work in progress.

As far as the software side of things goes, it can be difficult to get old games up and running on Windows 10, and making it work with the Aimtrak light guns we're using.

I won't post any full documentation until it's done and 100% working, but here's some software that's been invaluable in getting it up and running. The purpose of each is pretty self explanatory.

Splash screen and custom logo

Game selection screen

House of the Dead II in action

I've got a booklet for quickly noting down controls for each game as we get them working - the alternative is mashing the keyboard trying to remember which key triggered a coin insert - especially frustrating after a couple of beers.

Before the paintjob, and before the board was stowed away.

A shot of the board all plugged in

The board hosting the computer and power supplies, codenamed "Ullr" for the nording god of the hunt (seemed appropriate for the light gun games). Everything's secured with velcro, making all of the hardware easy to pick up and move, with only a single power lead running to it, and the HDMI/cables for the gunes all being routed away neatly, reduces the chance of everything getting tangled up.

This tidyness was short lived when we replaced the little atom micro PC with an ex-business machine. The atom wasn't pulling it's weight, but the i5 6500 in this machine handles everything we need it to, including playing our PS2 and Gamecube games.