Whilst initially happy with the cabinet, there is always of course room for improvement. The first thing I did, was to make my own marquee with the aid of an Epson A3 inkjet printer and special Epson Backlit Film. I'll include a photie of what this looks like and the hi-res image for download in case anyone else wants to use it, at some point.
The only problem is I had to print it in two parts, as the paper wasn't big enough to cover the entire marquee area. Also it doesn't sit flush with the glass in all areas, and in daylight doesn't look perfect.
Ideally I think the best way to do this is to buy more glass, but half the thickness and sandwich it between two sheets. I'll probably do this at the same time I replace the monitor glass, which I'll do when I shoe horn in a bigger display.
I also plan in the future to put a 19" monitor in there, but the one I have lying around doesn't fit, being too deep. However I believe with the plastic case removed, it should just fit inside. However this exposes a lot of dangerous voltages, just like a real arcade monitor, which was one of the reasons I hadn't gone for one of those in the first place.
Perhaps in the future I may find a large monitor (maybe even 21") with a much shallower depth. I am aware that at least one manufacturer is trying to extend the life of CRT technology by developing these, so fingers crossed for this one!
A small amount of paint on the control panel has chipped off, and needs to be repaired. For four years of use (though I wouldn't call it hard use) that isn't bad going. And it is easily repaired, just need to get around to it.
Also, one thing I installed was a cpu temperature monitor in the system tray, which would shutdown the PC if it got too hot. Now the spec of the PC I built was an Athlon 1.33 with a VIA chipset motherboard, and I have a spare cpu lying around anyway, so after this turned out to shutdown the system too often for my liking in the summer, that has now been nuked.
If it suffers overheat problems, it should start freezing long before damage occurs, and it hasn't so far.
Now onto a final tale, one that occurred near Christmas 2005. I thought it'd be a great idea to swap Win98SE (which was doing some annoying disc swapping sometimes for no reason) for OpenBSD. I got XMAME working, and installed AdvanceMenu, with the final plan being to install Daphne as well.
Unfortunately I couldn't get the I-PAC programmer (for which there was source for Linux) working, it seems the kernel was getting in the way. But thankfully I had backed up my working cabinet install a year or so earlier onto CD, courtesy of Windows Backup.
So I reinstalled Win98SE, and restored the backup. I then decided to dump MAME32 in favour of AdvanceMenu and AdvanceMAME, and even got Daphne installed and working with this front end too.
To top it all off, I purchased a copy of 98Lite, which has really stripped down and optimised my OS nicely. Less crap in RAM means faster booting, faster loading, and so on.
Alas I decided to keep my roms (only MAME not Daphne) now on a networked drive, which makes anything larger than a certain size take forever to load, not sure why. Something that I need to fix.
Also if you were wondering why I chose Win98SE? Well in a bare bones install, and even more so with 98Lite, it is fast, stable and not very resource hungry. Also it is the only OS that supports my Act-Labs light guns, as I have the gameport dual guns model. I hope to hack mame to work with these at some point.
So my current setup is as follows:
- Athlon 1.33Ghz CPU
- Abit motherboard (forgotten what one)
- 256mb RAM
- Windows 98: Special Edition
- Custom startup/shutdown screens
- Custom wallpaper
I'll try and put up downloads for the latter two one day, just in case anyone is interested in using them.