Monday, July 17, 2006

Stage 11: Risk vs. Reward

Having expertly detached the massive 25" arcade monitor from its nest within the old cabinet, I set about devising a method with which to properly use this beheomoth, pictured at right. Preliminary research about arcade monitors told me two very important things:

1) They reproduce MAME games far more faithfully than TV sets or even PC monitors. This is a good thing.

2) They have a tendency to implode, catch fire, shatter and shoot out arcs or electricity up to 25,000 volts if you don't know what you're doing with them, which of course, I don't. This is a bad thing.

This left me in a bit of a pickle, as I wasn't even sure if this bloody thing even worked and I was somewhat terrified to find out.

A small primer on arcade monitors: They look like gutted TV sets, but they are much different in reality. To find out of this thing worked or not, I (or preferably, a proxy agent working under my direction) would need to hack the power cord so it would function with the transformer and power supply currently in my possession.

Also, I'd have to find a way to actually send a proper signal to this monster, which is more complicated than just hooking it up to a PC as the signal has to be a precise (and very outdated) 15khz frequency, else you'll end up with a cooked monitor, which I think would look very much like the expert illustration seen here.

More time on the interweb later, and I had the solution: The ArcadeVGA video card, which appears to be custom-made for just the type of project I am embarking on. So I whipped out my credit card (thank you, Mr. Esquire) and ordered one post haste.

This card will make the TV-Out Video Card I already bought for this project moot, but I am sure I can find a home for it. Also, since I have a backup cabinet in the form of that Tetris-clone, if this massive monitor fails to pass muster, I can essentially dump my CPU into the Tetris cab and simply pull a switcheroo on the wiring. Wahoo!

Confident in the new monitor plan and having time to kill as I waited for the newest piece of the puzzle to arrive, I sat down with the CPU and dove into some esthetic and performance work on the brains of the MAME.

Monday, July 10, 2006

** Interlude Complete **

Right - my three week vacation has officially ended, and my return to work coincides with a marked increase in my sobriety as well as a renewed interest in my blog. I promise to get cracking on updating this sumbitch in the coming days.