Nano Mame Cabinet        
A fully-functioning, pocket-sized MAME cabinet


|| iPod Mame || Prototype Cabinet || Ms. Pac Cabinet || Links || Press ||


i P o d   M a m e

Starting mid February 2006, I started helping out with the MAME port to iPodLinux. I wasn't the one who started it, but I helped re-organize it, and have been doing a bunch of driver, graphics blitter, and input routine work on it.

I also integrated into the binary package two romsets that I made a few years back as "example" romsets to show how roms should be layed out in the filesystem.

Although it's not proper MAME hacking, I have made lots of modifications to the Pac and Ms.Pac graphics roms using my Turaco CL game graphics extractor/builder tool and Photoshop. This was necessary since the original graphics and font were made for 8x8 pixel characters, and to display it on the Nano's screen, it has to be halved, reducing the font down to a 4x4 pixel font. Due to spacing between the characters, this means that the font is really 3x4 pixels. Surprisingly enough, the font I created actually is readable on the iPod screen.


An example of the pac-man character set, 8x8 font.


This is the pac-man graphics set, after converted to a 4x4 font


Since the graphics look bad, here's a "filled" map, instead of outlined map


The Ms. Pac-Man version...


The sprite set. Just some tweaks for lettering. "400" -> "4C" etc.


The Ms. Pac sprite set.

Here's an example of an earlier version of the 4x4 font in a half-res version of Ms. Pac. (This is before I reworked the "S" for example.) This is how iPod Photo users will see it: (Once it works on iPod Photo)



Prototype Cabinet



more pics
more screenshots

I had planed on building a cabinet with full side art, but the above cabinet was meant to prototype the process... I wanted to see how well it would look, how it would fit together, and I wanted to determine exactly how much work it would take to build. The 0 cabinet is made out of black foam-core, and held together with gobs of hot glue. To keep it from toppling over, I hot glued about 10 pennies to the inside of the bottom panel. Not elegant, but it works. I neglected to photograph the construction process, but I've taken lots of construction photos for the Ms. Pac cab below.

To get the cabinet scale right, I found measurements and plans on the net for a fullsized Ms.Pac cabinet. Fullsize cabinets are about 67 inches tall, and have a 19" monitor. The iPod Nano has a 1.5" screen, meaning it results in a cabinet approximately 5" tall. The same simple math can be applied to determine cabinet size for a 5g iPod version as well. I don't own one, so I didn't bother to build a cabinet on that scale.

I have a PDF I've been working on with side art and front art to be glued to the next cabinet. I'm also considering having a backlit marquee in a future model too.

The PDF will be available soon...



Ms. Pac Cabinet



more pics

Yay! The first regular version is done. I learned a bunch of stuff while making this one too. Once again, I learned that hot glue HURTS, but I've also got the knack for spray adhesive. Whee!

The gallery for this cab has step-by step photos of the construction process.

I started by spraying the laser-printed artwork with spray-adhesive. I put two sets of the artwork on the foamcore since I screwed up the first one. Once that dried, I carefully cut out the pieces, and figured out the best way to assemble them, playing it by ear. I'm not sure I'd have the monitor bezel and control panel as separate pieces from eachother or from the coindoor area, but it worked out okay... although with much more work than I intended.

I found out that the t-molding on the original was black, so leaving the foamcore edge was okay. I'd like to pick up some black fabric paint for the next one though.

I made the graphics using various .AI files I found on the net, color corrected and balanced them, then assembled them all onto one sheet in OmniGraffle.

I think I've got a good idea on how to do a backlit marquee for the next one. Perhaps I should also try to make other cabinet styles as well.. Centipede, Reactor, etc... hehe.



Links

Turaco CL rom graphics hack tool.
iPod Linux project page
iPod Mame project page
Screenshots of it running on my Nano
images of the arcade cabinet


Press

Nano Mame Cabinet
Electronic Gaming Monthly for 2006-May, page 20 featured this little blurb.
This Week In Tech episode 45 mentioned the project at about 51 minutes in.
Boing Boing
Gizmodo
Oh Gizmo!
Kotaku
Digg.com
Make
Frostyplace, which calls me "Linux Hacker BleuLlama", with lots of non-latin text around it. heh.

iPod Mame

Real Tech News
electron soup
iLounge.com
fark.com
Engadget
digg.com

"Pac-Man", "Ms. Pac-Man" etc are all registered trademarks of Namco and Midway. "iPod" is a registered trademark of Apple. This project is not in any way sponsored by any companies, nor is any affiliation expressed or implied. This is all me... with help from the iPod Linux team, of course. ;)

All photos taken by Scott Lawrence, using a Canon Optura Xi DV/still camera.