Arcade machine advice - Controls etc

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by darkmenace, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    Hi all

    I have a home built upright arcade machine. It's about 10 years old and used to have a P4 in it and now i'm in the process of putting my old Raspberry Pi 3B+ in there. Note I am only really interested in playing mame games from the 90s and earlier.

    I've noticed both on the Pi and on PC my existing joysticks are not very responsive. In games like Mortal Kombat I find trying to get the player to jump left/right of screen often results in just a vertical jump instead for example. I've not determined whether it is the Zippy joysticks are crap or there is an issue with the PS2 IPAC2 encoder I use, which connects to PC/Pi with a PS2 to USB adapter. Either way, I am open to spending some money to fix and was thinking of getting a couple of Sanwa Joysticks and possibly two zero delay encoders. I noticed Jaycar sell what looks like a zero delay encoder for $19.95.

    Anyone got any specific suggestions on where/what to get in terms of Sanwa joysticks and encoders?

    Cheers
    DM
     
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  2. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    I'd try a new stick first as the ipac should be ok.
    no technical or practical experience here, just that I thought they are a quality unit ???
    calling elvis

    the encoders are cheap as.
    a xinmo or zero delay off eBay or AliExpress
    no need to pay extra from Jaycar :)

    edit for fight stick the Sanwa jlf is good. loads of knockoffs these days so choose carefully

    edit 2 . there's a controller thread here somewhere. do some digging as Elvis has probably answered this question more then a few times :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I had a lengthy thread on Aussie Arcade about different brand sticks. Can't remember if I got it copied over here. Maybe that's a task for the weekend.

    But yeah, short version, crap sticks are crap. iPac/JPac style encoders are awesome. The zero-delay encoders are quite good too (USB delay is what it is, but the encoders are 100% digital and on/off without any mucking about or signal weirdness).

    Zippy joysticks are indeed crap. The microswitches wear out quite quickly. But also your gate (the thing that stops the stick from moving about into certain spots) might suck.

    I'm short on time this evening, but the short version is you really want one of the following brand sticks:
    * Sanwa
    * Seimitsu
    * Happ

    Sanwa and Seimitsu are very typical Japanese style ones (loose spring, short to mid throw), versus Happ which is your standard US/EU style stick (tight spring, long throw).

    Happ was the standard for MK cabinets worldwide, and what most people remember if they played them back in the day. I used to have Happ sticks in my cabs EONS ago, but grew to dislike them as I got deeper into Japanese shmups and fighters. It's 100% personal preference, but those three brands are IMHO the best when it comes to quality and things like hitting your corners.

    Sanwa and Seimitsu also offer "octagonal gates" as addons for their sticks. These are very popular with fighting game fans who need to roll the stick around for special moves. Not so popular with shmuppers however.

    Hard to recommend one thing over another due to personal preference, but generally speaking "crappy controls" comes down to sticks more than encoders in my experience.

    I'll try and get that Aussie Arcade thread copied over here one day.
     
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  4. underskore

    underskore Member

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    Just to chime in and say that for the price you might as well get some octagonal gates but don't get hung up on needing them... I've just taken one out of the stick I use most.
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    Thanks all. Ozstick appear to sell the legit Sanwa’s so I’ll take the plunge and buy those I reckon.
     
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  6. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    it's where I got my JLW's. I grabbed some JLF's from the for sale forums here a while back too
     
  7. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I prefer JLFs for fighters, but JLWs are really nice for just about everything else.
     
  9. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    I'm into beat em ups and shmups more than fighters so makes sense for me to run JLWs. Maybe a JLF would help me better enjoy fighters but I think I'm more into the simplicity of having a shoot button and a bomb button rather than learning and pulling off combos.
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    I might try JLF myself given my penchant for MK 1-3.

    At the moment regardless of whether I use my Ipac 2 or zero delay encoder, mame 2003 on Pi is not detecting my button/joy presses reliably even when trying to remap buttons.

    Thinking ill go back to a small windows PC in the cab. At least then I can use a version of MAME that’s been written after the start of the Iraq war!
     
  11. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'll attempt to build a recent MAME for RPi4 and do an input test on it. Will likely take hours/days to compile, but my Pi4 is all heatsinked up so it should be fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  12. flain

    flain Member

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    I had quite a few lag issues with RPI builds, i think it just comes down to the sum of the lag-chain when you add everything up. One thing the OP mentions is Mortal Kombat, which is one of those games with a lot of internal game lag (compared to other titles). If you add up game lag + display lag + controller and USB input lag + emulation lag it's not that uncommon to end up with a lot more lag than the original. This is why some games will seem just fine on emulation via PI, while other games might push the input lag just high enough to notice. On a bad PI setup an easy test is load up super mario world on a SNES emulator, then hold the controller near the screen and press jump - i've seen bad setups have a very noticeable delay between hearing the button press and seeing Mario jump.

    One question i have is what type of screen is in the arcade you built, is it a CRT (0 lag), or is it a LCD?

    In theory, PS/2 shouldn't add lag since its not a polling based thing but instead uses interrupts - so there is a possibility that the encoder is adding some lag but without testing it i wouldn't know. With USB you can change the polling rate which works for most devices to bring the latency down to 1-3ms.

    That then leaves two other factors for lag - the game code itself and the emulation software being used.
     
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  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    It's also got an odd refresh. 54.706840 Hz according to the MAME driver, which means with vsync it's going to do all sorts of not cool things.

    I'm hoping MAME can support double-refresh with VRR soon (double the framerate, update the screen on each second frame but allow input register on every frame, allow 120+Hz monitors with gsync/freesync/VRR to deal with whacky arcade frame rates). That will make a lot of these weird refresh rate games suck a whole lot less.

    Compile started at 11:30. Still going at 4:20. Go go little RPi4!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  14. underskore

    underskore Member

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    Very interested to see how this turns out.
    (Assuming you might also have comparison numbers for common emulators preferably on pi3)
     
  15. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    I got some Sanwa copies from AliExpress a couple of weeks back for around $15 each and they feel very close to the Sanwa JLFs I love. I have no idea how long they'll last but they are built as a JLF replica... the only way I can tell them apart is that they're a tiny bit 'clickier'.
     
  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I compiled MAME 0.230 under TwisterOS 2.0.0, based off Raspian Buster, based off Debian 10 Buster. Run the following to find out your version:

    Code:
    lsb_release -a
    
    Arch is "armhf", so it should in theory run on any 32bit Raspbian/RaspberryPiOS installed on an RPi3 or RPi4.

    Grab the compressed binary here (70MB):
    https://stickfreaks.com/ocau/mame0230armhf.zst

    Install zstd, decompress (it's 330MB decompressed), make executable:
    Code:
    sudo apt install -y zstd
    unzstd mame0230armhf.zst
    chmod a+x mame0230armhf
    
    Check to make sure you've got all the libraries you need:
    Code:
    ldd mame0230armhf
    
    Anything that shows "not found" in that list needs to be installed with APT.

    Once done, just run it like normal command line MAME. If you want to run it via a front end, just slap it in your $PATH somewhere and rename it to "mame".

    NFI how to run this with RetroArch. They turn it into a library or some weird thing I don't understand. Just try normal CLI execution with the games that were giving you trouble and see what happens.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
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  17. OP
    OP
    darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    Nice work Elvis. I’ll give this a try when time permits.

    I ended up revisiting my arcade machine this arvo and messing around with it. Even stripped one of the Zippy joysticks down and cleaned some gunk out of it and it seems to be working pretty well now. Ill get the machine back to a workable level and then I’ll probably still try Sanwa JSF’s.

    To clarify Retropie/Mame 03 is now responding to IPAC2 controls. I wonder whether I just had too many usb controllers plugged in at once. Still not 100% sure why it seems ok now, but im happy nonetheless. Next step is to try Batocera again as my frontend.
     
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  18. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    Possibly the same as what's listed here:
    https://www.ozstick.com.au/product/sanwa-jlf-joystick/

    (These are what I've been thinking about trying)
     
  19. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Good stuff.

    Sounds like you had a classic "joystick schmoo" problem.

    You can get various silicon based lubes to apply to the stick to keep it running smoothly after a clean. It can catch a bit of dust and grime, so some people prefer it perfectly clean, but if your gaming area isn't too dusty, it can help it stay in good nick.

    Quick edit - looks like that MAME build chooses some bad video driver defaults when it runs.

    Add in the command line flag "-video accel" or "-video opengl" to get the framerate up, otherwise it's very slow when software scaling. I get 180-200% speed on "mk" unthrottled when playing on my RPi4 overclocker to 2.0GHz using those flags.

    Also add "-nofilter" if you don't like the default bilinear filtering it does, and want sharp pixels instead.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
  20. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    I need to clean the Hori PS1 fighting sticks I've got. I have a can of silicon lubricant for my treadmill belt I was considering giving them a spray of that once I clean them out. One feels much worse than the other currently with one direction in particular being a bit ..."gummy"

    Buttons are a no brainer though - isopropyl cotton tip/bud to remove any gunk and the friction is gone!
     

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