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Tempest MAME - 2012


EricBall

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Due to my basement purge, my Tempest cabinet is getting an upgrade from a P3-450(?) to an Athlon XP 2000+ (1.2GHz).

 

The first step is to install Windows XP. Although this PC previously had XP installed, it's hard drive now contains Mythbuntu and is in a different PC. As I detailed in my previous entry, I spent several hours trying to get a 37GB drive to format before giving up and dropping in a 10GB drive (which I formatted FAT32). I managed to find the XP manual & key and the install went smoothly from there (other than one heart-stopper when it wouldn't boot after I put in the cards).

 

But then came trying to update. I know XP is no longer supported, but would it kill MS to make installing SP3 a little less difficult? The default Windows Update won't work, the SP3 installer won't work without SP1 or SP2 and one of those is broken too. But after digging through multiple dead links and dead ends, I did install SP3, which then asked to download a huge number of security fixes. But it's done. I also installed the current drivers for the motherboard (older) & chipset (newer), so I should be golden for graphics & sound.

 

The second step was to update my ROM set from 0.97 to 0.146 (current). To my shock the ROM set is now 42GB! (0.97 fit on 3 DVDs) And that's without the CHDs (250+GB) and extras (15GB). It's a good thing I kept some of my old drives and could drop in an 80GB to store it. But before joining the torrent swarm, I tried to use ClrMamePro to bring my 0.97 files as close to current as possible. After several hours of trying to TorrentZip the results, I gave up and decided to let the torrent figure out if any of the files hadn't changed.

 

I ended up downloading 39GB for the ROM set and 15GB for the extras - and blew through my 60GB monthly download limit. On the plus side the month starts on the 24th, so I only had to last a couple of days before the limit reset. But on the down side I now know the limit warnings are based upon the previous day, not current.

 

In any case, I'm now complete and ready to rock. One challenge with the Tempest cabinet is it only has the original controls: a spinner and two buttons (plus the player buttons) and a vertical monitor. Great for playing Tempest, not good for 90% of the other games. However, I discovered last night that MAME will let me use mouse left/right for joystick left/right. This means I can play Space Invaders and lots of other games - not just Tempest and Cameltry. I've made up a list of over 100 possible games. MAME also had a primitive, but functional, game selection screen, so I can play even without setting up a front end.

 

I need to do some research to figure out what front end I want to use. Previously I'd used AtomicFE, but it's no longer being developed. 3D Arcade looks cool (especially the cylinder select), but has the same problem. Maybe I need to spend some time on BYOAC and find out what's current and can be used with my spinner CP.

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It's alive! It wasn't even that tough to bring the cabinet back to life. The amp & speakers worked, the monitor powered up fine and it wasn't difficult to get the controls configured. So I spent some time last night playing Tempest, Space Invaders and a few other games. The spinner works surprisingly well as a two-way joystick (for Space Invaders at least - it's a little worse for Mario Bros and Pac Land). Now I need to get the front-end set up and go through all of the games and tweak the controls. Then there's some hardware work to get the coin door working and the LEDs in the volcano buttons.

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