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DISPLAYING CONTROL PANEL HINTS IN A FRONT END AND OTHER TRICKS

This page is the guide to a procedure researched by Tiger-Heli which lets you view the correct arrangement and configuration of buttons and controllers for a particular Arcade game through the screenshot/controller window of your frontend. It explains how to use and integrate these images into your frontend and how to produce them yourself should you wish to do so. The procedure has been supported and approved by the authors of the EmuLoader, Arcade@Home, 1-Up and MAME Wizard frontends. Here's an example of what this will look like on your screen:

Emuloader.png (106622 bytes)

Here are fullsize screenshots of what it will look like with the frontend of your choice:

1-UP Normal Screen

1-UP showing Flyers window

Arcade@Home

Emuloader

MAME Wizard

Quick download the essential files here:

Ready made Image Files (39 so far) in .png format to be placed in MAME screenshots folder for immediate use

Word files to be used to create your own Image Files

"Mini Panels" Word file with templates for buttons and controllers to create your own Controller images

BACKGROUND

We’ve all been there . . . Last week you downloaded a whole bunch of ROMs and set up the control mappings in your favorite emulator. Now you want to play the games again and you can’t remember which button to press or even how many buttons the original game actually used. The above image shows my solution.

The image screen in the front end shows an image containing a drawing of both the original control panel (showing the controls used in the original game) and YOUR arcade panel (showing what controls are used to play the game on your cabinet/computer).

The procedure has been verified and works well with the 1-Up, Arcade@Home, EmuLoader, and MAME wizard front ends. The same procedure could be applied to any front end which supports viewing of images associated with a game, but the image size might need to (and could) be adjusted. The procedures work best with a front end that allows multiple image windows and resizing of image windows.

This procedure describes how to use the Word ’97 files available below to create control panel images for use in the front-end. Alternately, instead of using the Word files to create the images, images generated in Photoshop or a similar paint program could also be used. The general concept would be the same.

These procedures have been verified on two different computer systems running 17-inch monitors at -1024x768. Required image sizes on other monitors/resolutions may be different, but can be easily determined.

NOTE: The original control panel drawings are meant as pictorial representations of the original panels. They are not meant to be true scale representations. I will not even verify that the button names are correct. In some cases, they are merely determined by the control action in MAME. In this case, "Not Verified" is shown in the panel description. If you see any errors in these files, send an E-mail me and I will try to correct it. (Please don’t E-mail, for example, that your Arkanoid game has start buttons on the side instead of the top of the control panel. Most of these games were also sold as conversions so button placement is fairly arbitrary.)

IMPORTANT NOTE * YOUR HELP REQUESTED *

Did you build your own word file or PNG image for a game you know the layout of? By all means send it to me! I will add it to the list stating your name and e-mail (if desired)! (I eventually may modify your file slightly for consistency with the existing documents.) Reach me here

UPDATE: A SIMPLER SOLUTION

Jeremu sent me 27 templates showing various control configurations for the Hot Rod SE controller.  Here is a screenshot of his template in Emuloader (Click to enlarge):

EL-jeremu.png (126784 bytes)

And here are the templates: Jeremu's Templates

USAGE: Unzip the template file to any folder.  For each game, select the template file that matches the game controls. Copy this file to the appropriate folder for display in your frontend and rename it as gamename.png.  Repeat for each additional game.  You're all set!

NOTE:  These files could be easily modified in any graphics editing program for use with alternate controller layouts.  With this method, you lose the control functionality (What does Button A do?  Does pressing A and B together do anything?), but this could also be added on a per-game basis in any graphics editor.

UPDATE 2:  CUSTOM HOT ROD TEMPLATES

Jeremu sent me 31 templates showing various control configurations for the Hot Rod SE controller.  Here is a screenshot of his template in Emuloader (Click to enlarge):

EL-jeremu.png (126784 bytes)

And here are the templates: Jeremu's HotRod Templates

USAGE: Unzip the template file to any folder.  For each game, select the template file that matches the game controls. Copy this file to the appropriate folder for display in your frontend and rename it as gamename.png.  Repeat for each additional game.  You're all set!

BACK TO MY ORIGINAL METHOD:

PROGRAMS REQUIRED

The following files are required to use this procedure.

  1. Windows 95 or later. (The general concept could be applied in other operating systems.)
  2. Image editing software capable of reading screenshots (.bmp) and converting to a format which your front end can display (.png for Emuloader) I used Irfanview which is FreeWare. Get it here
  3. Word and/or drawing processing software such as:
    1. Word 97 or Word 2000. (Either one will work and access to one of these programs is the preferred method.
    2. Word ’97 File Viewer. (Required to view the Word files when a different word processing program is used.) One came with my modem software CD. For Windows 95 and up, it is available from  it is available from here A Windows 3.1 Version is available from here )
    3. Staroffice 5.2 If you don’t have access to Word, you can use use StarOffice 5.2 (freeware) , Generally, Star Office will do a good job of reading these files and you should be able to work with them pretty well, as is, but Word will have some problems handling them if you save them back as Word ’97 files. Before you start, I recommend using the File Viewer before manipulating the images in Staroffice.
    4. Other software. (requires Word file viewer).
  4. Front End - obviously. See the Official MAME Page and click on Front Ends for links to programs compatible with MAME.
  5. Emulators - not much purpose without one. See  http://www.mameworld.net  for various ones.

FILES AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

The following files are available for download at the end of this write-up. The files use the MAME primary game name for the file, as this is typically used by front ends. Clone games are not shown, unless they use a different panel layout than the original game. I have tried to indicate files which are copies of another file, in case you want to use one file only to save disk space (if your front end supports this):

    1. Word files.zip - This includes all the control panel images and this write-up in Word format. A file named 1_Mini_Panels.doc is also included which has individual control panel items that I have designed and you may use to show your control panel layout. These files must be converted to graphic files for use in the front end.
    2. Individual Word files - These are used to show what files are available or if you only need to update one game.
    3. PNG Files.zip - These files contain only the original control panel image in .PNG format. These files are approximately 824x275 pixels. By the time this guide is available, most front ends will support scalable image windows which can handle this file size. If your front end requires a smaller file size, I recommend downloading the Word files and converting them to the required image size. These files serve 4 purposes:
      1. If you have no access to Word, you can use these files to see what the panel layout is by viewing these files.
      2. You can unzip these files to a directory and preview them in Irfanview to determine which Word file to use.
      3. If you want a separate directory for original panel images only, you can unzip these files to that directory and view them in the front end.
      4. If you don’t want to create images of your panels in Word (you know PhotoShop or some other program better), but don’t want to create new images for the original control panels, you can use these files to make your own panels as follows:
        1. Create a new blank 824x550 image.
        2. Paste this image into the new file.
        3. Create an 824x275 image of YOUR control panel showing the proper keys to press.
        4. Paste this image into the new file.
        5. Save the new file.

NOTE: Microsoft Photo Editor (part of the Office Suite) allows pasting of multiple images into a new image in this way. I’m sure other programs will also.

CONCEPT PLANNING

I drew approximately 1/4 scale (2 inches by 6 inches for the control panel) images of the original control panel and the required buttons on my control panel for MAME. This seems to work nicely, however; other layouts are possible. You may want to display only the original control panel or to display the original control panel in one front end window and the arcade control panel in another front end window. Alternately, you may want to display only your control panel and not the original panel. I will explain what I did and it should be obvious how to adapt this for other options.

GENERAL BACKGROUND CONCEPTS

This procedure works by creating an image of the original and arcade control panel in Micro$oft Word ’97. A screen shot of this panel is taken and pasted into an image processing application. The image is cropped and saved in a format which can be used by the frontend.

Since these panel images contain text, it is helpful if the image is as large as possible. Also, because text does not enlarge/reduce very well, it works best to turn stretching off in the Front End image view (if applicable), and to use the View Zoom command in Word to adjust the image size rather than to adjust the image size in the image processing application.

Also, while the 824 pixel format that I am often using is larger than the default for many of the front ends, most of the front ends that don’t allow image resizing, do auto-scale the image. I have discovered through trial and error that scaling an 824-pixel image down usually produces useable results, while scaling anything with text up produces less than desirable results.

LITTLE KNOWN (BUT NECESSARY) M$OFT WORD CONCEPTS

A good knowledge of Word is very helpful in accomplishing this procedure. In addition, I would like to mention the following items:

    1. Hidden Images - All of the pre-setup panels are displayed in a table in a Word file. If you select "Send Behind Text", the image disappears behind the file and cannot be selected. This happens in both Word 2000 and Word 97. (The files were created in Word ’97). I am trying to avoid this type of error but may not have caught it in all cases. If you try clicking on a graphic image and nothing happens, try the following to copy the image:
      1. Ensure only individual text and not an entire table cell is highlighted.
      2. Move the cursor over the outside border of the table until the cursor changes to two lines with arrows.
      3. Click and drag the cursor inward until the table boundary is inside the control panel image.
      4. Click the image to select it and right click the image and select copy to copy it.
      5. Paste the image in the new file.
    2. Grouping of image items - Word supports grouping of image items. This is a useful feature because, for example, the control panel border and the joystick and buttons can all be copied and pasted at one time. However, if you only want part of the image, (you want to leave the panel and buttons, but delete the joystick) use the following steps:
      1. To know what is grouped:
        1. Place the cursor over the image. When the cursor becomes 4 arrows, click on the image item that you want to select. (Corner boxes may appear on a larger item).
        2. With the cursor still as 4 arrows, hold down the Ctrl key and click and drag the item to a different area of the page. This will make and move a copy of the group of images. Note what items moved. Click undo.
      2. To ungroup items:
        1. Place the cursor over the image. When the cursor becomes 4 arrows, click on the image item that you want to select. (Corner boxes may appear on a larger item).
        2. With the cursor still as 4 arrows, right-click on the image and select Ungroup.
        3. Repeat steps (1) and (2) until the desired image may be selected.
      3. To group items together:
        1. Place the cursor over the image. When the cursor becomes 4 arrows, click on the image item that you want to select. (Corner boxes will appear).
        2. Hold down the Shift key.
        3. Move the cursor over the next item (s) that you wish to group and click on the item (s) to select.
        4. When all desired items are selected, right click on the item and select Group.

      NOTE: Many items and subitems can be grouped and ungrouped. Groups can be moved or copied. For example, two circles are grouped together to form a pushbutton. This pushbutton is copied five times to form the Player 1 pushbuttons. Five circles are grouped together to form a joystick. The joystick and six pushbuttons are grouped together to form Player 1 controls. The Player 1 controls are copied to create the Player 2 controls. The Player 1 and Player 2 controls are grouped to a square to form the control panel.

    3. Changing Color or Properties of Group Items - Generally, I use the following colors, but you can use anything you want: Red - for action buttons, clear for unused buttons, yellow for 1P or 2P Start buttons, green for coin input buttons, orange for pause buttons. The following procedure is used to change colors and image properties.
      1. Place the cursor over the image. When the cursor becomes 4 arrows, click on the image item that you want to select. (Corner boxes will appear).
      2. Right-click the image and select: Format object.
      3. On the menu that appears, select the following tabs and settings:
        1. Colors and Lines - To select a color for the buttons, click on fill color and select a color. If you select a dark color, select "Line color" to make it light (white). The line width can also be set on this screen.
        2. Size - Use these commands to adjust the image size and width. If "Lock Aspect Ratio" is checked, both dimensions will change proportionally.
        3. Position - Click "Float Over Text" to allow manual positioning of the image. I usually position the image relative to the page.
        4. Wrapping - Select None. This will allow you to text over the image for button labels, etc.

      NOTE: If items are grouped, changing properties affects all items in the group.

    4. Layering of image items - Word supports layering of image items. Items may be moved in front of or in back of other image items. Sometimes, an item may disappear behind another image item. The layering may be adjusted by selecting and right clicking the item and selecting either "Send backward", "Send Forward", "Send to Back", or "Send to Front".
    5. Moving or copying image items - Items may be moved or copied as follows:
      1. Select the item(s) as shown above.
      2. Click and drag the item to the new location.
      3. Holding down Shift allows multiple items to be selected.
      4. Holding down Ctrl copies the image instead of moving it.
      5. Holding down Alt allows the image to be positioned precisely, instead of snapping to a predefined grid.
      6. The above commands may be used at the same time.
      7. Multiple images may be selected together and moved as a group without using the grouping functions.
    6. Text Boundaries - This is a individual (user’s machine) setting for Word. Generally when building the files I leave Text Boundaries on so I can tell if words are in a text box or if the table width lines up with the margin. Be sure to turn it off before converting the image to a graphic file or it will show up in your image. To change the setting: From the Word Menu Bar, Select Tools - Options. Under the View tab, check/uncheck Show - Text Boundaries.
    7. Image Positions - Image positions indicate the location of the upper left corner of the image.
    8. Positioning of Text - I use the following method to position the Button Label Text on the Document.
      1. Select ARIAL 10 point Bold (my personal preference).
      2. Type the first row of text. Use Ctrl-Tab to move the text over or just use the space bar.
      3. Type return twice.
      4. Type the next row of text.
      5. Move up to the row between the text rows.
      6. From the Word Menu bar, select Format - Font and select size 1. Press space so Word knows there is a character on the line.
      7. Press return to move the text down one point at a time until the text is properly postioned.
      8. Repeat steps (3) through (7) for the next row of text.
      9. In some cases, you may even need less than one point of space between text in this case, in which case, you may use a text box.
      10. In some cases, you may move text away from the button and use a leader line to point to it.

REFERENCE DOCUMENT FORMATS

The following data is provided for people setting up these documents in StarOffice or other programs. It is not required if you can edit the files in Word.

    1. Page Format - The paper size is 8.5 x 11. The margins are top and bottom - 0.5 inches, Left 0.75 inches, Right - 0.25 inches
    2. There is one point of space between the top margin and the start of the table.
    3. The table is the entire width of the margins.
    4. There are 5 rows in the table (although only the bottom 2 are used). The row heights are 22 points, 92 points, 240 points, 180 points, and 180.4 points. The row boundaries are set to 0.04 inches.
    5. The text in the tables is indented 0.75 inches on the left and right sides.
    6. Button callouts are 10-point Arial Bold.
    7. The format for the image items is as follows:
      1. Pushbuttons (top view): a 0.22-inch diameter above a 0.33-inch diameter circle, grouped together.
      2. Pushbuttons (side view): a 0.04 by 0.33 inch rectangle and a 0.07 by 0.24 inch rectangle. The 0.33 inch wide rectangle is positioned on top and the 0.07-inch tall rectangle is positioned so that only the lower 0.03 inches protrudes.
      3. Joysticks - Overall dimensions - 0.8 inches tall by 0.71 inches wide. A 0.29 inch circle is drawn in the center of the joystick for the knob diameter. Four 0.06-inch circles are drawn on the inside edges of the outer dimensions of the joystick for the for the mounting bolts.
      4. Trackballs - The 2 inch trackball is displayed as follows: a 1.5 inch black square. Centered and placed over this are a 0.69 and a 0.58 inch diameter white circle. The 3-inch trackball is displayed as follows: a 1.63 inch black square. Centered and placed over this are a 0.75 and a 0.63 inch diameter white circle.
      5. Spinner knobs - The outer knob is a 0.5 inch diameter black circle. The finger dimple is shown as a 0.13 inch diameter gray knob with a white border. This is arbitrarily placed on the knob where it "looks right".
      6. All other items were either drawn full size and reduced to 25%, drawn to what I thought looked about right (yokes), or the dimensions are not critical (arrows).

DETERMINING THE REQUIRED IMAGE SIZE

This step is recommended. However, if you don’t want to bother with it, the default image size of 824 pixels wide should work well with most front ends, especially front ends that scale the image, which most do.

The correct image size may be determined as follows.

    1. Open one of the png files. This will normally be an 824x275 pixel image.
    2. Copy the file to the appropriate directory for your front end (Either a dedicated Panel Hints directory, or I often use the Flyers directory.)
    3. Run the front end the way you normally will view it (maximized or normal) (your usual screen resolution).
    4. Display the .png file in the front end.
    5. If applicable, resize the front end image window to the desired size.
    6. If applicable, turn stretch off.
    7. In EmuLoader, with the image window maximized and the above image displayed on a 17" monitor at -1024x768 resolution, the image will be larger than the window, but the edges of the control panel and all the text will be visible. With stretch on, the image becomes SMALLER (because the additional white space on the figure is shown, but the text will still be easily readable.
    8. If this is not the case for your images, evaluate the following:
      1. If you see a large border on both sides of the image with stretch turned off, the image must be resized larger.
      2. If the edges of the control panel are not visible in the image window with stretch turned off, the image must be sized smaller.
      3. Open the .png file in Irfanview (or other graphics manipulation program)
      4. Resize the image larger or smaller using the Image Resize/Resample command (Ctrl-R).
      5. Save the image.

        HINT: To save time, repeat this step four or five times with different names and different sizes. For example, if the original image was 1941.png and the image was too large, save one image as 1942.png at 800 pixels wide, one image as 1943.png at 750 pixels wide, one image as asteroid.png at 700 pixels wide, etc. If your front-end supports multiple images per game (slide-show), then you might name the differing resolution images 1941.png, 19410000.png, 19410001.png.

      6. Open the front end and view the image. Determine the size that looks the best. Write this value down for future reference.

NOTE: The image size is displayed in the title bar when the file is opened in Irfanview.

ADVANCED TIP: This works for EmuLoader and should be true for most frontends with a selectable image window. The control panel images work best with stretching turned off in the front end. However, most other images (screenshots, cabinets, etc.) will be smaller and will not display well without stretching. And most frontends will not let you display an image without stretching. Here is a workaround: Display your control panel hints image. Turn off stretching. Adjust the window to almost the desired image size. Turn stretching back on. If the image size gets larger, reduce the size of the image window. If the image size gets smaller, increase the display window size. Eventually, you should get the image to not change at all as stretch is turned on and off. Now you can leave stretch turned on and not see any reduction in clarity in your control panel hints.

BUILDING A TEMPLATE OF YOUR OWN CONTROL PANEL

This procedure shows how to make a template of your control panel. You will need a template for each of your control panels. Generally, I would use the 2 by 6 inch panels at the back of the 1_mini panels.doc file for your templates. Many of the panels in this file, I created when I was planning to build many modular control panels. If you get really stuck, E-mail me and I should be able to build you an image of your panel (only your panel, not files for all of the games). (I like a challenge and lately I’ve been able to knock these out in about ten minutes.) The panels shown in the file are (going left to right and down the pages):

  1. Pushbuttons - Side views of a pushbutton in 4 orientations; front views of a pushbutton in 8 different colors.
  2. Joysticks - A standard (Happ Super) joystick as I currently represent it; an earlier version of this; an arcade joystick which I plan to convert for use in MAME; a representation of a Gorf/Tron/Xenophope joystick.
  3. Trackballs - The "Electric Eye" images represent an Imperial brand PS/2 port trackball. The remaining images are a Happ 2-1/4 and a Happ 3-inch trackball. Since my panel won’t have a permanent trackball, I won’t use the red highlighting to show when to use it, but I thought someone might. Otherwise, the eight-way direction arrows could be placed over the white trackball.
  4. Spinners - the Happ "Arkanoid" spinner as I currently represent it; an earlier version of this; the  Cheep Spinner in two orientations; the OSCAR spinner and button in a Radio Shack enclousure.
  5. The Star Wars (ESB, Return of the Jedi, RoadBlasters, Hydra) Yokes.
  6. The Paperboy bicycle controller.
  7. Steering wheels - the Comp USA PC wheel; the Indy Heat arcade wheel.
  8. Direction Arrows - 8-way (most games); diagonal (Q-bert); 4-way (Pac Man, etc.); 2-way
  9. Arcade Control Panel Designs - a blank control panel; my first design (similar to Tim Eckel’s on left, Street Fighter on right) (highlighted and unhighlighted); Street Fighter (highlighted and unhighlighted); Both sides like my left side design (highlighted and unhighlighted); Modified Street Fighter (highlighted and unhighlighted)
  10. A Control Panel with Grid Overlay: This is the blank control panel with blue grid lines dividing the panel into 1/2's, 1/4's, and 1/8’s and red grid lines dividing the panel into 1/3’s and 1/6’s. This is useful for positioning items onto the panel, simply place the panel items over the appropriate line intersection, click the panel, select ungroup, delete the grid lines, group your added items with the panel and save.
  11. Panels that I Planned/Planning and Miscellaneous - my current second joystick; my current primary joystick; secondary TRON joystick; trackball; spinner; yoke; pedals (from an InterAct V3 PC wheel); Comp USA wheel that I abandoned converting; Indy Heat wheel (old); current Indy Heat wheel.

After reviewing the images, edit one of the images to create a replica of your arcade panel as follows:

    1. Select the image that is closest to the layout of your arcade panel.
    2. Right-click on the image and paste it into a new document. If using a 2 x 6 panel, it is useful to position the panel at 1" vertically and horizontally on the page. This way you know that the panel center is at 1.5 inches vertical and 4 inches horizontal.
    3. Ungroup image items as necessary.
    4. Delete any image items which should not be on the panel.
    5. Select other image items to add to the panel (or create your own) and paste them into the new panel image.
    6. Group items together so the entire panel can be copied as one item.
    7. Save the file.

NOTE: I generally create one panel image with no buttons highlighted (red) and one with all the buttons highlighted.

UPDATING THE WORD FILE

You are now ready to create the word file for each particular game. There will be three possibilities here: Either the game will already have a pre-created Word file, the game will not have a pre-created Word file but you know what controls the game uses, or the game will not have a pre-created Word file but you know the button placement and layout, or you have no knowledge about the game.

    1. Search the list of Word files for one matching the game name. If one exists, perform the following:
      1. Open the file and your control panel template file in Word.
      2. In the bottom cell of the table, update the PC Controls to match the keys that you use to play the game.
      3. Delete the views of my control panel and probably delete the text callouts as well.
      4. Paste your control panel into the last cell of the table. If using the 2 x 6 inch panel the panel should be placed at horizontal = 1.5 inches from page and vertical = 8.32 inches from page.
      5. Ungroup items and revise the panel to highlight the buttons required for the game.
      6. Enter the button text labels.
      7. Save the file using the game name.
    2. If no Word file exists, but you know which controls the game uses, perform the following:
      1. Download the .PNG files and browse through them for the one which is most similar to the game you are trying to make.
      2. Open the corresponding Word file and modify the original controls cell to match the actual game controls.
      3. Perform Paragraph A above.
    3. If you have no idea what the arcade game controls looked like, perform the following:
      1. Search the Internet at the following sites:
        1. The Killer List of Video Games -   The KLOV has a large collection of arcade cabinet images, which can show what controls a game uses. The KLOV also has a text description of the arcade controls which is not always accurate, but is a good starting point. In addition, the KLOV will sometimes show links to other websites related to the game, which are often a good source of information. The KLOV is going to add a section of control panel images, but I am not sure how soon this will be implemented.
        2. Coin-op Arcade Games & More - Enter the game name and click search. This site also has links to images or other information.
        3. Control Panels - This site has about forty pictures of arcade control panels.
        4. The Control Panel Overlay Museum - l This site has overlays which will give you an idea of control placement.
        5. The Arcade Art Museum and the MAME32 QA & Test Page. and   Both of these sites have images of arcade cabinets which you can download and may have control panel images.
        6. Manual List and The Arcade Library - Game Manuals -  and the The Basement Arcade. Both of these sites have links to the original arcade game manuals which may have useful information on button names and functions.
        7. E-Bay - This link takes you to the arcade game section of E-bay. Remember to also search completed items. Also, information is only available for about three weeks and many sellers take the pictures down when an auction ends, but this can be a very useful source of control panel information.
      2. In worst case, play the game on the emulator and try to see what the keys do. In MAME, press the TAB key and select "INPUT - THIS GAME". See what buttons are mentioned. Then play the game and see what the buttons do.
      3. When you know what controls the game use, go through paragraphs B and A above.

CONVERTING TO IMAGES FOR USE IN THE FRONT END

At this point, you are almost done.

    1. Open the word file containing the original panel and your arcade panel (gamename.doc).
    2. If not already done, select Tools - Options - View and uncheck text boundaries.
    3. Turn off the spelling checker so that none of the words which Word does not recognize are underlined.
    4. Ensure the cursor is outside the two table rows.
    5. Scroll down until the bottom rows of the table are visible. If the control panel edges are not straight, you may need to change the zoom. Select View and Zoom from the top Word menu and change the zoom by 1 percent.
    6. Press the print screen key.
    7. Open Irfanview or other image editing software.
    8. Select Paste (Ctrl-V). The panel image will be pasted in.
    9. Click near the lower right corner of the table and drag upward. In Irfanview, if selected correctly, a square will appear and the table borders will start to erase. If you make a mistake, click anywhere on the image and start over. Drag the square upward until it covers the bottom two cells of the table.
    10. Click Edit - Crop (Ctrl-Y) Be careful to select the Irfanview menu, because the Word menu will probably be pasted in as part of the image.
    11. Check the horizontal file size. If different from the size determined for your front end, go back to Word, select View - Zoom and repeat Steps C. through H.
    12. Save the image with the approprite format and filename and directory location for viewing in your frontend.
    13. Open the front end and test the results.

YOU’RE DONE, ENJOY!

FAQ’s AND ADVANCED CONCEPTS (WORKAROUNDS)

What front end do you recommend?

I have tested 1-Up, Arcade@Home, EmuLoader, and Mame Wizard. Each one does some things well and some things not so well. I will give general information here. Keep in mind that newer releases of each front end may solve some of these problems. The following commments are in alphabetical order:

1-Up V09.832

1-Up is a very powerful front end supporting up to 49 (maybe more?) different Emulator programs. The front end provides image views of screenshots, flyers, and cabinet images. The image size is small but readable. However, if you use the flyers window for your control panel images, a button at the bottom will open a new window showing the image full size (See screenshots). A pending revision will support scalable views and any number of image windows. One word of warning: I found this front end fairly difficult to configure. However, the front-end does have very comprehensive help documents. Review these when you are using it. If you are looking for something easier than sending command line options in DOS MAME, then this front end isn’t for you.

Arcade@Home V36d

A@H is a very versatile and easy to use front end. It does a very good job of supporting MAME, but it also allows custom game lists. You can add games based on other emulators by simply adding the game name and the command line to run the game. The game displays the control panel hints very well; however, the front end only supports two images per game and those only in a slide show type of style. So basically, if you use A@H for control panel hints, you lose the in-game screen shots.

EmuLoader V2.1

This is an excellent front end. Image windows are included for screenshots, marquees, flyers, cabinets, and control panels. The image window is resizable and does a good job of showing control panel hints info. The front end allows games to be added to a custom game list and allows a custom command line, so batch files or games in RAINE or retrocade are also supported.

MAME Wizard V2.0 Beta 7

Mame Wizard has a very nice graphical interface. Any number of images can be displayed and Image windows can be individually named. Unfortunately, the front end only supports MAME and displays all MAME games, not just the currently available ones. A revision with much better graphical features which will support everything required for this procedure will be released by the end of February 2001.

My control panel has Left Ctrl defined as button 1, but for Asteroids, I would like it to be Button 4, which is Z. What can I do?

If your emulator supports this (MAME does), you can reassign the Left Ctrl function for that game to Z. Or if you have an I-PAC, you can reprogram Button 4 to Left Ctrl. Also, since the I-PAC allows multiple programming configurations to be loaded at startup, if your front end supports batch files, you can choose whatever button you want for your arcade controller and still play the game the same way on the keyboard by loading this file into the I-PAC from a batch file.

For BattleZone, I like to play with dual joysticks, but my friend prefers to use buttons on the arcade controller and someone else prefers to use the keyboard. Is there an easy solution?

How easily this can be done depends on several factors, but there are ways to do this?

If all the keys are different for each configuration, you can use the method shown above (for Asteroids). This won’t work if you want to use the same key for different functions, though. (Player 2 Button 1 is Fire for Dual Joysticks or Right Forward for buttons). If using this method, in the front end, you would make a custom image showing both configurations.

If your front end supports adding custom games, you can set the original game up for dual joysticks. (Rename Bzone as "BattleZone - Dual Joysticks") You can then create a second game named bzonealt - "BattleZone - Arcade Buttons". If you have a programmable I-PAC, you can reprogram the key assignments and load them in a batch file for the second configuration. If you don’t have a programmable I-PAC, you can copy all the MAME files to a new directory (C:\MAMEALT) and configure the game in that directory to use the arcade buttons. Then in the front end, you would call the program from the alternate directory. If using this method, in the front end, you would have different images for each configuration.

HISTORY AND CREDITS

First, thanks to KiLLerCloWn for maintaining MAMEWorld and making this page available. Also thanks the Saint and everyone at Build Your Own Arcade Controls. And especially thanks to the front end authors who did all the really hard work to make this possible and have put up with my constant suggestions (Ciro, Valerio, Darren, and Tim).

In case you’re wondering how this all came about . . . LusiD’s web page on BYOAC had Word Templates for designing her control panels. I liked the idea and started using Word to design my own panels. Then I started making a manual for my own use. I realized flipping through a paper manual to see how to play a game was not what I wanted. Then I saw the Emulaxian front end and realized I could do it all in Windows. But Emulaxian was only for vertically mounted monitors (768x1024 resolution) so I had to find my own way. And here we are . . .

DOWNLOADS

1_MiniPanels.zip

readme.doc

Word Files.zip

PNG Files.zip

Jeremu's Templates

Jeremu's HotRod Templates

1941.doc 1941 (not verified) (includes 1941j)

1942.doc 1942 (includes 1942a, 1942b)

1943.doc 1943 (includes 1943j)

1943kai.doc 1943 Kai (not verified) (copy of 1941)

Arkanoid.doc Arkanoid (includes arkangc, arknoidj, arkbl2, arkatayt, arknoidu, arcbloc2, arkatour)

Arkanoi2.doc Arkanoid 2 - Revenge of DOH (includes ark2jp, ark2us)

Asteroid.doc Asteroids (includes asteroib, asteroi1)

Astdelux.doc Asteroids Deluxe (includes astdelu1)

Bzone.doc Battle Zone (includes bzonec, bzone2)

Centiped.doc Centipede (includes centipdb, centipd2, centipb2)

esb.doc Empire Strikes Back, The

Sqbert.doc Faster, Harder, More Challenging Q*Bert (Copy of qbert)

Frogger.doc Frogger (includes froggers, froggrmc, frogseg1, frogseg2)

Galaga.doc Galaga (copy of Galaxian) (includes galagab2, galagamw, galagads, galaga84, gallag) (probably includes nebulbee)

Galaxian.doc Galaxian (includes galaxb, galmidw, galap4, galapx, galturbo superg) (Probably includes galap1, swarm, zerotime)

Gunsmoke.doc Gun.Smoke (includes gunsmokj, gunsmrom, gunsmoka)

Gyruss.doc Gyruss (includes gyrussce) (Probably includes venus)

Jackal.doc Jackal (includes jackalj, topgunbl, topgunr)

Milliped.doc Millipede (copy of Centiped)

Missile.doc Missile Command (includes missile2, suprmatk)

Mspacman.doc Ms. Pac Man (copy of Pac Man) (includes mspacatk, pacgal)

Paperboy.doc Paperboy

Pacman.doc Puckman (Japan Set 1) (includes hangly, hangly2, npacmod, pacmanjp, puckman, pacmanbl, pacheart, pacmanm, pacmod, piranha) (probably includes ghostmun)

Qbert.doc Q*Bert (includes qbertjp)

Qbertqub.doc Q*Bert’s Qubes

Qix.doc Qix (includes qixa, qixb, qix2)

Roadf.doc Road Fighter (includes roadf2)

Invaders.doc Space Invaders (includes sicv, invaderl, sisv2, sisv, sitv, superinv, sinvemag, sinvzen) (Probably includes alieninv, cosmicmo, jspecter, spaceatt, spceking, pcewars, spacewr3, earthinv, )

Invadpt2.doc Space Invaders Part 2 (includes invaddlx) (Probably includes moonbase)

Starcas.doc Star Castle (includes starcas1)

Starwars.doc Star Wars (includes starwar1)

Sbrkout.doc Super Breakout

Scobra.doc Super Cobra (included scobrab, scobras)

Superqix.doc Super Qix (not verified) (includes sqixbl)

Szaxxon.doc Super Zaxxon (copy of zaxxon)

Tempest.doc Tempest (includes tempest1, tempest2, temptube)

Timeplt.doc Time Pilot (copy of gyruss) (includes timepltc) (probably includes spaceplt)

Zaxxon.doc Zaxxon (includes zaxxonb, zaxxon2)