Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Testing Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Alpha 1

The latest version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distro, known as Lucid Lynx, was just released the other day and, though it is an early alpha release, I wanted to give it a shot in a virtual machine. Installation in VirtualBox was smooth and polished, but I ran into some problems with installing VBox's Guest Additions, which allow for higher resolutions and, more importantly, mouse pointer integration (the magic that lets you move your cursor from host to guest OSs without mucking around with capturing the mouse pointer).

Here is a simple fix for the mouse pointer integration:

Fire up a terminal and type:
sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
This file used to be how Ubuntu managed devices attached to your computer, but they're trying to move away from it. Now, the system will accept such a file, but it tries to figure things out on-the-fly as much as it can, hence the currently-empty file.

So, into this empty file, copy/paste:
Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "VBoxMouse"
Driver "vboxmouse"
Option "CorePointer"
All this is doing is telling your virtual machine to look for the vboxmouse driver and use it. Now, when you reboot, you should have proper mouse integration.

However, if this somehow causes problems and you want to undo it, just type into a terminal:
sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf
and then reboot your system.

To fix the small resolution, you just need to add another section to your xorg.conf, so type into a terminal:
sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
and below the mouse section, paste in:
Section "Screen"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 15
Modes "1920x1440" "1920x1200" "1900x1200" "1920x1080" "1600x1200" "1680x1050" "1600x1024" "1600x1000" "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1440x900" "1280x960" "1366x768" "1280x800" "1152x864" "1280x768" "1280x720" "1024x768" "1280x600" "1024x600" "800x600" "768x576" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "1920x1440" "1920x1200" "1900x1200" "1920x1080" "1600x1200" "1680x1050" "1600x1024" "1600x1000" "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1440x900" "1280x960" "1366x768" "1280x800" "1152x864" "1280x768" "1280x720" "1024x768" "1280x600" "1024x600" "800x600" "768x576" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1920x1440" "1920x1200" "1900x1200" "1920x1080" "1600x1200" "1680x1050" "1600x1024" "1600x1000" "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1440x900" "1280x960" "1366x768" "1280x800" "1152x864" "1280x768" "1280x720" "1024x768" "1280x600" "1024x600" "800x600" "768x576" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 8
Modes "1920x1440" "1920x1200" "1900x1200" "1920x1080" "1600x1200" "1680x1050" "1600x1024" "1600x1000" "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1440x900" "1280x960" "1366x768" "1280x800" "1152x864" "1280x768" "1280x720" "1024x768" "1280x600" "1024x600" "800x600" "768x576" "640x480"
Device "Device[0]"
Identifier "Screen[0]"
Monitor "Monitor[0]"
Important: Each of the lines that start with "Modes" should have all of the resolutions following it on the same line, and they should only include resolutions that your monitor can actually produce, so you might have to delete some of them (e.g., my monitor is a 20" that only goes up to 1680x1050, so I deleted all of the resolutions that were greater than this).

Again, if this causes any problems, you can either delete the section of the xorg.conf file or delete the xorg.conf file entirely and then reboot to get things back to the way they were.

Shared folders between the guest and host also appear to be broken at the moment, but I don't know what to do about it. Other than that, things have gone well for me. Compiz works fine and I have a fancy composite desktop with wobbly windows and true transparency.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Using Gizmo5 with Google Voice to call landline and mobile phones

I, like many others, pay a lot for home phone service, which is becoming increasingly obsolete with the ubiquity of cellular phones. In an effort to cut out this mostly needless expense, I decided to try and combine two free services, Google Voice and Gizmo5, to make and receive free calls with actual landlines and cell phones via my existing internet connection.

The concept works like this: when you sign up for a Gizmo5 account, they assign to you a free SIP number, which you can basically think of as an IP-based phone number. This is already pretty cool, but the catch is that only other IP-based phones can call this number, and that's where Google Voice comes in. Through this free service, Google will connect any number--physical or SIP--with any other number--again, physical or SIP. Once the initial connection is made (the hard part for Gizmo), Google steps out and you're left with a working SIP-to-landline call without a phone line and without paying a dime.

To get this sweet deal going, you have to have an account with both services, which could be the biggest stumbling block: Google Voice is currently in an invite-only, privite beta stage and Gizmo5 has stopped accepting new registrations after it was recently acquired by Google (existing accounts still work, though).

If you've managed to snag some accounts, though, and they are all set up (you've chosen a local phone number for Google Voice, Gizmo has assigned a SIP number, etc.) you're ready to get started.

First, open your Gizmo5 account in your favorite web browser and find your SIP number (it will have an area code of 747):

Next, open your Google Voice account and click on 'Settings.' Under the 'Phones' tab, click 'add another phone' to forward your calls to:

Name it something recognizable (I called it 'Gizmo'), type in your Gizmo SIP number into the second blank, and then select 'Gizmo' from the pull-down menu:

Next, we'll want to install the Gizmo5 client on our computer (you can also use the gizmocall web-based interface, but it is made in flash and feels a little kludgy). Go to Gizmo's download page and download the client program for your operating system. If you're using Linux (like me), you'll notice that this is a bit of a problem, as the links are all missing. Luckily, you can still download the deb installer file for Debian-based distros, such as Ubuntu, from a direct link. UPDATE: the Linux download page is back!

Once the client is installed and running, you can enter your Gizmo account information and login. You can also choose to configure the client to manage your IM accounts, but I chose not to.

From now on, calls made to your Google Voice number--which is accessible to normal phones, either landline or cellular--will cause your Gizmo5 client to 'ring.' That means we can now receive calls from normal phones on our computer! We can also make calls to normal phones, but the trick is to use Google Voice instead of Gizmo's built-in (for-pay) calling feature:

When you click 'connect,' Google will call your Gizmo client (you answer it when it rings) and then call the number you have entered, merge the two calls, and then step out, just like your own personal secretary:


This method is not a perfect replacement for a home telephone. It only works when you have internet access (the silver lining of which is that you can use it at Starbucks, your hotel room, etc.; anywhere with a broadband connection). More importantly, it doesn't provide emergency 911 access, so if your house catches on fire, you'll just have to watch it burn because the fire department won't be able to look up your information via your phone number.

Furthermore, this method may not work forever. Google has just purchased Gizmo, so things are sort of up in the air until they figure out what they want to do about the way the services interact. Hopefully, if anything changes, it will be for our--the users'--benefit.

There has also been speculation that Google is planning to fully integrate these services together and then make them run on a wifi-enabled mobile device (Android-based, of course). This will essentially create a mobile phone that only works within wifi, but that can make and receive calls to/from any other phone without the need for a carrier (no carrier means no contract, no fees, etc.). That is, a fully ad-supported phone powered entirely by Google services and software.

Google, if you're reading this with your all-seeing robot eyes, please make it happen as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

HandBrake Nightlies for Windows

Update (4/26/10): I will no longer provide these packages because the HandBrake devs are now providing real-deal official nightlies: http://build.handbrake.fr/

**These are UNSUPPORTED, BLEEDING EDGE builds of HandBrake. DO NOT ask for help in the HandBrake forums if you run into any issues with them. If you have a problem, ask it here and I will try to help. Otherwise, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.**

Additionally, these are not true nightlies because I won't be building them quite that often, but I plan to compile a new version each time a substantial update (such as an x264 bump) is checked into the SVN repository.

The CLI binaries are cross-compiled on my Linux box and the GUI is built natively in Windows.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cross-compiling HandBrake for Windows on an Ubuntu Linux Host

I wanted to use an up-to-date build of HandBrake on my Windows machines, but I am not comfortable building from source in Windows. Thankfully, the HandBrake devs recently switched over to a cross-compile-compatible build chain using MinGW, so it's possible to build Windows executables from my Ubuntu box.

To start, we'll download the standard HandBrake dependencies, which you would already have installed if you've built it on a Linux system before:
sudo aptitude install subversion build-essential m4 wget autotools-dev yasm autoconf intltool libtool libbz2-dev zlib1g-dev
Next, we'll download the MinGW packages, which will install a Windows-compatible build chain on top of your Linux system:
sudo aptitude install mingw32
Then, we'll pull down the latest code from the SVN repository:
svn co svn://svn.handbrake.fr/HandBrake/trunk HandBrake
Switch to the newly downloaded code:
cd HandBrake
Then get the build started:
./configure --launch-jobs=0 --cross=i586-mingw32msvc --launch
Things will chug along fine until the build script reaches the LAME library, at which point it will fail during the configure script with an error:
"configure: error: CHECK_TYPE_uint32_t - please report to lame-dev @ lists.sourceforge.net"
To correct this, we'll need to open the configure script in a text editor:
gedit build/contrib/lame/lame/configure
and then do a 'find and replace' to change all instances of this:
FILE *f = fopen ("conftest.val", "w")
to this:
FILE *f = fopen ("conftest.val", "wb")
After that, just go into your build directory and restart the build script (it will automatically remember that we're compiling for Windows):
cd build ; make
You'll have to do the same thing for libogg when it fails. Apparently, this problem is somehow related to autoconf... Once the script finishes, you should be left with a shiny new binary named HandBrakeCLI.exe!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beginner's Guide to SF4 Model Editing

Model editing is still being perfected, but it's currently possible with a few caveats.

First, download piecemontee's SF4 Assets Explorer. This is the cornerstone of model editing: http://sf4mods.pbworks.com/Utilities#piecemonteesSF4AssetsExplorer

Next, you'll need a 3D modeling program. I use the open source Misfit Model 3D because it preserves some coordinates and whatnot that seem to get dropped from other, more capable programs, such as 3D Studio Max (from what I hear from other modders; I have no experience with 3DS): http://www.misfitcode.com/misfitmodel3d/download.html

Once you have your tools, open the SF4 Asset Explorer and click 'Load file...'
Now, navigate to the costume file you wish to edit:
Click on the plus signs next to the path and the first entry marked "#EMB ([***]_01.obj.emo):
If you click on a model element, it will isolate it from the overall character model, like so:
Now, right-click on the element's name and select "Extract file...":
Name it something informative and give it the extension ".obj":
Next, open the file using Misfit Model 3D:
From here, you can move around vertices as much as you want, but you CANNOT add new ones or remove any. The number must stay EXACTLY THE SAME or you cannot re-inject it back into the model:
After you're finished editing, save the file and uncheck the option to "Save normals" (actually, I don't think this matters):
Now, back in the SF4 Assets Explorer, select and right click on the element you edited and choose "Inject file...":
Select your edited model and click "Open":
Now, when you refresh the model in the Asset Viewer, you will see your edits have taken effect:
The program will automatically create backups whenever you inject models, which is nice, but you should still be careful about overwriting because there is no "Undo." This edited model should now be ready to drop into your C:\Program Files\CAPCOM\STREETFIGHTERIV\Battle\Chara\*** folder to replace your old costume file.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Test Drive of UbuntuOne Private Beta

I signed up for Canonical's UbuntuOne private beta last week and just got my invite today. The service lets you upload files to Canonical's servers where you can seamlessly sync directories and files across any number of computers. This is generally known as 'cloud storage.'

When you sign up, you are directed to add their UbuntuOne repository and download/install a small gtk applet (only compatible with Jaunty and higher) that will integrate the service with your Ubuntu installation. On my Karmic alpha system, the applet had already been installed, which is what led me to seek out the service in the first place.

There are two main ways to access your cloud data: via the aforementioned system integration or through a fancy AJAXy Web interface:

The Web interface gives you a lot of management options, including file and folder management:

as well as options to add more users to share your files:

The GNOME integration is also super-swanky, with a notification bar applet that lets you connect/disconnect to the cloud:

and a folder that appears in Nautilus with a handy button that handles connecting:

I haven't run into any bugs/issues yet, but I'll update this post as things arise.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How To Hack Street Fighter 4 On PC To Unlock Everything

Update 7/01/11: If you're here looking for info on modding AEPC, hit up the AE modding wiki. All of the vanilla SF4 mods should work on AE with just a little bit of work (see this tutorial for instructions).

Update 7/26/09: Go check out the modding wiki I helped set up with SRK forum user SeedyROM. We're going to try and collect as much information as we can related to SF4 modding and put it all in one convenient spot. SeedyROM has already collected tons of skins and we have a lot of tutorials and utilities compiled already. http://sf4mods.pbworks.com

Just to get it out of the way: this will unlock everything EXCEPT alternate costumes. Also, these unlocks may corrupt online account saves, so you should probably only use them on offline accounts.

Update 7/11/09: Cheat Engine method now allows enabling alt costumes, but it doesn't really *unlock* them, it just swaps some files locations (i.e., only you can see them online; your opponent sees the normal costume).

Update 7/13/09: Alt costume trainer! Just drop it into your SF4 directory and point it at your SF4 Launcher. Use the F-keys to toggle costumes.

All credit goes out to Shoryuken forums user AceKombat, who made this possible.

The cheat is possible in a couple of ways. The easiest method right now is to use Kennykilla's trainer, which is based on AceKombat's hex codes.

To use the trainer, launch SF4 just like you normally would (go to the options and run the game in windowed mode if it is not already) and sign in to your offline account. Then, open the trainer and click the boxes to choose what to unlock. Once everything is unlocked, go into one of the options, such as the sound or system options, and change something to force a save. This will make your unlocks permanent.

To make sure, back out of the menus and quit the program, relaunch it and check to see if everything is there. You should be all set. However, if nothing is unlocked or you have a corrupted save file, you'll want to try the longer method:

First, download the Cheat Engine program (these codes are confirmed to work with 5.5 but should also work with older versions). Note: this program shows up as a trojan on some antivirus programs, but I assure you that it's fine. Next, download the updated list of AceKombat's hex codes (thanks to Game Vixen forum user fly19840303man for finding the alt costume codes and to Cheat Engine forum user 'dental' for combining them into a single file).

Once you have Cheat Engine installed, run SF4 in windowed mode. While it's running, launch Cheat Engine, click on the top-left computer icon and select the StreetFighterIV.exe process from the list. Next, click on the folder icon to browse to the combined list (it will be called "SFIV Unlock.CT"). A bunch of entries should appear in the list area toward the bottom of the Cheat Engine window.

Click any of the entries in that area and select the ones you want to enable. In the area labeled "Change these values," replace the '0' with '1'. Go through the list to make sure everything was applied with no conflicts, which can happen when you've already unlocked some things the legitimate way. Now, just go into one of the in-game options and force a save by changing something and you should be all set.

For the alt costumes, you can't change the values until you are at a character selection screen. Once there, switch to Cheat Engine and change the values and click the box to 'freeze' the value at 1. From this point on, if you use the initial color, the standard costume will appear, but if you cycle to a different color, it will switch to the alt. This system will stay in effect until you close Cheat Engine (i.e., it will not save even if you force an in-game save like with the other unlockables).

If you have any problems with using the Cheat Engine program, AceKombat made a sweet little tutorial video that will walk you through unlocking Seth.

The procedure is basically the same for unlocking everything, except you're loading the combined file instead of typing in the codes individually.

The modding community is also making some serious headway, though they don't have any dead-simple ways to apply the changes yet. Until that time, I'll just leave you with some teasers: Goth Chun Li, Cammy not-quite-nude (mildly NSFW), and swapping movesets among characters, e.g. Chun Li with Zangief's moveset or with Sagat's moveset:

Update 7/12/09: Here's my video of the Chun Li Goth mod applied:

Various color mods:
Note: if a color doesn't have a convenient number for you (e.g., it's 01_04 and you would rather it be 01_02), open the emz file with a hex editor, scroll all the way to the bottom and you will see the number appear 2 times. Change that to your desired number, save and rename the file to your desired number and you're all set.

Ninja Vega/claw (replaces BLR_01_04). Credit goes to Shoryuken forums user providenceangle (very nice).
Black/white Balrog/boxer. Credit goes to deviantart's ztitus, who also created the goth Chun Li (both of which are awesome).
Super Saayan Gouki/Akuma (replaces his standard costume color #10)
Purple-veined Akuma (replaces his standard costume color #5) Credit goes to providenceangle.
Evil Ryu (credit goes to Shoruken forums user CptMunta)
Dudley Boxer (credit goes to CptMunta)
Commando Cammy (credit goes to providenceangle)
Plaid Sakura (credit goes to providenceangle)
Hollywood Hogan Zangief (credit goes to tekken57; great job!)
Dirty Ryu (credit goes to Shoryuken forum user ex inferis)
Dark Ryu (credit goes to Shoryuken forum user DjParagon; very good one!)
Nurse Rose (credit goes to ztitus)
Cammy's Juli Mod (credit goes to IceBreakker)
Harley Quinn Cammy (credit goes to Thand)
Cammy Evangelion (white and black), Rufus as Majin Boo, and Chun Li alt flower dress

For anyone who wants to do character mods themselves, here's a link to an automated extractor from Shoryuken forums user Lee Rekka (extract to C:\Program Files\CAPCOM\STREETFIGHTERIV). The resulting files can be viewed using Dragon Unpacker. To edit image files, you'll need a dds plugin for Photoshop (32-bit only) or GIMP (see this post from Game Vixens for details and links).

Update 7/13/09: Music mods! Think the music is shitty? Replace it with remixes of classic SF tunes. All credit for these goes to Shoryuken forums user mmaster_po so give him some rep.
Ken's theme - Hiroaki Yoshida Version (imo better than the ocremix version) for the "beautiful bay" stage:

Balrog's ocremix music for the "drive in at night" stage

Guile's ocremix music for the "small airfield" stage

Blanka's ocremix music for the "inland jungle" stage

Ryu's ocremix theme for the "old temple" stage:

Cammy's ocremix theme for the "Historic Distillery" stage:

Fei Long's ocremix theme for the "Deserted Temple" stage:

Dee Jay's ocremix theme for the "pitch-black jungle" stage:

and heres Ken's ocremix theme (if you want to use this one instead) for the "beautiful bay" stage:

Sagat's ocremix - Beautiful Bay stage (this song fits the stage a lot better than Ken's)

Ken's ocremix - Cruise Ship Stern Stage

Zangief ocremix - Snowy Rail Yard Stage

Sakura's theme - Overpass stage

Chun Li's ocremix - Crowded Downtown Stage

copy files to:
\Street Fighter 4\Battle\System and replace the original file (backup original files first)
Get Rid of Menu Music (no moar Indestructible):
Go to the game/sound folder and rename BGM_MAIN_OM.csb and create a blank text file with the same name in its place (another popular option is to copy BGM_END.csb in its place instead).

Get Rid of the Announcer (credit goes to Shoryuken forums user PimpUigi):
1. Disables in game announcer annoyances
In the folder *:\Program Files\Capcom\STREETFIGHTERIV\Battle\Narration
Rename BTL_NAR_E.csb to something else, and make a blank text file named BTL_NAR_E.csb

2. Disables pre game/vs. screen/character selection screen announcer annoyances
In the folder *:\Program Files\Capcom\STREETFIGHTERIV\Game\Sound
Rename SELVS_SE.csb to something else, and make a blank text file named SELVS_SE.csb

He still says...
All the things at the beginning of the round...like "Let's Pick Up the Pace!"
"Time over!"
"Draw Game"
and "Double KO"

He no longer says "so and so wins" or anything else.
Update 7/17/09: Automated moveset switcher! (command line only, but still completely awesome; credit goes to Shoryuken forums user Buey):
Simple syntax is: "sf4moveswap.exe set ZGF VEG" to give Vega (Dictator)'s moves to Zangief. You can see the character codes in the program, so you don't have to look them up. Other commands can be seen by running the program without any command line parameters.

Program is available here: http://www.randomshit.org/autoit/
Here are 3 color mods I made: Scottish Honda, Collosus Zangief, Krang Seth, Seth Venom v3 (added mouth/tongue color and insignia on back), Mr. Fantastic (aka Reed Richards), The Invisible Woman (from Fantastic 4), Rufus as Dr. Robotnik, and some re-skins for the training stage: Escher-themed, holodeck (looks an awful lot like when you set backgrounds to 'low'), and Mario-themed. I did a model edit of Guile to give him a more normalish haircut, which really improves the look of some of his other mods are from a Solid Snake mod with my costume applied).

Download: http://www.mediafire.com/?4d0czzodtjm

Download: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?zogkhz3wvky


download: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?kdybjnnoyxh

I just modified Miss Signoritas' Catwoman mod for Chun Li to have no hair buns and no dress flaps using col-based transparency to make it look more accurate (no offense to Signoritas; her version is very cool and keeps the Chun Li flavor). I also did a minor cos model edit to close the holes in her head that appear when the buns are transparent, but this edit is so minor that you can use this new file with the original costume with no problem (see screenshot):

Dhalsim as Oro from Third Strike:

I did some model edits for Rufus. First, I hate looking at his fat belly jiggling around, so I put him on a diet:

Next, I edited my earlier Robotnik mod to have a physical mustache and I closed the hole in his head:

I also edited Acethylen's amazing Maori Honda mod for use with the 01 cos file (the original version used the second costume, which I don't have):

Here's a preliminary version of something I'm working on (Honda in a tux):


Yakuza Fei Long:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Compiz Fusion works in Virtual Machine running Ubuntu Karmic Koala

Something new about Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala that hasn't really been advertised as far as I've seen is that desktop compositing via Compiz Fusion is possible from inside of a virtual machine. I believe this is due to recent changes in the way the kernel handles video memory, though I'm not sure. I don't think it is particularly caused by the version of VirtualBox that I'm using because my Intrepid VM is still confined to a flat, ho-hum desktop. Regardless, it's big news for me because I am forced to work in Windows for the most part at my job, but I always have Ubuntu running in a VM for most of my Web browsing (no viruses).

All of the plugins I have tried have worked, though ones that require fading in and out can be slow. Static transparency seems to work fine, though, as is demonstrated by the terminal window in my video. Also, wobbly windows and the desktop cube work swimmingly.

If you have any input on why Compiz suddenly works within the VM, please let me know.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Conclusions and Helpful Links

Continued from Installing the Hardware

That's pretty much it. Just plug it up and give it a shot. If you find that any of your buttons are acting funny, e.g. nothing happens when you press the button until you let go, try swapping the locations of the wires around on the button (i.e., move the wire from the bent post to one of the straight ones and vice versa).

Once again, here's what the final product looks like:

I've presented my own experience here, but there are tons of others' experiences elsewhere online. The Shoryuken.com forums have some really great info on pad hacking and DIY stick-making. You can also find some great things at the arcadecontrols.com forums (HarumaN is an expert and sells pre-hacked pads at reasonable prices) and xbox-scene.com forums (RDC has some great, thorough information about pad hacking, along with some good tutorials on how to salvage pads after a screw-up).

Gamingnow.net sells damn-near anything a stick-builder could want, all at very reasonable prices.

MAMErs can purchase I-PAC interfaces from Ultimarc. Another option that seems to be preferred on the Shoryuken forums is the Cthulhu board, which can be purchased at gamingnow.net.

UPDATE: even better than the Cthulhu is Toodles' new Chimp board, which provides PC/PS3 support and is designed to accept a hacked 360 common ground pad to provide 360 support with automatic switching among protocols. Plus, it's cheaper than bare Cthulhus used to be! You can get it and other stick materials at Lizard Lick.

UPDATE 3/25/11: Even better than the Chimp board, now you can get the Akishop PS360 triple-mod board, which is a no-solder board that supports PS3, Xbox 360 and PC all at once. It costs slightly more (~$45), but it completely removes padhacking from the equation for the first time ever. This and other arcade stick parts intended for fighting game enthusiasts are available at focusattack.com.

If you want to build a standard, semi-low-profile stick similar to what you would buy in a store, I recommend checking out some of the articles on slagcoin.com. The site has TONS of great information about all aspects of stick-making, and their button layout section is unparalleled.

You can learn more about sticks--including the differences between various brands--here. The section about restrictor plates should be considered required reading for any aspiring stick-jockey.

Page 1: Building an Arcade-style Fight Stick
Page 2: Assembling Your Box
Page 3: Pad Hacking
Page 4: Installing the Hardware
Page 5: Conclusions and Helpful Links

Installing the Hardware

Continued from Pad Hacking

After the Hell that is pad hacking, this part is a breeze and is pretty straigtforward. You just put the buttons into the holes you cut in your panel, then screw down the plastic nut to hold them in place. At this point, I wouldn't bother screwing them down too hard because you might need to rearrange/rotate them later.

Next, attach your microswitches to the buttons. This picture shows a standard cherry microswitch that came with my arcade buttons.

When you go to attach the wires from your hacked pad to your microswitches, the best method is to use .187 sized quick releases (or .110 for japanese-style buttons) rather than soldering the wires directly to the posts, which will make repairing/replacing buttons much easier in the future.

For the joystick, you'll need to drill mounting holes around your large-diameter joystick hole. The Happ stick I chose is a top-mounted stick, but I wanted a smooth surface (i.e., no visible screw/bolt heads) so I countersank the holes a bit and then covered the bolts with wood glue and wood putty before staining/sanding.

This is a pretty permanent solution for better or for worse (no way to reposition the mounting bolts), but I intend to continue using Happ sticks in the future, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

After the glue and putty dried, I did a light sanding and proceeded to stain the top and sides.

Once that's all set, you can attach your joystick base by threading the mounting bolts through the appropriate mounting holes and then screwing the nuts onto the bolts. Once you have the base of the joystick bolted into place, follow the instructions that came with your joystick for dropping the stalk into place. The instructions for my Happ were not very clear, so I'll explain my process: first, put the plastic ring--textured side-up--on the stalk, followed by the plastic spacer, then push the stalk through the base until it pokes out the other side next to the microswitches. Next, take the actuator (that funky square piece) and PRESS IT DOWN until you can snap the little clip into place to hold it (the fact that it can be pressed down was not mentioned in my instructions and I erroneously thought the spacer was missized).

After that, you just need to attach your pad to the microswitches via the quick releases. The ground attaches to the side post and the signal attaches to one of the two straight posts on the bottom (one side registers when the button is pressed, the other registers until the button is pressed).

Here is how my first attempt ended up (not so hot):

And here's my second attempt (a little better):

At this point, I added a few extra touches, including hinges for the top to maintain easy access to the wiring and some cabinet handles on the back which also double as cable wraps:

Also, as you may have noticed in some of the previous pics, I attached some staples from a staple gun to the bottom of the box interior. I then used cable ties to stabilize the pads against the staples and keep them from flopping around whenever I move the box.

Page 1: Building an Arcade-style Fight Stick
Page 2: Assembling Your Box
Page 3: Pad Hacking
Page 4: Installing the Hardware
Page 5: Conclusions and Helpful Links

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