multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

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MonkeyFist
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multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by MonkeyFist » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:06 am

Salutations! This is my first post. I came to this forum after searching down Ben from his publicly known creations for help, and found this pretty social place. Hopefully I can get some help here.

I’ve had this idea lingering in my mind for some time. I’m a huge bomberman game fan, and would love to make a tribute to one of my favorite game franchise.

First I should say the obvious; I’m no expert at mechanical/electrical modifications. I’m good at physically making things look good (paint, body work, ect), so most of the ideas I’ve had regarding this creation might not be possible. If so, please point out my error, and if so help me fix it!

The bomberman franchise has a ridiculous number of games, ranging from very old consoles up to new age consoles, with many spin-offs taking the idea and twisting it.

But for this homage I want to take a select few of my more favorite games, and then some of the games that are similar to my favorite games, and combine them + their system into one box, with a set of four controllers that work them all. I plan on calling it the Bomberman Factory (a further homage to the original game’s plot), with possibly a mechanized factory track-line of bomb’s being created that runs in a loop when the system is powered on (just for looks).

That’s it in a nutshell. I know I made a lot of work sound very simple, but I do have an idea of how much effort this is going to take. I also have a great many questions regarding some ideas, which I’ll try to make obviously separate from my ramblings.

First I’m not entirely sure of the game selection that I want to use. I doubt I could get more than 4 or 5 systems together without making this thing disgustingly huge and unattractive. The major defining rule is that it must be a Hudson soft (legit) bomberman game, with a 4-player option. Saturn Bomberman specifically will NOT be used in this, since it’s my most favorite game, and limiting it to just 4 players just sounds horrible.

Here are the systems + games that I’m 100% certain NEED to be in this arcade box;

1.) Sega Genesis III (the “Core” miniature system) with Mega Bomberman
2.) SNES Mini with Super Bomberman 2
3.) PSX with Bomberman Party Edition

Here are other possibilities, in order of how I like the game (but not how possible it would be to work);

3.) SNES Mini with Super Bomberman (it could be possible to make a cartridge selector, but I don’t know how to do anything close to that, so there would probably have to be a second mini system)
4.) Sega Dreamcast with Bomberman Online (this would cause heat issues I’m certain of it).
5.) Nintendo Gamecube with Bomberman Jetters or Generations (I sort of like both games…unsure… would require a memory card to keep all available characters unlocked although)
6.) Nintendo Gameboy Advance with Bomberman Tournament. This would possibly take 4x systems and 4x games. I’ve never played it, but know that they play multiplayer like I’m looking for, and that its possible to connect all four, and somehow possible to make a Gameboy Advance have video output to a tv…this one is very questionable, and with my limited skills might make it more difficult. Even more so since the controls would be very difficult to map to separate controllers.
7.) Turbografix-16 with Bomberman (the original!) The PSX game should have the original in it, but I’m not sure how well it plays, or if its multiplayer is the same. If not, then adding this massive bit of hardware might be an option. If the PSX Party Edition works fine, then possibly Bomberman ‘93 or ’94 for the Turbografix-16
8.) Sega Saturn + Bomberman Fight! And Nintendo 64 with Bomberman ‘64... I hate these games, and the consoles are huge. The game play is horribly different. Last resort.

I can dream of adding Bomberman Ultra (ps3 download) or Bomberman Live (360 download), but doing so and then putting together some sort of hardware for a 4 player game would be near impossible from the likes of me. I’m not even sure if those games are meant to be played with someone sitting next to you.

(The idea of making a purely SNES Bomberman homage by somehow getting a cartridge selector and being able to play region locked cartridges (or just all Japanese cartridges) of Super Bomberman 1 to 5 + Panic W lingers, or might be a later project if I can figure out how to make a cartridge selector, but that’s a different dream)

Mechanically I know for a fact that I’m not smart enough to make a cartridge selector for one single console. So this box of nonsense will consist of multiple consoles with one game in each.

Now for the questionable ideas;

~Physically speaking I’m not sure how large this entire thing will be, since it will depend on the choice of consoles/games incorporated in it. Ideally I would want to remove the shell from the console and possibly the game to save space / reduce heat buildup. If the final box is kept closed off (with vents obviously, I’ll probably have to incorporate some sort of fan), will keeping the naked electronics of multiple consoles near each other be safe? I do want to keep this mostly cartridge-based consoles, possibly one or two disc based since I know they put off much more heat (dreamcast is like a furnace!).

~Is it even safe to remove the electronic bits of a game-cartridge and insert it in the system without its plastic shell (even if I never intend on removing it)?

~Regarding the merging of multiple controllers ports from multiple systems to one controller…. Yeah this is the part I’m worried about. Even though I’m not going to use Saturn Bomberman, I want to use Saturn controllers (they are obviously the best controller ever made…). I really love these things, and since basic Bomberman controls are so simple, it would theoretically be very easy to map the controls from various games to one controller type.

In my head I see the box having Saturn controller ports, so outside it will look like the entire thing just takes Saturn controllers. But on the inside I see each port having many splits (first the wire coming from the in-port splitting into each tagged button-function, and then those tagged wires going to the coordinating wires for each button-function that go to each system. This would quickly become a mess, since there will be 4 controllers total.

But what I’m not sure of is if there is some sort of electrical difference I should be worried about. I’m thinking that if I figure out which wire signals that I’m pressing Up on the digital pad of the Saturn controller connects to the wire that should signal Up on the digital pad of (up to) 5 other consoles, then as long as only one of those consoles is turned on, it should work. (I plan on testing the wires by first sacrificing a Saturn controller and tagging each wire after testing its function in game by splitting them all, cutting it, and reconnecting it. The same procedure would be used with the original controllers to the consoles being used in the arcade box).

I’m aware of some controllers being fed power threw the console (like built in vibration or lights or power to the vmu on a dream cast), but I’m not sure how that would effect this sort of setup. I’m really ignorant in this area.

~I’m not too worried about game saves on this arcade box. I could easily incorporate some of the memory functions into the consoles (like dream cast for example has a controller adapter that lets one use a Saturn controller on a dream cast, which has a bit that allows one to insert a vmu, this could be used for controller port 1’s controller). But this box is all about party fun, no real reason to save stuff.

~Regarding the power / modulation between consoles in the entire arcade box. I plan on having all of the consoles feed out to AV cables (some consoles will have to be modified for this), and having them all merge into one set of AV cables. The idea is that only one console will be powered on at one time. All the consoles will be “on,” but only power will flow to one that is selected to play, I would have a switch of sorts that would change the power to go only to the specified console.

The limits of my electrical physics is that I’m aware that each console will have some different voltage/amp/something requirement, and that its possible to have a sort of dampener/regulator/transistor or something at the leads to the power of that console. I’m guessing the power input for the entire arcade box will have to be equal to the greatest power requiring console. I’ll probably need helpful ideas on the math and other options on this part.

~Re-regarding the power of some consoles. I’m certain that my above idea will work for cartridge based consoles, but unsure about disc based ones. Every time the power goes off of a nes / genesis Bomberman and then comes back on, the game simply resets. But doing that to say a dream cast will eventually cause some possible damage. Just how much would it hurt a psx or dream cast or game cube to turn it off by just cutting the power mid game, and turn it on later by just plugging the power back in? (I think this is termed a “hard reset” if I recall, which is supposed to be bad?, since a soft reset usually takes some button combination [for dream cast it’s a+b+x+y+start])




So far that’s what I’ve got. That’s the horrific, most likely flawed in a great many ways, idea. So just how bad of an idea is this? For my first project that doesn't consist of a shell repaint or addition of spikes, this is a very complex thing to want. Is it too far out of my reach?


Thanks in advance for any help!!!
~Monkey

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Designer noob
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Re: multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by Designer noob » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:14 pm

lol, way to long to read, but if you want all the systems (the three or four systems) in a handled from what I read that would be impossibel unless you are pro with electronics.

You would have cartridge slots and all the wiring no one could make it small enough to carry.

Why not just buy a PSP and buy a SD card and put some emulators on it. I am pretty PSP can run N64, SNES, NES, and some more.
The N64/GBA Remix
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kylechu
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Re: multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by kylechu » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:58 pm

Ok, I'm almost knowledgeable, so I will answer all the questions I can. Nice first post by the way.

will keeping the naked electronics of multiple consoles near each other be safe?
As long as they're not physically touching each other, you should be safe.
Is it even safe to remove the electronic bits of a game-cartridge and insert it in the system without its plastic shell
Yes, as long as you don't touch two circuit boards together, or directly on a conductive surface, you should be fine.
But what I’m not sure of is if there is some sort of electrical difference I should be worried about. I’m thinking that if I figure out which wire signals that I’m pressing Up on the digital pad of the Saturn controller connects to the wire that should signal Up on the digital pad of (up to) 5 other consoles
Controller ports aren't that simple. It's not like pushing the button just makes two pins connect. What you could do though is sacrifice some saturn controllers and hook the button contacts directly into the box where other controller guts would be.
In other words, just be using the saturn controller's casing. You'd hook the physical button contacts on the inside of the controller to the console you're making. Inside there, you can have a bunch of controller guts from the systems that are in there, like the snes, and the buttons on the saturn controller would be wired directly into the buttons on the snes controller.
I'm sorry I'm not very articulate, someone else can probably explain this better then me.

The last two things you have near the end are probably things that people that aren't me should help you with :P
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XCVG
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Re: multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by XCVG » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:14 pm

It would probably be way easier and probably cheaper to simply emulate on a PC, but using all the authentic systems would be epic awesome.
MonkeyFist wrote:Now for the questionable ideas;

~Physically speaking I’m not sure how large this entire thing will be, since it will depend on the choice of consoles/games incorporated in it. Ideally I would want to remove the shell from the console and possibly the game to save space / reduce heat buildup. If the final box is kept closed off (with vents obviously, I’ll probably have to incorporate some sort of fan), will keeping the naked electronics of multiple consoles near each other be safe? I do want to keep this mostly cartridge-based consoles, possibly one or two disc based since I know they put off much more heat (dreamcast is like a furnace!).
It will be okay to keep them close together as they will not be operating at the same time, unless you did something wrong.

~Is it even safe to remove the electronic bits of a game-cartridge and insert it in the system without its plastic shell (even if I never intend on removing it)?
Yes, but don't get it backwards.

~Regarding the merging of multiple controllers ports from multiple systems to one controller…. Yeah this is the part I’m worried about. Even though I’m not going to use Saturn Bomberman, I want to use Saturn controllers (they are obviously the best controller ever made…). I really love these things, and since basic Bomberman controls are so simple, it would theoretically be very easy to map the controls from various games to one controller type.

In my head I see the box having Saturn controller ports, so outside it will look like the entire thing just takes Saturn controllers. But on the inside I see each port having many splits (first the wire coming from the in-port splitting into each tagged button-function, and then those tagged wires going to the coordinating wires for each button-function that go to each system. This would quickly become a mess, since there will be 4 controllers total.

But what I’m not sure of is if there is some sort of electrical difference I should be worried about. I’m thinking that if I figure out which wire signals that I’m pressing Up on the digital pad of the Saturn controller connects to the wire that should signal Up on the digital pad of (up to) 5 other consoles, then as long as only one of those consoles is turned on, it should work. (I plan on testing the wires by first sacrificing a Saturn controller and tagging each wire after testing its function in game by splitting them all, cutting it, and reconnecting it. The same procedure would be used with the original controllers to the consoles being used in the arcade box).

I’m aware of some controllers being fed power threw the console (like built in vibration or lights or power to the vmu on a dream cast), but I’m not sure how that would effect this sort of setup. I’m really ignorant in this area.
Hmmm, this is a toughy. Controller data is ENCODED by a chip inside the controller with a Saturn pad. It would be best to use a microcontroller to decode the controller data and translate it to each system, but way difficult. It would be best to hack up the saturn controller so all the buttons have a wire, with common ground and hack up a controller board from each system. Wasteful but probably the easiest way to do it.

~I’m not too worried about game saves on this arcade box. I could easily incorporate some of the memory functions into the consoles (like dream cast for example has a controller adapter that lets one use a Saturn controller on a dream cast, which has a bit that allows one to insert a vmu, this could be used for controller port 1’s controller). But this box is all about party fun, no real reason to save stuff.
Game saves is on cartridge for most cart based systems. For PSX just shove a memory card in the slot. If you hack up controllers it would be easy to integrate a DC VMU.

~Regarding the power / modulation between consoles in the entire arcade box. I plan on having all of the consoles feed out to AV cables (some consoles will have to be modified for this), and having them all merge into one set of AV cables. The idea is that only one console will be powered on at one time. All the consoles will be “on,” but only power will flow to one that is selected to play, I would have a switch of sorts that would change the power to go only to the specified console.

The limits of my electrical physics is that I’m aware that each console will have some different voltage/amp/something requirement, and that its possible to have a sort of dampener/regulator/transistor or something at the leads to the power of that console. I’m guessing the power input for the entire arcade box will have to be equal to the greatest power requiring console. I’ll probably need helpful ideas on the math and other options on this part.
A lot of switches, maybe hack up a signal selector. For the Genesis and SNES you need around 9V DC. The DC and PSX have integrated power supplies so you need to supply them with 120VAC. Or you can give the Genesis and SNES individual power supplies and just switch 120VAC.

~Re-regarding the power of some consoles. I’m certain that my above idea will work for cartridge based consoles, but unsure about disc based ones. Every time the power goes off of a nes / genesis Bomberman and then comes back on, the game simply resets. But doing that to say a dream cast will eventually cause some possible damage. Just how much would it hurt a psx or dream cast or game cube to turn it off by just cutting the power mid game, and turn it on later by just plugging the power back in? (I think this is termed a “hard reset” if I recall, which is supposed to be bad?, since a soft reset usually takes some button combination [for dream cast it’s a+b+x+y+start])
It's fine. It doesn't do damage, but you might kill your saves.



So far that’s what I’ve got. That’s the horrific, most likely flawed in a great many ways, idea. So just how bad of an idea is this? For my first project that doesn't consist of a shell repaint or addition of spikes, this is a very complex thing to want. Is it too far out of my reach?


Thanks in advance for any help!!!
~Monkey

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MasterPrime
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Re: multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by MasterPrime » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:14 am

Designer noob wrote:...Why not just buy a PSP and buy a SD card and put some emulators on it. I am pretty PSP can run N64, SNES, NES, and some more.
why not just buy a Pandora.That's what it's built for.

If you want to build a cabinet version, you might wanna look into MAME. You basically put a computer in a cabinet and wire the controls to an arcade style board. Plus that will give you a lot more room to do the "making it look good" part.
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MonkeyFist
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Re: multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by MonkeyFist » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:49 pm

the idea is to have a custom gaming console (obviously larger in size than what most consider a console), that is designed entirely for the purpose of playing a selection of bomberman games, with four controllers for multiplayer matches.

thanks for all the input and ideas guys! I knew the limits of the controllers would be the hard part, but I'm quite stubborn really, and really do want to sort of work this together.

I do think that this is a bit too complex for a first-time project. I do plan on keeping with this idea, but putting it off while I practice on two other ideas; both bomberman consoles.

The first is simply a custom shell for a sega saturn, in a sphere, with two multi taps permanently attached around the circumference, and one of those optical lights with the fiber strands that change colors coming out of the top (basically the entire thing taking the shape of a bomb.

The second is one of those new consoles that play nes, snes, and gen games, and basically make a custom shell for it too, permanently attaching a multitap and three games in it. This is going to be a gift for the friend who got me into the bomberman games.

MonkeyFist
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Re: multiple console's to one, a Bomberman Arcade Box!

Post by MonkeyFist » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:13 pm

I had a really fun idea that will most likely make this more complicated, but might make it much more fun. But I really don't know about the saturn wireless controllers, and in such require knowledge!

Does anyone know if the saturn wireless controllers (which came in a set of two), could be used with the multi-tap? If they are like my wireless genny controllers then I'm thinking they are infra-red, and such only two can work at one time, but do they work at different frequencies? And if so is it possible to change the frequencies on the third and fourth controller and their receiver so that there won't be any crossover?

I'm too stubborn to give up this idea, but am willing to take all the time to make it work. I'm setting this project aside while I gain the much needed experience playing with other ideas and mods, and the benefit is ideas like this springing to life! Using wireless would take away space on the outside of the arcade-box, only having spots for the two wireless receivers to be built in, but will obviously take up some more space on the interior. But for a system that is designed to have four people playing it at all times, removing controller wires sounds like an obvious benefit!

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