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  • A little history lesson

    Publish Date: 08/29/2016
    A little history lesson
    I got my first major PC build in 2003 which I bought the parts off of a friend and then built the system. I was heavily into retrogaming and emuation back then in between playing MMO star wars galaxies and various PC games I acquired via any means. I was always interested in frontend. Jennatek and I have been friends for about 20 years and I value her opinion. She pointed me into the direction of my first frontend which was via arcadecontrols.com 3d arcade

    3D Arcade
    Let me point this out right now, the community for this is not as bustling as it once was as development died a few years ago when director was not longer updated. designed during the XP era, this frontend was quite unique as it was the only one of it's kind and the developer, plus a group of crazy but very talented artists and modellers showed the world what was possible. While it looks impressive there were gaping big problems with it as well. First the configuration of this made Hyperspin look like a piece of cake. The way this was presented in it's read me was a playlist of playlists. Which made no sense at the time. but I got some stuff configured but the cabinets look all generic without artwork well the other problem was also it's biggest strength and that was the individual and unique arcade machines they had created on their system. Another advantage is the use of difference locations. 
    For instance, the Time out Tunnel which had a it's own little sub corridor for effect

    The level of detail back in 2007 to 2009 was spectacular in their arcades. the other advantage was the use of multiple emulators like Mame. Kega, BSnes, Visual Pinball with Pinmame before the whole project was merged with MAME. But walking into this out of the box was a REAL! learning curve. But you have 6 or seven different locations. These systems used a either a screen videos or screen cap to show what was playing and also the name of the marquee which if you had the extras for would show the actual marquee file said file (Hyperspin's wheel art would do just as well here if not a little better). But there are a lot of reasons why this should would well but really didn't for me.
    First off, the configuration tool was a real nightmare to use because it made no real sense it took me 2 years to properly learn how to use it, even then I didn't scratch the surface. There were a lot of parameters to fill in which also made it quite detailed for the time. But after a few years you could have got a DVD edition which included the marquee files and everything EXCEPT roms. But has time went on and during one of the website downtime sessions which happened once a year for 2 weeks on this occasion, I went elsewhere which lead me to my home on Hyperspin. But I never forgot my roots.
    But before that development was slowly dying because )p( had really left the group to pursue real life things like watching his son grow up. So development had stopped for the system itself but it didn't stop there, by my last count there are 18 different locations and something like 400 plus different arcade models to play with plus skins and various other options. Everything is skinable to a degree and it shows with some of the arcade skins for the pinball tables which had a generic table which could be skinned. Perfect setting for that was the Derino's damned dungeon in which you had a large winding arcade which showed off the capabilities of the frontend also.
    while the video shows just basic arcades its only when I added the actual models to extra effect when you see the sheer scale of the and you can see the the difference with just a few cabinet (while my video is crappy with a bad mic) the video just shows what kind of frontend 3D arcade was. it waas ahead of it's time. so why did it fail so much it didn't for a which because it had a wow factor which everything from GameEX to AtomicFE tried to do differently while both are functional (well GameEX was functional and AtomicFE Crashed on me a few times and I gave up with it).  After 4 years of trying to go back and trying to configures this thing again, during one of the sites downages (due to Mameworld going for a name change to .info). I started looking elsewhere and which finally lead me to my home of Hyperspin which I am a valued member. However I didn't give up on this project. it had a DVD release also a few new arcades locations added (which included Flynn's Place from Tron which was in it's 3rd beta according to the forums). While the forums have a few hardcore members, it's not as bustling as it was circa 2007/2008. 
    This brings me to my second introduction

    Well about 2 to 3 years ago, I found this project somewhere and it was called Smarcade Anarchy edition and it's developer made this in the source engine. While it has limitation, it has proven it could hang with the big boys. He tried to kickstarter this and he wasn't successful, while he could sell the product because the money for a source licence is something like $10,000 so he released it for free. This isn't like the first Frontend, which specialized in console and arcade stuff. This is more of a Visual Desktop which you could customize the rooms to tailor your tastes. Everything is editable and I mean anything. it's a bit of a learning curve but once you got everything it's rather simple to edit everything and anything
    don't believe me just look at : WheresThePunch
    Unlike 3d arcade this both a VR experience and a visual desktop. I was and still am impressed with this frontend as it's specializes in virually everything and you can set games and video even youtube and MP3 files to different Items which can act as links to said programs or files. Adding files and taking them away are easy compared to something like 3D arcade. It was interesting but there are issues with it but not that many. Why did it not succeed in the kickstarter. Simple lack of publicity and not enough word of mouth. But it's a free app and its not difficult to pick up so give it a look.  By the way, Steam workshop support is second to none here and the just look at their website themselves.
    OK this leaves me to the latest member of the 3D environments with

    That's right I've just covered this and this is a frontend with a few extra minigames. This started life as a learning experience for a 5 man development team which later called themselves DigitalCyberCherries. The concept was simple, to have an arcade environment which was reminiscent of old fashioned arcades. Designed as a VR experience and it was a good experience, but while Anarchy arcade failed to garner support, DigitalCyberCherries wet the appetite of various members of community of emulation. I have reviewed it in my previous article I would look at that. But despite being 25 buck for just 2 maps and a configuration setup which is simple to use but you can see where this experience going. While the earlier version of this have copyrighted material and if you have original 2.0 and 3.0 of newretroarcade I would get those models there and look into the discussions where you can find some marquees and sideart. Personally this needs to have steam workshop support.
    if you don't believe me that this hasn't got potential just look at simply austin's video
    This shows some of the artwork changes Austin actually made change within the experience in which he added some actual marquee and CP artwork which showed a different system control there. There are generic joystick setups. but you get the experience. while the VIVE needs some tweaking on it's controller system. The reports that the left controller which controlled the directional controls doesn't work well but that's for VIVE users who use the motion controls.
    anyways that's enough of the little history lessons from my personal view, If i have missed anything please don't forget to mention it in the comments anyways time for me to head off and start something else.

    NewRetroArcade NEON

    Publish Date: 08/28/2016
    About late 2014, I saw a new frontend on my facebook feed, this was the first version of NewRetroArcade, my curiosity was peeked. So I downloaded the package and installed it onto my desktop (my this point I will remind you I was using this on my old 7 year old potato). I ran the program and I was greeted by a corridor, which ran at about 15 fps and I blame the fact I have not upgraded my machine is something like years but the premise was there a walk around experience which gave a player a look around a small arcade with extra things to do.
    You could find tapes and play them in the boombox radio (this could be editable) You could actually tune in to the online radio station (preconfigured by the developer to 80's style music) You could play Darts, ten pin bowling or shoot hoops in separate games Almost everything was able to be picked up (bottles, cigs, phone's, tapes and gameboys (yes there were playable gameboys) The Arcades where quite detailed. Please bare in mind this isn't my first rodeo when it comes with 3D environments for gaming experiences. but this felt the most complete and right now this does set the tone to anyone following this experience. That was the classic version which when released on steam became the Tech Demo. They didn't change a thing. So why are they selling the experience for 35 bucks, well a few reasons actually. The Demo was the to simply wet the appetite and boy did they. while it introduced new people to a arcade experience, to the veterans, including another developer who I often speak with. When I covered this a year ago, the whole project was designed by 5 guys who were learn how to use unreal 4. To me this a mixture of passion, craziness and sheer brilliance, while the concept has been done before on other engines, this one stands out because it looks stunning with the lighting effects and the level of detail in the surroundings. Despite all the praise, I will nitpick about the control panels a bit for being a tad generic. other than that, that's about it. if you don't believe me just have a look

      That's just a load of skinned arcade machines. while the models are limited to 2 or 3 styles, the artwork could be added quite easily with the use of paint.net or gimp or even photoshop. it's interesting because to counter the copyrighted artwork they did a lot of generic artwork and screencaps to put as placeholders and when you first look round you think what the hell. Ok you have downloaded but where are these arcade games you are on about. you are forgetting the first rule of emulations in itself, you CANNOT distribute Emulators and roms in the same pack but to anyone here, this isn't that hard to locate the roms, But Jack, it still doesn't work, What is the problem here.
    First off, the emulator built into NewRetroArcade is Libertro (retroarch), thats right you need the cores for said emulators, and the roms. now the interesting part, where is each system going. you need to go into the arcade builder

    Yep, this thing, which is not that difficult to set up. while this picture is a little dated because they added an actual emulator to use as well in NEON, this is pretty much everything you use to configure the classic and best of all you see that pink circle in the picture, that is where you will find the machine you select to be in that position.
    Right that's enough of the classic map so what do you get for 25 bucks apart from this demo. Good question? and having recently refunded no mans sky after no engaging me in the way it was suppose to and the frame drops killed my mod I decided to get this for me and my best friend (jennatek). Right now we both went into a multiplayer session. Yes first case and point it's multiplayer a good start, second thing is the intro screen

    Why does it look like an 80's version of the matrix, simply put I think that was the point being the design choice (this was designed for the vive and the dk 2 also but runs just as well on a simple setup). with this intro screen you are greeted with 6 options
    Single player Multi player Options Custiomise Credits Quit All pretty self explanatory with the exception of customize, Customise is an other in the multiplayer to have an additional item on top of you virtualboy (ie a hat or cap. It looks weird but it serves the purpose to distinguish between the players. While there are limitations to the emulation currently ie. netplay. you can play some of the custom games which are available like aimbot which is a like a fps cross between doom and goldeneye64. There is also a house of the dead clone in the VIP room with the playable SNES clone (original model and the gameboy models were changed to avoid Nintendo NAZI approach to gaming in general, which is a shame because those models were amazing) but with the classic map we got this.
    A new arcade which is a little bigger than the classic build and they also added a lot more activities to do as well as the 3 main one from the classic arcade that being air hockey

    In this room alone with the air hockey, have the zombie problem 2 arcade (their own minigame which is a homage to house of the dead) there is a guitar and a min drum machine in here too. There are quite a few distraction before you configure the arcades themselves like the one punch machines you see, also the whack a mole as well. the map is a little larger and left a couple of easter eggs also near the bar ( if they are crazy enough to do that ). The emulation side of this especially the lighting issues for the gameboy was particularly impressive (yes I had 2 gameboys to play multiplayer with friends with) and the fact that a dot matrix screen with no backlight (which is why the gameboy had a 25 hour battery life compared to the lynx and the gamegears measly 3 hours of battery life. This is not a game but a VR experience which for us arcade buffs which is an experience. Is it worth 25 buck for me person, yes it is but for the casual I'm not so sure, but who knows I give it a shot. 
    Jack, is there anything you would love to see out of this project, yeah steam workshop support for starters. To help with arcade cabinet construction and maybe some new maps. Better netpay with emulation but that's more to do with libertro rather than newretroarcade. Finally a video guide but I know my good friend SimplyAustin is thinking of doing one sooner or later.
    I would recommend this if you enjoy walking around arcade in a VR environment. Setting it up is a little tricky and finding the artwork is a bit of a challenge but I will help you as much as I can via SimplyAustins channel when I pass the helping hand to him. anyways remember when I said this wasn't my first rodeo into 3D environments. For that you can read the next part of this.


    Publish Date: 08/22/2016
    While emulation is the primary source of news here, there are times we need to see that retrogaming is very much alive and a social event, earlier tonight I went to the Secret Weapon in Stratford east London. OK the Secret Weapon is a gamer's pub, yes that's right, a gamer's pub. Which is a rare thing in east London but I hear there are 2. But this appeared about 2 days ago on my Facebook stream, I looked at it
    So I went earlier tonight and I wasn't disappointed. It's a surprising change because I know my gaming event. First off the first thing I ever noticed, was an old Cocktail machine working (running an Icade board)

    Granted it an old Galaxian machine but it was working with a working coin mech.
    The pub in question is formerly the princess of wales in Stratford (a place where I grew up). it was shut down about year ago and about 9 months ago it was rechristened the "SECRET WEAPON " why I never knew until tonight. Gamers have started to take over the old pub scene and "SECRET WEAPON" is the second such pub I know (their first one is in Dalston which I will adventure to another time) but this was my first gaming meet. this little evdeavour was started by its' organizer about 6 weeks ago and cost me 5 quid to enter (included a free drink in my case it was a cider) 
    I did a quick periscope of the show but I know it will only last a month
    that was a quick tour of the place but I will be looking to attend more without the interference of family commitments (yeah like thats going to happen) but I've got a couple more pictures to show you. But my periscope was really first time I've ever done it properly for gaming related news. Other Photos include

     I may have been there for an hour but in that hour I saw a a different world in which my friends would happily go to. While the consoles are ranging from XBOX and PS2 and SNES it paints a good picture of my social life in East London.
    Tell me what you think....

    PlayStation 2 Video Snaps Updated (75 Videos)

    Getting ready to head to Santa Clara tomorrow for California Extreme with BadBoyBill from HyperSpin and JimJim from Pinside.  Before I ran out the door I realized that I have been so tied up in website updates (and breakdowns) that I am behind on video releases.  I had a batch ready to go so here it is.  This is 75 more video snaps for the Sony PlayStation 2 set and while I am happy to get them posted, I am also a little bummed because I am sitting on even more.  I think I mentioned this in the last update on this set but we have finally captured all of the PS2 games that we could get to play.  Hopefully next week I will get the final vids from the set posted and we can open up the broken list to the community.  I will get the list posted and if anyone knows a game is playable that we have listed as unplayable we can figure out how to get it going and get the video made.  The videos can be downloaded via EmuMovies Sync or our FTP.
    For a full list of what has been added continue on below, and if your at CAX this weekend maybe I'll see you!
    Video Added: 74 (Beauenheim, Circo)
    Operation Air Assault (Europe) Operation Air Assault 2 (Europe) PDC World Championship Darts (Europe) Polar Express, The (USA) Police 24-7 (Europe) Police Chase Down (Europe) Premier Manager 2003-04 (Europe) Premier Manager 2004-2005 (Europe) Premier Manager 2005-2006 (Europe) Premier Manager 2006-2007 (Europe) Prisoner of War (Europe) Pro Bull Riders - Out of the Chute (USA) Project Minerva Professional (Europe) Quest For Sleeping Beauty (Europe) Radio Helicopter (Europe) RC Sports - Copter Challenge (Europe) RC Toy Machines (Europe) RLH - Run Like Hell (USA) Robot Warlords (Europe) Robot Wars - Arenas of Destruction (Europe) Rock'N'Roll Adventures (Europe) Roller Coaster Funfare (Europe) Rollercoaster World (Europe) Romance of the Three Kingdoms X (USA) Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI (USA) RPG Maker 3 (USA) RPG Maker II (USA) RTX - Red Rock (USA) Safari Adventures - Africa (Europe) Saint Seiya - The Hades (Europe) Saint Seiya - The Sanctuary (Europe) SAS - Anti Terror Force (Europe) SD Gundam Force - Showdown! (USA) Search & Destroy (Europe) Seed, The - WarZone (Europe) Seek and Destroy (USA) Sega Genesis Collection (USA) Sengoku Anthology (Europe) Silent Line - Armored Core (USA) Skate Attack (Europe) Skateboard Madness Xtreme Edition (Europe) Sniper 2, The (Europe) Sniper Assault (Europe) Snow Queen Quest, The (Europe) Soccer Life 2 (Europe) SOCOM II - U.S. Navy SEALs (USA) Son of the Lion King (Europe) Soul Reaver 2 (USA) Spider-Man - The Movie (USA) Spy Hunter 2 (USA) Spy vs. Spy (Europe) Starsky & Hutch (USA) Stealth Force - The War on Terror (Europe) Sum of All Fears, The (Europe) SWAT - Global Strike Team (USA)  SWAT Siege (Europe) Sword of Etheria, The (Europe) Sword of the Samurai (Europe) Swords of Destiny (Europe) Syberia II (Europe) Tank Elite (Europe) Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (USA) They Came from the Skies (Europe) Thunderbirds (Europe) Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas - Oogie's Revenge (USA) TMNT (USA) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (USA) Top Gun (Europe) Wrath Unleashed (USA) Wreckless - The Yakuza Missions (USA) Xena - Warrior Princess (Europe) Xenosaga Episode I - Der Wille zur Macht (USA) Xenosaga Episode II - Jenseits von Gut und Boese (USA) (Disc 1) Xenosaga Episode II - Jenseits von Gut und Boese (USA) (Disc 2) XII Stag (Europe)  

    mGalaxy v6.0 released

    Publish Date: 07/14/2016
    The mGalaxy front end has been updated to version 6 and this looks to be a pretty extensive update.  Looks like we have improved emulator support,  an attract mode, multiple monitor support and more.  Give this new version a try and let us know what you think in the comments.  Continue reading for a full list of features and fixes included in this release.

    Incredible amount of new features into v6.0!!
    Automatic script handling.
    No more need to handle scripts installation! No more need to worry whether an emulator needs a script or not to work, mGalaxy will manage it by itself! RetroArch added to available systems. Command window hidden.
    The command window may now be hidden when the emulator is launched (for systems allowing it, like ‘Mame’ for instance) Uppercase and lower case rom file extensions are now allowed. Screensaver/Attract Mode. Theme switching (Premium).
    Set one (different) theme per system. Localization (French, German, Portuguese for now!). mGalaxy_Runway system creation setup revised.
    You now drag and drop the system you need (as many instances as you want) to build your system list (this would allow you, for instance, to create 3 different MAME systems!) Systems window: filtering on arcade/computer/console. mGalaxy_Runway: box/marquee images support (for themes allowing this functionality). Scroll speed setting.
    Let you define the scrolling speed of the list when direction keys are held. Pre-Launch settings.
    Allows you to launch another application/script/document before launching game (for instance, to auto load map to ‘Ultimarc Ultrastik 360’) Child lock (per key/button).
    When set, the key/button has to be held for 3 seconds to run. Compatible with every screen resolution (e.g. 640x480px). mGalaxy_Runway: database creator (with resume functionality). mGalaxy_Runway: database editor (Premium). mGalaxy_Runway: data/media export (database, favorites, roms, snaps, boxes, videos). Multiple monitor support. Command Help panel.
    Displays all the actions available and their corresponding key/button shortcut mGalaxy_Runway: Mame database creation updated Spread the news !!
    More info and download on http://www.mgalaxy.com

    Sega Genesis Parallax Intro Released

    Got some good feedback from the Sammy Atomiswave Parallax intro so I am happy to bring you the next one in the series, Sega Genesis!  I hope you guys like it and I will do the next one based on what you guys say in the comments.  Please let us know what you what system you would like done next.

    GameEx Evolution 0.1 Alpha Released

    Publish Date: 06/29/2016
    From http://gameex.com
    I am excited and pleased to announce the first public alpha release of GameEx Evolution.
    Please try it out and discuss in our newly opened forum. It can be installed alongside the existing GameEx and it is functional and stable for alpha software.
    Download here. There are few specific points to mention for this initial release other than you should simply take a look:
    We have focused purely on MAME arcade for this initial release in order to provide something functionally complete. You need to know though that this is not the culmination of our work and there is a lot of power and functionality behind it that covers this and other areas..
    We have all made sacrifices with our time and finances to get this far and it is no small feat for us. For MAME arcade front end features we have something about as functional as things get, albeit with some more polish to add. We do already have a setup wizard for configuration and the front end can be used with the media and videos on our FTP server or content from EmuMovies. You should install LAV video codec filters.
    At this point the release is entirely free to all. This will change as the product moves along.
    I encourage you to take a look and let us know what you think. We are pleased with what we have completed and there is much more to come.
    I would like to thank my entire team here for their support and hard work on the project and particular Ben Baker and Flash for the sacrifices they have made in getting the project to this point along with the majority of work completed.

    Atomiswave Parallax Intro Released

    Introducing Parallax
    I have spent the last few weeks polishing up the website, hopefully you guys have noticed.  Anyway, it's such a nice Saturday I thought I would try an experiment.  This is a new kind of system intro video.  I am calling this type parallax, and you will see it is much different than our typical system intro videos.  Hoping to get some feedback and if you guys think it's cool I will make some more.
    Here is a sample and the download link is below

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