I decided to build a MAME cabinet. That's basically an arcade cabinet with a PC inside running emulators to play old, old arcade games. Because I live in an apartment and I have limited woodworking skills, I figured it would be best to get a SlikStik control panel and cabinet, and I'm pretty happy with the results so far.
Since I wasn't able to design and build the cabinet myself, I put extra thought into choosing the theme of the artwork for the machine.
So, rather than creating a mock up of an existing game, I thought it would be fun to create a cabinet for a fictional arcade game. I considered Starfighter, Larry the Looter, Touch of Death, or Pharaoh (can you name that reference?). But my love of the movie TRON made the choice easy: Space Paranoids, the fictional game written by Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and later stolen by Ed Dillinger (David Warner). The game drives the plot of the movie that inspired my all-time real-life arcade game.
I pulled out the DVD to see what the movie tells us a Space Paranoids machine looks like. It doesn't tell us a lot. You never see the full cabinet, the side-art, or the marquee. You briefly get a glimpse of the control panel, but it's just a TRON cabinet, oddly enough. The best hint we get is the billboard above Flynn's Arcade that reads HOME OF SPACE PARANOIDS. I took a screenshot.
Next, I created a 3D model of a Recognizer, the mean two-legged flying vehicle from Space Paranoids and TRON. I used Caligari trueSpace6. My modeling skills aren't what they used to be, but it didn't turn out too bad!
For the side-art, I created a composition that showed three Recognizers descending on the player's POV. The image is about 30" x 40" at 300dpi. That's more than 100 megapixels of data. The layered file actually hit Photoshop's 2-gigabyte file size limit before I was done. The flattened RGB bitmap is more than half a gig, making the full resolution file difficult to share, but I'm working on getting it hosted someplace. Detail view.
Next I added the logo and some early 80's style borders around the edge.
Finally, I recomposed the artwork for the marquee. I'd be happy to share this artwork as well, but the file is just too damn large.
Here's a mock-up of what the SlikStik cabinet should look like once all the artwork is applied. The cabinet is actually situated next to my couch, so I'm not concerned with what the lower half of the cabinet looks like. Then again, I'm leaning towards keeping the side-panels black. I'm still giving it thought.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at jarrett.heather at gmail dot com
, or just drop a note here
on the BYOAC message board.