Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flow and Making Awesome Things!

Today I achieved that magical state of Flow (which I didn't realize was a psychology term until I just grabbed that link. It's been a long time since I've been in Flow. In fact, I think the last time I truly experienced Flow was when I was working on Dungeon Marauders. What task was I so perfectly immersed in? I was making an arcade cabinet. I've been talking about making it for well over 10 years now, so it feels great to actually be doing it. Today I cut out the side pieces and attached braces. Tomorrow I'll start putting on the front, back and top pieces. I'll probably also start working on the control panel.

I've always been very driven by the act of making things. It's why there's a poster on my classroom door that says "Get Excited and Make Things." (The design is CC, so you can go make your own.) I just got back from a week at Disney World, and my wife probably doesn't want me to admit this, but I got more enjoyment and fulfillment today from cutting some MDF than I did at Disney World. (Don't get me wrong, Disney was fun, and my kids had a blast.)

The cabinet I'm making is based off of these "Easy Cab" plans. I've made some modifications, nothing too serious. I don't have a router, so I'll probably sand and paint the edges instead of use T-molding. I'm also using a lighter particle board for the back to cut down on some of the weight. The thing will probably be close to 200 pounds when it's finished, so anything I can do to reduce that would be good.

I have a pair of PCB boards coming that support both XBox360 and PS3/4. Actually, they support a whole gamut of different videogame machines. What I really want them for is the XBox360 support for steamOS. My plan is to run SteamOS on the thing so that I can stream games from my other gaming rig in my office. It should still play some retro and indy games without a problem, but if I want to play the new Mortal Kombat, then I'll have to rely on the streaming. It's possible that this will be the first arcade cabinet running SteamOS (I've done a tiny bit of searching and haven't found another.)

I need to decide how I want to decorate the thing. I'll probably end up keeping the sides just flat black, at least until I come across some awesome decals. I want to have a light up top bar, so I need to decide what to have up there for graphics. I'm super excited to keep moving forward on this project. I'm hoping that I'll have it playable before too much longer.

All in all, this project is probably going to take a week or two to complete. There are still some parts that haven't come in yet, and some parts that I still need to make decisions on before I order. That's mostly on the electronic end of things. I'll probably try to make it work with some old computer parts laying around first. It really depends on if I can get SteamOS running on what I have laying around or not.

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