Sperg Burg Arcade

Discussion of arcades and other gaming locations with music/rhythm games

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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:05 pm

Okay, so Chad, Merk and I tried getting the Minimaid working this weekend. We got the PC built (using Windows 7 64-bit, since we couldn't get a working XP 32-bit). The monitor works, we got the sound working (after replacing a bum audio cable), and now we're down to the last problem: the pad input. I briefly saw someone else with the exact same problem on Chad's sows account, but I don't have access to that so can't get it word for word (was on page 15 I think though of that thread). Essentially, when you turn it on a lot of the arrows seem to "stick" until you unstick them, like they will just spam kjlkljkljkjlkjljkjljk etc. via the inputs. The up and right arrows on both pads do not work, but we have the face buttons and other directions working okay. I assume this is a wiring problem, but here's what we all tried:

Image - This setup, though against what the manual says, is the only one I believe (and I might have to recheck to be double sure) that does NOT have the "sticking" problem. The up and right arrows still do not function, but I don't think it did the khjhkjhkhjkh spam stick.

Image - This is what it should be from the manual I assume, but the issue persists.

Image - We tried removing the bridge plugs from the back panel of the 573 and switch them. The error is the same. Did we do it right? We plugged the 1P into the 2P bridge connector (so it goes orange to white, for instance).

Image - Same thing, but now moved on the minimaid pin connectors, similar to first two pics.

The only thing I didn't try yet is white to white / orange to orange on bridge and then into the minimaid.

This is the only other picture I took to ask a question, but the picture is pretty bad:

Image - Chad was wondering about the dipswitches. I had tape over mine, and they were all down. We put #2 up (we assumed clicking it up meant on, not off), and everything else on the whole thing is down. Is this right? We knew that 4/5/6 were monitor related, and since the monitor was working we didn't mess with them. Do dips do anything for inputs?

Chad/Merk, please feel free to add anything I'm forgetting.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:10 pm

On phone so annoying to type, but quick update. Chad called and we compared our setups. Went with orange/white/ red/ white. The issue was ( and probably still is) in the dipswitches. Everything was on (down) except for 2, which was up. Now, 1 and 3 are up and 2 is down, along with everything else 4 through 8 being on.

Now we knew that those have to do with the monitor, but since it was working and wasn't the main issue at the time we kept going with it. Tomorrow I will look into it further.

I believe from our conversation on Facebook before I bought the machine you guys identified it as an original JP monitor, whatever the specific name is. I should use the 30khz vga dip right? Again don't have manuals since I'm on phone but wanted to verify with the source. My monitor is currently working but I think we noticed it at 720x480 and stepmania looked like the scroll rate was jittery, so doubt monitor settings are totally right and don't want to cause permanent damage. Also, lights were not working, though I'm pretty sure all the stepmania files were put into the right folders. It's been one step at a time so far though.

p.s. Brandon, Chad told me to ask where you recently got your panels. Mine are pretty concave and he said it'd make a big difference.

edit: just went back and read your fb message from awhile back. I have original jp monitor. I'm also using an Arcade VGA video card I got from Chad. Do I have to use the soft15khz thing with that? Or just use a specific dipswitch and that's it? Not sure if that will also fix the jitter and smooth it out too.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by MonMotha » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:31 pm

Anything 480 lines interlaced or 240 lines progressive at 60Hz should be close enough for the monitor to be happy. Note that 720x480 will have non-square pixels, and most PC applications assume square pixels so you may get "distorted" graphics. You probably want 640x480 (interlaced 60Hz).

Another option would be to run the monitor at mid-res, which would be 512x384 (or close) progressive. This is a little lower resolution, but it won't have the interlacing artifacts. It's also kinda hard to set up if you're not fairly experienced at bashing your OS over its head to get it to do exactly what you want.

"Jittery" video is probably a software problem. The video is always the hardest part of getting these setups working, and Stepmania unfortunately is godawful in that respect. Example: it has a framerate indicator, but it's usually wrong since it only measures how many frames/sec are rendered, now whether a frame was rendered from old/dirty data. So if you're CPU limited, for example, you could get a nice steady "60FPS" reading from Stepmania while still having major video issues, and Stepmania is usually CPU limited especially when using full motion background videos or lots of scrolling text.

You may just be noticing the interlaced video. Depending on your video timings, the monitor may "flicker" or maybe even "jitter", depending on your definition of those terms, a bit when running interlaced. I don't know what timings the ArcadeVGA uses by default. The timings distributed in the "care package" for use with Soft15kHz make the monitor mostly happy (though it still ends up with a little bit of side compression), but the ArcadeVGA ships with its own timings built in and not easily changed. Certainly going out of your way to force specific timings on that thing totally defeats the "plug and play" purpose of having it.

In theory, you probably only want DIP 4 on and the rest of the video selection switches (5-6) off. Note that 7-8 are unused and "should" be left off for potential future compatibility (yeah right). This will tell the board to only pass 15kHz standard res video to the monitor making it extremely unlikely that you'll damage it in any way. However, the Toshiba monitors are pretty well built and tend to do something reasonable to prevent damage when presented with incompatible video, anyway. Depending on the video timings you use, you may get "flashing" video with only DIP 4 on. I only know of this being a problem with the stock/standard timings on old versions of Soft15kHz, and it's been updated in recent versions to use more compatible timings.

DIP 2 on is, IIRC, correct for DDR. Please consult the manual since I don't really remember off the top of my head. This setting is very important if you're using it in keyboard encoder mode with Stepmania. You'll get exactly the behavior described (UP and RIGHT not working/stuck on) otherwise. As you've apparently gathered, DOWN is ON. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive, though it's marked on the switch if you look carefully.

Also, I see that your monitor remote is hanging loose in the back of the cabinet up against the amp box. Make sure it's not grounding out. That would be bad.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:18 pm

Okay, so only dips 2 and 4 are on. Still no lights or anything, but we'll worry about that later. The little Galaga icon in the bottom right has a slider of all the resolutions. I tried 640x480, but it looks kinda blurry and the image seems to "buzz." Don't know how to describe it. I tried 448x240 or something and it had obviously huge icons, but didn't seem to be blurry. Stepmania on either resolution seems to lag visually; the arrows seem to be on the beat for the most part with the audio, but the video almost looks like it's on boost. The arrows lag slightly in the middle of rising on the screen and shoot up a little quicker halfway through, assuming when the monitor refreshes or something. There are little artifacts of desktop icons I think when starting stepmania, but I didn't notice any once you got into any menus. There is, however, a noticeable input lag when I hit the buttons on the front of the cabinet and when the menus in game move.

I wasn't sure how to make sure it was on 480i or 480p when I selected 640x480. Is there a way to toggle or make sure it's on either interlacing or progressive?

My hardware, for consideration with how Stepmania runs:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B4B ... UTF8&psc=1
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0065S ... UTF8&psc=1
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007ZW ... UTF8&psc=1
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZD ... UTF8&psc=1
And Chad's ArcadeVGA.

So yeah, need to tackle this monitor issue before figuring out what's up with lights unless you have a guess. I didn't think I needed to run soft15khz with the ArcadeVGA, but is there some setting on the graphics card that isn't right?

Also, moved the monitor remote to rest up on the wooden shelf part above without touching any metal. Thanks for catching that.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by MonMotha » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:40 pm

You should not need Soft15kHz with the ArcadeVGA. Aside from that, I know nothing about it other than it's an old, low-end Radeon of some sort with hacked up firmware and drivers. Getting it to work is left as an exercise to the reader. I actually test the video hardware with Linux since it's much easier to get the exact video timings I want.

It's impossible for the board to make your video lag or stutter. It has no memory. Any visual issues are coming straight from the PC.

Be sure that your CPU is fast enough. That Celeron you linked is pretty low end but generally within what I'd expect Stepmania to work with. Stepmania is VERY demanding of the CPU, especially when using complex themes (to include the popular OpenITG theme) or full motion background videos. It seems to care less about the GPU. The stock SMMAX theme isn't quite so demanding. Try running it without the lights DLL; this library does increase CPU overhead but in a manner that's virtually impossible to avoid due to the asinine way in which Stepmania's lights support was written. If you're starting right on the edge, it could push things over into not working well.

The normal troubleshooting mechanism for video issues is to get it working flawlessly on a normal PC monitor first. Unfortunately this isn't possible with the ArcadeVGA as it assumes you have a standard res arcade monitor and is therefore incompatible (without hacks) with standard PC monitors.

Any 640x480 setting when using the ArcadeVGA is going to be interlaced unless you've loaded alternate drivers (e.g. the "tri-sync drivers"). Progressive 640x480 would be 31kHz video which will "split screen" on that monitor if you set the DIP switches to allow it through at all.

The "shimmer" or "blurriness" you're noticing may just be the fact that it's interlaced. There's no way around this, if so - interlaced video is always going to look a bit off when dealing with sharp, thin lines, especially vertical lines that are moving horizontally. In particular, the Windows desktop is going to look terrible, but the game graphics should be a bit better since they're bigger and typically avoid single pixel lines. Arcade games that actually ran interlaced (e.g. 5th mix through Extreme) are actually designed using graphics with this limitation in mind. Your only options to avoid interlaced video are to use 320x240 or switch the monitor to mid-res (24kHz) and use 512x384, and I don't recommend doing this as it can be quite a pain to configure on the PC.

In general, ask Adrian for normal user software troubleshooting concerns. He's seen far more of the issues people normally see when using these things. Frankly, if I haven't seen a particular software problem on my very controlled bench, I'm just going to be guessing at the cause. From what I can tell, the hardware is working correctly; you've just got the normal Stepmania issues. It's way more finicky than people realize, especially when trying to get it to work in a manner suitable for arcade-style play.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:57 pm

Got the lights working. OpenITG has the same issue that I notice in Stepmania: there's a slight slowdown/boost effect midway through the screen, almost with the beat. Wondering if it's something with the refresh rate. I mean other than that, Stepmania seems to be working just fine. It's pretty in sync and sounds good, the lights work, etc. Don't THINK it's a software issue.

I think in the Catalyst control center it said it's operating at 640x480 at 30i hz. Should it be reading at 15hz? Chad didn't have the ArcadeVGA driver disc so we had to DL their driver off their website, though that shouldn't be an issue... anyways, reading up on http://www.ultimarc.com/avgafaq.html now. I have a feeling it's still some issue with the monitor/video card signal. (saw this: http://www.ultimarc.com/arcadeperfect.html not sure if it's something I should mess with)

Thanks for your help thus far, by the way!

Here's a video:



It's very hard to see in video form. You can kinda notice it before freeze arrows at times, and you can kind of see it from :20-:25 a bit. It's like rubberbanding almost.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Fluffyumpkins » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:30 pm

Code: Select all

14:23	Fluffyumpkins	http://www.stepmania.com/forums/showthread.php?21369-SM-3-9-slightly-stuttering-arrows-everything-else-is-smooth-as-butter
14:24	Fluffyumpkins	http://www.stepmania.com/forums/showthread.php?9308-Vista-and-SM-A-Story-of-Lag
14:25	Fluffyumpkins	You could try that fix.
14:27	Fluffyumpkins	http://www.stepmania.com/forums/showthread.php?12997-smooth-arrow-scrolling
14:28	Fluffyumpkins	http://www.stepmania.com/forums/showthread.php?8216-ITG-PC-not-running-smooth
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:17 pm

Will try the sound .ini in a bit. Also will try changing video rendering to VideoRenderers=opengl,d3d

SoundDrivers=WaveOut

Posting for reference. Sound part does kind of make sense since it almost seems to be happening with the music.

Edit: All fixed up. In the stepmania.ini I changed the sound to waveform, changed vsync=0, and VideoRenderers=opengl,d3d (even though it was already d3d, opengl... dunno if order mattered). Something worked! Now it runs smooth. Just gotta work on sync now.

Hope my overall monitor settings are still okay and it's not gonna cause damage if it's running at the wrong frequency or anything. Other than that, things seem to be looking up!
Last edited by Riot on Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Merk » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:39 pm

Did you get the up/right arrows to work? I eyeballed the last couple of posts and I didn't see any mention that the arrows were working and the game is now in fact playable.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Fluffyumpkins » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:48 pm

He did. I forget what ended up making that work.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by MonMotha » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:43 pm

If the monitor isn't (literally) screaming at you or displaying total garbage, you're not damaging it.

The Catalyst drivers have a known "bug" when displaying refresh rates for interlaced modes. They display the FRAME rate, not the FIELD rate. So "640x480@30i" in Catalyst is in fact what almost everybody else in the world calls "640x480@60i" aka (in the realm of television, albeit with very strict timings) as "480i". Note that it should NOT be 15. 15 refers to the HORIZONTAL scanrate (15 kilohertz), while the number being displayed here is the VERTICAL refresh rate (30 hertz). It's pure coincidence that, if you ignore the factor of 1000 (from the kilo- prefix) that they differ by a factor of 2.

In theory, you want vsync on to avoid visual artifacts. However, stepmania may not take kindly to that. If you've got triple buffering turned on, vsync off shouldn't be a problem visually. Even if you don't have triple buffering, the worst that'll happen is "tearing" which is just a visual annoyance.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:36 pm

I made a really fun stepchart for Sweet Lab! Y'all should play it! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0m-wT ... sp=sharing

It's more fun to make stepcharts when you can actually play them. Brandon, Chad told me to ask where you recently got your arrow replacements. Mine are a bit concave and could help the overall feel of the pads as my next upgrade eventually. The sensors seem to be in good shape, but you definitely can't step too lightly and have to apply some pressure. The player 2 up arrow is kinda meh. Wish ordering singleton sensors wasn't super expensive.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Merk » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:32 pm

That stepfile is not too shabby, little Riot!
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by MonMotha » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:25 pm

My replacement panels came to me rather circuitously from Uniarcade. Given how difficult they are to work with, you might just do better buying off eBay. The per-unit prices will be somewhat higher, but you won't get nailed for $100 in shipping and payment processing fees. With any luck, you'll even get ones that fit! (Mine did not - they had to be trimmed down, but that was done before I ended up with them) They're not the highest quality pieces - certainly inferior to the originals - but they work well enough and feel much much better than the worn down originals.

I suspect all of the Chinese "replacement DDR parts" outfits sell the same stuff.
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Re: Sperg Burg Arcade

Post by Riot » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:28 am

Fired up the ol' DDR machine for the first time since September or so. I noticed the lights behind the marquee were flickering and it would cause slight static on the monitor. It seemed to happen more during actual songs/playing, but maybe my imagination. I've never noticed it before so I don't know if it's a bulb going bad or something more serious with wiring/electrical. Again though, machine has always been fine and hasn't really been touched for months. At one point I Fonzie'd the marquee and hit it lightly and the lights went off for a couple seconds and then back on. As I played more, after 30 or 40 minutes, there were a couple times the lights would go off for a second or two during songs and then back on, which again caused slight little static graphics on the monitor for a split second.

Don't wanna break anything, so curious as to what you guys' opinions are. Bulb, wiring, something else?
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