Monday, November 27, 2006

Control Panel Design

It's now time to put some serious thought into the design and layout of the control panel. This is probably one of the most important things anyone will have to do in design an arcade cabinet. There is no such thing as an all-in-one solution but I still want to be able to play the most amount of games as possible. Since this is going to be a vertical cab and really limited to the classics I think 3 buttons will do the job nicely - there aren't many that require more and the only one I can think of that I might ever want to play is Super Punch-Out!! but I don't think one game is worth an extra button on the control panel. I've said it before but I also want this thing to be simple to use.

Along with the action buttons that will control jumping and shooting or whatever while I am playing I'm going to need "admin" buttons in order to make a game selection from the list, to insert a coin and to pause when I'm playing. I think 5 of these buttons will suffice (player 1 start, player 2 start, coin, pause and exit back to the game list). Here's my first stab at it:

As you can see, I'm trying to keep the admin buttons all in a row on the top and then center the joystick and action buttons so it is comfortable while playing. I thought about this design for a few days and even made a mock-up (with different colored buttons) to see how it would look.

I didn't really like the spread out look of the admin buttons so I decided to redesign it a little bit. Here's what I came up with:

I clustered all of the admin buttons to the left except for the exit button - I don't want to accidentally hit this in the middle of a game when I'm reaching for the pause button to go grab a cold beer or something! I also rearranged the action buttons a little bit because I think it will be more comfirtable to play this way. Unless I think of anything radical in the next week or so I'm going to call this the final design.

Thanks for looking!!

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