Author Topic: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade  (Read 11198 times)

Offline TrekMD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21447
  • Country: us
  • Karma: 70
    • View Profile
    • http://plus.google.com/+EugenioAngueira
The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« on: October 03, 2015, 14:48:52 PM »
Saw this posted by StarForcePilot over on Atari Age and thought it would be of interest here as well.  I'm quoting this directly from there:

[font=georgia:3qk37yzb]Ola Retrogamers,
 
A month ago I finished my second prototype of a cool little mini-arcade, powered by a Raspberry Pi, housed in a reimagined 1980's tabletop, with fullsized arcade buttons and joystick: the STAR FORCE PI. I'm currently exploring the possibility to bring this system to a crowdfunding platform, and could use some feedback from some old-school gaming enthusiasts. Check out the attached picture of the finished Star Force Pi prototype, dubbed 'Stormtrooper', and read on:
 
WHY I MADE THIS:
I was tired of playing emulated games on the PC with a inappropriate controller, and I was disappointed with options like the NeoGeoX. If you get an arcade mod bartop, they're usually 9inch screen models, expensive, pretty bulky and not portable at all, and a full-sized arcade is just not an option for me. Those iCade's are crap, and handhelds don't quite deliver the same experience. So, I bought a 1984 GrandStand Star Force game, and I stared at it for a month before I decided to go ahead and build my own mini-arcade. I bought an Arcade Kit from hdhardsoft.de, added fullsized arcade controls to it, and it worked! Very well actually. To finish it, I made a video, a poster, a box and a quickguide for good measure and put it onto Facebook and people seem to love it. Originally I was going to make an how-to instructable, but it would mean sacrificing perfectly good tabletop machines for the shell, and that seems such a shame. So, I thought maybe I can build it into something that people could buy via Kickstarter.
 
WHAT'S MY PLAN:
I first made a prototype to see if I could do it, then I made a second one to see if I could make it more functional and desirable, and I just finished a third one to send off to the engineer (Hartmut @ hdhardsoft.de) of the internal arcade kit I used so he can develop a custom shield to sit onto the Raspberry Pi inside the mini-arcade (he's on-board, getit). This production piece will be the model for eventual tooling. I've also asked a 3D animator to make some mock-ups of custom housing and started emailing with a production company to get a per-unit-price estimate, so I can have all the elements ready before I go to Kickstarter and detail the plan: a modular mini-arcade that's portable, easy to use and easy to develop for. It's focused on emulation classic systems first of all, but if it gains a decent-sized backing, I want to extend into gamedevelopment (not personally, but in support of developers):
The first focus is a solid device, with off-the-shelf components, built into a customizable shell, with full microswitch arcade feedback, good video and stereo sound.
The second focus will be to regain the cartridge culture, by approaching developers (NV-DEV:TEAM specifically) and asking if they'd like to bring their game to the Star Force Pi in SD-card form. Of course, this will include cases, manuals, decals etc, in much the same spirit of the TurboGrafX HuCard.
The third focus would be on connecting two Star Force Pi's together and play two player games on two devices. Street Fighter II. Head-to-Head. Awesome.

WHAT WILL IT DO:
Anything it is able to do on the current Raspberry Pi really, we just add the peripherals, put it into an attractive package and at the very least allow you to make your own magic. Actually, that's a bit simplistic, we'll be discussing with the engineer and the creator of PiPlay for a Star Force Pi specific emulator package, who's already providing support for Hartmut's arcade kits. The nice thing is that software is entirely on the SDcard, which means developers control their own content and upgrades, as do you. We'd just be supplying templates for the casing and artwork. Additionally, there's HDMI-out and USB-in on there as well, so for multiplayer, or ScummVM games that need a larger screen sometimes, you can connect it to a monitor and use any USB controller/mouse/keyboard on it.
 
PRICE:
I think a fully functional Star Force Pi with power adapter, in packaging, pretty box and fun manual should not exceed 199 euro. It's a psychological pricepoint, anything beyond that would just feel like a rip-off. I spent between 250 - 300 euro on the build, but this can be brought down with a production series.
 
YOUR FEEDBACK:
So that's why I'm here! I'm a guy that grew up with Sega, wishing he had a NeoGeo, and am now at the age I can afford one, but can't have 12 systems hooked up and hijack the TV or PC everytime I want a quick game of Splatterhouse! With the Star Force Pi I have my own little desk unit to game directly: no fuss. What do you think? Would you want one? What could we do better? What should I look out for and take care off? I'm just a guy with a screwdriver that wanted to play Metal Slug with proper arcade controls and was small enough to carry around - how can I best share this with other retrogamers?
 
Check out the first video I made showing the 'Stormtrooper' prototype:[/font:3qk37yzb]

[align=center:3qk37yzb]http://youtu.be/VKEX2oyV_t0[/align:3qk37yzb]

[font=georgia:3qk37yzb]Check out this different video to give a size context of the STARFORCE PI (also features using the SFP as an arcade controller when using HDMI out):[/font:3qk37yzb]

[align=center:3qk37yzb]http://youtu.be/YD8RV7pS5go[/align:3qk37yzb]


I'll see if Star Force Pilot can come over here and keep us updated on this project.  Here's the original thread:  The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Online zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11943
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 16:04:24 PM »
Just wet my pants, that looks awesome beyond awesome lol. :113:
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline starforcepilot

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: 7
    • View Profile
    • http://www.starforcepi.com
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 17:01:19 PM »
Cheers TrekMD, nice to be here.

I've been getting some solid feedback over at Atariage, and also via twitter/facebook, like keeping to 4:3 aspect ratio screen, putting together press-kits, and exploring the modularity of the system. I'm currently rendering 3D models for an injection mold tooling company, to get a good per-unit cost estimation, but as soon as I have more on this, I will share it here. I have also finished a third iteration of the STARFORCE PI last week, so that the engineer can start building his custom arcade interface shield for the Raspberry Pi. All-in-all, things are going well, and we won't be bringing this to a Kickstarter platform until we have production agreements, a fair cost estimation for us and backers, and a final version of the prototype to stand as example for production & assembly.

So! Your feedback is welcome! Especially beyond the hardware development. Once a solid piece of kit is built, I want to put any financial excess into game development/licencing, and good emulation support. The ultimate goal would be original 16-bit arcade work for the STARFORCE PI.

Offline TrekMD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21447
  • Country: us
  • Karma: 70
    • View Profile
    • http://plus.google.com/+EugenioAngueira
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 17:17:53 PM »
Welcome to RVG, starforce! 

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Online zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11943
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2015, 18:10:15 PM »
Looks like a cracking idea and welcome..

Keeping the price as reasonable as possible will be your biggest chance of success i would say.
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline starforcepilot

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: 7
    • View Profile
    • http://www.starforcepi.com
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2015, 21:57:43 PM »
Thanks guys, and I must emphasize that the pricepoint is capped at 199 euro, but I'm striving to be below this price. If the per-unit price is beyond 199 euro, then I will abandon the idea of an all-in system, and perhaps sell it as kits.

Offline Shadowrunner

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5042
  • Country: ca
  • Karma: 58
    • View Profile
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2015, 00:14:51 AM »
Great idea, and welcome to the site :) Like Zapiy I think price is key and just make sure you have it all planned out very well. Good luck, looking forward to seeing more.

Offline starforcepilot

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: 7
    • View Profile
    • http://www.starforcepi.com
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2015, 19:32:36 PM »
Thanks again :) And it's a good moment to show the 3D renders I finished for the preliminary cost estimation of tooling, case development & production. Check it:



I'll keep you updated on the progress, and I'll prepare a presskit & website update after we've confirmed the viability of the project as Kickstarter appropriate.

Additionally, following someone's comment on Twitter, I thought I'd make an internet-appropriate decal option on the render. Size comparison & customization:

Online zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11943
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2015, 22:25:59 PM »
Got to love it, so are you going do the KS route do you think?
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline TrekMD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21447
  • Country: us
  • Karma: 70
    • View Profile
    • http://plus.google.com/+EugenioAngueira
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 00:46:03 AM »
That looks really cool.  BTW, I fixed your post so the video embeds.  :)

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline starforcepilot

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: 7
    • View Profile
    • http://www.starforcepi.com
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 08:31:04 AM »
Cheers for fixing the vid :P

Yeah, I've only had experience with buying from Kickstarter once (The ToeJam & Earl reboot), but they seem the more solid choice, higher succesrate, more emphasis on hardware, and the fact that they only take the money when a project is successfully funded should make it more approachable for people. And with that whole Retro VGS fiasco on Indiegogo, it seems to me that people 'trust' KS more. But we'll see, I've sent all the 3D models to the tooling company, now I'm waiting on an estimate. And the project engineer should be back from MakerFaire Berlin this week, so we can discuss a bit more.

I'll letcha know how things progress.

Offline starforcepilot

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Karma: 7
    • View Profile
    • http://www.starforcepi.com
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 00:10:58 AM »
I have an addendum on the original thread post actually. I was thinking a little beyond the STARFORCE PI as a simple emulator system, and posted it on facebook. I thought you guys may have some insights on this as well:

"Dreaming BIG: brace yourselves, this is a long post. Our primary focus with the STARFORCE PI will be to bring you an attractive, modular design, with good arcade feedback and solid internals. Play it wherever you want, and access the multiplayer options of classic arcade games. Rather than developing our own emulator suite, we'd support existing ones to bring you a great experience, tailor-made for the SFP and easy to use. It seems attainable, so we're doing everything we can to make it a reality!

But beyond bringing you a glorified emulator system (and we are going for Glory here), we're hoping to extend the platform into licensed and original arcade games. One could argue that the confounding nature of having every SEGA game ever made on a cheap 2gb USB stick practically means that we attribute little value to the games, and the overwhelming choice keeps us from exploring them. As those impressive rows of cartridge cases with cool artwork have been replaced with a single, daunting list of titles, some of us are left with a nostalgic longing to an attractive, simple physical medium.

So besides preparing custom SD card trays, stickers, inlays, booklets, decals for existing arcade games that have been forgotten by time and publishers (see mockup below), we'd like to focus our stretchgoals to SOFTWARE! Specifically, original 16-bit style games or licensed older games adapted for the SFP. And because the RaspberryPi runs entirely off an SD card, a developer would be able to determine their own content and protection of their SFP Game Card, and even publish it themselves. It wouldn't be exclusive to this console, but if it wants our 'Nintendo Seal of Quality' sticker on there, it would have to be a cool game in a nice package at a fair price - just like the STARFORCE PI."

Offline TrekMD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21447
  • Country: us
  • Karma: 70
    • View Profile
    • http://plus.google.com/+EugenioAngueira
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 00:20:10 AM »
Wow that looks awesome! 

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline Papa

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
    • https://www.youtube.com/user/StrikeValkyrie/videos
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 15:08:13 PM »
I totally love the look!  It's like one of those old Candy cabs that are all over the eastern world.  I would scoop one up right away, sure! 


Quote from: "zapiy"
Just wet my pants, that looks awesome beyond awesome lol. :69:
And all the Who's down in Whoville will cry
"OH $#IT!"

Online zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11943
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The STAR FORCE PI - Electronic Tabletop Mini-Arcade
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2015, 15:09:37 PM »
Really impressive ideas. Looking forward to the final Kickstarter details.
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC