How i took my Retro Arcade Table from Virtual to Reality

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Around this time last year i was taking part in a school festival in Second Life. As part of that festival i made an Arcade cocktail Table based on a classic 1980s design.

I first sat in front of a cocktail arcade table back in the 80’s when i was about four or five years old. We were on holiday in Austria and i distinctly remember playing a fighter plane game (1942) while resting a glass of cola on the machine. The idea of games being placed inside a table blew my tiny mind.

Once i had finished building the virtual world version, i looked into wether i could get a real one made and found a little company in the UK that could do it. Ultimate Arcade Cabinets is a family run business that has been building quality arcade cabinets and tables since 2002.

I had for years entertained the idea of getting and arcade table as a sort of pat on the back achievement of being an adult, and decided if i was going to get one i might as well do it now before the Tories make everything worst.

Lokis Retro Arcade Table
by lokieliot
on Sketchfab

 

After showing Ultimate Arcade Cabinets a 3D Sketchfab of the table top design i wanted, they sent me template files and discussed button colour options. Just over a month later and it arrived on a big truck wrapped up securely. The family company were a joy to work with and care a lot about the machines they build.

It’s really hard to describe just how beautiful this arcade table is. Putting aside the fact it plays thousands of classic arcade games from the early 80’s to late 90’s, the machine just looks amazing. Granted you may have to be a retro geek of the 80’s and 90’s to really appreciate the casing, the glass, the chrome edging, neon blue lights that make you say ‘TRON’ with deep heart filled love.

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Ultimate Arcade Cabinets have built me a table that tingles with nostalgic elegance and is an instant talking point when visitors enter my studio. Older friends are taken back to their teens while my young nephew is blown away as i was by the concept of a table also being a giant iPad. It was amusing watching my nephew trying to select players by tapping the glass with the assumption it was a touch screen. Never thought i would have to teach someone how to use buttons and a joystick, crazy.

Neph

Powering the arcade table is some form of PC which if you are a nerd like me, you can use to add more games and explore the wonderful world of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME).

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It did cost a lot to have this table made, but the amount of love thats gone into it makes it totally worth it and anyone who knows me says ‘That’s SO you’. It’s also the first time I’ve created something in the virtual world of Second Life and had it replicated in the real world so it’s also another connection to my VR persona.

Thank you Ultimate Arcade Cabinets for helping make my Virtual Arcade Table a Reality 🙂

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Waking from the Sansar Dream

Wondered how i would start this blog post. ‘Screw Project Sansar’ was one idea, ‘To hell with VR’ was another. Instead i’ve decided to just scribble down what comes into my head.

Learning that Linden Lab had no current plans to support the Mac platform with Project Sansar until they ‘figure out how to deliver for Mac, for Mac OS’ flicked a switch in my head, the same switch that that was flicked when Oculus dropped support for the mac platform. Its the switch that tries to prevent me from waisting any more time on something i’m never going to use.

I’ve been playing Star Wars Battlefront a lot since i got the game for PS4 last christmas. Im almost at level 50 which means ill have access to every upgrade there is in the game. In a way thats how it feels to be a content creator in Second Life, i’ve reached the highest level of whats possible in Second Life and am struggling to get any more out of it. Project Sansar was in a way a level up extension allowing SL creators use of modern creation techniques that simply can’t be achieved on SL’s dated code.

Left: PBR Substance Painter – Right: Secondlife

So what, I’m sure us creators who have been using the mac platform since before Steve Jobs returned will just move on to paying for windows right? or as one Project Sansar dev said ‘Bootcamp?’ … or we could just not bother with Sansar and stick with what we know, after all, a lot of the creative industry is mac based, someones bound to come along eventually and make a smart choice?

As i awake from the daydream of VR i remember how i once browsed the apple website and accidentally stumbled across a promotion for a creative 3d world called Second Life. Ten years later and I’m still using the same virtual world and as Linden Lab implement all the wizardry for levelling up to Windows Project Sansar, Second Life is starting to feel like a retirement home where a dedicated few Lindens are working hard to make users feel comfortable for the stagnant next few years until death.

Actually, the dedicated few Lindens are working very hard to gaffa-tape features into SL that should have been there years ago. So now that I’m not blinded by the new shiny Sansar and VR i can see that i actually still have some levels to gain in Second Life.

Content: While we can’t create anything that looks as awesome as newer platforms due to rendering engines, creators are still able to knock out some great looking stuff.

Games & Experiences: Linden Lab released XP tools last year (or did they?), ok so many don’t know about it and many don’t know how to get XP keys but they are going to slowly become more and more important in SL over the next year.

Bento: That new billion boned avatar skeleton they’ve introduced to SL. I guess now ill have plenty of time to try and work out how to rig and what ever hands, facial expressions tails and other wriggly bits. I did work on an avatar for High Fidelity that used Shape Keys for expressions a method that was added to Sketchfab but ultimately not used for Second Life of course.

Events: Fantasy Faire is just around the corner and its going to be Epic. I should be very grateful that I’m given the chance to build a whole region, not only do i get to indulge my creative energies, but it’ll help towards raising funds for Cancer Research.

I can start lobbying again for those things i wish linden lab would upgrade or add to SL…

• The action key thats stuck in the crappy Oculus viewer: really could do with this for my bashing game.

• Overhaul of the SL groups: probably impossible as this is one of the oldest things in SL thats buried under everything.

• The ability to resize ALL the ui windows.

• Better Marketplace Shop fronts with categories and featured items: If the marketplace is so important to SL, why does it still look like it was designed in 2007?

• Dark Theme for SL Webpages: Yes i know I’m the only one who uses SL feed which is still listed as a new feature by the Lab.

It feels good to be focused on SL again, but i can’t shake that sinking feeling.