Game Development

Homemade Arcade Machine

One of my favorite projects from my time at WSC is definitely my homemade arcade machine I built. Combining a mini PC, microcontroller, coin acceptor, and various other components, I created a prototype arcade machine from scratch. It was designed with the ability to play custom-made Unity games and accept coins like a real arcade machine. To top it off, after I finished working on it, I donated it to my college's computer club ACM so they could continue to use it for cool and fun projects!

To this day, this project remains one of my favorite endeavors. It was a mix of an ACM project and a practicum project for one of my WSC classes where I could decide what I wanted to work on and was given complete freedom in how I went about it. At the time, ACM desired to build their own arcade machine, and I was searching for cool project ideas I’d like to work on. The homemade arcade machine fit those requirements perfectly.

The reason this project is still by far one of my favorite projects is mostly due to the amount of planning and research that went into it. There was no online tutorial that I could simply follow to accomplish what I wanted. What I wanted was an arcade machine capable of accepting US currency and capable of running my own custom-made games from Unity.

In the end, I ended up with a used mini Alienware PC hooked up to a microcontroller and arcade controls. The coin acceptor is hooked up to the microcontroller that sends signals to the COM port of the PC whenever a coin is inserted. From there, as long as the Unity game/program is running, it will catch that communication and acknowledge the inserted coin by updating the total money in the machine.

There really isn’t much I would change about how I did this project. The only thing I would change is how long I worked on it. I completed this my senior year, and looking back, I really wish I had another year to develop and work on it. The only thing I managed to make for it at the time was a game called Flappy Blocks. The game was cool, but I really saw so much more potential with the machine at the time.

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