Co-op Party Cart

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Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-2-16 @ 06:46

Working on a two-PC rack designed for hot co-op action. Going to start posting images and updates here. There's a lot of games and a lot of years to cover. A friend and I will be putting these through their paces soon enough. In addition to the two PCs, I'll be receiving an Extron switcher that does both VGA and DVI that will also live in the rack to simplify cabling.

PC 1

Motherboard: Soltek SL-75MAV
CPU: AMD Athlon XP-M 3000+ (underclockable via jumpers)
RAM: 2x256MB PC133 CL3
Video: Voodoo5 5500 AGP
Sound: T-04YBSC-A ISA (for DOS)
Sound: YMF754 PCI (for Windows)
Network: Intel PRO1000 GT PCI

PC 2

Motherboard: Soltek SL-75KAV
CPU: AMD Athlon XP-M 3000+ (underclockable via jumpers)
RAM: 2x256MB PC133 CL3
Video: Voodoo5 5500 AGP
Sound: Yamaha Audician 32 Plus ISA (for DOS)
Sound: YMF724 PCI (for Windows)
Network: Intel PRO1000 GT PCI

Pics

2019-02-16: Building the second PC in the rack (the first one is below)
DzgJYB5WoAArZTs.jpg
Last edited by SaxxonPike on 2019-3-03 @ 03:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-2-18 @ 00:46

I've named PC 1, "Appia".
I've named PC 2, "Ironwood".

They're named after towns in Legend of Blacksilver for the Commodore 64. :)

Ironwood was rock solid, I got co-op over IPX working for both Doom and Duke 3D. I had a problem on Appia that was related to power saving options - the GeForce driver crashed when coming back from screen-off. I disabled all those settings on both machines, rock solid multiplayer now.

...via Windows anyway. I can't seem to get DOS networking to work outside of Windows.
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-2-28 @ 15:01

Added a Raspberry Pi to the network, so it will act as a file share I can map a drive letter to. I map the same letter on both machines so that even the config files are the same.
IMG_20190228_085729.jpg


Full rack is looking good. I found an Extron SMX with VGA, DVI and 5-pin audio modules installed for cheap. The DVI module is even the Pro version with HDCP support. Not that I'll really ever be using that feature, but it's nice to have.
IMG_20190228_085744.jpg
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-2-28 @ 18:20

Just got word the second V5 should show up today. But it's tabletop gaming night, so installation will be another day.

Also getting a 1U XLR+TRS combo interface. This is so I can move audio cables around without fiddling with the wiring in the rack itself. I'll be using the audio switching capability in the SMX, so I can route anything any which way. Shame I can't just mix signals, but I'll figure out a solution for that later.
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-3-03 @ 03:08

I received the V5-5500 yesterday, but I experienced a strange issue on the Soyo motherboard I had. It would cold boot fine, but if I restarted or turned it on without completely discharging the system, it would spend 3 seconds before shutting itself off. Replacing the board with another Soltek board I had sitting around seems to have resolved the issue. I still don't know what the problem was - perhaps it was simply an incompatibility with the V5-5500.

At any rate, they're both up and running. I thought running both Unreal intros side by side with them would look kinda neat:
https://youtu.be/SH87k1B2wS8

I also did a bit of a networking test with some newer games, some older games: (I screwed up setting the time, whoops)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0umeeLtFu8

Works great over both IPX and TCP/IP. The whole thing seems rock solid.
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby liqmat » 2019-3-03 @ 03:21

Holy crap that looks tight man. Great work!
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-3-03 @ 06:32

Thanks!

Got some Datapath Vision parameters for the captures too. I wrote a wrapper that would automatically set parameters based on Lines+VRate+HRate, because Vision is really bad at detecting changes and automatically setting these. So, here's the JSON output from the app (it'll be online someday)
Code: Select all

   { 
      "Lines":525,
      "VRate":31469,
      "HRate":59940,
      "HPos":143,
      "HScale":801,
      "VPos":29,
      "Phase":1,
      "Width":640,
      "Height":480
   },
   { 
      "Lines":449,
      "VRate":31500,
      "HRate":70000,
      "HPos":142,
      "HScale":800,
      "VPos":36,
      "Phase":10,
      "Width":640,
      "Height":400
   },
   { 
      "Lines":527,
      "VRate":31469,
      "HRate":59940,
      "HPos":142,
      "HScale":800,
      "VPos":31,
      "Phase":8,
      "Width":640,
      "Height":480
   },
   { 
      "Lines":628,
      "VRate":37879,
      "HRate":60317,
      "HPos":213,
      "HScale":1056,
      "VPos":27,
      "Phase":6,
      "Width":800,
      "Height":600
   }
]

One thing I found interesting is that there is no display parameter change between 320x200 256-color mode and the standard text mode! So I had to choose one to look correct. I chose 320x200, because I'll be spending more time in games than the command prompt.
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-3-03 @ 20:58

I wanted to use my Extron SMX's audio routing module, so I'm making a very amateur attempt at making an audio panel.
D0wWfsCX0AUj0MY.jpg


Extron uses a 5-pin setup, and I decided to use some of the CAT6 cable we had sitting around:
D0wKIt9XcAA6uaK.jpg
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby chinny22 » 2019-3-06 @ 11:54

Very nice setup indeed.
I've been toying with the idea with a rack setup, but first I need somewhere permanent for all my retro-ness
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby chrismeyer6 » 2019-3-06 @ 13:30

That is an excellent setup great job!
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-3-22 @ 16:49

Thanks for all the encouragement!

I'll be replacing the DS-XG cards with SB Audigy 2 ZS (non-OEM) cards:

photo_2019-03-22_09-47-06.jpg


Also managed to bag a monitor that was about to be discarded from a local museum:

photo_2019-03-22_09-47-05.jpg
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-4-08 @ 17:09

Successfully ran Doom 2 co-op and Bio Menace on last weekend's Twitch stream!

I decided afterwards to redo all the cables and work on cable management.
D3kiqy9XsAAMD2D.jpg
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-5-01 @ 23:48

I've added more IO to the rear, so that I need to mess with the computer cables less. The cart does need to be moved for our events, after all.

IMG_20190501_184738.jpg
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby chrismeyer6 » 2019-5-02 @ 02:06

It looks great it truly does. I would love to make a setup like that for my systems
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Re: Co-op Party Cart

Postby SaxxonPike » 2019-5-10 @ 02:24

Got my hands on some new graphics hardware. I am going to experiment with DVI producing video cards to test the rest of the setup, as I can’t get DVI from the V5.

Quadro FX 1100 was the first acquisition. I threw it in and it worked quite well in Windows. But in DOS it was incredibly spotty. I couldn’t even start Quake, getting “could not get VESA palette” on SVGA video modes. (VGA modes worked okay.)

I also got a Quadro FX 3000, and suspect I’ll see the same issues as the 1100 with this card.

An ATi FireGL X1-256 is on its way as well. (I do have an AGP Pro slot.) I’ve generally had good luck with workstation cards, and I don’t have a lot of ATi stuff, so that’ll be an experience. I want to believe that the “compatibility grid” is way more scary than it really should be, and ATi cards can be just fine.

The aim was to get the fastest card I could, that would still support 2X, be fast in Windows, and still perform well enough in DOS with DVI output.

Time will tell!
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