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4K Vertical Bezel Overlays by Thoggo

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Posted (edited)

Updated 7/7/20: I just launched a new website, VerticalArcade.com, to give my overlays a permanent home (but I will continue posting them here as well). I also just posted the Bally Midway Attack Pack, a new set of vertical overlays celebrating 12 great 80s games from, you guessed it, Bally Midway. Jump to the second page to find overlays for Satan's Hollow, Tron, Journey, Tapper, Timber, Two Tigers, Zwackery, Rampage, Blasted and Pigskin 621 A.D. (the full pack also includes Wacko and Xenophobe). 

 

Updated 5/27/20: The all-new Atari Later 80s Pack, featuring such hits as Gauntlet II, Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Xybots, Cyberball and Toobin'. Plus two bonus games, Wacko and Vigilante.

Updated 5/9/20: Atari System 1 series – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Marble Madness, Road Runner, Peter Pack Rat, RoadBlasters

 

Hello! This is my first real thread here, and I figured I would post these here instead of just the downloads section so I can describe my what I'm doing, but if people find that annoying I can move it. 😃

Now that I have my vertical MAME cabinet up and running, my latest pandemic project has been creating vertical bezel overlays – the perfect union of two of my obsessions, classic arcade games and graphic design. I've been having a lot of fun with it, so I figured I would share my first set.

There wasn't a specific rhyme or reason to my first set of game choices, but they all ended up being various flavors of run-and-gun/hack-and-slash games from the late 80s and early 90s. I also tried to choose some games and approaches to representing the cabinets that I haven't seen yet.

Huge thanks to ArsInvictus for inspiration and tips, and a shout out to Orionsangel, Mr. Retrolust, VCabinet and others in the community for their great bezel work that I’m building on here. Credit also to coinopart.com, arcadeartwork.org, Mr. Do’s Arcade and other sources for artwork I’m using in some of these.

 

Some notes on my approach: 

My goal is to create immersive overlays that celebrate these games and make them more fun to play, not specifically to authentically recreate the original cabinets, though I’m doing that as much as possible. Plenty of great games had minimal or uninspired cabinet art, so I chose in some cases to create something new that’s in the spirit of the game.

Most of these include two game screen sizes, and all include normal and darkened versions, which can be selected from the Video Options menu. The purpose of the dark version is to better simulate a dark arcade, where the printed bezel art did not glow the way the marquee and screen do (not unlike Mr. Retrolust’s Lights Out series). I’m still working on exactly how dark the dark ones should be and how to best create that effect, so let me know if you like that approach and how it feels to you.

Also worth noting – at this point, these all just include a 4:3 window for the game screen, with no monitor bezel art, as there are many bezel variants and shader options out there. I may update these with an option for monitor bezel art in the future.

These are all works in progress that will likely evolve as I refine my approach. I'll post each of these below in a separate post to keep it simple. Please note that the Zip files below include instructions and notes, so you'll need to unzip that file to get to the Zip file you need to put in your MAME artwork folder – if people prefer I can just post the art zips. The zip files are larger than normal because they contain multiple versions of the overlay (the AVP overlay below includes 8 4K PNGs).

 

asvp2a.thumb.jpg.f37f70f3a0c31857fb9336d1f96ba898.jpg

Alien vs. Predator

I created two variants for this game, one in a generic cabinet format and one that’s designed to simulate the look of the Capcom Dynamo Big Blue cabinet that this game sometimes appeared in. The artwork here draws mostly from the original cabinet art, except for the bezel around the monitor, which I haven’t found a great source for, so I created a new one in the style of the original.

Alien vs Predator.zip

Edited by Thoggo
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Posted (edited)

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara

mystara.thumb.jpg.638054bebcf39d6bff146fd319ccf6cd.jpg

One of the deeper fantasy hack-and-slash games, I thought this would be a fun one to put into a vertical format. However, the original cabinet didn’t include much art other than the marquee, so I adapted other existing Mystara art for the regular cabinet (it's more visible in the medium version, not shown above), and I added some new textural art for the lower area.

This cabinet existed in many different form factors (generally as a conversion kit I believe), most of which would be difficult to depict on a vertical screen, but I did include a version based on the Dynamo Big Blue format. I may try to add more of the versions based on some of the cabinets out there in the future, for kicks.

DND Shadow Over Mystara.zip

Edited by Thoggo

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Magic Sword

magicsword.thumb.jpg.f3d0269704c462c7d81c665de2d06399.jpgAn earlier side-scrolling hack-and-slash game, but a classic – this was the first one I made, with inspiration from the version ArsInvictus created. I brought in some of the cool control panel art at the bottom, and I included a couple of US quarters lined up on the control panel edge, the universal symbol for “I call next game” (obviously not relevant for non-US players – this is a separate layer you can remove or replace with your currency of choice).

Magic Sword.zip

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Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesamoomesa2.thumb.jpg.a1bb8e7040537bead84d0e0b24a982c0.jpgI hadn’t actually heard of this game until recently, but the art style and gameplay are excellent. The original cabinet art is nice but it has no bezel art, so I created a bezel style based on various art of the characters and a couple of new elements. Not strictly authentic, but more fun than the original in my opinion!

Wild West C.O.W-Boys of Moo Mesa.zip

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Xenophobe

xenophobe.thumb.jpg.ad503620843167b4702dc5ab19231b68.jpgOne of my all-time favorites, this one was more challenging because of its unique cabinet design. I created a look inspired by the original cabinet, the only overlay I’ve created that includes an arcade scene in the background. There are two variants, with and without the three joysticks. I’m still playing with the brightness/contrast and overall look of this one, so it will likely evolve.

Xenophobe.zip

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I'm back with a new set of vertical MAME bezel overlays, this time based on the Atari System 1 cabinet series. For the uninitiated, the Atari System 1 was a well-known Atari arcade game cabinet used from the mid-to-late 80s, which was the home of five great Atari games (ok, some were greater than others, but all worth playing) – scroll down to download them all. (There was a sixth game, Relief Pitcher, that was an unreleased prototype, which I haven't included but might add later.)

I created a look based on the System 1 cabinet hardware, using marquee and control panel art from a variety of sources. These all include two screen looks (curved and straight – you will need to choose based on your shader configuration and preferences), each with two screen sizes and two brightness levels. Unlike a lot of vertical overlays, these designs include the controls, as the control panel art is one of the few actual pieces of art on the game cabinet.

atari_system_1.thumb.jpg.eb2ea1dbf94a4cee27978b4d85367d08.jpg

These games will not be optimally playable for everyone, as each game had its own control scheme. Indiana Jones and Peter Pack Rat both used a standard 8-way joystick, while Marble Madness used a trackball, Road Runner used an analog (hall effect) joystick and RoadBlasters used a kind of weird steering wheel (basically a Star Wars-type yoke with only x-axis movement) and a pedal. For Road Runner, if you don't have an analog joystick, an 8-way stick basically maxes the joystick speed, which isn't unplayable – you'll find you easily outrun Wile E. Coyote and have time to double back when you miss birdseed. RoadBlasters would be best with a steering wheel, though sensitivity may be an issue – I've actually found it playable, if not optimal, with an 8-way stick if you turn the sensitivity way down.

Thanks, and enjoy! Feedback is definitely welcome.

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Posted (edited)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

indytemp_2.thumb.jpg.11be746cd68a65704e5cbdcd304db060.jpgA movie tie-in released in 1985, Indiana Jones featured pretty novel gameplay and graphics for its time, and included speech generation and stereo sound. The gameplay is a little fiddly and you can't really kill any of the enemies (as you only have a whip), but features a variety of different stages and is fairly difficult. (The image shown here is the smaller screen size, which is more accurate to the original design, but I included a larger screen size which is probably more playable.)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.zip

Edited by Thoggo

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Marble Madness

marble_2.thumb.jpg.020c935a25727a6294b3272706b57f44.jpgMarble Madness is a classic, one of my childhood favorites, even though it was a quarter eater. You can actually play this game with a joystick, with much less control, but if you just want a hit of nostalgia it's definitely not unplayable.

Marble Madness.zip

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Road Runner

roadrunn_1.thumb.jpg.112f800ee64cc119a8bc2ce700830a1a.jpg(shown here with the Large Curved Light preset – all of these have two screen sizes)

Road Runner starts out fairly simply, and ends up becoming a fast-paced maze runner pretty quickly. The graphics and music capture the feel of the cartoons nicely. With an 8-way joystick, which is what most MAME players are using, Road Runner runs at max speed all the time, which arguably makes the game easier, if a bit harder to control.

Road Runner.zip

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Peter Pack Rat

peterpak_1.thumb.jpg.d126de250adf27898a797fe004cff96a.jpgLike many Atari games from this era, Peter Pack Rat features an odd mix of elements – it's part platformer, part maze game, it features several very different stages and has a jazzy, eclectic soundtrack. It also had an unusual blue joystick grip (the same style as BattleZone, except... blue), which I reproduced in a stylized way.

Peter Packrat.zip

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RoadBlasters

roadblst_1.thumb.jpg.63bb12c75f425f72005a71cadfc9c038.jpgRoadBlasters is not the easiest game to play on MAME given its original control scheme – it really needs a yoke like Star Wars, though it only steers on the x axis obviously, or a 270-degree steering wheel. A dial or trackball could work, an analog joystick would probably work better, a standard 8-way joystick works with the right settings. Even if you don't have the optimal setup, it's worth a try!

Roadblasters.zip

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amazing work!!! THOGGO

 

Could you explain to me how I can make the marquee look like this lit and on, I use the GIMP program

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Thanks Walty! The marquee "lit" look, which was inspired by ArsInvictus in his vertical overlays, has two parts – I'm adding shading around edges with a feathered black brush to simulate the light falloff toward the edges, which I then set to something less than 100% opacity, and then there's another layer that sort of blows out the center. The second element is a matter of taste – it looks more realistic to a lit marquee, but it also washes out the colors so you can't see as well what the actual art looks like, so you have to decide how much of that you want. I'm not sure exactly how you would do that in GIMP – in Photoshop, I'm using a layer with a very feathered wide white oval and the Exposure adjustment layer. You can get a similar effect (in Photoshop) using the same blurry white oval with the Overlay blending mode. I could post a little tutorial if it's helpful, though again, I don't know much about GIMP.

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Thanks a lot!!! I would like you to do a tutorial in photoshop to see how it is !!!!

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atari_later_80s_banner_small.thumb.jpg.c68d05ca672a411e8859e3eb83239b2d.jpg

NEW: Atari Later 80s Pack!

I'm back with an eclectic set of new MAME vertical overlays, this time focusing on some classic Atari games from the mid-to-late 80s (as opposed to the early 80s) – my favorite period of Atari games and some of my favorite arcade games of all time. The amazing soundtracks, the distinctive graphic style, even the fonts were unlike anything else out there. I'm mostly interested in recreating cabinets that had something unusual about them, and Atari created a lot of oddball cabinets during this period. But they're all great games, and with these overlays and your vertical cabinet you can get closer to the original cabinets than ever!

Keep on scrollin' to see, learn and download. Later!

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Gauntlet II

gauntlet2_medium.thumb.jpg.e6bb42f41a2d77a95ae6b4317e60e662.jpgDon't shoot the food! One of the first and still one of the best 4-player action game series, Gauntlet was a staple of every mid-80s arcade. Gauntlet II was the amped-up sequel, which not only added many new gameplay elements to the mix, but also let any player choose any character, which makes it ideal for MAME cabinets. This overlay recreates the feel of the original cabinet, including the control panel and instructions, with two screen sizes (the Medium screen shown here is the most accurate to the original cabinet, but I included a larger size that still fits with the look).

Gauntlet 2.zip

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Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters

eprom_large.thumb.jpg.928abf31a7cc0b26e44f1e630b4831b2.jpgA pulp comic book sci-fi adventure that makes up in gameplay what it lacks in tastefulness, EPRoM used a "hall effect" joystick that allows players to move and shoot in many different directions. It works best with an analog joystick, but also works fine with a standard 8-way stick. I reproduced the most fun version of this cabinet, which had an enormous graphic header to go with its enormous screen bezel (the version shown is my Large preset, which enlarges the screen from the original size to make it more playable).

Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters.zip

 

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Posted (edited)

Xybots

xybots_large.thumb.jpg.292dfee5c46f92f7764c093d3e19705b.jpgXybots was one of my favorites of this period, with a dungeon-like pseudo-3D maze filled with robots to shoot (not to mention one of Atari's biggest sins of this era, the ever-decreasing player health, because apparently both the space heroes of Xybots and the fantasy squad of Gauntlet had some terrible wasting disease that required constant eating). Nonetheless, it's easy to get into while being challenging in later levels, and it plays great on MAME without a fancy twisty joystick (if you have 3 buttons in a row, just map the center button to Fire and the first and third buttons to rotate). Don't get neutralized!

Xybots.zip

Edited by Thoggo

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Posted (edited)

Cyberball 2072

cyberball_1screen.thumb.png.7c262ee3d1bf646a8f37a55b6ef81b69.pngCyberball was a clever way to make football a bit more appealing to arcade nerds – by adding robots and an exploding football. The original Cyberball cabinet featured two screens, allowing head-to-head team play that was unusual for its time. The sequel, Cyberball 2072, added new game modes and a lot more plays, and included both a two-player cabinet and a four-player Tournament Cyberball 2072 version. My design for this overlay is a bit of a hybrid, combining the big header style of the two-screen Tournament Cyberball 2072 cabinet (I replaced the mirror with a metal plate stamped with ICBL - International Cyberball League) but shrinking it to fit on top of one half of the same cabinet. Provided you have the right files, you can play any variant of Cyberball with this overlay – the single-player screen will appear where it should, and the second screen will just be invisible. You will need to be able to access all the game's clones if you want to choose which version to play, and you may need to set your controls accordingly.

cyberball_2screen.thumb.png.2c0d777a94ceea30626aebd3975c36aa.pngI also included a somewhat weird but certainly playable head-to-head overlay, seen above. Yes, this means if you want to play head to head, the second team will have to look up to see their screen, which is not ideal but also not really avoidable on a vertical screen. It does work, however! Please refer to the included instructions for more info.

Cyberball 2072.zip

 

Edited by Thoggo

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