Mike Swanson

June, 2004

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    Mini Pac-Man with Sound


    As you may have read in my earlier post about mini-arcade machines, I did end up building the Pac-Man model. But, not satisfied with just a paper model, I decided I’d add some official Pac-Man sounds. Do you remember those greeting cards that record a few moments of sound and play it back when the card is opened? Well, I looked all over town for one of those, intending to tear it apart and use the audio chip. I couldn’t find one anywhere. Fortunately for me, Radio Shack came through again with their 9-Volt, 20-Second Recording Module (for only $10.49). I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a relatively heavy 9-volt battery, but it actually makes the machine feel more authentic.

    As you’ll see in the photos, I had to use a heavier card-stock to carry the weight of the battery and endure the button presses on the front panel. I mounted the speaker behind the coin drawer on the front of the machine and the playback button where the joystick would have been in the real game. I thought about exposing the record button on the back panel, but I didn’t want people to accidentally record over the game sounds, so I left it dangling inside, just in case I need to re-record. I captured the coin “gulp” noise and the famous Pac-Man startup theme on the chip (thank you MAME). The speaker produces just enough volume to fit the size of the model.

    It took me more than a few hours to plan everything out and assemble the Pac-Man model, but it was an enjoyable experience that cements my geek status (as if I wasn’t there already). Fortunately, my wife thinks the little machine is “cute,” and she plans on staying married to me. What more can a guy ask for?

    Update: Quite a few people have asked for a video of its performance. Not wanting to disappoint, here you go.

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    Visual Studio Team System Tech·Ed 2004 General Session Demo


    If you missed Tech·Ed 2004 (and even if you didn’t), you can now download a video of the general session that covered our new Visual Studio Team System.

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    Mini Paper Arcade Machine Cabinets


    I’m slightly embarrassed (okay, not really) about how excited I was when I found this site the other night. I was up until 2:00am printing Defender on my inkjet printer, cutting out the pattern, and painstakingly gluing everything together. I’m not sure if I expected to be able to drop a small quarter in the front slot to play a MAME version of the game, but it’s still cool having a miniature Defender cabinet on my desk. I’m just about to build the Pac-Man machine (but where is Galaga!?). Wish me luck!

    As an aside, I think Midway Arcade Treasures for the Xbox includes the most playable version of Defender that is currently available. In my opinion, the Xbox controller is vastly superior to a joystick/keyboard combination. Who would have guessed years ago that we would eventually be able to play Defender in its original glory on a 64” high-definition screen!?

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    MSDN TV: Introduction to Visual Studio 2005 Team System


    MSDN TV has just published a new episode that introduces the Visual Studio 2005 (formerly known as “Whidbey”) Team System in a little over 11 minutes. Not directly related, but there’s also a short 10-minute video overview of the features included in the upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2 from Rebecca Norlander and the good people at Channel 9.

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    Windows Media Player 10 Technical Beta


    The Windows Media Player 10 Technical Beta is now available for download. In addition to some of the new resize modes, the Auto Sync feature sounds pretty useful: “Auto Sync can be set up to automatically start downloading specific content to a device every time it is connected to a Windows XP–based computer—all while users engage in other player tasks.” Nice.

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