Jarrett Heather presents: Tron HD 

The Cabinet

When I bought this machine in 2009, it was in terrible condition. Many of the original parts were missing. The cabinet was badly neglected for many years.


Derezzed and Rerezzed

The Control Panel

Removed the old graphics, flattened it with body filler, added primer for adhesion, then a reproduction silkscreened adhesive vinyl overlay.


Spinner-to-Mouse Hack

The joystick and buttons are wired to an I-PAC keyboard encoder. But capturing input from the analog spinner is a little trickier.

The spinner works sort of like an antique "ball" mouse. When you move the mouse, the ball spins rollers attached to tiny encoding discs. On each side of each disc is an IR emitter and sensors that tell the computer how fast and which direction the disc is spinning.

An arcade spinner is basically a dial connected to a single encoding disc. But instead of being the size of a nickel, this one is the size of a DVD. To connect the spinner to its new PC, the circuitboard from a PS/2 ball mouse was modified so that the x-axis sensor would read the original Tron encoding disc.

The Software

Tron HD was created in Microsfot .NET with the XNA framework. The full game is about 4000 lines of C#. I wrote it from scratch, utilizing no plug-ins or existing game engines.

The program was designed by capturing output from MAME running the original arcade software, then analyzing it frame-by-frame to reverse engineer the game logic. Adjustments were made to double the framerate of the gameplay, and the graphics were upressed from 480x512 to 1200x1600--the native resolution of the UXGA LCD display panel in the cabinet.

Tron HD is an ever-evolving project. About once a year I'll tinker with the code and add a new Easter egg or a new power up to the higher levels of the game. In the future I'd like to integrate a Discs of Tron clone into the game as well.

I have no plans to ever release the software publicly. Tron HD will only ever be playable on this specific Tron machine in the Heather home arcade.

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