hey, just saw this thread now, sorry for the late post.
As has been posted, you can config all your buttons in one go in mame, or set specific ones per game. Just hit tab then "input this game" or "input all games" while a rom is running.
With regard to setting buttons, it's good to sit down and figure out what different system emulators you need and which of the available ones will allow you to remap all their buttons and GUI inputs. You don't want conflicts in your setup. You want your encoder to have a dedicated set of key mappings that don't change, and all of your emulators to be able to be configured to use those keys for all the important functions, so it's important to use emulators that are fairly customizable.
All the officially supported hyperspin emulators are the ones to go for for that reason, but read up on zsnes (different versions have different levels of options) and nestopia (some funny gui options that need tweaking to hide menu bars, cursors, etc) if you plan to use nintendo roms.
If you're just using Mame though, it's totally your preference, but a lot of people have said mame reached a sweet spot and then started getting worse with every update, breaking more stuff than it fixed. I think i'm using 1.41 and it's great, but i know i have an incomplete set, as i've stripped out a lot of the crap ones, bootlegs, mahjongs, adult ones (kids in the house, etc). I'm sure someone on the board would be able to "help" you with your rom problems, but let's say no more on this for fear of breaching charter rules.
Whereabouts in the country are you located?
With regard to booting up and powering down, get this bit right, it makes a huge difference to your finished cab, but needs a bit of planning. If you use windows XP as your OS and have SP3 you can use instantsheller.exe to easily boot into hyperspin. Quicksheller works too, but instantsheller is way more reliable and easier to use in my experience, and has a better GUI and options, and a more reliable undo feature. It works on vista as well i think, but trust me, you DON'T want vista anywhere near your cab.
to hide your windows environment you'll need:
Stardocs bootskin.exe (if you want a custom bootskin with an animated/moving progress bar)
Instantsheller.exe (to change the shell application, change cursor schemes, change sounds, wallpaper, etc.
Both are available on the hyperspin forumns resources area or on emumovies.com (i think).
To disable password on boot you need to go to start>run and type "control userpasswords2" exactly as it is here (without quotes) to get the windows user accounts password utility. Take a look at the options there and knock off your password.
Also, when you boot into hyperspin as your shell, your startup folder won't work in windows (i found that out the hard way)so you'll need to use the "startup program" feature of hyperspin for anything that you need to run in the background in addition to the frontend. It's somewhere in the general settings in Hyper HQ. I have a small freeware app called "volumetray.exe" in there, that lets me assign hotkeys to various volume control functions. I've then mapped these to some of the shifted keys on my interface board so i can control the volume level or mute sounds from the control panel. I've heard that hyperspin V2.0 may get a volume control, but i couldn't be bothered waiting for it to come out and don't like untested X.0 version releases anyway, so i used a workaround.
Set your options in hyper HQ to shut down windows on exiting hyperspin. If you need to config the PC or make any changes after you've shelled, you can just use ctrl+alt+delete to call up task manager, run new task, and start explorer.exe to get the windows environment back. It's also a good option to map that key combination to a shifted button on your panel if your encoder supports it.
One last tip, there's an option in windows that show you the location of the cursor when you press ctrl. You can switch it on in the mouse and pointer options in control panel, and it's handy to see where the cursor is if you've turned it into a dot (one of the options in instantsheller.exe) for doing any extended admin work. Be aware though, that mame's default key scheme uses ctrl also, so you'll probably want to either change that, or switch off the "show mouse" option when you're done messing around with the PC (you don't want your cursor flashing away in mid-game)
How is the project coming along? Am looking forward to seeing pics.
Last edited by MackDaddi; 06-04-2012 at 15:28.