I built a The Golf Club arcade cabinet and it's close to being great

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« on: March 18, 2019, 03:43:16 PM »
Having wanted a Golden Tee machine for nearly two decades but not wanting to spend $4k+ I decided to build an arcade-style cabinet to run TGC. I knew I could emulate GT Fore! 2006, and I knew I could play Tiger Woods 2008, but it was TGC that really caught my eye. After asking around I bought TGC2 and tested it out. It seemed like the mouse could be a fine input method with a little practice so I moved forward.

The overall shape is obviously inspired by the GT pedestal, but I used curved geometry for the front and rear instead of the square geometry that GT uses. Bending MDF wasn't super fun but it turned out much better in the end. I made the entire cabinet in CAD and am happy to share the plans/files with anyone.

I ordered a trackball, mapped out the buttons I would need, designed the control panel, and sent it off to be printed. One thing you'll notice on the control panel is that there are GT swing graphics, this is because it plays GT, Tiger Woods, and TGC. The TGC theme is simply because that's the game I thought I'd be playing most of the time.

With the graphics finished and the design finalized I printed out my templates and got building.

Once it was assembled I hit the driving range. Ooof. It wasn't pretty, but I'm not one to give up so I have been spending a lot of time trying to practice and get the hang of it, but so far it's just not there. Here are some things I noticed:

The swing tempo is very difficult to get right on a trackball. I think a lot of that is that the on-screen feedback mechanism does a poor job of telling you what you're doing wrong or how to improve your swing. It's common to get "perfect" on both swings while only driving the ball 100 yards. Yet I'll get too fast on both and the drive will straight and 250+ yards.

After some practice I am able to regularly get in the 250-300 yard range, but here's the super frustrating part: The X-Arcade trackball comes with a button that when held down locks out the horizontal axis. Meaning that when I press "vert hold", the mouse only transmits the Y-axis movement. One would think that doing this while swinging in TGC would give you a perfectly straight shot, but that isn't remotely the case. I have noticed that with vertical hold, almost every one of my shots hooks left hard. It is clear that swing tempo affects the club face, but it feels like a controller mechanic that doesn't make sense for a mouse.

Ultimately, while it is certainly challenging, it is by not fun or entertaining. It's certainly not something I could play while hanging out with friends.

What I wouldn't give for an arcade control scheme that mimicked GT.

That said, I think it would be awesome to encourage the DIY community. I would happily work with HB Studios to redesign my cabinet to be less Golden Tee and more a unique cabinet for The Golf Club. Same with the control panel graphics. I'd be happy to open source the design of both, CAD files and all. I'd be happy to help create assembly instructions, build a BOM, and all that.

There are a lot of GT-lovers out there who would be all over this, and I'd be happy to help lead the way.

Edit: I almost forgot pictures... https://imgur.com/a/UGfqBrE

« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 03:47:45 PM by Greg-J »


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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2019, 04:30:56 PM »
This is amazing. Great work!


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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 04:55:59 PM »
i think i would just be happy to use the joystick playing with this,just brilliant.


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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 05:09:56 PM »
i think i would just be happy to use the joystick playing with this,just brilliant.

If you're talking about the joystick that's there, that's a non-starter. It's a 4+4 position arcade stick using leaf-switches and doesn't behave like a gamepad joystick.

You could certainly use a flight stick or something along those lines, but we're still in the area of challenging instead of fun and entertaining which is the purpose of these types of machines.

Really what I'm looking for would require a new swing-type meant for trackballs which I think is a tall ask considering the small number of trackball users out there.


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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 04:09:56 PM »
This is great!
Xbox OneX

Course Creations:

The Honeycrisp Club
Michigan Falls 2020
Kameron's Oasis 2020
The Witcher
Doral Blue Monster 2
Straits of Mackinac
Kendall's Luau
Michigan Hollows
Krysta Falls


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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2019, 03:09:05 AM »


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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2019, 04:51:17 AM »
A little update:

I gave up on trying to get decent with the trackball on TGC. I instead spent time dialing-in Tiger Woods 08' with AutoHotKey and JoyToKey so it made sense with the TGC layout.

I REALLY want to make this work with TGC but short of the developers adding an arcade-friendly control option, it's just not happening.

Sometimes ambitious projects fail. It was still super fun building the cabinet and with a couple more buttons and a new graphic, I'll have a super fun Tiger Woods 2008' cabinet while I wait for somebody (anybody?) to make a golf game that plays nice with a trackball.