JUEGOS RANCHEROS CABINET GUIDELINES
Congratulations and thank you from us here at JUEGOS RANCHEROS for being selected & agreeing to create a cabinet with us! We’re super excited to build something amazing together!
By bringing our cabinets to film & arts festivals and other cultural events, as well as our own exhibitions and local meetups and parties, JUEGOS RANCHEROS hopes to introduce new audiences to both your work and, more broadly, the amazing art of videogames, and expand the possibilities for how videogames fit in people’s lives.
Below you’ll find a few guidelines for creating a good cabinet experience that will attract new players and maximize the effect of your work.
THE CONTRACT Along with our invitation to be part of the program, we will be sending you a contract between you and JUEGOS RANCHEROS. In plain speak, this contract says that JUEGOS RANCHEROS will pay you to develop the version of the game that goes in these cabinets, and pay for the construction of the cabinet itself.
In exchange, you grant JUEGOS RANCHEROS the right to sell that version of the game in a bundle, along with all other games being developed at the same time. While JUEGOS RANCHEROS keeps all revenue from sales of that bundle, you are free to put the game on sale yourself, as soon as it is finished, outside the bundle.
Should you continue to update or expand on the version that is included in the cabinet, it is not required that you send any updates or expansions back to JUEGOS RANCHEROS, and it will be made clear to players who purchase the bundle that they are not entitled to any later builds of the game that you create. You are, however, welcome to update the build that goes in the cabinet and thus in the bundle, if you choose!
JUEGOS RANCHEROS will launch the bundle on itch.io on completion of all the games developed at the same time, and will continue to promote sales of the bundle alongside exhibition of the games in various festivals and events.
THE CABINETS In a default configuration, we use Game Room Solutions’ bartop arcade kit deluxe cabinets as our base. Each is outfitted with an Alienware Alpha Windows 10 PC and stereo speakers, placed behind the cabinet’s backlit marquee.
We are open to different computer configurations, provided they maintain a similar price point, and so long as the process of launching the cabinet & the game itself can be made reasonably simple.
Modifications and additional electronics are possible in the cabinet (blinkers, LED marquees, ticket dispensers, etc.), but they should be durable (read: able to easily travel long distances and withstand general use) and not require an excess of additional setup or maintenance.
CONTROLS In a default configuration, we use standard arcade cabinet controls (e.g. joysticks, pushbuttons, trackballs & steering wheels). We are able to custom cut the cabinet’s control panel, allowing for a wide variety of placement and control combinations.
If you’re interested in creating something with more unconventional controls, we can help manufacture nearly anything! Just bear in mind again that your cab will be traveling extensively and will be installed in public for extended periods of time — sturdiness should definitely factor heavily here, to weather bumps and drunks. Also bear in mind that the game will eventually end up in a PC/Mac/Linux bundle, so whatever control scheme you land on should also be playable at home with a standard keyboard/mouse/joypad.
ARTWORK Your cabinet artwork will be printed on high quality adhesive vinyl sheets and applied for you. Use the supplied template to make your artwork, which should be high resolution (150dpi or greater) or vector-based. BRANDING JUEGOS RANCHEROS will supply you with two .png files to be used in the course of your game’s startup or attract mode.
The first is meant to be used for the installation inside the physical cabinet itself. This may include the name of sponsors who helped underwrite the creation of the cabinet, or the name of the event itself where the game will be exhibited.
If you continue to develop, sell, or otherwise personally exhibit the game at other events organized by parties other than JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do not require that you retain this screen in the game.
The second splash screen will denote that the game was curated by and created for JUEGOS RANCHEROS or our cabinet series in particular. If you continue to develop or sell the game, we don’t require that you retain the screen in the game, although we would always appreciate the extra exposure if you choose to leave it in!
However, if you exhibit the game at other events organized by parties other than JUEGOS RANCHEROS — in a functionally identical form in which it was created for our cabinet program — that you retain this splash screen, giving credit to JUEGOS RANCHEROS for having curated and helped create the game.
GAME DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Above all, we want the videogame you create for us to reflect your unique design sense and personality, and in general hope that you feel you have the freedom to push the boundaries of what people expect when they walk up to an arcade cabinet.
That said, having exhibiting numerous games at public events over the past several years, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions, particularly developers who haven’t yet designed a game for a public space.
Because of the nature of the events where we exhibit the cabinets, and the audiences they attract, assume that an average person walking up to your game may be more or less ‘game illiterate’, possibly not having played a game in decades, if at all. This is great! This is what we want! But also it means that the first few seconds with your game are crucial to retain them and make them want to explore further.
ATTRACT MODES: Consider, also, that your game will live alongside several others in a crowded public area. Because of this, we strongly suggest you add an attract mode to your game, offering a sneak peek of gameplay, instructions on how to play, and in general some enticement for a curious onlooker or hapless passerby to want to try your game.
We also strongly suggest that you limit the audio you use during those attract modes and during any time your game is otherwise idle. Multiple games each playing full-volume, looping title screen music is tiring not only for the audience, but particularly the volunteers who oversee the cabinets for stretches of many hours at a time. We say this from experience, and implore you to consider dampening or muting your game when it is not in play, maybe with occasional bursts of audio during the attract mode cycle.
(Side note: game developers totally figured all this stuff out 30 years ago! It’s super useful & fun to dig back through arcade game history to see how people handled attract mode & idle cycles in formative years!)
TIMEOUTS: Please design your game to detect when people have walked away from the cabinet, with a 60-90 second timer that resets to its title screen or attract mode. In general, any functionality that resets to the title screen or attract mode when encountering bugs or errors makes the life of our volunteers that oversee the games a thousand times easier. Anything that helps reset the game without requiring the intervention of a human is desirable and hugely appreciated.
LEADERBOARDS: Local leaderboards are a fantastic addition that give your games a reason to be revisited during the course of an event. Even if your design doesn’t include conventional ‘scoring’, a playful alternative way for players to be ranked in a leaderboard helps add to the feeling of being in a traditional arcade, and gives players a reason to bring their friends back to try to best their achievement.
MULTIPLAYER: By and large, the games that JUEGOS RANCHEROS has incubated for its series of cabinets have been designed for more than one player. Where possible, though, and with time allowing, consider ways a single player could interact with the game. While our exhibitions typically draw crowds of friends, there inevitably will be solo players who are interested in your game, but have no one to play alongside, and so skip it entirely after momentarily poking at the controls. Anything you can provide to draw in that lonely player would be appreciated by all!
TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS In order to allow the PCs running the games to automatically boot into a playable mode when powered on, there are a few things that would help our installation team immensely:
UNITY RESOLUTION DIALOG: If you’re developing your game in Unity, please create the build with the resolution dialog option set to “hidden by default”. We typically run all our cabinet games at 1080p, if you’d like to set it as the default resolution. There is information on how to set the Display Resolution Dialog to “Hidden by Default” here (so we can still fiddle with the resolution if we need to): https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/class-PlayerSettingsStandalone.html
MOUSE CURSOR: Please set your game so that the mouse cursor is hidden by default when the game launches. This helps the folks setting up the cabs not have to plug in a keyboard to swipe it out of the way every time! TL;DR Custom controls are amazing, but also design around the fact that many people will also be playing at home with standard controls
Presume that the person walking up to the cabinet is totally game illiterate, or even an actual child (we get a lot of parents that shove their children in the direction of the cabinets while they browse other things), and design their initial interaction accordingly
Attract modes are strongly encouraged, but audio during idle/attract modes should be kept to a minimum
Make your game time out and reset to the title screen after 60-90 seconds
Having a score/leaderboard in your game encourages players to keep playing/returning with friends!
Multiplayer is amazing and strongly encouraged, but consider having something for solo players to do if they’re at the event alone
Set your Unity resolution dialog to “hidden by default”
Hide the mouse cursor when your game launches!
QUESTIONS? If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our intention for creating these guidelines & suggestions was not to try to normalize our expectations for this program, but only to provide some considerations based on observing crowds interact with publicly installed games over the past several years.
As above, we want your cabinet to be a true reflection of who you are — which is why we’ve invited you to take part! — and so most everything here is intended as flexible and reconfigurable and design-aroundable. We just want you to make something amazing!