I wanted to share a tool I’ve been using for the last year or so. It’s called Sketchup and is available free from Google. It’s a really easy to use 3D modeling tool. Google has worked this tool into Google Earth, and thousands of people have been modeling buildings and other structures to help make a 3D modeled Earth.
A great use for this tool is to help layout your gameroom or arcade. There has been an effort for the last couple years to build an online repository of accurately modeled arcade cabinets for use in Sketchup. There are quite a few collectors that have contributed models to Sketchup. I’ve done a few common cabinets, and then made custom cabinets to match some of my converted games. The real Sketchup Arcade pro is Sean Newton, who has contributed over 400 accurately modeled arcade cabinets. His Google name is Gozer and all of his cabinets can be found in his Arcade collection.
Basically how Sketchup works for designing an arcade is very simple. First, you draw the layout of the walls in your gameroom. After that is set, all you do is import the games you need from the 3D Warehouse, which is Google’s library for sharing Sketchup Models. Once you have the cabinets you need in your gameroom, just move them around to try out all different kinds of arrangements. It’s pretty fun to see the layout without having to move the real, heavy cabinets.
KLOVer ‘orion3311’ has put together a great instructional video showing the basics to putting together an arcade layout in Sketchup. This is a great place to start. I’ve embedded the video below. Also, Google has several video tutorials showing how to use the software. There are all kinds of features to try out once you get familiar with the program.
Here are some shots of my planned new layout. I was able to figure out how to get the Time Pilot and the Centipede into the gameroom without taking up additional space. Sweet!
Here are a few really good links to find out more:
- Google Sketchup Download Page – Start here!
- KLOV Sketchup Modeling Thread – This is the best place for all kinds of information on modeling your arcade
- My Arcade Cabinet Model Collection – I’ve got a few decent ones in here, and a few of my oddball conversions
- Arcade cabinets by Gozer – Sean (Gozer) Newton has put together a ton of great cabinet models. There are over 400 as of this writing.