There is a growing number of people who purchase BlazBlue arcade for personal enjoyment, instead of in a business establishment (i.e. arcade). This page is dedicated to those who have spent, or wish to spend, an ungodly amount of money to have a BB machine in their own home.
BlazBlue arcade runs on a Taito Type X2 platform. The hardware is essentially a glorified Wintel computer, like the original Microsoft XBox. Consequently, any missing cables can be obtained from local computer stores (power, video, audio, etc.), or even your own desktop computer, instead of specialized arcade suppliers.
IO Converter Board Edit
The Taito X2 input uses JVS ("JAMMA Video Signal", aka "JAMMA v3"), a four-pin serial protocol. It may look like a USB port, it may use a USB cable, but the signal mechanism is different from USB -- mechanically reusable components reduces manufacturing costs.
Most arcade controls are designed for use in a traditional JAMMA interface, a card-edge type parallel interface with up to 56 pins (and more through a kick harness extension), in the intuitive one-button-one-wire hookup design.
Consequently, an IO Converter is almost-always required, to convert JAMMA (arcade controls) into JVS (board input).
The two most common by far are the Sega IO Converter board (also called a Naomi or Sega-Naomi IO Converter), and the Capcom IO Converter board. Each sell for over USD 100. Either one requires an external 5V power supply.
Strictly speaking, the IO Converter board is sold separate from the X2, but most vendors offer to bundle the BB board and the IO Converter as a package to avoid complaints and headaches.
If you purchase BB in the whole cabinet configuration, everything required is contained in a neat plug-and-play package: Plug in the power, and you play in a minute.
High-Resolution (720p) Mode Edit
The Taito Type X2 has 8 DIP switches. The BlazBlue board is shipped with DIP switches in the default configuration (also specified in the instruction sheets for the X2).
DIP Switch 2 is responsible for setting the video resolution mode of BlazBlue. In the factory-set OFF position, BlazBlue runs in 640x480 (480p, VGA) mode. In the ON position, BlazBlue runs in the 1280x720 (720p, HDTV) mode.
The BlazBlue hardware ships with a VGA-to-DVI adapter and a VGA cable.
Some Vewlix L cabinets may not support 720p using a VGA cable. These cabinets may require a DVI cable to display 720p mode. See BlazBlue/Hardware/VewlixL#Installing_DVI_Cable for guidance on installing a DVI cable in a Viewlix L cabinet.
IO Converter Edit
- Do I need to buy an IO converter?
- If you even have to ask, the answer is yes. It may cost a bit, but without it, BlazBlue is just a multi-thousand dollar doorstop. If you already have an IO converter, or a spare one, you can reuse it. There are ways to get by without an IO converter, but that requires uber-elite hardware hacking skills, at which point you wouldn't even be asking this question.
- Is that a USB port on the IO converter?
- Yes and no. Physically, it is the same USB connector port as used in PCs the world over. However, the electrical signaling is different, so it doesn't "behave" like a USB port.
- The IO cable looks like a USB cable?
- Yes. In fact, it is a USB cable. JVS is a four-pin protocol, like USB, but assigns different meaning to the four pins. The JVS connector is mechanically compatible with USB (same plugs and connectors), but are electrically incompatible (trying to "run" will fail). You can use a regular USB cable to connect JVS to JVS, and USB to USB, but USB-to-JVS will fail, and might even cause damage.
- So if my IO cable is somehow damaged or lost, I can just use a regular USB cable from the computer store?
- Yes. Period.
- How do I actually connect my controllers to the JAMMA side of the IO Converter?
- You can get a 56-pin card-edge socket, look up JAMMA pinouts, and solder the wires that way. Alternately, there are pre-made JAMMA adapters available, such as the Super NOVA JAMMA adapter (similar to SuperGun). There is also the option of a PS1/PS2/XBOX controller to JAMMA converter.
- Where does the IO Converter get its power?
- Either from a JVS Power connector, or via the JAMMA pin marked for +5V, or any other power rail on the card (don't forget to connect ground pins as well!). The SuperNOVA requires its own AC power cord, and provides the IO Converter power on the appropriate JAMMA pin. There are also standalone power supplies available that have a JVS Power connector to power the IO board.
- Any source of 5V wired to the JAMMA +5V pin can work (don't forget the ground pin!). Even a computer power supply (PSU) taken apart can work (red wire for +5V, black wire for ground), though some PSUs may provide a voltage that's just barely too low (use a voltmeter!). A clever hardware hack is to tap the 5V 0.1A power lines off the Taito X2's own USB ports, such as by cutting apart a spare USB cable (USB power lines are rated for 5V, exactly what the IO Converter needs).
- Wait... why can't the IO Converter just get the power from that USB cable it's connected with?
- Because it's not "real" USB (it's actually JVS), and doesn't provide that type of power. "Proper" USB specifies power lines that can run a small motor; JVS does not.
- Taito X2 complains about IO Error.
- The IO Converter may not be connected, or may not be powered.
- Now it complains about "game.exe ... unknown software exception 0x80000003".
- In one case, this happened when the IO Converter had 4.8V according to a multimeter (0.2V short of 5V) which was apparently enough to get it past the IO Error, but not enough for the game to understand the converter. The problem was resolved with a power source that supplied 5.06V (the Taito X2's own USB port).
Video Quality Edit
- How do I enable 720p (high-res) mode?
- The Taito X2 DIP switch 2 set to ON puts BlazBlue into 720p mode (i.e. turn on DIP switch 2).
- Where is the DIP switch?
- Looking at the connectors side, the switches are in the lower right, beneath the IO connector port and the blinky lights, on that same "slot". The DIP switches may be covered by a dark hard plastic sticker (it may resemble a rectangular plastic window). The sticker/cover can be removed with fingernail or a knife edge. Removing the sticker/cover exposes the DIP switches. Be careful not to accidentally flip the adjacent switches.
- BlazBlue is in 720p mode, but why do I get a dark/weird screen with the audio just fine?
- Some X2 may not like to display 720p on VGA. Alternately, some TVs may not like receiving 720p on VGA. In either case, a DVI-D (DVI digital single-link) cable can clear up the problem.
- There are two DVI ports on the Taito X2. Does it matter which one I use?
- No, either port works, but the instruction sheet illustrations regularly use the bottom one.
- If Taito X2 has only DVI ports, and I have a VGA cable coming out of it... how does that work?
- Some of the pins on the DVI port are designed to provide analog VGA video. The VGA-to-DVI adapter connects the VGA cable to these VGA signals on the DVI port. All the other pins are used for digital video signaling.
- Can I use HDMI cable?
- Sort of. HDMI is electrically compatible with DVI, but as the pin layouts are different, you need a DVI-HDMI adapter. The picture quality won't be any different, as it is just the regular DVI signals sent to HDMI wiring -- HDMI is designed to be backward-compatible with DVI, i.e. a DVI video source can drive a HDMI display.
- My security dongle is plugged in, so why does the error message complain about it?
- Reportedly, some X2s are picky about which port the security dongle goes in. The upper-right USB port tends to give the best result. If not, you can try each USB port in turn until the game boots, then stick to that port. Keep note of it on a Post-It and spare the board's next owner some headaches.