Building a cabinet from scratch obviously means that you have complete freedom in the design of it. I played around a lot in Visio mapping out various profiles and shapes.
I was pretty happy with the way that the Arcade Paradise 2 cabinet turned out, so at first I used that as a "baseline" shape and then just kind of tweaked it here and there. But pretty soon I realized that even though I was happy with AP2, there wasn't really any good reason that I should tie myself to it for AP3, so I scrapped everything that I had done up to that point and just started from scratch.
I then played around with idea of making a quasi-Asteroids cabinet. Asteroids has an extremely cool "stance" to it with its top taking a very steep angle leading up toward the marquee, but it didn't take long to figure out that a 26" TV wasn't going to fit into a Asteroids-style cabinet without major modifications to the design, and by the time those modifications were hammered out, it didn't look nearly as cool. I also noticed that while Asteroids looks really cool, it was actually a very un-ergonomic cabinet. I briefly played around with other "real" cabinet designs (I know I mapped out Centipede, Defender, and Dig-Dug), but none of them worked to my liking.
Some of you may have seen LuSiD's Arcade Flashback cabinet. His design has become so popular among cabinet builders that it has coined its own category: people actually refer to this basic cabinet shape as "a Lusid cabinet". It's a good design to be sure, and a lot of people have either copied it or modified it, but I didn't to use this as a basis either, since I didn't want to build yet another "Lusid cabinet".
In the end I decided to start from absolute scratch, so I opened up a blank Visio file and started drawing. Since the size of the TV seemed to be the most important single thing that would dictate what could and could not be done, I started with that: I decided on where and at what angle I wanted the TV to be, and then used that as the basis for everything else. The only other big important "static" non-variable was the height and location of the control panel - I didn't want this to change regardless of whatever happened with the overall cabinet design.
I spent quite a while playing around with design ideas and shuffling things around, looking for that good balance between functionality and aesthetics. And the design that I finally came up with...looks an awful lot like a "Lusid cabinet". DUURRR.
But hey, at least I didn't use his (or anyone else's) cabinet as a "template" that I simply modified. It is a totally original design...it just happens to look a lot like a whole bunch of other "totally original designs" out there. So, uh...yeah.
Please feel free to head over to the Downloads page to grab a copy of AP3's plans and measurements.