Pandora Emulator Frontend
Posted 25 October 2008 - 04:32 PM
Thus I came up with this type of hierarchical menu system, and I think that it will make gaming on the Pandora more intuitive and beginner-friendly.
Here is the first picture:
As you can see, this menu system shows the different video game brands. you can scroll through the logos with the analog stick or control pad. The parts that move are the logos. There is also a splash screen for each manufacturer. You can select with the select button.
If you click on Nintendo, it shows this:
As you can see, it shows a list of systems, both console and handheld, to choose. You can select up and down. It has a splash screen, a logo, and maybe a description could be put in place.
If you click on Nintendo 64, it shows this:
It has a list of games, and you can scroll up and down. The game starts up in the background, showing you how it works. There is a logo and there can be a description of the game.
If I click on Mario 64, it shows the game:
You can control the game and bring up settings.
So in 4 clicks, you can get to any game on your machine. I think that it would bring a level of usability to the Pandora that may not be found in regular consumer devices. Now, I am not a coder. I am presenting my idea with hope that this community will be able to do what I can't. If someone does decide to do this, I will be happy to provide any ideas, images, or help with the design of the menus that you may need.
Posted 25 October 2008 - 04:45 PM
Secondly, where are the options for the various emulators going to be, eg. frameskip, etc?
Posted 25 October 2008 - 04:55 PM
its basically this exact thing, but more eyecandy, and on the left side instead of the right.
it has almost all NA-releases for NES, and many for other consoles, too.
unfortunately, it requires a lot of configuration. I don't use it because I don't feel like renaming either my roms, or renaming every single image. unfortunately, the lists they use on hyperspin don't use official romset names, except for the MAME wheel where its mostly focused atm.
so i think this would be a good idea, make a sleeker, less bloated, frontend.
if any dev does this, just give the specifications and im sure there will be a flood of content
Posted 25 October 2008 - 06:03 PM
in response to PoisonedV, wow, that makes mine pale in comparison. But looking at the videos, i'm not sure whether it could be ported or if it could, work properly. So I agree with you that a less bloated frontend would do well on the Pandora. I think that there could be something to name the ROMS like when you import a CD into iTunes. It finds the name (off the internet) and names that file. Do you want me to post the specs for a dev? If so, which ones?
By the way, i'm really sorry about the quality of the photos. I had to make these shots in word.
Posted 25 October 2008 - 08:30 PM
Edited by fusion_power, 25 October 2008 - 08:33 PM.
Posted 25 October 2008 - 09:30 PM
I would be more than happy if all the Pandora Emulators would have a simple and clean menu System like "Picodrive" onto the GP2X has.
You bet. I just think it would be useful to have many other emulators, and this is pretty simple and clean.
Total Internet High Five!
Posted 25 October 2008 - 10:40 PM
Posted 25 October 2008 - 11:28 PM
Since the Pandora has Wifi, we could even go as far as when you select a brand,system and game, the program checks the web after a certain delay (to ensure it doesn't try to download loads of data when you spin through the items) to see if theres updated artwork for that, and download if so. This way, you could just download the main app and it would download all artwork on demand - No need for someone to post they have created artwork X and to download it at Y.
Now we're getting somewhere. I wasn't looking forward to constantly updating screenshots at all.
Posted 26 October 2008 - 01:51 AM
Its not a new idea, it always has been an interesting idea, and it is often full of pitfalls (especially for machines that have a complex set of options, such as an Atari 800, Amiga, ST, DOS machine, and so forth.)
In the end, if someone made a simple API that managed all the GUI elements, so porters/coders could just adopt it, it'd probably take off. But the peopel who are desired to use such a thing, are busy working on their ports
Edit; sorry if that sounds cranky .., I've not had a good sleep in over 19 months so I am a little cranky sometimes
To wit ..
Firing up an emu with a ROM-path (say) may work well, assuming they all honour a simple common command-line (say), or at least the front end has a config system sufficient to detail the launch of each app. Showing screenshots and such for the roms is hard (mapping them back to useful pre-screenshots, or at least a standard for the emus to export screenshots the front end can use.. form savestates or whatever). The larger problem is for any machine with any form of configuration .. while in the past we had performance issues so SNES may or may not need transparencies on and off and so on, the panda should be able to handle much of the old school emus no problem. That issue still applies to newer machines probably, so the front end shoudl need to handle a lot of emu- and platform- specific options. ie: Some PSX emus may offer some options that others do not, say. So lots of command line settings reqwuired in the emus, and a healthy config system in the front end to support setting all these options on a per-game basis. (And having a dsimple front end is soert od defeated in purpose if oyu have to configure the hell out of it sometimes, when its pretty easy for emu authors to just support options etting in their own app, all fresh and custom.) Other problems come into play when you need to configure how much RAM, what kind of audio, what sort of hard drives, where al these things mount to (consider DOSBox), and things like which chips to enable in the Amniga emulation, to what drives to mount as virtula hard disks on the ST, which multiple floppies to support. And then things like supporting multi-disk games in an ST or Amiga or the like ..
It gets complex fast for more complex systems.
A simple common front end itself works well for simple emus, always has (see thigns on DC, Xbox, etc.)
A simple common front-end API can work well, but its a lot fo work to set it up, and it needs to be very general. By the time its ready, the emus are already well on their way with cvustom UIs, as it is very easy to slap a custom UI together. (Consider.. porters and coders are more interested in getting their app up and going and working on efficiency and so on .. they're not spending all their time on fancy front ends, until later.)
A common set of APIs to make USB-controllers and so on would be nice too so I say work on that
Posted 26 October 2008 - 05:09 AM
take a look at Mala and Atomic FE for the pc ive used both in my cab at one time or another.. they have a very flexible system that works well.
essentially it works like this the basic default command lines are programed in but you can over ride them via a plug in (thats really nothing more than a txt file with the name of the emulators executable then the path and then a line like this
"c:|blah\moreblah\emulater.exe %rom% %arg1% %arg2%
misc crap and options
atomic takes it a step further in that their set up is like ini files and when the emulator is called its called with %emu% %[block]% %rom% %misc%
that way if you want you can have several "command lines" for the same emu in case certain roms need special settings
and leave all the special resorce management up to each emu .. since everyones going to tweak things thier way and ultimately if you try n use your FE like a club to force every dev to commit to your system or rehack yours to play nice with every emu out thier within a year or two you wind up with a total clusterf... of misc apps special settings abandoned emus that wont work with your front end and folks complaining like its your duty to magicly make it work :> this takes all that politely out of your hands all the emus have to support is command lines with variables .. and it magicly works .. as far as the non tech end user sees ..
the above mentioned FE's both make it simple since you only drop in the files for whatever emus you plan to run and then select them from a drop down.. it makes updating a hell of alot smother to since if an emu changes you just edit the file or DL a new ini instead of having to recompile your code and get it out to everyone.
im not sure how difficult it would be to set up in your app but IMHO over the long haul its very configurable and efficient way of handling the massive amounts of possible user settings for every new emu without having to reinvent the wheel each time.
just another angle to think about
ps as far as screen caps theres all ready 2 repositorys for most of the systems i would guess the pandoras going to have .. it would just need conversions as i think thier all in hardware corect size .and saved as jpgs .. you can find all of mames screen caps at byoac and the dumping grounds. theres torrents for most of the consoles at 2 other places that if your interested send me a msg and ill get em to you. not to mention i "THINK" hyperspin still has screen caps for all goodsets names for thier supported emus on thier forums.
Edited by mmalficia, 26 October 2008 - 05:32 AM.
Posted 26 October 2008 - 08:26 AM
If each ROM had a config file associated with it then you could set the settings (frame skip etc) for that ROM so it runs OK. You might even have a whole set of pre-baked config files on the internet which you could use if you don't want the hassle of doing it yourself, although as the same ROMs might have different names this might be a problem (what about checking the MD5 sum of a ROM as I would assume these should be the same for the same game ROM?).
The launcher could then either be a simple commandline program that gets the right commandline for that ROM or a GUI which might also get you adjust the options and save the modified commandline (think VLC stream/save window, or KCD ripper where you can either click on options or manually edit the commandline).
Just a thought (this may have already been done, I have to confess that I'm not that much of a emu person), either way K.I.S.S !
Posted 26 October 2008 - 11:50 AM
Posted 30 October 2008 - 11:37 PM
For everyone here how many command line options do we think would be required for a standard emu?
2. under/over clock
4. sound emulation on/off
5. various fix 1
6. various fix 2
7. various fix 3
8. various fix 4
9. game rom
One would have to have a running database for every game and emu to make sure the optimum settings are used, but I believe that the POND network idea would suffice. A user could open the program, the program would check for any new db releases for all supported emus and download them as needed. Better yet it could only download the db s for the emus that are installed on the SD. The API could allow for embedding for games that don't work when stretched. How stuck on this "look" are you PandoraRox?
Posted 31 October 2008 - 09:20 PM
Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:21 PM
l offered $100 bounty for a similar single frontend for multiple emulators the GP2X without icons, but no one bit even though a few others chipped in a little more.
ahaha, thats ridiculous. through that offer up again and the pandora and I'll do it myself- as long as the authors support arguements, the one pictured here would be pretty easy.