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Eclipse 0.0.5

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About This File

 Eclipse

Eclipse for BigBox is a different kind of theme.  Rather than using the normal theme engine, it uses a plug-in to build the user interface from the ground up.  The goal for this plug-in is to provide: 

  • Netflix style user interface with multiple lists of games on the screen at one time
  • Voice search
  • Random game function

 

Platform list view

Eclipse - Platform List.png

 

Game detail view

Eclipse - Game Details.png

 

Options for categorizing games

Eclipse - Options.png

 

Startup theme

Eclipse - Startup Theme.png

 

Shutdown theme

Eclipse - Exit Theme.png

 

Attract mode (screen saver)

image.png

 

Demo

 

Installation Instructions
1. Download: https://forums.launchbox-app.com/files/file/3220-eclipse/
2. Extract the contents to a folder
3. Inside the Eclipse folder is a folder called LaunchBox
4. Copy the Plugins, StartupThemes, and Themes folders
5. Go to your Launch Box installation folder and paste the copied folders
6. Open Big Box
7. Esc to get to options
8. Select Options > Views
9. Set Theme to Eclipse
10. Set Platforms List View to Platform Wheel 1
11. If you want to use the startup theme, Options > Game Startup
    - Uncheck Show "Loading Game..." Message
    - Check Enable Startup Screen
    - Startup Theme: Eclipse
    - Minimum Startup Screen Display Time: 5 seconds
    - Maximum Startup screen Display Time: 5 seconds
    - Check Hide Mouse Cursor on Startup Screens
12. Go back - the first time the theme starts will take a long load time to generate the image cache
13. NOTE - If you get any errors, you can check the log file called Eclipse.txt in your LaunchBox folder and message me on the forums to let me know

General usage
- Up, Down, Left, Right - moves around
- Enter - selects something
- Escape - cancel or go back - pressing it will get you back to the BigBox settings where you can exit the application
- Page Up - pick a random game
- Page Down - voice search

Bezels
- Bezel images can be displayed around the preview videos
- The system will first look for a game specific bezel. If not found, it will look for a platform specific bezel. If not found, it will look for a default bezel. 
- A few default bezels are provided with the installation. You can delete them from the folders specified below if you prefer the videos without bezels.

Game specific bezels
- The system tries to find a game specific bezel image in the following order:

1. In plug-in media directory:
..\LaunchBox\Plugins\Eclipse\Media\Bezels\{PLATFORM}\{CleanGameTitle}.png

- Here {CleanGameTitle} replaces any invalid characters with an underscore. Characters like ' and : cannot appear in file names so they are replaced with an underscore
- For example: A bezel file for the game "19XX: The War Against Destiny" should have the following path and file name ..\LaunchBox\Plugins\Eclipse\Media\Images\Arcade\Bezel\19XX_ The War Against Destiny.png

MAME bezels
- If a game specific bezel isn't found in the plug-ins media folder as described above, then the program will look into the MAME installation folder. In order for MAME bezels to work, installing the bezel project for MAME would create files with this structure:

..\LaunchBox\Emulators\MAME\artwork{game.ApplicationFilePath}"Bezel.png"

Retroarch bezels
- Bezels installed by the bezel project for retroarch will go into a folder location like this:

..\LaunchBox\Emulators\Retroarch\overlays\GameBezels{RetroarchPlatform}{game.ApplicationFilePath}.png

Platform specific bezels
- These are used if there are no game specific bezels found
- You can specify a different image for horizontally and vertically oriented games so that they fit appropriately
- The platform specific bezel image files must have the following file names and locations:
..\LaunchBox\Plugins\Eclipse\Media\Bezels\{PLATFORM}\Horizontal.png
..\LaunchBox\Plugins\Eclipse\Media\Bezels\{PLATFORM}\Vertical.png

System default bezels
- These are used if there are no game specific or platform specific bezels found
- You can specify a different image for horizontally and vertically oriented games so that they fit appropriately
- The default bezel image files must have the following file name and location:
..\LaunchBox\Plugins\Eclipse\Media\Bezels\Platforms\Default\Horizontal.png
..\LaunchBox\Plugins\Eclipse\Media\Bezels\Platforms\Default\Vertical.png

Looking for feedback

I'm looking for any suggestions that would make this theme better.  What's currently on my list for improvements:

  1. New option to add a game to a playlist from the game detail screen
  2. New option to display game manuals from the game detail screen
  3. Improve image cache logic to better detect differences between LB images and plugin image cache
  4. Use VLC for video playback 
  5. Option to flip box art 
    1. This could be expanded a bit more to 
  6. Show achievements in game details
  7. Improvements to the options side-panel that opens up under the gear (add some icons and make it look a little less "blah")
  8. Several ideas for configuration options
    1. Default category and list to pick when opening 
    2. Minimum number of games required to be included in a category
      1. This would allow you to eliminate lists don't have more than 1 game showing in the series category for example
  9. Improvements to the loading screen to make it prettier
  10. Performance improvements for loading times by doing more work in the background
  11. Overhaul of entire codebase
    1. Support for any resolution or aspect ratio - currently this only works (well) on 16:9 screens
    2. Make game lists more dynamic - the implementation of the lists uses a bunch of static image controls 
    3. Localization

If anyone thinks of anything that could make this theme better, I'd be interested to hear it!

Source Code
If you're interested in the source code, it's (not pretty and it's) available here: 
https://github.com/AtomFry/Eclipse


Edited by Fry
Adding suggestion


What's New in Version 0.0.5   See changelog

Released

Removed extra views from the eclipse theme that were not needed and could potentially cause problems

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  • Game On 2
  • Unusual Gem 5

User Feedback

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SquallAlex

   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

Nice job ! Adding multiple artwork options for games would be a + 

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Kinglifer

· Edited by Kinglifer

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

Not sure if it has been brought up already but the load time to build the images could be optimized somehow? for me none of the arcade games icons (Posters) are generated for some reason. They all have Nintendo carts.

 

Besides that... simply gorgeous. Why? Well, when a kid can look and be excited and not confused at what they want then you know you got a winnter.

Response from the author:

Yeah, the load time is a top issue.  Unfortunately it is going to take a rewrite to address that so it will probably be some time before I can fix this.  

Regarding arcade showing Nintendo carts, what is shown is based on your Box Front Priority.  In LaunchBox, Tools > Options > Media > Box Front Priorities.  For me, I have them in this order: 

  • Advertisement Flyer - Front
  • Box Front
  • Box Front Reconstructed 
  • Fanart Box Front
  • Then you might want to include posters for steam, GOG, amazon, etc...

For arcade games, make sure you have advertisement flyer front images downloaded.

 

Thank you for the kind words.  The intuitive nature of the netflix style app is one of the main reasons I wanted to build this.  People see this UI, they see things they recognize and instantly know what to do. 

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CrocketRauncher

· Edited by CrocketRauncher

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

After 7+ years, I was finally tinkering around with the idea of leaving Hyperspin for Launchbox with the free version for a week or two in early November.

Then I saw Eclipse and immediately pulled the trigger for the full price of a Lifetime update license for Bigbox! (And totally missed the Black Friday sale by a week in my haste XD) You should get a commission ;)

I've been running it on a couple arcade cabinets and I really really love the look and feel to the work Fry has done here. Thank you for creating this!

Setup:

5/5 - Very easy to install, just follow the instructions in Fry's video.

Functionality:

4.5/5 - For an early version it's highly functional and looks great. I'm super impressed how it all comes together.

A couple minor critiques:

  • You may struggle with long lists of games. Netflix UI doesn't show you every movie they have to stream, but what you're most likely to enjoy and then leave it to the user to search. I think it could work like that in the future with an option to have only your high % games show based on what you've played, depending on how that algo develops to your preferences. 
  • Loading does take awhile, but since I'm new to Bigbox I don't really have anything to compare it to.
  • You can rename steam webm movies to .mp4 and they'll run, easy workaround.
  • I don't really understand the caching and sometimes need to delete artwork for it to pick up new cover art. Even though I flush "all" the cache. This is probably a bigbox thing.
  • I think it'd look really cool if the top right movie quarter could play a little under the box art/titles, giving it the appearance that the box art slightly "floats" over the small movie preview. This may be a bigbox limitation though so no big deal, it looks great already. The black background under the box art stands out a little in contrast.
  • I'd really enjoy if there was something like a "Most Played" row, a "Least Played" row or similar... showing 20-30 titles each. I think there's a lot here that can be done to add/remove discovery options to configure.

 

This is a beautiful and amazing theme that I'd be down to donate for continued updates. My wife (who's not a gamer) exclaimed how insanely cool it was when she first saw and played through with it. It's REALLY nice to have a front end that people know how to use intuitively when they sit down.

Thanks again. Highly recommend everyone try this gem out.

Response from the author:

Thanks for the kind words. I agree with all the criticism here. This theme does not work well with very long lists and gigantic collections.  I find between 50 and 300 games in a list is the sweet spot.  At least on my machine if I hold down the right button I can scroll through 300 games in a few seconds,  Things start slowing down when you get more than that.  This was the main reason that I wanted to implement the voice recognition search.

The loading time is a major issue that I want to address with a full rewrite of the plugin code so I can implement a better performing wheel and load things asynchronously so it won’t slow you down while in the application.  

I also need to improve the video playback by implementing a VLC player.  That should give support for webm videos.

The caching is the approach I took to improve performance of scrolling around in this theme.  It is totally disconnected from the big box cache as big box caches images in its own way for its own purposes. What’s going on there is your box front images are all different sizes.  When the program grabs those images to display on the screen, it has to scale them to the height of the wheel.  If that scaling takes place while the application is loading you will feel it with sluggish or jittery movement in the wheel.  So when it loads the first time it scales all the images to the size that will display on the screen.  Then subsequent loads will not need to do this scalding (other than for any new images).  I think there is a flaw in how it identifies what is a new image.  If you change an image file out in launchbox and it has the same name as the old file then Eclipse won’t see it.  I need to improve my caching to work more like the BigBox caching and avoid this issue.

I can look at changing the size of the video preview so that it slides a bit under the boxes on the first row of games.

Adding a least played and most played list would be pretty easy. I think there is a need for a configuration screen with some settings to allow you to turn these types of options off and on and specify how many games you would want to see in those special lists.

  • Like 3
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GRKNZNGN

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

The Netflix like menu navigation makes it very convenient to launch games through the collection.

I use it as a standard theme when my Gaming PC is connected to the TV.

Compared to the known BigBox themes - this is something unique! 👍

 

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