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Hands-On Pause Theme 1.0.0

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About This File

The goal of Hands-On is to display physical information about the game you're playing without having to exit the emulator. It was first designed with arcade games in mind so if all your media is in place you'll see control diagrams, the game's physical control panel, an image of the full cabinet as well as 'Clear logo', 'Advertisement Flyer - Front' and 'Platform Clear Logo' all on one screen.

Rather than show your controller mappings -- Retro808's Game Controls pause theme is excellent for that -- I just wanted to better see how many buttons, sticks, or pedals an arcade game had and what it physically looked like. Coincidentally, while working on my theme Antny released their Transparent Control Panels pack which provides exactly the kind of true-to-life, close up images I was aiming to incorporate. Really worth grabbing if you like the idea of my theme.


What about consoles and handhelds?

That's where the setup gets a wee bit more complicated. I didn't find that there were a lot of game-specific control images out there so for consoles I focused on showing the hardware, controller, and cart/disc. Case in point, until I started working on this I had no idea the Virtual Boy had buttons on the back of the controller! Having that kind of reference at hand really helps keep in mind the hardware you're emulating.

To accomplish a similar look to the arcade side I've created two separate directories you'll need to copy over named 'HW_Console' and 'HW_Control'. These contain my incomplete set of custom images based on my personal preference. But good news: since they're separate from the directories that LaunchBox scrapes you can freely replace mine with any hardware images you'd like without screwing up your existing setup. Most of mine came from Evan Amos who has provided hundreds of high quality images for Wikipedia.

I hope to keep expanding the console and controller selection over time as a separate release. Look for it here.


How to set it up

In the zip you'll find the following folders and files:

  • Hands-On Pause Theme v1.0
    • README.txt
      • LaunchBox
        • Images
          • HW_Console
          • HW_Controller
        • PauseThemes
          • Hands-On Pause Theme
            • Fonts (be sure to install the included font)
            • Images
            • Default.xaml

These are the folders that need to be placed within your LaunchBox install.  'HW_Console' and 'HW_Controller' folders go into your Launchbox\Images directory. 'Hands-On Pause Theme' goes into your LaunchBox\PauseThemes directory. Finally, go to LaunchBox > Tools > Options and under 'Game Pause' select the new 'Hands-On Pause Theme' entry. You're ready to go!

NOTES on the theme's behavior:

  • I never use the menu options on pause themes so I condensed them down to a single line at the bottom middle of the screen. Press up/down to cycle through the options for Save, Load, Achievements, etc.
  • The arcade cabinet image sits on top of your arcade clear logo. This is intentional to keep the cabinet images at a good size while making the platform logos more visible for consoles. It's not my favorite thing but I couldn't figure out how to hide just the arcade platform logo.
  • All of the images look much better if you can get transparent PNGs. Cabinet photos seem to frequently have solid backgrounds so they look a little odd.
  • Pause Often! If you have more than one image scraped for LaunchBox's default types the pause theme will cycle through them. I couldn't find a way to control this behavior but have grown to like the surprise of different images.
  • For consoles the theme pulls both a cart image and a disc image. If you somehow have an image of each type for the same game, they'll both be displayed on top of each other. See below for how to edit that.


How to customize it

Simply replace my 'HW_Console' or 'HW_Controller' images with whatever PNG files you want. Make sure they are named exactly how your platforms are named in LaunchBox. My versions have a shadow pre-applied to match the other images in the theme so yours might look a little flat.

The theme only supports PNG files by default. If you'd like to use JPG instead, edit Line 133 and Line 156 of Default.xaml to replace the '.png' with the file extension you're using.

If there are any elements you don't like or don't want to see, open the Default.xaml file and delete them. Don't want to see cart or disc images? Delete the section below <!-- For Consoles: Disc Image -->, etc. I tried to label everything as clearly as possible.

If you're looking for great sources of controller, console, and platform images check out these releases. They're fantastic and expansive!



Sources & Design

I use Juketsu's Slipstream Startup Theme so I based mine on their matching pause theme. It's fairly heavily edited, mostly retaining the font, color, and default background image. Thanks Juketsu for OKing my reuse of the files. Custom controller and console images largely based on  Evan Amos' work at The Vanamo Online Game Museum on Wikipedia.



Custom Platforms Covered in 1.0

North American territory, original model hardware, personal selections:

  • 3DO (predominantly Panasonic model)
  • Atari 2600 (Woody)
  • Atari Lynx (both styles)
  • Fairchild Channel F
  • Mattel Intellivision
  • NEC TurboGrafx-CD (CD add-on and DUO options available)
  • NEC TurboGrafx-16
  • Neo Geo AES
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA, SP, Micro models)
  • Nintendo Game Boy (Original, Color, Pocket models)
  • Nintendo GameCube
  • Nintendo Virtual Boy
  • Sega 32X
  • Sega CD (Model 1 with Genesis)
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Sega Game Gear
  • Sega Genesis (Model 1)
  • SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color (Color model only)
  • Sony PlayStation (launch model)
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System

I hope you all like my first pause theme, let me know if there's anything you'd like to change and I can try to help you customize it.

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Awesome pause theme for MAME cabinets; seeing the original arcade cabinet and panel next to the controls makes it a joy to play all these games and makes it feel closer to the original experience. Great, great work!

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