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p.bizzy

ExoDOS Import

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Anyone know of a batch way to import the 'ExoDOS' collections? It is currently using M.E.A.G.R.E. front end which is pretty Windows 95 era. Would much rather prefer to add it to LaunchBox with everything else. Was thinking it might be easier to try to have D-Fend batch add them, then import with LaunchBox but even that is proving difficult. Great job on LaunchBox 4.0, btw. (Is there a hotkey for the new search bar?) Premium version purchased.

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Thanks much, p.; there is not a hotkey for the new search bar, but I'll add that to my to dos. Unfortunately for the moment there's no good way to batch import DOS games. I do have it on my list to implement, but it is most definitely a challenge. Haven't ever heard of M.E.A.G.R.E. before; I thought I'd seen them all. Anyways, if you can get them in D-Fend, that's probably your best (and only) option for a mass import. I can imagine, though, there will probably be a few issues in translation.

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It acutally works really well, just hideous :P https://sites.google.com/site/meagrefrontend/screenshots The 'ExoDOS' collection is also pretty sweet in of itself if you can get a hold of it.

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I agree on all points so far: Launchbox 4.0 looks fantastic, the ExoDOS collection is great, and the MEAGRE frontend is an abomination. The folks who put the ExoDOS collection obviously put a huge amount of work into it. Every game (3000+) has all the metadata and images you'd want, it's just formatted for a terrible frontend. I've got the ExoDOS "action games" set now, and I'm working on the other sets. If the launchbox devs would be interested in figuring out a way to pull the metadata, I'd be happy to send them the sets.

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Hey, when I wrote MEAGRE, there was nothing else like it out there. I know it's not the best looking front end but it gets the job done. I wish it looked as good as LaunchBox! I would love it if LaunchBox imported the information from the ExoDOS collection in MEAGRE. It would actually be a fairly simple process initially of scanning each folder for the .ini file or for the meagre folder itself (each game has a meagre folder). This parent folder can then be used as the application location, the game can be set to use DOSBox of course, and the custom .conf file is always going to be called dosbox.conf and reside in the parent folder. The other meta data can then be brought in from an online database or used from the various image and documentation folders in the meagre directory for each game. I know MEAGRE and ExoDOS are probably too "small market" to add as a major import function of LaunchBox but it would be cool. Just to be clear, I only wrote MEAGRE. Although I'm fairly versed in the ExoDOS data and formats, all of that data was compiled by EXO, a different guy.
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donarumo said I would love it if LaunchBox imported the information from the ExoDOS collection in MEAGRE. It would actually be a fairly simple process initially of scanning each folder for the .ini file or for the meagre folder itself (each game has a meagre folder). This parent folder can then be used as the application location, the game can be set to use DOSBox of course, and the custom .conf file is always going to be called dosbox.conf and reside in the parent folder.
So, one major thing I learned from working with Jason on everything is that things are never as simple as you would presume. I assumed certain things would be easy functions to implement and were in fact hard as hell. Wikipedia scraping is a perfect example. It took a lot of work to get it in there, and its flawed as hell. He could spend another 40 hours working on it and edge out better performance but... holy crap. So I still say, say never count anything out regardless of its size. Anything and everything is at least on the table for discussion, but it really is a question of is this worth it. Will a majority of our users like or even use this feature and how long will it take to implement it. We have an importer for D-Fend, although broken because it hasnt been updated in a long time, hardly anyone uses it. Which is probably why its broken. Hardly anyone uses it so there is no reason to update it. Especially when Jason is developing new and better import features.

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donarumo, welcome to the forums!!! Great to have another developer here. I'll certainly add this to my list to get a MEAGRE import working, but it will likely be a long while before I'm able to get to it. Anyways, it *is* worth noting that pretty much any developer *could* write an import for LaunchBox, as it just uses a simple XML file to store all of the data. All you'd have to do is generate the XML (and possibly move/copy the images) to get it working. Regardless, thanks for chiming in here, sir. Would love to have you stick around. :)

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Thank you, Jason. I'm taking a look at the main xml file and LaunchBox's folder structure now. I see no reason why I couldn't add an export to MEAGRE to create LaunchBox compatible xml entries. I'll let the board know if I come up with something that works and release an update.

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Nice!!! That's awesome. I'll be sure to give MEAGRE a shout out in a blog post if you can get it working. Let me know if I can be any help at all. LaunchBox might be a tad bit picky with date/time formats and such, but other than that, hopefully it should be relatively straightforward. Thank you much!

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donarumo said Thank you, Jason. I'm taking a look at the main xml file and LaunchBox's folder structure now. I see no reason why I couldn't add an export to MEAGRE to create LaunchBox compatible xml entries. I'll let the board know if I come up with something that works and release an update.
Also, I am sorry if I was rude. I for some reason didn't see that you were a developer. Even though it was right in front of me. So I apologize if I made you mad or upset you. That said, and Jason can vouch for this, I'm willing to help test anything if you need it. I can find odd bugs in software for some reason.

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No worries SantaiBrad, I thought you were very cordial considering this is the internet and all. Okay, the new version of MEAGRE is ready. Let me know if you have any problems or suggestions for this export. There are some things to note initially. 1. To export data, click on Edit in MEAGRE and select Export to Launchbox. Then browse to your LaunchBox.xml file typically located under your Documents or My Documents directory. 2. This process automatically creates a backup file "LaunchBox (MEAGRE Backup).xml" in your LaunchBox folder. 3. This is mainly intended for people with the ExoDOS collections. 4. ExoDOS is built around .bat files. As a result, the option to use DOSBox and any DOSBox settings are not exported to Launchbox. Instead, the .bat file is exported as the "executable" and will be used when running the game from LaunchBox. This means all of Exo's custom .conf files will be used. 5. I tested this using an expanded ExoDOS collection. I do not keep the games in zip format to later be extracted. That said, it should work either way as the .bat file is designed to handle this. 6. This process will copy a lot of files (about 1.5 gigs) into the Images folder in your LaunchBox directory. If you want to undo this export process, although the original LaunchBox.xml can easily be restored from the backup, the individual game folders under Images will need to be deleted manually. 7. The export will copy the media file into the screenshots folder. This allows the media image to show in the Details area of a game in LaunchBox. The process renamed the media file to xmedia.jpg as LaunchBox displays these images alphabetically. 8. Any Extras from MEAGRE will be exported as Additional Applications into LaunchBox. This means they will show in the right click menu of a game. 9. Year is not exported. MEAGRE only contains the year and not the specific date. LaunchBox is really looking for a specific release date and I didn't want to set every game to January 1st or something similar. 10. A lot of the games do not have box art. When you select the game, you will still see any screenshots in the details area but expect to see a lof of missing front images when you view the listings. 11. ExoDOS lists games with a DOS platform. So games will export into a platform called DOS when viewed within LaunchBOX 12. Images are copied over to the LaunchBox folder but nothing else is moved or copied. Meaning the manual, extras, and the game itself is all kept in the MEAGRE folder and will need to be retained of course for everything to work correctly. 13. If you export twice, you will have a duplicate of every folder under Images. LaunchBox is designed to handle this and will only show a game once but you will have a lot of extra folders under Images taking up space and the LaunchBox.xml file will contain a duplicate of every game - each with a unique UUID. ... The new version of MEAGRE can be downloaded from here: https://sites.google.com/site/meagrefrontend/download If you have not updated MEAGRE in a while, be sure to grab the full meagre.zip. When overwriting, choose not to overwrite the meagre.ini file. Although if you do, you can always run Exo's "fix meagre" bat file found in his 2.0 releases. Alternatively, you can always download the exe and change list only zip.
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Ugh, sorry I haven't put up the blog post yet. I'm about to release a new version; I don't want to put up two posts back to back so one gets buried too quicky. I was going to put a note about MEAGRE in the release blog post, but don't want it to get buried that way either. Apologies, I'm gonna be selfish and put up a post for the new version, then we'll wait a few days and put up the MEAGRE post; that way it'll get plenty of time at the top of the home page (just means we have to way a few days). Sorry for that.

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Oh, I'm getting an error when trying to export on my system. I only have the default "Donkey" game in there for the moment. After I browse and choose my file name, this comes up:
Spoiler
meagre-error.png

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No problems on the blog post. I'm looking forward to trying the new version. Thank you for letting me know about the error. Unfortunately, I'm not able to reproduce the issue here, even trying with a single Donkey entry. The error sounds like a problem locating a specific xml file. I am trying to backup the LaunchBox.xml file specifically. Have you tried running it as administrator? I'll run some more tests but I will most likely need some other people to try the export first. I'm okay if you want to wait on any blog post for other people to test this export process and make sure it works.

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Oic...I was trying to create a new file, not load an existing one. I'm guessing that's the issue. Maybe would be good to check that the file exists, just in case someone tries what I tried. I wasn't sure if it would create an entirely new file, or modify your existing LaunchBox.xml file.

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Hi donarumo, I was able to get the export to work properly when I chose an existing LaunchBox.xml file (duh). The only issue I see now is that DOS games are not set to "Use DOSBox" in the XML file, so they don't work when you run them after the import (you just have to Edit the game and check the Use DOSBox box).

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Jason Carr said The only issue I see now is that DOS games are not set to "Use DOSBox" in the XML file,
Yeah, that's intentional. This export is really designed to export the ExoDOS data specifically. Games in this collection are all based around a .bat file that calls DOSBox automatically (or ScummVM). The bat file will check the game is installed or just a zip file as well. In addition, when there are multiple versions or a game is really a collection, a menu will appear giving options. So I stuck with a straight "executable" pointing to the .bat file instead of the DOS based .exe file.

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