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Are there any plans for LaunchBox to be able to uilise a Content Server?

At the moment for every device we need to add ROMS, scrape the metadata, and fixup anything which is not found.  Every device has its own limited storage capacity so we need to decide what content to store on what device.  Alternatively we need the devices to belong to a network so we can access ROM folders.

Systems like Calibre for eBooks and Plex/Emby for video content allow for storage of the media data on a server along with all the relevant metadata and an API for each client to grab the metadata and download or stream the actual content.

Now a Content Server for LaunchBox would not actually stream any data, it would just be a portal for downloading it to the device but it would allow ALL content to be available from ANY device ANYWHERE in the world, not just the limited content you could fit on the device, or all content when connected to your network.

Of course, each LaunchBox client would have limited storage so it could only cache a limited amount to media from the Content Server before requiring to download or clear out existing cached media to make way for newly requested media.  But even those devices would still have access to the entire library as if the device had unlimited storage.

The content server could have multiple users thereby having different views on the content and allowing synchronisation of save states with the server.  It would also require just a one time setup and scraping and any manual metadata adding and once this was setup it would not need to be touched unless new media was added.

The setup of individual clients on different devices then becomes a simple task of setting up the emulators and pointing to the content server.  Then even devices with very limited storage memory will still have access to your entire library of content.  You could start a game on one device, save the state, synchronise with the server and resume playing on an entirely different device.

You could play a game on your Android phone in a restaurant, then come home and continue playing on your XBox with seamless integration.

Basically what I need from a launcher is:
1. One time setup and scraping of all media/ROMS
2. Access to entire library from every device
3. Access to all content from anywhere in the world.

I don't know if any of this has been considered and I'm asking for something which is already on the roadmap but the benefits and extensibility are huge.

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I already use ROMs from a network server in LB and it works pretty good and as long as I use the computer name in the path instead of a network drive then it is pretty much portable between computers to just copy your build over although a real server solution like a Plex would be great but I also wouldn't guarantee that the performance would be great accessing it from anywhere in the world type of thing

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Just now, DOS76 said:

I already use ROMs from a network server in LB and it works pretty good and as long as I use the computer name in the path instead of a network drive then it is pretty much portable between computers to just copy your build over although a real server solution like a Plex would be great but I also wouldn't guarantee that the performance would be great accessing it from anywhere in the world type of thing

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  Am I able to also store all the metadata on the server?  This would alleviate at least one of my bugbears with a non-client/server based approach?

The performance is only really an issue for navigation of the images to find what you want to play.  In Plex for example, the navigation in my local Network is comparable with the navigation when I'm away from home.  This has much to do with both modern broadband speeds and effective use of limited caching of remote data on the local device.  The downloading of larger games like PSX for example does incur an overhead but only for first launch or if the game has been swapped out to make more local room for other content.  The actual launching and gameplay incurs no additional overhead though since the content is then on the device.  Given the choice I would use a content server every time and put up with any limited performance issues.  Basically I don't want each of my possible clients to be storing the ROMS and metadata other than just caching.  I want to be able to manage that for a single centralised location.

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To be clear, I know you can store the images and other metadata on the server but what I'm asking is can that be shared between multiple devices.  There must be a local database which points to all these images.  Simply putting the images on the server will not mean another device will have them automatically added to its database.  Is there a portable database which can also be copied between devices or stored on the server.  SQLite or something?  Sorry if it's a noob question.

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you can use all the media and roms on a server for any builds but to be honest because it isn't really optimized for something like this I don't suggest doing so with your media only the games themselves. Even to point the media to a location outside of the LB folder is a cumbersome task that involves change paths to every folder you have manually so its really an undertaking to attempt doing so now if you were to set all your media in one folder on a server and then use symlinks on your device to make it point those folder to the default LB that would be somewhat easier but still you would probably run into performance issues

 

 

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Currently the best solution to access your entire library anywhere is to add Big Box to Steam and use a remote Steam app on the device. I play my full library anywhere from my phone/tablet/laptop/etc. this way. Native support for client/server would be nice though!

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