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Jason Carr

Startup Screens, Pause Screens, and Bezels Discussions

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How important is it to you for the startup screen to fade into the game? Is it worth the performance sacrifice to you while playing the game?

Personally I don't care about fading, if it did just a hard switch to the game that's perfect for me. Any work that can hide any emulator windows during the
transition would be nice but not a must for me.

 

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How important is it to you to use bezels? Are they worth the performance sacrifice to you?

Not important really. I only use them on Vectrex games currently via Retroarch and any future bezels I might use will probably be in MAME or RA for me.

 

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What features are you most looking for with startup screens?

I'd like the screen to have some basic info about the games controls. 
Show custom fanart (maybe multiple that can fade while a game is loading/unzipping).
A Loading bar.
Ability to turn on a prompt to start the game (instead of it auto-starting once it's loaded).

 

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What features are you most looking for with pause screens?

Able to view controls/manuals/maps. 
Ability to change disk/disc etc.
Also slight comment regarding on how the manuals are currently controlled, I would love for the move/zoom could be mapped smoothly onto the analogue sticks like it's done in many modern games and such. Currently moving is fine, but zooming in is a bit clunky.
Would also be nice if the pause screen remembered where it was when you unpause so that you can quickly flick back and forth between the game. I can see this being very useful when viewing a games map for example.
Ability to view retro-achievements. 
View current game session time (and maybe a total time played).
Save-states could be nice (with screenshot), even though I don't use them often myself, but I can see this being one of those things that break all the time.
Quit game.


EDIT:
Also very specific request, but maybe someone else would feel the same way.
If Pause could be mapped to the xbox home/guide button. Currently I got that mapped up in Retroarch for opening the XMB (which is great), but obviously could cause a conflict. So if there was a way to add an option to open the XMB/home screen on Retroarch on the Pause screen instead. That way I wouldn't need to map yet another weird button combo to open that separately.

Edited by polygonslayer
Added Quit game option and xbox home button request.
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I really would like fades and bezels myself, I'm using them with RL on all my 100+ systems, the artwork retroHumanoid has done make the whole experience slick and professionnal. 

If LB could do the job without RL, that would be great.

I would still need RL for unzipping files I guess, but that's beside the topic.. And Pause menu could be great too, so that it does use the same files as LB and not having the manuals etc twice, once in LB and once in RL

 

Work well Jason, as allways ;)

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My computer isn't very strong (even playing PSX stutters sometimes if I forget to exit Chrome) so I wouldn't risk any performance for visual flair.

As for the pause menu, that would be very cool. I already use Retroarch whenever possible specifically because of its "universal" pause menu.

The best ideas for the pause menu have already been said so I'd just reiterate:
- view images like boxart and such (with zooming / panning if possible)
- view manuals
- view cheats
- view controller layout
- save / load states
- quit game / go back to big box
- current game session time
- "reset" / reload game

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5 minutes ago, vital74 said:

I would still need RL for unzipping files I guess

Launchbox has been able to unzip files forever.

Untitled.thumb.png.f5c10318ac4a06f7ed92c1a40f406b1b.png

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8 minutes ago, vital74 said:

I really would like fades and bezels myself, I'm using them with RL on all my 100+ systems, the artwork retroHumanoid has done make the whole experience slick and professionnal. 

If LB could do the job without RL, that would be great.

I would still need RL for unzipping files I guess, but that's beside the topic.. And Pause menu could be great too, so that it does use the same files as LB and not having the manuals etc twice, once in LB and once in RL

 

Work well Jason, as allways ;)

LB can already unzip games. (personal opinion) It's just not as clean as Rocketlauncher with the loading screen with the bar and little animation in the corner. Or what you have 

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One thing more Rocketlauncher has the option for a little animation running in the Coner, i think the default is Mario.  But it's just a bunch of images with slight changes like old school cartoons. 

Thinking with LB already having gif support this could be even easier and better to get going. 

Edited by ALIE

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For the pause menu I would love to be able to save/load game states, switch discs, resume, view manual, and have a universal quit game option that worked out of the box with all emulators.

Custom startup splash screen/video for launchbox would be awesome.

Ability in launchbox to have an ambient audio file playing and separate music tracks with separate volume controls for each

Bezels would be cool if they were added to the gamesdb and not something you'd have to get from another service outside of launchbox.

Sorry I don't really have anything specific for BigBox, I don't have an arcade cabinet so I don't use it.

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I've used RocketLauncher for a long time and can attest any performance degradation brought by the overly is negligible and not noticeable (IMO). 

Between NVIDIAs' shadowplay, steams' BPM, & Origins' In-game overlay, chances are you have been playing pc games in non-exclusive full screen mode. 

As @Lordmonkus stated on the first page:

19 hours ago, Lordmonkus said:

The performance difference between exclusive and non exclusive fullscreen mode is extremely minimal but it does exist and non exclusive mode does introduce some amount of input lag compared to exclusive fullscreen mode.

Here is my custom fade screen with loading animation and RocketLauncher pause screen features as they are:

 

Edited by nadonate
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1 hour ago, nadonate said:

I've used RocketLauncher for a long time and can attest any performance degradation brought by the overly is negligible and not noticeable (IMO). 

Between NVIDIAs' shadowplay, steams' BPM, & Origins' In-game overlay, chances are you have been playing pc games in non-exclusive full screen mode. 

As @Lordmonkus stated on the first page:

Here is my custom fade screen with loading animation and RocketLauncher pause screen features as they are:

 

The overlays used in Steam and such hook into DirectX and/or OpenGL, and are used in exclusive fullscreen mode, so that's a completely different thing. None of them fade one window into another, which is what fading requires. Almost all Steam games use exclusive fullscreen mode.

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  • How important is it to you for the startup screen to fade into the game? Is it worth the performance sacrifice to you while playing the game?

I could live without it but it would be appreciated.

 

  • How important is it to you to use bezels? Are they worth the performance sacrifice to you?

Very important. The systems that would need bezels (32-bit and earlier) won't suffer at all on most decent modern systems.

 

  • What features are you most looking for with startup screens?

Having a video of the original console's startup play 

 

  • What features are you most looking for with pause screens?

Manuals, Saving/Loading savestates, Switching discs, Info on the game, Box art, Universal Quit Game

Edited by Codeman

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1 hour ago, Jason Carr said:

The overlays used in Steam and such hook into DirectX and/or OpenGL, and are used in exclusive fullscreen mode, so that's a completely different thing. None of them fade one window into another, which is what fading requires. Almost all Steam games use exclusive fullscreen mode.

Ah, this makes sense. Thanks for the explanation! 

So the pause menu would not be part of an overlay, but a separate UI element that could be "switched" (alt-tabbed) to on a button press? 

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1 minute ago, nadonate said:

Ah, this makes sense. Thanks for the explanation! 

So the pause menu would not be part of an overlay, but a separate UI element that could be "switched" (alt-tabbed) to on a button press? 

Yes. Rocket Launcher currently does this with an overlay that requires windowed mode, but I believe I'll be able to do it by switching windows.

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One other very important feature for the pause screen, Xbox Guide button support. You should be able to invoke the pause screen by pressing the Guide button, or better yet, have the option to use the Guide button as a shift key, and then another button to invoke pause. So let's say Hold Guide and press Start for pause. That's how I currently have RetroArch setup, and it would be amazing to do the same in BB.

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+1 for the pause menu! That's what I'm looking forward to the most.

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What features are you most looking for with pause screens?

Saving / loading game states, view controller layout and just quit games.

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12 minutes ago, marceli said:

+1 for the pause menu! That's what I'm looking forward to the most.

Saving / loading game states, view controller layout and just quit games.

I forgot about controller layout, that is very important too. The easiest way would probably be a new image category, one that is available for both platforms and games. So if a game doesn't have a controller layout image, it will default to the platform controller layout image. This would allow everyone to create their own layouts, with any look they want. It would also allow for users to go as deep into making layouts as they want. If you just want platform layouts you could do that, but if certain games have a different layout, you could show that for that game. Or even make layouts for every game if you wanted. If it is an image category, I think it should be view-able on it's own via an option like "View Controller Layout", and shouldn't show up with the "View images full screen" option, if possible.

Edited by Omen

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Using the Xbox Guide button to enter into a minimlist pause menu would be great, an exit game feature would feel far more "console" than the traditional Start and Select combo

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31 minutes ago, zetec-s-joe said:

Using the Xbox Guide button to enter into a minimlist pause menu would be great, an exit game feature would feel far more "console" than the traditional Start and Select combo

I use Guide and Start because I have multiple shortcuts that are activated by pressing Guide and another button. This is my setup:

Guide + Start: Pause Screen

Guide + D Pad Up: Toggles Bezels

Guide + LB: Changes my primary display to my TV 

Guide + RB: Changes my primary display to my monitor

Guide + B: Turns off the controller

Guide + Back (select): Emulator Specific shortcut, in Cemu it toggles TV/Gamepad screen. In PCSX2 it Toggles between hardware and software rendering. This will also be the way I access RetroArch's Pause screen after BB get's it's own Pause.

Guide + L3: Runs a script that closes all emulators, BigBox, and any other emulator related programs, and then re launches BigBox. Good for when everything locks up.

Guide + R3: Closes all emulators. Basically an emergency kill switch like above, but it only kills emulators, not BigBox or anything else.

 

These shortcuts are why it's very important for me to have an option to use the Guide button as a shift key. Though I could use AHK to do the same function if need be.

Edited by Omen
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Startup screens, pause screens and bezels, eh? I think I would like to see these features be implemented at some point, especially the first two. So to answer your questions directly, Jason...

 

  • How important is it to you for the startup screen to fade into the game? Is it worth the performance sacrifice to you while playing the game?

Simply put, I don't see fade-ins for the startup screen as very imporant to me.

As asthetically pleasing as such a feature would be to see in action whenever I boot a game up, I'm perfectly fine not using it if it would hamper the performance of whatever game I'm playing. As long as the games themselves boot up properly as normal I can live without the fade-ins if I'm going for maximum performance (which is usually the overwhelming majority of the time for me), although I certainly wouldn't object to seeing this feature implemented if it can be something optional that the user can toggle on and off whenever they wish. If you've got a capable enough gaming PC, I don't see whatever performance decrease you'd get from using the feature being a serious issue if maximum performance during emulation isn't top priority to you for whatever reason. 

 

  • How important is it to you to use bezels? Are they worth the performance sacrifice to you?

Much like the fade-in feature in the startup screen, the option for bezels is not very important to me personally, perhaps even less than the fade-in feature.

I typically don't use bezels for anything I play (PC games, emulation, etc..), but much like the fade-in option for the startup screen I wouldn't mind seeing bezels implemented as an optional feature that users can toggle on/off if they wish to use them. Again, maximum performance during emulation is usually what I prefer more than anything else.

 

  • What features are you most looking for with startup screens?

If possible, I'd like to see any of the following features implemented with startup screens:

  • The ability customize theme of the startup screens, especially if I want them to be visually cohesive with whatever themes I am currently using for Bigbox. Saving custom themes for individual games (like if I want some random image file, like fanart, for a specific game to show when I'm booting it up through Launchbox/Bigbox) if I don't want to use whatever universal startup theme I have set up would also be welcome.
  • The ability to view/use the game's title in Launchbox/Bigbox, overlaying whatever custom theme you have implemented for the game itself (either the universal startup screen or the custom startup screen you have set up for that specific game). Being able to modify the font for the title would be nice, if you wish to make the title during the startup look visually cohesive with whatever startup screen you're using.
  • The ability to view information on what emulator the game being booted up is using, if the user wishes to toggle such information on during startup.

There's not a whole lot I can currently think of that I'd like to see implemented in startup screens. Your last question, on the other hand...

  • What features are you most looking for with pause screens?

If possible, I'd like to see any of the following features implemented with pause screens:

  • The ability to view images of the games such as boxart, screenshots and fanart, with additional features suchs as zooming/panning if possible.
  • The ability to view information about the game itself (like the game summary) and its metadata
  • The ability to view game manuals/PDF files.
  • The ability to view cheats/hacks for the game currently being played.
  • The ability to view gamepad layout for all controllers currently connected to the PC, along with which controller ports/sockets each controller is currently plugged into.
  • The ability to configure button layouts/key bindings for currently plugged-in gamepads and keyboards/mouses
  • The ability to move currently plugged-in gamepads to different controller ports/sockets.
  • The ability to view and open up whatever emulator you have set for the game currently playing, if you wish to tweak any of it's settings during gameplay.
  • The ability to save/load save states.
  • The ability to reset games you're currently playing,
  • The ability to change discs of any multi-disc games you're playing
  • The ability to quit the game altogether and return to Launchbox/Bigbox.
  • The ability to integrate supported third-party applications such as MusicBox and RetroAchievements (to quote nadonate)

 

... And I think that's pretty much everything. If I think of anything else worth suggesting, I'll be sure to make another post on this thread. Jason, I wish you and anyone else you're working with on the Launchbox team the best of luck if you're going to give implementing any of these features a try - I'll be rooting for you!

Edited by Neosekken
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I'm using rocketlauncher for the bezels and all features on the pause screen.

I would like that I could set a bezel of each arcade playlist. It would be great if I could do everything with the launchbox. 

Otherwise launchbox could send the playlist info as a plataform to the rocketlauncher 

 

 

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I want off of RocketLauncher completely, so implementing everything asked, even Bezels, is highly desired. While importing roms, it can ask "Use MAME/Retroarch Bezels"?

As long as you can choose to turn any of those features on/off per preference, it would satisfy everyone.

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