Jump to content
LaunchBox Community Forums
Jason Carr

Startup Screens, Pause Screens, and Bezels Discussions

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Alulabxxx said:

first of all thank you so much for your complete and very interesting explanation.

For my use what is stylistically very important is the loading screen and it is in essence the only reason why I still support rocket launcher.

fading is not absolutely important.

For the bezel, the experience of each is different: I use a 4: 3 and I do not need it, on a pc where I have a 16: 9 I still prefer the classic black bands because I do not really like the contrast between the game and the bezel.

Do you have any idea of the timing of the release of a first beta on new features?

thank you

The timing depends on a lot of things, including what we decide to tackle on the first go. If you look at our past release schedule though, you'll get a good idea as to how long the next release will probably take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I have become a performance junkie over time. I wouldn't use anything that has the possibility of introducing more input lag. Thank Mike Tyson's Punchout for that.

But, it wasn't always so, and I don't have an actual arcade cabinet. If I did, ever do, I'd probably want the most seamless transitions possible, and all the bells and whistles even at a performance cost. But that is just personal opinion.

I'm not very technically savvy, but it sounds like if I were you I'd approach these things thusly:

1: Make sure everything is optional (don't lock people in one way or the other)

2: Begin by implementing the features that will work with exclusive fullscreen

3: Create the optional features that require windowed

To answer the overall question, neither bezels or fade are particularly important to me personally. Again, it wasn't always so, but fades just add to emulator launch times, and I also find bezels distracting (though again if I had a mame cab, I'd want mame bezels, the emulator supports this so no biggie). The feature that would be most important to me is Pause. A lot of the features I love about Pause are already offered in launchbox/bigbox, like built in pdf viewer for manuals and guides etc. 

But:

Being able to fill out the pause screen with custom music, art etc. It's fun to just build that for games I really like, and the artists of the community tend to go off in the best way when features like that become available.

Being able to save and load states from Pause (the absolute best feature in my opinion)

Being able to change discs via Pause

Hi Scores in pause

(Would be awesome to view achievements there too, and RL doesn't do that).

Just my two cents. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 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?

For me, VERY. It's about aesthetics and the feel of a finished product. I personally feel it should be an option: fade on or off.  For those worried about performance (and frankly, we're talking about a few seconds when the screen loads or unloads), they can turn it off while those more into aesthetics can leave it on. As time goes on, PCs only get stronger so performance becomes an increasingly smaller factor. Ideally, the option to turn the fading on or off should be on a per platform basis. I am assuming that the fade screen performance "problem" would affects older platforms (like Atari 2600) FAR LESS than newer platforms (such as PS3).

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

Absolutely worth the sacrifice for the same reasons as above. That said, again it should be an option of a per platform/game basis.

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

- Ability to use Game Title, Custom title or Rom title
- Ability to use all images available in that game's image library (especially clear logo, box, cart or disc)
- Ability to use all images available in that game's platform image library (especially clear logo, device, gamepad (see below))
- loading bar: on a per game and per platform basis. Default per game with per platform as backup if nothing found. loading bar can consist of a container image (border) and a status image (the actual bar itself) which would be used in the startup theme to the theme builder's desire. What a fullscreen loading bar? draw it up, put the two images in the appropriate game or platform image folders and boom, done.
- startup image folder: to contain things like individual character art if you want to make characters showup like a slideshow or something. I suppose this could use the fan art images though, so access to that maybe.
-a way to create transitions for background images maybe?

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

- Access to the game info screen (title, description, art, gameplay videos... which can be displayed in slideshow format as large as possible.
- CONTROL SCHEME/ SHOW CONTROLLER support which would show the following as fullscreen as possible: Even if it means just having a gamepad image folder and rely on users to put together their own gamepad overlays. For example: images/platforms/Atari 2600/gamepad would store an image of the atari 2600 controller [called atari2600.png for the default controller image, or gamename.png if, for example, a specific game used a different gamepad like a racing wheel] (why doesn't launchbox have this anyway? We have Device....) while images/atari 2600/controls would store the control overlay as designed by users on a gamename.png format the same way box or cart art functions. So in photoshop, you open up your atari2600.png controller image from images/platforms/Atari 2600/gamepad, create a new layer and draw your lines, buttons (so your Xbox B button or whatever with a line pointing at the red button on the atari controller, D-pad pointing at the joystick, etc), then hide the initial layer and save the resulting overlay inside images/atari 2600/controls as atari2600.png if you want that overlay to be the default for all games that don't have an overlay that applies to a specific game, or as gamename.png if you want that overlay to apply only for that specific game.
- Ability to toggle between game versions for things like MAME where a game might have multiple versions/hacks/etc
- Pause the game (where possible)
- Exit game option
- Reload game option
- Open retroarch/MAME menu options with a key to exit back into the pause screen when done

Edited by mcfilmmakers
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

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?

For what I want to accomplish in my set, it is very important, however performance always come first.
Ideally, I would have the same png/mp4 as the current Platform/Playlist I am in for the startup screen, add a minimalist Loading message in it with some game metadata info, and then it fuses to RA for example, which has an overlay with the same bg as in BB, so the experience and transition will be smooth from the platform menu up to playing the game (as if we are playing the game inside BB). The same going back from the emu to BB. No bg changes in my case.

2 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

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

Not so much, as using MAME and RA gets me covered on this front. The only other emulator that I use and does not have overlays support is Sega Model 2, but I don't mind.

2 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

What features are you most looking for with startup screens?

  • Be able to choose between different formats (png, mp4, gif).
  • Different layers (bg image, front image, position them). 
  • Metadata info (possibility to display the game name, year, genre, developer, rating, times played, etc.) and its size/format/position in screen.
  • The above bullets also to be able to customize when going back from the game to BB.

Question: would it be easier for the fades to be handled by the user in terms of development? So, instead of BB to be handling the programs and windows focuses to go from one to another, to just let the user establish a specific time per platform/emulator/etc. and make the Startup screen on top until the time passes. Just thinking out loud; not sure if I am saying nonsense.

2 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

What features are you most looking for with pause screens?

My ideal scenario would be to have the EXACT same game details screen as in BB, but with custom/different options. So we could have game details, synopsis, all images, video, manual, rating, retroachievements, etc. BUT I would add the Save State, Load State, Open RA/MAME menu options (in case you want to mess with shaders or any other stuff from the emu). All the Pause menu buttons/selections to be customizable in terms of position from top to bottom (I might use load and save a lot, while another user would not want to have those buttons, but have the Manual and Music ones). Customizable shortcut to trigger it (possibility for the Xbox controller Home button to override the RA menu function for example).

Edited by Kondorito
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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?

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

Speaking personally I think Bezels and Fades are vital despite the performance hit.

What features are you most looking for with startup screens?

I would like to see various formats support including video (MP4) if possible

Various options for timing of fades (I like to keep mine up for a few seconds) 

Information about the game- Publisher, developer,no. of players etc

Disc swap feature at boot for those games that have it 

What features are you most looking for with pause screens?

Main Features

Platform and game media integrated on a per game basis (Platform media always shows and then the game media)  

Ability to customize the Pause screen, Font type, color, menu layout, background images etc although this maybe dictated to the theme

Platform media including video, artwork and manuals, Each of my platforms has a platform review or 2 by my fav you tube channel which i like to use. Yeah Game Sack ! 

Games media including walk-throughs (images and videos), guides, magazines, manuals, artwork, controllers, move lists, videos (game reviews), 

Disc swap feature, really handy to have it in pause menu 

Music player for any game music

Lesser Features

Apps and plugin tab for when using the any plugins. You Tube plugin would be great

Emulator setups and tweak guides for individual emulators and games. Would be especially useful for emulators like PCSX2

History and settings  tab with things like time played, highest score, avg play time, play count etc. Also with background information about each game

Load and save states. 

 

 

Edited by Colpipes78
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@mcfilmmakers Remember that the performance difference has to do with gameplay and controller lag, not startup performance.

5 minutes ago, Kondorito said:

Question: would it be easier for the fades to be handled by the user in terms of development? So, instead of BB to be handling the programs and windows focuses to go from one to another, to just let the user establish a specific time per platform/emulator/etc. and make the Startup screen on top until the time passes. Just thinking out loud; not sure if I am saying nonsense.

I'm not fully following you here. My current plan is not to have a specific amount of time that the startup screen stays up, but rather to just keep it up until the game is fully loaded, and then immediately show the game (which is fairly easy to do if the game/emulator uses exclusive fullscreen mode).

8 minutes ago, Kondorito said:

My ideal scenario would be to have the EXACT same game details screen as in BB, but with custom/different options. So we could have game details, synopsis, all images, video, manual, rating, retroachievements, etc. BUT I would add the Save State, Load State, Open RA/MAME menu options (in case you want to mess with shaders or any other stuff from the emu). All the Pause menu buttons/selections to be customizable in terms of position from top to bottom (I might use load and save a lot, while another user would not want to have those buttons, but have the Manual and Music ones). Customizable shortcut to trigger it (possibility for the Xbox controller Home button to override the RA menu function for example).

My current vision is similar to this as well, but it will be themeable, so what is displayed will be completely up to the theme.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Kondorito said:

My ideal scenario would be to have the EXACT same game details screen as in BB, but with custom/different options. So we could have game details, synopsis, all images, video, manual, rating, retroachievements, etc. BUT I would add the Save State, Load State, Open RA/MAME menu options (in case you want to mess with shaders or any other stuff from the emu). All the Pause menu buttons/selections to be customizable in terms of position from top to bottom (I might use load and save a lot, while another user would not want to have those buttons, but have the Manual and Music ones). Customizable shortcut to trigger it (possibility for the Xbox controller Home button to override the RA menu function for example).

Many users have the game details screen hidden because they want to load straight into the game from the game select screen. Having an option to see the game details page from the pause menu is vital for these users (such as myself) since I always felt the game details screen SHOULD be the pause menu in the first place... which more options such as show controls.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jason Carr said:

I'm not fully following you here. My current plan is not to have a specific amount of time that the startup screen stays up, but rather to just keep it up until the game is fully loaded, and then immediately show the game (which is fairly easy to do if the game/emulator uses exclusive fullscreen mode).

Awesome, then I did not say anything :) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jason Carr said:

@mcfilmmakers Remember that the performance difference has to do with gameplay and controller lag, not startup performance.

right... I still its worth it and I'm certain the issue would affect older platforms less than more intensive use of cpu/gpu by newer platforms. If it means I enable fades for old platforms and siable it for newer ones, I'm okay with that and would prefer that over nothing at all for all platforms.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

I'm not fully following you here. My current plan is not to have a specific amount of time that the startup screen stays up, but rather to just keep it up until the game is fully loaded, and then immediately show the game (which is fairly easy to do if the game/emulator uses exclusive fullscreen mode).

Some users might want to show a loading bar or animation which might actually take longer than it takes to load the actual game (such as really old platforms). Again, for aesthetic/finished product reasons.

Also GIF support on the whole for launchbox.

Edited by mcfilmmakers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, mcfilmmakers said:

Some users might want to show a loading bar or animation which might actually take longer than it takes to load the actual game (such as really old platforms). Again, for aesthetic/finished product reasons.

Also GIF support on the whole for launchbox.

Yeah, that makes sense. We can probably add a minimum startup screen time. Per GIFs, Big Box does support them in custom themes, so they can be used. They just haven't been used very commonly in themes and do require a specific method to implement.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a feature that I'm looking forward too. When I think of start up screens I think of the Wii u screens before the game starts up with a little jingle at the start. These would mostly nice for the new emulators that had to load shader cache (you can only get so excited over a black and white progress bar). The fading would be nice if you can do it, but stress yourself too much over it. For the pause screens I would like to be able to see the Manuel and if paused for a curtain amount of time it could go into a slide show of all the pictures of the game. I do not care about bezels, I might in the future once I see them in action, but right now I don't care about them.

Thank you for doing us a great service.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a RocketLauncher user. I have spent years (geez, that's frightening) learning how to configure, maintain, and update RL. I just wish it was updated more frequently, specifically the modules. We are spoiled a bit here with the frequency and of LB/BB updates.

I like the loading/unzipping screens when starting a game, along with the game info (publisher, year, times played, etc). Some other graphical eye candy would be nice, and theme-able would be even better. I'm sure we will see @RetroHumanoid's work in there. On a side note, could you add a feature that runs a game immediately from the BB wheel, instead of going into the game menu first? Like a Fast Load option in settings?

For pause, I really like the idea for platform specific controller mapping to standard controllers (XBox, PS4, etc). Personally, that would be a huge help for systems I don't have a ton of experience with. Accessing other media like manuals, magazines, and save states would also be pretty cool. 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Owls21 said:

On a side note, could you add a feature that runs a game immediately from the BB wheel, instead of going into the game menu first? Like a Fast Load option in settings?

This already exists. See: 

 

Edited by mcfilmmakers
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the feedback guys. What I'm gathering from people is the following:

  • We should implement and release startup and pause screens without fades and bezels first, for the majority of folks who just want a clean and easy solution that doesn't affect performance.
  • We can come back to fades and bezels in the future, with the performance and configuration/stability caveats. In the mean time, folks who insist on them can keep using Rocket Launcher.
  • We'll make all new features in both stages optional, of course.

My initial goal will be to get themeable startup screens going. I'll focus on that and hopefully get a beta out soon. :)

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So i've setup my Laumchbox primarily to play on a 16:9 tv. But really feel the need to play the consoles arcade ect in whatever is the original screen ratios. So for me bezels are a necessity to replace the boring black borders. 

After creating and amending loads of bezels specifically for 16:9 tv screens for mame It really has made a difference to the views withing mame. So would love to see the same within the other systems. Even if it was a generic bezel for each system. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, bezels are very important for my setups. I really wouldn't want to make systems if I wasn't able to get custom game specific bezels made for all the black border content, I despise black borders, and I despise stretching....so some sort of bezel is needed, and I always would want game specific art over a 'curtain' type solution. 

So I've found Launchbox with Rocket-launcher a must, and I am fine sacrificing performance for this. If Launchbox had bezel and pause functionality my need for RL would be probably be gone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love bezels but if you're limited to only apps that have borderless/windowed fullscreen that knocks out most of the stuff where the feature would be useful in my opinion. Retroarch and MAME already support bezels natively which covers a lot of ground, but most of the stuff that doesn't are things that don't have borderless fullscreen. Things like DOSBox, various C64 emulators, etc.

I don't care about fades at all - most of the time it takes longer for them to finish displaying (since they're typically animated) than it would take for the game to just start, which isn't something I'm particularly fond of - it ends up seeming kinda counter-productive.

The main draw of a pause screen for me would be access to manuals. That would be really nice. Things like an image viewer and maybe even a jukebox of music for the game would be neat, but everything falls well below the manuals. It could be cool to have some kind of linking to gamefaqs for quick reference too, if you want something else a bit fancy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I am just along for the ride of a lifetime! I chose this Front-end a year ago and it's great, the tutorials are excellent and the whole experience of building a full cab and setting everything up has been awesome! Anyway you guys choose to go I'll follow and play along. Thanks Jason! 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...