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Jason Carr

Startup Screens, Pause Screens, and Bezels Discussions

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56 minutes ago, mcfilmmakers said:

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.

Totally agree on this.

As for the feedback I stopped using bezels when I switched to LaunchBox and have not missed them enough to want them back,the only time I could see myself using them were if I were playing on a very large screen...

The loading progress bar was the most missed feature, so much so I now have all my ROMs extracted.

Pause menu with all the game related features and info is also a feature I've been anticipating for a while. 

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I would like a start up screen that is configurable, something I would like would wait till a button on the controller was pressed. There are games and emulators that have to have the controller turned on before they are launched or the controller doesn't work. Maybe also picking some options (with the controller) before the game or emulator launched. To do something like copy over an ini file to a directory or other behind the scenes things. 

I'm not a bezel person. They only time I like bezels is on the compilations where they show moves or stats.

A pause menu would be great. I would check the manual or another pdf for a moves list or statergy guide. 

Being able to save and load state on the pause menu would be great on emulators that don't have easy to use controller interface. 

I try using borderless full screen mode whenever I can. My tv/monitor or Windows just doesn't switch resolutions elegantly. Also some emulators work/behave better in windowed mode so I use that if that don't have a borderless mode. So having a bezel to cover up the window in that situation would be cool. 

Edited by cpujunkie

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More than anything I love the pause feature of rocket launcher. I have been following retrohumanoid for several years now making my transition from hyperspin to the smart decision of paying for launchbox. But nevertheless I have been hoping that pause would take priority with launchbox. I have several of my favorite games loaded to the brim with the full soundtracks, artwork, strategy guides, moves lists, FAQs, cheat codes, previews and commercials for the game, magazine articles about it. I feel like pause completes the experience.

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Another bump for start up screen, pause , and BEZELS!

I use Bezels now through Rocket Launcher for a bunch of emulators and don't notice any performance hit. I really want this feature in Launchbox. As long as they can be turned off, for MAME and Retroarch, I'm good!

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  • Startup screen fading into the game not important to me at all
  • Don't need bezels, RA and MAME have them and that's more than enough for me if I ever want to use them
  • Pause screen is the most exiting feature for me. I'd very much like the ability to open the game manual, map or strategy guide straight from the pause screen whenever I need to look up something. Another cool thing would be a timer, which would track your playtime.
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@Jason Carr

  • 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 I do not think it would be worth it for a performance hit as for me performance is #1
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  • How important is it to you to use bezels? Are they worth the performance sacrifice to you?
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  • I like the look of bezels but do not use them during gameplay because they are too distracting although I do use mame bezels that looks like it would on the original game.
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  • What features are you most looking for with pause screens?
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  • I really like the way RocketLauncher's Pause screen looks and would really like to see save and load states added to the Pause menu as well as pdf manual and walkthrough viewing. Maybe use LaunchBox built in fanart for the backgrounds and have the games mp3 music playing in the background while in the Pause menu. Be able to view game artwork and mp4 videos of the game such as gameplay footage and tips and tricks videos and such. Would also be nice to enter the Pause menu to view the moves and special moves of a game such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat as an example.

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5 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

here are my questions that are up for discussion:

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

 

 

Yay! As a long-time RocketLauncher user and someone who's been waiting for this functionality to be implemented, this discussion is right up my alley :) Here's my 2 cents worth

1. If the startups/fades don't cause a major hit in performance, I'd say VERY important and useful, especially with the larger disc-based games (PlayStation, Dreamcast, etc.) which can take several seconds to load up if they're compressed. It's a much better experience to have something to look at such as the game/system artwork while the games are loading. Also, some emulators like VICE look absolutely awful while they load up games, but look much more smooth with startups/fades to hide all that awful window opening/closing nonsense going on in the background.

2. Bezels are rather important to me and make the whole 'experience' feel more complete. Most systems are relatively simple to (already) implement bezels, with retroarch and mame having that function built in, so I can see this as being less of a priority in comparison to startups/fades. However, it would certainly be nice to have a 'universal' system where you could use bezels with any emulator, and having that as an option within LaunchBox would certainly be very attractive to the entire emulation community.

3. Startup screens would be the icing on the cake that is LaunchBox/BigBox as it's already fantastic. It would be nice to incorporate a fade-in/fade-out with the ability to customize the artwork on startup screen, based on the platform for those who just want a more 'general' startup screen (example: a large picture of the NES console) or based on the individual game for those who want a more specific startup screen, with fan artwork, game box, etc. Also, it would be great to have a progress bar which shows the percentage of the loading time for compressed games.

4. Although I've used RocketLauncher for a few years, I've never been a big fan of the pause screens. However, they're a very nice option for the more 'enthusiast' retro gamers out there and I'd certainly use them too if the features are handy. For example, it would be great to have the game manual/information (pdf), artwork (for viewing pleasure), and the ability to control some various settings such as volume, screen brightness, music settings, and so on.

 

Having said all of this, I truly appreciate the fact that you listen so well to the users and community feedback and very much look forward to seeing these features implemented in the future. Keep up with the great work!

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I play my games on very large screens, so I generally use bezels to take up some of that space. It is hard enough to get large display output to look half way decent in old games anyway, so I am not a fan of stretching the output.

I used to use Rocket Launcher for everything. I even wrote my own modules. I made that guy sing and dance! Having said that, I ripped it out of my cab not too long ago because the effort to keep things working was just too much. I now use MAME and Retroarch for the majority of my systems with the built in bezel functions. I am much happier now. I also use the built in support for CHD file format in Retroarch when available, so I don't have to wait on large extraction times. There is work to support the latest CHD format (V5 at the time of this post) in more and more cores, so needing to use an old version of chdman will hopefully go away soon.

For those systems that don't support bezels, I wrote my own simple bezel code that works well for me.

The only feature I miss from Rocket Launcher is pause support. I would like the ability to display controller button assignments either from a database, or just static jpb/png files. I could probably extend my bezel code for this, but since I knew work would eventually be considered for LB/BB, I have held off.

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For me this is new implementation is the same option in rocket launcher I use bezel fade custom menu pause and I don't have any problem

And I have a problem with pc game I use game loader rh all and insert bezel from game loader this implementation for launch box is a good idea but rocket laucher have a same option...

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I couldn't care less about bezels. I'm the type that would rather stretch some games to get them to display in full screen than toss bezels up, so that's a none issue for me.

As far as the pause screen goes, there's three things I want:

  • Management for save states and save state slots in a convenient manner that emulates the menus of games with native game saves to prevent accidental overwrites by other people and to make it easy and convenient for everyone to come in, sit down, and save and load their progress. Something like PPSSPP's design for save states, for example, with the date and time the save was created visible, along with a screenshot.
  • An option to tie save state slots to profiles to better prevent Sam from coming in and saving on top of of Steve's game
  • An option to easily exit the emulator/game being played.

Obviously, things like game manuals and whatnot could be added in later, but that's not important.

Another important thing to have is something that either gives people a better UI for Retroarch/core options when playing games through it, or when Retroarch is running, there's a funtion to drop right into the core menu and back out into Launchbox's pause menu. If someone wants to manage CRT filters or game cheats or whatnot mid-game, they're going to need access to Retroarch either directly or via Launchbox itself.

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41 minutes ago, Cypher said:
  • Management for save states and save state slots in a convenient manner that emulates the menus of games with native game saves to prevent accidental overwrites by other people and to make it easy and convenient for everyone to come in, sit down, and save and load their progress. Something like PPSSPP's design for save states, for example, with the date and time the save was created visible, along with a screenshot.
  • An option to tie save state slots to profiles to better prevent Sam from coming in and saving on top of of Steve's game

I think save state stuff beyond saving and loading using the emulators default is well beyond the scope of what Jason is talking about here.

41 minutes ago, Cypher said:

Another important thing to have is something that either gives people a better UI for Retroarch/core options when playing games through it, or when Retroarch is running, there's a funtion to drop right into the core menu and back out into Launchbox's pause menu. If someone wants to manage CRT filters or game cheats or whatnot mid-game, they're going to need access to Retroarch either directly or via Launchbox itself.

This as well is well outside the scope of what Jason is doing here. People can already easily access the RA Quick Menu using their controller.

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A pause screen is the most important feature to me. The ability to exit the game, and view game manuals is the main reason I want it. I don’t really care about other RocketLauncher features like save states. Just a uniform menu for exiting games would really round out the BigBox experience. 

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Thank you all very much for the feedback. If you haven't already, please read the first post of this topic as it goes over the tradeoffs that are the reason why I wanted to bring this up for discussion.

Here's the current plan that I posted a page up:

6 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

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. :)

Feel free to drop more feedback here, of course. :)

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15 minutes ago, RetroHumanoid said:

What's the difference between a Startup screen and a Fade screen? Just the ability to fade?

I was wondering about that too. Also, would adding a fade cause any significant hit in system performance?

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56 minutes ago, RetroHumanoid said:

What's the difference between a Startup screen and a Fade screen? Just the ability to fade?

I must admit I thought they were the same or an alternative to fades.....but maybe got that wrong

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1 hour ago, RetroHumanoid said:

What's the difference between a Startup screen and a Fade screen? Just the ability to fade?

Exactly.

1 hour ago, bundangdon said:

I was wondering about that too. Also, would adding a fade cause any significant hit in system performance?

Please read the first post of this topic.

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22 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

Exactly.

Please read the first post of this topic.

Ahh okay, then I'll take that as a "yes" :) Thanks for clarifying that

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These are great news!

Just to give my two cents, I love the idea of a startup screen. I don't care if it fades into the game or not. All I want is something simple that, in the case of emulators/games that have a long loading time, lets me know everything is going okay and my PC hasn't frozen up on me. So, maybe make it show a loading bar, a spinning disc or something like that.

Regarding the pause menu, I would love to have the option to open the game manual (or other pdfs with cheat codes, special moves, etc...), change discs if needed, view a controller mapping and display retroachievements when available.

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