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WTF, I bought this app & now i cant export to android in launchbox. If you want to stop development thats fine but dont take away the ability to export to android in LB. Now I have to figure out how to get an older version of LB to do the export.

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Hi all, I wanted to share some news about LaunchBox on Android; I have some good news and some bad news, so I'll start with the bad news. Unfortunately, we will be stopping development on Android for

For casual users, maybe. For anyone who wants better than decent emulation, never. Windows will always be king.

Hey all, I am considering the possibility of opening LaunchBox for Android back up for development and release. That said, I've done literally only a half hour of research and already I'm running into

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56 minutes ago, samiam said:

WTF, I bought this app & now i cant export to android in launchbox. If you want to stop development thats fine but dont take away the ability to export to android in LB. Now I have to figure out how to get an older version of LB to do the export.

The feature was removed because we can't advertise something that no longer exists. We can get you the previous version if you need, but most likely it's also available under the LaunchBox\Updates folder.

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On 4/20/2020 at 12:17 PM, Jason Carr said:

We'll consider going back to Android if the market share changes significantly, but I really doubt that it will. Emulation is haphazard on Android partially because developers are still focusing on Windows, as they should be. It may seem like it's good, but compared to Windows it's honestly a train wreck. I had major issues with everything from horrible latency to even just simply closing emulators so that a new game can be started. It has come a very long way, but it's still got a long way to go, and Google seems to be choosing to get in the way of it instead of helping it out.

Why  Can't you hit us off with your final build? Even if you nuked it... this is and will be the best option for my nvidia shield for months to come. I'm still using it. Where is the harm?

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27 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

The feature was removed because we can't advertise something that no longer exists. We can get you the previous version if you need, but most likely it's also available under the LaunchBox\Updates folder.

I get it. I do. But why not just add a disclaimer? Export to android can still be used for retroarch alone.

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11 hours ago, dmb062082 said:

Why  Can't you hit us off with your final build? Even if you nuked it... this is and will be the best option for my nvidia shield for months to come. I'm still using it. Where is the harm?

If it was closer to being ready for release, I would. But in its current form, the new features/views are not useful.

11 hours ago, samiam said:

I get it. I do. But why not just add a disclaimer? Export to android can still be used for retroarch alone.

It's way too easy to confuse/mislead users. Just use an older version if you need.

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I understand the reasoning but it's a depressing turn of events.  Personally, I think it's a short sighted decision.  I believe Android is going to be the go-to platform for emulation going forward.  It's cheap and it's easy to develop for.  You can get an Android TV box, a blue-tooth controller and a large SD card for 100 or less.  I have a full-size cabinet, a gaming PC a couple of Android set top boxes and an Android phone set up for emulation and hands down, the Android solutions get far more play simply because of the convenience factor.

Ah well.  Easy come, easy go.  Good luck with your windows app.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, SolidSnark said:

I believe Android is going to be the go-to platform for emulation going forward.  It's cheap and it's easy to develop for. 

Well the point is as Jason said in his original post, that emulation in general may no longer be possible on Android full stop. Short sighted would be continuing to invest time and money into a platform, that come the next release of Android may no longer support the functions that a frontend requires to actually be usefull.

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5 minutes ago, SolidSnark said:

I understand the reasoning but it's a depressing turn of events.  Personally, I think it's a short sighted decision.  I believe Android is going to be the go-to platform for emulation going forward.  It's cheap and it's easy to develop for.  You can get an Android TV box, a blue-tooth controller and a large SD card for 100 or less.  I have a full-size cabinet, a gaming PC a couple of Android set top boxes and an Android phone set up for emulation and hands down, the Android solutions get far more play simply because of the convenience factor.

Ah well.  Easy come, easy go.  Good luck with your windows app.

 

 

On top of what Neil said, I'm sure you're not alone in your opinions, but the difference in quality of life between Windows and Android is enormous. One of the biggest issues is that we just felt like we were fighting with Google every step of the way. On Windows we have the control and the ability to produce an excellent product, but on Android, we were forced to cut way too many corners and forced to put out a product that we were not fully happy with, and the proper vision that we had in our head turned out to be impossible. It's impressive what some of the other frontend developers have been able to do on Android, but if you compare them to what's available on Windows, it's a night and day difference. And I don't buy that it's because it's a handheld platform; it's not. It's because of poor OS design decisions and artificial limitations.

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11 minutes ago, SolidSnark said:

 I believe Android is going to be the go-to platform for emulation going forward.

For casual users, maybe. For anyone who wants better than decent emulation, never. Windows will always be king.

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3 minutes ago, Pixelpiper said:

If LB was available for Linux, I'd reformat my boot drive this week.  Windows is a giant boat anchor, but a necessary evil to run some of the nicer launchers like LB.

One way forward on Android would be to make a product that was a front end, rather than a launcher. Integrate support for libretro/cores directly and don't launch any external dependencies at all.  Only access media and the ROM files.

Unfortunately this is impossible to do legally. Most open source licenses very clearly ban integrating things like Retroarch cores directly into a paid product. It *is* done quite a bit on Android despite this, but it's not legal, so it's definitely not something we're interested in pursuing.

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2 minutes ago, Pixelpiper said:

Depends on the license. GPLv2 and some others don't preclude inclusion in commercial software. You just have to know that anything derived from anything else that's GPL must also itself be GPL and source made available.  That doesn't mean the entire product has to be, depending on how it's constructed.

Probably not worth it though, as I can't believe the market on Android, even on the best day is significant for this.

 

The problem is that it's all convoluted garbage and no one knows what will or will not hold up in a court of law. But yes, the general understanding is that if you're willing to release the source code for your paid product, then you can do it, but that's hardly a good business model. As far as I'm concerned, the GPL's stipulations between dynamically linking to GPL software vs. just launching it is completely absurd. Legally it's just a huge mess.

The market on Android is significant, but it is less than we thought going into it, that's for sure.

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10 hours ago, neil9000 said:

Well the point is as Jason said in his original post, that emulation in general may no longer be possible on Android full stop. Short sighted would be continuing to invest time and money into a platform, that come the next release of Android may no longer support the functions that a frontend requires to actually be usefull.

Sure that's possible.  But I don't believe it for a moment.  There are too many applications with similar requirements.  Some way of maintaining the functionality will exist.  How inconvenient it will be is an open question.

10 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

On top of what Neil said, I'm sure you're not alone in your opinions, but the difference in quality of life between Windows and Android is enormous. One of the biggest issues is that we just felt like we were fighting with Google every step of the way. On Windows we have the control and the ability to produce an excellent product, but on Android, we were forced to cut way too many corners and forced to put out a product that we were not fully happy with, and the proper vision that we had in our head turned out to be impossible. It's impressive what some of the other frontend developers have been able to do on Android, but if you compare them to what's available on Windows, it's a night and day difference. And I don't buy that it's because it's a handheld platform; it's not. It's because of poor OS design decisions and artificial limitations.

I think that I am looking at things differently.  I see Windows and Android as two different use cases, with a small amount of overlap.  The way I see it, an Android front end doesn't need the ability to do detailed collection maintenance, it just needs to be able to help the user locate content quickly.  Additionally, IMO, the amount of graphic assets needed to "prettify" the experience are lower on Android simply because the speed of the storage media is painful enough to make small, better.  A simple cover image or snap shot loads quickly without a need for additional images.

I think the best model for an android front end would be "Calibre Companion".  All library maintenance is done PC side and the Android app is focused on finding and accessing external content.  It connects to the desktop app which acts like a server.

The Achilles heel of Android is the UI speed and inconvenience of a touch screen and a front end that simplifies the location and invocation of content would be awesome.  I don't know what you feel is missing, but honestly I think your app was almost there. All it really needed was to display the text from the DB (genre, description, developer, publisher etc) and to provide better ways to access content.  (Search, skipping to the next letter when scrolling, possibly genre filtering).

10 hours ago, Agent47 said:

For casual users, maybe. For anyone who wants better than decent emulation, never. Windows will always be king.

I have a complete windows setup and I definitely agree it's superior for obsessively cataloging and organizing ROMs.  When it comes to actually playing games Android works just fine in most cases and is more convenient.  

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2 minutes ago, SolidSnark said:

Sure that's possible.  But I don't believe it for a moment.  There are too many applications with similar requirements.  Some way of maintaining the functionality will exist.  How inconvenient it will be is an open question.

I agree that most likely the emulation scene will continue on Android in one way or another; I'm sure ways will be found to get around any further limitations that Google introduces. After all, anything can be done by simply rooting the device. But that's not really a business model we want to pursue (one that requires hacking or tinkering in order to get anything to work), mostly because traffic will likely be fairly minimal in that case (or at least even less than we were seeing on Android already).

6 minutes ago, SolidSnark said:

I think that I am looking at things differently.  I see Windows and Android as two different use cases, with a small amount of overlap.  The way I see it, an Android front end doesn't need the ability to do detailed collection maintenance, it just needs to be able to help the user locate content quickly.  Additionally, IMO, the amount of graphic assets needed to "prettify" the experience are lower on Android simply because the speed of the storage media is painful enough to make small, better.  A simple cover image or snap shot loads quickly without a need for additional images.

I think the best model for an android front end would be "Calibre Companion".  All library maintenance is done PC side and the Android app is focused on finding and accessing external content.  It connects to the desktop app which acts like a server.

The Achilles heel of Android is the UI speed and inconvenience of a touch screen and a front end that simplifies the location and invocation of content would be awesome.  I don't know what you feel is missing, but honestly I think your app was almost there. All it really needed was to display the text from the DB (genre, description, developer, publisher etc) and to provide better ways to access content.  (Search, skipping to the next letter when scrolling, possibly genre filtering).

Windows and Android definitely are two different use cases; our vision was not to create "LaunchBox for Windows" on Android, even though ultimately that's what most customers request and will eventually expect. If we were tethered to the PC in any way, that would significantly reduce our audience on Android to even less than it was previously, which is again a deal breaker.

The interface that we had built really didn't have anything to do with the problems on Android. I agree that it was close, and we weren't far off from good enough, at least. But it's a launcher, and if you can't launch games, then who cares. Most of the issues stem from launching games and returning to the frontend. We did also have major issues with the import processes however, due to some terrible stability issues and Android having a tendency to kill apps that use large amounts of resources.

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11 minutes ago, Pixelpiper said:

The way I would prefer to see a mobile version on any platform, would be to access the PC-based installation, browse it, pull games over to the mobile for play offline, rinse repeat.  If it had LAN active, then allow loading anything from the "server."  IMO, Plex has this down and it's why I'd never in a million years consider the train-wreck that's Kodi for anything.

Yeah, I can see the appeal there. I know there's a vocal group of current LaunchBox users that would love to see something like that, but unfortunately I think the audience would be too small for us to tackle.

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2 hours ago, SolidSnark said:

I have a complete windows setup and I definitely agree it's superior for obsessively cataloging and organizing ROMs.  When it comes to actually playing games Android works just fine in most cases and is more convenient.  

A Windows PC isn't just superior for curating ROMs, it's superior where it matters most, performance. Yes, a Shield or smartphone can run most of the 8/16 bit libraries well but once you get to 3D stuff it starts to fall apart. You're running on underpowered hardware to begin with and then have thermal throttling and battery life concerns on top of that.

The only real place where Android shines over a PC is portability. Even then you have to lug around a snap-on or wired/wireless controller because touchscreens are just terrible for playing games. If you're not on the go there's no reason IMO not to use a PC instead.

I can understand the appeal of emulation on Android to an extent. For people who want to play a few games while commuting on public transportation, kill time at the DMV or Dr.'s office or whatever and it's a device that everyone owns already. Even then, I don't really see the point of using a frontend. In the case of a Shield TV I get ppl like it for the small form factor but even then you could use a NUC or a PC with a similar footprint.

Android is kinda like the Pi and the other SBCs that people use for emulation. It's more of a cheap "toy" or little project but it's just sub-par in every aspect to a PC. To each their own, though.

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5 minutes ago, Pixelpiper said:

To be fair, Apple's ARM-based SoC already compares favorably to most PCs sold, and the NVIDIA Shield's Tegra X1 is no slouch either. The next iteration of both platforms is going to blow away everything on a laptop from Intel and likely many (more) desktops - they should handle to PS3 without issue if the emulators don't have inherent deficiencies.

lol, just no.

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2 minutes ago, Pixelpiper said:

Don't confuse an enhusiast BTO system with the majority of systems sold in stores. Apple will have ARM-based notebooks sooner rather than later and they have far more experience in-house with graphics than Intel - friends and former co-workers now at Apple have made that happen.

You really think a ARM based notebook will be anywhere near as good as a desktop PC? That's dreamland you are living in there. Somehow i dont see a ARM based GPU worrying my RTX 2080 Super any time soon.

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