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Jason Carr

The State of LaunchBox on Android

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Just caught wind of this today.  Had no idea as I purchased it purely to support the team.  Now I can remove it from my shield. 
 

that being said, does nobody stream?  I launch big box through the steam link app and poof.  I have the big box experience on my tv or smart device. 
 

I “think” this is even possible outside the network, connections withstanding.  Steam remote play is really robust.  There’s even moonlight if you want to use Nvidias gamestream. 
 

Wouldn’t know though.  I’m old.  I don’t leave and if I do it’s certainly not to sit on a curb and bust out my phone for some retro gaming.  WTB time machine. 

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On 5/21/2020 at 6:27 PM, klepp0906 said:

that being said, does nobody stream?  I launch big box through the steam link app and poof.  I have the big box experience on my tv or smart device. 

i grabbed one of those 1€ Steam Links when they were getting rid of their inventory, i don't really use it much but having the option for just 1€ is really nice,
getting it set up for the first time was a PITA though, there is some really clunky stuff.  
2 essential tips for LaunchBox/BigBox are: bring a BlueTooth KB+M or you'll do a lot of walking back and forth between TV and PC.  
And you will want to disable that mode in Steam Big Picture mode where your gamepad emulates a mouse on the right stick when the app you launch through Steam loses focus (which happens every time Big Box launches an Emulator, that almost drove me crazy because none of the games were reacting right and it isn't instantly obvious what is happening).  

Too bad they discontinued the device, a Steam Link version 2 that supports 4K, 120Hz and FreeSync would have been nice, not that i would have use for it anytime soon.  

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3 minutes ago, Z3R0B4NG said:

Too bad they discontinued the device, a Steam Link version 2 that supports 4K, 120Hz and FreeSync would have been nice, not that i would have use for it anytime soon.  

They moved to a app instead, it is available on ios and Android, and therefore directly on smart TV's that use Android TV as the OS.

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44 minutes ago, neil9000 said:

They moved to a app instead, it is available on ios and Android, and therefore directly on smart TV's that use Android TV as the OS.

My Samsung TV is so old it can't do Netflix... what you are talking about is Science Fiction 😜

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Sad to here.  Hopefully things will change in the future in regards to the restrictions!
!

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Posted (edited)

I used to use steam link, however there are 2 problems, one of them being a serious PINA.

1. The image quality with steam link is noticably worse than using an hdmi cable. I'm usually not too concerend with having the best pissible image quality, but with steam link the colors just didn't pop. I didn't even have to A/B it. One day I just tried an hdmi cable and the differene was immediately apparent.

2. This is the problem that killed steam link for me. The input latency. I have a fairly powerful PC and internet, I connected the steam link via ethernet cable and tried many different settings. Input lag is not noticable in role playing games or so, but try playing super mario world, for example, and you really feel the input lag.

I tried to convince myself that it wasn't too bad, but the longer I played, the more it bothered me. Now I have 2 X 20 meter HDMI cables with an hdmi repeater running through my house. Now I have zero input lag and as a bonus, superb image quality.

Edited by SiriusVI

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Posted (edited)

@SiriusVI

hmm... i didn't notice any input lag (i seem to be immune to that sensation anyway, F-Zero felt like it always did, Turtles in Time as well.), the picture also looked perfectly normal to me.  

40M HDMI cable?... ok that is a bit nuts, but then how do you handle input? My Bluetooth gamepad would not make it that far (heck i know for soure my WiFi does not make it that far, i had to setup a 2nd wifi router just as additional hot spot, even the WiFi repeater thingy doesn't make it through the thick walls in the middle of the House).  

Edited by Z3R0B4NG

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1 hour ago, Z3R0B4NG said:

@SiriusVI

hmm... i didn't notice any input lag (i seem to be immune to that sensation anyway, F-Zero felt like it always did, Turtles in Time as well.), the picture also looked perfectly normal to me.  

40M HDMI cable?... ok that is a bit nuts, but then how do you handle input? My Bluetooth gamepad would not make it that far (heck i know for soure my WiFi does not make it that far, i had to setup a 2nd wifi router just as additional hot spot, even the WiFi repeater thingy doesn't make it through the thick walls in the middle of the House).  

Yeah the input lag is there. maybe I'm too sensitive, but I did constantly miss jumps in Super Mario World and DKC, for example.

Well I don't use up all the 40 meters. it's actually just 30 meters of cable used. As for the input, well ... I also use a 20 meter USB cable, which connects to a usb hub. In that hub I have my xbox one controller stck, haha.

I don't know, but the input lag was just too much for me to handle.

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On 4/18/2020 at 1:54 AM, Jason Carr said:

Yup, at this point I agree that we should have never started it. But hindsight is 20/20. We started it because it was voted on by the community, and we always strive to do what the community wants. Unfortunately it ended up biting us, but it is what it is. Like I said, we may come back to it if Android gets past these growing pains.

@Jason Carr

Hi Jason, I'm a new user. I bought LB for Android in Dec 2019 just to run on my NVidia Shield... oddly never got around to installing Shield until yesterday -- and found this thread today. :(

I read this entire thread and understand & sympathize w/ your decision. Given your comments quoted above I was curious... what about making LB for Android a streaming app : Android "Client" to an LB for Windows "Server"?  This would be great for users with 'non-mobile' needs... like those of us with Android TV.  Google will be launching a new Android TV device this year so the user base will likely get much larger in the coming months.  With Client/Server, emulation is done on the Windows box and we use our Android TVs we love -- which are much easier to use than running a Windows PC as an HTPC + gaming system when we consider friend/family/guests that also might interact with it.  I ran a WinPC with Kodi and Retroarch for a year in my home theater... total nightmare

thx for considering

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On 7/11/2020 at 7:53 PM, Livin said:

@Jason Carr

Hi Jason, I'm a new user. I bought LB for Android in Dec 2019 just to run on my NVidia Shield... oddly never got around to installing Shield until yesterday -- and found this thread today. :(

I read this entire thread and understand & sympathize w/ your decision. Given your comments quoted above I was curious... what about making LB for Android a streaming app : Android "Client" to an LB for Windows "Server"?  This would be great for users with 'non-mobile' needs... like those of us with Android TV.  Google will be launching a new Android TV device this year so the user base will likely get much larger in the coming months.  With Client/Server, emulation is done on the Windows box and we use our Android TVs we love -- which are much easier to use than running a Windows PC as an HTPC + gaming system when we consider friend/family/guests that also might interact with it.  I ran a WinPC with Kodi and Retroarch for a year in my home theater... total nightmare

thx for considering

That is a good idea, but there are already solutions available to do that. I'm not an expert because I don't do it myself, but there's a large community here on the forums that use the Steam Link approach to stream Big Box to their devices. There are other solutions out there as well. Sure, we could streamline it, but developing streaming software is a major thing to tackle, and would probably require months worth of development, so it's probably best to just stick with pre-existing solutions.

  • Thanks 1

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Posted (edited)

I just found out about this now. I bought Launchbox on Android but I never used it because emulation on Android just seems like something I don't have time for.

I hated the Steam Link solution. Mine's in a box, hahaha. It was just not great. And controllers were so hit or miss... maybe it's better now since controller support in retroarch is better now than a few years ago. 

However, I just bought a "smaller" (still fairly large, think two consoles together) PC, threw in an older graphics card, and it's literally a dedicated emulation machine that runs up to PS2 smoothly (could maybe dabble in some light PS3). Hopefully in the next few years, I an upgrade it to some type of Ryzen box, that's console size at most. But it literally just has two controllers plugged in to charge with wireless adapters and Launchbox/Big Box running and that's it. HDMI to the TV. 

Edited by hawkguy

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Thanks for the honesty, I purchased your android version because I had confidence in your ability to develop a great software, for a great system. Its a bit disappointing to see you guys tapping out on this one. It feels like your prioritizing some very peculiar goal posts, instead of looking at this as a new system with specific limitations. How do you get around them. Then you proceed to link to a product which is doing exactly what your saying you hit a wall on. I feel a little burned to have purchased your android "kickstarter". I can understand monitarily it is not very incentivized to commit that much of your time onto, but that should not mean completely abandoning it all together. :(

Sad Nvidia Shield TV user,
Bandit

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Hi, I'm Nico7550, I only know BigBox from name and I only register to add a comment.

After reading the first post, I understand the income problem and the technical problem.

But maybe the initial goal wasn't taken from the good side. Let me explain my point :

1.) Even if you have a frontend install on your everyday smartphone, the lack of real controller will force you to abandon playing after a while.

2.) Most of people change smartphone every 2 to 4 years, so if you take care of your goods, you have an old smartphone at least equal in power to a raspberry 4.

3.) Android is limiting according to first post

Why not change the pov. Made a frontend for abandon smartphone installing a linux on it to keep ride of the limitation ? After all the raspberry distribution are based on unix...

Have a nice day

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1 &2: There are Android devices that hook up to the TV and use a normal controller.

3: There is now a Linux based Launchbox solution.

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4 hours ago, nico7550 said:

Hi, I'm Nico7550, I only know BigBox from name and I only register to add a comment.

After reading the first post, I understand the income problem and the technical problem.

But maybe the initial goal wasn't taken from the good side. Let me explain my point :

1.) Even if you have a frontend install on your everyday smartphone, the lack of real controller will force you to abandon playing after a while.

2.) Most of people change smartphone every 2 to 4 years, so if you take care of your goods, you have an old smartphone at least equal in power to a raspberry 4.

3.) Android is limiting according to first post

Why not change the pov. Made a frontend for abandon smartphone installing a linux on it to keep ride of the limitation ? After all the raspberry distribution are based on unix...

Have a nice day

You can use any bluetooth controller with Android phones, and many have clips for phones built into them or supplied separately, and as @Lordmonkus said there are thousands of cheap Android boxes that connect to TV's.

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I didnt know there was an android version, Ive always just downloaded that android emulators app, bought it ofc.

Please continue your work on the desktop version, there is still so much to do to. You gave it a shot, you never know until you try. Same thing with asking a question, you never know until you ask.

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There are services out there such as Shadow that allow you to rent your own Windows 10 gaming virtual machine, and has an app to stream it to various devices (Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, etc.) I have my VM boot Big Box at startup and works great with my Pixel 4.

Edited by mennogreg

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Appreciate all the hard work you do, Jason! I'm kinda glad the focus returns to Windows, tbh. Personally, I've never been able to get a truly satisfactory retro gaming experience on my phone. Bought one of those controllers that grip the phone but experienced horrible input lag no matter what I did. I got a RG-350, last spring, it's great. It's all the handheld gaming I need, for now. Very primitive "front end" on that thing, though. Maybe "LB Lite", for such devices? 🙂 I know it's a long shot, to say the least. But a Plex-like server/client model for such devices is definitely enticing, to be able to sync games from your main LB library. I'm thinking of building an arcade cab and was thinking about what using an Nvidia Shield for that would look like. Given the state of affairs, I'll probably just look to build a mini-atx Windows build or possibly repurpose a laptop.

Anyway, I've gotten back into retro gaming in a big way, after favoring other interests with my limited free time the past year or two. Been implementing/tweaking newer features like the pause screens, retro achievements integration, MAME high scores...it is amazing the progress that has been made on Launchbox! Now if I can just drum up some support for my personal pet feature, "related games" i.e. if you have R-type open in BB, there will be a related games section that has links to Image Fight, maybe other ports of R-type, other late 80's shmups like my hidden gem favorite, Omega Fighter, etc. Even if it's more or less a random list, it'd give ideas as to what to play. Metadata's already there to pull from, to generate a list. I've tried to to get people interested before without success...but anyway. I digress. Nice continued work on this great, great application.

Is there a LB Patreon or something? I bought a forever license nearly five years ago, starting to feel like a freeloader. Maybe I'll just purchase another license for my cab build. Never thought back then that I'd have so much fun, or that new features would be added to LB/BB at such a furious pace! Anyway, thanks again for making a thing that provides so much enjoyment and is so feature-rich while being straightforward to use and stable. Cheers!

 

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On 4/11/2020 at 1:35 AM, Jason Carr said:

Yes, my understanding at least is that Google Play will continue to allow you to download and use the app if you've previously purchased it.

Confirming this, To test, I deliberately uninstalled Launchbox, went on Playstore 2 days later, went to my library, redownloaded and installed Launchbox with no problems (Sat 10 October 2020) so all is good

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DAMN...I just got a S20 Ultra Note, and was looking forward to exporting to Android from my collection and building a nice set on my 512GB MicroSD, and noticed it didn't have that feature in tools anymore (in 11.6) - DARN IT!

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