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The State of LaunchBox on Android


Jason Carr
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Okay, so images are importing fine (Wew!), but 1943 is still having issues, likely because of the colon in the original title.  I fixed this in my desktop 8TB collection....the filename is actually:

1943 - The Battle of Midway (USA).zip

Funny I would have chosen the only game in the entire NES collection I have, the title with the problem, as a test....

Suggestions for renaming this?
 

Edited by cleverest
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/15/2020 at 8:52 AM, mennogreg said:

I just got myself a Shield, and was thinking of setting up launchbox on there. I own the app on my android phone, but can only sideload apps into the Shield. Any way to do this or do I have to go hunting for an APK on shady sites?

I would just recommend the reset collection frontend at this stage... that's what I use on my shield :)

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/10/2020 at 12:17 PM, Jason Carr said:

 

  • We've been massively disappointed in the software restrictions on Android. We wanted to be able to run import processes in the background, but that turned out to be impossible due to over-zealous battery-saving restrictions. We wanted to be able to easily allow users to add their own custom emulators, but it turned out to not be easy at all due to Android's poor design for launching other applications. Those are just a couple examples of the restrictions that we're constantly slamming into on Android.
  • Android is *not* an open platform. In fact, Windows is *far* more open than Android. The Google Play Store is really the only viable way to release apps on Android, and red tape is everywhere. The Amazon App Store is also available of course, but both stores have similar issues, and no app can flourish on Android without being in the stores. We have so much more flexibility on the desktop, and for that reason we would much prefer to focus on it.

actually android is the most open main-stream phone distrobution. with android you can release an apk on your site and people can install it on their phone also there are many 3rd party app stores so you can effectively side-step google (unlike apple where you can not do this unless your device is jailbroken.)

 to get around some of the hardware limitations you can also get us to run a companion app on windows also you can make a "rooted" version of your app that takes advantage of people who are using a phone with root access. 

cheers

How-to-allow-install-from-unknown-source

Edited by budafuko
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  • 4 months later...

Hello friends, I feared the dev on this version stopped. Android and Linux share the same set of "restrictions" and android is fully regulated by Google.  However keep in mind that the user base for Android is massive and it can only go up. Hope you can sort out your hurdles on the development in the near future. 

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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 the same nasty problems that plagued us the first time around:

  • Having to place ROMs in ridiculously deep and ugly folders in order for them to be able to be launched
  • Security issues launching games (Retroarch basically just crashes if Android doesn't allow the launch)
  • Issues with app switching (you can't load up a new ROM in Retroarch if you don't manually close the previous one)

Needless to say, my hope to get back into Android development was dampered pretty quickly. It's a real shame, because most of these issues are superficial, but they're also out of our control, and they make for a confusing and lacking experience on Android no matter what we do. If anyone knows of any solutions to these problems though, please let me know. I will say that all three of these issues are still problems in Dig and Reset Collection, so I doubt that they can truly be solved, but I am all ears if you know any solutions.

After running the latest versions of the other frontends, I am convinced that there is still plenty of room for improvement. The other frontends still make for a confusing and difficult experience, if nothing else. And with most people having an Android phone that is quite powerful these days, it would certainly be nice if there was a better emulation experience available.

Anyways, if we do end up getting back into Android dev, we will probably do it without the Play Store, as our experience was so terrible over there. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on whether that is a deal breaker for you, and how you personally get around the above issues. Thanks y'all!

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Jason, a lot of useful apps aren't in the Play store and that doesn't mean people stop downloading and using them.

It has already been noticed that there is a great demand and currently the emulation only tends to improve with the new devices.

I would love to see Launchbox again on android.

 

Claudio

 

 

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19 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

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 the same nasty problems that plagued us the first time around:

  • Having to place ROMs in ridiculously deep and ugly folders in order for them to be able to be launched
  • Security issues launching games (Retroarch basically just crashes if Android doesn't allow the launch)
  • Issues with app switching (you can't load up a new ROM in Retroarch if you don't manually close the previous one)

Needless to say, my hope to get back into Android development was dampered pretty quickly. It's a real shame, because most of these issues are superficial, but they're also out of our control, and they make for a confusing and lacking experience on Android no matter what we do. If anyone knows of any solutions to these problems though, please let me know. I will say that all three of these issues are still problems in Dig and Reset Collection, so I doubt that they can truly be solved, but I am all ears if you know any solutions.

After running the latest versions of the other frontends, I am convinced that there is still plenty of room for improvement. The other frontends still make for a confusing and difficult experience, if nothing else. And with most people having an Android phone that is quite powerful these days, it would certainly be nice if there was a better emulation experience available.

Anyways, if we do end up getting back into Android dev, we will probably do it without the Play Store, as our experience was so terrible over there. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on whether that is a deal breaker for you, and how you personally get around the above issues. Thanks y'all!

Hey Jason,

I would agree There definitely seems to be room for improvement on the Android side now. I tend to agree that the android store is a mess and probably best to avoid. Well heck, the android file system and access in general is difficult to develop for such a wide range of devices and Google is prone to changing permission access and discontinuing things on a whim.  I currently Use Launch Box/Big-box on PC hardware because quite honestly, the PC is where all the muscle and power is to best run these emulators and should remain the primary focus-  my thoughts are simply this:  I personally wouldn't want to see development sacrificed on the Windows platform side just to begin development again on the Android side unless more resources could be given where the windows DEV side wouldn't be impacted. I rarely use android much but I also feel it is *very* important to get Launch box/Big-Box coded on an ARM platform in general because ARM is a strong force going forward and may be necessary at some point as an alternate platform. I have ZERO interest of running launchbox on a phone or tablet....there are China made portable handheld devices dedicated for that such as the rg351-  Windows 11 will run Android apps, so this also may  impact your decision  going forwards as well-. As a *secondary* emulation system to a PC, I would personally love to see Launch-box running on a low powered arm device with lots of storage capable of emulating everything the windows version could- Maybe windows 11 on arm will take off or NVIDIA will make ARM chips that can go into systems soon to help make this a reality - I would want launch-Box to follow a trend such as this and would be supporting it for sure if it did!!!  

A dedicated lauch-box LINUX/ARM distro could be awesome...  ?

Edited by MazJohn [Mr Arcade]
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I would love development on this again, that would be great... Even if the file organization has to be messy, as long as I can get it on there, and Launchbox can make it look good...

Edited by cleverest
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Well, it took me a bit to dig through what is and isn't currently possible, but it does appear that Android 11 still does allow you to pretend to be an older application and use the older storage mechanisms. That appears to be what the other frontends are currently doing. There are still some silly restrictions on where and how you can share files (for example, our previous file extraction routines aren't working on Android 11 at all), but I'm grateful that it looks like there are ways to make things work on Android 11. Some of my testing with the other frontends was faulty, so I apologize for that. It does appear that users are able to create a folder in the root of the SD card or internal memory with ROMs and launch them in Retroarch.

Back when we stopped development, Google's plans and directions along these lines were up in the air and terribly documented. Unfortunately, they still are. I can't find any information from Google as to when the older storage mechanisms will be completely disabled, or if they'll be available at all in Android 12. So the future feasibility of emulation frontends on Android is still very much at risk, but at least there are ways to keep things working on the current version of Android.

Google's penalty for sticking with the older storage mechanisms is that you can't target the latest Android features, but I don't currently see that as a major issue. So, hooray? It looks like we can actually continue developing and releasing on Android, at least for now. However, as we won't be using the Play Store anymore, we do have a significant amount of work and changes to make to our backend systems to support our own purchases, downloads, and updates. But stay tuned. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey all, just a quick teaser. Development is coming along nicely. We now have a few new views with wheels, Banner Box-style banners, etc., as well as favorites, folder options, and more. I'm hoping to get the new version out within a few weeks.

1047592344_LaunchBoxforAndroid-PlatformBannersView.thumb.png.2a882fef9f89f133f3206c7b74a08074.png

1709405484_LaunchBoxforAndroid-TextViewwithDetails-Cabal.thumb.png.2952b59db440ada759d3efe2206dece4.png

626974619_LaunchBoxforAndroid-WheelViewwithDetails-DOOM.thumb.png.4c38be388bb2390088a15934ac8ed442.png

1645900941_LaunchBoxforAndroid-WheelViewwithDetails-Chaotix.thumb.png.cc67416312a83d6f8b89f04803cf160a.png

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18 hours ago, DavrosKaled said:

I am willing to pay an additional Lifetime License if that helps with Android development. ?

No worries; we definitely appreciate the support, but we would never ask anyone to pay more than once. :)

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