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LaunchBox for Android New Version - Beta Testing


Jason Carr

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For various reasons, we recently decided to get back into development on LaunchBox for Android. Google never fully followed through on the security restrictions they promised, which ultimately would get in the way of emulation frontends on Android, and while they're still moving that direction, there's no conclusive information on if and when apps will be required to switch to the new security model. We've decided to jump back into Android development and just hope that when new versions of Android are released, they don't take away our nice things.

One thing that we're doing differently this time though: we're completely avoiding Google Play. Going forward, the only way to install and use LaunchBox for Android will be sideloading it. This isn't really a major issue, because you basically have to sideload Retroarch anyways in order to get the best emulation experience on Android. Sideloading apps does not require rooting your device; it only requires enabling installing apps from outside the Play Store in your device's settings.

If you previously purchased the LaunchBox for Android app from Google Play, and would like to help us beta test the new version of the app, please email us at support@unbrokensoftware.com with the email on the Google account that you used to purchase. We'll be sending out downloads and license keys to users who have previously purchased the app.

Unfortunately we still have some website development to do for users who did not purchase the app from Google Play, so currently beta testing is only open to users who previously purchased the app on Google Play. Unfortunately, for privacy reasons, Google does not allow us to see a list of emails of people who purchased the app, so it will largely be a manual process to get people upgraded to the new licensing system (our own DRM-free licensing, instead of Google Play's).

The app itself is in pretty good shape at this point with 4 different platforms views and 4 different games views (half of them are new and include wheels and a BannerBox-style platforms view). There are still some big things that need built, like the update system, and a few bugs, but in general it works very well.

Below are some screenshots as a quick teaser. Please email us at support@unbrokensoftware.com if you've previously purchased the app on Google Play and would like to beta test.

10295323_LaunchBoxforAndroid-NintendoEntertainmentSystem-Wheel.thumb.png.4fc14ab31d76ba1ac6275995fcd0386a.png

2019078799_LaunchBoxforAndroid-Nintendo64-Banners.thumb.png.2455ad7ed6c9b7ce55e1dd998a2dea33.png

179515665_LaunchBoxforAndroid-Castlevania-Wheel.thumb.png.8b77426b7eafedeaeffdc446b7446860.png

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Here is the current change log that we have for the 0.34 release (in beta):

  • Three new platform views have been added that much more closely resemble the Big Box experience on the desktop; we now have wheels and a new BannerBox-style platforms list (thanks to Faeran)

  • Two new game views have been added as well, including one with wheels

  • The app's theming has been completely overhauled with a dark theme that better matches the rest of the interface

  • Games can now be favorited, which will optionally put them first in the game lists

  • LaunchBox now defaults to using a new folder in the root of the SD card (priority) or in the root of the internal storage instead of Android's default location

  • The LaunchBox folder can now be easily changed to a different folder via the Options screen

  • Compatibility with the Nvidia Shield TV has been improved by using a LaunchBox folder inside of the NVIDIA_SHIELD folder in the root of external storage instead of trying to use a LaunchBox folder directly in the root

  • LaunchBox for Android is now free for use with less than 100 games; a new licensing system based on our desktop DRM-free licensing system will unlock an unlimited number of games

     

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Too bad i'm not a beta tester, but you have created something really special! I can't wait to have the Android version, it is the only "Frontend" able to recognize the MAME ROMS at the RetroArch (In the sense of having the ROMS with the right name and not with the name of the .zip file) and with Netplay... It would be nice to focus more on the Netplay side by involving more people in playing together online... Maybe with some Global Chat or with a list of who is using Netplay at that moment... However you are great!

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Just now, bundangdon said:

This is great news! I'm really glad to hear that the android app is back in development, as I still have the original android Launchbox app on my phone at this very moment. Time for an update :)

Let me know how that goes. Unfortunately you may have to uninstall the previous version before the new version will install; let me know if you run into that.

If you do uninstall, you might want to back your stuff up, because Android will delete everything in certain folders.

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1 minute ago, Jason Carr said:

Let me know how that goes. Unfortunately you may have to uninstall the previous version before the new version will install; let me know if you run into that.

If you do uninstall, you might want to back your stuff up, because Android will delete everything in certain folders.

Okay, good to know. Thanks for the advice, and I'll let you know if I encounter any issues during the install

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Thanks guys; downloads and licenses have been sent out to everyone now. Let me know how testing goes. :)

13 hours ago, Angryunibrow said:

Just sent an email, cant wait to test this out and help the team!

Question - has anyone tried this on a Chromebook yet?

Would love to see this also running on my Chromebook, was wondering how it scaled.

I've never had a Chromebook to test with. Can't say we'll be focusing on making it work well on a Chromebook, but let us know how it goes.

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1 hour ago, ALIE said:

Just put out a mail.. Glad to see the android version return

Out of curiosity will themes and even plugins eventually be able to be transferred from their desktop counterparts ?

We're hoping that themes and plugins will be supported eventually, but they will not be able to be transferred over as-is. They will likely need re-developed/converted. That functionality is a ways off, however.

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21 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

Here is the current change log that we have for the 0.34 release (in beta):

  • Three new platform views have been added that much more closely resemble the Big Box experience on the desktop; we now have wheels and a new BannerBox-style platforms list (thanks to Faeran)

  • Two new game views have been added as well, including one with wheels

  • The app's theming has been completely overhauled with a dark theme that better matches the rest of the interface

  • Games can now be favorited, which will optionally put them first in the game lists

  • LaunchBox now defaults to using a new folder in the root of the SD card (priority) or in the root of the internal storage instead of Android's default location

  • The LaunchBox folder can now be easily changed to a different folder via the Options screen

  • Compatibility with the Nvidia Shield TV has been improved by using a LaunchBox folder inside of the NVIDIA_SHIELD folder in the root of external storage instead of trying to use a LaunchBox folder directly in the root

  • LaunchBox for Android is now free for use with less than 100 games; a new licensing system based on our desktop DRM-free licensing system will unlock an unlimited number of games

     

LB-Android.thumb.jpg.238eb9e9deff4439cf3ff76a0793c3b9.jpg

 

Thanks @Jason Carr

 

Claudio

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So there's no way currently to get into the beta if you hadn't purchased it previously? I love the desktop version and would love to be able to beta this and help it along with feedback, but I never purchased it when it was on the play store.

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Ok so I've been trying the app for a bit now, I'm a little confused by one thing..the "export to android" option was removed some time last year from the desktop app, so how do we transfer the setup from desktop to android? 

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2 hours ago, xevidroid said:

Ok so I've been trying the app for a bit now, I'm a little confused by one thing..the "export to android" option was removed some time last year from the desktop app, so how do we transfer the setup from desktop to android? 

You do the whole setup on the device, this was also true before the app was originally pulled from sale.

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Just sent out another batch of downloads and licenses, so everyone who has requested one should have them waiting for them in their email.

I trust the app is working well for those who've downloaded it?

17 hours ago, Axryn said:

So there's no way currently to get into the beta if you hadn't purchased it previously? I love the desktop version and would love to be able to beta this and help it along with feedback, but I never purchased it when it was on the play store.

My apologies, but not yet. It will be available very soon, however (in a couple of weeks or so). We still need to enable the purchasing process on the website.

4 hours ago, xevidroid said:

Ok so I've been trying the app for a bit now, I'm a little confused by one thing..the "export to android" option was removed some time last year from the desktop app, so how do we transfer the setup from desktop to android? 

That feature is coming back, and should be in the next release of LaunchBox on the desktop. In the mean time, you can just import directly on your Android device.

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