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The Dynamic Skins For All Xport Emus


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#466 cbagy

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 02:12 PM

Hey come on, no need for that !

In fact as a piece of work the PMIII inspired design, by yourself, is in no small way, a masterpiece.
Very true to the original, very flexible to a degree, with regards to customisation.
I wasnt having a go mate, copying other peoples stuff i suppose is fine (i wouldn't do it).
Its just that we wouldnt want users going away with the wrong impression would we !

#467 gilles9999

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 02:31 PM

It's ok...
Its is a loong and vast project
things must be clear for everyone

#468 ressurectionx

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 04:41 PM

Don't let the man get you down Gilles.

I know you've spent tons of hours of free time without pay making nearly 20 different versions of your skins for different emulators so far. Some people just can't see the truly huge scope of all of our work and tend to focus only on their little niche. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they're willing to contribute like the rest to the greater cause. It would be nice if certain individuals would keep the negative comments to a minimum since they're starting to effect the morale of the team too.

No offence to anyone else, but your skins are my favorite, and I'm looking forward to having a complete set of them on my box. (That's why I made the blank skins for you to fill out when you made the artwork on the last 12 or so that are needed!!!)

This could be cool to have some alternate takes on pics from somebody else. It's not as if he's going to do one for every system like you're doing. You'll be the first who ever did that. Nobody has even come as close as you are now.

Thanks for your hard work man. Wish I had a paycheck to give you for it. cool.gif

~Rx

#469 Mega Man (?)

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 05:50 AM

I think the main point is those are some damn good pics Ex007... smile.gif

And ex007 can offer some awesome unique pics!
The master system one looks perfect as is...

It would be tremendous if you could get a great collection of custom HQ images of all the systems for Gilles to work with!
Nice man...



#470 cbagy

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:27 PM

As people have access to different sites and have different browsing habits theres bound to be different artwork popping up. If only there was a repository in the sky that catalogued it all. lol. Then we have different human personalities with different views on things, this also can bring new ideas and a fresh take on things. Diversity is a melting pot of creation. Its the reason your sitting where you are now. If it wasnt for change we'd all still be sitting in trees picking our arses. I agree with RX, creating all of those skins across the board for all those emulators is a mamoth task even with the templates and graphics ready to lay out. Top marks to Gilou for his patience and commitment. Not of course forgetting the craftmanship which is top drawer. Now heres the BUT ! But having 6 - 12 emulators all looking the same, all behaving the same is great for 5 mins while one configures the emulator. Its bound to stimulate people for some change. This is why i think were seeing so many variants of skins popping up. I think weve only just started seeing what people are creating. Variance isnt rejection and shouldnt be taken to heart as some of you seem to be. Its natural, its creative, its constructive and it allows users to come to the front for a bit (which all humans like, some more than others).
You could stand and hold back the tide with stubborn resolve, and its your right to do so, but i dont think a human yet has managed to stop any tide. @ Gilou - What youve created (while not original) is outstanding, i think it will stand the test of time, not as a design feature but as a flexible, usable and polished interface. Many users across the board will still be using it as long as their xbox's still work. Chin up guys, theres a lot to be proud of.

#471 ressurectionx

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 02:57 PM

Hear Hear!

I know for a fact how polished his skins are to this point since anytime he made changes and stuff I was going through with changes I had made too with a program called foldermatch and got the naming conventions for everything including all the sprites to be identical across the board.

Truth be told, with this setup on his skins now, it would be possible to have only one configuration for every XBox emu when his skins are done. I know madmab has no interest in coding that, and it's really not practical when different users will be using different skins, especially since 99% of any type of skin that comes out will not have coverage across the entire spectrum like Gilles is close to doing.

What I've seen otherwise, is most people who are venturing into Dynamic Skins at this point are really making skins that are more accurately called "Dual Preview" skins.

Even to artsists who decided they don't like the PMIII artwork, and I do admit that it took a while to grow on me since I used to have the XBox 360 skin on my box before, I would urge them to really take a look at the files and file system in his skins and play around with the skin configurations and see just how great it works.

For example... I LOVE likklebears skins in the other thread, but I'm really disappointed that I'll never be able to play around with all the combination of images and all of the other cool things that having it set up like Gilles has allows for.

I'll have to try to take a video and upload it somehow, but you guys really have to see what I did to his SNES skin on the game select screen using Franks spinning dragon. Now the little Madmab dragon just kind of floats back and forth while spinning across the NINTENDO banner in the bottom right corner which was wasted space since the SNES artwork is wider than it is tall. I toned down the transparancy too, so it kinda looks like a green Big Boo haunting the screen.

And that's the greatest part about TRUE dynamic skins here guys. When Gilles is done, all it takes is somebody with a little artistic talent to build off of them and change tiny aspects and make nearly identical skins their own unique skins. (Edit: whoops... that made no cents happy.gif )

I'd even go so far as to say you could basically just take the directory structiure of Gilles' skins and replace his background images and some of his sprites and have a dynamic skin of your own in much less time than it took to concieve them and bring them all up to code today. That's exactly what I did for him on the remaining 12 or so skins. I just put black images as placeholders in all the places he'd need to do artwork so when he finishes the 8-10 or so images that differentiate a skin he could just drop them in there and he'd be done.

Try it out cbagy... Take some of your images and put them in place of Gilles' stuff and see what you can come up with. After putting Frank's spinning dragon in there and then having a reason to find out how to control animation was a very fulfilling experience for me. I'd like to see what you and Frank and others come up with when you've become as accoustomed to all the old and improved abilities the XPORT emus have come to give us when it comes to pimping out the dash.

Later,
~Rx

Edited by ressurectionx, 02 November 2009 - 03:01 PM.


#472 cbagy

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 04:41 AM

Luckily i have been messing with xports gui for quite a while but lost interest last year, then Madmab's additional features gave the skinner access to other preview settings. Now this has got my mind ticking again. In fact i havent been so engrossed, and enjoying, fiddling with values for ages. To be fair it is to do with my old time favourite console so it has more appeal for me. As far as some skins only being dual preview and not truly dynamic, i dont think thats a worry. Perhaps the skinner is just dipping their toe in and getting a feel for it. Some prefere their skins that way. I do think we may see some of these skins develop as the skin author gets a taste for it and fancy's a deeper challenge. Its a nice simple GUI to get into and i dont think any user should be afraid to "take a look under the hood" as our cousins across the pond say. I personally enjoy seeing proper homemade graphics but have no qualms about people cutting from other sources, although its very cheeky. The process has to start somewhere with people and it is progressive so who knows what they will create next week ! Here's hoping.

In answer to your question about swapping out Gilles sprites and replacing with mine. Not my style.
Plus as ive said before, i dont think half the configs are even necessary or of any value but lets not get back on that road again. Thats not what this conversation is about. In reallity all dynamic skins run from the same ini's. All the lines contained are the same. So in reallity were all making the same thing except it just looks different on the face of it. Im looking at streamling really for the NeoGenesis emulator. Im only on the HD and WideScreen version at the minute. I have 4 themes with HQ video, HQ Boxart and new Title shots all showing simultaneously. All sprites accounted for and 16.5 -18 mb free memory. Ive just increased my graphics quality settings for sprites and backgrounds as i was saving them with too high a compression which causes them to bleed colour in HD. Sorted it out now so im very pleased. Keep up the good work everyone and do whatever you need to do stay cool.

Edited by cbagy, 03 November 2009 - 04:45 AM.


#473 ressurectionx

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:56 PM

There were actually quite a few things that needed to by synchronized before the skins would truly work with the same ini file. It's not just a process that automatically works. For instance, if you do have a lot of sprites in a skin like Gilles does, and you don't have the exact same sprite type in the exact same folder on another skin, then you'll start seeing things pop up in the wrong places and sizes on another skin if you were to load from the same configuration. The more sloppy and out of order your sprite images are from skin to skin, the more stuff is going to be out of place on the GUI.

This was a process that probably took a month of going back and forth before we perfected it. It was actually quite huge to pull off. This is why recently I made the 12 blank skins for Gilles to dump artwork in. Occasionally when he'd make a new skin, the images would be slightly out of order or with a different name than the previously established standards. I figured instead of having to edit them and send them back in the future, I'd just set every one up perfectly with the other ones so he could just make the artwork and dump them in.

Also, there is the deal of the professionalism that went into these skins that you can see when editing the sprite settings. First, everything is capitalized and there are zero typos, which you can see very easily in the end. Also, all sprites have been categorized into type, there has been room left in each category to have more images put in for that category without putting things out of order or having to go through the massive effort of renaming a ton of folders in every emu to make them match and keep them organized, and then in turn redoing the sprites configs since the folders are in a different order now. It would be important in the future to do something like this too a Dynamic Skin keep things easily syncable as the skin evolves. Skipping numbers to leave blank placholders in between categories is the solution for current and future problems that may pop up if the skinning function were to evolve further someday.

We had madmab add the feature to skip number placeholders that were empty to make this practical. Before, if you skipped numbers there would be a lot of blank spots while you were scrolling through the folders, making this pointless.






I wasn't saying anything about style man. I was just suggesting you to check under the hood of a 100% professional job all the way around. Given Gilles blessing, I would not see any problem with borrowing those folders either, since I pretty much was the one that put that part together. They're already set up pretty much perfect for any setup. You could add or remove folders as you use placeholders and even rename them to suit your own personal presentation. The whole point is, that you could have all of these folders empty from the start as you create a new skin and it would help keep the images in the proper order for you between all of the emus you're building one for. You could easily move the images you currently use into the folders right now and test it out for yourself. This is basically a feature that has been created for the skin that you just have to put the effort of working with to see the rewards. If Gilles is cool with it, I think I'll package up a generic skin setup which is completely empty with all of our folder names in it and put it up on the front page with some instructions on how to use them.

Gilles is the creator and has the artistic genius. I went in and turned his skin into a sleek high performance vehicle under that hood. The reason somebody probably wouldn't really notice or appreciate how the sprite system is in Gilles' skin is because it works so good.

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

Edited by ressurectionx, 03 November 2009 - 09:58 PM.


#474 cbagy

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 09:00 AM

Yeah i went for folder number skipping as it makes sense to be able to plug-in new themes and sprites.

#475 ressurectionx

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 02:42 PM

Haha... see. You're already using a feature that was just updated in the new skins that you might not have even known was put in there recently. Try one of your skins on an emulator that's not a beta and see how well the folder number skipping works out for ya.

#476 gilles9999

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 06:00 PM

i have redone the animation delay time to 0.3 sec in each setting and the x axis animation for certain sprites, so now you will have the "feeling" the emu is much faster between each menu
Just updated 4 dynamic skins at atariAge:


mednafenx lynx pm3 (it's been a long time without update)
DYNAMIC mednafenx lynx PM3 (15 november 09)


z26x ((atari 2600) since you are on the 2600 stuff)
DYNAMIC z26x PM3 (15 november 09)


medna nes
DYNAMIC mednafenx nes PM3 (15 november 09)

mekax (since you are on the master system stuff too)
DYNAMIC mekax PM3 (15 november 09)



as usual, the release version is indicated in the "readme"

Edited by gilles9999, 15 November 2009 - 06:00 PM.


#477 madmab

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 06:40 PM

How is that stuff I added working out for you gilles? Did it do the trick?


#478 gilles9999

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 07:30 PM

i have pm ed you yesterday, strange you didn't received it?
yeah thanks madmab it to the trick, now i can add all my rumbles for a lot of genesis games:
the street of rage series, golden axe series, the sonics, strider, shinobi's etc... will now have rumbles!!
i'm working onto adding a lot of rumbles

lucky the future users of the next neogenesis: they will have all the dual stuff support, HQ boxarts, HQ videos from cba.gy (your vids are really great cba.gy, i now use them) synopsis for all their games, rumbles for a lot of games, etc... rolleyes.gif

and for mekax and xboyadvance (systems where the boxarts have a different size than the cart) i will look at it next week wink.gif

#479 cbagy

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:13 AM

Havent had much time lately for video's (2 deaths in family in 2 weeks) but i am plodding still, @ 30 % done. Pace will pick up as i settle down again. Great to hear about rumbles. Didnt know you were working on those, thats brilliant. Should be a very comprehensive pack when finished. End users never had it so good.

#480 ressurectionx

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:13 AM

Man... I'm falling way behind on the new emu/skin testing. I still have to integrate all your new changes for Atari 7800 too.

I've got about 4 or 5 new betas from Madmab that need to be tested as well.

I got extremely wrapped up in upgrading boxart for about 5 different systems using what I had from TCP and the HypereSpin stuff. I've also probably spent at least 6 hours this weekend touching up Atari 2600 and NES boxart that didn't have high quality polished images available.

Oh... and I wrapped up the NeoGeo Pocket testing/artwork/synopsis this weekend too. You can check out the NGPC synopsis in the hot potato thread now.




Keep em coming Gilles. Don't slow down on account of me. I hope to get the testing for anything you and Madmab have done this weekend. (Wednesday is the start of my weekends).


Well... did a great job this weekend. Now it's time for me to go back to work. grr.gif




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