NesterDC SE Release Delayed (beware p.8 for 56k'ers)

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compacho
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Post by compacho » Fri Mar 25, 2005 9:28 pm

I like the overall look of the menus. Pretty nice. But, if I can make a suggestion, get rid of those NES characters on the first pic. Its unneccessary to the design and kinda cheesy too. Also, the design for the "rom selection screen" and others are not consistant with the first pics. Maybe a simple color change to red would be good. Also, the typography can be tweaked a lil. If that's possible.

Yeah, I'm a graphic artist, so I know a lil something about design. Great stuff so far man. I'm highly anticipating this release.
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Post by gamedudex2 » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:49 pm

I think that I just creamed my pants. the screen shots are sweet :)
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Post by law56ker » Sat Mar 26, 2005 1:31 am

compacho wrote:I like the overall look of the menus. Pretty nice. But, if I can make a suggestion, get rid of those NES characters on the first pic. Its unneccessary to the design and kinda cheesy too. Also, the design for the "rom selection screen" and others are not consistant with the first pics. Maybe a simple color change to red would be good. Also, the typography can be tweaked a lil. If that's possible.

Yeah, I'm a graphic artist, so I know a lil something about design. Great stuff so far man. I'm highly anticipating this release.
I like the classic character sprites that you call "cheesy". You may be a graphic artist but I don't think that has much bearing on the situation. But it's good you give your opinion.
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Post by Strapping Scherzo » Sat Mar 26, 2005 7:07 am

compacho wrote:I like the overall look of the menus. Pretty nice. But, if I can make a suggestion, get rid of those NES characters on the first pic. Its unneccessary to the design and kinda cheesy too. Also, the design for the "rom selection screen" and others are not consistant with the first pics. Maybe a simple color change to red would be good. Also, the typography can be tweaked a lil. If that's possible.

Yeah, I'm a graphic artist, so I know a lil something about design. Great stuff so far man. I'm highly anticipating this release.
Those "cheesy" characters are l337. They don't just sit there either. They are animated sprites that actually run around the circle. I love it. That's DEFINITELY not coming out. Sorry.

I know what you're saying about the blue to red difference from the main menu and the game selection screen. I might change it. I might not. I dunno.

I know the font is kind of... rough around the edges. I haven't been able to get better results using the parallax TXF support. The only other thing I could do is make my own font rendering routines that are better. Right now, the TXF is adequate, especially on a TV that blurs things a bit.

Thanks for your input.

Also, I just wanted to point out that Braze takes all credit for the design. He was a big help. He actually did all of these in Flash, and then I took that and made it happen on the DC.
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Post by jjoepr » Sat Mar 26, 2005 7:11 am

scherzo wrote:

Those "cheesy" characters are l337. They don't just sit there either. They are animated sprites that actually run around the circle. I love it. That's DEFINITELY not coming out.

:o :D :lol: Even better :D animated menu screen. :o
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Post by BlackAura » Sat Mar 26, 2005 8:51 am

I know the font is kind of... rough around the edges. I haven't been able to get better results using the parallax TXF support. The only other thing I could do is make my own font rendering routines that are better. Right now, the TXF is adequate, especially on a TV that blurs things a bit.
I managed to get better results, but I wasn't using TXF files. The problem is that the converter is crap. It grabs fonts from an X11 server, renders them (generally either from X11 bitmap fonts, which tend to look like crap, or from vector fonts without any hinting, which tend to look like crap without any antialiasing), and that's it. You'd get far better results if it were using a better font renderer (like Windows / MacOS 9 / Freetype with properly hinted fonts for non-antialiased text, and Freetype / MacOS X for antialiased text).

Initially, I was going to rewrite the converter program (gentexfont) to remove those problems, and make it work on non-Unix systems too. The plan was to generate TXF files using Freetype (using the SDL_TTF library).

Unfortunately, the format isn't documented anywhere (not even in the source code), and I couldn't be bothered to work it out, so I just came up with my own format, converter, and renderer. Works fine, and looks a lot better than the TXF library. The catch is that the fonts start looking quite fuzzy if you enlarge them, because you're enlarging the antialiasing as well, but the look quite nice if you keep them at or around their original size.

I probably should clean that up a bit (the code quality is terrible), and release it. I need to write a better converter, and possibly an editor first. The existing one is only slightly better than gentexfont, although it does produce much nicer output.

Nice job on the menus so far. One question - how did you manage to get the screenshots to load quickly enough? I'd pretty much given up on the possibility of browsing games by artwork, because the Dreamcast's drive doesn't seem to be fast enough. As it is, I have a text browser, and it displays artwork (like screenshots, or a box scan) when you leave one game selected for a couple of seconds, much like SMS Plus. Even then, I have to compress the hell out of them to make them load quickly enough.
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Post by gamedudex2 » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:35 pm

what about a way to star games froma game save menu. like have a vmu menu in the program.


other than that the only thing this emu is missing so far is the blue screen of death.. lol
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Post by Sir Savant » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:43 pm

Dont play about the blue screen. We dont need that kind of crap.

I wonder, is there anything "special" that we wont know about, like the hidden games in Dreamsnes?
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Post by Quzar » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:45 pm

Theres a bsod on the DC. I'm sure most coder's have seen it =P.

if you havnt try uploading a scrambled bin over coder's cable.
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Post by karsten » Sat Mar 26, 2005 1:19 pm

DARKGATE wrote::D minkia ma quando esce questo emulatore, almeno mettete qualche screenshot , sara' bello sicuramente pero' caxxo quanto tempo, non era meglio continuare l'emulatore del supernintendo?
Ma c'era veramente tutto sto bisogno di un'altro emulatore nintendo ?
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W U MESSINAA nui sicliani semu i megghiu :D (this my dialet language and don't work the programs for traduction)
For people who was wondering about this here is a complete translation ( i do not take responsibility about the content and i do not agree)

:D ******(won't translate this and other parts because of politeness) when is this emu going to be released? At least you've placed some screenshots, it'll surely be great but how much ***** time is gonna take? Wouldn't be better to continue with the SNES emulator?

there really was need of another NES emu?

(cut some babbling)

W Messina we from sicile are the best :D (other useless babbling)

as a personal remark, i would point out that is impolite to not write in the language the forum was meant to. :|
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Post by Mikey242 » Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:20 pm

Hey looks great scherzo im glad its comming along so well. Nice work on the interface Braze!

I was wondering how do all the animations look on the DC, does everything run smoothly?

P.S I'd love to see the DC BSOD

[edit] Not all too keen on the logo, but maybe thats just me. Everything else looks fantastic.
Last edited by Mikey242 on Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Sir Savant » Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:24 pm

I am not talking about the WinCE one, although I guess there is a possibility for a regular one. Any pics?
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Post by Strapping Scherzo » Sat Mar 26, 2005 4:58 pm

I have a good idea for a hidden feature. If I have my way it'll be super cool. But I've gotta get the core stuff done first.
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Post by Strapping Scherzo » Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:22 pm

Hey BA, the screenshots are just darn small. I use the ones from screenshotsarchive.com and they are paletted pngs. the average is 4K. On my actual CD tests, the load time is practically nothing.

I also built up a master binary database for the all game information. The database that ends up on the CD is a version of this that only contains the data for the games on the compilation. The browsing is actually done directly from the custom database. The files are all named numerically... the roms, the screenshots. Everything. That way, I stored all the information in the DB as actual ints. When a user scrolls to the next game, I just read the next struct out of the file. This might be the reason why it's faster too. Actually, on CD, there is practically no lag for any kind of image, even the larger cartridge scans. Believe me. I am completely surprised that it works this well. Not to mention there's JS script running continuously. When things go well, I don't question it, ya know?
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Post by Christuserloeser » Sat Mar 26, 2005 8:47 pm

[edit] Not all too keen on the logo, but maybe thats just me. Everything else looks fantastic.
Same here. Love the theme, it's just the logo that could be better.
I also built up a master binary database for the all game information. The database that ends up on the CD is a version of this that only contains the data for the games on the compilation. The browsing is actually done directly from the custom database.
So that actually would allow the slideshow feature on SMSplusDC v2 to work :o
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Post by Strapping Scherzo » Sat Mar 26, 2005 9:07 pm

I just re-read my post about the database and I realized what it might sound like. I don't store the image data in the database. The database is really just an index. It doesn't have image data or anything. The images are still seperate files on the CD. They just have file names like 0001.png, 0002.png and so on. The database is just an index that maps a game to a number for the different types of info I care about; it's an array of structs like so:

Code: Select all

struct NES_DB_ENTRY
{
	unsigned int crc32;
	unsigned int titleshot;
	unsigned int screenshot;
	unsigned int manual;
	unsigned int textmanual;
	unsigned int nsf;
	unsigned int boxscan;
	unsigned int cartscan;
	unsigned int strategyguide;
	unsigned int romnum;
	char name[0x80];
};
Nothing really special. The builder program I wrote take care of matching everything up. It'll scan a directory for roms, calc the CRCs, then pull each game's record from the master DB and append it to the custom DB for the CD. I've spent a lot of data entry time making the master DB. I wanted to make sure that multiple dumps of the same game only point to one screenshot. Next I've got to go through the NSF archive that I've stumbled upon and rename all of those to numbers then put 'em in the master DB.

I'm kind of neutral to the NesterDC SE logo that braze did. It's probably better than I could have done. If anyone can come up with a better alternate logo that would fit nicely over braze's then go for it.
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Post by BlackAura » Sat Mar 26, 2005 9:36 pm

I have something similar, but laid out slightly differently. Added complexity and all that. The binary database contains a huge list of strings, a list of ROMs, and a list of games. ROMs are identified by their CRC32, have their own flags (region, languages available, bad dump, hack, translation, whatever), and are linked to a game entry by a numerical ID. The ROMs are stored with human readable names (I don't even bother renaming them), and I have a romlist file that tells the emulator what games are available, and what filenames the ROMs have. The game list contains a lot of additional information, like the name of the game in multiple languages or regions (which can all point to the same string), so you can have different game names for different regions (like Streets of Rage / Bare Knuckle, or Contra Hard Corps / Super Probotector). The game list has a short human readable identifier, less than 8 characters long (like "sonic1"), and everything else on the disc, like screenshots or whatever, is given a name based on that (like sonic1_boxshot_us.jpg, or sonic3_title.png).

Unfortunately, I can't get the screenshots anywhere near as small as yours. The smallest I've managed is 10Kb for a typical screenshot (8-bit PNG, compressed as far as I can using pngcrush), or around 30Kb for a box art shot (a 500x300-ish JPG, or a 256x256 VQ compressed KMG). They load pretty quick, but the seek time kinda kills it. I suppose I could / should cache them, or load them in larger numbers.
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Post by Strapping Scherzo » Sat Mar 26, 2005 9:58 pm

Hmmm... it's weird, but once the CD is spinning the seek time is so small for me. My cartridge scans are averaging about 30Kb each and the browsing is smooth even with them. It's like an 8th of second or something. It's like it's doing some read-ahead. I dunno.
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Post by WaCk0 » Sat Mar 26, 2005 10:05 pm

BA, I've made some tests using Photoshop, and I got around 6-7kb each 8bit PNG for the screenshots (non-interlaced).
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Post by BlackAura » Sat Mar 26, 2005 10:46 pm

Hmmm... it's weird, but once the CD is spinning the seek time is so small for me. My cartridge scans are averaging about 30Kb each and the browsing is smooth even with them. It's like an 8th of second or something. It's like it's doing some read-ahead. I dunno.
Ah. I think I might have to play around with my disc format a bit. The images I've got are not (necessarily) stored sequentially on the disc. If they were, there wouldn't be any seek time as long as you read them sequentially. I think that might be because I'm using a identifier, and they might not be sorted in the same order as the games.

It'd probably also help if I had mastered the disc properly. If you shove all the screenshots and box art right out to the end of the disc, there wouldn't really be any noticeable seek times.

If it works that well, I might have a go at doing a full graphical browser. The current one is basically text based, and displays artwork when you keep a game selected for a couple of seconds.

Actually, that gives me another idea...
BA, I've made some tests using Photoshop, and I got around 6-7kb each 8bit PNG for the screenshots (non-interlaced).
That's smaller than I could get them. Then again, it could be that we were using different games.
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