Genesis Plus GUI Artwork

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Post by not just souLLy now » Sat Mar 05, 2005 3:17 am

yeah good job :D
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Post by Lyris » Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:31 am

Some examples of how I'd like it to animate. As usual, tone down if necessary.

Image

GENESIS+ logo zooms quickly onto the screen leaving trails as it does so.
Very quickly after it lands in its position, the disclaimer/copyright blurb quickly fades in, again it should do so very quickly. (I just remembered we should probably also include copyright info regarding Sonic since we're using pictures of him.) ( Dig my awesome Sonic drawing :lol: )

All the animation here would need very few frames so I imagine they could all be stored easily and not interefere with the loading process too much?

From there, fade into the grayish/white screen.

Now, all of this should happen at once, not one after the other:

Image

Then the bar at the bottom slides in fairly smoothly, quite like when you start up Mac OS X. Another very quick fade, the Genesis+ logo and Sonic picture fade in. The box listing all the menu options zooms into view.

No matter how nice these menus look to us, they'll just become infuriating to use if they take to long to move around so I can't stress this enough, I think we should make it all VERY slick and fast (maybe like 1.5 seconds max for the first menu to assemble itself). Just look at all those annoying menu transistions on a DVD Movie - you just want to put it on and start watching/playing/whatever, not watch some graphic artist's pride and joy. It has to look nice without getting in the way.

And for buttons being selected, ignore the idea I had there of them growing and shrinking. Space-wise things might get a bit messy, I think they should glow or fade or something instead.

And since we're not using buttons anymore, some basic icon sketch ideas I had. I'll try doing the icons but I'm not sure if I'd be good enough at drawing those.

Image
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Post by Christuserloeser » Sat Mar 05, 2005 3:21 pm

Very nice icons :)


Some ideas about the game selection menu:

1. The plain ROM selection:
Lyris wrote:Image
Maybe throw this out completly
-or-
do a wider screen to allow showing the complete ROM names in RockRidge format for those that just want to put their plain ROMs on their disc and nothing else. Might be good for compatibility tests also.


2. The 'SMSplusDC' style:
Lyris wrote:Image
This could be an alternative to the above plain menu just like in SMSplusDC :D
-and/or-
setting up a more advanced config file with GenesisPlusDC allows the user to browse a menu showing a screenshot plus basic info like developer and release date, BRAM support, 1-x Players, Genre (Action/RPG/Sh'mup/etc) using text or some nice icons representing each info :)


3. The GenesisPlusDC info menu

This menu one would get to from either the 1. or the 2. ROM selection. Here the different country versions would be selectable (JP/US/EU/BR), the rotating 3D box art would be displayed and additional custom text + info readable.
This could be available if the user enables a special flag within the config file, e.g.

Code: Select all

adv_info_screen 1
There are billions of possibilities. What I described would be 1 out of a bilion :wink:
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Post by Lyris » Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:02 pm

Interesting - can someone clarify something though?

The reason I had the list of ROMs scrollable but not showing the information and screen grab was because I thought this would be very slow to browse through. Like you'd need to wait for the disc drive to access and do stuff just to move down one game?

That's why I designed it with the idea that the user would only get info on games that they asked for.

edit:
do a wider screen to allow showing the complete ROM names in RockRidge format for those that just want to put their plain ROMs on their disc and nothing else. Might be good for compatibility tests also.
Good plan. That screen is a huge waste of space - I should have the button options at the very top or bottom and leave a large horizontal space for the full names, which could then squash up to show info.

Or maybe the info could take up the entire screen?... I don't know if there would be enough of it to need that though?...

Expect a redesign of those.
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Post by Saiyan Eye » Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:15 am

Well I have an idea for the "No Disk" screen, we could have a 3D model of a disk kind of like what you see when you start up your DreamCast and insert an audio CD.
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Post by Lyris » Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:53 am

Nice plan, but I'm a bit worried about how it might stick out from the rest of the GUI - everything else is very 2D.
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Post by Saiyan Eye » Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:16 am

Oh, another thing, I do have a TON of screenshots, in game and title screens(3,265....but who's counting), for roughly about 200 games. I also have box scans for 55 Japanese games, 79 European games, and 612 US box scans.
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Post by DcSteve » Sun Mar 06, 2005 4:40 pm

personally, i dont like the idea of a huge library database to show every extra sram, developers date of birth, box scans, game info, date of release info, and any other extra un-nessessary nesterdcse release preventing stuff, that anyone can get on the net. I believe more people will rather have a great emu, with a great looking GUI with basic game info and downloaded screens- just as seen in lyris's gui. ... i think that is more than good enough and lets not make BlackAura spent extra months to implement it into the code.
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Post by BlackAura » Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:01 pm

Actually, most of it's already implemented. I already have a database for the information, the appropriate code to identify ROMS, and all the other stuff. It just isn't displayed anywhere yet, and the information isn't as complete as it might be (I've filled in entries for the games I actually have, and no more).

The emulator itself is going to take a long time to get right. We're almost there, but still not quite close enough. Admittedly, it's probably good enough for a lot of games (it's close enough to full speed that you'd hardly notice the difference), but there's still a lot of work to be done.

I would agree that displaying additional information for every single game is going to take far too long to load. Most of it can (and probably will be) pre-loaded, as the database isn't really that large. Stuff like names, publishers and whatever aren't going to be a problem. Screenshots are another matter though. There's no way to fit screenshots for every game you might have on the disc into the DC's RAM, so you'd have to load them off the disc.

Of course, you could load the appropriate screenshots when the user leaves the selection on a particular game for a couple of seconds. A bit similar to the way SMS Plus works. Alternatively, you could have single pages of games, with screenshots loaded for each page, but that'd prevent you from being able to sort through games, or display them in any other way than a single page listing.

It's probably not worth the effort, unless you're creating a disc with only ten (or so) games on it. We can easily display all the screenshots and box shots you might want for individual games.

One possibility - use a small (32x32) icon for each game. They're a lot smaller than screenshots, and it's probably possible to either load all of them into RAM at once, or at least stream them efficiently. They could also double as VMU icons for games that have save game support.
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Post by Lyris » Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:51 pm

It's probably not my call but I think a lot of people would rather go for just the names of games, no screen shots etc if they would make load times slow.

As for all the additional info, it's not my decision but - why? What's the point? Can't people who want to know this sort of thing just go online? It should do its job of playing games well first and foremost IMHO.
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Post by BlackAura » Sun Mar 06, 2005 8:15 pm

Ever seen a commercially produced compilation of old games? That's basically what I'm aiming for, if the person who compiles the disc wants to put the extra effort in. I pretty much need a database of ROMs, games, and various meta-data anyway for the emulation, so why not just add a couple of bits of additional information there? It would also be useful for compilations of PD games and demos. If you don't want to go adding all that additional information to the disc (mostly screenshots and other artwork), then you don't have to. You'll just get a standard game list, with a couple of nice extras.
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Post by Christuserloeser » Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:14 am

I am all for the additional GUI options! People, they're optional :wink: You can still throw your games on there without any special configuration, but for me it's almost as fun to gather the info and create the perfect collection than to actually play - I am a complete retro maniac and the MegaDrive is my favorite system ever :!:

People, we do have the Smash Pack, GenesisPlusDC v01 and the GPDC PVR preview v3 plus Gens... :wink: Let's allow BA to do what he feels like doing, I think he's about to create the ultimate tribute to SEGA's past (games) :!: and it will be well worth the time.

/Me feels that he is not making friends here :P

I don't think that we do have the right to ask or force him to anything, but we can assist him to get this release done in a way that he feels that he would be satisfied with it - ppl, let's get it on!
BlackAura wrote:[...]you could load the appropriate screenshots when the user leaves the selection on a particular game for a couple of seconds. A bit similar to the way SMS Plus works. Alternatively, you could have single pages of games, with screenshots loaded for each page, but that'd prevent you from being able to sort through games, or display them in any other way than a single page listing.
I like the idea with the snapshots + info page fading in when the cursor's left highlighting a game for a couple of seconds :D

The content of alternative info pages could be set in config files, so when actually loading the highlighted game, it gets to the info page showing the box art plus any optional additional info like reviews, cheats, walkthroughs (maybe up to three or five text files to choose from) etc. plus allowing direct links to switch to related games (e.g. Bare Knuckle 1 -> Bare Knuckle 3) :twisted:

If that's too much work for the mo, this extended info screen could be optimized and improved in a future release too, but the initial concept the cfgs for the info are set up shouldn't change too much to allow the user to already start with gathering the info and creating the cfgs for the initial GPDC v1.0 already.
Lyris wrote:Good plan. That screen is a huge waste of space - I should have the button options at the very top or bottom and leave a large horizontal space for the full names, which could then squash up to show info.

Or maybe the info could take up the entire screen?... I don't know if there would be enough of it to need that though?...
1. An info screen allowing a title and in-game screenshot, developer info plus optional links to text files like reviews, walkthoughs, cheats, etc.
Leave space for 3d box arts :wink:

2. The Rom selection menu (plain)

3. A SMSplusDC styled rom selection with title screenshot plus basic info :) just like the one you already did, that would show up, if the cursor is left on a game for a few sec.


@ everyone - we could gather all this information at the DC Emu Knowledge Base at http://www.DCEvolution.net/DCHelp :)

@ Saiyan Eye: Here are some box scans that I've gathered some time ago from a now gone website:

http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part01.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part02.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part03.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part04.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part05.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part06.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part07.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part08.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part09.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part10.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part11.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part12.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part13.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part14.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part15.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part16.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part17.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part18.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part19.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part20.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part21.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part22.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part23.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part24.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part25.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part26.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part27.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part28.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part29.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part30.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part31.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part32.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part33.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part34.rar
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... part35.rar

They're not properly named and there are some dupes and bad scans, but most have very good qualitiy and it's everything from that old website plus a few aditional scans. You can clearly see the quality difference between the US/EU and JP Covers in terms of design and layout. The Japanese covers do look great while the US/EU ones look kinda ...er... not so good. ::)
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Post by WaCk0 » Mon Mar 07, 2005 11:29 am

Playing a bit with the box template...

EUR(Megadrive)
Image
BR(Megadrive) and US(Genesis)
ImageImage

...and a 3D rotating box concept
Image
VIDEO (DivX 5.21)

I'll work on JP box later. We can use a custom default art on front, with GPDC logo etc.

BTW, I am all for the additional stuff too :D
Take your time, BA... and I can help you with the 3D models and this things.

Edit: The US and BR is bit different from these ones (US don't have the 16bit cart. and BR have a TecToy logo too). I'll edit these to make them fit.
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Post by Saiyan Eye » Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:23 pm

Wow, that is very nice WaCk0! Maybe we could have a three dimentional CD for the No-CD page kind of like what you see when you go to play a CD when you start up the DreamCast.
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Post by Lyris » Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:25 pm

I like the idea of a slowly rotating 3D box, good job!

As for the database graphics, if you guys want them then I'll draw 'em :D
I'll come up with some genre icons, those should be fun to do.

What different genres should we have?
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Post by Saiyan Eye » Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:33 pm

Action, Racing, Fighting, Sports, Simulation, Flight Sims, Role-Playing Games and Strategy... I already know I forgot some
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Post by curt_grymala » Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:43 pm

Saiyan Eye wrote:Action, Racing, Fighting, Sports, Simulation, Flight Sims, Role-Playing Games and Strategy... I already know I forgot some
Platformers

...and you might want to add Shooters as a new genre, too.
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Post by racketboy » Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:22 pm

yeah those are sweet!
very polished!
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Post by Nico0020 » Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:28 pm

on a side note. I had not downloaded genesis + prv 3, just cause i knew(THOUGHT) genesis emulation was still in its early stages. but holy crap, I cant believe how amazing that damn thing runs. Muy impressive! I was kinda confused at first why you were putting so much effort into the extras right now, but now i see why. Love the emu man, keep up the good work. Never thought I would see Genesis emulation run so smooth on a DC. :D
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Post by BlackAura » Mon Mar 07, 2005 11:48 pm

I had a really nice response prepared, but we just had a power failure (the lousy power company hasn't upgraded their systems in years, and the local population using it has increased by a factor of 10 or so). Damn you Energex!

Anyway, let's see if I can remember any of what I just said. From the top (including stuff I apparently missed the first time around).
Lyris wrote: All the animation here would need very few frames so I imagine they could all be stored easily and not interefere with the loading process too much?
Actually, we could use the same trick I used in the earlier version of GP/DC. I loaded the disclaimer screen off the CD, and while that was being displayed, I loaded the rest of the theme off the disc. That disclaimer screen really has to be there, and it has to be there for just long enough to read, so it's a good place to load things. I could embed the main logo and a font for the disclaimer screen into the emulator's binary, so they're already loaded. Then I can load things in the background while the logo and disclaimer screens are displayed. Aside from the drive noise, you probably wouldn't even notice it.
Christuserloeser wrote:I like the idea with the snapshots + info page fading in when the cursor's left highlighting a game for a couple of seconds
Actually, I'd only thought of doing screenshots like that, but it'd probably be better if we showed the info the same way. Possibly slide it in from the side, approximately where it is in Lyris's mockups.
The content of alternative info pages could be set in config files, so when actually loading the highlighted game, it gets to the info page showing the box art plus any optional additional info like reviews, cheats, walkthroughs (maybe up to three or five text files to choose from) etc. plus allowing direct links to switch to related games (e.g. Bare Knuckle 1 -> Bare Knuckle 3)
I think I can probably grab a lot of that information out of the database, or from files. There's probably not much need for config files at all.

The database (or other files included as part of GP/DC) would probably contain most of the basic textual information (see below for what I currently have). So things like genre classifications, viewing a series of games, and links would probably work even if you're just using plain files. As long as you have the ROMs named appropriately, and the database files are present, it should just work with no user intervention.
WaCk0 wrote:Playing a bit with the box template...
Neat. And probably quite useful too. I should (hopefully) be able to use that to build a 3D box image if there are no box scans available. It wouldn't be that hard to composite any other artwork (screenshots, title screens, whatever) onto the box to produce a tolerable facimilie (or however it's spelt).

I think you have a little too much space on the bottom of the cart though.

Two more questions. First off, if it's not too much hassle, could you do a version of the new-style box cover as well? The one that was used on newer games. I think the US one had "GENESIS" written down the left hand side on a red strip, which continued across the bottom with a "SEGA" logo on it. The Euro one was similar, but with MegaDrive branding, and blue. Never seen JP or BR versions, if they even exist. Since we should have the release date (approximately, anyway) for each game stored in the database, I could probably just switch to the new style one if appropriate. As long as someone knows when they started using the new-style covers, of course. I think it was in '94 or '95 sometime.

Second question - I think that a CD / DVD case cover in a similar style would be pretty cool. That way, you can have your GP/DC disc in a box that looks (a bit) like a MegaDrive box. Just stick the GP/DC logo (whatever that ends up being) in the appropriate place, put some decent box artwork behind it (the same as the default one, perhaps), and stick a few screenshots on the back, and we'd be good to go. A CD label in the same style might be cool too, although I'm not completely sure how it'd look.

Don't think I'm particularly picking on you. I'm just coming up with ideas.
Saiyan Eye wrote:Wow, that is very nice WaCk0! Maybe we could have a three dimentional CD for the No-CD page kind of like what you see when you go to play a CD when you start up the DreamCast.
Could do, I suppose. I'm not totally sure how to render the shiny underside of a CD, so that might not be possible.
Nico0020 wrote:but holy crap, I cant believe how amazing that damn thing runs.
That'd be a combination of Stef's C68k and my hardware renderer. That's pretty much what I said when I first got the renderer working properly. Initially, it was running quite slowly, around 30-40FPS with no sound, using the original CPU emulators. That was really just a proof of concept, and I wasn't even expecting it to work properly. I then fixed some of the more obvious slow parts, tried it again, and it was suddenly running at 59FPS. I was stunned. That's about when I did the first source release. I was even more stunned when we added C68K - that bought us up to true full speed without sound, and aroung 50-55FPS with sound. I was even more stunned. That's the version that eventually got released as PVR3. Enough history - on with the present.

Currently, we have three CPU emulators - the original Musashi emulator (which isn't very fast, and isn't used anymore), C68k (which is much faster, and now has almost the same compatability), and FAME (by Fox68k, which is slightly faster than C68k, but still has a few bugs in it). We also have a new Z80 CPU emulator (CZ80, again by Stef), which speeds things up when sound is enabled. It's faster now, but it's also a bit buggier, and it's still not really up to the standard I want.

The design of the emulator currently sacrifices some compatability for speed, and I want to reduce that as much as possible, and make it as close to perfect as I can. Within reason - some games are just never going to work perfectly, but I think that around 80% of games should be very, very close to perfect.

The stuff that's needed on the emulator core is mostly bugfixes now, with a couple of new features. Ideally, I'd like to use FAME because it's slightly faster than C68k, but it's still a little too buggy. So I need to do some testing on that, and try to find the remaining bugs so Fox68k can fix things. The sound system is working pretty well, but I think it could be improved considerably, so that needs doing. The hardware renderer needs some more work (both for speed and compatability), and I want to re-enable the software renderer as an option, so games that just don't work with the hardware renderer will still be playable. Region detection still needs some work (that's what the ROM database was originally for),

I would also like to have VMU saving for games with SRAM (partially done), Game Genie codes (partially done), support for six-button controllers and multitaps (not even started, might not be done at all), possibly an Action Replay-style cheat system (it modifies memory instead of modifying the ROM) with cheat search functionality on the PC version. And all the neat GUI stuff too, of course.

Finally, I have a few questions, just asking generally.

First off, what kind of information should be included in the game database? At the moment, I have:
  • Game ident (short name, used for finding extra media files, and VMU save game files)
  • Longer names. One generic name, and if there are any region-specific names, include those too. For example. Streets of Rage / Bare Knuckle, or Contra / Super Probotector.
  • Developer (like Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute, or whatever)
  • Publisher (usually Sega, might be Electronic Arts, or whatever)
  • Year of release. Might need different entries for each region, if a game was released at different times. Maybe not.
  • Compatability rating. How well does this game work with GP/DC, or has it not been tested? Pop up a warning if a game is know to be unplayable, and don't even try to run games that don't work or cause the emulator itself to crash.
  • Supported peripherals
  • Description (possibly in multiple languages). Could just be the text off the back of the box.
  • Game series. For example, all the Sonic games are members of the same series, so that should be recorded. It'll mention it, and allow you to see other games in the same series.
  • Genre
  • Emulator settings (the settings to use to run the game best)
So, am I missing anything?

Second, the same question, but applied to media. Media for each game is dropped into a directory on the CD, and if there's anything that's specific to a region (say, region-specific box art), that goes in a subdirectory:
  • Title screenshots (could be used for a reconstructed box)
  • In-game screenshots (could be used for the back of a reconstructed box)
  • Full box scans - front, back, and sides.
  • Partial box scans - front only. The back and sides are reconstructed.
  • Game logo. Displayed on the More Info screen, and used on reconstructed box art.
  • General artwork. Concept art, the actual box art, whatever. Can be viewed as a slideshow. Could use it for the front of a reconstructed box.
  • Text files. A review of the game, previews, press releases, hints and tips, a walkthrough, or whatever.
  • Cheats (in-game)
  • Game Genie codes
  • Music. Probably direct rips from the game, in a format like GYM or VGM, or something. Maybe Ogg Vorbis or MP3 soundtracks for games that had sound tracks released on CDs.
Final question... No, wait. I've forgotten it. Damn. I'm sure it'll come back to me later.
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