Genesis Plus GUI Artwork

This forum is where you can show off your art, such as emulator software skins, DVD and CD covers; or discuss other art-related topics.
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WaCk0
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Post by WaCk0 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:17 am

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).
Nice.. I can help you with the 3D mesh, but dunno how DC works with this things... file format etc.
I think you have a little too much space on the bottom of the cart though.
Its just to respect the box ratio. And used this area to map the bottom/top box texture.
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? ...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.
NP, I'll work on it. I almost forgot these boxes, and use them based on release date is a pretty good idea.
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.
Do you mean, a highres DVD cover and CD Label to print? Thats easy.
Don't think I'm particularly picking on you. I'm just coming up with ideas.
No you don't. These ideas are all good. I'll try to post something soon. :twisted:
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Post by WaCk0 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:48 am

Ok, just made US and EUR newer templates (94, 95...)

Image
Image
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Post by Lyris » Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:23 pm

Gorgeous :D

Gotta love those Sega of America stripes...(too bad it looked so bad on the US Saturn boxes)
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Post by DcSteve » Tue Mar 08, 2005 5:45 pm

Blackaura- in case you havent tryed it, the current FAME release (from 07/03/2005 on dcemu.co.uk) is 20% faster then the previous version, and is pretty much bugless!!!!
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Post by BlackAura » Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:33 pm

DcSteve wrote:Blackaura- in case you havent tryed it, the current FAME release (from 07/03/2005 on dcemu.co.uk) is 20% faster then the previous version, and is pretty much bugless!!!!
No, I hadn't. I didn't even realise it had been released. Cool.

That reminds me, I completely forgot my password on the DCEmu UK forums, and I don't have access to my old email address anymore. I'd better PM Wraggster and ask him to do something with it...
WaCk0 wrote:Do you mean, a highres DVD cover and CD Label to print? Thats easy.
Exactly what I meant.
Nice.. I can help you with the 3D mesh, but dunno how DC works with this things... file format etc.
If the 3D mesh is simply a box, I won't really need any help. Drawing a box is dead easy, and it would make it pretty simple to composite the box art in 3D rather than building a custom texture for it, which I'd pretty much have to do if using a mesh.

We could, of course, do something slightly more complex than a simple box. In that case, a mesh would be useful. The DC itself (and KallistiOS, for that matter) doesn't have a particular mesh format. I do know how to read 3D Studio's ASCII output files, so I could convert those into the appropriate format.

I dunno if that'd be worth it or not. The box itself (the edges) could be done with a simple texture, and if we wanted to do that little hook thing on the top of the box, that could be done with a texture as well.
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Post by WaCk0 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:47 pm

Cool, feel free to do whatever you want. For me its easy to export a mesh to 3dsmax ASCII (that rotating video is a .3ds file), with mapping coordinates to use this kind of texture (and to fit all covers scans without extra work).
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Post by BlackAura » Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:46 am

Oh yeah, one other consideration. The DC's video hardware has limits to the texture resolutions available, and there's a limited amount of video memory. There are also some limits to what it can and can not draw, and you guys should probably be aware of them.

Textures dimensions must be a power of two, between 8 and 1024. So valid sizes are 8, 16, 32 ... 1024. Textures do not have to be square, so 512x256 would be acceptable. You can draw images smaller than that, but you need to have a border around the image (which wastes video memory).

The available true-colour uncompressed image formats are all 16-bit. There are three - one with 16-bits of colour, one with 15-bits of colour and one bit of transparency (on or off), and one with 12-bits of colour and 4-bit alpha channel (16 levels of transparency). If you need transparency, work out if you need full alpha channel or simple on/off, and then dither your image down to the appropriate colour depth (16, 15, or 12 bit).

There's also a compressed image format, similar to JPEG. It only works on RGB565 images, so you can't compress images that have transparencies, and compressed images must be square. Has similar compression artifacts to JPEG, but reduces the size to about a quarter.

Even if the texture doesn't include transparency information (either because it's compressed, or just doesn't have an alpha channel), the rendered image can be made transparent. You just don't have control over which individual pixels are transparent. You can change the overall transparency of the image, or the transparency at each corner (which creates a colour gradient effect). You can do that with colours too if required (say, for fade-to-black).

Generally, you have 5MB of texture memory to play with, of which maybe 512Kb is used by the emulator. That leaves around 4.5MB of video memory to store all the textures. That includes fonts, the theme's graphics, and any additional graphics like screenshots or box art. Anything that's on screen has to be contained in video memory.

The upshot is that the theme needs to be fairly compact. 2MB of textures is probably the most we're going to be able to manage if we want to have room for screenshots and stuff. That's enough for two uncompressed true colour image at 1024x1024 pixels (the largest size possible). The Dreamcast's screen is 640x480, which means that you could fit four full screen images into that space (wasting a huge chunk of each texture), which isn't really a lot. So the theme is going to have to be composed of individual elements, and composited in software.

Box shots need to be reasonably high resolution so they don't look terrible. 256x256 is probably too small. 512x512 with texture compression would probably work quite well, and at a rough guess that'd mean each texture is around 64Kb (probably a tiny bit larger). If you double the size to 1024x1024 (which would be a pretty high-res scan), you increase the texture memory usage to 256kb, which isn't bad.

Of course, the templates look quite bad at that kind of resolution, mostly because we're distorting the image so much. Padding it rather than stretching it might look better. I'll experiment with that, and see if I can come up with a good solution.

I think the template boxes would be better if they were composited in 3D, rather than being rendered to a texture. Aside from the fact that I can't compress a texture on the fly (it takes 15 seconds for a 512x512 texture on my PC), there are some things on the template that go behind the composited artwork, and some things that go above. Storing two high-res compressed textures isn't going to work, so I think I'm probably going to have to chop the box texture up into smaller pieces. It'll still use a lot more texture memory than a scan, but it won't be too far out of control at least. Again, needs some experimentation.

If I do that, a mesh won't be much use, since the exact geometry used would change for each game.

Screenshots are pretty much the exact wrong size. Most of them are 320x240, which means to display them at full size I need a 512x256 texture, which consumes 256Kb of VRAM. That wouldn't be too bad, but we'll need more than one of them for the back of a templated box. I could use texture compression, but it'll look really, really ugly. Imagine what a screenshot looks like when saves as a JPEG with quite high compression levels, and you'll get the general idea. That also needs some more (careful) thought.

Anyway, end of second brain dump. Maybe someone can glean some useful information from it. I'm going to have a go at rigging up a prototype box viewer, just to see if I can make it look OK.
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Post by Lyris » Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:52 am

That's an interesting screen shot dilemma.

Thanks for posting all this info, it should be very easy to squash my theme into that size - there really isn't a lot to it.

BTW, how do we do fonts? Do we lay out a sort of grid featuring all the glyphs, load it into VRAM, and the emulator will pick out the correct letters based on coordinates?
That wouldn't be too bad, but we'll need more than one of them for the back of a templated box.
Hm - you mean we have screen shots on the disc, which the emulator then uses to create a back cover template? Wouldn't it be a better idea to provide extra downloadable packs featuring collections of premade Front and Back covers (with all of the screenshots and box stuff in one image), and also provide a template of some sorts so users could make their own? That has the benefit of allowing the original box art to be used too.
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Post by WaCk0 » Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:19 am

Ok BA, do all tests you need. I'm familiar with this limitations (I work doing 3D games design like textures, meshes etc).

I like the screenshot thing, you can place 2 or 3 shots like a real cover, set the text and all will look fine. I think a 512x512 cover texture is a good resolution for a 640x480 screen. :)
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Post by BlackAura » Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:23 am

BTW, how do we do fonts? Do we lay out a sort of grid featuring all the glyphs, load it into VRAM, and the emulator will pick out the correct letters based on coordinates?
Almost. At the moment, the fonts are actually converted TrueType fonts. I have a generator program that generates a texture font from a TrueType font. It doesn't necessarily lay the glyphs out in a grid though - it packs them together quite tightly and tries to make the smallest sized texture. It also stores a load more information, so it can correctly do variable width fonts, for example. The generator is pretty dumb though - it draws antialiased fonts directly from the TTF, without modification, and that's all it can do.

If you wanted to do something like the font you have in the mockups (which looks pretty good, so that'd probably be a good idea), I'd have to write a program to generate a font from bitmaps (or more likely, from 32-bit PNG images) and a description of the font metrics (position of each glyph relative to origin, glyph width, line spacing - the rest I can work out from there). I need to write one of those anyway, because the same font format is being used for another project.
Hm - you mean we have screen shots on the disc, which the emulator then uses to create a back cover template? Wouldn't it be a better idea to provide extra downloadable packs featuring collections of premade Front and Back covers (with all of the screenshots and box stuff in one image), and also provide a template of some sorts so users could make their own? That has the benefit of allowing the original box art to be used too.
The idea is that it uses any information you've got to try to construct a box cover. If you have the original cover, it will simply use that with no modifications. If you don't have a back / side cover, it'll use a generic one based on the templates. It'll stick the game's logo on the side of the box, but if you don't have one it'll just write the name of the game on there. It'll put some screenshots on the back of the box, and maybe some text, and some icons for things like supported peripherals. If you don't have any screenshots, it'll just use a completely generic back cover.

Same goes for the front cover. If you don't have one, it'll attempt to reconstruct one. If you have an image of the game's logo, it'll put that on the front. Otherwise, it'll just write the name of the game in a normal font. If you have some images, it'll use one of those for the main box art. If you don't, it'll try to use the title screen. If you don't have that, it'll just use some generic artwork.

Here's the current test app. It's only displays full box scans at the moment (I'm still working out how to do the compositor), but it works quite well. Real box scans seem to look a little nicer than the templates, for some reason. Might just be that I did a lousy job of resizing them.

http://files.frashii.com/~sp00nz/Doom/f ... oxtest.zip

You have to run it from a command prompt. Pull up a command prompt, CD to the directory where you unzipped it, and type this:

Code: Select all

test template_eu_new.jpg
It works with PNGs and JPEGs (and probably anything supported by SDL_image, but those work fine), and it automatically resizes the texture to a valid size by padding it. Any size image should theoretically work, and it'll be stretched to the correct aspect ratio. Just make sure it's like the included samples - the cover fills the entire image.

One thing I'm not sure of though. Currently, the box isn't square. I drew the front, back, and left hand side as a standard box using the box art texture. The right hand side is slightly indented (approximately 0.5cm, relative to the rest of the box), and isn't flat either. It's a sort of an indented triangle shape, something like:

Code: Select all

------------------------
|                      /
|                     /
|                     \
|                      \
------------------------
Anyway, it's a bit hard to notice, but it seems to work alright. It'd be better if I had a better texture to put on it (see end.png). The one I drew is just a couple of gradients, and looks terrible.

The lighting is also a bit of a lousy hack. I could have used full OpenGL lighting, but I didn't - I just did it the same way I'd probably do it on the DC. The light is coming slightly from the left, and there's a little bit of ambient light (not much, but enough that the box never goes completely black). It does use correct calculations, so it's an entirely correct lousy hack, and it should be more than adequate.
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Post by Lyris » Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:41 am

The rotating box looks excellent, great job :D
That's going to look slick as hell in the emulator.

Image

Wheee :D
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Post by WaCk0 » Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:55 am

Sweet! :mrgreen:

I made another side texture but I think we'll see if it works changing the back color to a darkgray or something, cause this side is almost black with some shades and gray details.
http://www.freewebs.com/wack0/dc/end.png

And a Castlevania cover I made using the logo, front/back art... based on template.
Image
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Post by Lyris » Wed Mar 09, 2005 12:36 pm

That does look like a better end.png, I thought the first one could do with darkening a little. Excellent :D
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Post by Lyris » Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:13 pm

OK, so some mockups with the 3D render. The text is designed to just go over the spinning render.

Space is verrry limited... so we could either extend the info box?
(Or are we ditching it altogether and going with a full screen view? It would be easier..)

I had the idea that the background could change color reflecting the game's region, if we had enough VRAM or whatever left.

Image

Image

Image
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Post by LyingWake » Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:07 pm

You have really gotta be kidding me - a rotating image of a box art. Simply amazing. That's mind blowing.
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Post by Lyris » Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:35 am

Idea - since the rotating box will be quite small in that screen, the user can press X or Y or something and the background will darken, and the rotating box will get larger (as large as it can be without looking bad, seeing as most people will be using normal interlaced TVs we can probably get away with quite a lot) and be in the middle of the screen.

If we wanted the The user from there could maybe spin it faster using the analog stick, or something.
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Post by Christuserloeser » Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:20 am

Love that idea :)

-
BlackAura wrote: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.
One thing that came to me (I think Skyhawk came with it first) would be maybe to use single archive files like Beats of Rage or Quake use to store the data (maybe use ZIPs with zero compression or similar) to allow faster access to the screenshot / package / database loading.

Skyhawk, Heliophobe and me discussed this a year ago over at the DCEvolution Contributors forum for the very cool but now disabled screenshot slideshow feature of SMSplusDC v02.


@WaCk0: Love your work :o :D - Can't wait for the Japanese package templates (v1: '88-'93; v2: '93-'97) as they're my absolute favorites 8-) (sooooo stylish) plus there's also a US v1 used in the time from '89 to '93.
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Post by WaCk0 » Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:55 am

Hey Chris, do you have some of these Jap (v1 and v2) covers and the US v1? I need to see how they look like to do the templates this weekend. Strange, never heard about a cover version before the black one (below). :oops:

Image
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Post by Christuserloeser » Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:00 pm

Nonono that is the '89 - '93 US cover. :D

The Japanese v2 can be seen in the Ristar shot by Lyris, I posted some mock-up close to v1 here:
PSD download (incl. notes)
http://www.dcevolution.net/dsdevelopmen ... plates.rar

It's a quite big PSD file due to beeing converted by Corel Photopaint (that I use still a lot).

Here are lowered quality/resized preview pics:

Image
All that's missing now are the Brasilian ones but I can't be of any help here,
as I never owned a single Brasilian Cart.
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Post by DcSteve » Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:04 pm

THIS GUI WORK IS FLAWLESS. You guys are doing an amazing job, I wish i had artistic skills like yours. As for Emu performance, i think it has improved since the last post BA made about it, because FAME has signifacntly improved.. I could be wrong.
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