Author Topic: Arcadeflow theme v 2.3 [Release] Updated 29 August 2018  (Read 12837 times)

zpaolo11x

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Arcadeflow theme v 2.3 [Release] Updated 29 August 2018
« on: January 15, 2018, 12:10:01 PM »
Arcadeflow theme updated to revision 2.3!

This update should bring faster and smoother performance due to some tweaks and improvements both in shaders code and in the pictures used in the layout.

There are many new cosmetic changes like the possibility to add a pixellated snap background, even animated, or a nice glow around your selected thumbnails (which takes its cue color from the snapshot itself). With all the options in the new version you can radically change the appearance from something very "calm" to something dynamic and energetic (see attached pictures for details).

From version 2.0 you don't need to generate blurred backgrounds or shadows for game titles with xnview, since the theme is generating them on the fly with shaders.

One drawback of this is that the theme now uses more nested surfaces, and the artwork it needs to load is larger than the very small blurred backgrounds of 32x32 pixels, so you might experience a less smooth performance. Should this be the case there's a "layout_noshader.nut" file in the archive ;)

More details in the "What's New" section, as usual, enjoy and please report any bugs!

v1.4 on youtube
https://youtu.be/sUZW1vHs7Lg https://youtu.be/sUZW1vHs7Lg

**Arcadeflow - Attract Mode theme by zpaolo11x - v 2.2**

Arcadeflow is an horizontal scrolling, grid based theme for MAME, it doesn't support multiple systems and is based on snapshots and game titles, not on flyers or cartridge boxes. If you have video snaps they will appear over the selected thumbnail without sound, and you can open a larger video preview with sound.

The layout adapts to different aspect ratios (5:4, 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10) automatically and reasonably well (external snaps get partially cut but not completely obscured) and a different layout is enabled for vertical aspect ratio.


*What's new in v 2.3*

- Improved the overall speed by optimizing shaders and textures
- Added a new effect on the background where you can get a pixellated version of the snap or video
- Added a new glow effect around selected thumbs with the average thumb color
- Added the possibility to hear audio of the videos in the thumb and/or in the history page
- Revamped the options to make it more clear
 
*Custom controls*

You can define a custom control to call the game context menu, from which you can activate the following functions:
- "UP" enters the "More of the same..." search function, filtering games with the same year, manufacturer, main category or sub-category of the current game
- "DOWN" enters the "History" page where you can see and scroll the game history and see a larger game preview
- "LEFT" to enter the Tags menu
- "RIGHT" to add/remove favorites

*Filters, Search and Layout options*

You can access the "Filters" menu and the "Search" function by going "UP" from the first row of icons. In the same menu you'll get the "Layout options" access (in AM 2.4)

*Tags*

You can add a "Completed" tag to games, that will ad a "Completed" stamp on them

*Sorting and scrolling*

When your list is sorted by name a large preview letter will appear while scrolling through the list.
If your list is sorted by year the year will appear instead of the letter.
You can go "DOWN" from the altest row to enter a "large jumps" scrolling mode.

*Snaps aspect ratio*

Arcadeflow requires that the aspect ratio of the snapshots is 4:3 or 3:4 depending on the game orientation, it will not correct the snapshot aspect ratio and won't look good otherwise. You can resize your snapshots using batch processing software like xnview, don't use bilinear or lanzcos scaling but just "nearest neighbor" if you want to keep the file size small.

*Blurred background (replaced by sahders)*

The blurred background is not calculated from the snaps: you need to batch process your snapshots and create a custom art category in attract mode called  "blur". What I do is:

- resize the snaps to 640x480
- crop a 480x480 central portion
- resize to 32x32
- apply 1 gaussian blurs 9x9 pixels wide

This results in a very smooth yet fast to load blurred background. I prepared some xnview scripts you can use for the conversion.

*Blurred title shadows (replaced by shaders)*

You can add a attract mode art category called "logoblur" and use the provided xnview script to generate new artworks for blurred shadows to be placed under the title

* Game options*

- "Snaps aspect ratio" : Chose wether you want cropped, square snaps or horizontal and vertical snaps depending on game orientation
- "Context Menu Button" : Setup the button to use to recall game info and actions context menu
- "Theme Color" : Setup theme color
- "Blurred Logo Shadow" : Use blurred logo artwork shadow (works only in layout_noshader.nut)
- "Smooth gradient snap" : Fades the artwork behind the game logo to its average color
- "Enable New Game Indicator" : Games not played are marked with a glyph
- "Custom Background Image" : Insert custom background art path
- "Search string entry method" : Use keyboard or on-screen keys to enter search string
- "Immediate search" : Live update results while searching
- "Enable AF splash logo" : Enable or disable the AF start logo
- "Custom AF splash logo" : Chose a custom picture as splash logo
- "Rows in horizontal layout" : Number of rows to use in 'horizontal' mode
- "Rows in vertical layout" : Number of rows to use in 'vertical' mode
- "History.dat" : History.dat location
- "Index Clones" : Set whether entries for clones should be included in the index.
- "Generate Index" : Generate the history.dat index now (this can take some time)

** Previous versions history **

*v 2.2*

- The thumbnail art fades to the average thumbnail color in the area behind the title logo, to improve readability
- Added an option "Smooth Gradient Snap" to enable/disable the fade effect
- In "Square" thumbs mode changed the position and aspect ratio of the logo so it's more on the top of the thumb

*v 2.1*

- Added some tweaks to make scrolling more fluid and correct slowdowns
- Fixed a bug in the background scaling blurred snap routine
- Changed the blur shader, now there are three layouts to chose from: layout, layout_noshader, layout_oldshader (with a lighter shader that is faster on some machines)

*v 2.0*

- New feature: you can now change the splash logo
- New feature: background artwork can be a semi-transparent PNG and will show the blurred background behind it
- Under the hood changes: version 2.0 is a huge rewrite of AF, no need to generate blurred backgrounds or blurred logo shadows with xnview, the theme can generate on the fly shadows and backgrounds from your snapshots and wheel artwork. The theme may be a bit slower on your system depending on the size of artworks which is generally larger than xnview generated blurred pictures.
- If you have issues with the new way "blur" is generated you can use the layout_noshader.nut file instead, just chose it from the layout options menu (AM 2.4) or rename it to layout.nut (AM 2.3). This layout file has all the features of the new one, but in a standard framework using xnview generated artwork

*v 1.9*

- AM 2.4 was released while coding AF 1.9, adapted the code so it works both in 2.3 and 2.4:
  - Fixed the zorder management
  - Implemented a new way to crop thumbnails for "square" thumbs layout
  - 2.4 users can access the "Layout Options" menu directly from the "General" menu accessible going "Up" from the game grid
  - Rewritten the scrolling title routine with proper timing
- Custom background picture is not stretched but scaled/cropped to fit the theme aspect ratio
- Thoroughly rewritten the transition response routine, it's cleaner and works much better now.
- Thanks to the above rewrite you can now use "left" and "right" on the History screen to go to the previous/next game, the layout should now respond correctly even to "jump to letter" calls and page jumps.
- "Square" thumbnails layout now responds to the "Blurred Logo Shadow" option, if you enable it you'll get game name overlay with drop shadow, otherwise plain game name with gradient background.
- When a game has a multi-language title separated by "/" (e.g. Fatal Fury / Garou Densetsu) the theme will crossfade the titles so that title scrolling is needed less often.

*v 1.8*

- Introduced a new layout style where game snaps are not horizontal or vertical depending on game orientation, but cropped square. You can chose it in the options menu.

*v 1.7*

- Overhauled the menu and functions system, now it works like this:
  - When going "UP" from the tiles list you get to a "main menu" where you can select Filters Menu or Global Search
  - When on a game using the configurable control button you get a "context menu" overlay with 4 game-specific functions you chose by using your joystick/keys:
    - "UP" enters the "More of the same..." search menu
    - "DOWN" enters the "History" page where you can see and scroll the game history and see a larger game preview
    - "LEFT" to enter the Tags menu
    - "RIGHT" to add/remove favorites
- Implemented a version of the History.dat plugin so you can see history without the need to enable the plugin (see options)
- Rolled back the way horizontal and vertical games are detected, the "new" one had some issues in many circumstances
- Tweaked and updated search with on-screen keys
- Added a workaround when invoking filters through the filters menu button to fix some tiles update

- New theme options included:
  -   "History.dat" is the location of the History.dat file (no need to enable or configure the )
  - "Index Clones" works like the same option in the History.dat plugin.
  - "Generate Index" a one-time function to generate the history index

*v 1.6*

- Changed the way horizontal and vertical games are detected, this time it should work for all users and all games lists
- Changed the way the "vertical" mode is scaled and layed out, clearer and with larger thumbs
- Search features that require tex input now also work with on-screen keys (embedded the KeyboardSearch plugin)
- New theme options included:
  -   "Search string entry method" to chose if you want to use a keyboard or a joystick and on screen keys to enter text
   - "Immediate search" will live update results while you enter search text using the on screen keys
   - "Enable AF splash logo" enables/disables the fading splash Arcadeflow logo
  - "Vertical rows" allows to use 2 or 3 rows of icons in vertical mode

*v 1.5*

- New shadows graphics, smoother and more modern-looking
- New and improved search features:
  - use "Custom 2" to filter games with the same year, manufacturer, main category and sub-category of the current game (e.g. shooters, or horizontal shooters)
  - use "Custom 3" to open a menu and search in games titles, years, manufacturers or categories
- When toggling screen rotation using AttractMode hotkeys the screen updates to the vertical layout if needed.

*v 1.4*

- Changed (again) splash screen graphics at startup (new AF logo)
- Introducing theme options:
  - You can chose the theme's... theme :D There are 4 choices: "Default" (greyed blurred background), "Dark", "Light" (dark and light blurred background), "Pop" (blurred background colors unaltered)
  - You can chose whether you want "hard edged" game title shadows or "smooth" game title shadows, the latter requires new artwork (see below)
  - You can chose whether you want to place a marker on unplayed games
  - You can place a background image, this will be affected by the theme choice and will override the blurred background
- Minor tweaks and speedups, now each sections retaines the latest selected game

*v 1.3*

- Key repeat rate limited to allow more fluid scrolling of tiles
- Added selection sound
- Changed splash screen graphics at startup

*v 1.2*

- Scrolling game title when the title size is too big to fit the screen
- If you go "up" from the first row you enter the "Filters" menu
- If you go "down" from the second row the scrollbar highlights and you can jump screens faster
- Improved scrolling speed on some systems
- Added a splash screen at startup

*v 1.1*

- The games list is not repeating
- Tweaked scrolling at the beginning of the list so the first game column is not centered
- Changed the timing so that when the video snapshot is loaded the scrolling doesn't stutter
- Number of columns automatically calculated
- Better support for vertical displays

*v 1.0*

- First release

![AF Image](http://www.mixandmatch.it/AF/AF_1280_2.jpg)

« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 01:41:30 PM by zpaolo11x »

calle81

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 12:23:55 PM »
Nice! GJ :)

zpaolo11x

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 11:08:41 PM »
Nice! GJ :)

Thank you, sorry for the giant screenshot, is there a better way to post screenshots? Because I have another theme with more screenshots and I don't want to do a mess :)


zpaolo11x

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 01:37:16 PM »
Because my theme was starting to look a bit too much like Ambiance HD (and I swear I didn't see Ambiance HD before starting to work on mine :D) I've redone the graphics so that screenshots are in the correct aspect ratio :) I like the new soft shadows

verion

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2018, 11:52:40 AM »
nooooo! :D

Roll back to the first version with square cropped screenshots - it was really good.
More elegant than the last one - in my opinion.

And don't worry about the similarities to any other theme. I'm sure this won't bother anyone.

---

ps: simplest way to post screenshot is to scale it down to 800px width

verion

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 01:26:02 PM »
I'm sure you've wanted it to look really minimal, but maybe adding some light semi-translucent background under the text could spice it up a little.
I've also added a little shadow under that title bar.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 02:03:17 PM by verion »

ryuuji

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2018, 03:04:22 AM »
I'm sure you've wanted it to look really minimal, but maybe adding some light semi-translucent background under the text could spice it up a little.
I've also added a little shadow under that title bar.

yeah listes to the jedi master above ^

zpaolo11x

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2018, 10:29:48 PM »
I'm sure you've wanted it to look really minimal, but maybe adding some light semi-translucent background under the text could spice it up a little.

Thank you for the comment, actually the kind of look you show in your mockup is exactly the first version of the theme I was working on, with lighter top band and drop shadow :D This is to say that, despite the fact that I like it, it's not fit with the kind of look I'm seeking right now: having a plain background gives more breath to the thumbnails IMO

I still have not decided if I like cropped or uncropped thumbs, uncropped has the advantage of immediately telling which games are vertical or horizontal... maybe I'll add it as an option :)

I'm also struggling with the Mac version of AM which sometimes behaves a bit different from the windows version, maybe it's also related to the hardware (the Windows machine is a 12 core Xeon with Quadro graphics card and PCIe4x SSD LOL, everything seems fast on that)

verion

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 09:45:27 AM »
Sure - that's your design.

As for the mac - from my experience mac version (especially when using surfaces) takes a greater toll on CPU - compared to win version. On my Macbook Air (1.3Ghz 2 cores) simple theme with just one surface hovers around 60% CPU - and the same theme without surface is around 20-30%.

Tapper

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 06:37:03 PM »
Looks pretty cool! Will try it out when released!

jedione

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 06:46:34 PM »

Personaly i hate it,,,  Dont work for me.  just kidding ::)   

would love to try!   waiting thanks

help a friend....

zpaolo11x

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2018, 10:28:47 PM »
As for the mac - from my experience mac version (especially when using surfaces) takes a greater toll on CPU

You are absolutely right, the latest version from mameonmodernmacs is a lot better than the official one though. In the past I noticed many times that using and updating multiple layered pictures as single entities instead of "packaging" them in a surface (like in my theme with the snaps and logos) was better (on the Mac).

Right now this doesn't seem to be an issue anymore, but for example "set_pos" to reposition and scale images takes a large toll and I'm trying to reduce it as much as I can

zpaolo11x

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2018, 10:38:21 PM »
I've updated the theme with video snaps and other tweaks, right now it requires some preparation of snapshots (to avoid resizing pictures on the fly on my Mac) and the generating of fake blurred snapshots (dirty tricks, I know, but the crossfade effect is neat :D) but otherwise it's almost ready for release...

Preview video here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nse_PPJXXvbx-dsJWXCLcTtbTt1ZLp8y/view?usp=sharing

as usual a bit of stuttering is due to the capture software...

jedione

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Re: My first theme! Smooth grid :) [Preview]
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2018, 06:33:31 PM »
any new's   
 looks good.
help a friend....