Author Topic: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs  (Read 988 times)

shroud

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Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« on: January 22, 2022, 09:03:43 AM »
Hello everyone, I am new to Attract Mode, and I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of themes available... I am in need of suggestions before my analysis-paralysis makes me quit before I even start using Attract Mode!

I don't think I actually have a lot of requirements, but generally speaking I am looking for themes that don't have too much graphics going on in the background. I have been using GameEx for longer than a decade because I could not stand all the animations, transitions and "aggressive" graphics of more popular frontends such as Hyperspin. I use all my emulators on a PC, not a cabinet, so usability is my real need, I don't need the WOW factor :)

I already have a fair collection of emulators (about 30) so first of all I definitely needs a theme meant for multiple emulators, which means a two-level menus where the first menu level shows the list of emulated systems, and after choosing a system the second menu level shows the list of games available for that.

I like having only the following on the screen at any time:

- a long enough list of emulators/games (at least 15-20 titles shown at once)
- a small (for example 1/9 of the screen) video snap area
- a small area for the game cover or logo
- an area for the game description (scrollable if necessary)

Nice-to-have features (but not necessary) would be:

- games filters (genre, year, number of players) that can be activated inside each emulator's games list AND/OR globally (i.e. to show all games of a certain genre, year etc from all emulated systems)
- a search bar to quickly find a game by name

Note that I already have assets like cover scans and video snaps for all my games, so I don't need to scrape for them, and it would be best if the theme doesn't have a "scraping button" that might overwrite my assets.

Hope you can help me out!  :)

ToeMath

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2022, 09:14:32 AM »
it is best to try the ones that are already done, and in most cases, read the forum to make your own.  good luck

Mark Norville

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2022, 10:57:11 AM »
If you have not done already you should check this thread out http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=481.0

However, some theme creators are not active any more, and some files will have dead links.

What you want is what I would call a very basic theme, e.g near enough all text and no graphics (spits). I like my bells and whistles, all graphics and no text.

If you go to the wiki, click on the link in the forum for a redirect, have a look at squirrel programming language, copy and paste the code, and you have a basic skin in two seconds.

A nut file, is basically a text document, but instead of being called layout.txt, it is saved as layout.nut this is your theme.

However, a skinner, themer, coder whatever you want to call them, will only program what they want, yes they might have optional extras, but you need to go to the layout and have a look through the options.

You can have multiple themes for different systems, so one theme for the ZX81 you might not want on Amiga as an example.

One man's meat, is another man's poison, which means, what you like, I might not like.

Regards

Mark
« Last Edit: January 22, 2022, 10:59:05 AM by Mark Norville »
Computer Specs : I7 3770K, 780 TI, 16 Gigs, Win 10
HD Specs : 1 x 1 TB SSD + 4 x 8 TB = 33 TB (fullish)
First system : ZX81 (Yes I am an old fart)
Emulation Goals : The Holy Grail every system every rom
PS Network : MarkNorvile

shroud

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 03:45:05 AM »
it is best to try the ones that are already done, and in most cases, read the forum to make your own.  good luck

Yes I want to try an existing theme, but there are so many to search through! That's why I am asking for recommendations, in case someone is already using a theme similar to what I am looking for :)

Mark Norville

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 03:50:50 AM »
it is best to try the ones that are already done, and in most cases, read the forum to make your own.  good luck

Yes I want to try an existing theme, but there are so many to search through! That's why I am asking for recommendations, in case someone is already using a theme similar to what I am looking for :)

So you want us to do all the hard work for you lol

Try giving this a go http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=470.0

It pretty much does all what you want.

Regards

Mark

Exhausted from the two seconds it took me to find that
Computer Specs : I7 3770K, 780 TI, 16 Gigs, Win 10
HD Specs : 1 x 1 TB SSD + 4 x 8 TB = 33 TB (fullish)
First system : ZX81 (Yes I am an old fart)
Emulation Goals : The Holy Grail every system every rom
PS Network : MarkNorvile

shroud

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2022, 04:10:42 AM »
If you have not done already you should check this thread out http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=481.0

Yes, and I have found at least two that look very close to what I wish, and in fact I might just use one of these:

ioflat
http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=2481.0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9sxjBnx_1k

RetroDiction
http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=3199.0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IDcp_46agM

I like the generous lists lengths of both and their support for video snaps (which is quite essential for me, considering the time that I have spent to create hundreds of those for EmuMovies). The ioflat multiple preview videos feature is a bit too much for me but I think it can be disabled. I prefer the system menus of ioflat, but the layout with smaller video preview and more information of RetroDiction. Otherwise both look absolutely fantastic and I can definitely forget about the minutia :)

Anyway if you know of similar themes, I'll be happy to hear :)

Mark Norville

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2022, 04:25:03 AM »
See I make one suggestion, and you go for two different ones.

Which is what I said what you like, other people might not like, so the best person to choose is yourself.

However, themes can be edited and adapted to what you want, but it depends on if you can hack code to make it how you want.

The thing that I have to warn you the most about though, is make sure your videos are pretty small, otherwise you will encounter a lot of laggy videos if you have too many on screen at once.

As you are on emu movies, you have mp4_HI quality, and then you also have MP4 HD, I found if I used HD then it would cause a lot of lag with videos freezing, so only use the hi quality ones.

The second one you said about, you can use artwork instead of videos, you just need to look in the layout settings.

Just to add, I have just tried RetroDiction not on a full set up just a quick try and that scares the hell out of me. However, it does what I want it to do e.g the collections and sub menus and stuff like that. The person who done this skin was a genius, it is a beautiful piece of coding and a lot of work went into it. So hopefully you have some technical knowledge on how to get this up and running, as it is pretty complex and not an easy skin for newbies to get their heads around. I am still a newbie pretty much, and even I am scratching my head trying to see how it all works.

Regards

Mark
« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 05:01:00 AM by Mark Norville »
Computer Specs : I7 3770K, 780 TI, 16 Gigs, Win 10
HD Specs : 1 x 1 TB SSD + 4 x 8 TB = 33 TB (fullish)
First system : ZX81 (Yes I am an old fart)
Emulation Goals : The Holy Grail every system every rom
PS Network : MarkNorvile

shroud

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2022, 05:01:51 AM »
See I make one suggestion, and you go for two different ones.

That's a good suggestion thanks! Those two I mentioned I had already found (and I was still typing my answer while you posted yours).

alucard

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2022, 09:06:17 AM »
I use all my emulators on a PC, not a cabinet, so usability is my real need...

For PC I prefer mediacenter like themes.
This kind of themes scales well from little to big game collection for any kind of emulated platform.

Hyperspin-wheel oriented themes are not ideal for search e large collection and require
a lot of assets  :-\

I use the excellent ArcadeFlow theme
http://www.mixandmatch.it/AF/

Another theme could be Grid Game Station
http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=898.0

shroud

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Re: Please help me find the right Theme for my needs
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2022, 11:57:26 PM »
I use all my emulators on a PC, not a cabinet, so usability is my real need...

For PC I prefer mediacenter like themes.
This kind of themes scales well from little to big game collection for any kind of emulated platform.

Hyperspin-wheel oriented themes are not ideal for search e large collection and require
a lot of assets  :-\

I use the excellent ArcadeFlow theme
http://www.mixandmatch.it/AF/

Another theme could be Grid Game Station
http://forum.attractmode.org/index.php?topic=898.0

Thank you! The second one is actually pretty neat... I am more used to having a simple list of titles, but I am now also considering this other option of showing the covers.