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Topics - YellowBirdAZ

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General / 4K Displays?
« on: March 14, 2018, 01:11:58 PM »
Anyone out there use a 4K display? Or better yet, is anyone in a position to compare the quality of 4K vs. 1080p with CRT shaders?

I am reading different opinions... some say the difference is negligible (and I've seen screencaps that seem to confirm this), and others say with the right shader (like CRT-Royale) 4K is visibly superior.

Just thinking ahead to next project or inevitable death of my CRT.

Themes / Example of My Lo-Res CRT Layout
« on: March 08, 2018, 02:35:26 PM »
99% done messing with this.

Again, much credit to keilmillerjr as this is based on his "Flavors" layout. I am posting this just as another example of what can be accomplished with AM, but this time from the low-res end of the spectrum.

Scripting / Global settings
« on: February 10, 2018, 10:54:29 AM »
Is there a way to set a global variable on launch that can be referenced (and changed) from any layout or plug-in?

So whatever you set it to (say true or false) would stay the same no matter where it was referenced from (layout, plug-in, screensaver, etc.). And likewise the value could conceivably be changed from any of these places.

General / Snap Art Without Fade-In?
« on: February 05, 2018, 08:29:40 AM »
Does anyone have a source for MAME game snap art without the fade-in effect? Progetto's stuff all fades in, and in Emumovies I haven't been able to find any without it either.

Yes, you can trim the first couple seconds but I don't want the sound to cut in abruptly. So I would prefer to have clean, no fade videos, and if I want a fade-in or -out I can use the front end to do it.

Scripting / Particle Animation and Z-Order
« on: January 27, 2018, 03:08:28 PM »
So I made a custom screensaver, it displays game snap-vids scrolling horizontally over a parallax scrolling starfield in the background.

The only problem is the stars aren't in the background, they appear over the top of the snap-vids.

Does anyone know how to force particles into a lower z-order, or some other way to force them to the background? I may be missing something obvious.

I think each new particle is a new addition to the draw list, therefore they are almost always on top of anything else on the screen (since stars are being drawn far more frequently than anything else on screen).

I did see a property for "particlesontop" but it is not implemented. I tried setting it to false, and it doesn't even look like the property is part of the particle object yet.

I just thought of the hackiest thing ever, which would be to screencap the star field and make it into a loopable video to just play in the background. Still, I would rather use the animation, so I would prefer to figure out how to fix this.

General / Any Custom Screensavers?
« on: January 23, 2018, 06:26:02 AM »
I was wondering if anyone made any custom screensavers they are happy with or would be willing to share?

I didn't see any existing thread on this topic, specifically.

My issue is my cab is very low res (I run a 320x240 layout). I don't like the split screen effects because the scaling looks ugly at that resolution, and even full screen snaps aren't ideal because I show those when the screensaver isn't active (so it muddies the distinction between modes).

I'm hoping I can borrow something instead of making something new, or at least get some ideas about alternatives.

General / Sudden Emulator/Game Launch Failures?
« on: November 06, 2017, 04:46:04 PM »
I recently ran into an unexpected issue I was hoping someone could help me with.

I am at the point where I am end-to-end testing all the games I put on my cabinet... making sure they launch properly from the front end, the controls are configured properly, and that the games exit back to the front end.

While I was doing this I repeatedly encountered a problem where -- after going through several games -- AM would suddenly stop launching any games. I could navigate the front end like normal, but every game -- no matter what emulator it relied on -- would fail. The console provided no clues, because it appeared the instructions it was sending were correct. (I have not yet tried issuing the commands from the command line, just to be sure the issue isn't deeper than AM.)

The only "fix" is to completely reboot the machine. I can't just close out of AM and restart.

Maybe there is some game or emulator that is triggering a bad attract.cfg change that resets on system restart? I have no idea.

Anyone else run into a problem like this?

It might have been a dormant issue I only noticed now because I'm systematically working through every game.

General / Games With Interstitial Screens/Pop-Ups
« on: October 16, 2017, 07:03:05 AM »
So I have ONE game that is giving me this problem, but still I'd like to fix it. And others might have the same problem with other games that behave the same way.

I have the PC game Slain on my cabinet. Like many PC games, when you launch the executable it displays a configuration pop-up where you can select windowed/fullscreen and resolution. Basically you just click OK and move on to the game. There is, as far as I can tell, no way to side-step this interstitial.

I wrote an Autohotkey script to deal with the interstitial, so when you launch the same from AM the script runs, acknowledges the pop-up, and the game starts.

The only hang-up is AM thinks the game is closing at some point in this process. So the game launches, the pop-up is dealt with, and Slain runs... but AM comes back to life in the background. It is as though AM thinks you launched the game and quickly exited it, when in fact the game is running.

I don't think this is caused by the script EXIT command either. I have all sorts of scripts that exit and they don't bring AM back out of sleep mode.

There are three ways I can think of that could address this issue, and I'd appreciate any advice on how to make any of them work.

1. If I knew what triggers AM to wake up after going to sleep in the background, maybe I could intercept that trigger in this case? That way AM would keep sleeping until the player really exits the game.

2. I could kill AM in this case, run the game, and then relaunch AM upon exit. The only problem is I don't know how to prevent it from doing the whole intro all over again. If I could skip the intro, I assume it would just return to the last game played (which would be perfect).

3. I could add a step to force AM back into sleep mode during the game's start-up process, if there is a means to do so.


Scripting / Pause AM During Intro Movie?
« on: August 27, 2017, 12:43:03 AM »
I was trying to add an intro movie to my AM set-up and then quickly realized it just plays over the top of the layout.

So if your intro movie has music or sound, and your layout itself plays ambient sound, they will overlap. It is very annoying.

I've hacked around issues like this before by inserting silent sound files of predetermined lengths to generate audio pauses where needed. I'm reluctant to keep adding hacks though.

Anyone have a solution or suggestion?

I could just launch the intro movie outside of AM, and then launch AM upon the video's completion, but there has to be another way.

Scripting / Display-Specific Music?
« on: July 06, 2017, 10:33:14 AM »
I'm still working on my cabinet, but I was curious to know whether some functionality I recently implemented would useful to others.

A couple of things I did:

1. Added a voice announcing which display is being shown (or which filter is being applied). So in my case, if the user is scrolling across different displays (like Platform, Shmup, Sports), a robotic voice tells the user what they are looking at. (Of course, this doesn't have to be a voice, it could be any unique sound.)

2. Added unique music for each display. So for example, my cabinet plays Conan music when you are browsing Hack & Slash games, and Top Gun with Shmups, so on.

I accomplished both these additions through hacks to the music plug-in.

I was wondering -- if this sounds like something others might use, I might spend some time making a proper plugin for this. Because as it stands now, it works, but it's not pretty.

Any feedback welcome... whether it's saying you would use this, or even just to say I am going about it all wrong.

Scripting / Alignment of Videos?
« on: June 01, 2017, 06:59:07 AM »
What is the best way to center snap videos on screen in AM? (Even if it's just horizontally.)

I searched and didn't find anything on this, probably because the answer is so obvious no one posts about it.

I have a layout where the snap videos are anchored at the upper left corner (0,0), but since they all differ in size it looks cruddy as you browse games. Likewise, scaling the videos to fill the screen doesn't look great. I guess I could ffmpeg my snap videos so they are in pillarboxes to at least make them all the same width as the layout, but this isn't the best either.

I'd prefer to just be able to center the video in the layout.

General / FBA with AM on a CRT Cabinet
« on: May 26, 2017, 07:38:38 AM »
Is there anyone out there who's successfully integrated Final Burn Alpha with AttractMode and a CRT? If so, I would love to hear how you have everything configured.

The problem I am having is that I can run Final Burn Alpha in full screen with proper resolution if I launch from the FBA GUI, but when I try to launch from AttractMode I inevitably get an error. A pop-up up error message appears reading "Couldn't initialize [NAME OF BLITTER] module'. When you acknowledge that message, FBA continues to load the chosen ROM in a window (not full screen). This happens whatever blitter you choose --even DirectX9 Alternate, which is the one that is supposed to work in full screen without issues.

This also happens whether I go straight into FBA and rely on it to change my resolution, or if I run a batch file where the monitor resolution is correctly pre-set before FBA is even run.

My set-up is as follows:

Windows 10
AttractMode 2.2.1
Final Burn Alpha 2.97.40 (among other emulators)
ArcadeVGA 5000 video card connected to Wells Gardner arcade CRT

I re-pointed all my arcade roms to MAME for now, but FBA does better with a few of them. Metal Slug 2, to pick an extreme example, runs much better on FBA. So I would eventually like to get all my NeoGeo and Capcom stuff pointed back to FBA if I can get it to work properly.

I know this is sort of related to this thread
but in my case I think the ArcadeVGA card with CRT may be presenting me with unique issues. (That is, I suspect my set-up would be working fine if I was using an LCD.)

Scripting / Static Displays With Launch Disabled?
« on: April 17, 2017, 09:08:27 AM »
I have a situation where I have two displays for a single emulator. This emulator steams games from a Steam host.

What I want to do is display one layout when the host is available (the standard list of games), and then a static layout warning the host is not available otherwise.

I think I can handle all the network logic outside of AM on start-up (or on reset of AM).

What I would like is the static layout to be truly static, and I could tell AM not to attempt to do anything if the user presses a button while on the static page. As the situation is now, the page shows the error and tells the user what to do to fix it, but the user can still press a button and AM will try to launch a command, fail, and fall back to the static page. I want to prevent that attempt, so when the user pushes a button no sound plays, no command is attempted, all they can do is navigate away from the display.

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