The Dragon King
It's the boring stuff that gets ya..... 
Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 08:35 PM - Dragon King
UGH! On the one hand I love the new skinner as it makes things a lot more "wysiwyg". On the other hand, I absolutely HATE having to add in all these menus. Not only do I have to add a function to display a menu, but I also have to add code to about 4 more functions which retrieve all the necessary values of the object in question, translate the actual setttings (which are usually a numeric value) into actual text that the user can understand and finally save the altered settings. Even though my new menu fucntions are rather streamlined it still takes a solid few hours to add in an object and test it to make sure it works correctly. I recently finished adding what were the "scheme" settings in the old skinner and that actually took two afternoons to do! (Note that I'm not working non-stop for hours at a time, I usually spend an hour or so an evening on this.)

Needless to say, I'm still not done adding options to the skinner. Some options I plan on intentionally leaving out, not because they can't be done internally, but because it'd require me to add too many menu objects. To give you an idea of the mind-numbingly dull stuff I've been doing lately, here is my "to-do" list for the menus.

Toggle Snap = Yes, NO, Fe Default
Toggle Time = 0-?

////videos=Yes, No


////Videos=Yes, No
////Stop Rotation=Yes, No
Inital Rotation=0,0,0
////X Spin=
////Y Spin=
////Z Spin=

List Type=Normal, Snap, Flyer, Marquee, Cabinet Title
Custom=Yes, No
Element Width=
Element Height=
Text Align=Left, Right, Center

////all blend stuff
////Scroll Rate

////all blend stuff

////font name=
////font size=
////High R=
////High G=
////High B=

Each section generally requires about an hour or so to add. This doesn't include the 13 or so "main" groups I had already added. Things that are slashed out I'm finished with, so as you can see, it won't be much longer. Hopefully then I can concentrate on the more interesting features I've yet to bundle up which will be better for you and me. :)
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Bloopers and Practical Jokes (And more functionality too!) 
Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 12:06 PM - Dragon King
Ok, a few things to go over today. First off, I'm not quite done with the internal skinner yet. I've added all the primary settings, but there are still a few new settings to add. I should be done within a day or so, but it's mostly a "this is boring so I don't want to do it at all" sort of deal so I can work on other stuff at the same time.

There is a new feature I'm adding this go around that I think got lost after the golden age of dos front-ends passed. ArcadeOS had (has) this great feature where you could update roms or the fe via a floppy disc. Because emulator settings, rom collections and front-ends have become increasingly complex, this feature was pretty much ignored by everyone when we switched to windows. Well not anymore! Dk is going to be able to auto-update itself, your emulators, or virtually anything installed on your cabinet.

The process is fairly simple:

1. Get a removable drive (Includes floppies, cdrws, flash drives portable hdds ect..) And rename the volume to match the "upgrade" entry in the frontend.ini ("Upgrade" by default.) or vice-versa.

2. Make a folder called "dk" and extract the new copy of dk to that folder (or if you are just changing settings, simply add the files you want to change).

3. Configure the extracted files to your heart's content.

4. Anything other than dk you wish to add needs to have it's folder hierarchy replicated and the new files put where they belong on the cabinet's drive. For example, if you wanted to add roms to "c:\mame\roms" on your cabinet you would make a "c" folder on your removable media with a "mame" folder inside with a "roms" folder inside of that and place your roms in the inner-most folder.

5. Insert the drive/disc/whatever and bootup dk. It'll give you an "upgrading" message, copy the files, and restart itself if needed.

I understand that in this modern world of virtual desktops and home networks that this isn't really necessary anymore but I thought it would be convienant and it hasn't been particularly difficult to add.

Finally the silly stuff.....

Sometimes you have a great idea for a skin. Sometimes it turns out well and sometimes it doesn't. You can decide on this one.

Confused? Well here's the story. Shang Tsung has been uppercutted off the pit and he, along with a arcade cabinet (changes based on game) and pretty much the whole skin are falling to their deaths in what appears to be a bottom-less pit, with shang randomly changing into various fighters as he falls. I wanted to post a video, but fraps refuses to capture on account of the dual viewports (3d cabinet and the rest) and the video preivew playing both on the cabinet and the snapshot area. The skin is nowhere near complete as I just whipped it up to test high-speed background scrolling (those pit columns really fly!). It's so fun though that I'll probably release it anyway, in hopes that someone will finish it and give it the polish it deserves.

Dk's New Internal Skinner 
Saturday, January 26, 2008, 05:21 PM - Dragon King
As I undertake the task of finishing up half-completed code in dk to get it ready for next month's release it has become apparent to me that I might not get around to updating the documentation anytime soon. (Or ever, for that matter.) So the easiest thing for me to do is to psuedo document new features via wip as I button them up.

Today's task involves skinning. People have often complained about how terrible the skinner app is and I seldom get user skins submitted to me. So I've internalized it. You can now set 90% of the skinner settings, on-the-fly from within dk. No more excuses people as now any idiot can make a skin.

Here's the new main menu. As you can see there are a few new options, including "edit skin"

Once inside you can manipulate any of the entries' properties, from their position to the blend mode and color tint.

So there you have it. Finally I've decided to make things a tad more user friendly. I am currently buttoning up this feature and should be done with it by monday. I'll post a new wip with my next project then. See you soon!

I'm an Idiot! 
Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 02:59 PM - Dragon King
Ever had one of those days where you try to solve a problem the hard way only to find out later that the solution was actually MUCH simplier than you thought? Ever had an entire YEAR like that? Well, apparently I did. Aside from the lack of a new skin an a few very minor bugs, one of the main reasons I hadn't released a version of DK in so long was the fact that there was this "memory leak" that kept slowing down the fe after changing a skin. Well today I was determined to figure out the cause and it turned out that a minor bug fix I applied OVER A YEAR AGO had accidentially moved the function that sets the fps for a skin down to a section where it would never get called after the initial time.

So what was happening was the fe would have the fps set to 0 after a skin is changed. This doesn't cause the screen to stay blank rather is causes the screen to refresh as quickly as possible, so quickly that there isn't a processor on the face of the earth faste enough to keep up. It actually causes the processor to bog down so much that windows calls for more virtual memory and starts buffering commands like mad, which makes the memory useage goes up and appears to be a memory leak.

Needless to say, the "leak" is fixed and I can get a rock-solid 100 fps on even the most narly of skins!

But enough of the boring stuff....

What this means to you, the user is that, yes, DK will get a release very soon. Like before Feburary is out soon!

So spread the word... DK is back!

Happy New Year! (No I'm not Dead) 
Wednesday, January 9, 2008, 02:08 PM - General Site News
There hasn't been much activity because the holidays kept me busy. Unfortunately, there probably won't be any significant releases for a while still. I've been experimenting with new programming languages and (gasp!) some hardware programming as well. There are a few neglected releases that are over-due that I'll hopefully release before the month is out so keep your eyes peeled.

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