The Dragon King
Happy Days are Here Again! 
Monday, February 11, 2008, 04:38 AM
With the exception of those two or three settings that'll require keyboard/hi-score mode input to set the skinner is now complete! I have no doubt that when this release comes out we'll find a bug or two though as there's simply too many settings for me to catch everything, even with my own testing.

I've gotten a couple of posts saying a keyboard mode would be useful, so I'll add it and have an option to turn it off in the frontend.ini so that it doesn't interfere with the hi-score style input. How I'll set it up is you highlight a setting and press enter (regardless of your input mappings) and up pops a dialog box. You type normally, having full use of the backspace key incase you make a mistake. Pressing enter again will change the setting and rturn you to the menu your were in while pressing escape will cancel. Due to complications, the arrow keys and delete keys will NOT work in keyboard mode. Fair enough?

I'm tired of doing stupid functions so I'll probably take a break for a few days, but I'll make a post as soon as I get started again. Tomorrow I might put up a quick skinning tutorial just to give you an idea of how to make a simple skin from start to finish.

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Time for a quick update...... 
Saturday, February 9, 2008, 01:00 AM - Dragon King
Ok the internal skinner is just about done at this point. I need to add in two more random settings, implement some way to edit custom lists (which involves thinking about how to add the interface more than anything else) and clean up the menus in general. On thing that still needs implemented for two or three settings is the ability to type text for captions and such. The idea is that I'll use the "high score" navigation that dk currently uses to search for games in that up and down cycles through the letters and left and right changes postion, like when you enter a high score on a video game. I could also add a directy keyboard method I think, but I dunno if anyone would find it useful. I'd appreciate some feedback on that one.... do you guys think using a keyboard to edit settings is a viable option?


I'd say I'm on track for getting it done by the end of the weekend like I said in the last entry! This means I can get to fixing some of the more interesting features, which means you get a preview of some of the more interesting features!
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UGH! (Part 3) 
Wednesday, February 6, 2008, 10:15 PM - Dragon King
Yup, still working on the skinner. Yup, it still sucks. I had some serious issues getting some of the list options to work, but those seem to be fixed, so I can add the remaining options and finally put that behind me. I'm not getting in any hurry on this part though (as it is extremely boring) so don't expect me to post something new until next week. The skinner anoyances have put me about a week or so behind, so the release might end up being slighty after the end of this month, but not by much. In the mean time, stay tuned for more updates as they arrive.
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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.

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