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Author Topic: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release  (Read 802 times)

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DrakeTungsten

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Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« on: November 07, 2017, 07:18:20 pm »
I'v been working on this front end for a year, and feel it's far enough along to release it for feedback, and in case it suits anybody else's needs. You can read the documentation here http://draketungsten.github.io/noquarter/readme.html You can download it here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ezg9njv87ydhci2/NoQuarter.7z?dl=0. The download has an executable compiled for 64-bit Windows. My PC is Windows 7 and it runs fine on that, but that's all the testing I currently have access to.

A 32-bit Windows version is now included in the download. To use it, copy the files from the nq-32 folder up one level to the main NoQuarter folder, over-writing the existing files. I still hope to have Linux compatability done by the end of this month.

I have no aptitude for graphical design, and really have no interest in glitter and shine in a front end, so No Quarter is bare-bones, graphically speaking. It is intended to be used with CRTs at 640 * 480, but it is customizable so that you can use it at whatever resolution you like.  The first page of the documentation I linked to gives a good overview of its features. I would appreciate any feedback, and if anybody would be interested in using it, except it's missing such-and-such feature, I will strongly consider adding it.

The download includes data and a configuration to run a demo, so you can unzip and run the executable right away to see if the program appeals to you. The demo does not include any roms or emulators, but looks and acts just like it would if the 60 or so included "fake" games were actual roms on your PC. One feature worth mentioning right away is that you can combine the games run from different emulators into the same list. I'm not sure why that's such a rare feature, but it's my understanding that this should be a big selling point in NQ's favor. 
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 11:13:06 am by DrakeTungsten »

yotsuya

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Re: Front End - No Quarter - Alpha Release
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 12:56:06 pm »
I know weve bumped heads in the past, but I commend you for being able to do something like this. Im always impressed when guys code stuff for the hobby on their own from scratch. Kudos to you.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - No Quarter - Alpha Release
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 03:21:05 pm »
I appreciate the encouragement, and your general enthusiasm for the hobby. Thanks.

haynor666

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 04:52:43 am »
One question - does your frontend support switching from horizontal to vertical mode on the fly ?

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 07:32:10 am »
No, but I will definitely make an effort to add that if you think the rest of the program appeals to you.

A warning, though: It would require some more work on the end user's part, to configure the lay-out for the second orientation. I'm guessing you monitor-rotating folks use widescreens. No Quarter probably looks best at a boxy 4:3 aspect ratio. I have no experience with screen rotating, and certainly no experience with how other front-ends handle it, but if you don't mind the front end being pillar-boxed when the screen is horizontal, and then letter-boxed when it's vertical, then that won't be a problem. This isn't to say you can't horizontally or vertically expand, or horizontally or vertically  shrink, screen elements as desired, but too much of that kind of thing probably doesn't look too good.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 07:45:17 am by DrakeTungsten »

haynor666

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 07:41:08 am »
I'm using CRT TV and I'm rotating it manually.

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2017, 07:44:13 am »
Cool, then it's going to be a generally boxy aspect ratio either way.

Is there any magic that makes the OS know that the screen has been rotated? IOW, if you rotate, then exit out of your games and front-ends, is your desktop off by 90 degrees?

Is rotation always in the same direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise)?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 07:46:11 am by DrakeTungsten »

haynor666

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 01:13:05 pm »
Classic 4:3 or 3:4 would fine. After all it's standard TV with 640x480 used for frontend.
I'm not rotating desktop, only frontend (if frontend  have such option, F.E.E.L. have it, MAMEWAH does not) and groovymame. I'm rotating counter clockwise.

I'll try set up You frontend in next 2 days. Basically just like You I din't need any fancy tricks, just one single screen with names, screenshots , controller configuration (as picture) and some basic info about game. In the past I used AttractMode, MAMEWAH and F.E.E.L but of this was good enough to keep it forever although F.E.E.L was very close (it crash offen with groovymame).
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 01:16:19 pm by haynor666 »

baritonomarchetto

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 03:49:01 am »
Never ever had any issue with FEEL and groovymame... You should report to the author some crash log to let him see if it's a software issue.

haynor666

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 08:12:44 am »
Looking at http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,145933.0.html You will see that I already reported this years ago. Sadly despite great effort from Dr Prodigy this is issue was never resolved 100%. It's really sad because F.E.E.L. had everything I expect from frontend.
You are using LCD or arcade monitor ?

I'm going to build by PC from scratch so I'll test F.E.E.L. again (but after Calamity publish new ATI driver for windows 7) and see how this works with switching resolutions on the fly.

DrakeTungsten, why Your frontend eats 250 mb of memory and why one core of my processor is fully loaded even if emulator is loaded ???
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 11:21:38 am by haynor666 »

baritonomarchetto

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2017, 01:54:40 am »
I am using a CRT:  the other is not an option for me :D

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2017, 07:31:44 am »
DrakeTungsten, why Your frontend eats 250 mb of memory and why one core of my processor is fully loaded even if emulator is loaded ???
As I say in the first page of the documentation, I know that it is memory hungry (you need about 3-4 MB per game, for both RAM and video card memory), and that is one of the items I am working on to improve. The processor issue is new to me - it is not something I encountered myself.  What processor do you have?

haynor666

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2017, 07:35:07 am »
4670k

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 11:04:07 am »
The processor issue has been sorted out. The download link in the first post contains the fixed version. It also includes a windows 32-bit executable. I included less game images for the demo in the new download, so it should take up slightly less memory too (and is also now a smaller download). I originally tried to balance out including a decent number of game images so other users would have images available for the most popular games, while keeping the number of images small enough that you wouldn't have more images than you bargained for. Now I just have enough images to populate a handful of rom lists (just enough so that the demo has stuff to demonstrate with), and will probably create a separate image pack available for download for those who decide they want to use my program and would appreciate having a good collection of starting images.

Now that I've looked into it, I definitely want to add support for screen rotation. I plan to make it a more general "change layout" feature, and have a "rotation" field be part of the layout definitions.

I have found a way or two to decrease memory usage, but it will take some time to implement.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 11:08:49 am by DrakeTungsten »

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2017, 03:17:32 pm »
I cut down memory usage by 2/3, so NQ now requires about 1 MB per game. Which I know still sounds high, but it's a big improvement from before. The download link in the first post points to the latest version.

DrakeTungsten

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Re: Front End - "No Quarter" - Alpha Release
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2017, 11:39:29 pm »
The download link now has these improvements:

Memory usage is now entirely reasonable, and is not even remotely measured in MB per game. 

The new version now plays well with space names in your paths and files.

The animations in the demo would not have worked unless you happened to put NQ at the root of your C: drive. I replaced the absolute paths for the animations with relative paths.

  
 

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