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Author Topic: controls.xml outdated  (Read 19755 times)

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danfman

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controls.xml outdated
« on: September 03, 2008, 04:07:24 pm »
Is it just me or does controls.xml seem really outdated.  Does anyone have any knowledge of a new file or any attempts to update it?
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TheShanMan

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 06:39:44 pm »
I submitted spy hunter like a month ago and the submission still shows as pending. :hissy: There's a lot of out of date info in there that I'd like to start correcting, but obviously I'm not going to work on it if I have to wait forever just to see if it gets accepted.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 10:15:40 pm »
what would it take to wiki-ize it?
It's a pretty big file, but maybe it could be broken into #, a-z into separate pages, and then have some sort of application that could merge it all together and present it as 1 file to someone wanting to download it?  that's out of my realm, but should be doable.  Then anyone could pop in and update it.  I've found that wiki's that are open to the public are very rarely sabotaged with incorrect data, and with the revision history, it's pretty easy to see what was changed and can be reverted if damaged.

for what it's worth, there is a log file of all the missing roms (as of mame 120 or so) available here:

http://www.waste.org/~winkles/ROMLister/mergelog.txt




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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 07:51:51 am »
The original page (fe.donkeyfly.com) seen to been gone.

So this need to been moved to new server and take over the project. One of the original authors have also leaved this scene.

I also think clones should been seperated (there are a lots of clones listed), since most controls is the same anyway and hence not listed in the file.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2008, 09:49:26 am »
here's the same list with the clones removed. (easy to filter out using DOS's find command)

http://www.waste.org/~winkles/ROMLister/noclones.txt

I have web space for hosting the finished file, but I don't have any mysql or other database support available for making it a wiki or other interactive "upload your changes" type website. 

We really need a web geek.  Anyone?


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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2008, 10:11:53 am »
We really need a web geek.  Anyone?

I think it would be relatively easy to write an app to do this. In fact for a while I have been thinking of writing an app similar to ColorsIni which helped me automate the process of entering color data for games. I see a few benefits for writing an app to help with this, as it could use the default control info generated from Mame. It could have all the controls in comboboxes to choose from and it could also show the CP image while you scroll through games to help identify the labels for the game, also you could have the ability to launch Mame to actually test the controls as well as copying & pasting controls from game to game. Since Controls.Dat is designed to only have parent ROMs a program could also filter out the clones.

The reason why I think a local app would be better is from my experience you will have more chance finding one person who will be dedicated enough to go through and update the data accurately and reliably (and someone who knows Mame controls well of course). The time and effort involved in managing a website to accept entries from anyone in my opinion will not work very well (and infact is what SirPoonga has said already). And it's not because it's a hard thing to do, writing a html form that will post data somewhere is easy to do, it's finding people to enter the data that's the hard part. When I wrote ColorsIni noone wanted to help at the time so I spent about 4 hours straight (destroying a mouse in the process) and got it done myself. So I think the best way to get this done is to write a program to automate the process and I think ColorsIni would be a good start.

If we can find a dedicated person willing to do it then it might be worth writing the app to help do it.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 10:19:10 am by headkaze »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2008, 01:17:59 pm »
Like the idea of the app.

...Since Controls.Dat is designed to only have parent ROMs...

IIRC, controls.dat assumed that clones had the same inputs as parents, but was able to do clones that had different inputs than parents.  A couple examples with clone different than parent: cabal (TB vs bootleg joystick & extra button), harddrivin (analog shifter vs "compact" cab's digital shifter).

edit: looks like clones w/ different inputs was in the todo list?

Quote
...If we can find a dedicated person willing to do it then it might be worth writing the app to help do it.

Dedicated and IMO "truth" oriented.  I like control.dat's "must be verified" rule.  Some people less "truth" oriented wanted to fill in unverified button names with generic ones.  While I don't mind place holders like that, place holders often get used as if they are real data.

I'm very interested, but I doubt I'm dedicated enough to keep it going for the required years.  :-\
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2008, 03:39:15 pm »
I submitted spy hunter like a month ago and the submission still shows as pending.
I see it.  However, you have no proof.

One goal of controls.dat is to have accurate information so we require documentation.  A picture of the control panel, the manual, something.

Anyone can update the entries.  It just needs to be reviewed for accuracy.

HowardC and I have not left the scene or abandoned the project.  It's more like community left the project.  Since people haven't been submitting data it hasn't been worth the effort to maintain.

I also haven't had the time lately.  My weekends have been busy for the last two months.

Quote
edit: looks like clones w/ different inputs was in the todo list?
Yeah, again, with a sudden drop off of community help I haven't had the motivation to add new features.  Controls.dat is designed to support the entire mame rom set.  It's the website that doesn't support clones right now.

If someone wants host it and take over talk to me.  The data is stored in a mysql database.  I could easily export the data and send it along.  Now, finding the source for the site will take a bit, though I could always login and ftp it back.

Though I have been thinking about using the site to learn Silverlight with.  I think a slick Silverlihgt interface would be cool.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 03:42:01 pm by SirPoonga »

TheShanMan

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2008, 03:47:56 pm »
Not exactly sure what you need, since control panel pictures are readily available. I think a good definition of "proof" needs to be available there. Here's one cp pic: http://www.mameworld.net/maws/img/cpanel/spyhunt.png. Is that enough?
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SirPoonga

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2008, 03:57:49 pm »
Not exactly sure what you need, since control panel pictures are readily available. I think a good definition of "proof" needs to be available there. Here's one cp pic: http://www.mameworld.net/maws/img/cpanel/spyhunt.png. Is that enough?
The FAQ should explain the submitting process.  Unfortunately the site is down now...

Proof is anything that is readable (control panel pic, manual) that tells you what the button should be labeled as or it's action.  For example, the thumb buttons on the spy hunter yoke do not have labels.  We still need to know what it does.  Now, it is a popular game, you might say duh it's the fire button.  The problem, we found, is what people think is common knowledge about what a button does in a game is not necessarily the correct label.  The goal of controls.dat is to be as accurate as it can be so you can label the controls mame says the game has.

SirPoonga

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2008, 04:07:20 pm »
Another option is I could add someone as an admin to the forum which also grants you the right to review submissions.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2008, 04:39:56 pm »
How about granting me the right? ;) :laugh2:
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2008, 05:10:10 pm »
So I checked the Spy Hunter manual and see no reference to which button is which. Are you saying that if NO documentation (proof) can be found then it will NEVER be admitted into controls.dat? If so, I think that's a real shame and perhaps is partly why support from the community has fallen off.

In addition, I have noticed that a fair amount of the information in controls.dat (the additional info, not the button labels) is incorrect - I assume due to changes in mame after the time it was submitted. It's too bad that controls.dat won't accept unproven (yet most likely correct) new submissions, but hasn't been as diligent about weeding out obsolete information that's already there.

It's almost like we need an official controls.dat which only contains proven information, and an unofficial controls.dat which contains all of that, plus the unproven information. Obviously one would hope that over time the unofficial entries would be proven to be correct, thus resulting in promotion to the official version. Seems like that would energize the community with regard to bringing it more up to date.

To me, since I use CPWizard, no information is pretty much just as bad as incorrect information, so I'd certainly take the chance on that if there was an unofficial controls.dat.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2008, 06:03:35 pm »
that is a good idea. In My FE, I could read the unofficial first and then the confirmed one. That make sure official which I assume is best entry is best. The user would have the possible to use the unofficial one (which could called betas or such).

And yes comments might been outdated due the driver can have been fixed or changed.

So yes, I think TheShanMan is correctly here....
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2008, 07:15:18 pm »
Actually I figured the unofficial would contain all official entries plus unofficial entries, so as a user you'd only need one or the other depending on preference. I figure all records in the "master database" would need a flag indicating whether they're official or unofficial. And both versions of the controls.dat file would need that as well so a FE or CP app or whatever could indicate in some way whether or not it is "proven" information. Once a record is proven, the flag gets toggled. The official dat would filter out the unofficial record, and the unofficial dat would be unfiltered.

Of course, sometimes for a given game there would be both an official record and an unofficial one. In that case, the official dat would have the official record and the unofficial dat would have the unofficial record.

At least that's my vision. :)
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2008, 02:23:18 am »
I'm very interested, but I doubt I'm dedicated enough to keep it going for the required years.  :-\

I think our main goal at the moment should be to get it updated to the current version of Mame. I've started writing the app and quite a ways through already (using alot of code from CPWizard and ColorsIni) so I should have a beta ready in the next few days. I'll PM you about it soon.

SirPoonga: Can I somehow get the latest ControlsDat developers kit off you? I can only seem to find an old copy and I'm not sure if somethings changed. Also it would be great to get a hold of Controls.xml if you have done any more updates since 0.111.3? Also it would be handy to be able to check out the form you had for entering controls.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 03:00:51 am by headkaze »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2008, 08:04:45 pm »
If that was the latest on site you have it.  The fe dev kit and xml was all generate on site.

What's out of date?

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2008, 09:10:51 pm »
SirPoonga, I was hoping you'd respond to my idea - would you be in support of an unofficial controls.dat and the promotion of records to the official version upon proof (see prior posts for more detail)?

I'd bet that one way or another some sort of unofficial controls.dat will happen due to demand. I would hope it would happen with your blessing and tight integration with the controls.dat engine, rather than by forking in a way which is less beneficial in the long run to the official controls.dat.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2008, 09:57:39 am »
I figure I might as well chime in here seeing as LEDBlinky relies on the controls.dat data. For LEDBlinky's purposes, I feel it's more important to cover as many games as possible regardless of the pure authenticity. Programs like LEDBlinky and CPWizard are designed to help play the games - so whether a button is spoken or labeled as "bomb" or "nuke bomb" is not really important as long as the user knows what the button does. That said, I do feel we should retain an official (verified) set of data as a reference. But I like ShanMan's concept of an amended (unofficial) version of the data for use by apps such as LEDBlinky and others.

Headkaze - count me in if you need help with the data entry app or supporting the data.
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headkaze

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2008, 06:24:03 pm »
Okay here are some screenshots of the app I'm writing. It is coming along really well and actually nearly ready to go.

It has some features that should help with data entry such as:

- Shows which games have a ControlsDat entry, which don't and also shows parent ControlsDat info for clones.
- Filter the list, showing only ControlsDat games, all games or parents only
- Sort games by any column including Name, ROM, Source, CloneOf, RomOf, Parent, Constants, Controls, NumPlayers, NumButtons, Alternating, Mirrored, UsesService, Tilt, Cocktail and MiscDetails.
- Launch the game directly for testing
- View the control panel
- I am intigrating colors.ini so the color data can be filled in at the same time and this will also be included in future Controls.Dat releases. You can select from color swatches or pick a color from the CP and it will select the closest color in the swatch
- Copy/Paste/Delete Controls.Dat entries so you can copy entries that are the same such as mahjong games etc.
- View Dip Switches for games which can help determine if it has cocktail mode, alternating game play and services.
- I'm also considering adding the ability use the dip switches and default Mame data to help create a default ControlsDat entry for a game. So when you create a new one all the data found in Mame is used to start you off, then you can add/remove/edit controls as you need.
- I will also probably add a flag which can be used to set a game to "Verified or UnVerified" so you can just quickly enter a game and flag it as UnVerified to look at it later.
- Finally it will have an "Export Controls.xml" and probably the old format as well. I will probably also add the ability to export only verified games or to include unverified.
- I may have the ability to upload entries to a website and Tom Speirs has mentioned he is happy to host any webspace needed for this project. But really I am mostly aiming for a pure offline data entry program that will be used by a dedicated person who is willing to spend the time to update the entire dat file rather than having multiple people and all the problems with verifying and maintaining that data.

Anyway here are some screenshots. I want u_rebelscum to check it out when it's done as he's one of the most knowledgable persons about Mame controls (and my No. 1 choice for doing the first update to the current Mame version). If people have any ideas on how to improve on it feel free to let me know but I will make an official post about it when it's finished.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 06:33:09 pm by headkaze »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2008, 06:45:24 pm »
wow.
All I can say is amazing work, and I wish I had your skills/freetime/dedication to this.  How you're able to juggle this and all the other apps you do is beyond me.  Hopefully this will really kickstart things and make it so easy, a caveman could do it.

It would be great to get an overview/instructions for simpletons such as myself on how exactly to fill in all the data, what stuff should be filled in, and where to go looking for information if we don't have 1st hand info.


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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2008, 07:01:26 pm »
wow.
All I can say is amazing work, and I wish I had your skills/freetime/dedication to this.  How you're able to juggle this and all the other apps you do is beyond me.  Hopefully this will really kickstart things and make it so easy, a caveman could do it.

It would be great to get an overview/instructions for simpletons such as myself on how exactly to fill in all the data, what stuff should be filled in, and where to go looking for information if we don't have 1st hand info.

If you coded in C# rather than C++ you would probably have the benefit of rapid development that the .NET namespaces provide. It really does make short work of projects like this, although I have classes I reuse all the time. Like I'm re-using code from CPWizard, Colors.Ini and GameEx DBM all in this project.

I'm going to need help with this as well because I'd like to automate as much of this process as I can. Data entry can be boring so the more things I can automate the better. Where do people go to find info? What other info can I use to help the user determine the controls? Playing the game or viewing the game's CP is one way, and using the dip switches is another way. Are there resources on the Net where control info/labels can be found? Is there an online database I can grab data from?

Also I was curious what UseServices means? Is it the same as the "Service Mode" in the dip switches? So if it has a "Service Mode" dipswitch can I assume the "UseServices" should be set?

Here is some dipswitch data I got from Mame's output. I will be using data like this to help determine Alternate and Cocktail modes, I just wonder if the "Service Mode" is the same thing as UseServices?

Code: [Select]
<dipswitch name="Alternate Controls">
<dipvalue name="Off" default="yes"/>
<dipvalue name="On"/>
</dipswitch>

<dipswitch name="Service Mode">
<dipvalue name="Off" default="yes"/>
<dipvalue name="On"/>
</dipswitch>

<dipswitch name="Cabinet">
<dipvalue name="Upright" default="yes"/>
<dipvalue name="Cocktail"/>
</dipswitch>
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 07:09:29 pm by headkaze »

SirPoonga

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2008, 07:23:59 pm »
I'm going to need help with this as well because I'd like to automate as much of this process as I can. Data entry can be boring so the more things I can automate the better. Where do people go to find info? What other info can I use to help the user determine the controls? Playing the game or viewing the game's CP is one way, and using the dip switches is another way. Are there resources on the Net where control info/labels can be found? Is there an online database I can grab data from?
That's partly why controls.dat started, there wasn't a good central location for that type of information.

Quote
Also I was curious what UseServices means? Is it the same as the "Service Mode" in the dip switches? So if it has a "Service Mode" dipswitch can I assume the "UseServices" should be set?
There's a bunch of gotchas in mame you have to watch out for.  In controls.dat, if I recall (since the site is down I don't know off hand), playchoice 10 uses service buttons which are not normal buttons.  That entry is hard coded because it didn't fit well with the way everything else in mame works.

This is where some of the "inaccuracies" come from.  I know there are games that just have a singe fire button but controls.dat says it has two.  That's what mame reports.  if you research the game it actually had two buttons that did the same actions.  It's stupid but they had seperate buttons on each side of the joystick (for lefties and righties) wired to their own pins on the board.  They could have just wired the buttons in parallel.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 07:28:33 pm by SirPoonga »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2008, 07:30:33 pm »
SirPoonga, I was hoping you'd respond to my idea - would you be in support of an unofficial controls.dat and the promotion of records to the official version upon proof (see prior posts for more detail)?
Unofficial is fine. People wanted me to add the color information to proect.  The reason I didn't is because there are so few games that had specific colors for buttons it wasn't worth the effort to add it.  That's the perfect thing as an individual project.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2008, 09:27:29 pm »
SirPoonga, I was hoping you'd respond to my idea - would you be in support of an unofficial controls.dat and the promotion of records to the official version upon proof (see prior posts for more detail)?
Unofficial is fine. People wanted me to add the color information to proect.  The reason I didn't is because there are so few games that had specific colors for buttons it wasn't worth the effort to add it.  That's the perfect thing as an individual project.

Glad to hear it. Then I would hope that whatever is done to promote the concept of an unofficial controls.dat will also have a mechanism for submission to the official controls.dat. I just don't want to see the official one get neglected to the point of obsolescence if the unofficial one becomes very popular, because I do see value in the approach taken with the official one. And any new features (like colors) I would hope to see shared between the two if possible.

Headkaze, will the generated controls.xml files have some sort of flag indicating whether a record is official or unofficial? Do you think it would be beneficial for apps like CPW to have the ability to differentiate between official and unofficial as a means to convey trustworthiness of the data?
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2008, 10:21:47 pm »
Headkaze, will the generated controls.xml files have some sort of flag indicating whether a record is official or unofficial? Do you think it would be beneficial for apps like CPW to have the ability to differentiate between official and unofficial as a means to convey trustworthiness of the data?

Already implementing this as mentioned earlier in my post about the software, I'm adding a flag called "Verified". All the current data will be called verified, and new data will have the ability to be flaged as Verified or not. This software really takes the Controls.Dat project from a public project to a private one and I think it will have more chance of being maintained that way. Once we get an update to the current Mame version we will have someone (or a couple of people) maintaining it. Then if someone decides they don't have the time we can move it on to someone else. But I think we want people who are clued up on the Mame controls to maintain it. The verified flag is really not that important though, and it's really only to display to the author that the controls probably need to looked at and tested more, or that the official labels are not known so labels are guessed and what not. An explaination as to why it's not verified can probably be added to MiscDetails.

The program will have a working data set with the ability to export to Controls.xml with an option to include verified games or not. So there will be two versions released to the public; Controls.xml (All Data) and Controls.xml (Verified Only). I think that should ensure that both the integrity of the data can be maintained as well as getting as many games added as possible.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2008, 10:51:57 pm »
That sounds excellent, but it sounds like you're suggesting someone take the verified controls.dat project over, and I'm not sure SirPoonga is on board with that? Or are you suggesting that he would take charge of the verified AND unverified projects?
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2008, 12:22:01 am »
I think saint is suggesting to host the project here.  I'm trying to get the site back online so I can grab the data.

I found a backup of the data from march.  Since not much happened that is probably fine.

I could easily add a verified attribute to the format.

You know what controls.dat needs, what slows down updating it.  I use mamediff to determine roms that were renamed, removed, etc...  I need a program that can compare the output of two listxml's and find the control changes.  I see asteroids is now buttons.  When it was added to controls.dat they mapped the directions to the joystick.  That's why asteroids lists a joystick in controls.dat.

Listxml is getting huge.  None of my xml editting tools can open it.  It wouldn't be hard.  In theory the xml node isn't going to change unless they reorganize.  So a simple test to see if the text changed would be enough.  I might be able to modify my tool that creates the sql statements to update the website to also check for input changes.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 12:45:27 am by SirPoonga »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2008, 02:14:50 am »
SirPoonga: I thought the website was closed down because of lack of public support ??? I didn't realise it was only down temporarily. I was looking at taking over the project with an offline version maintained using the new software I'm writing. Seeing how it's been so long since the last update perhaps we should try this approach? I'm also adding in colors.ini to the file so that will mean it will conflict with the online version. People are only going to want to support the one format.

So I feel like I'm stuck here not knowing what to do. I was pretty much thinking it was going to have to go this way to keep the project going. So what now? How much data is there that has been added to the website ready to be added to a new version? If there is nothing then I'll just take the current version and start from there. Are you happy for me to continue on with this SirPoonga? I was hoping u_rebelscum was going to have a go at doing a large update using the software or do you want to try out my program yourself?

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2008, 05:32:01 am »
There's a bunch of gotchas in mame you have to watch out for.  In controls.dat, if I recall (since the site is down I don't know off hand), playchoice 10 uses service buttons which are not normal buttons.  That entry is hard coded because it didn't fit well with the way everything else in mame works.

This is where some of the "inaccuracies" come from.  I know there are games that just have a singe fire button but controls.dat says it has two.  That's what mame reports.  if you research the game it actually had two buttons that did the same actions.  It's stupid but they had separate buttons on each side of the joystick (for lefties and righties) wired to their own pins on the board.  They could have just wired the buttons in parallel.

Only Mario Bros is they Play Choice game use one button, all other use 2 buttons (based on games that is on klov.com). Just look on the help screen, what the buttons does. These games is based on NES hardware which have 2 buttons.


headkaze: does any fe actuelly use colors.ini? If Yes you need to still have a seperated version to fit these fe.... But a joined version would been very fine.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2008, 09:20:23 am »
headkaze: does any fe actuelly use colors.ini? If Yes you need to still have a seperated version to fit these fe.... But a joined version would been very fine.

I believe that only headkaze's apps and LEDBlinky use colors.ini. I'm more than happy to mod LEDBlinky to use a single source for controls and colors!  :)
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2008, 12:29:39 pm »
SirPoonga: I thought the website was closed down because of lack of public support ??? I didn't realise it was only down temporarily. I was looking at taking over the project with an offline version maintained using the new software I'm writing. Seeing how it's been so long since the last update perhaps we should try this approach? I'm also adding in colors.ini to the file so that will mean it will conflict with the online version. People are only going to want to support the one format.

So I feel like I'm stuck here not knowing what to do. I was pretty much thinking it was going to have to go this way to keep the project going. So what now? How much data is there that has been added to the website ready to be added to a new version? If there is nothing then I'll just take the current version and start from there. Are you happy for me to continue on with this SirPoonga? I was hoping u_rebelscum was going to have a go at doing a large update using the software or do you want to try out my program yourself?
First, I don't know why the website is down.  I was logged in a couple weeks ago.
Second, how does colors.ini conflict with it.  Isn't it a seperate file?

Like I said, I can add someone as an admin to controls.dat if they want to review submissions.  It's actually quite easy.  I do two things, I check the resource to see if it is valid and I can read the labels on the control panel.  Then I check mame to make sure all of the controls mame says is listed.  Make changes if needed and accept it.

Since the site is down I can't answer many questions because I haven't looked at the code an database in sometime.

I could add a verified checkbox when accepting a submission which will then add a verified attribute.

I could add in some code to import data.  I could take the output of your program and add new entries, just flag them as not verified.


Only Mario Bros is they Play Choice game use one button, all other use 2 buttons (based on games that is on klov.com). Just look on the help screen, what the buttons does. These games is based on NES hardware which have 2 buttons.
You missed my point.  I believe the UseService in controls.dat indicated games that use the service buttons.  These are the buttons that allow you to switch games.  See the lixtxml output from the game, service is yes
<input players="2" buttons="2" coins="2" service="yes">
   <control type="joy8way"/>
</input>
If I remember correctly that is what this is for.  But they don;t list how many service buttons and what they are for.  I think we had to look at the mame source code to figure that out.  I don;t have a controls.xml right now.  What is the playch10 entry?

There are games people have complained to me about that they only have one button.  What the manufacture did was put a button on the right and left of the joystick and wired them as separate buttons.  So technically the game has two buttons that do the same thing.

My point of that post is you have to realize controls.dat may not be as out of date as some people think.  Yeah, asteroids finally is proper and only lists buttons.  That will need updating.  But some things people complain about are not inaccurate.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2008, 03:12:55 pm »
I just looked in the file controls.ini:

1. The service buttons is listed in the controls.ini (which I use) as separate buttons (as SERVICEx= entry), but is not counted as a in-game button. But since you can't switch a game in Mame (which only emulate one game inserted as I known), they are not really useable anyway. So I think its pretty correct. I do see all games should got listed, so they got better label?

2. I see also many entry listed number of buttons used in the PCB and NOT the game its self? I think that wrong, I see mirrored buttons should not count (as these games would been playable with a one joystick + one button panels). Examples is:

- Galaga '88 (the file contain PCB have 3 inputs and the control panel used a 8 way joystick, but the game itself really only use a 2-way Joystick with one button).
- Beels & Whistles (both buttons does the same = no need to list as a 2 button game).
- Air Buster (both buttons does the same = no need to list as a 2 button game).

So its still have been some inaccurate and should been corrected....

To the last the Headkaze utility is a good one to check all entries in a great user interface. I think clones could been marked as "use parent", if the controls is the same?
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2008, 04:31:00 pm »
My point of that post is you have to realize controls.dat may not be as out of date as some people think.  Yeah, asteroids finally is proper and only lists buttons.  That will need updating.  But some things people complain about are not inaccurate.

If you're including my comments about inaccuracy there, what I have noticed is the miscellaneous field sometimes has outdated information. I don't recall off the top of my head what the examples are, but if you want to know so it can be corrected, I could try to find those.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2008, 04:38:20 pm »
SigPoonga: Okay if your still going to be running the project, then I think I should make sure my app will work alongside the online project. So say someone uses my software and adds a whole bunch of entries, will you merge that Controls.xml into yours or do you want me to add the ability to import/merge an external Controls.xml? I think you will find my software very helpful, so I think I will add importing anyway. Also I propose we combine colors.ini and add a "Status" tags. I say the Status can be Verified="1" or Verified="0". I can also add the ability to work with that as well.

If a label doesn't have a color entry I think the tag should not be in the xml.

So here is an entry, note the added "Status" tag and "Color" attribute for labels:

Code: [Select]
<Game RomName="1942" GameName="1942 (set 1)" NumPlayers="2" Alternating="1" Mirrored="1" UsesService="0" Tilt="0" Cocktail="1">
<Status Verified="1" />
<MiscDetails />
<Player Number="1" NumButtons="2">
  <Controls>
<Control Name="8-way Joystick">
 <Constant Name="joy8way" />
</Control>
  </Controls>
  <Labels>
<Label Name="P1_BUTTON1" Value="Fire" Color="Red" />
<Label Name="P1_BUTTON2" Value="Loop" Color="White" />
<Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_UP" Value="Up" Color="Red" />
<Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_DOWN" Value="Down" Color="Red" />
<Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_LEFT" Value="Left" Color="Red" />
<Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_RIGHT" Value="Right" Color="Red" />
  </Labels>
</Player>
</Game>

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2008, 06:18:48 pm »
1. The service buttons is listed in the controls.ini (which I use) as separate buttons (as SERVICEx= entry), but is not counted as a in-game button. But since you can't switch a game in Mame (which only emulate one game inserted as I known), they are not really useable anyway. So I think its pretty correct. I do see all games should got listed, so they got better label?
Isn't one of the service buttons to put it in test mode or for sometype of setup.  It;s been a long time since I looked at it.

Quote
2. I see also many entry listed number of buttons used in the PCB and NOT the game its self? I think that wrong, I see mirrored buttons should not count (as these games would been playable with a one joystick + one button panels). Examples is:
This is where it's tough to judge between accuracy and usability.  This is where an unofficial control.dat would be useful.  If you were making a front end and you asked mame for the controls information it will return 2 buttons.  You then use controls.dat to figure out what to label those buttons.

Quote
To the last the Headkaze utility is a good one to check all entries in a great user interface. I think clones could been marked as "use parent", if the controls is the same?
The controls.dat file supports clones.  I always have said if someone wants to add a clone give me the information and I will hard code it.  The submission form doesn't support clones.  there are far fewer clones that don't have the same controls as the parent so it is more viable to just add them to controls.dat.

this is also why I don't think colors.ini should be in controls.dat.  There's like less then 5% of the games in mame have specific colored buttons.  The FE developer could combine them at runtime if he likes.

Let me get a website going again for the project and we will figure out where to go from there.  Good news is I found a backup of the site's php.  I have a database backup from this last march.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 06:40:01 pm by SirPoonga »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2008, 06:44:04 pm »
Personally I do like colors in controls.dat, since they have something with controls to do.... Any Fe's that doesn't support that would just ignore that.

For accuracy and useability, I think a new argument is needed (for asteroids example):

<Player Number="1" NumButtons="5" MinButtons="3">

Layouts for unused buttons is then ignored (here button 4 and 5).

miscDetails could then state about how the deficient about the 3 buttons and 5 buttons layout.

I think in that way more games would been playable when they begin to filter out games based on number of buttons with the minimum required buttons (if mame example list unused buttons which can been filtered out).

NB. in MultiFE (which currently not support this file yet) I would use controls.dat weighted higher than mame outout, if mame contain some inaccuracy about number of buttons, due to the driver used. I think this was the whole points of this project.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2008, 09:37:59 pm »
Okay my little app has been released to check out.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2008, 11:24:21 pm »
<Player Number="1" NumButtons="5" MinButtons="3">

That's a possibility.

I'm thinking about using controls.dat to learn Silverlight.  It won't take much to add something like verified and two different button numbers.  I could add hat quick and then look at rewriting the site.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2008, 11:26:32 pm »
That's a possibility.

I'm thinking about using controls.dat to learn Silverlight.  It won't take much to add something like verified and two different button numbers.  I could add hat quick and then look at rewriting the site.

I hope my work over the weekend hasn't been in vein  :o

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2008, 11:53:12 pm »
I hope my work over the weekend hasn't been in vein  :o
No, it won't.  There still needs to be a way on the website to add and update entries.  Like I said, once I get a website going we'll see what happens from there.  I will look into being able to upload output from your program to add unverified entries to the website.

Once I get the website up and going again I plan on adding verified and the two numbers thing.  I also plan on indicating if the listxml input section changed for a rom.  Those game should get high priority for updating then since they were already added but mame changed.

Your program is not a replacement for the website.  It's an add-on.  There's a bunch of stuff your program doesn't do.  When I update the website to a new version of mame I use the output from mamediff, catver, and listxml to do a bunch of things like handling deleted games and renamed games.


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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2008, 12:16:09 am »
Thanks good to know SirPoonga :) Keep in contact and we'll get it done! I'm also interested in learning SilverLight so if you need any help with the server side code let me know.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2008, 12:19:38 am »
This post is just me thinking out loud.

When I get the controls.dat website back up and going I am going to make some changes.  I will add a verified field.  Only approved people will be a able to verify the data.  

I will also add a "ButtonsUsed" attribute which indicates how many buttons are actually used.  I may have to add an attribute to the button to indicate it is used.  If we find a rom where it says it has 3 buttons but only buttons 1 and 3 are used we will need that.  Bu i will only add that if we ever come across that situation.

I am going to add the ability to upload a ControlsDAT program output.  I might limit this ability to approved people.  If i allow the public to do this I need to do a couple of things.  First, I can only allow one change of a rom at a time.  This mean if two or more people updated asteroid to 5 buttons on their local copy and upload the change I don't want to have to go through multiple entries for the same rom.  First come first serve for something like that.

When data from the progam is uploaded it will either add new entries as unverified or it will create an update submission if the rom already exists and is different.  Headkaze, it would help it your program could output only entries that differ from the official controls.dat file.  This includes additions and updates.

Colors can be added to controls.dat.  I am not going to modify the website forms to handle colors for now.  For now only headkaze's program can be used to update that information through uploads once I get that working.

This is going to take some time to complete.  Luckily summer is ending and I won't be as busy.

I am thinking of adding headkaze and urebel as admins to the controls.dat site.  This will give you the power to verify entries.

If I redo the site in Silverlight it will be MUCH easier to use.  I used the site to learn php.  I know .NET programming better than php.  I am currently learning WPF at work so this would help me at work also.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 12:24:48 am by SirPoonga »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2008, 12:24:03 am »
If I add colors to controls.dat here's what I need to know
1) what colors need to be added?
2) what are the rgb values.  These value should be in whatever form the popular led boards use.  This won't be in controls.dat, it will be a look up table that FE devs can use if they plan on controlling a led board.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2008, 12:37:18 am »
When data from the progam is uploaded it will either add new entries as unverified or it will create an update submission if the rom already exists and is different.  Headkaze, it would help it your program could output only entries that differ from the official controls.dat file.  This includes additions and updates.

When you create a new entry in my app it is defaulted to "UnVerified" status, so if people don't verify the games they add then it should be fine. Once they have added a bunch of entries they can just use Export->Xml (UnVerified) and upload that file and we know these are new games added.

I am thinking of adding headkaze and urebel as admins to the controls.dat site.  This will give you the power to verify entries.

I'm happy to help out, but I don't know jack about Mame controls. All I have is a basic two player, 7 button layout on my cab so I really am not qualified to verify entries, but I'm happy to help out "behind the scenes" with any code or whatever that's needed

If I add colors to controls.dat here's what I need to know
1) what colors need to be added?
2) what are the rgb values.  These value should be in whatever form the popular led boards use.  This won't be in controls.dat, it will be a look up table that FE devs can use if they plan on controlling a led board.

I can easily give you the rgb values but I just use standard .NET colors and here is the list:

Code: [Select]
public Color[] SwatchArray = new Color[]
{
Color.Black,
Color.White,
Color.Red,
Color.Yellow,
Color.Orange,
Color.Lime,
Color.Green,
Color.Cyan,
Color.Blue,
Color.Purple,
Color.Violet,
Color.Magenta,
Color.Brown
};

Hardware like the LEDWiz (which is the only hardware that can do colors at the moment) uses 49 levels of color for each red, green and blue value. So that is why I just have the colors stored in ControlsDat as color names as they will differ depending on the device.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #45 on: September 08, 2008, 12:52:33 am »
When you create a new entry in my app it is defaulted to "UnVerified" status, so if people don't verify the games they add then it should be fine. Once they have added a bunch of entries they can just use Export->Xml (UnVerified) and upload that file and we know these are new games added.
That would include anything unverified in the official controls.dat also.  I'd only want differences if that is possible.  If not that's fine.  I probably have to put the code in anyway to check if the adding entry exists or not. 

Quote
I'm happy to help out, but I don't know jack about Mame controls. All I have is a basic two player, 7 button layout on my cab so I really am not qualified to verify entries, but I'm happy to help out "behind the scenes" with any code or whatever that's needed
It's actually quite easy.  You look at the resource and see if the labels are clearly readable.  Then compare it to the listxml output to see if all the controls are there.

There are some instances where I need to look at the mame source code to see what is going on.  This is usually because the game has some complex control layout.  I can handle stuff like that.  But for games that are simple, games that just have joysticks and buttons, it's pretty easy to verify.

Quote
Hardware like the LEDWiz (which is the only hardware that can do colors at the moment) uses 49 levels of color for each red, green and blue value. So that is why I just have the colors stored in ControlsDat as color names as they will differ depending on the device.
Well, then I would love it or someone to tell me the LEDWiz values representing those colors.  It'd just be a look up table in the FEDev zip to make it easier for FE devs.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #46 on: September 08, 2008, 01:14:02 am »
Well, then I would love it or someone to tell me the LEDWiz values representing those colors.  It'd just be a look up table in the FEDev zip to make it easier for FE devs.

No problemo here they are:

RGB Values (R,G,B):

Code: [Select]
Black: 0,0,0
White: 255,255,255
Red: 255,0,0
Yellow: 255,255,0
Orange: 255,165,0
Lime: 0,255,0
Green: 0,128,0
Cyan: 0,255,255
Blue: 0,0,255
Purple: 128,0,128
Violet: 238,130,238
Magenta: 255,0,255
Brown: 165,42,42

LEDWiz Values:

Code: [Select]
Black: 0,0,0
White: 49,49,49
Red: 49,0,0
Yellow: 49,49,0
Orange: 49,31,0
Lime: 0,49,0
Green: 0,24,0
Cyan: 0,49,49
Blue: 0,0,49
Purple: 24,0,24
Violet: 45,24,45
Magenta: 49,0,49
Brown: 31,8,8

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2008, 01:17:03 am »
Guys, I don't have anything helpful to add other than "this is exciting". I'm really happy to see the progress and the vision here. I have been feeling frustrated with the state of controls.dat for a while now and I'm sure I'm not the only one. We're obviously well on our way to rectifying that in a way that apparently everyone can be happy. Kudos to both of you, headkaze and SirPoonga! :cheers:
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2008, 02:20:57 am »
I will also add a "ButtonsUsed" attribute which indicates how many buttons are actually used.  I may have to add an attribute to the button to indicate it is used.  If we find a rom where it says it has 3 buttons but only buttons 1 and 3 are used we will need that.  Bu i will only add that if we ever come across that situation.

Great Improvement, I guess I leave and see what headKaze and SirPoonga does now. I would checkout games with the new ButtonsUsed when done. I like that, and of course few games would use that, so it of course only add that when needed. In Asteroids ButtonsUsed could even set to 5 (and not swapped as I wrote).

For the extra attribute, I have not seen any games that use button 1 and 3 used in the game (2 buttons), but if they does, most people would remap them to work as 2 buttons. Instead we could add that as a comment to inform the user about it? But otherwise the extra attribute could been tell the button numbers used (etc even service buttons could been used that way if they actuelly are used by the emulated games).

Example: <Player Number="1" NumButtons="3" ButtonsUsed="2" ButtonsLabels="13">

The same is goes something like the joystick used, example in Galaga '88, which really use a 2-Way joystick, not a 8-way joystick. But Again, both joystick type could really been added (<Control Name="8-way Joystick|2-way Joystick">) for best accurate......


But kudos to both HeadKaze and SirPoonga to take this project up again  :D.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2008, 06:30:54 pm »
I have been feeling frustrated with the state of controls.dat for a while now and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
You and me both.  Interest died down.  I am usually really busy over summers.  It just needed some people to get interested in it again.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2008, 07:54:08 pm »
Wow, turn my back for the weekend, and look what happens.  :cheers: :)

I am thinking of adding headkaze and urebel as admins to the controls.dat site.  This will give you the power to verify entries.

I'm happy to help out, but I don't know jack about Mame controls. All I have is a basic two player, 7 button layout on my cab so I really am not qualified to verify entries, but I'm happy to help out "behind the scenes" with any code or whatever that's needed

I'd be glad to help.  I know a little ;) about mame's inputs; I'll just have to review the different controls.dat types again.  Wasn't there info on how the different types matched to mame's types in the web site?

IIRC, there were a few games that used to use, say, buttons 1, 5 & 6, but not 2-4.  Not Sure if these hacks were chopped, as there has been a lot of cleanups in the drivers' inputs recently. :applaud:
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2008, 08:40:23 pm »
I'd be glad to help.  I know a little ;) about mame's inputs; I'll just have to review the different controls.dat types again.  Wasn't there info on how the different types matched to mame's types in the web site?

IIRC, there were a few games that used to use, say, buttons 1, 5 & 6, but not 2-4.  Not Sure if these hacks were chopped, as there has been a lot of cleanups in the drivers' inputs recently. :applaud:

If you download my ControlsDat program in it's Data folder are the files that list all the controls used in the dat file. In the program you can double click on a game in the list and it shows the Mame control name as well as the controls in ControlsDat.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #52 on: September 09, 2008, 03:53:08 pm »
If you download my ControlsDat program in it's Data folder are the files that list all the controls used in the dat file. In the program you can double click on a game in the list and it shows the Mame control name as well as the controls in ControlsDat.

Thanks, headkaze!  Reminds me of a few things. ;)

Mame has five (5) service button types: IPT_SERVICE,    IPT_SERVICE1, IPT_SERVICE2, IPT_SERVICE3, and IPT_SERVICE4.  The first usually is the service mode.  The latter 4 can be lots of stuff, but often are coin related (test coin, etc). 
Mame only reports if the plain service, and I think controls.dat does the same.


SirPoonga, you're probably aware of this: a couple things have changed recently in mame that haven't been matched in control.dat.  New and started to be used mame input ports: positional, positional_v, & pedal3.  They'll need to be added to control.dat as part of the version update, I'd guess.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #53 on: September 10, 2008, 02:56:17 am »
SirPoonga, you're probably aware of this: a couple things have changed recently in mame that haven't been matched in control.dat.  New and started to be used mame input ports: positional, positional_v, & pedal3.  They'll need to be added to control.dat as part of the version update, I'd guess.
what are those?

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #54 on: September 10, 2008, 04:39:38 pm »
SirPoonga, you're probably aware of this: a couple things have changed recently in mame that haven't been matched in control.dat.  New and started to be used mame input ports: positional, positional_v, & pedal3.  They'll need to be added to control.dat as part of the version update, I'd guess.
what are those?

Pedal3 is easy.  Each player now has 3 pedals: pedal, pedal2 & pedal3, usually gas, brake, & clutch.  Games like Hard Drivin used to use players 1-3 pedal (one), but now use player 1 pedals 1-3.

Positional and Positional (Vertical) are general analog inputs.  It's not feature complete, nor output in listxml yet, but been around for a while now.  It's an input that can act like a dial or an analog stick or something in between depending on what flags it has set.  It's designed, well, to handle non-normal cases like 12-direction rotaries.  One of the extras that hasn't been implemented yet is the abilty to use original hardware directly connected to a PC as 12 switches.  The parts that have been implemented include dial (spinner) and impulse digital (rotary encoders), two inputs that used to need separate hacks.

Some of the rotary joystick games have moved to positional type, some haven't.  It's also used for a few other games.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #55 on: September 11, 2008, 11:07:08 pm »
WHO DARES AWAKEN THE GREAT AND POWERFUL CASTO FROM HIS SLUMBER? ;)


SirP filled me in on the details thus far....

I'm good with everything but the whole "unverified" deal.
Human nature suggests that once an entry is out there, even if it's wrong, it'll become the accepted entry and nobody will ever bother to check it.  This has already happened in the existing controls.dat in the form of mame driver changes.....  People see the entry and although the button bindings/controls are off due to changes in mame they think "close enough" and never bother to update the entry even if they notice it is wrong.  This is perfectly understandable... but it doesn't help our cause of accuracy above all else at all.

There's something I need to point out as well.  You CAN verify a game without labels on it's controls (I beleive spy hunter was used as an example).  What you have to do is verify that the buttons are unlabeled at which point you can use the mame driver's description of the controls, or more preferably, the game and or game manual's description.  In the case of spyhunter, getting the labels is as easy as looking at the bezel artwork on the game in mame... the instruction card tells the official function name of each button (along with the weapons lights below).  And that's kind of my point about the verified thing.... perfectly well meaning contributor insisting that a game can't be verified and he had looked everywhere for verification when in fact it can be verified farily easy.  Now I looked this one up but it took quite a while... part of the job of contributing an entry is in the actual proof... it's the biggest part actually.  Most of us "sort of know" the buttons to many of the classics, what we want to do is prove it.  ;)

I don't have any objections to hk's magic thing-a-ma-bob helping out in the making of entries though... they just need to be verified, or left out of the db. 

Now what I feel is a good compromise is a verified flag, along with a (not quite sure how to word this) "verified to be unverifiable" flag.  What I mean is, you still have to prove the entry, in that you have to prove the data isn't verifiable.  By that I mean in your references you add links to the manual (to prove no mention of the controls are in there) the current cp snapshot (which is too fuzzy to make out) and the flyer or something to that degree.  I'll admit to the reality that some games will NEVER be verified because the data simply doesn't exist... prototypes are a good example.  I see no reason why we can't add these.... you've just got to prove that you've actually made an attempt to check them. 

"Not verified yet" would also be perfectly acceptable.... that would be games in the cache that haven't been checked by admins yet.  I think there needs to be some sort of limit as to how long these entries are allowed to remain though. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is the unverified thing as-is is a bit to vague... we need to set some very strict rules about what kind of non-proven data is added or else the preservation and documention aspect of controls.dat is as good as gone.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2008, 11:22:59 pm »
If you download my ControlsDat program in it's Data folder are the files that list all the controls used in the dat file. In the program you can double click on a game in the list and it shows the Mame control name as well as the controls in ControlsDat.

Mame has five (5) service button types: IPT_SERVICE,    IPT_SERVICE1, IPT_SERVICE2, IPT_SERVICE3, and IPT_SERVICE4.  The first usually is the service mode.  The latter 4 can be lots of stuff, but often are coin related (test coin, etc). 
Mame only reports if the plain service, and I think controls.dat does the same.


SirPoonga, you're probably aware of this: a couple things have changed recently in mame that haven't been matched in control.dat.  New and started to be used mame input ports: positional, positional_v, & pedal3.  They'll need to be added to control.dat as part of the version update, I'd guess.

Controls.dat doesn't add buttons not accessable by the player, that was intentional from the beginning.  Also these service buttons are never labeled anyway.  We added them to playchoice games because in pc10 games, the service buttons (at the time anyway) were actually the select slot buttons  and thus available to the user.  This is also done in a select few more titles. 

By "positional" I'm guessing they are used for games with positional guns and similar?  Why do they keep monkeying with those?  This will be like the 4th time in controls.dat history we have to switch em.   :angry:

*edit*

Right now mame seems to be going through a input cleanup.  It might be wise to wait on adding these new types until it's over (judging by the wips in the readme, it's at around 75% atm)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 11:25:19 pm by Howard_Casto »

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #57 on: September 12, 2008, 12:47:30 am »
he-he, glad to see you comeback, after you announced a leaving of this community since February. Its of course you are one on the authors of this project, which began a bit outdated (which I now see got updated not so long).

I also see a lots of pinball games is not in. The major problem they typical used pinball buttons, but should been treated like a "Just Buttons", since they only use buttons.

You are right, new inputs should wait until they are finished to clean these up (specific these positional gun games). I do think they should been noticed, a least in the misc comment, so you are aware about it.

And the service button in PC10 games cant been used, since I see only one game is emulated at same time? but correct me if I wrong.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #58 on: September 12, 2008, 06:50:25 pm »
WHO DARES AWAKEN THE GREAT AND POWERFUL CASTO FROM HIS SLUMBER? ;)

[Hides from dragon]  :cheers:

Quote
...Now what I feel is a good compromise is a verified flag, along with a (not quite sure how to word this) "verified to be unverifiable" flag....

"Not verified yet" would also be perfectly acceptable....

I guess what I'm trying to say is the unverified thing as-is is a bit to vague... we need to set some very strict rules about what kind of non-proven data is added or else the preservation and documention aspect of controls.dat is as good as gone.

Good ideas.  How about:
Labels Verified,
Verified to Have No Labels (so labels are not "official"), and
Not Verified Yet

By "positional" I'm guessing they are used for games with positional guns and similar? 

No.  AFAIK no guns use this input type. 

This type has to have a fixed number of values (or positions, which is where the name comes from I think).  It's mostly used as the rotary part of rotary joysticks ATM.  Though not all rotary joysticks have been converted....

Quote
Right now mame seems to be going through a input cleanup.  It might be wise to wait on adding these new types until it's over (judging by the wips in the readme, it's at around 75% atm)

Yup, but it looks like the clean up will end pretty soon at the rate it's going.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #59 on: September 12, 2008, 06:56:29 pm »
It seems no one has heard form SirWoogie in awhile.  So I think I will talk to saint and get the project moved to hear.

This is going to require some changes so it will take some time to get the website up and going.  I did some changes to the forum software so the controls.dat page knew who was logged in and what they were doing.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #60 on: September 12, 2008, 09:53:06 pm »
It seems no one has heard form SirWoogie in awhile.  So I think I will talk to saint and get the project moved to hear.

This is going to require some changes so it will take some time to get the website up and going.  I did some changes to the forum software so the controls.dat page knew who was logged in and what they were doing.

I agree... woogie has been too nice to us, but we need a stable domain that isn't going anywhere. 

Since it would be a good time for a re-design anyway, might I suggest a slight expansion on the interface?  I was thinking we need to do something similar to maws in that you can look up a game and get all of it's info and respective images, including the controls.dat stuff.  The reason is pretty obvious.... a person can get the cp/flyer/ect images online when browsing for the game and do the entry right then.  This has the advantage of making sure we are all looking at the same image when it's used for a reference for an entry.  We could also set it up to where people can submit images (that have to be verified by admins of course) and output image packs on the fly.  That'd certainly make Mr. Do happy.  :)

Of course all of these images means more bw and more storage, so saint would have to ok the idea. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #61 on: September 12, 2008, 10:23:23 pm »
I had a feeling Howard wouldn't be able to resist a thread like this  ;D

It would be great to expand the ControlsDat online system to include CP images and more info like MAWs, but will it mean more people will be adding controls for games? If we can get a handful of people who know Mame controls that can do batches of games I think there will be a chance of the thing being updated. I thought the whole problem is that there are not enough people doing the updates. Or is the problem the online software isn't intuitive enough? I don't believe I ever got a chance to see the area on the website where you can actually lodge a controls.dat entry.

I wonder if Saint has ASP.NET on his server? Probably only PHP and SQL. What is the current software in, php and SQL didn't you say SirPoonga? Will we even be able to change the language?

My main concern is, that if we keep saying we need changes, updated software, etc. then the momentum we see here might die down and the project might be put on the backburner again. I think the main goal should be to get the database updated using whatever means at our disposal and then concentrate on updating the online submission system.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2008, 05:41:35 am »
asp.net have a lots of hided costs if you going to need some library, which typically cost money. That is the part I doesn't like asp.net, where php can all asp.net can without this type of hidden costs.

If arcadecontrols.com server is on a Linux server, ASP.NET is not possible.

The major problem if a admin need verify is he might use a lots of time to check all entries manual. So The unverified is a great idea, which so got verified over time.

Images is really doesn't need to been shown and use by the public and should only require for sending entries with source images. So I cant See this should use much more bandwidth?

Otherwise it would been great to move this to arcadecontrols.com, since it this community project. Etc even own forum about controls.dat would been really nice too with new entries.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2008, 02:16:22 pm »
I had a feeling Howard wouldn't be able to resist a thread like this  ;D

It would be great to expand the ControlsDat online system to include CP images and more info like MAWs, but will it mean more people will be adding controls for games? If we can get a handful of people who know Mame controls that can do batches of games I think there will be a chance of the thing being updated. I thought the whole problem is that there are not enough people doing the updates. Or is the problem the online software isn't intuitive enough? I don't believe I ever got a chance to see the area on the website where you can actually lodge a controls.dat entry.

I wonder if Saint has ASP.NET on his server? Probably only PHP and SQL. What is the current software in, php and SQL didn't you say SirPoonga? Will we even be able to change the language?

My main concern is, that if we keep saying we need changes, updated software, etc. then the momentum we see here might die down and the project might be put on the backburner again. I think the main goal should be to get the database updated using whatever means at our disposal and then concentrate on updating the online submission system.


That's a fair enough question so to avoid any confusion let me explain what happened to controls.dat right here.

The reason it stopped getting updated has to do with the following: 

1.  We NEVER had many volunteers.  We had myself, sirP, rebel and two or three others doing submissions... that's it.  I'd estimate around 85-95% of the submissions were done by us exclusively.  When you saw a great surge in new submissions is when one of us got the urge to sit down for a weekend and do several dozen entries. 

2.  The primary resource for info on a game's controls are Mr Do's control panel images.  It is the preferred reference.  Mr Do hasn't released a new pack in over a year and a half.  Controls.dat hasn't had any major additions in that entire length of time.  It's not a concidence. 

3.  Without new entries to add to the list, there is next to no motivation on sirp's or my part to make sure existing entries are still current.  Also there is no way to automate the process of making sure mame hasn't changed the controls on a driver (other than the game name, which we do check).  This means as the database gets larger and larger, it becomes a greater time investment for me and especially SirP (who handles script changes exclusively) to check existing entries as newer versions of mame come out.  Also contrary to popular belief it isn't necessary to update controls.dat every time  a new version of mame is released.  90% of the time, controls remain unchanged between releases.  Just because controls.dat is at 1.11 doesn't mean it won't work perfectly fine with mame 1.27 or whatever. 

4.  Woogie is very helpful and he is nice enough to host us, the problem is he disappears for long periods (understandable, he's busy) and when he does it often leaves us waiting for him to return before we can do any significant changes and when he does return we might not have the free time we did when we wanted to get started. 


So with that being said, putting the images online and allowing users to submit new ones would help solve #2 and take some of the pressure off of Mr. Do.  Working on the backend of things a little could help fix the maintenance issues in #3 by making it easier for the two or three admins to maintain the db.  Moving the server to byoac could solve #4 pretty much entirely and with #2-4 fixed we'll hopefully get some images coming in and/or new entires and it'll cause me to do large batches of entires at a time like I used to and thus more stuff will get added. 

The main issue is the same one we had when we started, mainly public interest.  You only see a great surge of volunteers (outside of the usual group) when a lot of entries are being made and thus the project looks "active".  When entries aren't happening then ironically, it discourages the public from doing entires.  So there is no easy way to put this... the life of controls.dat rests soley on the people who always diid the bulk of the entries in the first place, namely us, so making things more comfortable for us is a step in the right direction towards getting things moving again.  ;)

I don't have the free time like I used to, but I could probably do around 20-40 entries a weekend if we get back up again and get everything squared away. 


One thing that I dread though is that if/when we implement some of this new stuff it'd really make sense for the admins and really anyone who could help out to do a once-over of the entries so that we can start fresh with a db that's in line with the latest version of mame, control changes and all.  That's gonna be a huge pain in the butt, but I'm willing to do my part IF sirp and I can actually get some help with it. 

So hk, the momentum has always kind of been in my court on controls.dat so I can assure you if everyone is willing to help out with the changes I'm more than willing to set aside time and admin the thing properly again, like I did in the old days. :)  I can even help with the site re-design if you guys need it.  I'd rather sirp work on the db itself, but I've learned enough php over the past few years to help with the interface and what-not. There's no way around it though, controls.dat is a victim of it's own success, some of you guys are going to have to admin with us and help verfying submissions. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #64 on: September 15, 2008, 06:21:04 pm »
Good summary Howard; I have only a few points I'd like to add:

1.  We NEVER had many volunteers.  We had myself, sirP, rebel and two or three others doing submissions... that's it.  I'd estimate around 85-95% of the submissions were done by us exclusively.  When you saw a great surge in new submissions is when one of us got the urge to sit down for a weekend and do several dozen entries. 

Howard's being modest have; he did the most amount of the games, AFAICT.

Quote
2.  The primary resource for info on a game's controls are Mr Do's control panel images.  It is the preferred reference.  Mr Do hasn't released a new pack in over a year and a half.  Controls.dat hasn't had any major additions in that entire length of time.  It's not a coincidence. 

Also, the other major source of reference, online sites with scanned manuals, have been hit with major bandwidth problems and/or c0pyright issues in the past year, so most aren't always up, have gone underground, or just gone under.   :(

Quote
So with that being said, putting the images online and allowing users to submit new ones would help solve #2 and take some of the pressure off of Mr. Do.  Working on the backend of things a little could help fix the maintenance issues in #3 by making it easier for the two or three admins to maintain the db.  Moving the server to byoac could solve #4 pretty much entirely and with #2-4 fixed we'll hopefully get some images coming in and/or new entires and it'll cause me to do large batches of entires at a time like I used to and thus more stuff will get added.

Definitely.  One big stumbling block I've had was the effort matching a pic to a game, and then finding out it was already in controls.dat.  It would be much easier for most people at add games if pics were somehow linked to games not in controls.dat.  And with the pics linked already, double checking for admins would be easier too.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #65 on: September 15, 2008, 11:05:23 pm »
Exactly, and with the changes sirp has been suggesting we can make things far easier as well....

Lots of things we could do with the proposed new system such as:

Flag games that are "ripe for submission" i,e games without an entry that DO have cp images, links to flyers, ect....

Make reports of missing artwork (flyers, cp images ect).

Insert a utility on the server end that generates flyers for us.  Generally speaking, pretty much every game newly added to mame already has a hi-res flyer over at the arcade flyer archive, it's simply a matter of scaling it down.

Filter off invalid controls/validate controls for entries between mame versions.  Sirp has suggested that we link entries with their mame listxml output on the db end.  If this were done then MOST of the outdated entries would get flagged automatically.  It would also mean that when a user was to start to input a new entry, we could read the listxml of the game and automatically filter off controls that aren't used in the game. 


But honestly I think that having the artwork on there with the general info on the game (so you know what to look for if you do have to go out and get external sources) would be a trememdous help. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #66 on: September 20, 2008, 01:34:11 pm »
A concern I have is games that do have a controls.xml entry but have totally useless button labels, simply because the original CP was like that - labels like "A", "B". So according to the goals of the project, these labels are the correct, verified labels. But from a practical standpoint they're not helpful. I'd like to know what you guys think of how we can handle these situations in a better way, Howard or SirPoonga?

Example games: "Vs." games like Super Mario Bros or Excite Bike.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #67 on: September 20, 2008, 08:56:58 pm »
Those labels are NOT useless when coupled with the game, they just look that way at first glance. 

Examples: 

NeoGeo -  EVERY neogeo game has a "how to play" instructional video upon starting a game.  Combos and buttons functions are coupled with "a, b c and d" and therfore without the buttons labled that way you have no clue how to play. 

playchoice 10-   There's a whole top screen deciated to instructions which includes button usage. 


others-  Generally when a button is given a generic label it's because either the button has multiple functions or the function varies dependign upon the level (or whatever).  Either way, a full explaination wouldn't fit on the control panel, meaning it won't fit on the various control panel viewers, meaning it would be useless to modify these labels anyway. 



So to answer your question shortly, we do nothing.... those are the labels, deal with it.  :) 

With that being said, if the buttons functions aren't explained in-game they are generally described on the instruction card for the game, and mame supports artwork... do the math on that one.  Also that's what the misc details entry is for... generally we put well... misc info like that in it.  Also there is of course the command.dat, which specializes in advanced button details. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #68 on: September 20, 2008, 10:16:15 pm »
I'm sure they are fine in the context of the actual arcade cabinet, but in the context of mame they're not so useful. I wouldn't of course want to see the official controls.xml updated (except maybe the misc info, which in the case of the games I specified doesn't really help). But the unofficial one (unverified or whatever it ends up being called) could certainly be more helpful. In the case of Super Mario Bros, one of the buttons is "jump", and for a while I didn't even realize that the other button ever does anything, but sometimes it does. Not enough of an expert to know if the function varies, but heck, "various" or "various functions" would be better than "a" or "b"!

Yeah, this kind of information may be on the game's instruction card, and it may be available via artwork, but calling up the artwork for someone who isn't a mame expert is expecting too much, but cp viewer apps like CPWizard that show when you pause the game are the perfect (and I think the only reasonable) way to show this information.

I understand your position, and I understand the "mission" of controls.xml, but at the same time I think this is one of the reasons there hasn't been more interest expressed in the project from the community. Somehow a balance needs to be struck between the mission and usefulness IMO. Otherwise one of these days there might be an "unauthorized" controls.xml project that aims to fill the void. Of course I think a unified project is in the best interests of everyone though.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #69 on: September 20, 2008, 11:55:27 pm »
http://fe.donkeyfly.com/controls is back up.


The index page is screwed up.  But I can get back in and start looking at the project.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #70 on: September 22, 2008, 08:23:00 pm »
I'm sure they are fine in the context of the actual arcade cabinet, but in the context of mame they're not so useful....

We have to be careful here.  Example: One person likes "shoot", another likes "fire".  Which would used for verified button labeled "A" in your case?  IMO, which ever the final user wants as long as the official value stays "A".
Take the example a step further: the shoot person replaces all "fire" with "shoot", and vice versa for the fire person.  IMO that's fine as long as it stays personal copy.

A middle ground is add another field to the labels, say FakeValue.  This could also be used as a placeholder for personal or unverified names.  Apps oculd be edited to be able use those, or a simple app/batch/serch&replace could move the FakeValue over the Value for people who want it so no changes would be needed for apps to use them.  The shoot vs fire issue would still appear though.

Example: 1943kai
  <Game RomName="1943kai" GameName="1943 Kai: Midway Kaisen (Japan)" NumPlayers="2" Alternating="0" Mirrored="1" UsesService="0" Tilt="0" Cocktail="0">
    <Status Verified="1" />
    <MiscDetails>A - Fire, B - Bomb Pressing both buttons will allow the plane to loop</MiscDetails>
    <Player Number="1" NumButtons="2">
      <Controls>
        <Control Name="8-way Joystick">
          <Constant Name="joy8way" />
        </Control>
      </Controls>
      <Labels>
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON1" Value="A" FakeValue="Fire" />
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON2" Value="B" FakeVaule="Bomb"/>
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_LEFT" Value="Left" />
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_DOWN" Value="Down" />
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_UP" Value="Up" />
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_RIGHT" Value="Right" />
      </Labels>
    </Player>
  </Game>


Italics are added, strikeout are deleted.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #71 on: September 22, 2008, 08:57:09 pm »
I'm totally fine with those labels remaining in the unverified/unofficial category, and I'm not picky on shoot vs. fire (or whatever the case may be) as long as they get the point across to whatever degree is possible on a short label. I just feel very strongly that there needs to be more consideration given to what is practical/useful than there has been in the past, without abandoning the original mission of accuracy and verification. I think it's possible to do both, and I think it would be a mistake not to.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #72 on: September 23, 2008, 02:36:38 am »
I did wonder what happened to controls.dat since I stopped trying to submit entries about 3 years ago, packed up and moved to the UK.  Great to see that it hasn't died off as it's a good little project.  Once I get my stuff sorted out I'll be trying to find all my old files which contained "unofficial" controls for quite a few games.  None of them could be verified properly so they were never submitted.  I hope I've still got them somewhere. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #73 on: September 23, 2008, 08:28:13 am »
Heh.... we rose cdbrown from the dead, so we must be doing something right.  He's one of the "two other guys" I mentioned. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #74 on: September 23, 2008, 08:35:08 am »
Regarding the talk of "fake" labels and what-not, I don't think there is any compromise in this respect.  We want the actual labels, not junk.  As I've already stated, the misc details entry was put in place from the very start just for such occasions.  If your viewer's layout doesn't have space for misc details then I suggest you make a new layout... it is a VERY important resource. 

It's a moot point anyway as the percentage of games that have generic labels like that is extremely low.  As a matter of fact, except for a few sports games in which the button function changes depending upon the inning/round/ect I honestly can't think of any.  As I stated, systems (neogeo playchoice-10 ect) tell you the controls in-game, so you guys are thinking up possible solutions to a problem we don't really have.  :)

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #75 on: September 23, 2008, 09:19:27 am »
I'm sure they are fine in the context of the actual arcade cabinet, but in the context of mame they're not so useful....

We have to be careful here.  Example: One person likes "shoot", another likes "fire".  Which would used for verified button labeled "A" in your case?  IMO, which ever the final user wants as long as the official value stays "A".
Take the example a step further: the shoot person replaces all "fire" with "shoot", and vice versa for the fire person.  IMO that's fine as long as it stays personal copy.

A middle ground is add another field to the labels, say FakeValue.  This could also be used as a placeholder for personal or unverified names.  Apps oculd be edited to be able use those, or a simple app/batch/serch&replace could move the FakeValue over the Value for people who want it so no changes would be needed for apps to use them.  The shoot vs fire issue would still appear though.

Example: 1943kai
  <Game RomName="1943kai" GameName="1943 Kai: Midway Kaisen (Japan)" NumPlayers="2" Alternating="0" Mirrored="1" UsesService="0" Tilt="0" Cocktail="0">
    <Status Verified="1" />
    <MiscDetails>A - Fire, B - Bomb Pressing both buttons will allow the plane to loop</MiscDetails>
    <Player Number="1" NumButtons="2">
      <Controls>
        <Control Name="8-way Joystick">
          <Constant Name="joy8way" />
        </Control>
      </Controls>
      <Labels>
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON1" Value="A" FakeValue="Fire" />
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON2" Value="B" FakeVaule="Bomb"/>
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_LEFT" Value="Left" />
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_DOWN" Value="Down" />
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_UP" Value="Up" />
        <Label Name="P1_JOYSTICK_RIGHT" Value="Right" />
      </Labels>
    </Player>
  </Game>


Italics are added, strikeout are deleted.

I think this entry in particular is a good example of why we DON'T  need additional labels.  Notice the misc details and how it describes the button functions.... Boom, you know how to play. 1943 kai doesn't have an instruction card, nor does it even have labels on some versions of the control panel overlay!  Why?  The game has two frikkin buttons!  The original game designers felt that people could pretty well figure out how to play a game with such few controls, especially considering it was the second sequel in the series.  We actually got the "A" and "B" from the game manual and therefore the entry already gives the user more info than they need. 

I mean that's the issue right there isn't it.....  how is it "impractical" to give just as much data as a player would have if they found it in the arcade?  We don't really need to embelish labels just because they aren't as pretty as we like and imho that is exactly what we'd be doing in this case.  You don't even need "A" and "B" you just need to know there are two buttons in the game and where they are mapped on your control panel. 

And just to expand upon the info... if you REALLY wanted to know more about the mysterious "A" and "B" the original 1943 has a very detailed game bezel on the subject.  I'm guessing the user will be playing the game in mame... all they have to do is enable the bezel view to read it.  And if you go to look at the bezel, it becomes apparent why they used the labels "A" and "B"  .... A is simple enough "A to shoot"  but B has like a paragraph explaining that the button actually has four functions and how you should use them in various situations.  It would have looked bad asthetically to have a "Shoot" button and a "B" button so they just used A and B. 


See how messy this can get?  In short, rgardless of anyones personal feelings on the subject we don't want to start adding supplimental buttons because quite frankly, it's hard enough to figure out what to put for the official labels.  A lot of thought and time went into each entry so if it's labeled "A" and "B" instead of something more descriptive, I can assure it's that way for a reason.  And rebel is exactly right btw.... things get too subjective when we start making up labels.... I remember a entry years ago where somebody labeled the fire button to a game "bullets."  The game used an icon and I don't think english was their first language so it made perfect sense to them, but it left me scratching my head.  Luckily the user hadn't properly referenced the entry and I went back and found the real label (fire) which made much more sense. 

All the ideas thus far haven't really changed the format of controls.dat, but merely added something on the database end or expanded the functionality of the webpage and I can get behind any of that.  I don't think it's a good idea to mess with the format itself though and that is what such a suggestion would do, radically alter the format. 

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #76 on: September 23, 2008, 09:43:41 am »
Howard, I wholeheartedly disagree with you and as best as I can tell it seems to be because you're not quite getting me. I'm not suggesting any kind of format change. All I'm suggesting is for games that have unhelpful labels, there would be a verified (official) record for the game and a perpetually unverified record with more helpful labels. OK, so maybe there aren't 1000 original games that fall into this category, but that doesn't mean the issue is a non-issue. Regarding showing the bezels in game, I already addressed that. The goal with a mame cab is to try to make operation as idiot proof as possible. I'm not always the one hosting company when it comes to playing my mame cab, so I can't always turn on a bezel for them to see instructions. That is why the control.xml information is so vital - it gets picked up by CPWizard which is displayed whenever the game is paused, as well as within my front end. Right now I think about 5-10% of the games in my favorites list are missing helpful information, either because the real CP was labeled with A and B, or because there is no record for the game at all (possibly due to rareness/no cpanel image). I have found valid, short, but seemingly unprovable or non-official labels for all of them.

And I hear you on the miscellaneous details part - my CPWizard layouts do use it. Obviously that is vital and can provide more meaning to the button labels. But #1, none of those 5-10% have the button information spelled out there, and #2, even if they did, it would be nice to have something helpful for button labels. Getting back to my examples of vs. excitebike and vs. super mario bros, I have modified the controls.xml entries to have real button labels, they are accurate (as found in the instructions) and they're not too long for a label by any means.

I don't imagine I'm having any more success in convincing you this time as I have in the past though (I haven't really said anything new here - just restating things you seem to have missed or ignored). I think it's a mistake to disregard these situations and my prediction is it will lead to someone releasing unofficial/unauthorized controls.xml files that are more focused on being practical. Maybe you're fine with that? It's my opinion that it would be better to have a unified project that supplies 2 versions of controls.xml.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 09:51:57 am by TheShanMan »
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #77 on: September 23, 2008, 11:04:01 am »
Howard, it isn't that simple.  The bezel may not be readable on an arcade monitor (and it may not even be shown).

I could see there being a label and an action attribute.  For most games they will be the same. The entry form could automatically fill in action with the label when it is typed in.  Context sensitive buttons might be interesting.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #78 on: September 23, 2008, 11:27:47 am »
Heh.... we rose cdbrown from the dead, so we must be doing something right.  He's one of the "two other guys" I mentioned. 
Well - finally getting settled back in Aus again and thought I'd better check out the old byoac forums and see what's happening.  Now all I need to do is get mame up and running on the new pc and get the latest set and get playing and figure out the buttons.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #79 on: September 23, 2008, 11:40:03 am »
Howard, it isn't that simple.  The bezel may not be readable on an arcade monitor (and it may not even be shown).

I could see there being a label and an action attribute.  For most games they will be the same. The entry form could automatically fill in action with the label when it is typed in.  Context sensitive buttons might be interesting.

I like the idea of having an Action attribute for labels. I think some people would prefer to use them over the actual labels used in the arcades, since many games have generic CP's.

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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #80 on: September 23, 2008, 02:28:27 pm »
Glad I'm not the only one defending the need for more informative labels! I would be fine with the action attribute approach or just a perpetually unverified status (though the former would have the advantage of allowing a game like super mario bros to retain the verified status while still having helpful labels). I don't care too much as long as there is a practical way to accomplish the goal of useful labels.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #81 on: September 23, 2008, 02:39:47 pm »
if controls.xml is just capture most of the info from mame, that isn't really useable of this file.

I thought this file was for a better label for the games than these MAME use and also correct the joystick actually used in the game (which in some games example incorrectly show as 8way joystick, but a 2way joystick can been used, and then incorrectly got filtered out).

I also agree Fakelabel is a good idea, but I prefer name it Action instead, which is what they really are. Of course this should only been needed of these games that need that. I also doesn't like just labeled A and B in Super Mario when CPViewer or such application is used. '

I want REAL informative names too and corrected joystick type used, and corrected number of buttons in a actuel game (example Super Mario only use one button).

This would also been very good when LCD are used, because you can't really use MiscDetails at all.

So in the long, I agree with the action label idea and would not hurt any compatible at all.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 02:42:58 pm by Space Fractal »
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #82 on: September 23, 2008, 04:27:56 pm »
I could see there being a label and an action attribute.  For most games they will be the same. The entry form could automatically fill in action with the label when it is typed in.  Context sensitive buttons might be interesting.

I like the Action attribute far better than my first go.  Better name and connotation, separates user game actions from labels, gets a way to verify that a game had no labels into the DB, addresses the complaint of poor labels while avoiding the need to watch through 2 minutes of the game to find out what the button labeled "A" does in the game, and leaves the real label alone.  Also, this would make a way, for example, for 2-3 button neogeo games to show that button 4 is not used in that game, even though it has a label.

As you said, context sensitive buttons might be interesting.  Make it an optional multi-element?  (Cons: harder to parse, more complicated, for only a small percentage of all the games, what about multibutton actions?; Pros: covers multi-action and content specific actions)

      <Labels>
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON1" Value="Action">
          <Action Name="Swing" />
          <Action Name="Pitch" />
        </Label>
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON2" Value="B" />
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON3" Value="C">
          <Action Name="Unknown" />
        </Label>
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON3" Value="D">
          <Action Name="Unused" />
        </Label>
      </Labels>

vs
...      <Label Name="P1_BUTTON1" Value="Action" Action="Swing/Pitch" />...
Probably overkill, but hey, tossing it out there.


I know the misc already might contain the info, but from a database point of view, comment fields are not the best way to store data that can be standardized.  Hard to query, no way to sort, hard to parse, hard to selectively display, and in the 1943kai case, have to humanly apply button specific info to the correct buttons.  By standardizing with the action attribute, the info is easier to use and is thus more helpful.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #83 on: September 23, 2008, 05:07:03 pm »
(example Super Mario only use one button)

Wrong. It uses 2. And it took me a while to discover that also! That is partly why I've come to feel so strongly about this issue. For probably the first 2 dozen times I played the game, I thought only 1 button did anything, but that's only because the other button only does something in special circumstances (e.g. shoot a fireball when you get that flower or whatever it is that seemingly does nothing but give you 1000 pts). If controls.xml provided useful information, then I would have known all along that it isn't a dead button.

Kind of the same story with excitebike - I knew I wasn't playing it properly because I would overheat all the time, so I kind of gave up on the game for a while. Then I researched the game a bit and discovered that the other button lets you accelerate slower, without overheating. The 2 buttons are "turbo" and "accelerate". If only those labels were present on my CPWizard image from the start!

Again, glad to have a lot of people basically reinforcing what I'm calling for! Maybe all this response will cause Howard to reconsider his position. ;D
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #84 on: September 23, 2008, 05:28:49 pm »
It juts what it cleared stated on the top screen for that game as B button was not used.... that all.

multi-element would clearly break compatible with older viewers and frontends that use it, but is not updated anymore. So that is not good, since you NEED allways have it backwards compatible.

Instead you could do something a much simple alternative:

Code: [Select]
      <Labels>
        <Label Name="P1_BUTTON1" Value="A" Action="Swing, Pitch" />
      </Labels>

unknown labels is not needed if not used. otherwise it just waste a space. Older frontends would use Value and newer use the Action label if found (and might take aware of the comma, but not required).
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #85 on: September 23, 2008, 07:49:18 pm »
unknown labels is not needed if not used. otherwise it just waste a space.

Not sure which way you're leaning here. 

Unknown labels Values can skip the Value, yes. 
Unknown button Actions IMO should be listed as such, so people know to look for it.  See TheShanMan's last post.

I'd think the number of unknown actions will be small, as A. the label has to be undescriptive or unknown/unverified/blank, and B. the action not marked as "unused".  (Which actually voids the super mario example as it probably would have been marked as unused, but still.)

multi-element would clearly break compatible with older viewers and frontends that use it, but is not updated anymore. So that is not good, since you NEED allways have it backwards compatible.

Instead you could do something a much simple alternative:

Yeah, I know it's an overkill, but would it really break compatibility?  Probably depends how parsed, I guess.  Well written & flexible parsing won't bat an eye, AFAIK.  Hmm.. you're probably right it would break at least one of 'em, and that's too many.

And your suggestion is easier to human parse, too.


One note about the action attribute: if added, it would increase the number of games needed.  For example, the neogeo games would need to get their own actions, instead of sharing one entry.  Not bad IMO, but something to take into account.
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Re: controls.xml outdated
« Reply #86 on: July 09, 2010, 02:28:29 pm »
Boy you guys had some interesting converstations in the few years I was gone.  Too bad I wasn't here or I could have saved you all a buttload of effort.  

Q: Why are the playchoice games given only the A and B labels?

A:   Because that's what's printed on the control panel silly.  We have absolutely no interest in doing special cases just to make things even more clear than they already are.  Why don't they have add more descriptive labels?  Because if you press one of the service buttons during gameplay in a playchoice game, it gives instructions on how to play the game on the top screen!!!

Q: Why do neogeo games only have the labels A,B,C,D?

A:  First off... see the reply to the playchoice games.  Secondly have you ever played a neogeo game?  Because every single solitary game, without exception, has a "how to play" screen prior to the start of the game explaining, in detail, exactly what the controls do.

I know there's no real point in mentioning all of this after two years.  But my point is the the controls.dat format was thought out a lot more than people think.  If something doesn't seem right to you then you probably just aren't thinking big picture.  

It never hurts to ask though!



*edit*

Oh I also forgot to mention it, but explaining what a button does when the label isn't clear enough is the job of the misc details entry.  If you are confused then the viewer of your choice probably doesn't show the mis details.  It should!  It is VITAL for some games!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 02:31:45 pm by Howard_Casto »