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Author Topic: controls.xml outdated  (Read 11723 times)

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SirPoonga

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Re: controls.xml outdated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.


headkaze

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Re: controls.xml outdated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.

SirPoonga

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Re: controls.xml outdated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 »

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.

headkaze

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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.

SirPoonga

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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.

headkaze

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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

TheShanMan

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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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Space Fractal

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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.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 02:40:45 am by Space Fractal »
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SirPoonga

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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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headkaze

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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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SirPoonga

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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 »

Space Fractal

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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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SirPoonga

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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 »
My Collection: Mame cab, 34 dedicated cabs, pin, skeeball, coin op air hockey table, and token machine (VAPS, pics at Arcade Crusade, updated 1/30/13 with Sprint 2, Centipede, and Bubbles)
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SirPoonga

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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.

cdbrown

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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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