Hey there Gaming & Emulation enthusiasts!
As you may have seen previously, I’ve been working on a Gaming & Emulation Frontend called “GameEnd”.
I’ve been churning away at it since then (programming), along with getting extremely valuable Graphical & Video work done from the amazing NyNy77. We’ve been making substantial progress lately and decided it was time to share an update. We are constantly nearing closer and closer to that elusive public beta that I previously spoke of.
Checkout the latest preview video below:
Update on features that were not implemented at the time of my first post:
- Couch interface: Platform Wheels. Status: done.
- Metadata scraper: Automatically retrieve images, game details etc. Status: done. I want to add more scraping sources before the public beta, to offer wider coverage.
- Asynchronous Metadata retrieval: Download metadata whilst continuing to use GameEnd at the same time. You’re not blocked until the metadata is downloaded. Status: Done.
- Game Editor: Edit your games details and settings. Status: done.
- Fast performance. Status: Has seen several optimizations done since the initial post. It is currently performing well, even on the most modest of hardware, based on the limited testing pool we have tested on so far. Several sections of code have also been re-written to offer better performance.
- Couch Mode Startup Videos: A video that plays upon starting Couch Mode. Status: Done.
- Folder restructuring: A unified folder structure is now used across the program. Makes finding and keeping your data organized a breeze.
- Theme support: Images and positional theming. Status: Partial. Support has been added for basic theming, we just are working on finalising the theme structure before finishing off the data hookup. The idea is that theming should be accessible to everyone. You dont’t have to learn a language (XAML, XML, CSS, etc) to be able to create a theme. Themes will be written in JSON, which is accessible to everyone, regardless of experience.
- Improvements to the Standard View: I decided to remove the ugly box that shows behind a game when the mouse is over it, as it’s clear what game you are on due to the mouse cursor anyway. I added a nice fade in/out animation instead, and I think it adds to the clean presentation of the UI. You can see this in the preview video linked at the top of this post.
- Tons of other bug fixes, improvements and error handling/warnings. The idea is that GameEnd doesn’t leave you in the dark. If you’re trying to do something and something is preventing it from working, GameEnd will let you know, in laymans terms, what is wrong.
As before, here are some new Q/A’s.
So, when can I test this elusive beta?
Soon! I’ve had some problems with my chronic pain condition that have made progress sporadic. Hard to give estimates due to the nature of my illness. I’m hoping I can get this into the masses hands in a few weeks.
This isn’t a ploy to get you to sign-up, it will just be easier on me (support and stress wise) to fix bugs and help people initially when there is a smaller pool of people to work with. It also allows me to catch any major bugs before the masses start using it.
If you don’t want to sign up, that’s fine. You’ll still get the beta, just when it’s ready for wider public consumption.
I also don’t want to release this too early (to the masses). First impressions are important, and I want it to at least have moderate feature parity with existing Frontends before unleashing it into the world.
What’s with the poor quality visuals in the video?
Currently I’m stuck with terrible DSL with 0.4mbps upload speeds. So I had to record the video at a lower quality than I would have liked.
I am supposed to be getting fiber broadband (100mb apparently) soon, so hopefully I can crank up the quality settings for future videos.
Who made those cool platform videos and where can I get them?
The theme and platform videos were created by the talented nyny77. He is currently the official graphics and video artist on the team.
They are not available for download yet (seems pointless). The videos will be able to be downloaded directly from within GameEnd itself, via the click of a button. I decided to use this method to keep the GameEnd download size small, for people who don’t want to use platform videos.
Who’s currently part of the team?
Currently just me (programming) and NyNy77 (graphics, videos). I’m sure that once we release the beta and release the source code, the team will grow substantially. Naturally depending on the popularity of the program.
Anything I can do to help?
Signing up on our Forums and the Slack channel is very beneficial to the project. It allows me to get feedback on WIP items as I develop them, and also will give you access to the first pre-public beta. Feedback is valuable and I value any time you spend with me on either the forums or slack discussing GameEnd.
I can’t promise that i’ll implement every suggestion, but I will consider any and all ideas.
I would also love some help with getting a consolidated list of command line arguments for various Emulators. Especially for the less commonly used ones. If you want to help with this, please do so via the forums or slack channel that I linked above.
Do you accept code contributions?
Not at the moment. But the code will be released when the program launches. When that day comes, I will gladly accept code contributions.
Why do you want me to join Slack or your Forums to become a pre-public beta tester?
Slack is an IM (instant messaging) application that allows realtime chat between members. Having the ability to discuss any issues you have when testing in real time is a huge timesaver and a much better form of communication than email say, for this specific use case.
If you do not wish to join Slack, then our Forums is the other option. The forums, whilst not being realtime like Slack, is powered by Invision Power Board, which is a powerful Forum software. It allows feedback and issues to be consolidated in one place, and for me to reply to specific users. Our Forums also support TapaTalk, which allows easy Forum access via your phone/tablet.
Thank you for reading, and I am looking forward to hearing your feedback as always. Keep on truckin’!