Game Image Area Aesthetics

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fish_stik
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:10 am

Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by fish_stik » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:05 am

First of all, THANK YOU very much for creating Negatron and keeping it current!! I've only recently come across it after using nearly every MAME front end available for Mac OS — from QMC2-SDLMAME, MAME OS X, MacMame Info X all the way back to the first public release of MacMAME by Brad OIiver. (Anyone remember MacMoon or Multi Pac? lol). This is hands down the BEST MAME Frontend YET for Mac OS!

Anyhow, I'm very happy with how well it works, and more so the game list FILTERING! I only have a couple questions regarding customizing the look of the graphics section of the front end, and am hoping there might be an easy solution that won't require altering and compiling the source myself:

1. Is there a way to customize the "missing image" graphic placeholders that appear in the "Machine Externals" and "In-Game Content" tabs on the right? Right now they show faded Mario/Sonic/Pac-Man images for "Machine Externals", and TV-style test pattern/off the air images for "In-Game Content". I can appreciate the ideas... however I'm a fan of a more minimal, clean and character-agnostic look, and these images add a bit too much visual distraction to my eyes.

I looked inside the .app container using Mac OS X's "Show Package Contents", and while I found the "/Contents/Java/theme/skin/" folder which looked promising, those specific graphic placeholder files don't appear in there. I'm guessing these images are "baked in" to the Negatron.jar java app itself? If so, would it be possible to break them out to external files that can be manually replaced by the user, like how the Theme Skins currently are?


2. There is an animated "page flip" transition effect on the right hand side EVERY single time a new game is chosen from the list. While it's a cool effect the first two times, it very quickly becomes visually irritating... especially when rapidly selecting games using cursor keys. Is there some kind of hidden option to disable this effect? Even it the transition was changed to fast Fade instead of the Page Flip, that would be a huge improvement.


These are obviously very minor requests... however they are also enough of an issue to detract from my FULL enjoyment of using Negatron, as everything else works so well! Please advise if there is an easy way for me to fix either issue.

Thanks again! :D

BabelSoft
Site Admin
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by BabelSoft » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:44 pm

Thanks for your compliments fish_stick :)
As for your 2 remarks, sorry I didn't anticipate the fact that those would annoy anybody lol.

1/ As a workaround, you can try to replace the image files that are embedded within Negatron.jar. This is simply a zip file, the image files are put into Negatron.jar\net\babelsoft\negatron\resource.
I'll try to make them editable using the skin system in a future version of Negatron.

2/ Sorry, you can't disable the transition effect. No workaround available here... I'll add an option to disable it.

fish_stik
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:10 am

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by fish_stik » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:34 pm

Thank you for such a rapid and helpful response! I hope you didn't take offense regarding the placeholder artwork... I'm a graphic artist by trade, so my eyes are probably a bit more sensitive to "visual distractions" (... and the OCD as well. lol). In other words, I've kept a flat 50% gray desktop background for over twenty years, if that says anything. :mrgreen:

1. That worked great... and got to learn something new today (.jar = .zip, more or less)! :D If those image files are able to be broken out into the "external" theme folder for future updates, that would be awesome!

2. If you would please add an opt-out for the transition effect in future versions, that would be extra awesome!

3. One last thing that I've noticed in the recent version 0.99.3; the tool tip box seems to be a bit trigger-happy and keeps popping up as soon as I rest my mouse, and then doesn't fade away as easily as it appears (if that makes sense?). Am I overlooking an option to disable the tool tip pop-ups? And if not, could this possibly be added as a configurable option as well?

Thanks much for making MAME enjoyable again! I also appreciate the attention to detail, such as the VERY well put together manual! It's obvious this is a labor of love, which only makes it that much better! Peace :D

BabelSoft
Site Admin
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by BabelSoft » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:41 pm

No offence taken. I myself don't like having too many distractions on my way to the games. That's why I never remained on those multimedia front-ends for a long time, too many long and useless animations for my taste.

3/ lol I understand what you mean. By default, I found out that tooltips didn't appear fast enough and most people didn't know at first that they were there trying to explain how to find your way in Negatron. That's why I shorten their popup delay drastically. Now, I can understand that more advanced users would find them too invasive.
It shouldn't be too hard to add an option to change how long a tooltip should wait before popping up, even to disable them all. I'll find a spot for this somewhere in the Global Configuration pane.

fish_stik
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:10 am

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by fish_stik » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:11 am

Thank you again... your work is very much appreciated! I'm looking forward to your future updates! :D

fish_stik
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:10 am

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by fish_stik » Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:10 am

Hello again BabelSoft... still loving Negatron, as it's really the BEST Frontend I've EVER used on the Mac! (Going all the way back to MacMAME in 1997!)


There are only *two (old) requests* I have that would resolve the *last two visual distractions* from this otherwise AWESOME app:

1. Is there a way to customize the "missing image" graphic placeholders that appear in the "Machine Externals" and "In-Game Content" tabs on the right?

Right now they show faded Mario/Sonic/Pac-Man images for "Machine Externals", and TV-style test pattern/off the air images for "In-Game Content". I can appreciate the ideas... however I'm a fan of a more minimal, clean and character-agnostic look, and these images add a bit too much visual distraction to my eyes.

You had actually told me a way to un-zip the Java app/archive, and change the images myself a couple years ago... however that method hasn't been available for a few versions now.

Can you please tell me how I can now change those default image files (i.e., Sonic/Mario/Pacman/etc) in the latest 100.1 version?

Even better would be a way to specify those images *outside* of the App itself... such as through a support file folder, or the "Skin" option?



2. I saw someone else had brought this up more recently as well, but the flip animation between selecting games is ***VERY*** distracting.

I understand your reasoning in that it acts as a "visual cue" that new info/images are loading.

However, it would **REALLY** be nice for it to be **optional**... as it becomes very annoying when scrolling through a list of games quickly.

If there *must* be an effect here... a *non-moving* one (such as a fade or swipe) would be MUCH less distracting... although I'd prefer no effect at all, if given the option!



Finally, are there instructions for compiling Negatron on a Mac? If that's what it will take to attempt the above changes, I'm willing to figure it out!


THANK YOU very much again for the BEST Frontend... (and for making the Tool Tips optional as well!)!! With those last two changes, everything would be PERFECT! =D

BabelSoft
Site Admin
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by BabelSoft » Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:24 am

1/ If you're using the all-in-1 pack, the old method doesn't work indeed. It looks like I really need to add those image styling possibilities now.
In the latest versions of Negatron, I'm using a new feature of the Java platform to package Java apps. Sadly, it compresses Java apps to a specific format, it's not zip anymore.

As of now, I cannot release complete instructions to compile the all-in-1 pack because I tweaked the Java feature itself to customise it a bit as there were some results I weren't happy with, particularly on Windows platforms. That means compiling the Java platform before compiling Negatron. I'm not sure that's what you want :lol:

I'll look into it this week.

2/ I did look at how to change this. The thing is this animation is so integrated into the process to load data from MAME that it has become cumbersome to remove it (or I was quite intellectually tired when I attempted to do it). It's bad software design on my part that led to this result. So, I need to make a better design for this process. It means more time-consuming than previously anticipated.

A visual cue is really needed because, at first, Negatron is really slow at loading data from MAME, it gets reasonably fast by the 5th communication request between Negatron and MAME. So, I'll change it to a simpler loading animation like a rotating circle. Iµ'll also look into it this week.

3/ As for the tooltips, the change was more complex than anticipated because of bad design from the Java architects themselves :lol: But they fixed this in recent versions of Java, hence the addition of this option in Negatron.

fish_stik
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:10 am

Re: Game Image Area Aesthetics

Post by fish_stik » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:00 pm

Thank you so much for the fast and thoughtful response!! :D

I'm sorry that it will cause more work for you... but am also *certain* that those two changes will make Negatron an even *more* enjoyable experience to use, for others as well as me!

It's really an AWESOME and *STABLE* application, making *GIANT* improvements over the previous "best" front-end I was using before (QMC2).



BTW, in case you had missed it, Negatron was featured on the "MAME on the Mac" blog earlier this year, in a very complimentary review:
https://mameonmacs.blogspot.com/2020/04 ... t-its.html


Looking forward to those changes being made... then Negatron will be PERFECT!! Thank you VERY much again! I will be donating to your project shortly. :D

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