1.14.08 - some news has come about today. I got an email from a great guy from switzerland, Stefan. He has taken it upon himself to right the wrongs in ultraconfig and myrominfo. He snagged the source from sourceforge and was able to get the parser running for MAME v.122. I am putting his file (called ultraconfig3Hotfix) in the
download section. Stefan deserves all the credit for breathing new life into ultrastyle. I have been throwing around the Idea of a version of ultrastyle using silverlight on winforms. I think it may do a good job animating. Conceptually an itunes album cover style fe. I don't know if there's already something out there like it. For now I thank Stefan for giving new cabbies the ability to look at ultrastyle, I know it's been a while since it worked with MAME.
- It's been a while, I know. I am working with a guy named jeff who emailed me about ultrastyle not working. We are close to
having it back to 100% working with only some parsing changes to the myrominfo.exe. Watch this spot for more info on this non-vaporware!
- I have submitted an application to sourceforge. I will know in a few days if the project will be accepted. If so,
I will be adding the necessary files to the page. Additionally, if you download the source files from below, it requires the directory structure
be the same as ultrastyle's, it will be looking for a subfolder called cfg, with those files in them, models, images, etc. it's easiest to d/l
the latest ultrastyle and delete the exe and drop the source files in that directory.
3.12.06 - I have decided to make ultrastyle an open source project. I know there is more to do, I just don't have the time. I will gladly post updates and list changes and features. Please realize that when I coded this, I never intended to comment it for others to see. I also have a bad habit of declaring variables as x, a , kkk, t and such. I have created a SOURCE package, which consists of all of the required files. ultrastyle itself is in blitz3d. This compiler is $100. ultraconfig is in vb.net 2003. I have included the necessary files for blitzmovie. Both CatConfig and MyRomInfo are standalone EXEs written in blitz3d. I hav included a 'to do' list as well. I ask that any changes being made come back as a source.zip with a text file of the new features/fixes/changes applied. If anyone actually wants to do this PLEASE e-mail me, and I will look into putting the source files on one of those open source pages. SOURCE FILES
7.16.05 - I wrote a program that loaded my 2600+ screens into memory at once. It was around 125MB after the load, but it was up to 300+ MB while loading. After it loaded I could move through the screens very quickly, I can't say that just screens on the cube would be any slower if they were loaded live. The real issue was that upon trying to shut down the test program, my machine (1Ghz, 512 MB 256GForce) wouldn't budge for at least 30 seconds. I think it would be the same in ultrastyle when choosing a game. This as you could imagine would be a problem. I do however have a "meet me halfway" solution which I think will do nicely. I can load the images live initially, then store them with the game as you move through the wheel. I think this is as clean as It's going to get. I am not going to store movies with the game, but I am going to try and store both the screen and the marquee. Text marquees will still be made on the fly. I am also going to try and move a few things around internally to drop the memory commitment as it stands now. I am slowly coming to terms with multiple EMUs and multiple Favorites.
Update - Just for kicks, I limited the loading of screens to 100. It worked about 200x better then loading the full number of Screens. If you were using a limited number of games (less then 400) this would be an great solution. The memory hit was almost 200MB while loading. Maybe this is cause for a filter to knock out games from your all games list during setup. When everything is said and done, I don't play more then 400 games. Right now my CP limits me to joystick only games. Here's what I'm saying.. We all have 4000+ish games, but many of the non-english games I'll never play. But all of them are on the wheel for the sake of having so many on the wheel. If you could knock out over half of these games because of lack of controllers or language barriers, we might be getting somewhere. Basically what I'm saying is if you cut out the fat, your probably only left with 400 or so games.. I guess until now I haven't really given you guys the choice of cutting down your All Games list, what do you guys think? Would you take the time to set up you cab more like an actual ultracade with the games you have at least heard of, and can play? Or do you like the blanket cover of the current All Games list? I'm thinking basically of another .exe that will allow you to trim the fat off of you current listing. Maybe the 'All Games' would stay intact and then more of a larger favorites would become your usable all Games list. Basically a better Favorites editor.
7.1.05 - I am still here.. Yesterday I had my 2nd look at an ultracadeTM ever. I saw one a few years ago and it's what I based ultrastyle after, obviously. Welp, I had some time to have a good look, and I noticed how much smoother the wheel moved then ultrastyle's does. I was able to smooth out the wheel movement considerably. The one thing I can't do is get it completely smooth. The issue is that the marquees and snaps get loaded in real time. I can't store all 5000 marquees and snaps in memory to have them run as smooth as I'm sure you'd all like. Since ultracade has a much smaller number of games, it can do it. I may be able to do something like that IF I give an option to you to load all textures into memory, if you only have 100 or so games running, like on a cocktail.. As far as the project, it is moving forward, but slowly. I don't have A/C and it's tough to sit in this chair in the summer months. Last year it was easier, I didn't have to go to work everyday. I think I may have solved the cocktail issue. My new issue is the introduction on non-mame emus. there are 2 main issues: 1. Naming conventions to show game names instead of filenames. 2. The filter wheel, how do I filter console games? Should I even bother? I have been thinking about having a multiwheel, which would have the emu wheel, filter wheel and main wheel all on 1 screen at once. I could easily add opacity to the wheels not in use.. I haven't come up with a clean look for this style, but I'm working on it. I also have a few ideas about wheel animation, and I'd like to add in a few choices for you guys. Once I get solid ideas on multiple emus, I will move to them.
4.17.05 - I know there hasn't been much from me lately, I am working on the FE here and there. The main barrier to get over has been the cocktail mode issue. Those of you that run cocktail mode are not seeing ultrastyle running at full speed. This has to do with rotating the gameinfo and the clock. Both of these are images I draw over the 3D scene. Rotating them 90 degrees in real time is the cause of the loss of speed. I am working on changing these images to sprites, which do not suffer the speed loss. At the same time, I am looking into adding in features. I have come up with a viable 3D intro to dress the FE up a little. I would like to change the "levels" of the wheel and move the "All Games" to an actual sub wheel, changing it to "All MAME Games". This would open up the possibility of multiple EMUs. I am also looking for someone that can make 3D models of different system controllers, My Idea is to use these controllers as a menu of systems to choose from. If anyone out there is willing to make some professional quality models, I would love to hear from you. I am thinking about 5 or so to start, and if it catches on, maybe others will donate models as well. I am iffy at best when it comes to making models, if I am going to pursue this route, I want it to look good. There is also the possibility of a moving background. I have some textures that work well with this scenario, but I don't know if the FE will seem too busy. As always I want to give you guys the choice to have a moving or static background.. I am also working on a system to keep track of the Top 10 games, and the last x# of games. Syntax is really all I have to work out on these two, then they will work. I will be adding in a jukebox, since Blitz already provides me the ability to play music for you. There won't be an EQ or anything fancy. The wheel will be set up just like iTunes would be Artists - Albums - Songs. For ease of use, you might want to get a program that organizes your music in this fashion. The cube of course would show the album covers if available. The jukebox will be set up in a way that either your using the jukebox or your playing with an EMU, it's one or the other, not both. I will also be messing around with switching the cube and the wheel positions. If I can get that to work, then you will have 4 different config choices between wheel on left/right and a-z/z-a for wheel direction. These are all of the thing I have planned for the next release, I don't know how long they will take, but I don't want to put out a version until it can do this stuff. I haven't posted in a while so I wanted to let you know what was on deck.
4.7.05 - Today is the 1 year anniversary of the original release of ultrastyle. I can't believe it's been a year. Happy birthday little buddy, and hopefully many more! To celebrate, ALL downloads will be free today! Enjoy!
4.1.05 - Anyone experiencing movie problems with an nVidia video card should reinstall the drivers. I have had more then one person with this issue.
3.27.05 - I found a great little function that allows me to put a colored outline around the text on-screen. I have tested it on the marquee text, and I like the look a lot. You can choose to have the outline in any color you like. You can also choose not to have an outline of course. I am also trying to put together a 3D intro screen. I have also come across a cool function that would make a good into. I am guessing that v3.1 has stabilized the current release. I am not getting quite as many questions. I have a good amount on the to-do list, so the next version should be feature rich.
3.26.05 - Added Screenshots page. I think the site is much more organized now. I never thought it would be more then 1 page..
3.26.05 - I just realized that I never fixed the CP issue with the dual controls. It's not a program breaker, just an inconvenience. I have up to this point been keeping my to-do list in notepad. Just a simple list. I would like to get/make a more inclusive to-do list that keeps track of to-do info. Just a few bells and whistles over notepad. If I can find one, fine. Otherwise I will write one. Should be that hard. (that's how I got into this mess in the first place..)
3.22.05 - Just under the wire..
3.22.05 - New site look, New version.. There is a small patch from 3.0 to 3.1 or the full version 3.1 to download.
3.16.05 - I am leaning toward early next week. I will be out of town this weekend.
3.16.05 - A quick note: I am getting a lot of feedback which is great! Of course I screwed up a few things which is not so great! This weekend I will try and right the wrongs and throw out a fix. I guess my API work didn't really fix the focus issue, so I will go back to the forced mouseclicks.. Look for a patch this weekend or early next week.
3.15.05 - v3.0 Released - Someone had issues when returning to a game and not having focus. If many people claim the same, I will change the code, PLEASE e-mail me if you find your losing focus coming back from a game. I wanted to get this out today. The webpage will be getting a facelift in the days to come.
3.13.05 - Mark e-mailed me today with a discovery. He noticed that he forgot to update NPlayer.ini when he updated his MAME version. this was causing Memory Access Error. I have written in to ignore the Nplayer.ini lack of info in this case. I should be ready to ship out the next version tomorrow as long as there are no surprise bugs.
3.13.05 - More testing today, more kinks as well. Not too much longer I think. I know as soon as I put it out, I'll find something that needs to be changed, so I am doing my best to minimize that..
3.12.05 - Ok, I have been testing on and off today. I have installed a few times, and run various games to work the kinks out. It seems very solid. I haven't gotten it to run over 30MB in EXE form, and that's with movies and MP3s running. I have also thought up a few features that will have to wait until the next release.. All in all it looks very good. I am hoping to get it into your hands soon.
3.11.05 - Cocktail mode is a little slower than upright is. It's because the game info and the clock are drawn as an image and then rotated 90/-90 degrees so they can be read properly. It has always been like this, so it's not something new. But, I have looked into changing the images to sprites, which apparently don't have this issue, like textures, and it may be a viable solution to the problem. It will not be included in v3.0, but in a version soon after v3.0..
3.11.05 - Got a hold of some CPanel .PNGs finally and they work fine. Although they aren't squared off at all, so the get stretched out quite a bit. But they do work. No reply from the BlitzMovie.dll guy. I don't know what to make of it..
3.10.05 - I have started getting the directory structure in order. After putting info in the Release.txt I can tell you there are a lot of new things in this release, more then I thought. I am by no means ready to release, just getting my ducks in a row..
3.10.05 - Went to check on the BlitzMovie.dll today and got a page saying "This software has been discontinued!". Like everything else in life, another good thing disappears. I have a WT-Heck e-mail in to the author so we'll see what the verdict is..
3.10.05 - Another Late night.. I ended up making A different CP for the drop down control info. It's working very well. I am limiting the use to 640x480 and up. Anything smaller wouldn't be worth it. Some of the new options have been implemented. I don't know how much longer it will take to wrap things up. I am very excited about this release. Since I re-wrote a little bit of everything, there will have to be extensive testing. The background image does not scale, I'm not sure it ever did.. So you'll have to have the right size image for your resolution. I will scale the default one to 640 and 800, if anyone needs different dimensions, I can do them, I just need to know what they would be.. One of the new features is the functionality of the Filter Button. In the current version, if you press it, you will be brought to the beginning of the filter wheel. Now, if you are in a sub-categorey, pressing the filter button will bring you to that category in the filter wheel. Pressing the Filter button a second time will bring you to 'All Games'. I think this makes the wheel more usable..
3.8.05 - ultraconfig is now 'Save Button' Free. All data is saved in real time. I am trying to make sure that I've got all the code doing what I want, and then I can start adding in the new stuff.. I haven't done much with ultrastyle today, maybe tomorrow.. I want to get the new CP pic done as well.
3.8.05 - Reorganizing ultraconfig today, hopefully it will seem more organized anyhow. I've condensed three tabs into one, and done away with most of the Save buttons. Still can't find CP art work, if you know of a site, shoot me an e-mail.
3.7.05 - Things are coming along very well. I have gotten all of the code to play nice with each other. I am having trouble tracking down cp shots to check the art work 100% I compiled and ran on my cab just to see what a difference 4000+ games makes to 1100+, and I'm happy to say, none at all. Compiled, it ran at around 25MB. This is without videos (I haven't copied them down to my cab yet) And I am guessing the videos will have a little bit more of an impact, but not much. I now have lined up a bunch of enhancements including the drop down CP, which is working out very well. I am enjoying putting this version together, because it feels so rock solid. I think it will feel a lot faster for people without heavy duty 3D cards. I am really trying to make it as polished as possible.
3.7.05 - It's tomorrow already, I did a lot today. I've got 5 functions left, and I may not even be done for the night yet.. I've got the filter wheel working, the subwheels, up/down a letter, up/down x# of games, all of the game info, and even the unaltered dropdown control panel. The new BlitzMovie.dll should be out later next week. I figure it will all be done soon, so you guys can wait for v3.0. At this point it's easier to finish 3.0 then to make sure v126.96.36.199 is 100%. I guess it will have NO shelf life at all. There will be some new additions to v3.0, a few more choices in ultraconfig as well.
3.6.05 - Morning all, I spent the better part of the day helping my father with a hardware problem on his PC. Last night I went through about half of the functions and got them running with the new code. In the compiler it is holding around 30MB. (25MB in .EXE form) The old (I mean current) ultrastyle really used to jump around in memory size a lot, but this one is staying pretty stable. I also wrote a small program that Kevan, the author of BlitzMovie.dll was able to use to view the crashing issue in ultrastyle v2.4.6. As soon as I get the OK for the new version of BlitzMovie.dll, I will put out v188.8.131.52 <- couldn't help it. Which will also have a small patch for people with v2.4.6. this will give me some breathing room for v3.0 Which I think will be a vast improvement over the current version. I don't think v184.108.40.206 will have a long shelf life though..
3.5.05 - I have begun the process of the re-write. I have moved some files over to the new wheel. I'm up to 12.5MB with all game info loaded. This includes my 2000+ ROM info, category info, filtered versions of the game and so on. Essentially the data you don't see, and some you do.. I haven't yet got the wheel and cube textured to the game info, but they are textured. I don't know how much more of a load it will add, but I think things are looking very good.
3.5.05 - It's late/early, however you want to look at it. I have started re-writing ultrastyle to be a slimmer better version of itself. a bulk of the coding is going to stay the same, but I am thinning out the wheel to only be the part you see. I have got the wheel working and it's running at a lean 7.5MB compiled. I don't know how many MB it will be packing on after game info is loaded, but I am doing my best to streamline the 3D side of it. Hopefully, I will have something usable by the end of the weekend. I have already learned a few tricks I wish I would have known when I started almost a year ago. I think I will be moving to v3.0 after this. There is a lot of work to be done this weekend I will try and post when I can.
3.4.05 - KNOWN ISSUE - If you are using videos, UP/DOWN a letter may cause ultrastyle to crash. I am working with the BlitzMovie.dll creator to try and figure it out. I will post a fix when I find one. Current workaround: Remove the videos path from ultraconfig.
3.4.05 - Been hard at work all day.. I have been talking to JCrouse thru e-mail about incorporating CPViewer into ultrastyle. It allows you to see a control panel and the buttons are labeled so you know what each one does. The guys over at BYOAC have been putting together a control.ini file that has the info in it for most games. It all really very convenient, and something that a FE should be able to do.
Welp, I sort of went ahead and wrote one myself today. I spent most of the day in photoshop touching up this and that. The code side of it wasn't too hard. After all my hard work, I've decided that you really don't need to see a 2 player CP because most of the control info is written for player 1 anyhow. Instead I am going to change my CP pic to a 1player CP. This will give me more room for button names, some can be very long. I am going to try and make a few different control panels specific for Trackball, Spinner, or Joystick. I do want to give you a pic of what I have so far. Basically, When you press a button, (yea I know I'm adding yet another button, but I think it's worth it!) The CP drops from the top of the screen. Press any key and it retracts again. I did use the buttons from the sample controls.jpg that comes with CPViewer.
**This is a work in progress and is not yet a feature of ultrastyle
3.3.05 - As always, fast on the heels of a release, yet another release.. v2.4.6 If you have v2.4, there is a quick patch that allows you to keep your current setup.
3.2.05 - I have just come across "BlitzMovie" by Kevan Harriman, which from my tests may be the resolution to the video(movie) speed issue. I will be working on implementing it in the coming weeks..
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