2.27.05 - v2.4 Released

Changed:
- if an error is captured and you are kicked out of ultrastyle, the taskbar is no longer hidden
- new background image replaces default
- sped up the wheel animation when going up/down a letter and to sub-wheels, the wheel now snaps into place much quicker
- changed the way favorites were read into ultraconfig to make use of MAME32 Favorites converter 
tool
- in ultraconfig, the titles to the groups are now in BOLD so you can spot them better
Added:
- errors are now written to error.txt in the main ultrastyle dir
- setup wizard now gives you 3 choices when starting (new setup, added ROMs, and new MAME ver)
- choose to shutdown or exit immediately instead of shutdown options dialog
- some of the sort by controller code is implemented, but it's not available yet


2.25.05 - Sorry for the delay, but you know how life goes.. I will do my best to get it out this weekend.


2.24.05 - In the meantime, I've decided to bundle up the few changes I have made and get them out to you. The changes mostly reflect better error traping. I am trying to get rid of the "memory access error" message so you and I can have more information when there's a problem. I am also writing the errors to a text file in the ultrastyle root directory. So if you get an error but can't see it, you can check the error.txt file to see what it was. When you do error out, I have un-hidden the task bar, so that shouldn't cause any more problems. The short list of changes will follow this post after I test it on my cab.


2.21.05 - I was informed today that there is some issues arising between ultracade and MAME. Since my FE is a joining of these two great nations, I am halting any work on the new version until this dance is over. You can read about some of the goings on in the BYOAC forums (arcadecontrols.com) and ultracade.com. 


2.18.05 - I posted below about the exe sizes. Someone e-mailed me and explained that MAME is compressed with an executable packer called UPX. I ran the MAME executable and looked in the task manager and the memory usage was 58MB. So I guess you can't escape the giant memory drain that MAME produces. You live you learn..


2.16.05 - Speaking of overhead, for those of you that use MAME32, Please realize one fact about MAME vs. MAME32: As of today, the most current MAME exe is 6.7 MB, while the most current MAME32 exe is 42.5 MB. You can see that if you are worried about memory usage, MAME is the emulator you should be running. I realize that for some M32 is easier to configure, but once you sit down and look at it, MAME isn't really that difficult at all. Just something to keep in mind.

2.16.05 - I learned today that Blitz3D limits the frame rate when a movie is playing. ultrastyle should run around 60 fps (frames per second) on a good 3D card. When a movie plays on the cube, it drops to 10-20 fps. This is why the cube stutters and slows a bit. Considering this info, I don't think I will ever get ultrastyle to playback movies smoothly regardless of file sizes or video compression. Unless there is a change to the compiler that gives more control over movie playback, which I don't anticipate anytime soon, videos may or may not run smoothly on your cab.

2.16.05 - Messing around with movies on the cube, I found that a pacman video I have that's 942K plays smoother then a qbert video that's 488K. I think that the encoding really has a lot to do with the video playback in ultrastyle. I am going through the code line by line to make sure I am freeing up as many resources as possible. I am going to have to sit down and chart out what happens through the course of using the FE to see if I can release and re-read in info on the games which will lower memory usage..


2.14.05 - After talking with a user, I realized that I can create an error log for known errors (the one's I have managed to trap) and also return the taskbar to the screen after those errors.. so that will be some of the added functionality in the next release as well..


2.13.05 - Ok, so I was looking on the net for a full list of NES ROMs when it hit me. There is no uniform way that NES ROMs are named. Therefore, there is no uniform way that I can get a ROM name and give a game title. I hope you see my dilemma. I don't want to give a list of .nes or .zip files as the game name. On top of that, I don't know if there are a collection of NES screenshots anywhere that would be used as the MAME ones are. Even if I make up a list of all games, if the words I'm comparing don't match, then I can't generate a list of your ROMs. What I can do is give you a list of your ROMs, then next to it make a list of your ROMs again, minus the extension, and allow you to make changes to the second list as needed. ex. List1. mrbros1.nes  List2. mrbros1 List2 changed to: Mario Bros. The lists would ALL have to be edited by hand. The good news is that most of your Non-MAME emus would only have to be edited once, and would then carry over to any newer version of ultrastyle. Those emus don't get updated very often. Another issue I'm looking at is categorizing the NES ROMs. I am not willing to do this by hand. I have a list of 8000+ NES ROMs from all over the world, I do not wish to sort them out on my own. Any suggestions here? If EMUs outside of MAME have no categorization, then choosing them would only give an alphabetical listing of games..


2.12.05 - A formula is developing in my head for multiple EMUs. I can see that rearranging some code should allow for the 3-tier design I have in mind. However, for EMUs outside of MAME, I don't see how I can categorize the games by Genre. So it's possible that the other EMUs will not have a filtered version. In some cases there are only a handful of games for an EMU anyhow. In others, NES in particular, there are a few thousand, but nowhere near the level of community support. I will be spending the weekend trying to come up with sites that do list games by genre, like catlist does, considering that those lists for the most part are not going to be changing ever again.. Also, I will try to look into what EMUs are command line driven and will work with FEs. If anyone wants to post in the forum as to what EMUs they would like to see supported, I'll get a thread going in Feature Requests..


2.11.05 - I am working on a top level menu system that will allow you to choose what EMU you want to run. I have some ideas on small button changes. For example, the defaults now are P2 Start = filter wheel, P1 Start = play game/choose category. I would like it to be P1 Start = play game/choose category, P2 = Up one wheel level. So P2 will always bring you to the wheel above where you are now. There would be 3 levels in all. 1 would be choose an EMU, 2 would be filtered choices of the games in that category, 3 would be the games themselves, including ALL Games. This means a lot of code will have to be moved around to accommodate for the new order. In the end I Imagine it will be a more organized system. It also calls for some static lists for other emu's outside of MAME. Hopefully I will be able to come up with lists like that from sites around the web. Also I am experimenting with moving backgrounds in ultrastyle. Of course I will give the user the choice. But for now it seems like a cool effect. 


2.9.05 - I have added my tweaks to the Cab Ideas page. If you have some of your own ideas, Send them over and I'll put them up and give you credit of course. Maybe in a little while I will have a flourishing cab section as well.. 


2.8.05 - I am going to try an work on my Cab Ideas section again, now that I have finally finished mine. I will be adding content in the next few days.. Also, I have got the filtering by controller type to make a text file that is in the same format as catlist.txt. I don't know if that was the easy part, or the hard part.. Now I am trying to figure out how to slide it into the existing code. It will mess with the alphabetical listing of the filter wheel. But I also don't want to have to go all of the way around the wheel to get to "Trackball" (which isn't a problem yet because I don't have one..) So I am thinking of the possibility of making another filter wheel that sorts by controller. I haven't worked out the hierarchy yet. but I may be able to get it in order soon.


2.4.05 - Yesterday I made changes to the animation for when you change wheels or go up/down a letter. I have sped it up so the wheel snaps into place instead of sort of shrinking into place. I like the look of this better. I also adjusted the code which originally destroys the wheel and rebuilds it to just re-texturing the current one. hopefully this will speed up the moving through the alphabet. Also, I looked at my cab's onboard video. In the bios, it gives me the option of a whopping 1 or 8MB dedicated to video. I would recommend you have a 64 MB or above video card for ultrastyle. I am planning on picking one up just to confirm that it's what is needed to make it run smooth. A 32MB might do the job as well, but I'm not sure.


1.31.05 - Just some pictures to show you guys what I am doing. I am attempting to visually show you what controls are used with each game. Here are a few shots to give you an idea.. this will be an overlay, hopefully I will give you a few choices on where it appears..

  


1.27.05 - After reading a post on the forum today, I looked at the listinfo and found that I can sort all of the games by controller type. MAME has 10 different controller types. I can use these types in the same way that catconfig uses categories. What this means is that filtering will no longer be an on off type of thing. By default filtering will be enabled. Which will also open up the favorites and Others categories that people that did not use filtering were unable to get to. I rewrote part of MyRomInfo which sped up it's sorting by 3x. I am using the newfound speed increase to make MyRomInfo also sort the games by control. For now, the filter wheel will contain the sort by control as a default, If you also wish to have it sort using the catlist, you would do that through the normal method. I will give you the option not to display the individual control categories as well..

1.27.05 - There a lot of new ideas rolling in lately, and it's become clear that I need to start focusing my attention on the next version. I have a list of about a dozen things to add in, or look at. I still don't see a clear path to adding in multiple favorites. My real dilemma with multiple favorites is this: a. how do I know what list you want to add a favorite to "in-game" b. in ultraconfig, how do I set it up to be able to show you multiple favorite lists. c. how many is multiple? 5, 10, 100? I would like it to be infinite, but I don't know if that's possible.  I think this is the feature that a lot of people are asking for, so I want to do it right the first time..


1.19.05 - I have been working with Tom Ebling on some new GUI ideas. One is a graphical display of what controls you will need to play the current game. We have made several of the controls using some 3D modeling and Photoshop. initially I wanted to use a 3D object in Blitz3D, but when I moved it around the screen, the perspective changed too much. I will be going with a graphic overlay of a 3D control panel. I want to give you guys the option to show it in 1 of 3 or so different places. I hope to also be adding both Top 10 and Last x# of games played. I will also be taking my time and looking through the code to see if there is any way I can speed some things along. and by that I mean visually. and by that I mean go faster.


1.3.05 - Happy New Year. Today I was thinking of a different way of looking at ultrastyle. The filter wheel. When you are looking at the filter wheel, even the 'All Games' wheel is a sub-category of it. If I moved all games to that location (in programming terms), then it would be possible to make the filter wheel the topmost MAME wheel, In doing so, It could allow me to make the real topmost wheel the 'pick your emu' wheel. Of course, this would mean a WHOLE LOT of user configuration, because like I said, other emus don't hand out the kind of info that MAME does, but I think It's a possibility. Also I was thinking that if this were to be the case, the Player 1 button would be used to move down a wheel, while the Player 2(buttons i'm choosing are the defaults in ultrastyle, yours may vary..) would be used to move up a wheel. This way, you could move into a sub-category in the filter wheel, and then come out at that place. (Instead of pressing Player 2 and going straight to the 'All Games' wheel like it does now.) As far as multiple favorites goes, I still can't come up with a good way to add a game to favorites if you've got more then 1 to choose from.. you can still only get the patch for v2.3.1 from the link below..


12.22.04 - The latest update is a "patch" to 2.3. I have not yet updated the actual 2.3 download. I wanted to get this out before the holidays devour me. Get the patch Here. <- Hyperlink deactivated, get the lateset version. When it asks what directory, point it to your current ultrastyle directory. There are 5 new files in this update: new ultrastyle.exe ultraconfig.exe and 3 new backgrounds in a folder called Newstyle. Both of the EXEs should overwrite your existing exes.

Changed:
- Altered the background picture to square up a bit more
Added:
- Back button to Setup Wizard
- New background image to possibly replace the default


12.21.04 - Made a few small changes that I will release as a "patch". Overwrite the ultrastyle.exe, ultraconfig.exe, and the background.jpg (last one is optional) In ultraconfig, I have added a requested Back button to the wizard. I have created a new background.jpg to make the default background not so drab, because of that, I have tried to make the background picture look better by changing the scaling ratios, this is the change to the ultrastyle.exe. I may be able to get this up tomorrow night.


12.16.04 - I am thinking for the next version of adding in a Top 10 and a Last 10 category to the filter wheel. While brainstorming these ideas, I thought of a possible way to detach ultrastyle from MAME and maybe make it an all encompassing FE. If I can do it, then I may be able to sort based on the EMU. Don't look for anything too soon, holidays and all. But I am beginning to formulate a plan.. (insert maniacal laughter here) Of course, other EMUs would not have the sophisticated setup that MAME requires, for those we may be able to get some static game lists formatted the way I want. (which would in the end look like the External exe - other.txt file to an extent)  The lists would be available for download as plug-in type files, based upon the EMUs you would want in the FE. Like I said, it's going to be a while.


12.6.04 - Computer Love skins updated to include a load screen, and a sound pack is added from Neal Anderson. Thanks Neal! 


12.5.04 - v2.3 released! And other updates as well: 2 new skins, and new utilities from David Van Linge

Changed:
- Setup buttons have been removed from the filtering tab
- changes to setup.txt to include the new Wizard info
- moved to the 7z format for the zip file
Fixed:
- The 'Other' wheel was mismatching screenshots and marquees
- External EXEs would not launch due to the fact that ultrastyle did not change the current directory
- using the boot from startup checkbox caused an error, ultrastyle now forced to use it's own directory for startup.
Added:
- Setup Wizard now guides you through setup steps
- Favorites are removable from within ultrastyle
- Added links to Catlist and NPlayers in ultraconfig
- new line in other.txt for external EXEs path

12.5.04 - A quick note to say that v2.3 is all but finished. Someone out there expressed an issue with mame32 v.89, I want to look into to save myself re-releasing in  a week. Once I am satisfied with the results, the new version will be made available.


12.2.04 - Ok, so I cam eup with this really clean and nice way to verify that Li.txt and Sets.txt were being created properly to solve my win9x problem. Works flawlessly in XP.. But DOESN"T work in 9x. This is really starting to piss me off. I can still implement this stuff for XP, which is fine. But I haven't come up with a good way to do it in 9x. 9x does work and the eral problem I'm having is when you try and create LI.txt, a DOS box pops up and dissappears, and you have no visual signal that LI.txt is still being created. So if I try and copy it out of (I just thought of something) 


11.30.04 - I have just now learned of the development joy that is Virtual PC 2004. I have been switching out drives on my PC to test ultraconfig in a win9x environment. I will soon be using VPC. This will speed things up considerably. As for the MAME32/9x issue. I believe I have a 'workaround' which will require people using this combination to use a DOS box. It's a small inconvenience compared to the standard setup, but it's better then saying you can use this combination of OS and App. I plan on spending all of my free time this week to finishing this version of ultrastyle.


11.29.04 - And here is my reply: "Mame32 uses every commandline option mame.exe does but it does not direct its output to the console.  Redirect to a file or use Mame.exe." Which for the most part states my question.. But it says to me "We have no intention of making the switches output to the console" So that being the case, I will have to make up a supported / unsupported Matrix. 


11.28.04 - I think maybe the easiest thing to do is to say that there is going to be an unsupported configuration. I don't want to blanket the OS and say no win9x/ME support, and I don't want to blanket MAME32 and say not supported any longer. But when you mix these two, there is a problem. I also don't want to say if you use win9x/ME, your going to have to use MAME only. I am still waiting for an answer, so for now I am going to wait.

11.28.04 - As always, fixing one problem only brings about two more. As I have effectively solved the win9x/ME issue, I have found a MAME/MAME32 issue on win9x/ME boxes. It seems that when running command line options, their behavior is different. Because of this difference in behavior, automating MAME is much easier on a win9x/ME box then MAME32. I, of course, have a question pending on a forum, and am awaiting an answer.


11.27.04 - A true update.. I have been testing the new wizard on a 9x box for a little while now, and I have straightened out the DOS problem with creating the LI.txt and Sets.txt, It would seem that I would have gotten it right the first time if I had only been paying attention to what I was doing. You see, I made the XP version first, and in doing so use the cmd.exe command to get that portion of the work done. When I added the 9x part I changed cmd.exe into command.exe, which should have been command.COM. So if I had changed three letters in v2.x, all the 9x'ers out there would never have had to go through that DOS stuff anyhow. Better late then never I guess.


11.21.04 - I know I probably seem like a lazy bastard, but I swear I'm not.. I haven't had much spare time lately to cross my t's and dot my i's. I will try and get what I've got out to you guys, although as far as the FE goes, there's not too much new functionality, and only a few bug fixes. But as of late I would have to say there are a few promising new ideas that have come out that I would like to explore. I will do my best to make time for the new release.


11.15.04 - Something I just read on a forum that I would like to point out. The boys over at NPlayers originally had 1 file. Now they have both a MAME and a MAME32 version of their NPlayers file. ultrastyle supports only the MAME version regardless of which MAME you are using. Within the .zip you download should be NPlayers.ini NOT Multiplayer.ini.


11.14.04 - I have been working on the Setup Wizard this weekend, and I think it's coming really nicely. I have re-instated the running of MyRomInfo and CatConfig from ultraconfig, and it's working so far. David has sent me a new utility called Profile Manager which will give you the ability to have favorites for different people. I will put it up by the end of today for download. There is also an update to his other utility, ultrafilter.


11.4.04 - Finally, everything that needed to get done (in real life) is finished. I will be getting back to coding without distraction. I would like to finish up this version and get it out to you guys to clean up some of the bugs out there.


11.2.04 - Go Vote!

11.2.04 - David Van Linge has written a utility he calls ultrafilter. It allows you to remove games from ultrastyle based on any word in the game's description. For example, "10 Yard Fight (Japan)" is the name of a specific ROM set. If you were to use ultrafilter on the word "Japan" then all ROM sets with that word in it would be removed from your MyRomInfo.txt files. His utility is a 1 click simple to use stand alone .exe. I am going to add it to the download page. Big thanks to David for writing the first ultrastyle utility.

11.2.04 - I have been looking into my Daphne sound issue, and I haven't been able to come up with a fix yet. ultrastyle has absolutely no sound when it returns from Daphne. Windows itself does make noise, so I am a little hopeful that there is something I can do, but I am still looking for answers. The wizard I think will shape up nicely, I am hoping to devote some time to that this week.


10.27.04 - I have started work on the Setup Wizard. This wizard is not going to be entirely like a traditional wizard would be. It will help users out to an extent, but it will also guide them to specific tabs in ultraconfig to set up things like paths. I think it will be a very straight forward setup process that is all spelled out for the end user. Setup now has it's own tab, and filtering is no longer sharing space with it. I also plan to make the setup tab hidable so that after you've setup up ultrastyle, you don't have to see the setup tab if you don't want to. I have broken down setup into 3 main steps. I think this will also simplify the setup process. I will try to provide as much information as possible for each part of each step. Please realize that this is the first incarnation of the setup wizard, and it will probably get better with each successive release.


10.26.04 - A quick thank you to Jim for the donation. Jim's donation means that I have finally recouped the $100 I spent on the Blitz3D compiler! Thanks to all you guys that spent some money on this front-end, being a long time shareware user, I know how rare that is!

10.26.04 - I have implemented a remove favorites from within ultrastyle method. When in favorites, pressing the favorites button once will prompt you to press it again to remove the current game from your favorites. It will be a feature you can disable from ultraconfig.

10.26.04 - Make that two! I have figured out an issue with the "other" wheel not lining up correctly, I was passing incorrect variables to a function that would not be seen as a problem if you only have 2 things in the wheel as I do by default.

10.26.04 - One down and a few to go, I have solved the startup error. It was caused by the app not knowing it's own directory when it starts, I have forced it to use it's own directory when it starts, the memory access error is now gone from automatic boot at startup.


10.23.04 - I have really fallen behind on making some fixes to current issues. I tried to e-mail the Daphne guy(s) about the sound problem, but the message came back undeliverable. I have had a full plate lately, but I hope that after Halloween, things will die down enough that I can put together an updated version. I have started an Install/Setup Wizard, but haven't entirely formulated how it's going to work yet. 


10.18.04 - 'Other' sub-wheel glitch. Lou has pointed out that there's an issue with the 'Other' sub wheel, looks like the marquees don't line up with the games on the screen shot cube. I will have to look into this issue as well, which I don't think will be too hard to figure out. Once all of these issues are straightened out, I will put out a "patch". I am also going to try and create a "Setup Wizard" to walk people through the setup. I think it may smooth out some bumps, although I have to say, I don't really get a ton of setup questions, but overall I think it will make setups a bit easier. This means there might be a new setup tab in ultraconfig which walks you through the initial setup process.


10.16.04 - Much like after every release, I find an issue I wish I would have found a few days earlier. Daphne games don't work too well, and it's all my fault. I'm pretty sure you can get Daphne games to work temporarily by adding your Daphne directory to the windows path. Another issue has arisen from the fact that I found out Daphne doesn't work, when you come back from a Daphne game, the sound doesn't work in ultrastyle. I have NO IDEA why. The Daphne thing won't be too hard to fix. I am going to have to add a line to the Other.txt which asks you what the path to the app you want to run is. As a side note, I was watching Mtv Cribs today and some kid on the show had a MAME machine.


10.15.04 - v2.21 Released

Changed:
- MyRomInfo re-written to parse -listxml without use of XML2INFO.exe
- XML2INFO related parts of ultraconfig removed
- Added additional status info to MyRomInfo.exe screens
Fixed:
- made additional changes to stay in line with new NPlayers.ini
- the "helpful links" in ultraconfig had no code behind them, they do now
Added:
- FileInfo.txt, describes where support files come from in an effort to help you when problems arise.
- added a 4th text size to accommodate longer names on the marquees


10.14.04 - I have been patiently awaiting feedback from the few who tested the new MyRomInfo.. but no one has said anything. I'm going with the no news is good news theory, so I will package up 2.21, and get it out the door before the end of the weekend.


10.8.04 - I have packaged up v2.21. I have sent out a few "test" versions of the new MyRomInfo.exe. If everything is cool, the new version of ultrastyle will be released Monday. If there are some bugs to be worked out, it will be delayed a day or two. I would say that because of the changes to Nplayers.ini, I would recommend anyone with v2.2 to "upgrade". In this case, if you have a 100% working v2.2, you can copy certain files, and speed up the upgrade process. This information will be included in the download.


10.7.04 - I believe I've finished the changes to MyRomInfo.exe. It will now get ROM info if the -listinfo or -listXML switch is used.

I have made changes to ultraconfig to reflect the removal of XML2INFO. Basically, if you have MAME/M32 v.83 or lower, use -LISTINFO, v.84 or above use -LISTXML. Easy enough I hope.

10.7.04 - Been a bit busy (for a change) this week, Haven't finished up the changes for ultrastyle v2.21. But I did come up with a big timesaver for myself this morning while waking up. So I should be able to get it out soon.


10.5.04 - I have gotten the last of the changes for NPlayers.ini, and I am 85% done with the new parser, I will be releasing v2.21 I a few days with the new changes in place. Hopefully this will make setups a bit easier.

10.5.04 - This whole XML2INFO thing is REALLY giving me a pain in the ass. MAME does write out a -listxml that is of course in .xml format. the xml2info.exe puts all of this back into the "old" style format which MyRomInfo.exe knows how to read. THis is not an issue for MAME users. MAME32 users do not get the benefit of having the XML2INFO.exe file in their M32 Download. I am contemplating re-writing MyRomInfo.exe to be able to parse the xml version thereby removing the need for XML2INFO all together. This will put this issue to rest, until the MAME boys make another change of course. If I can snap it together, Look for a new version of MyRomInfo.exe soon, If you've already got your games configured, you don't have to worry about it.

10.4.04 - A quick Thank You! to Blaine for the donation!

10.4.04 - v2.2 released

Changed:
- some aesthetic changes in ultraconfig
- removed pause when ultrastyle loads, used to wait for intro music to end
- changes were made to the game info code (as well as the clock) to make sure they
look more permanent
- Marquee default colors have been brightened again for easier text viewing
- wheel moves to next marquee using up and down a little faster
Fixed: 
- Choosing a game with a playing video would play the video sound while the game loads
- AutoPlay code has been re-written to be in-line with game code for v2.0+
- added error checking code to verify that MP3 Directory actually has files in it
Added:
- optional clock in lower left hand corner
- checkboxes in ultraconfig to show/hide clock or controller info from interface
- ultraconfig now has presets for 4 commercial control panels 
(HotRod Classic, HotRod SE, SlikStik Classic, and X-Arcade)
- controller information now optionally displays below screenshot cube

 

10.4.04 - I have revisited a screensaver I wrote to learn more about Blitz3D. After playing around with it a bit, I am putting it in the downloads section. It's not visually perfect mind you, but it does the job. 


10.2.04 - I have spent a good part of the day testing, and working out all the "kinks". Everything seems to be working perfectly. I have not yet received the changes for NPlayers.ini. I don't want to release the new version and then have to make a change a few days, so it looks like I'm going to have to wait a few days. 


10.1.04 - ultrastyle no longer works directly out of the .zip. My MyRomInfo.txt is no longer included. I have created a file checker that looks for specific files based on your settings. If you see this screen, you need to run additional setup programs. I think it will be really self explanatory, and if you get stuck on it, it will be very telling as to what you need to do. Of course you can always post a question to the forum. There has been a change to NPlayers.ini, and until I can get a copy of the changes, I may have to hold off on the release. If I get those changes today, there shouldn't be an issue.

10.1.04 - The former Main page info has been moved to the NEW History page. The current info will be moved there on a monthly basis. (or longer if I get lazy.)


9.30.04 - MP3 playlist now completely random, may repeat songs.

9.30.04 - Ok just finished and tested a Favorites conversion tool, (ConvertFav.exe) works great, and is quick and easy. I will include a text file explaining what to do with it. Look for the new version by the end of the weekend. The only thing I have left to do is to randomize the MP3 Playlist. Someone suggested a new even bigger screenshot cube, but he never got back to me with a picture, so it will have to wait.

9.30.04 - Tomorrow, the "log" on this page up through today will be located on a new "History" page. This will keep the main page limited to a month at a time. I *may* also make a screenshots page. 

     I have added in the ability to choose what your mouse buttons do to some extent. you may now configure them to either jump X# of games or go up and down a letter. I have also given you the option to invert the buttons in either case. It's getting to be about release time. 

     There is one thing that I am going to try and write a tiny app for, FAVORITES ARE NOT going to be UPGRADEABLE. I know that it sucks! I may be able to write something small that will add in the needed 2 lines of info to help people not have to redo their favorites. External EXEs (OTHER.TXT), and AutoPlay.txt will be ok to copy into the new version. 

9.30.04 - Seems like forever since I posted a Screenshot, but as promised, here is a screen with 4 new things to show on it:

 

newstuff.jpg (79615 bytes)

1. Clock in lower left

2. Plank style marquees

3. NPlayers.ini info under X of X

4. Controller info under NPlayers.ini info

 

Please feel free to go to the forums and let me know what you think of the new stuff on the GUI. Keep in mind, the new info is all optional and can be turned off easily. Also aside from the downloading of NPlayers.ini, there is no additional configuration needed for this new info.


9.29.04 - I have written a small piece of code (50 lines) that shrinks the LI.txt file heavily (from 318,000 lines to 22,000). The end result is only the game info I pull from LI.txt. this means things *May* setup faster, and it also means we can get rid of li.txt at a certain point, and only deal with Mini-LI.txt. This turns a ~15MB file into about 660KB. While the resulting file is MUCH smaller, remember, you will still need room on your drive temporarily to create this ~15MB file. The reason I did this is to make way for the controller information stored in LI.txt. The input information will allow ultrastyle to tell you what kind of controls and how many buttons are used in each game. It will let you know if it's a 4-way, 8-way, double joysticks, trackball, spinner, light gun. or flight yoke. I think this is good information for a frontend to let you know. when I get it working, I'll post a screenshot of the new clock, the NPlayers info and the controller info. The good news is that with both the controller info and the NPlayers info, there is no new configuration on your part. And of course all three new GUI items will be optional.


9.28.04 - Added native support for NPlayers.ini today. Works great! Tells you how many players in the game and lets you know if they are simultaneous or alternating on the same joystick. I have added a NPlayers sub-directory, simply ad the file to the directory and ultrastyle will do the rest. It's great to be able to add in things without any more setup! I wish more of the stuff could be like this. In other news.. It looks like the fonts are on hold for a little while, but I didn't get a direct NO. Being the case, I think I am going to be releasing what I have thus far, there is enough going on here to warrant a release. I would like to also get the controller info out of the LI.txt, but I haven't come up with a good way to do it yet. I may hold out a little while until inspiration strikes. 


9.27.04 - Someone from Belgium, I'm guessing, sent in a request to support a file called nplayers.ini. It breaks down the game by how many players, and if they play simultaneously, or alternate turns. I think this is a good idea for a front end to have, it lets you know what your getting before you play. I am also trying to figure out a way to list the controller info (joy, gun, spinner, trackball) which is in li.txt, but gets skipped over right now because it's not within the cluster of info I do use. I think these 2 bits of additional info will really let you know what your looking at up front. Nplayers.ini can be seen at nplayers.arcadebelgium.be


9.25.04 - Added code today to keep the text under the cube in place while browsing games. If you notice now, there is a blink (and a blank) in the game info text between games when you move the wheel in one direction or another. I realized that to show you the movements of the wheel, I was redrawing the screen, during that redraw, I was not telling ultrastyle to include the text under the cube (and now the clock as well) and the text looks a lot less like it's supposed to be there because of it. I have added the code to include the text to make it look more like part of the screen. I think this gives it a great effect, especially the clock which would disappear every time I did something, now looks like a permanent fixture. Even though I've only been looking at it working like this for about 5 minutes, I really think this makes it look a lot more solid as an interface.  alternate page for your viewing pleasure.


9.24.04 - I have come across a program that I think will make the Text on the screen look MUCH better, but in order to integrate this new method, I need to create the fonts beforehand and leave them as bmps. This means you all lose the option to make specific color fonts, but I would include 6 or so colors to choose from. The most noticeable change is the font's ability to be 2 toned, and possibly outlined. My questions are these:

1. Would any of you be interested in a loss of choice as far as font styles and colors?

2. Do any of you change the font styles or color or do you just leave the defaults?

I have made a Sample of the difference and you can all decide for yourselves.. 

NewFont.jpg (22198 bytes)

Please go to the Forum and let me know what you think.


9.23.04 - I have created a new marquee style, I call it Plank. It is a non-rounded marquee, same as it would be on a cab. It will be included in v2.2


9.22.04 - I just found out (I'm a little slow) that I can use the forum members e-mail as a sort of mailing list. I may from time to time send out mail prior to an update. If you want to be in the know about a release, sign up on the forum. While your there, type out a post or two.

9.22.04 - I have fixed the AutoPlay feature, and am close to releasing v2.2. If I don't get any more tinkerable issues or easily added features, I think I can get this new version out quickly.


9.20.04 - Quick thanks to Craig for the donation!!


9.19.04 - I have made a few more changes.. I  have added an optional clock in the lower left hand corner of the screen. One thing that bugs me sometimes is having to drop to the desktop to see what time it is. Now you don't have to. Of course, now you'll know how much time your "wasting"! An error has also been pointed out to me, AutoPlay mode has a small glitch, it crashes ultrastyle.. 

I forgot to update that code as of version 2.0, I will be making the update and putting out v2.2 in a little while. 


9.15.04 - I have made 2 changes to ultraconfig. First, I have set up pre-sets for commercial controllers. HotRod Classic, HotRod SE, SlikStik, and X-Arcade. These presets are based on the .ini setups in MAME. You can select one to get the preset, and then choose custom to make changes to that preset. Hopefully this will save a bit of time on setups, you shouldn't have to get  a chart out anymore. Second, I have thrown in a message box for users that change to cocktail style telling them to add in -ror or -rol to the command line parameters to rotate their games. So far there is only changes to the config side and not to the actual FE. So until there are some changes worth adding in, I will wait to release this new stuff.


9.11.04 - As exiting as my life is.. I sorted through all of the posts on the forums and moved them 1 at a time to different categories. I hope this will make searching easier for those of you looking for an answer. If you are one of the very few that post on the forum and you see that you have an unresolved question that you have since fixed, please add some closure to the post. Thanks.


9.8.04 - It's been a while and everyone seems pleased.. I am making a few changes and I think 1 issue needs to be fixed. The issue is that if you specify an MP3 directory that has no MP3s in it you get a memory access violation error. I will either put in code to tell you whats wrong, or just make ultrastyle ignore the fact that there are no MP3s. Other then that, I think most or all issues have been wrapped up..? I am also thinking of splitting up the Forum into a few sub-forums. I think this will let users find help quicker, so look for a few changes in the coming weeks. One of the biggest changes is being able to setup the controls a bit faster, I am going to dial in a few defaults for the pre-built CPs out there but still give you full reign to customize your setups as well..


8.26.04 - v2.11 fixes an issue with a change that was made to XML2INFO.EXE. If you are getting "Parameter must be positive!" from MyRomInfo.exe, then this version is for you! MyRomInfo.exe is the only updated file from v2.1.

8.26.04 - Problem Solved! It was as simple as adding an additional number to a FOR LOOP. I will have version 2.11 available for download by noon today. (US Eastern Time)

8.26.04 - As one of the forum members has pointed out, The MAME boys have struck again by adding a line to what you guys make as li.txt. This line causes the parser to spit out "parameter must be positive". The QUICK fix for this is a v.84 XML2INFO.EXE from the MAME Download. The not-so-quick version is for me to add a little something to MyRomInfo.exe to disregard the line. I am going out of town until Monday, so there is little chance I can get the fix out to you guys before that. I may get lucky, and it may only be a few lines of code, in which case I will be able to get it out later today. I will package v2.11 with the updated MyRomInfo included..


8.24.04 - v2.1 Released

Changed:
- Install.txt renamed to Setup.txt
- MyRomInfo.exe routines now look to sets.txt for ROM info.
- removed the rompath textbox from ultraconfig
- execwait.dll no longer required, ultrastyle now handles this within it's own main code.
- -Listinfo and -verifysets are now broken into 2 buttons, depending on the status of xml2info, you will get a choice of buttons.
- Marquee default colors have been brightened for easier text viewing


Added:
- Because of changes to MyRomInfo.exe, merged sets now supported
- run an .EXE of your choice (I.E. Daphne games, HOTD, Virtua Cop/Squad)
- Configure external EXEs from ultraconfig
- new tab in ultraconfig to setup external .EXEs
- desktop no longer shows between ultrastyle and the game of your choice
- new checkbox to determine the "always on top" property of ultrastyle.
- new checkbox to add ultrastyle to run key in registry (startup at boot)
- readme1st.txt can now directly be viewed from ultraconfig.
- release.txt can now directly be viewed from ultraconfig.
- The DOS boxes that generate support files now give you info in them instead of just blinking cursors

8.24.04 - I have gotten all of the kinks out, and it is testing beautifully. I only have to package it up and it will be ready to go! Look for a release by 5pm Eastern. Hi Giuseppe. Also a HUGE thanks to Glen McBride for sending me some sweet Australian Star Wars memorabilia!


8.23.04 - It's Midnight, and I'm having a small issue with the fe getting focus returning from a game when it's set to always on top. I've been at it for a lot of hours today. I'm gonna hang up my hat on this and look at it tomorrow with fresh eyes. Release is being delayed. Sorry. I'll get it out asap.

8.23.04 - It's 2:00 pm, and I've been at it all day. I destroyed some code trying to fix it, and ended up doing it differently the same way. Makes sense right? Anyhow, I'm mostly finished, just have to add a few things to the 3D code. Should be out tonight pending testing.


8.22.04 - Ok so I know I said that v2.1 would be out by today, and I have been kinda busy lately, I have started making the folder structure up, and I really only have a few changes to make to get everything up and running. I will *TRY* (do or do not) to get it out by tonight, if not definitely tomorrow.


8.15.04 - yesterday was my birthday, the big two nine. I will get back to work on finishing up v2.1. As the summer winds down, I am sure the MAMEing will pick up..


8.10.04 - Here is where it stands: I am still trying to get the background to to what I want when you fire off a game. I am developing a system of choices for you to work with for always on top. I am going to add in a launch at startup checkbox in ultraconfig (I'm surprised none of you came up with that one yet!) All in all I am starting to wrap up v2.1, Theres really not a lot of coding left to do. I would like to thank Thomas for giving me the push into API, I think you'll all benefit from it. I think v2.1 will be out by Aug 22nd at the latest.


8.8.04 - Welp, It seems that there was just an issue with my user account on my machine, I created a new account, and everything runs 100% better. For all you techs out there, if you run into issues that don't seem to have a cure, see if the issues apply to other accounts on the same system.. Anyhow, at least I can now move ahead and try to package up v2.1. I will do what I can in the coming week. I have decided to self study for MCSE, and I am halfway through the first book, so that will probably take up a lot of my time in the coming weeks.

 

* As a side note: I noticed that when I viewed this site the font was different then I'd always seen, the issue was that I hadn't turned on ClearType in the Desktop/Display Properties. What a difference. If you have XP and this text looks thin, you don't have ClearType turned on. Here's how: Right-click the desktop and choose properties. Click the Appearance tab at the top. Click the Effects.. button. On the second dropdown list, change standard to ClearType. (to see the immediate results, watch your start button change as you click Apply) Then come back to this page to see the font as I do.


8.7.04 - I am having some PC problems, and I can't for the life of me put my finger on it. I've done every malware/AV/spyware program I can get my hands on, with no resolution. This kinda puts a stop to programming until I can sort things out, actually this old 933 could use a replacement... So I may not be posting here for a while, I actually didn't use the PC all last night, and that was a real mental exercise for me! I have decided to leave the always on top on the new ultrastyle, which means any outside EXE you run has to be fullscreen. If ultrastyle looks like it get frozen, alt-tab can get you to focus on the hidden app, and in some cases hitting enter will close the hidden dialogue, and in other cases, alt-f4 will close the hidden app. This is how it's going to run, unless I get complaints, then I may put a checkbox in ultraconfig, for you to decide how you want it to run yourself. (or I may just end up doing that anyhow..)


8.5.04 - After much procrastinating, the new skins are up, as well as a sound pack that goes with one of the skins. Check them out on the skins page...


8.3.04 - It's been a long 5 months.. I am very glad that I have chronicled the progress that I have made here on the site so that I can look back and see what's been accomplished.. For the record, when I finished v1.0, I thought ultrastyle was everything it was going to be. Nothing too complex, a solid ultracade look-alike, and in some respects did even more then it's namesake. With every release, it seems to be more useful, and more streamlined. Adding of the API is no exception. v2.1 probably won't be out too soon, I still haven't figured out how I want it to run (read yesterday's post), but I can say that it will definitely will be smoother then v2.0.

I have reworked MyRomInfo.exe so ROM stats are inline with MAME stats. I have added a XML2info.exe detector in ultraconfig, So you will know if it's something you have or something you need. I have integrated the readme1st file into ultraconfig, so you don't have to go hunting for info. And of course, you can now run your own .EXEs, and even make your own marquees and screenshots for them. I look forward to making ultrastyle stronger, and I want to thank all of you that use it on your cabs for doing so.


8.2.04 - Man I am getting good at this stuff.. While ultrastyle isn't the tiny app it used to be, I have been able to free 3/4 of the memory it uses when you fire up a game. I have also put an end to the desktop showing up at all. When you fire up a game you simply see the ultrastyle screen (not animating) until the game starts. Now, I do have an issue that I would like some feedback on.. Using the API, I tell the ultrastyle window to be the topmost window, this will only be overridden by a full screen app (i.e. a MAME game), and here are my 2 problems with that. 

     1. If you fire off a MAME game that doesn't have all of the romsets and you get that window with the status bar that says ROM missing such-and-such, you will never see it because it's going to stay under the ultrastyle window. It will seem as though ultrastyle is frozen, but really it's waiting for you to close a window you can't see. FYI - now that ultrastyle uses sets.txt to determine your ROMs, it removes any "bad" romsets so technically you should never have the chance to fire off a "bad" romset. But you can fire off a non-working "good" romset, but I think you get a full screen message for that, which you can escape from. 

     2. If you try and run an app like notepad, you won't see it because it will be under ultrastyle. (Although for external EXEs, I can change the flag so that ultrastyle isn't the topmost window..) 

 

I am just trying to figure out how to do this to satisfy both possibilities.

    I CAN also remove the topmost flag, but here's what will happen. Running MAME32, you will see the ROMs load, and the status bar window before every game is fired off. Running MAME, you will see the DOS box popup, and run through the ROMs before every game is fired off. Is this Acceptable? I don't really think it is for cab use, but PLEASE go to the FORUMS and LET ME KNOW! I want to put this feature in right the first time. I think I may go with Topmost for MAME, Removed flag for your EXEs. 

 

Also, ultrastyle is now going to be run in windowed mode with the border removed, which means you can use alt-tab to get to other applications. I am trying to figure out what to do with ultrastyle when you open notepad, because it just sits there behind your app. if I tell it to go away, the desktop will show between FE and game time.  I guess I could say that running external EXEs is really only meant  to run full screen apps and not stuff that doesn't take up the whole screen like calculator. Are there any apps you guys would want to run that wouldn't be full screen? Use the Forums link above and let me know.


8.1.04 - Big Advances today.. I got the thumbs up from Thomas for the code, I also have been learning about using windows API inside of Blitz3D. This allows me to do things that Blitz itself can't do, but is extended thru windows. It's an interesting concept, One I'm not entirely familiar with, but learning. In the end I've created a full screen windowed borderless window which looks like a full screen app. I think this will help with the desktop dilemma. Also, there may be no need for a launcher program, which means that I won't have to sacrifice a few more MB of memory while the game is running. So overall, I feel like it was a big step forward, although the ideas and code resemble something of a child's toy box...


7.30.04 - After looking through the new code I decided to put it through a test and load street fighter 2 to see if it would truly do what I want. It did not. It did drop to the desktop. I have been fighting with VB.NET all day, and have produced a launcher program that will launch MAME games from a BLACK background, not showing hide nor hair of a desktop. I do not entirely like the idea of a launcher. It almost seems unnecessary. It's not many lines of code, maybe 20-25, and it does get the job done. I'm just not married to the idea yet. 

7.30.04 - Big News of the Day - I have found some code which will change the way ultrastyle fires of MAME and Non-MAME .exe's. This code may very well fix the 'drop to desktop' thing that everyone hates. I have written the author of the code and asked his permission to add it to ultrastyle. I will post as soon as I hear back from him. It will take a little doing on my part to incorporate this new code, but if it works, it will give the desired effect that all cab owners look for, a windows free environment!

      In other news, I have finished the firing off of Non-MAME .EXEs, and it works great! I have set it up with 2 samples so you can all learn from example. notepad and calculator both have their own screenshots for the cube, and calculator has it own marquee (made by yours truly) and notepad appears as text on the marquee so you can see how both of them work. 


7.29.04 - So far so good with running your own .exe.. The support files are all done. The code for grabbing the apps, getting a screenshot and marquee are done, and printing the info to ultrastyle are all set. The only thing that remains is running the exe and then returning. There is some ultraconfig work that needs to be done as well. the code should be fully functional by tonight, but who knows I may have to put it off for some multiplayer Call of Duty.. At any rate, v2.1 is shaping up to be a friendlier, more functional ultrastyle. ***ALSO, I have 2 skins to put up on the skins page, one is Luigi's Mansion, a great looking sound pack included skin, and the other is a ultracade skin that looks like the real thing! I should have them up by the end of the weekend. also I haven't gotten to fixing any of the sound packs by adding in the addfav.wav so if you download one, be sure to copy the original addfav.wav to the new sound dir.


7.28.04 - After kicking it around in my head for a while, I've decided to go with the fire off your own .exe route instead of the multiple EMU route. You can still run DAPHNE games using this method, but also arcade to PC ports. Any exe should be able to be fired off. Here's my plan. First, I'm going to add sub-directories for marquee and snaps. then I'm going to incorporate a text file into ultraconfig that will have calculator and notepad as examples. I will make my own calculator and notepad snaps and marquees as examples as well. Finally, I will add a sub-category called "Other" or "Non-MAME" or something like that (e-mail any suggestions you have) and that will be that. I will do my best to make examples of what needs to be done to get an exe working but here's a quick rundown. Three lines per item, I will use calculator as the example. Line one is what you want the exe to be called, for calc I would use Calculator. This line is what the marquee will read if you choose not to have a .JPG marquee. Line 2 will be what ultrastyle looks for in the snap/marquee directory as far as pictures. For calc I would use calc, and have the corresponding calc.jpg files in the snap/marquee directories. Line three will be the path to the .exe, for calc you could simply put calc, but for example purposes, I would use c:\windows\system32\calc.exe.


7.27.04 - I think I have done it.. ROM info now comes specifically from sets.txt. This will allow merged set users the option of using ultrastyle. It will also allow current users the ability to merge sets if they want to. It gets an accurate list of your working vs. non-working ROMs. Overall, it's a cleaner way to get your ROM info. MyRomInfo's code also decreased by 60 or so lines, not that any of you care, but, whatever.

7.27.04 - The post below is from late last night. After thinking about it, I realized that sets.txt gives a list of all ROMs that MAME sees. so there is really no need to read the ROM folder for yours. This means that if I can re-write this part of the code to get your ROM info from sets.txt, then merged sets would now be supported as well. In this way it wouldn't matter HOW you store your sets, sets.txt would provide all of the necessary info. I don't know if this would speed up the process at all, but it would make it a little cleaner. It would probably only eliminate .01% of potential problems, but I'll give it a go anyhow.

7.27.04 - Did a bit more 'code tidy-up' found that some users do not have zipped ROMs, but each ROM in a sub-directory. Added code to myrominfo to check for subdirectories as well as ROMs. I think just about all outstanding issues have been resolved in one way or another. I am going to put out v2.1 which does fix an issue with 'start with last game played' in ultraconfig. Error reporting is mostly done. Look for something new by the weekend. Also if I can take some pictures, I want to start putting out some of my cab ideas..


7.25.04 - I have figured out the bug, it only really deals with choosing start with last game before you've played any. To correct this, I have blanked out the lastgame.ini and adjusted the code for the first time through.. I am also making headway with this -listinfo mess. ultraconfig will tell you if it sees the xml2info file, if it does it will use the -listxml switch, otherwise it will try the -listinfo switch. You may NEED xml2info.exe, but if you have an older MAME version. you won't. I've added a help tab to ultraconfig, it displays the readme1st.txt file, which answers some questions I get from time to time. I also added a textbox to the about tab showing the release info. Just really dressing it up a bit.. I am also adding error reporting to MyRomInfo.exe and CatConfig.exe to alert you to any issues as far as files not being in the right place.. I hope to get v2.1 out soon to clear up any issues people are having.


7.19.04 - Bug: I have found an issue when choosing start with last game. I will be debugging and making a fix available soon. I am also going to make a change to ultraconfig in reference to the -listinfo -listxml debacle. I'm not sure when it will be ready, but keep checking for the new d/l.


7.14.04 - Rather then Daphne specific implementation, I am thinking of a sort of non-MAME conglomerate group. Daphne ends up just being command line driven, so why not open that up to arcade style games in general. For example, a specific wheel, "Other" perhaps, containing virtua cop 2, house of the dead 1 or 2, maybe pc versions of virtua fighter, or even command line driven emus. The only issue I see with this is that it would be up to the end user to control what is being run. Right now ultrastyle for the most part handles the command line stuff. Turning that part over to the user means that I will not be able to troubleshoot any issues that arise because of it.


7.13.04 - I have just downloaded the Daphne emulator, and am in the process of getting the infamous Dragon's Lair ROM. I will be in the mean time thinking of ways to implement Daphne into ultrastyle. Don't expect anything soon, just know I am considering the possibilities. As a side note, I can't stress how important it is to read the readme and install info on ANY piece of software you download. About 50% of the questions I receive are answered or spelled out in either the readme or install files.


7.12.04 - Some people are having memory access errors, which I am trying to work through. I figured this was as good a time as any to add in error reporting. I've added code to almost everything that loads to give a specific error on what the hiccup is. I am releasing an ultrastyle.exe fix for people having who have downloaded v2.0 between 7.10 and now. I will be repacking the fix into a full v2.0 download as well. I think this will help problems get solved faster on both ends.


 

7.10.04 - Two quick notes about v2.0 you may not be aware of. 

1. If you are going to use alternate sounds from a sound pack, make sure you copy addfav.wav from the default sounds into the folder otherwise ultrastyle will shut down when trying to add a favorite. I will be adding the default addfav.wav to the existing soundpacks tomorrow.

2. Older versions of MAME/MAME³² may not have the now required xml2info.exe. after you click the 'Create -listxml and -verifysets' button, (and it finishes), check the li.txt to make sure it's not a 0 bite file, if it is, you probably have an older version of MAME and need to download the xml2info.exe and copy it to your MAME directory.

7.10.04 - v2.0

v2.0 Released 
Changed:
- Attract.txt is now AutoPlay.txt
- ultraconfig tab Attract Mode renamed to AutoPlay Mode as to not confuse the addtion of attract videos
- MAME devs removed -listinfo and ultrastyle now uses -listxml|xml2info to generate li.txt
- wheel changes have been animated to give a more arcady feel
- When checking on cube art, if a clone does not have a picture for a specific kind of art, it checks for the original ROM's art as well.
- In both the Favorite and the AutoPlay treeviews in ultraconfig, games are now listed by game name instead of ROM name.


Fixed:
- When starting with the filter wheel, the cube would not be the right size. This has been remedied.


Added:
- MP3 Background music can now be played while searching for a game to play in ultrastyle
- You can now add to your favorites from within ultrastyle
- Added a checkbox to ultraconfig to lock out the adding of favorites from within ultrastyle
- Attract videos have been added into the mix. If you have videos of the attract mode, they will play on the screenshot cube
- Control the volume of Events, MP3, and Attract Videos
- New sound for adding a favorite game
- Paths in ultraconfig for MP3 and Attract Videos, both are optional
- When adding a favorite game, a small green globe pops up next to the marquee and a visual acknowledgement
- LastGame.ini keeps track of the last game played. It is a new starting option as well.

7.10.04 - Testing went fairly well. I am going to go over some things and make sure it's 100% working, and then release later today.


7.8.04 - I believe coding is complete. I will test tonight and tomorrow and release tomorrow afternoon if all goes well.

7.8.04 - I am on the move now! code for 'start with last game' is finished. ultraconfig has been fully updated pending testing of the new stuff. all that's left as far as I can tell is setting the volumes. mp3 volume has been implemented, the other 2 are running on the default volume. It looks like I should be able to finish up today, test today and tomorrow and release on Saturday, Sunday at the latest. Check in from time to time to get the new goodies,


7.7.04 - Most of the code is now behind the controls in ultraconfig. The only thing lacking is the code for 'start with the last game'. I am not 100% sure how to implement it in the cleanest way yet, I may have to sleep on that one. In the meantime, I am going to connect the dots in Blitz3D for the new stuff. A lot of it is already in there, but paths and such were hard coded for testing.

7.7.04 - ultraconfig is now physically updated for v2.0. All that's left is to put the code behind the buttons, and checkboxes. The new version will have the fix below incorporated into it so people will not run into issues with MAME v.84 and above. There is a bit of code to work through (mostly 'start with last game played' which I haven't really sat down and thought about) but hopefully I can get this finished up soon, tested, and out to you guys.


7.5.04 - ATTENTION PEOPLE OF EARTH! There is an issue with MAME v.84 and ultrastyle! The boys at MAME have decided to remove the -listinfo switch, rendering part of ultraconfig useless!!! Apparently -xml2info will give us the info we seek, I have to find out a workaround for some of you that want v.84. MAME/MAME32 v.82 should work without issue. 

 

*Workaround* - for those of you that MUST have v.84 running here is a manual workaround that will get things going.

 

1. click the -listinfo/-verifysets button in ultraconfig to generate the sets.txt file for ultrastyle\cfg

2. go to MAME\MAME32 folder and open command prompt.

3. type  - c:\>mame -listxml|xml2info > li.txt        "c:\>"being your mame directory path 

4. this will create li.txt (should be around 16MB, and will take about 20 sec) 

5. copy li.txt to your ultrastyle\cfg directory

6. continue on with MyRomInfo and CatConfig normally.

 

7.5.04 - Here is My to-do list for finishing up v2.0. There is also some minimal code in ultrastyle for each thing listed in ultraconfig, but it's quick stuff. 

 

ultrastyle
=======
new sound for add fav
start with last game code

ultraconfig
========
new sound checkbox
3 volume boxes, mp3,fx,videos
path to mp3
path to video
AddFav button binding
checkbox to disable AddFav button
add start with last game to 'Start the Wheel' Section


7.4.04 - Happy 4th. I would like to note that adding favorites from within ultrastyle is 99% complete save for a sound to be added when you decide to add a game to favorites. There is a visual notification of a small green sphere that pops up next to the marquee as well. Also you can add games from within ultrastyle, but to remove a game you must use ultraconfig. I will also be adding an option in ultraconfig to disable the adding of favorites from within ultrastyle to prevent unintentional games being added by button mashing kids after you've got your list the way you like it. The button to add to favorites will be completely bindable just like any other key. 

   The background MP3 music will play random tracks from whatever folder you provide in the config. My biggest hurdle is that I once again have to re-organize ultraconfig to accommodate the new options. Once this is done, things should be pretty well sown up. 


7.3.04 - I would like to stress the point that attract videos may only look nice on higher end machines. and by look nice I mean not be choppy. Of course the other additions of v2.0 will be most welcome, and attract video possibility will always be there if you upgrade hardware, but I just want to say it first so I don't get 1,000,000 emails on the speed of playback. Also, I think that videos look better on non-spinning cubes, or the Phantom Zone specifically. I am beginning to wrap things up for v2.0 so look for it soon on a web page near you.


6.30.04 - As I finish up the new additions, I would like people who have 1.7 running to give me a little feedback. I have posted 2 questions on the forum here Please take a minute or two to let me know what you think. Thanks. I would imagine that v2.0 will be out soon, and after that maybe one more release to catch any bugs 2.0 might have.


6.19.04 - I also intend on switching up the name order in ultraconfig for the favorites list, listing them by the game name instead of the ROM name.


6.18.04 - For those of you keeping score, I've done a little testing of the attract videos. They look good. They are flawless on the Phantom Zone without spinning. On the standard cube, with spinning, there was a noticeable lag between screenshots and videos. To make up for any slowness, I increased the speed of the cube when a video is playing. I do want to add, some videos I've downloaded are as much as 15 MB. I would prefer videos closer to 1 MB. There are going to be performance issues with machines that are not up to snuff. Videos are 100% optional, you do not have to have any to run ultrastyle.


6.17.04 - After fiddling around I've come to the determination that it's either screenshots or videos. Not both. The other art will still be switchable ( title, cabinet, control panel, flyers) But if you have a video for a game, you won't be able to rotate through to the screenshot.. As long as everyone is ok with that, then good, that's ok then. 


6.16.04 - I've got adding favorites from within ultrastyle working, it will also need some testing, but so far so good. There will be a new audible sound associated with adding a game to favorites, but nothing visual is planned. Maybe a little effect would be nice.  I also have to add a check to see if it is already in the favorites. 

6.16.04 - Attract videos are successfully playing inside of ultrastyle. I've downloaded 273 attract videos from the fellas over at 3DArcade. I have implemented these with little trouble. I'm sure there is lots of testing to do, but so far so good.  

6.16.04 - I have been battling with the desktop showing when some games load, at one point I thought I had figured it out. It seems that if you run ultrastyle in a window (you guys don't have that option) I can in fact black out the screen until the game starts. But once I invoke full screen, then it's all downhill from there. I think I am going to have to do a bit of research to figure this one out, but in the end I believe it's do-able. 


6.13.04 - Animated the wheel changes today. I got an idea yesterday to try and make the change over from wheel to wheel, and up and down a letter not such a static switch. At first I thought about the way the cube art rotates and shrinks in and out, and I thought I'd like to do something like that with the marquees. What I ended up with is sort of a reverse wheel zooming effect with the new marquees. It's sort of hard to explain, but you'll all see it in action soon enough. I think it gives it more of an arcady feel. 


6.11.04 - Tracked down another issue today. When starting with the filter wheel, the cube would not be the right size. This was caused by an if then encompassing a small for loop. Still getting through the favorites from within feature, should be ready by the end of the weekend. After that attract videos, and then a new release. 


6.8.04 - I have put the finishing touches on the background MP3 music. I have worked through adding favorites from within ultrastyle, and I think I have come up with something that will work out well. It shouldn't take to long to get it working. I'm not sure what I will *break* when implementing this feature, but we shall see. It will also involve a new sound being added to the mix so you will get an audio response when adding a game to favorites. I've got one for all of you to try, if it had a better name, it would have been a classic! Cameltry, its an interesting game. The attract videos will also be in the next version. I am also going to try to add in "start with the last game I left off with" In the back of my head, I am trying to work out how ultrastyle can support other emu's and stand-alone games. I think I only need to add in 1 more sub-wheel to pull the whole thing together. I also had an idea for a parent wheel that listed all of the emu's. At this point, it could go either way. Multiple emu's would mean a lot of work on your end, as other emu's do not provide the information that MAME does. Consoles for example have no marquees, so all game names would be text only. Also, some kind of ROM name to game name list would have to be made up so that you wouldn't see the Game.NES on the marquee. 


6.2.04 - I want to apologize for the fact that I haven't been posting lately, not that many people check in to see what's going on, but I apologize none the less. I plan on devoting tomorrow to adding in some features.. so we shall see.


5.27.04 - Long time no see.. I received a skin and sound pack today, which reminded me that ultrastyle actually exists and it wasn't a figment of my imagination.. I am currently knee deep in business and the likes. I am looking forward to getting back to coding this baby of mine. I am now thoroughly in the mood to code. As of late I haven't even checked in at the forum (for shame) and I am heading there now. Although I have helped a few people with odds and ends issues this past week, so I've done some good. I promise some forward progress this week, maybe not anything you can get your hands on by months end, but progress none the less.


5.21.04 - Some kind of update... A quick FYI, I have not been programming lately, It's something you just have to be in the mood for.. and I haven't been for a few days. It has nothing to do with the fact that I picked up Red Dead Revolver! Honestly, I have been working on getting a business up and running so I've taken a little time off. I am sure to return when I get some free time, which is soon I hope. I still haven't figured out a good way to implement adding favorites from within ultrastyle. Usually I work my way around a problem in a few days, but this one has me stumped..


5.17.04 - Quick Fix: When checking on cube art, if a clone does not have a picture for a specific kind of art, it checks for the original ROM's art as well. i.e. If there is no cabinet picture for pac-man (clone), it checks for cabinet picture for puckman (original). This should help to fill in a few gaps.

5.17.04 - I've got background music working, it adds a cool dimension to the main screen, definitely something I would not have come up with on my own. Here are the supported file formats: raw/mod/s3m/xm/it/mid/rmi/wav/mp2/mp3/ogg/wma/asf

the way this will work is, if you want background music, put the path in the corresponding box in ultraconfig, if you don't want music, leave the box blank (or clear it out). only a single directory for music is supported, it's not recursive.


5.16.04 - I have started to make room for MP3 Path and volume control as well as event volume control on ultraconfig. I am really running out of room on these tabs. I *MAY* end up adding yet another tab to throw all of the new stuff onto. 


5.15.04 - I have had 1 user let me know that when he moves through the cube art, he sees the cpanel picture 2 times, are any of you that have a lot of art work stuff seeing this. When I initially tested this, I got all of the artwork for 005, and for me it rotates without problem. I only have the one to go on for now, if more have issues, I will look into it. 

5.15.04 - It seems like it's been a long while since I've posted here, for a while it's been like my daily work journal, but I haven't been doing any work lately. I am trying to get a business off the ground, so I have been working on that lately. Anyhow, as some of you know, I have put up a forum, the link is at the top of the page in the menu. I realize that I should have put it up about 2 months ago when I was building up the foundation of ultrastyle, but better late then never.. anyhow, the conversation is starting to roll over there, and I've asked for your opinions on how to implement music in ultrastyle, so head on over and let me know what you think. You guys (and/or girls, at least Joe's girlfriend.) have done an awesome job letting me know what types of things will make ultrastyle more solid. And it's better because of you. 


5.11.04 - I went and picked up a free forum.. It's my first forum mod experience, so I'm going to start off slow with just one forum to keep track of and branch off as I see fit, if at all. This way questions asked might already be answered in the forum. You can also make requests there too. The videos I downloaded are not as clear as I thought they'd be. Some are without sound as well. Not that I'm going to re-invent the wheel, but I want to also look into the video making process.

5.11.04 - If for some reason you try to run ultraconfig across a network, you may get an error. ultraconfig is designed to run on a local machine only. I will add it to the FAQ. I am currently using BitTorrent to download the 300+ attract videos from one of 3DArcades mirror sites. It's about 500MB and it's going to take about 13 hours at this rate. I will look into attract mode shortly after I have some videos to play with.


5.10.04 - It's been a quiet few days, I haven't really received any e-mail about good or bad. I'm guessing no mail means everything is ok? One user is having an issue with ultraconfig on Win 98SE, is anyone else having an issue with this OS? When I release the next version, the 1.7 Fix will be included.. 


5.8.04 - Beta v1.7 Fix is available. It's just the .exe, replace your existing one with the new one. I also increased the spinner sensitivity. 

5.8.04 - Houston... there is an up a letter/down a letter sorting issue for those of you that have any beatmania or hiphopmania ROMs. The reason for this is that these 2 ROM sets and their clones are the only ROM sets where the game name is lowercase. Blitz3D sorts lowercase and uppercase differently. I have just recently got my hands on a working beatmania ROM, so I am quickly working on a fix. I will release a zipped up ultrastyle.exe which will be the only file needed for the fix. Simply overwrite your existing file, and voila. Give me a few hours to put up the fix, I haven't had dinner yet.


5.7.04 - 1.7 is ready! I want to ask everyone to please read the Install.txt and the Readme1st.txt as they have been changed as well. Here's the new stuff:

Changed:
- You no longer have to run your own -listinfo on your MAME executable, ultraconfig has a button that does all the work for you.
- The MyRomInfo/Catlist options tab in ultraconfig is now called the Filter options tab.
- I have moved some things around in ultraconfig, to make room for future options, the Command Line Parameters textbox is now on the Main options tab. The RomPath information is now located only on the Filter options tab. 
- ultraconfig reads the favorites information differently now, after re-running MyRomInfo, or installing a new version of ultrastyle, you should not have to re-do your favorites. If installing to a new version, copy your favorites.ini to the ultrastyle\cfg\ directory and you should be all set. 


Fixed:
- removed the "empty" marquee from Favorites or Sub-category startup.


Added:
- With the addition of running the -verifysets switch on MAME, ultrastyle now weeds out the Non-working ROMs.
- ultraconfig creates Non-working.txt and places it in your ultrastyle\cfg\ directory so that you have a readable list of your Non-working ROMs.
- You can now enter multiple ROM directories into ultraconfig if you have ROMs in more then 1 place.
- There is an option to hide all clones in ultrastyle, this will effect All Games and Sub-categories, but not your Favorites.
- There is a new Marquee style to choose from. The original is now called rounded and the new one is called rounded outline.
- Choose from trackball or spinner modes for the mouse up-down vs. left-right to move the wheel.
- Attract mode games can now be configured through ultraconfig.


5.6.04 - I am happy to say that pending testing, I think v1.7 is ready to go. It's amazing what you can do when you just think about getting 1 thing to work at a time. It's also amazing what you can break by 1 line of code. I would test it tonight, but the cab is out of commission until I make a run to Lowe's, the cab-builders best friend. I am also re-writing the install.txt, this isn't going to be your grandpa's ultrastyle. She's had a few changes under the hood. 

5.6.04 - I want to thank everyone who writes in with a suggestion, or even a question. I really enjoy doing something that I feel people are interested in, and use and enjoy as well. I think the next version is going to have a lot of stuff that really gives ultrastyle a solid foundation to work from. I have sped up the generation of the support files, getting you to your games quicker, I have cut out non-working games, and even generated a list for you with the ROM name and the game's name so you know what your missing. I am in the process of getting the favorites file to move up from version to version, so you never have to sit through making it over and over again.. I have created a new marquee to choose from, this one has a solid outline around the marquee picture, it's a little fatter then the original marquee. And of course you can hide the clones now. I think the new version, 1.7 should be ready this weekend. 


5.5.04 - A quick thanks to Jay for the donation!

5.5.04 - I've finished implementing the removal of Non-working ROMs, the only change to the user is a button click, and not having to create their own -listinfo information. MyRomInfo.exe takes a bit longer to run, but I've noticed that I can reduce the current sorting time by only sorting the ROMs you have vs. sorting the entire list from -listinfo, which it does now in v1.66. Those with less ROMs will see a faster sort, while those who have almost as many ROMs as MAME emulates will see little to no change. All in all, on my machine, MyRomInfo takes almost 3 minutes. With the new sort, I was able to knock it down to 44 seconds.

5.5.04 - Definitely an uphill battle all the way, I've got the -listinfo and -verifysets files condensed into a nicely packaged button press. I've changed the Filter Tab around a bit, shouldn't be anything mystifying though. So now it's on to MyRomInfo to take into account the new -verifysets information. When that's done, you should be looking at 2 things: 1. No bad ROMs in ultrastyle. 2. In the ultrastyle\cfg\ AFTER RUNNING THE MyRomInfo.exe you will have a file called non-working.txt which will list all of the non-working sets, which you can then look at to determine if you can fix them with CLRMAME PRO or if you have to hunt down new ones. FYI - of my 1832 games it looks like about 500 of them will be considered non-working, that's a lot to "hunt down", but if I see any games in the list that I know I like, I am going to see what I can do about it..

5.5.04 - After mulling it over, for not so long, I think I may be able to put some of this functionality into ultraconfig. That's probably the best place to put it instead of writing yet another .exe. This way the addition stays in-line with the "standard procedure" adding only (I hope) an additional button press. It's late, I'm tired.

5.5.04 - I have been at it all night, hacking away at what looks to be my first real snag in development. So I've decided to quit writing ultrastyle, I didn't get into this to fight uphill! Just kidding. Well I have been working on trying to automate the -listinfo and -verifysets stuff, but I haven't really gotten anywhere. I believe I found a bug in MAME, and reported it to mametesters.com so we shall see what comes of it. Here's my dilemma in a nutshell. First, trying to run a command from within Blitz3D turns out to be a huge pain in the ass. Unbelievable, but true. So then I decided to have it write a quick batch file, and fire that off. No deal. So then I though worst case I'll put the batch in the ultraconfig dir and you have to click on it.. easy enough. Well the -listinfo works fine, but the -verifysets returns almost nothing. (this is the bug) But if the batch is in the MAME directory, then it works fine, but then the batch, and the 2 files I make from it are all in the MAME directory, a long way from home. ugh. So I may now have to write a VB app that does this little bit of file maneuvering.  I *do* think that VB is better suited for this type of thing, I just hate the fact that it took the better part of 5 or so hours to understand that. ALSO, and I know I've said this before, WICO SUCKS! My order from FEBRUARY 23 has not yet arrived, YES that's right, my cab won't be finished 5 MONTHS after it was started because of WICO. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THESE LAME-EXCUSE VENDORS!!! ahem, anyhow, I think I will be able to resolve this issue tomorrow morning.


5.4.04 - Joe pointed out an error to me today, if you start in Favorites or any Sub-category, you will see an empty marquee, literally named empty. This was my fault (who else's fault could it be?) I was so psyched to get the startups going I didn't notice that one of the games was incorrect. I have fixed this issue, and the fix will be in version 1.7. Thanks Joe! Also Dodger alerted me to the fact that ultrastyle does not see merged sets. Which means some of you are already not seeing clones. I don't think that too many of you have merged sets, otherwise I think I'd be getting more mail about it.. I'm not entirely sure how to make ultrastyle see merged sets, but I'm learning more about MAME every day. BTW I wanted to go with v1.666

5.4.04 - I got a request for an icon to signify a non-working game. After some digging, I realized that I can run a -verifysets switch the same way you run the -listinfo, and you have a list of working vs. non-working games. This addition will ensure that EVERY GAME listed in ultrastyle will run. Not only that, but I will generate a list of ROMs that you currently have that MAME says don't work. Two birds. So from the next version of ultrastyle on, you should never have to see this again. Which helps with the transition problem a little. I have been toying with the idea of moving the -listinfo into an .exe to run it for you. This way I can generate it and read from it and delete it so you don't have 15MB of not-really-used space rotting on your drive. I can also run the -verifysets command and do what I want with it. Which mean there is going to be a major overhaul to MyRomInfo.exe which may mean a few more seconds are added to the running time, but it's less command-line DOS work for you in the end. 


5.3.04 - I've got the hiding of the clones working. My 1832 games drop down to 873. A significant decrease, although I don't think you'd see any kind of "speed-boost". This is how it's going to work, when you choose not to see clones, you won't see them in All Games, or a Sub-category. If a Sub-category has all clone games in it, you will no longer see that category on the Filter Wheel as an option. Your Favorites however will not be affected by the hiding of the clones. This way you can have pac-man, bump n' jump and any other clones that you'd like in your favorites. Also you can go ahead and start making your favorites lists in ultraconfig because you should be able to copy them over to the new version when it comes out. I have moved some things around in ultraconfig to make room for future options. Another request I had was to be able to control the wheel via a spinner. From what I've heard, a spinner interfaces with the mouse and only moves left-right. The mouse movements I have now are strictly up-down, so I am going to add a mouse movement option so you can choose up-down OR left-right. This should satisfy trackball vs. spinner movement. I myself cannot really test these movements, because I have neither a trackball nor a spinner, yet. The ROM path in ultraconfig is now only located on the Filter Options Tab (formerly named MyRomInfo / CatList options) I realized that the PATH on the first tab, while looking very nice, was never actually called by anything. 


5.2.04 - Day off.


5.1.04 - The web site is 1 month old today. I've typed more in 1 month then I have typed in all of my life! You can't imagine the countless hours I have spent on ultrastyle since I left my former job. I have really been enjoying putting it together, and look forward to putting together a really well polished front- end. Prior to last month, I never remotely considered writing a front-end, but here we are. I would like to say a quick thank you to John for the donation, much appreciated! I have gotten a no-clones request, I think that I should be able to do this fairly easily, when I made the MyRomInfo.txt , If there was no clone info, It used itself as the clone name, so I just have to check the clone vs. the ROM and IF they are not = THEN don't put the game in. One problem I will have to work around is the pre-set numbers in the filter wheel. I may have to have 2 sets of numbers. Also I think I may have figured out a way to have your favorites.ini upgradeable. Currently the * when you check off a favorite is tied to MyRomInfo.txt so if it gets re-written, the *'s disappear. so I thought what I should do is leave the MyRomInfo alone, and after I read it into the treeview, then compare it to the favorites.ini and if there is a match, add the check into the treeview. this way the treeview accurately represents the favorites list. Then when you get a new version (you can copy your old favorites.ini into the new folder), or re-run the MyRomInfo.exe all of the favorites info will be intact. Also Also, I have had a request for multiple ROM directories, So I am going to try to make that like comma-delaminated to account for multiple directories. I would imagine duplicate ROMs would cause a problem, so make sure that's not the case. All of these should be in the next version and I'm still looking into attract mode which a lot of people are looking forward to, but may not be included in the next version. 

As a side note, I haven't really said to much about non-ultrastyle related activities, but, I thought this was so good I should share on the one forum I do have to share. I re-discovered winamp last night, I had trouble with 3 as I think a lot of people did, so I went back to 2 and then last night I got 5. Winamp5 has something in the media library called Internet TV. It's pretty cool and while looking around at all of the different "channels" I found this: red vs. blue It's a movie that uses the master chief from HALO in multiplayer fashion. If you have never heard of it, check it out.  It turns out I saw a bunch of episodes in a row on winamp, like 2 seasons worth. It must have been almost an hour long, and very funny with very very good voice work. Even if you've never played Halo, it's quite good.


4.30.04 - 1.66 is out.  Here is the new stuff.

BETA 1.66 Released 4.30.04
Fixed:
- In ultraconfig, saving the category.txt leaves out information, causing the file to get smaller every time you save it. (I take full responsibility)
- The ROMs were set to sort by real name, and they would sort ok, but now they are sorting 100% properly.
Added:
- You may now select startup mode for the wheel, the choices are: All Games, Favorites, Filter Wheel, or Any Sub-Category
* If filtering is off, the only choice is All Games. If you don't have a Favorites.ini, Favorites is not a choice.

So I think 1.66 is stable, no more quick fixes. No more updates every day or 2 times a day! Now updates will come when there is more content. Since 1.66 is stable, I am removing all of the previous downloadable versions.

4.30.04 - I am slowly coming up with a way to make the favorites information stick to itself. It will not be fixed in 1.66, but definitely then next version. I have also had a request for multiple MAME ROM paths, I will try and work that out too. 

4.30.04 - Received revisions to the ultrastyle arcade skins today, now the game name is centered on the front of the cabinet's control panel. If you liked the old ones, be sure to snag the new ones! Also William sent in a Neo-Geo Fatal fury sound pack, thanks William! Look for v1.66 today with the new feature described below, as well as the fix that I broke when I tried to change something but then didn't fully test it and released it without testing fix.

4.30.04 - I have fixed both issues below. You can now choose ANY of the various wheels to start up in. I also found that I left in the screenshot button again, #3 I think this time... a shiny new ultrastyle on the way tomorrow. (actually later today)


4.29.04 - Yet another problem! I guess I just like making work for myself. Since I added in the number of games in the category.txt, I didn't account for it in ultraconfig. After the first time you save the category.txt, it removes the numbers, then it's downhill from there. You can re-generate the category.txt using the CatConfig.  I am working on options to startup the wheel in any mode you want, all games, favorites, filter wheel, or any-sub category of your choice. When I get it working and the category.txt fixed, 1.(I'll pick a number later) will be out. Saturday night should be enough time, but who knows it may be out tomorrow..

4.29.04 - Just received the first sound pack, thanks Joe.

4.29.04 - Just received another great new skin, thanks Tony. Again!

4.29.04 - 1.61 is up, and since 1.6 had working issues, I just removed the download all together, let's just pretend it never happened..

4.29.04 - I'm having problems... I have found a few things that I thought would be fine, but aren't..

Gimmie a few hours and I will fix 1.6 and put out 1.61, if you haven't d/l 1.6 yet, wait.

 

4.29.04 - Just received a great new skin, thanks Tony.

4.29.04 - It's available. Full list of changes:

Changed:
- the games are now sorted by the game's actual name instead of the rom's name.
- Some radio buttons in ultraconfig have been changed to drop down lists
Fixed:
- the catlist sort in catconfig was inadvertently leaving out the first game on the list
- the checking off of a category to not show on the filter wheel was removing the next 2 categories as well
- mouse input is now much less sensitive
Added:
- when on the filter wheel, you can now see how many games in a sub category without going into it.
- there are now 2 choices for cube size: small, which was the previous standard, and big, the new size
- an optional global command line parameter is now tacked on to the end of the execution string

4.29.04 - mornin.. I am going to put up a stand alone video driver tester for Blitz3D on the download page. This program will let you know what resolutions Blitz3D will run ultrastyle at. You should a lot of results beyond the standard resolutions I give as choices. My PC returns 36 possible modes. (Nvidia GeForceFX 5600) Of course some modes are 16 bit and some are 32, and ultrastyle only runs in 16bit for now. but it will give you an idea of your choices, and maybe help out troubleshooting an issue. currently one user is having an ArcadeVGA issue. If ANYONE has ultrastyle running with this card, PLEASE let me know! I would imagine 1.6 should be out after lunch, it's 10:45 right now here in NY.


4.28.04 - 1.6 seems to be all ready to go, I have added an additional feature, there is a box in ultraconfig that will allow you to tack on MAME command line switches. ultrastyle runs a ROM like this 'MAME32.EXE ROMNAME' you can now add in anything you want beyond that, but whatever command you use is going to be global and affect all games. 

     I do think 1.6 will pose some new issues, and I haven't figured out how best to resolve them. The main issue I can think of is going to be the Favorites you've already selected in 1.55, I have no way for you to move them over. If you simply overwrite your favorites with your older 1.55 file, it will work, but any changes you make in ultraconfig will overwrite your favorites.ini. which means I have to come up with a more upgradeable system, or a final version. Can I go straight from Beta to Final? Not without attract mode I'm sure you'll say. I think the Final version is a ways off anyhow. I am thinking maybe I can make a parser for upgrading. I think it's something I would only have to make once, and it would work on any version. I think the big factor on this version's change is the order of the MyRomInfo.txt is changing, it's like a bonus monkey wrench. Anyhow, look for v1.6 tomorrow morning, I would put it out tonight, but first I copy it to my cab and install it fresh to make sure there's no problem. Lots of posting for one day...

4.28.04 - Here are my results for the screenshot cube, I've decided to go with a big or small option. Screenshots to follow:

Due to adding in more features, I think some of the radio button options will become dropdown lists to give ultraconfig more room to work with.

scube.jpg (64135 bytes)     bcube.jpg (81840 bytes)

Small                   Big   

Small refers to the size of the objects now, big is the new option. Big does not look good with certain objects in cocktail mode, but should look ok with PZ.

4.28.04 - I have knocked down the mouse sensitivity a great deal, it is now not so easy to jiggle the mouse and have the wheel move. I think this will satisfy mouse issues. Today I will be looking at screenshot cube sizes, and if I am satisfied with the results, I will be releasing 1.6 tomorrow. Thanks to everyone that sent in ideas via e-mail, keep them coming.

4.28.04 - I got an e-mail from Bob today that touched on something that people have said every once in a while. No Screenshot.

Some people don't like to see it on the cube when they don't have a screen. I for one don't like to see it on the cube, unless I'm testing for it. And now for my point, you shouldn't have to see it. I made it so you could see what games you don't have a screen for, and then go get one, or capture one even. There are plenty of FREE sources for these shots, so you should take advantage!

ultrastyle is meant to be a graphic representation of your games. I know I have a lot of marquees w/o the real marquee on them.

But I know what games I don't have a marquee for because of it. Hopefully it will inspire you to do a little digging and find your missing .pngs, it's like when we were kids and we were trying to finish off a baseball card set. Except now the cards are free. If you jump up to mameworld.net and look on the right hand side you will see links to art files. Have a look. For example if you press the cube art button, it should cycle through all of the art you have for a game. It may cycle through 2 or 3 pictures for a game, but it should cycle through all 5. So dress your cab up! Maybe some of you will start adding to the MAME collection with your own snaps/titles.

4.28.04 - I am having trouble coming up with videos for the preview cube. I have found 1. But I think in order for it to work in the best capacity, the AVIs will have to be recorded at 256x256 so when they are textured, they fit properly. The test video I have is 224x288 and although it looks ok when it gets resized, it looks Fantastic at 224x288 except you can't see the bottom 32 lines because the texture is 256x256. So if I set a format precedence now, then there won't be an issue in the future. As far as making the videos, I have NO IDEA about how to go and do that. Video making was not my intent when I started this project. I can however set up guidelines, and maybe someone with the know how can give me more information to pass on to the end-user. I have heard older versions of mame32 would let you record AVIs, I don't know if they also recorded sound, as I imagine would be preferred. I don't think that adding in the ability will be that daunting, but the issue remains that there are no movies available at the proper resolutions thatI know of. Also size is an issue, the video I found was almost 1 MB, and had no sound. If you are talking 1MB for every game you have, that's going to be bigger then your total ROM size. You are talking some large amount of space, not to mention the amount of time to make the attract video, shrink it, compress it, wrap it up and put a bow on it, and whatever else they do to it. I am willing to give ultrastyle the ability to play these movies, but it's sort of like asking for the ability to play beta tapes (*you remember, before VHS tapes), there just aren't any! 

      I think I will be messing around with the distance to the screenshot objects in this release, the PZ model I think can get a little closer so we can see more detail, and when attracts go in, they will look better close up. I don't think I can get the PZ to the size of the display on ultracade, but I can definitely get it to be a bit bigger, the only real constraint is the position in cocktail mode, I don't want it to look too crowded in that mode. I think PZ  will do well for those that want a static object for the game art.

Also, I am looking to add these features: 

1. disable the mouse from moving the wheel. on my cab the wheel sometimes moves when opening the keyboard tray and jostling and the like. 

2. set the mouse sensitivity level. right now it's hard coded to 1. which is the mouse speed that gets calculated by moving it. I haven't tested it yet, but it would stand to reason that increasing the number to 2 or 3 or so would then require the mouse to be moved with more force to actually move the wheel. Maybe in the end I will just have that and you can set it to 99 to effectively disable the mouse. 

 

So far I have come upon a few problems that I don't think anyone would have noticed.. these are the changes I've already made that will be in v1.6:

Changed:
- the games are now sorted by the game's actual name instead of the ROM's name.
Fixed:
- the catlist sort in catconfig was inadvertently leaving out the first game on the list, for me it was avalanche (a ball and paddle game)
- checking off a category to not show on the filter wheel was removing the next 2 categories as well
Added:
- when on the filter wheel, you can now see how many games in a sub category without going into it.


4.27.04 - I have made a few changes tonight. First I have set the sort order to the game's name, for me the first game is now '99: The Last War instead of 005. Second, I have added information to some files that allow you to see how many games are in each sub-category before choosing them. I am working to put out v1.6 by mid week, it may or may not have attract mode avi ability.


4.26.04 - I have received a suggestion to sort by game name, the sort is done in MyRomInfo.exe, Game name will be the new sort.

4.26.04 - I very quickly threw together an attract mode demo which can be found on the bottom of the downloads page. It is based on a sample that comes with my complier. I don't know where you all will find an .avi for all of the games, but I can add this to the rotation, and I think I can even put in an option to make it the default over a screenshot if you like. 

4.26.04 - If you have a Hotrod Classic/SE or an X-Arcade, I have layout pictures on my FAQ page as to what button is what.


4.25.04 - I solved the preloading issue with 5 lines of code, the initial marquee sweep should run full speed on any machine. I am putting out Beta v1.55 today with the fixed ultrastyle.exe 

4.25.04 - After chatting with a user, I got the idea to pre-load the marquees for the initial sweep only, since this is the most graphic intense part of ultrastyle, if I pre-load the images, the initial sweep should run at the same speed no matter your CPU/3D card status. Not to say that ultrastyle is "graphic intense", but during this initial sweep the marquee images get loaded as the marquees get created, which is what slows down the process. If I can find a way to quickly preload all 60, then the sweep should run at the "full speed" in which it is intended, but does not run on all machines. I am guessing that I should be able to figure this out in a week or so. And since the fix only really deals with the main ultrastyle.exe, I can put out an "upgrade patch" wherein you just replace the one file.


4.24.04 - Here's the new one..

BETA 1.5 Released 4.24.04
Fixed:
- Mouse/Trackball has now been enabled to control the wheel
- Snapshot/Marquee labels in ultraconfig are in the correct positions.
- Messagebox is now an Inputbox for the Run MyRomInfo Utility Button
- I removed the ability to take screenshots with the #2 button
- I changed the way the wheel moves from letter to letter, it is now much faster, but does not animate.
- Fixed loadscreens in cocktail mode at lower resolutions
-Run MyRomInfo Button in ultraconfig now opens the folder of the exe to avoid memory error
Added:
- the GUI now requires the path to all artwork directories in MAME
- You can now choose how many games it jumps when pressing P1 button/mouse 1 & 2
- You can choose to hide the 'X of X' under the game name
- you can choose to make the screenshot cube static instead of spinning
- Background Images have been moved into a subdirectory to allow for "skinning"
- Added the ability to use sounds during ultrastyle events - Startup, Wheel tick, Screenshot cube switch, Jump x# of games or go to next/previous letter, Run game, and Quit.
- You can enable or disable any event sound individually
- sounds have their own folder like backgrounds do, my sounds are in the default folder
- 4 choices for screenshot cube, standard cube, rounded cube, and oblong cylinder, and phantom zone
- Added an optional timer and a attract.txt file which lists any game you would like the attract mode to start in X minutes.
- screenshot cube will rotate through all artwork by pressing the player 2 start button.
- Added Filtering! Pressing player 2 start brings up the Filter Wheel. This info is based on catlist information.
- Added CatConfig.exe - Creates lists based on your roms, and the catlist.
- Added a second treeview to the ultraconfig that allows for take categories out of the filter.
- Added the ability to bind ANY of the control keys
- Added ability to choose not to use filtering, and use just 1 All Games Included Wheel
- Added a shutdown dialog, now when you press Esc to quit you will be given 3 options, exit ultrastyle, shutdown windows and back to ultrastyle.
- Added the ability to make a your own list of favorites in conjunction with filtering

4.24.04 - ultrastyle Beta v1.5 will be released later today


4.23.04 - I am waiting on 2 e-mails for confirmation of things working on OS's that I don't have handy. I am satisfied with this "beta" in the form that it's in now. I urge everyone to read through the readme1st and the install files before sending in e-mails with questions about info in those files. Filtering is off by default, YOU have to check the box to turn it on. I will try to put good questions on the FAQ page as they come in. All sounds in the sound pack are from various video games. The problem I described yesterday is the only known issue. It's not entirely an "issue" but some people don't like to see the desktop during the transition.

In a few weeks I will look into playing animations on the preview objects.


4.22.04 - Binding is finished, All control keys now bindable. I have made a change (for those of you that already have ultrastyle) to the button in ultraconfig that runs the MyRomConfig.exe. This button was causing a Memory Address Error when trying to launch the executable. Initially I thought it was a read/write issue, but have found that the executable works fine from the shell when it doesn't work from within VB. So instead of launching the external program, it opens the folder of the program and you can double-click it yourself. I know this isn't the prettiest way to do it, but I think it will save a lot of errors and confusion in the long run. I have tried 3 different ways to call the .exe, and all have the same result. This way ensures no errors. 

4.22.04 - I have been playing with ultrastyle for a good part of the day. Most loose ends aside, I am waiting on 2 things before I can release it. In both cases, I think it is more of an annoyance rather then an issue. The first is that if you play a game that has a bad audit, you will see the Ok/Cancel messagebox behind the ultrastyle window. The small ultrastyle will not minimize, resize, move or get out of the way in any way.  I have a sample picture of what you will see. It seems blitz3D has an issue when it comes to minimizing from full screen. All things considered, it's really the only obstacle I've come up against using the language. One thing I noticed today was that on my X-Arcade Even though I configured all the keys for moving the wheel, I have to use the Esc key to exit ultrastyle. I think I will try and add in the ability to bind All keys, so then I won't have to worry about that issue. I think it's safe to say that this release should happen by the end of the weekend at the latest. When I moved ultrastyle to my cab, I deleted all of the files required for the wheel. It took about 3-5 Minutes to set it up properly, and that included a download from the catlist.

4.22.04 - I have really been putting some finishing touches on all night. And although you never really got to use one of the features, the checkbox to remove a game, I am taking it away and changing it. Initially I thought it would be a good idea to be able to take some game out of the loop (intentional pun) but now I think to myself, Get a ROM Manager! All Games means just that, all games! So in lieu of that control, I have thought of something more handy, and fairly easy to implement. (I hope) A Favorites Wheel. Checked off games will now be the ones you WANT to see on the Favorites Wheel. The Favorites Wheel will only be available if you enable filtering.  Hopefully I will have this knocked out by tomorrow. I think this will make v1.5 a very solid release, With plenty of new bells and whistles. I will be testing what I have so far tomorrow (later today).


4.21.04 - I've started making a folder structure for the next release. I've got everything in there except the .EXEs. I am going to take a little while to test what I have so far, there are some things that need a tweakin'. It should all come together soon I hope.

4.21.04 - Filter System Complete. Works with Catver or Genrev downloads from the catlist. I didn't think it would be so useful, but I think I will end up using it more then I thought. At least I think so.. Everything is lined up very nice. The catlist utility has 5 steps it goes through, it keeps you informed of the status while it does it's job. It requires your MyRomInfo.txt file, as well as a catlist download. It creates 2 files, Catlist.txt and Category.txt. These two files are everything ultraconfig needs to filter the games. If you do not have a game in a specific category, then that category will not be an option on your wheel. Additionally I am adding a tab to the ultraconfig GUI to allow you to check off categories you don't want on the wheel as well. Eventually I plan on making ALL of the keys configurable instead of my 4 hard coded keys. This version really has a lot more to offer then v1.0, so testing may take a day or so. I don't want to put something out only to find I forgot some little thing that throws it all off. I am trying to keep lists of what I want done, but I've made quite a mess of the notebook I'm writing in.


4.20.04 - I'm near the end of the completion of the filter system. Ok, I know, it only took 3 days, but I was at it for a LONG time. 

I have realized that I can speed up filtering by making changes to the external parsing program I wrote. This will ensure that the switch between wheels is as fast as possible. The external parser should take about a minute to run, but in return the wheels will turn over with much less delay. I imagine I can have the output I want by the end of the night. More or less on schedule.


4.19.04 - Filter progress. It's a long road, but here is the first step.

Filter Wheel

4.19.04 - Screenshots. Here are some of the new options for the cube, as always you have the choice of the standard cube, now you have a new choice to make it static instead of spinning.. 

Phantom Zone     Oblong Cylinder     Rounded Cube

        Phantom Zone          Oblong Cylinder         Rounded Cube         

Phantom Zone is named after the object that imprisoned the bad guys in Superman 1 and 2. Oblong Cylinder looks a lot like pz except it is rounded. and Rounded Cube is just that.. You will have your choice of which you use. I am NO 3D modeler, if you can make a simple yet effective object that would work, in .3ds format.. send it along. pz looks the best static. 

As far as the filter system goes, I think I've got a good idea on how to implement it. Of course it will mean major code moving around type stuff, but what else is new? I've got a few free days and should be able to knock it out this week.

4.19.04 - Here is my filter solution, pressing coin 2 will change the wheel to the filter list, then all wheel movements apply, choose your filter from the wheel, and the wheel will be re-populated with games from that filter. This way you don't have to go through all of the filters to get back to all games, you can jump around to any filter in 1 step. In my head, it seems easy enough, now I will see if that holds up in the program. I think this will allow for 133 categories without seeming overwhelming. I expect to have this working by the end of the week... end. 

4.19.04 - I have parsed the HELL out of the catver.ini and come up with a very workable filter system, the way I think it will work is a list of all the categories will be in it's own tab in ultraconfig, and just like the MyRomList.txt tab now, you can check off categories you don't want the filter system to loop through. like BIOS, various mature titles and the like. The categories are in alphabetical order as well. But be forewarned, there are a LOT of categories, using catver there are a whopping 133 categories! Using the genrev breakdown there are only 21, so pick your poison. The filter system will work if you choose either catver or genrev. All in all, a very workable system with only a few setup steps. Again, the filter system is optional, if you don't set it up, ultrastyle will work fine. I think this adds a whole new dimension to the wheel, and while I do have the catlist in a format I believe I can work with, I do not have the wheel using the filters as of yet, but pressing player2 start 133 times to get back to the full wheel seems a bit much. Even cutting out the Mature games and a few Non-English quiz games leaves about 100 categories. On the other hand, the Genrev does not allow filtering of adult games because it's all grouped together in one group called puzzle. As an example, in Genrev there is a category called sports which holds all sports games, while in catver, sports is broken up into 30 sub-categories. Maybe the answer is to have coin 2 go to the full list, so no matter where you are in the filter, 1 button brings you to the beginning.. I guess I'll have to sleep on it.


4.18.04 - I have decided that all filtering will be done outside of ultrastyle. This will require another external executable, but I believe will be the fastest way to sort inside of the front-end.  I don't imagine that the sort process should take more then 30 seconds. I realize that it adds yet another step to the setup process, but I think I can make it an Optional step at the least. I assume some people will like ultrastyle minus the sort feature, I myself plan on moving a majority of the Non-English games to a sub-directory so I can see them in MAME32 but not in ultrastyle. 

I have made a attract.txt file for the screen saver/attract mode. In this file should be a list of ROM names minus the .zip. These are the games that you would want the machine to auto-start  after x minutes and run the attract mode for that game. I have populated this file with 4 classic game ROM names as an example of what is to go in there. I think for some the easiest thing to do is to copy the ROM names from the favorites.ini and paste them into the attract.txt file. 

4.18.04 - Call for Help: I have 1 user reporting that his game rotates when using only mame32, but through ultrastyle his rotation settings are being ignored for some reason. Is anyone else A: experiencing this problem or B: running games fine horizontally. please let me know. If this becomes an epidemic, I'll have to try and figure something out. Meanwhile.. I will be working on the filter system for today.


4.17.04 - The ultraconfig GUI is finished, barring some testing. Attract Mode/Screensaver Implemented. You can now scroll through the different art work for the games using the coin 1 button. This is one of the few hard coded buttons. 

Here's the whole list:

ESC - exit screen

1 - Play a game

2 - the soon to be filter system

5 - rotate through the art for a game on the cube

I'm going to be looking into a few sounds to finish off the default sound pack. The big nut to crack is filtering. I would like the user to be able to use catver.ini or genrev.ini from the catlist, But I still haven't come up with an all-encompassing system. 


4.16.04 - I have been working on the GUI for the past 2 days, it's not easy to straighten this bag of snakes, but I'm getting there. I've moved some things around on the tabs, nothing catastrophic. This version is packed with a lot of new stuff, and gives you a lot of choices to individualize ultrastyle. I have only received 1 background from someone, which I will  post on the web for download, I have received no sounds, but I guess that would come easier when you have the chance to try them our yourselves. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say something I shouldn't, I hope to get the new version out by the end of the month. I hate to put time constraints on myself, but I think people are really going to like this one. A quick upgrade note, if you copy your old MyRomInfo.txt to the new cfg folder, you shouldn't have to go through making another until you upgrade to a newer version of MAME. So that should save you some setup time. 


4.14.04 - A quick thank you to John for the donation. I really do appreciate it. 

4.14.04 - Starting to implement sound.. I've got a great tick for the wheel, as well as a few others, if anyone has a public domain sound they think would be a good fit, e-mail it to me. Especially for ultrastyle startup. I have a lot of things that need to be synchronized between VB.NET and Blitz3D. This is going to be the bulk of the work before the next release. I am working my way through the filter system, my only real problem is trying to adjust the "Game xx of xx" under the game name. Once I get a handle on that, it should be up and running..


4.13.04 - Alright, an update.. I have reworked the wheel moving through the alphabet, and it now moves to the next letter MUCH faster then before. The tradeoff is that it does not animate the wheel moving, but I am willing to let that go to have the fairly large speed boost. You can now make your way through the letters quite rapidly in comparison. I have also implemented, but not fully.. the choice of regular cube, rounded cube or oblong cylinder, pressing the player 2 start will scroll through the possible artwork for a game on the cube. the shutdown choices work nicely and you no longer have to worry that if you press esc too many times you would back out of ultrastyle.  All in all everything is going well. I do however have to start devoting more time to earning some money as the mortgage will be due. This means that coding will be slowed down a bit, hopefully not too slow, I would much rather be doing something people appreciate then working for the man, but what choice have we? I can't promise an ETA for v1.5, but it will be soon.


4.11.04 - A quick FYI, my new to-do list has 8 things on it, these do not count some things I've already done, and I am going to add a choice for a new shape besides a cube. It's sort of an oblong cylinder, stretched to be a rounded, 2 sided screen view. When this to-do is done, Beta v1.5 will be released.

4.11.04 - Added FAQ page today. I am trying to tie together a few things, most of which are not in code form yet, I have to work through it in my head first before I sit down and code it out. I have looked at the catlist, another mameworld.net hosted site for the ability to add filtering onto the wheel. I am running out of buttons to use, but I will come up with something.. right now it's a toss-up for the player2 button start for: filters or different cube textures (titles, cabs, flyers and CP) I don't think it would be too hard to make 1 button rotate through the possibilities, although this may be the first feature that I myself could do without. I think coin1 and player 2 start are the only other buttons I am going to end up using. I had my Interview re-scheduled to tomorrow, so if I get a job, I will have less time to devote to ultrastyle, so the updates may be a little slower. 


4.9.04 - Ok, I have some info, I was messing around with my cab tonight and I discovered that if you don't load marquees, ultrastyle runs at what I would consider "full speed" even on cards with little 3D capability. i.e. my on-board Intel. I ran a test that loads all the marquees ahead of time. way too much overhead. So that Idea is scrapped. If you prefer screenshots w/o the white border, http://crashtest.retrogames.com/ has a huge collection of screenshots that will make the cube seamless. although on the rounded cube I've made, I'd like to hide the top and bottom that you can now see due to rounding.. I think I know how to do it.

 

4.9.04 - I forgot a few things.. I would ALSO like to implement before the next release.

 - Sounds. startup, wheel movement, pick a game, and shutdown sounds. all changeable, with the option of no sound for each.

 - Shutdown options. Before I decided to make a front-end, I must have tried 30 of them. Some had shutdown options to turn the PC off, so you didn't have to use windows at all, I like that. I  am working on it now. I have made a shutdown screen featuring my very own X-Arcade Buttons. 

I am taking Easter weekend off from coding, although I will probably be thinking about it the entire time. See you Monday.

4.9.04 - I did a lot of work today. It may not look like much but it's slowly turning my brain into spaghetti. I am doing my best to keep things in order without actually writing things down.. ok so here are some of the things I fixed today in no particular order:

 -I changed the messagebox to an inputbox for the Run MyRomInfo Utility Button, hopefully it will stop all these memory access errors, actually I only heard of 1..

 - I inadvertently rem'd out the use of a mouse/trackball with the wheel, so that's back on now..

 - I removed the ability to take screenshots with the #2 button, so that is bindable now..

 - I added an option to not show the "xx of xx" under the game name

 - I added in an option to specify how many games b1 and b2 scroll

 - I added a subdirectory of Default in the images directory, so when backgrounds become available you can just add the folder to images and it will become a choice in the GUI. - GUI end not implemented yet, but ultrastyle is hard coded to the default dir for now.

 - I rounded the screenshot cube a bit more, added it to the models directory, and scaled the textures to fit.

-  I added a new tab to the GUI that lets you take games out of the rotation using a treeview with checkboxes. This had me scratching my head all day, but the method I came up with should work out very well. I think it will evolve into a favorites type of thing. The tab also give you a game count as well as an "unchecked" count. I do have a screen to show:

treeview

As you can see from the screen, Checked means, don't show this game in ultrastyle. Also if you open up the +, you will see clone name and full name, if there is no clone, then the clone name is it's own name. There are counters on the bottom to tally things up as well. Checking or unchecking the clone name/ full name does nothing.

The only other thing I want to do for now is add in a timer that you set for X minutes, after X minutes it will play a random game from a list you make, and that will satisfy screensaver/attract mode. After I get this working, I will release v1.whatever


4.8.04 - I am getting some good ideas from all of you out there. (Mostly Jim and Joe) Here are some of them: 

-option to not show the "xx of xx" under the game name

-option to specify how many games b1 and b2 jump instead of hard coded 100

- marquee info - I have found that marquees with a width of 125-130 look much better then those of 300+ a few of my marquees I popped into Photoshop and and changed the image size to 125 with constrain proportions checked, and they look much sharper on the wheel. but as it stands there are 150MB of marquees, and 125 is not the standard. I would like to start a collection of cleaned up marquees, but I don't know if my hosts would be too keen on that, so maybe I can find another resource. 

- attract mode - eventually will be appearing one way or another. one idea is maybe have yet another list of games you would want to start on it's own after X Minutes, this way your running attract mode for say Pac-Man or Super Street Fighter. I think I like this method over having an attract mode play on the rotating cube. I think it would drain resources, and not too many people are going to have animations of a lot of games. For it to look the best, you'd have to have an attract for every game you have.. haven't you?

 

for reference, when ultrastyle first starts, and when you comeback from a game, the wheel should FIRE through all 60 marquees VERY quickly. If it seems to make them one at a time and you can count the marquees as they are being created, this is the slowness of which I speak. The wheel should be entirely created before you can count to 3. Running it without marquees or screenshots is MUCH faster then with. Maybe screenshots is negligible because when you jump far it only shows the first and last shot, but marquee textures are created off-screen just before you see them, which will slow the wheel down if you don't have a 3D card. To have marquees not show the .PNG, point the marquee path to a non-image directory like "C:\"

 

4.8.04 - A new screenshot: In my 2nd attempt at 3D Model rendering (baby steps) I have made a screenshot cube with rounded edges. This is the first model that I felt like I knew what I was doing almost.. Someone commented that the cube and marquees did not go together.. So I "tried" to make a rounded edge cube. I think this model can be improved upon, but frankly, I'm just beginning to learn. Maybe in a few weeks I will have a truly rounded cube, but I have to admit, the rounded corners are growing on me. 

rounded cube


4.7.04 - It's been out for a few hours, and all of the feedback I have received is positive. One thing I forgot to take out is screenshots. The #2 key will take a screenshot and put it in the ultrastyle root directory, so if you want to make your own screenshots for the fridge, have at it! It will be removed in the next "version" I want to add a tab in the GUI that shows you the MyRomInfo.txt file so you can manually add/subtract games. After I loaded it in my cab, I noticed that Area51 was a game choice even though the .chd isn't loaded. There must be a .zip file as well as a .chd subdirectory. (I think that's how it goes) So .chd games MAY already be compatible (I Hope) Also, if you fire off a game and you have a bad ROM, you can just see the bottom of the Ok/Cancel behind the ultrastyle console (Black empty window). Press enter and you should jump back into ultrastyle. If you can run a game from MAME, you should be able to run it from ultrastyle. Also, please setup MAME prior to running ultrastyle, NONE of the ultrastyle configuration has ANY control on MAME. Example, cocktail mode is NOT going to rotate your games, you need to do that in MAME first. I am thinking of making sort of a checkbox list of all the MAME games from the -listinfo so you can edit your list with a check to show the game in ultrastyle. My thinking is that even though I'll NEVER EVER play a mahjong game, I don't really want to delete 'em. So either a check to play or a list A to list B type of thing. It's the beginning of a favorites type of thing. I want to get some cabinet stuff together, but first I have to take some pictures. Did I mention that WICO sucks? Also, when you set up the MyRomInfo, and try to run the utility, It asks you if you have saved the info first, and then runs it anyway. This could lead to a memory error. You need to exit and restart ultraconfig to clear the error. In the next update, this will be a Y/N question to give you a chance to back out and save first. I am also going to attempt to make a cube with more rounded edges, and see if it looks better. like a worn rubix cube. 

 

4.7.04 - ultrastyle is now available for download. Apparently the days of voodoo are over, my card is not compatible with the AGP slot on the new board. But trust me, you need a 3D card for this little app.  I hope you all like it. I also made a new tab in the Config GUI to set your keys. These keys have NO CONTROL in MAME, I had defaulted to the arrow keys, but found out this morning on the x-arcade they are not the default. Enjoy. The load screen is messed up at 640x480 and 800x600 in the clockwise cocktail mode. I am willing to forgo that for this release. it looks like my load screen is too big for 640x480 cocktail mode anyhow.

 

4.7.04 - Initial tests are being done for a while today. I ironed out some things with the GUI and parser this morning. Here are my system specs: 

Machine I programmed with : P3 933 512MB NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600

My Cab : P4 3.06 256MB Onboard Intel Video

YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO HAVE A 3D CARD. I installed ultrastyle on it this morning and it runs horribly slow. I am going to try and dig up my old voodoo5 5500 for the cab. I am also going to have to change the movement keys for the wheel, because I defaulted them to the arrow keys. 

 

4.7.04 - Ok, I'm up. I got a call this morning for an interview on Friday at 2pm. There are some things to do around the house today. And Lost in Translation has to go back to Blockbuster by Noon. (Enough of the blog) After I put ultrastyle on my cab, you can put it on yours. Here is some info I have yet to put anywhere else. ultrastyle does not yet totally support .chd files for the simple fact that I don't have any installed, so I haven't told it how to treat them. I don't think it will take long to implement. I do have .chd I just haven't gotten them off the cds yet. Here are 2 screens of the GUI I wrote:

config1   config2

 

4.7.04 - ultrastyle will be released later today. It's 1:35AM and I'm beat. I spent all day writing an options GUI in VB. Please be aware, the options app requires .NET Framework 1.1, so if you don't have it yet, go to windows update and get it.  The GUI will hopefully make all of our lives easier. I have also put up a paypal donation button, although this is freeware. I've done my best to write up an install.txt file and a readme.txt which give you more info then I hope you'll need.  After I get some feedback, I  can make adjustments to the how-to's and the how not-to's. I have only tested this program on XP, although i don't see why it wouldn't run on 9x.  


4.6.04 - Please note, I have changed the wording of the post under this one. After downloading the newest MAME32, there was no MAME32.DAT file in the root directory, so I amended the instructions a bit. As far as ultrastyle, I think it will be available soon, after I give it a good once over.

4.6.04 - Step 1. To save you some headaches, I will now give you what will be required as step one when ultrastyle comes out. ultrastyle  reads the MAME's -listinfo from MAME to get 3 pieces of information. romname, cloneof, and the games full name. Regardless of your MAME version, there is a bit of work involved, not much though. You need to go to a command prompt in your MAME directory, wherever that may be. once your there you have to type: 

"MAME32.exe -listinfo > filename.txt"

"MAME.exe -listinfo > filename.txt"

"DMAME.exe -listinfo > filename.txt"

without the quotation marks, depending on your version of MAME, and filename.txt can be any file name that your going to remember. The file it creates is ~15MB and should be recreated for every new version of MAME. The purpose of this list is to compare it to your current game list. If MAME changes a romname and you don't update your list, you will have non-working games in the wheel. If you haven't already, find CLR MAME PRO, and learn to use it. It will save you a lot of romname headaches. Also if you get a new game, you will have to run the ROM utility again to add the game to your list of ROMs.

4.6.04 - Let me start off by thanking my new hosts, mameworld.net. they quickly and graciously helped me out with my impending bandwidth problem, Thanks Fellas! I have the feeling today is going to be a productive day...

4.6.04 - If any of you 2D art folk want to send some background art, I will include it in the initial download - with full credit to the author(s), barring the install doesn't get overwhelmed with .jpgs if you want to e-mail me something, I'd like 3 pics. I don't know how well they will scale but at least it will be a start. either in 1024x768 or in 800x600. here's the format. Upright - standard 1024 or 800. clockwise - rotate the pic clockwise 90 degrees so it's 768x1024 or 600x800. counterclockwise - rotate -90 degrees so it's 768x1024 or 600x800. I would like an arcade theme but nothing specific( by this I mean like a street fighter or sailor moon collage) MAME thrown in would be ok with me as long as it's ok with them. If no one submits, then the defaults will have to do. My default backgrounds are under 100k each for reference. My e-mail is at the bottom of the page.


4.5.04 - 6 Whole days. My monthly bandwidth here is 500MB, I'm at ~75%, it's only a matter of time before the site is unavailable for the rest of the month. I am guessing it will be around 1200 hits. I am overwhelmed by the response. I'm glad people are interested in this idea. Up until now, I've been programming this front-end in Blitz3DDemo. Late, late last night I forked over the $100 for the full version so I can compile a finished product. I've implemented mouse up/down to move the wheel, but it's fairly slow to go through 1 at a time. Using mouse buttons 1 and 2 to move up and down 100 games should help out.. I've also jumped into a game and back out successfully, so that's one more thing off the list.  Really all that's left is cleanup for cocktail mode, just a few things I've been putting off for no reason. On deck for upgrades is a VB config applet, and I'd like to be able to show attract mode animations on the cube for a game if one is available, but I think that might be more of a wish list thing. As it stands now ultrastyle uses ~25-30MB and ~8MB when your using a game. The overhead drops because it releases all graphic information and then rebuilds it when you drop back into the front-end after the game is over.  I don't really have any other front-end information to compare this to. I would imagine 8MB isn't much of a hit these days. BTW - Thanks to everyone who took the time to e-mail me and say they liked it. If anyone has any suggestions, my e-mail is at the bottom of the page. 

 

Update - After reading the arcadecontrols.com forum tonight, I've implemented the option to make the screenshot cube static. After thinking for a while tonight, I would like to add in the ability to have multiple lists for the wheel itself. Right now there is only 1 list and it is all the games in you ROM directory, which for I would guess a lot of cab owners is nearly all the ROMs. I initially thought it would be easy enough to make a sub-directory in ROMs and put all of the games you want on the wheel in there. But I don't want to limit the ability to get to games, that's not what a front-end is for, besides sorting through all your ROMs would be a pain in the ass. So I thought, how about an all games wheel and a favorites wheel, that way when you want to play/show someone an obscure game, you at least have the option instead of dropping out and running MAME/M³² to get to it. And as you may have well guessed if your going to do 2 wheels, it opens up the possibility to do multi-emulator wheels. Now, understand me, I want to get ultrastyle out, in working order - ASAP. I can't guarantee how fast these additions will be made to ultrastyle, but these are my intentions. These additions are going to end up being rewrites of a lot of code because it's only setup for 1 wheel now, maybe I can make multiple wheels in the 3d environment and just move the view around of you change emulators. A lot of this is just thinking aloud. It's what I want for my cab... Hell, my cab's not even 100% done yet! WICO sucks! I ordered speaker grills from them on Feb. 23. and I still have yet to see them.  


4.4.04 - I've got the left, right, p1 button 1, p1 button 2 controls working. The wheel doesn't spin as fast as I'd like,  but I'm trying to speed that up. I was juggling the idea of spinning the wheel, not spinning the wheel, and I think watching it go around is better then a long pause while it cycles through games behind the scenes and then things "magically" change. Someone suggested having the mouse also control the wheel, which is something I could implement for trackball users, doesn't seem like it will be that hard, but that's another thing to add to the checklist.

4.4.04 - controls: initially, I have up and down moving 1 marquee at a time, I plan on using this control set..

-up/ mouse up - up 1 marquee

-down/ mouse down - down 1 marquee

-right -up to next letter in the alphabet

-left - down next letter in the alphabet

-p1 button 1/ mouse 1 - up 100 marquees

-p1 button 2/ mouse 2 - down 100 marquees

I think it will satisfy scrolling needs. For now my "to do" list has 6 things on it. Once everything works to my satisfaction, I will release ultrastyle. (I'm going as fast as my fingers can carry me) Last night I realized I can make a small VB app to use for the config file. That will come at a later point. Sometime next week I will be doubling the site size and expanding to.. drum roll.. 2 pages!!! I want to put out some of my cabinet ideas as well, which will be on it's own page. I also want to quickly thank mameworld.com, and vg-network.com for putting my info out there and getting ultrastyle noticed. I'd probably still be on 20 hits otherwise. More updates later today.


4.3.04 - It only took about a day to figure it out, and although I haven't done it yet, I believe I will be able to get the text into cocktail mode after all. There are really only a few things left to do. I have also added a sort of animation to startup. I think it's better then a static intro, it makes it seem more 3D. I think I may add in the ability to play a .wav file at startup. That's just icing though.

4.3.04 - whilst I pull my hair out trying to work with the code, I added a game count. One issue I'm having is that text will not write sideways on a cocktail screen. I am guessing not too many cocktail machines are loaded with all of the ROMs. I would imagine cocktails are more like "Greatest Hits" cabs. If I do however figure out how to make a transparent cube that text will show up on, then cocktail mode will have ALL of the upright features.

count


4.2.04 - here is another screen with a "familiar" background to show that you can have *ANY* background you want:

XP background for demonstration purposes only, don't sue me bill!


4.1.04 - added a new feature. 3 levels of zoom. some of these marquees look so great it's a shame to have them so small. so I added a close, medium, and far mode. you can change modes on the fly. here is a great example:

big wheel


3.31.04 - I've been working on this for quite some time now. Although it's not finished, it's shaping up really nicely. Hopefully it will be wrapped up the first or second week in April. I'm sure it will be the finishing touch my cab needs. I do have a lot more information, but there's no need to get ahead of myself.

 

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