LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

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LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-8-26 @ 07:38

Hey guys, I just released a brand new frontend and game launcher called LaunchBox:

http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox

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I put a lot of work into the app and I'd like to continue developing it further, so I'm eager to get people playing with it. Please give it a download and see how it works for you. :happy:

I am very open to feedback of any kind. I've been extremely pleased with DOSBox as a whole for a very long time, and very much appreciate the hard work that the DOSBox team has put in, so I'm glad to start contributing something to the community.

Thanks!
Jason
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby mr_bigmouth_502 » 2013-8-26 @ 11:53

This looks interesting. I might just have to play around with it.
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby sliderider » 2013-8-26 @ 15:12

The interface kind of reminds me of the bookshelf at GOG where the games you have paid for are kept.
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-8-26 @ 15:41

bigmouth, do let me know how it goes.

sliderider, yeah, for sure. It works well with GOG games too. Eventually, I want to try and add a feature where it searches the computer for GOG games (maybe even Steam games too) and automatically adds them to the list.
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-8-28 @ 22:33

Anyone else? Would love to get some actual feedback on this...
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-07 @ 06:58

Version 1.1 is out folks. :)

Download it here: http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox

Now includes some game demos too:

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New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby SammaySarkar » 2013-9-17 @ 12:37

Perhaps add a game info fetcher? (It's a bit boring to manually input the data for hundreds of games one-by-one)
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 15:51

Yeah, that's certainly planned. I'm a bit disappointed to find that there's not much of a standard for that, and I haven't found an online database that provides any kind of a web service or API. That means (I think) that in order to do it, I'd have to download whole web pages and parse through the text, which is problematic and isn't future proof (if a site changes their website code it would break the process).

I looked to base it off of D-Fend Reloaded, but it seems theirs is broken (or at least it wasn't working for me with the version I had).

What I'd *really* like to do is be able to search your entire hard drive and/or a folder for games, download information about them, and automatically populate your entire collection. That may be a bit of wishful thinking though.
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby SammaySarkar » 2013-9-17 @ 16:45

Personally I think a RegExp or XML (or whatever) Parsing definition which can be user-modified -- partly future-proofed there -- is a fine possibility.
(And the DFR datareader is almost fixed by Alexander)
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 19:08

Ah, so you're thinking a way to import all your existing apps from another application? Probably wouldn't be too bad to do a mass import from D-Fend, for example. What would you import from?

Also, jsyk, the games are stored in the LaunchBox.xml file in a pretty easy format already. Won't help do an import as-is, but could certainly do some conversions and generate the games in the XML file yourself.
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 19:23

Also, what would you think about creating a new web service-based site that integrated with LaunchBox? Would automatically upload and download other people's LaunchBox games. I hate to create a new site while so many others exist, but the fact that none of them have APIs (that I've found) and other little things (like MobyGames and their rotten logos on box covers) make me want to build one myself.
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby P4R4D0X » 2013-9-17 @ 19:57

Are there still people out there who don't know that you can get non watermarked scans from MobyGames? It's just a little bit of url hacking. Just open up the desired cover image in a new tab and change the word "large" to "original". It may not work for all images, but there's a solution for that as well. If you somehow get 404 not found error just change the extension of the file from jpg to png. That will fix the issue. By doing all this you will get a clean image with no junk and a higher resolution image as well, but that depends on the original file uploaded to their servers. Works on any cover I tried, so just don't mention it on their forums...

Love how the box art browser looks in v1.1. There's a lot of drop down menus on the top, that's a little bit cluttered I think. Also would be nice if it would be cross platform, but I guess that will never happen. I'm looking forward to this project, because it looks amazing. Keep up with the good work!
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 20:13

DUDE! I haven't even read the rest of your comment, but that MobyGames trick. For heaven's sake. Big win, but why do they have to bother?
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 20:19

Thanks for the trick, indeed. And thanks for the kind words on the project. I'd love for it to be cross-platform too, of course. Unfortunately, that would basically mean I'd have to write it in C or C++, which are not my strong points, and would increase the development time for the project by at least two or three times. Still, we might have some luck making it somewhat cross platform in the future using Mono. Maybe I can look into that soon.

Yeah, the filter menus at the top kept growing as I added more fields. I could certainly hide the filters inside the View menu, with an option to show/hide them on the main bar. My only beef with that is that then it won't be obvious what the active filters are (which is important because you might forget what filters you have active and wonder where your games went). Thoughts?

If you have any other items on your wishlist that you run into, please do let me know. I'm curious how the app is working for people usability wise and what they feel like they're missing.

Thanks!
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 20:21

Also, here's the change log for completed features to be released in version 1.2. I should be releasing it very soon:

- New Feature: New Options dialog available under Tools, Options
- New Feature: New debugging options are available in the Options dialog, to help troubleshoot DOSBox commands if necessary
- New Feature: New Version field for games, with the option to display them in the box art list (View menu)
- New Feature: New Game Manual field for games, with the ability to open up the manual (right-click or Game menu)
- Improvement: Games refresh much faster now after updates, arrangement changes, etc.
- Improvement: Open/save file dialogs now default to the last used file or folder for the game
- Fixed: Added scrollbars to the Notes field on games
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-17 @ 20:23

One more thing, here's my current list of ideas and features for upcoming additions. Please feel free to discuss or recommend what should/shouldn't be done or what should be done first:

Feature: Import/export from DFR
Feature: Way to install games from disk/CD/iso
Feature: Save box art image as...
Feature: Remove box art image
Feature: Open DOSBox with mounts, but don't run and don't exit
Feature: Allow selecting and editing multiple games at once

Idea: Auto-make game icon, make Windows 8 start menu entry?
Idea: DOSBox config file editor (have existing GUI, just have to make it work with the conf files)
Idea: Auto-populate from files
Idea: Web searches (imports)
Idea: Customized alphabetic ordering (use sort title?)
Idea: Game series
Idea: Drag & Drop EXE or game folder to games list
Idea: Kid Mode with password
Idea: Multiple applications to launch
Idea: Allow for multiple genres
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-18 @ 07:57

New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-22 @ 00:03

Version 1.3 has been released now as well, with metadata and box art searching. :)

http://launchbox.jasoncarr.com
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby RodrigoDK » 2013-9-22 @ 19:50

Hi! I liked a lost the concept of your FE, I have used Boxer on Mac and yours remember this.

Maybe you can support the D-Fend Reloaded exported zips first? As I see it appears to be a simple format, either to import (extract permanently), or to extract on a temp directory (maybe both), as it contains the dosbox.conf file (except the absolute directories, where you'll need to adapt), and a .prof with some useful info.

I think that it's better than waiting for a full integration with D-Fend (api or console switches).

With lots of backups like me it's painful to make one conf file for each game instead of using the generated ones from D-Fend.
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Re: LaunchBox: New DOSBox Frontend and Game Launcher

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2013-9-22 @ 20:19

Sure, Rodrigo, that's a great idea, and I hadn't thought of it. My initial goal for D-Fend integration will be to figure out how to easily batch import D-Fend games. Not sure if the zips will be easier or harder to work with than the actual D-Fend data files, but I'm guessing that the zips would be easier. I'm hoping that the next version will include basic D-Fend import support.

Thanks for the idea. :)

Also, it's always good to hear about general feedback (and real-world testing) on the app; how's it working for you overall? Have you tried the new TheGamesDB search features? Have you run into any issues or have any other suggestions?
New box-art based portable DOSBox games launcher and database, LaunchBox:
http://www.jasoncarr.com/category/software/launchbox
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