Thread: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration

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    LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Hello all, first off, let me say how grateful I am for the Rocket Launcher project. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed; it's so very crucial to the emulation community that it's not even funny.

    Lately, over on the LaunchBox forums I've been getting a lot of requests to integrate Rocket Launcher features directly into LaunchBox (things like fades, bezels, startup/pause screens, etc.). These requests have actually been coming in for a very long time, but are getting more and more common as we implement more features into LaunchBox and Big Box. I have always argued that it would be largely silly to re-implement the same features when they are all available in Rocket Launcher and they work so well, but the requests keep coming in. I'm also admittedly scared to death to implement most of the features since they're so finicky and difficult to develop, and require separate implementations for pretty much every emulator.

    Regardless, what I hear over and over again from users is that they can't figure out how to set Rocket Launcher up, which I believe is the main motivation for the requests to integrate the features into LaunchBox. This leads me to wonder if we could somehow partner up to make it as easy as possible for users to use Rocket Launcher and LaunchBox together. Ideally, what I would love to see is if Rocket Launcher features were integrated automatically with zero setup requirements. I know that's not always possible, but it is of course what we aim for for LaunchBox.

    I have a few related questions. Forgive me if I'm way off or if the answers to these questions already exist:

    - Would the Rocket Launcher team be willing to let us distribute Rocket Launcher with LaunchBox/Big Box?

    - Would it be possible for the LaunchBox GUI to automatically configure Rocket Launcher when a new system is added with a default configuration?

    - Would it be acceptable for us to create a simplified configuration GUI for Rocket Launcher and integrate it with LaunchBox?

    - How is Rocket Launcher licensed?

    Thanks all; I'm looking forward to moving the discussion forward.
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Bravo! Nicely said! Absolutely like the idea of incorporating rocketlauncher into launchbox. Then, for users who want the great features provided in rocketlauncher, they'll be given that option without having to search and download other files, and it will be easier for them to implement since it's already built in with launchbox
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
    #3
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    Hi Jason,

    I think many users see RocketLauncher as being way more complex than it really is, I mean as long as you have the emulator working already shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to get a system added and running (having a working emulator setup is what many users fail to understand imo). Another problem might be the large amount of customization settings we provide that scares users off, but customization comes at a price. You normally only need to use a small subset of them though.

    It's when you want to fine tune and tweak things that will take a while to get it perfect, but this is the same for anything really. That being said I admit that we could do better guides, but it's only 3 of us and with very scarce free time on our hands and it's much more fun to put that time into development. Avar made a pretty decent startup introductory video of RL for HyperSpin where it shows how simple it can be to setup a new system.

    We are always happy to have frontend developers interested in improving the experience of their frontends with RL, frontend integration is what RL is all about after all.

    Regarding your questions:

    - Would the Rocket Launcher team be willing to let us distribute Rocket Launcher with LaunchBox/Big Box?
    As long as you make it clear that RL is being used in LaunchBox and you don't try to hide it as being part of LaunchBox I don't have any problems with that. Automatic updates would still be needed to be done through RLUI. Bare in mind that this is my personal opinion and djvj and bleasby might think differently so it would be better to hear them about it.

    - Would it be possible for the LaunchBox GUI to automatically configure Rocket Launcher when a new system is added with a default configuration?
    When a new system is added to RL it will already use your global/default configuration so that isn't necessary. The only thing you need to do when adding a new system is to select the rom path(s) (might not even be needed if you follow our folder structure convention for your roms) and select the default emulator to use for that system (might need to create it if you don't have it already), so you'd need to somehow integrate that part in the LaunchBox GUI.

    - Would it be acceptable for us to create a simplified configuration GUI for Rocket Launcher and integrate it with LaunchBox?
    Sure, you don't really need permission for something like that, a GUI is just... a GUI

    - How is Rocket Launcher licensed?
    GPL license

    Btw if you have any plans to distribute RL media through your system I'd be interested on hearing about that. That's one problem for us since we are running completely off donations so we have no way to host RL media in our server as the server costs to cope with that kind of traffic would be so high that would require us to go to some paid membership schema which we don't want to do.
    I think this is probably the main issue for RL users, the fact that they don't have a good location to download RL art assets from and need to be getting it from the forums or other alternate locations.
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Awesome! Thank you brolly. We can certainly discuss hosting Rocket Launcher media; I'm guessing it wouldn't be too significant past what we are already hosting for the LaunchBox Games Database. Let's get that discussion going. Also, how would I best get in contact with djvj and bleasby in order to confirm that we can proceed with everything?
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    RocketLauncher Developer bleasby's Avatar
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    I agree with Brolly's answer to the letter.

    I am also ok with anything that djvj and brolly agrees regarding this.

    Sent from my SM-J200M using Tapatalk
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Thank you bleasby!
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Thank you both once again. Is there any way I can get a hold of djvj for final permission to get started?
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    As someone who uses both, Rocketlauncher and Launchbox already sync up very well. As stated above, beyond customization it really only takes a couple of minutes to add a new system into RL directly, but if you set up the launchbox plugin, rocketlauncher already autopopulates the new system when you import it into launchbox, so that isn't even necessary. After you import a new system in lauchbox, literally all you have to do is open RLUI and point it to the rom path (which seems like it might not be that difficult for RL to get this information from the launchbox xml, but I'm no programmer), and set the exe path to your emulator (I'm not sure where launchbox stores this information but setting up the emulator in launchbox requires the same thing, so im guessing there's an info file RL can pull this from too), and then choose the default emulator you want for that system. Beyond that, you'd only have to open RLUI for customization.

    The only other thing that isn't synced perfectly is the media. Rocketlauncher with the launchbox plugin does an okay job locating some media in the launchbox directories... but there are huge caveats. Launchbox uses regular game names, whereas rocketlauncher uses the actual rom names for things. Secondly, all the special characters (&,_, that are already a pain are handled differently by RL and Launchbox. Lastly, Rocketlauncher wants to look in its own media folder for bezels and backgrounds and fade etc, and it wants it's media to be in subdirectories named after the rom itself (not the launchbox title of the game) which creates some gaps for games like The Legend of Zelda Link to the Past whose rom title might be something like Legend of Zelda, The - Link to the Past . RL won't find media named the way launchbox names the game.

    I'm no programmer, but conceptually it seems like launchbox should be responsible for communicating the emulator details and rom paths. Instead of having rocketlauncher as an emulator in launchbox, it could be a toggle, on or off, that when set to on will send the rom path and emulator path directly to the settings inis in rocketlauncher. In this way people could set up their emulators like normal in launchbox and tell it whether or not to use rocketlauncher on launch.

    On the media side, RL might adjust the launchbox plugin to better find the art in launchbox's media directories (that's find AND read because launchbox doesn't use rom names, it uses database names).

    Anyway, two cents from an avid user of both programs.
    Last edited by Fromlostdays ; 01-29-2018 at 12:16 PM.
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasoncarr View Post
    Thank you both once again. Is there any way I can get a hold of djvj for final permission to get started?
    I'll get in touch with djvj and point him to this thread since he is rarely around these days.
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fromlostdays View Post
    I'm no programmer, but conceptually it seems like launchbox should be responsible for communicating the emulator details and rom paths. Instead of having rocketlauncher as an emulator in launchbox, it could be a toggle, on or off, that when set to on will send the rom path and emulator path directly to the settings inis in rocketlauncher. In this way people could set up their emulators like normal in launchbox and tell it whether or not to use rocketlauncher on launch.
    I don't agree with this part, I mean if you are using RL there should be no need to setup any emulators in the frontend side at all. Your emulator as far as the frontend is concerned will always be RL. This is one of the main advantages of RL, you centralize all emulator configuration inside it and you don't need to reconfigure anything emulator related on your frontends, you can use as many frontends as you want and they will all use RL.

    Same applies to rom path really, but in case of LaunchBox I believe rom path is mandatory since it uses a rom based approach to create its game lists. In other frontends which are database oriented like HyperSpin you don't need to setup any rom paths at all, they are all set in RL. In fact if you use the base rom path setting and follow our folder structure convention you won't even need to set rom paths for most (or any at all) systems.

    On the media side, RL might adjust the launchbox plugin to better find the art in launchbox's media directories (that's find AND read because launchbox doesn't use rom names, it uses database names).
    This part is tricky because I think launchbox uses some sort of fuzzy matching to find the artwork? Not really sure about it, but I know bleasby had to make some compromises when implementing the media search part in order to get it to acceptable speed.
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    I think brolly did an excellent job summing up my feeling of this as well. That's probably one reason we get along so well, we see these things pretty much the same.

    Fromlostdays, what brolly said is correct, RL is the emulator to any FE you use, that's the reason RL even exists in the first place. If you start setting up emus in whatever FE you use, you take away the whole point of RL's initial existence, to be FE independent.
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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    Quote Originally Posted by djvj View Post
    I think brolly did an excellent job summing up my feeling of this as well. That's probably one reason we get along so well, we see these things pretty much the same.

    Fromlostdays, what brolly said is correct, RL is the emulator to any FE you use, that's the reason RL even exists in the first place. If you start setting up emus in whatever FE you use, you take away the whole point of RL's initial existence, to be FE independent.
    Thank you so much gentlemen. I'll look into getting it more integrated then!
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    A suggestion: In the 'Game Menu' in BigBox, have the 'Open Emulator' (or in this case 'Open RocketLauncher') option open RocketLauncher User Interface, instead of RocketLauncher. It's a lot more useful - if I want to 'open an emulator,' it is because I want to configure something. I need RLUI to do that in this case.
     

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    Re: LaunchBox / Rocket Launcher Further Integration 
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    I might be off topic here, but here goes:

    I just started using launchbox/big box. A wonderful program

    When setting up sony psp, I wanted to make sure my isos were named correctly. I love rocketlauncher's audit feature. You can see at a glance what a database thinks a name of a rom/iso should be.
     

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