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View Full Version : ScummVM Quick And Easy - Time to put it out to pasture?


bgbennyboy
10-18-2005, 08:28 PM
ScummVM 0.8.0 will be released sometime in the next week or so. I was looking at doing another release of ScummVM Q+E and I've begun to wonder whether its time to stop development. The ScummVM gui is now quite good and there are plans afoot (http://www.kressline.de/wip/scummvm/) to give it a nice new GUI.

ScummVM Q+E was originally made because there was no gui in ScummVM, now that it has a decent gui, I'm not sure that there's much of a reason to continue it. Making a new release would require significant time, with a redesigned gui and all the changes needed to maintain compatibility with the latest ScummVM builds. I'm not saying that I wont do it, just that I'm not sure its worth the bother. One option is to kill ScummVM Q+E and just release a seperate tool that downloads daily builds and provides a frontend for the extra encoding tools.

I'm not trying to fish for compliments here. I just want to see what you lot think, since you're the ones who use it (or not).

Alien426
10-19-2005, 02:44 PM
I don't know what to advise. Maybe you could make it dependent on the number of downloads you get. Or whether you like the new official GUI. Sometimes you start out on a project just because you want it for yourself, then you decide to offer it to the public, but with that comes some degree of expectance. I for one would have expected to see an update to Q+E after ScummVM 0.8.0 went public.
I should really update my site with the contributions by those guys... It's been how long now?

I always thought I might make a program myself that would (in addition to other things) use ScummVM to run the supported adventures. Then I saw what a pain in the ass C(++) can be... Can you tell me something about Delphi? What IDE and compiler do you use? Can you recommend books?

MrManager
10-19-2005, 07:33 PM
When will the new official GUI come? The same time as their redesigned website? :~

bgbennyboy
10-19-2005, 08:00 PM
Hee, good point :~

Alien: Delphi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_programming_language) is itself the IDE and compiler, its all one product. Its based on Pascal - so its easy to learn, hard to make simple mistakes and finished programs run just as fast as C++ programs. The integrated form designer means that its simple to create a good gui, I could go on and on, essentially its simple to learn, yet extremely powerful.

The personal editions of Delphi are usually distributed for free on magazine coverdisks, if you're going to get it make sure you get either Delphi 7 or Delphi 2005 (Delphi 8 was a bit of an anomaly).

Alien426
10-20-2005, 02:32 AM
Delphi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_programming_language) is itself the IDE and compiler, its all one product.
On my initial get-all-the-relevant-sites search I came across the Lazarus IDE (http://sourceforge.net/projects/lazarus/)...
...easy to learn, hard to make simple mistakes and finished programs run just as fast as C++ programs. The integrated form designer means that its simple to create a good gui, I could go on and on, essentially its simple to learn, yet extremely powerful.
Sounds nice. Very nice.
The personal editions of Delphi are usually distributed for free on magazine coverdisks, if you're going to get it make sure you get either Delphi 7 or Delphi 2005 (Delphi 8 was a bit of an anomaly).
I've heard that some people stick with their version (often #7) because the newer ones seem to get quirkier by the release.

Thanks.

bgbennyboy
10-20-2005, 07:15 AM
Lazarus is a good idea, but for ease of use (and especially for beginners) it doesnt really compare to delphi. Also, its not as nice to use - Lazarus (http://www.lazarus.freepascal.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Screenshots&file=index&req=showsc&id=1) Delphi #1 (http://quick.mixnmojo.com/temp/Delphi1.png) Delphi #2. (http://quick.mixnmojo.com/temp/Delphi2.png)

ThunderPeel2001
10-20-2005, 09:09 PM
One possibility is to just release the source (again) and see what takes flight (*shrugs*).

bgbennyboy
10-21-2005, 05:25 AM
The source to everything is on my site.

ThunderPeel2001
10-22-2005, 08:18 AM
Well then, I'd go by the number of downloads and whether or not you're actually interesting in updating it I guess!

elTee
10-22-2005, 03:33 PM
Originally, I didn't see the point in ScummVM Q+E - ScummVM worked okay, and the GUI, whilst annoying, did the job.

Then... Argh.

I restored my computer to its factory settings and reinstalled ScummVM. It set itself into a tiny, pixellated window like a ****. Then I played around with it and inadvertantly made it attempt to launch in full screen. This was the end of ScummVM - no more loading at all. Reinstallations failed to solve it, and although I could have eventually figured out the problem, it made more sense to download Benno's software. And then I could play my games again :)

MrManager
10-23-2005, 03:34 AM
The advantage Q+E has over the ScummVM GUI is that it's completely Windows based. Sure, the new SVM interface is nice for those of us that posts here and are computer literate, but if you're not into anything outside the Windows sphere, then Q+E will make more sense.

The real question, I guess, is how Windows savvy is the Q+E crowd?

Jake
10-25-2005, 04:20 PM
I think ScummVM Q&E (especially with those proposed UI redesigns you had a few months back) is still far better at, you know, being usable by a human who didn't actually code the programI, than the ScummVM UI is. The new UI looks very pretty but it still doesnt seem to be working to fix the stumbling blocks people face with that game.

ScummVM should be able to be pointed to a CD, floppy disk, or zip file by the user and go from there to automatically detect and install the game to the user's computer within a ScummVM/Games/ directory or a user specified location, set up a save directory, and set up a nice default video and audio settings, etc. You know, like iTunes.

Though neither ScummVM or ScummVM Q&E currently do that (unless I've majorly missed something*), Q&E still does something closer to that than ScummVM's old, new, or upcoming UI's manage to do.

That said, if you don't want to develop it anymore, 0.8.0 would probably be a good landmark to stop updating.

* which is in fact likely.

scabb
10-29-2005, 10:12 PM
I have actually told a bunch of people I know who wanted to run old Lucas Arts games to just use Q&E, and it's saved them (and me¬) a lot of hassle in that it's mostly got them going from the get-go GO. By a bunch, I mean four, specifically. Which I think is around bunch size. Q&E is definitely worthy of existance, and you should actively compete with Serge and those other clever ScummVM peoples to absolutely piss on their front-ends as much as possible. It'll be a healthy competition. Bye.

counting_pine
10-30-2005, 06:59 AM
I think what ScummVM needs is an interface that customises the options list for each game. ScummVM will never be entirely user-friendly while it asks questions like whether you want aspect ratio correction in CMI, or what volume level you want for speech in Maniac Mansion. If the next version of ScummVM can't do that, then Q+E could be enhanced to fill this need. You might decide it'll involve too much programming though, and that the problem isn't your responsibility to fix.

bgbennyboy
11-05-2005, 08:23 AM
Cheers for the input guys. If webstat is to be trusted (it probably isnt) then Q+E gets a good number of downloads, especially when a new one is released.

What Jake says about automatically installing the game is a good idea and I once thought of doing the same thing. Doing it would mean keeping a list of all the different datafiles for every game - this isnt practical for me, but its perhaps something that ScummVM could do.

The Thunderpeel/Jake gui designs (Basic (http://quick.mixnmojo.com/temp/qandebasic.png) Advanced (http://quick.mixnmojo.com/temp/qandeadvanced.png)) are bloody good, I remember having problems getting them to work in Q+E and thats one of the reasons I stopped working on it. The other is that Q+E got complicated in the last release - really complicated. It now does so much stuff - and the system for managing games is so complicated that its a bugger to update. Looking at the code again after a year hurts my head.

I've been thinking that it might be better just to start from scratch, with a new gui, but this time to really really make sure it stays simple. I.e. to ignore the advanced features and stop trying in to cram in support for scummvm's 10 billion extra options and instead just make it as clean and foolproof as possible. As counting_pine says, I'm sure that 99% of people just want to see 'choose the game > fancy graphics > run'. Instead of trying to cater for everyone perhaps it should just concentrate on doing what its supposed to - being quick and easy. Perhaps some 'advanced' features could be added in later, but if you're demanding and advanced enough to want the more complicated stuff then you could probably just use ScummVM itself.


What do you think?

Huz
11-05-2005, 06:14 PM
I've been thinking that it might be better just to start from scratch, with a new gui, but this time to really really make sure it stays simple. I.e. to ignore the advanced features and stop trying in to cram in support for scummvm's 10 billion extra options and instead just make it as clean and foolproof as possible. As counting_pine says, I'm sure that 99% of people just want to see 'choose the game > fancy graphics > run'.
Sounds like the best idea to me. There's no point in replicating ScummVM's GUI in Windows form, after all.

A simple addition to the suggested GUI would be for the 'voice' slider and 'Subtitles' option to be greyed out for non-talkie games. Other than that, what's been suggested looks great. Just make sure it picks the prettiest graphical filter by default (I'm not sure if it does that already).

A 'load last saved game' button would be a handy addition, but I'm not sure if that would be possible. And I suppose it would be handy if it would default to the last selected game whenever you open it, for those times when you're working your way through a specific game.

bgbennyboy
11-06-2005, 11:28 AM
Another possible design is a Psychonauts Explorer style one.

For example (http://quick.mixnmojo.com/temp/scummvmtest1.png)

Jake
11-07-2005, 06:45 PM
Simplifying is good. I wouldn't necesarilly go the Psychonauts Explorer route though. It doesn't look as friendly to be honest.

bgbennyboy
11-07-2005, 07:02 PM
Agreed, looking at it now, it doesnt work that well.

The other design does though :) Here (http://quick.mixnmojo.com/temp/Q&E_Test.exe) is a WIP version with the new gui (it still needs tweaking of course).

Jake
11-07-2005, 08:38 PM
That looks nice to me. If you want I'd be happy to make screenshot strips to go along the top like in those mockups ¬ ¬

bgbennyboy
11-08-2005, 07:29 AM
I'm not sure about the screenshot strips, there's 60+ different games in ScummVM now. Its impractical to pack all those screenshots into the .exe so it'd mean maintaining an extra screenshots pack or perhaps putting Q+E in an installer instead of a zip.

Also I still need to fit 'sound mode' somewhere, so I'm going to have to shuffle things around. It'll probably mean getting rid of 'debug mode' and 'dump scripts' neither of which are essential.

bgbennyboy
11-10-2005, 02:36 PM
Another problem has arisen -the way that ScummVM handles game targets has changed.

Previously there was a target for every game and demo eg:
[Comi]
[ComiDemo]

Now the targets have been pruned though, with just one for each game type eg:
[Comi]
description=COMI Full Game

[Comia]
description=COMI Demo
gameid=Comi

Why is this a problem? Well, Q+E is based round the concept of game targets. Each game in the game combobox is associated with a game target - so when you change the game it looks up the game target in ScummVM.ini and retrieves the settings such as path, graphics filter etc. At the same time it looks up the game target in Q+E.ini and retrieves the extra info such as what languages and bootparams it supports, whether or not its a demo etc.

But now that there isnt a seperate target for the demo I cant store information about it in Q+E.ini - this means that Q+E wont be able to filter games by full/demo anymore and it wont be able to support demo only bootparams (like the MI2 demo). It also means that you could add a demo in ScummVM but it wouldnt be detected by Q+E, since there's nothing that would indicate its a demo.

There is a workaround though - Q+E could use its own ScummVM.ini - this means that when you use ScummVM on its own any changes you've made with Q+E wouldnt show up.
Apologies for this long post and explanation but here's the question - is this workaround a good idea? It would mean that Q+E was completely seperate from ScummVM rather than the interoperability that there is now, people would need to setup their games again and I'm not sure whether the solution is worse than the problem.