Tag Archives: arcade

Automatic Steam Games Setup & Artwork

Now SM Arcade will automatically detect every Steam game that you own and list them in your media library.  In addition, all marquee and screenshot images for these Steam games are automatically downloaded without any interaction required on the part of the user.   The slideshow below shows some of the games that were automatically detected for me as well as the artwork images that SM Arcade found for the games:

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I also implemented some other functionality improvements that have been absent so far in BETA 2, such as the Library Browser, the Model Browser, and the ability to delete shortcuts that are placed in the map.

A console variable was also entered that controls the resolution of the shortcuts placed in the map.  In other words, you no longer have to rename files to switch between “HI-RES” and “LOW-RES” modes.  You can enter any resolution for this variable, so you can go ahead and run in “MEDIUM-RES” if you wish.  The default value for this variable is 256.

XBMC and SM Arcade

XBMC is an all-in-one 2D media center that organizes your media collection into a detailed library.  It automatically scrapes the internet for screenshots and marquee images for a variety of media types such as movies, music, and games.  Browsing your media collection with XBMC allows you to view box art, watch trailers, and access detailed information about each item in your library with ease.  It is also very light weight, runs on multiple operating systems, and has official Android and iPad apps to complement its functionality.  You can click here to browse the official XBMC site.

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I have personally been using XBMC as a 2D interface to my media collection since even before Source Media Arcade BETA 1 was released.  But I find that its 2D interface and advanced internet scraping features work brilliantly in cooperation with the 3D interface that SM Arcade provides.  While XBMC is not required to use Source Media Arcade, the next version of SM Arcade does go the extra mile in an attempt to take full advantage of the features that this great 2D media interface provides.

First of all, the hashing algorithm written for SM Arcade produces the same file hashes that the XBMC algorithm does when organizing your media library.  This allows SM Arcade to find and use box art and screenshots directly from their location in your XBMC library.  In addition to the images, SM Arcade can parse NFO files created by XBMC to extract ALL of the details required to properly display a media item in both a singleplayer or multiplayer arcade server.

You can also set SM Arcade to playback movies via XBMC’s HTTP protocol.  This means that it is possible to start playing a different movie on every PC in your house all from the 3D interface of a single Source Media Arcade server. When SM Arcade is used in conjunction with XBMC, your computer is changed into a complete, engulfing, and open-ended media experience.

In the future, the relationship between XBMC and SM Arcade could become stronger with the use of more advanced protocols.  It may even be possible to utilize XBMC’s internet scraping features directly through these advanced protocols.

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More Than You Need To Know

If you would like a closer look at what an XBMC NFO file looks like compared to an SM Arcade ITM file, check out the links below.  Both files can be opened with Notepad.

View XBMC NFO file for the Hollywood movie Alien (1979)

View SM Arcade ITM file for the Hollywood movie Alien (1979)

As you can see, the XBMC NFO file contains more than enough information for the media item to be used in SM Arcade.  However, there are some fields that SM Arcade can utilize which XBMC does not, such as a Download or Purchase URL to obtain the media item itself.  You can use the HTML-powered menus of Source Media Arcade to set such fields, as illustrated in the screenshots below.

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Webkit-Powered UI in Source Media Arcade

One of the major improvements to the design of Source Media Arcade that you will see in the new version is the use of HTML menus in the user interface. Using an arcade cabinet will now bring up a dynamically generated HTML-formatted info page that will present you with important details about the game in the cabinet. These details include descriptions, marquee and screenshot images, game type, and the name of the program that the game will open with.
HTML-powered dynamic menus
From this info page the user can click the LAUNCH button to execute the game, or click the COPY COMMAND link to copy the entire command that would be executed had they actually clicked LAUNCH. Browsing an online arcade is similar to browsing any website: only download from sources that you trust. If you don’t completely trust the server you are browsing, using the COPY COMMAND link is a great way to check if a server is trying anything malicious. After you do launch the game, the menu is closed and SM Arcade is paused; idle in the background while you play your game.

These pages are generated using fully customizable HTML templates with special tags to include dynamic information such as Descriptions, Screenshots, Marquees, File Location, and much more.

Info pages are not the only use of the Source engine’s Webkit functionality. The new version of Source Media Arcade also allows you to browse for files using the familiar Windows browse dialogue; giving you quick access to all of your favorites and folder bookmarks.
Windows Browse Dialogues

The powerful Source menus, such as the “Edit Hotlink” menu, seamlessly interact with these Webkit-powered menus and dialogues. After selecting the Koala image using the Wekbit-powered menu, the Source menu detects the item type and updates automatically.
Source/Webkit communication

All you have to do is click OK to apply your changes.

With the integration of Webkit, browsing and creating multiplayer arcades with your friends will be easier and more attractive than ever.