Official TheMovieDB.org API

I have obtained an official API key for SM Arcade to legitimately plugin to TheMovieDB.org’s movie database without having to scrape their actual website. I just finished implementing the new API. The result is faster, more accurate search results for you, the user. I have also obtained an official API key for TheTVDb.com and will soon be adding support for obtaining TV show information.

Custom Search Providers

I’ve already blogged about the ability to explicitly list download locations for games and movies placed in your arcade. Today’s developments takes it a step further and simplifies the task of finding a place to download/purchase games and movies that DO NOT have an explicit download location.

Search Providers are useful because they will help guide you and/or the players in your arcade down the right path when trying to find a place to download/purchase missing media. They provide shortcuts for searching relevant sites for download/purchase locations.

A variety of default Search Providers will also come stock with the mod, but players can easily create new custom Search Providers.

When you join a multiplayer arcade, you have access to all of the custom Search Providers used by the host in addition to any custom Search Providers you may have defined. And as always, you have access to the default Search Providers as well.

This is what a Search Provider looks like in the UI:

Search Providers

Each search provider contains the following information:
1. The name of the site (Ex. Amazon.com, Direct2Drive.com, Netflix.com)
2. The type of the transaction (Ex. purchase, stream, download)
3. The search syntax URL of the site where $TITLE gets replaced with the media item title (Ex. http://www.netflix.com/Search?v1=$TITLE)
4. A brief description of the Search Provider
5. The TYPES of media that this Search Provider is relevant to (Ex. movies, pc, snes, nes, etc.)

Only relevant Search Providers are listed for the items. For example, Netflix will never show up as a Search Provider for a missing PC game.

Private beta server goes LIVE once again

Private multiplayer beta testing is LIVE once again, and the VRCADE SERVER has resumed hosting nightly sessions on one of the 4 maps in rotation. If you are interested in taking part in the private beta tests, just send me an email at contact@smsithlord.com.

Built-in web scraper for game info

NEW DEMONSTRATION VIDEO AVAILABLE:

Today I was able to work in a fully functioning web-scraper that can grab descriptions and artwork images for a massive amount of games on a wide variety of platforms by scraping the AllGame.com website.  You can modify your search string as necessary and you are free to choose the best available match.  Only missing information will be imported, unless you specify otherwise.  Below is a slideshow that shows how easy the built-in web scraping is to use.  All of the information (description, screenshot image, marquee image) for the game Duke Nukem 64 is scraped from AllGame.com on the fly.

Multiple Download Locations

When a player in your server tries to launch a game that they don’t have, they are given the option to download it if the item has a URL listed for it.   Yesterday I added in the ability for items to list multiple download URLs.  Now you can give more download options to the people as far s where they are going to acquire the missing media from.  For example, if a player doesn’t already have the game “Dead Island”, the item could list URLs to get the game from the Steam Store as well as from Direct2Drive.  For free downloads, listing multiple URLs could be used to offer different download locations of the game or different versions of the game.

Download URLs can be easily added through the HTML-powered UI by clicking on the small “+” icon next to “Download URLs”.  Any field of a download URL entry can be edited by clicking on the small wrench icon next to the field.  Any download URL entry can be removed completely by clicking on the associated X on the right side of the table.

Below is a screenshot of how this looks in the UI:

Multiple Download Locations

A similar method will be used to allow for multiple entries of other key fields, such as “rompaths” to allow apps to scan multiple locations when detecting files.

Saving & the new console command: persistent_save

In version 2.0 of Source Media Arcade any customizations that you make to the map or to your item library during play will normally be saved when you close the game or change maps.  In most cases this is fine, but some people have unstable computers and would feel much better if their changes were saved instantly to avoid possibly losing their work due to a crash.  Today I added in a new Boolean console command called “persistent_save” that will instantly save any item file or map arrangement as soon as you make changes.

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:

[nggallery id=23]

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.

Gamer, Designer, Programmer