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New Comic Book Theme!

  • Over the last week I have been working hard at creating a new theme with video preview. I am getting close to having the theme completed and wanted to share what I have put together so far. I also want to get opinions on sharing this theme with others. The theme file and .xml structure was started with Carbon by Rookervik. It has been heavily modified, however I have used the controller art with @Rookervik permission. The theme concept is based on a theme that was posted to this forum about 2 months ago by Lipebello. I fell in love with the theme and was hoping it would be released. Lipebello has since stopped visiting this forum and has not logged in for 27 days. Since i am new to retropie and am now addicted to both the system and theme making I decided to create the theme myself based on the Lipebello's concept, and yet make it my own. Here are some images:
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    As you can see, my screen name is TMNT and the first images shared where of the TMNT image I also use. Outside of that, i have created all my own image files, logos, layouts and backgrounds (except for the controller.svg and the original system logos used on the detail view and for the non-set-up systems, also note that i used screenshots from video games as well as retropie art created by others). I have given credit in the .xml and readme files and would really like to share it with everyone, however since this isn't my original concept I want to get a feel for how welcome sharing my work is. I would ask lipebello for permision, however lipebello has not been logging in. I have created a video here:

    The theme is currently in 4:3 format only as it is for my custom arcade cabinet. I plan to modify this for HDTV formats. I am currently running on retropie 4.2 but using a modified ES by @pjft and @fieldofcows with the omx player and screensaver. I have tested on the newest ES and it works even smoother on that release, however some adjustments to the theme will need to be made. If you are interested in testing the theme out let me know! If I get positive response I will look into how to post it on github. Thank you!!

  • I don't have any clear answer to your question regarding releasing the theme or not.
    I was in a similar situation when I was planning on making my Futura theme. At first I was planning to make the Futura theme for myself only but I just thought it would be too bad if it cannot be shared. Others liked it so I ended up releasing it.
    If being absent for 2 months is enough to rebuild the Comic theme and release it, I really don't know. Unfortunately this forum don't allow you to send private messages, so maybe contacting him first would/could have been an option?
    I always show my e-mail address in the profile view so that others can contact me if anything is.

    Anyways....I was curious to know how you kept the aspect ratio of the videos? At 0:30 you show 1941 which is a vertical shooter and the video is not stretched. Then at 0:36 (Nintendo) you can see the Adventure Island video in a different aspect ratio.

  • @TMNTturtlguy Great work man but I have some requests before you release it...

    1: The text of the roms seems to not fit properly maby you can make the text from left to right and not centerd? Or smaller fonts?

    2: Behind the video preview there is a background with a chat bubble sticking out...looks strange could it be changed to someting else like a black square/rectangle?

    Otherwise supernice theme with videopreview from Fieldofcows!

  • I don't have a 4:3 screen so I can't test, but if you were to release it for 16:9 screens I'd definitely download! I can't think of any alterations you could make.

  • @TMNTturtlguy I think @lipebello is more active in the recalbox community. I know he is a brazilian guy and I saw him promoting this theme in a brazilian recalbox group on facebook. I'll try to make him know you want to contact him.

  • @robertybob I also vote for a 16:9 version! 😊

  • @FlyingTomahawk video now supports maxSize like image. Using it will maintain the aspect ratio of the video.

  • @jdrassa

    Cool! Time to play around with it then, thanks.

  • Thanks for all the kind words! I plan to try and give each detail view its own color behind the new Shaka Pow System Name in the top left corner so that not each view is blue. The only issue i have run into is using full size images behind each system is pushing the limits of ES. In the newest update to ES it runs pretty smooth, but in the modified ES with video screen saver i have to be careful with the art and files sizes. Here are some answers to above questions/comments:

    @FlyingTomahawk the futura theme is awesome and I have it loaded on my system! As for the video aspect ratio, here is my .xml 0_1490706806884_upload-2dacf15d-305c-4b9e-afa5-95c7a9e56e9b
    I am not using the <special feature "Video"> in the theme. In the older ES with screen saver when i do that I lose the ability to have a scraped image appear if there is no video for a specific rom. @jdrassa, In the ES from @pjft based on @fieldofcows screen saver theme the new maxSize feature is not available so I was not able to use it. My .mp4 are all from and I ran them all through handbreak to reduce their size. When building this theme, i just tweaked the <size> until it fit my comic box, the .mp4 just scaled as if it were a standard video size, even though it is a different aspect ratio. When I tested the exact theme in the most updated ES just released, the sizes and locations of my images/videos appear larger, even though nothing has changed in my theme .xml. I also noticed that the tall videos like 1941 stretch as you describe. My guess is that I will need to set a maxSize in the version for the new ES. This causes me problems as I am already creating 2 themes, a 4:3 for my arcade cabinet, and a 16:9 for my TV (i have 2 pie builds going right now!) Now running 2 ES that handle my .xml differently, I might have to have a total of 4 themes....that is not ideal.

    @Kischa 1: Fonts - I originally had it left aligned, however in doing that the only way to get the dark grey highlight over the selected game to go edge of my comic box to edge of box was to align the text all the way tight to the black boarder, then the first letter touched the comic box outline. I adjusted to center so that the selection highlight can span the entire comic box, and the text does not touch the edge, except for very long text. I have to decide if i like the larger font size, or if i want long titles to fit. When you highlight text that is longer than the box, it scrolls so you can see the entire title.
    2: I agree with you, but i don't have a great solution yet. The black box behind the video looks heavy and makes the view unbalanced. I will play with it more and see if i like anything. In the end you might be right, a solid color may be what we end up with in that square.

    @meleu, that would be great, let me know if you hear anything from @lipebello

    16:9 ratio will definitely be created. I want to get the bugs worked out of this one first. I then have to figure out how to handle the different versions of ES. It is apparent that if I continue to build on the video screensaver ES, the theme will not display correctly as built for the new ES. If I build it in the new ES, it runs smoother, and I can use the new features like adjusting the opacity of the wheel, but i will need to change the video size settings to use maxSize and if I do that, the theme will not load in the screensaver ES - what a dilemma! The theme will also probably look a little different as I adjust it to a wide screen format, I might have to adjust images, and possible change the comic boxes on the detail view so that there isn't a lot of empty space. The good thing with the 16:9 is that I can make the game text all fit into the box at a large text size! Thanks everyone.

  • Hey bro, Filipe is my brother, I already contacted him

  • @FlavioBello11 Great! Let him know that his idea is awesome and that I respect any decision he makes. If he would rather I not share this theme, I have no problem with that. Thanks

  • Update:

    1. Per suggestions I have reduced the font size, I don't want to go any smaller as this is for an arcade cabinet, i think it looks good for most titles.

    2. I have been playing with different colors behind the system name for each system, it seems to be to much switching from screen to screen/color to color, so i am sticking with the blue pattern.

    3. I am testing different options behind the video, Not sure what i like. Here are some photos. Photo 1 is the original with the text bubble graphic. Photo 2 is black background. Photo 3 is dark grey background. Photo 4 is grey background with ghosted comic overlay. I have also posted video of the transitions, but my camera doesn't do so well with clarity of the screen so it is hard to tell the difference on the grey videos. Video 1

      Video 2
      Video 3

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  • @TMNTturtlguy

    Great work with smaller fonts and maby black background ;)

    One more thing...I think its quite hard to read the roms with that sharp contrast spiderman background. Maby you could dim it down a bit?


  • @TMNTturtlguy
    Your theme is really great.
    Videosnap are great too, but for those who don't use videosnap, I wan't to try a dedicated MIX for UXS.
    Have you a "beta" version of your theme I can use to try to make a MIX ?
    Are you OK If I adapt it for Recalbox too ? (with your name and all the Credits you deserve ;) )

  • @Kischa - yes the smaller fonts do look nicer, good suggestion. I am still not sure on the background behind the video/images. I start to lean one direction, but then change my mind! As for the sharp contrast, that is my camera increasing the contrast when it takes the picture of the bright screen, it is trying to compensate for the brightness by increasing the dark. It is hard to tell, but the color is not black and white, it has an aged yellow to it, looks like a newspaper.

    @screech - Thanks for the kind words. I also use USX and have mixes for every game. Not every game has a video, so in those cases the UXS mix shows. I have the theme set up so that if you don't have any video, it will simply show your UXS mix, that being said, your mix has to be a single image. If you go to the 59 second mark of the video i posted in the first post you can see a PSP mix. As for sharing the theme, I am still waiting to hear back from @FlavioBello11 and/or @lipebello as the original concept is based of some design images that @lipebello posted a while back. With his approval I will share. Also note the theme is currently only for 4:3 and it is based of off an ES version before maxSize video was available, so if run on the updated ES, the video sizes are not correct. I will need to work on an alternate theme for that. Once i get the OK to share, you can definitely adapt to recalbox, however i have heard that @lipebello may have stopped working on the theme for retropie and instead is working on it for recalbox already? not sure.

  • UPDATE!: 16:9 Version up and running!

    Over the last week I have reworked the 4:3 theme for my arcade machine build to a 16:9 format for standard HDTV use. I had to make some adjustments to the graphics/layout on the system selection screens to accommodate the new aspect ratio. I am partial to my original images and layouts, but the new 16:9 layouts look nice as well. The exciting update happens in the detail view pages! The new 16:9 format allowed me to make some adjustments to the video preview location and I really like how this looks. For the time being I have my USX scraped images in the smaller box to the right of the video preview. Unfortunately all my image scrapes are compilation views and I am placing the "md_image" in that area. If and when i get the time, I think what i would rather do is get either the game logo/spin wheel art, or the game box and put it in that space. My plan is to go get the art for each game and add it to my game list under "thumbnail" then i can place "md_thumbnail" instead of image and have a larger art/logo in that box. It will look slick, but I don't have the time to manually go get that art and enter it into my .xml right now. Still haven't heard anythig from @FlavioBello11 or @lipebello regarding their thoughts on my sharing the theme. I think that I will try to upload to github next week sometime when i get the chance. Here are some photos (From my phone, sorry) and a link to a video of the theme in action. I have tested it on a 55" 4k and it looks awesome at that scale!

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  • @TMNTturtlguy this theme is awesome I can't wait till it is released

  • @TMNTturtlguy Love It!! 😊

  • Great effort, looks really good.

  • I really want this theme . is it complete and available yet?

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