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What Frontend Do YOU Use?

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SO.... what front end do you prefer?  What have you tried?

 

I am still using MAMEWAH believe it or not.  I like it.  It does what I want it to do and it does it well.  Sure,  it's not as easy to configure (at first) as Mala (for example)... but once you get the hang of how it works,  it's quite powerful and quite easy to deal with.

 

In addition to Mamewah,  I've used Mala and Atomic FE.  I did toy with Hyperspin for a bit but it's been a LONG time since I have...

 

My latest project was to incorporate NAOMI Netbooting in to my cocktail cabinets MAMEWAH front end...  The result can be seen here:

 

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When I got my arcade it had Mamewah on it but I found it too hard to configure and support online was hard to find. So I switched to Mala since my computer is pretty low end. But for my main gaming pc which I connect wireless controllers to, I use hyperspin.

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I'm currently using LaunchBox, but trying to figure out how to make it look like the RetroFE I see on youtube.  Still new to this FE stuff.

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Currently meddling with HyperSpin but based on some posts here I am seriously condering BigBox [LaunchBox] or RetroFE.

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Attract-mode.

 

It looked very nice and also looked easy to setup

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I just started using LaunchBox/Bigbox, grabbed the lifetime subscription as soon as I saw that gorgeous thing that is themed BigBox.

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I'm using Launchbox / Bigbox because it is really easy to set up but still a very attractive Frontend with lots of user themes.

 

Also, Jason Carr, the programmer is an awesome dude.

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Just starting to play with Launchbox, seems so much easier to set up than Hyperspin!!!

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AttractMode. I have a video of it in use but I've just rewritten the theme from scratch to take proper advantage of the screen size I was using so I'll record another video of that soon (much crisper text and images now that it isn't scaling it to fit the wrong aspect ratio). Nice and easy to generate all the configs from outside of the program because I'm using a stupidly elaborate setup now.

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I am a lifetime subscriber both for GameEx and for LaunchBox.

I think GameEx grew too large and complex. But can do anything up to becoming a full HTPC solution. In that sense some people prefer to go the opposite way, using Kodi and a proper retro gaming plug-in. I hope the promised Evolution version eventually materializes and really is what people want it to be.

LaunchBox is probably the most actively and aggressively developed modern front-end. I have many ideas that could go in it, that can possibly kill everything else out there (the first step, to support plug-ins is already materializing). We'll see.

I don't use (but have tried many) other multi-system front-ends. Ah, use GameBase sometimes for a casual game, but we have to admit it sucks for 2017 standards.

I do use a couple for MAME, like QMC2 or Negatron, but in most cases I use MAME's own GUI (ex-MEWUI) which is pretty nice for casual use. (and many people still don't know it exists!)

The problem with front-ends is that they are supposed to help you simplify things, but first they over-complicate them. :D

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RetroFE, obviously. :) F/OSS, and getting better every time.

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On 5/12/2017 at 8:06 AM, NLS said:

The problem with front-ends is that they are supposed to help you simplify things, but first they over-complicate them.

This is what drew me to Launchbox. It's easy to get the basics up and running like box art and screenshots and easy to import your games assigned to the appropriate emulators. Then from there you can get more fancy and complicated as you feel more comfortable with it.

The only way it could be made more easy would be to include the emulators with the program but that would go against many if not all emulator licenses because of Launchbox's commercial non open source status.

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I'm using Retro Arch currently but once I have all the videos from Emu movies I'm gonna retry setting up HyperSpin again, or maybe Launchbox Big Box Mode.

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My first choose was Hyperspin and now thinking of change for PI3 Hardware and retroarch

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I have been using Launchbox and so far I've been happy with it. Loving the seamless metadata update functionality and integration with emomovies :)

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I've gone the Android route...

Octacore * 2.0ghz, 3gb Ram, Roms & Media on Network storage.

I use Kodi as my (Android) launcher and Advanced Emulation Launcher (AEL) as my  frontend, to launch Retroarch From Kodi,

I was using ArcBrowser (native android) which was dead easy to setup.

However AEL more feature rich (including rom auditing) and is seamless with Kodi.

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How hard is it to adapt Hyperspin setup with databases, media, roms, etc on windows to emulationstation on linux?

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I have been tinkering for years so I have some thoughts... lol

First one I tried to set up was Kodi's Rom Collection Browser. This was some years ago so it may have changed but it was infuriatingly hard to set up. I remember having 1 or 2 systems set up a couple of times and then something would foul it all up and I would have to wipe and start over... besides, Kodi will launch any program so why not just launch a proper FE right?

My next foray was into Mala. I gotta say, it's kinda a shame development stopped on this one. I had an okayish setup going. I have zero PS skills so I was literally googling images, lol. Someone more talented/creative than me could probably make a wicked setup though. It's like a "blank canvas" FE. Hiccups in the configuration did arise though! With no chance of an update coming and literally zero active community to get any answers to anything, it's hard to stay committed to it.

It was already becoming apparent that if I wanted a proper FE, I was going to have to jump in to the premium market. Back then, that meant GameEx or HyperSpin. I chose HS... and I have no regrets at all! It must be one of the most active communities. And they have a ton of really talented artistic types... not working for them, just members... creating and sharing! It's amazing. The most important of which is "logos" (or wheels as they're called in HS) IMO. You can add cart or disc media and the like... or not, won't really affect the overall look of your setup. But a system in plain text without the wheels sticks out like a sore thumb!

RocketLauncher is sort of altering the scene now. FE's no longer have to worry about all the launching and instead just focus on the media/display aspect. RL is really incredibly robust. A godsend compared to the Hyperlaunch 1, 2, 3 era. It evens adds functionality to your FE like HyperPause so you can read manuals or movelists.

All that being said, for me personally I would like to setup another FE... without RL?!?!? I know, I just raved about how good it is. I do have HS setup. It's hooked to RL, I love it. But I was testing something. I tried to install a second RL to a different location (so I could use different DB's) and it recognized the other install somehow. Seems having 2 RL's on 1 system is a "no go".

Ideally, I would like to not use a database at all anyway! Someone asked just last week on the HS forums where the best place to get DB's was. The answer included 3 locations!! Let's just say, not an ideal situation for a database driven program. Even the fundamental "1 of every english game" premise is so horribly flawed. And I only speak and read english! Personally I do not want demos, betas, or protos in my setup either but I can see why some people would. Seems to me that databases should include every game ever made for that system with some easy filtering options. I do realize this is a lot easier said than done. Please, I am not trying to knock on anyone working on these, it is a huge undertaking. I am merely sharing my thoughts.

I also cringe whenever there's talk of naming conventions. Names should be as we get them... that is as "No-Intro", "ReDump", "TruRip" etc has them. Why? So I can "seed" and use at the same time. NO DOUBLES!

I am also getting to the same point concerning media too. I use EmuSync to get my media and I want my FE to use it from here. NO DOUBLES!

Now despite RetroFE's apparent folder structure and his super easy drop in packs, I do have it setup as described above instead. All paths are easily configurable. I haven't set up a lot of systems yet but so far I have no real need for RL even. If RetroFE has DB's, it didn't ask me for one and I'm pretty sure all my roms were recognized... maybe a closer look is in order??? Anyway, If your old like me, and don't mind editing txt files by hand, I can't recommend this FE enough! A UI and maybe a couple more themes and this one is gonna take off!

Oh, and if your real new to the scene and just want to dip your toe in for the first time, you won't find an easier setup than mGalaxy. It doesn't have much in the bells and whistles department though.

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On ‎1‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 7:05 PM, Spawk said:

I have been tinkering for years so I have some thoughts... lol

First one I tried to set up was Kodi's Rom Collection Browser. This was some years ago so it may have changed but it was infuriatingly hard to set up. I remember having 1 or 2 systems set up a couple of times and then something would foul it all up and I would have to wipe and start over... besides, Kodi will launch any program so why not just launch a proper FE right?

My next foray was into Mala. I gotta say, it's kinda a shame development stopped on this one. I had an okayish setup going. I have zero PS skills so I was literally googling images, lol. Someone more talented/creative than me could probably make a wicked setup though. It's like a "blank canvas" FE. Hiccups in the configuration did arise though! With no chance of an update coming and literally zero active community to get any answers to anything, it's hard to stay committed to it.

It was already becoming apparent that if I wanted a proper FE, I was going to have to jump in to the premium market. Back then, that meant GameEx or HyperSpin. I chose HS... and I have no regrets at all! It must be one of the most active communities. And they have a ton of really talented artistic types... not working for them, just members... creating and sharing! It's amazing. The most important of which is "logos" (or wheels as they're called in HS) IMO. You can add cart or disc media and the like... or not, won't really affect the overall look of your setup. But a system in plain text without the wheels sticks out like a sore thumb!

RocketLauncher is sort of altering the scene now. FE's no longer have to worry about all the launching and instead just focus on the media/display aspect. RL is really incredibly robust. A godsend compared to the Hyperlaunch 1, 2, 3 era. It evens adds functionality to your FE like HyperPause so you can read manuals or movelists.

All that being said, for me personally I would like to setup another FE... without RL?!?!? I know, I just raved about how good it is. I do have HS setup. It's hooked to RL, I love it. But I was testing something. I tried to install a second RL to a different location (so I could use different DB's) and it recognized the other install somehow. Seems having 2 RL's on 1 system is a "no go".

Ideally, I would like to not use a database at all anyway! Someone asked just last week on the HS forums where the best place to get DB's was. The answer included 3 locations!! Let's just say, not an ideal situation for a database driven program. Even the fundamental "1 of every english game" premise is so horribly flawed. And I only speak and read english! Personally I do not want demos, betas, or protos in my setup either but I can see why some people would. Seems to me that databases should include every game ever made for that system with some easy filtering options. I do realize this is a lot easier said than done. Please, I am not trying to knock on anyone working on these, it is a huge undertaking. I am merely sharing my thoughts.

I also cringe whenever there's talk of naming conventions. Names should be as we get them... that is as "No-Intro", "ReDump", "TruRip" etc has them. Why? So I can "seed" and use at the same time. NO DOUBLES!

I am also getting to the same point concerning media too. I use EmuSync to get my media and I want my FE to use it from here. NO DOUBLES!

Now despite RetroFE's apparent folder structure and his super easy drop in packs, I do have it setup as described above instead. All paths are easily configurable. I haven't set up a lot of systems yet but so far I have no real need for RL even. If RetroFE has DB's, it didn't ask me for one and I'm pretty sure all my roms were recognized... maybe a closer look is in order??? Anyway, If your old like me, and don't mind editing txt files by hand, I can't recommend this FE enough! A UI and maybe a couple more themes and this one is gonna take off!

Oh, and if your real new to the scene and just want to dip your toe in for the first time, you won't find an easier setup than mGalaxy. It doesn't have much in the bells and whistles department though.

Did you accidentally or intentionally forget a few of the best frontends out there? The reason I ask this is because you spoke rather highly/positively about 3 other frontends, but did not make any mention of emulationstation, attractmode, and launchbox. In my opinion, these are way smoother and easier to set up than the ones you mentioned in your post. With the exception of launchbox, they can be used on multiple OS (Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.) and launchbox is about as easy as it comes to install and set up properly (with windows). Additionally, they can all be used in conjunction with rocketlauncher :)

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5 minutes ago, Don said:

Did you accidentally or intentionally forget a few of the best frontends out there? The reason I ask this is because you spoke rather highly/positively about 3 other frontends, but did not make any mention of emulationstation, attractmode, and launchbox. In my opinion, these are way smoother and easier to set up than the ones you mentioned in your post. With the exception of launchbox, they can be used on multiple OS (Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.) and launchbox is about as easy as it comes to install and set up properly (with windows). Additionally, they can all be used in conjunction with rocketlauncher :)

I did not mean it to be a "best of" review at all. Simply my experiences. I have heard good things about all those FE's though. They are all pretty new as well aren't they? I jumped onto HS about 2011.

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5 hours ago, Spawk said:

I did not mean it to be a "best of" review at all. Simply my experiences. I have heard good things about all those FE's though. They are all pretty new as well aren't they? I jumped onto HS about 2011.

Not all that new, actually. All three of the frontends I mentioned have been in development for the past few years. However, LaunchBox has recently (in the past year or so) risen to the top of the frontends (among windows users), based on most websites polls, youtube activity, etc. Of course it's a matter of preference, but if you're using the premium version of LaunchBox which includes BigBox, you'll have yourself the ultimate frontend, which is highly customizable, yet easy to install and get running on your computer. Having said that, I also like the other frontends available including retrofe and attractmode, as they're easier for me to 'tweak' the themes/layouts :)

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