Today's entry into my rough guide is a relative newcomer in terms of front-ends. So without further adieu, its time to introduce you all to
I've been following this project for a year since I got a registered license for this to see everything and my first impressions of this wasn't the best because certain features wasn't in it yet I made a video which I handed to the developer who in turn ACTUALLY listened to me. The issues I had with 5.2 (that was when I first looked at it). First off, there was no tool tips. which is annoying another thing was its MAME naming conventions (it made 2 mistakes and major ones at that). When I did that last december, I gave a first impressions video to the developer. He used it and worked out the kinks out of it. Right now we are at version 6.11 and boy it has come a long way in a year. First off Jason (the developer) has gone out of his way to fix the glitches from the older version like naming conventions of MAME (which was one of my pet peeves with the project). Made in visual studio and has both ScummVM and DosBOX pre-installed with its configuration tools (I used this for my looking back at sparcade). First thing I noticed when I first fired up LaunchBox its welcome message was quite encouraging.
Add dos games, add steam and other platform games (like origin and uplay and considering you get free games off them just jump on them for freebies ir if you game games on their platforms as well). Add ROM files which is pretty self explanatory. finally adding window games themselves. With a introduction like that, There isn't so much stuff you can't do. The use of DOSbox and ScummVM are what makes this front-end different compared to normal front-ends because its a simple point and click or a click and drag. Everything else is self explanatory or automatically found via the game databases the system uses (this includes GamesDB which I have no end of complaints about). But this is only part of the story. If you purchase a license for LaunchBox, you get another mode and this baby is call BIGBOX.
BIGBOX is what you really use once you have finished screwing around with everything tinkering with setting and making sure you can play it comfortably. it looks nice and actually is well thought out. While not as flashy as something like Hyperspin or other off the wall Front-ends. LaunchBox's BIGBOX mode was designed for ease of use and true functionality. don't get me wrong, you can launch everything from Launchbox itself but its more designed to actually edit your settings and configure you setup.
It still has issues but they are few and far between and you can actively see LaunchBox being developed by Jason on twitch.tv. He does a stream every so often when he can and he interacts towards his followers and users of LaunchBox here. You can actually approach him compared to most developers. I have talked to him as well. I have emailed the man myself during the 5.2 issues. The developer is a good person trying to deliver a solid product and but to me it still needs work but given time this is going in the right direction.
Ok so here are the pros and cons of LaunchBox.
OK the pros
- Quite detailed in giving information
- auto finds the inforamtion to the game you have inserted into the system.
- DOSBOX and ScummVM Native.
- Quite feature rich in terms of adding games.
- constantly updated
- BIGBOX MODE (on with paid registation)
Not the cons
- pay for product that unlocks all features (BIGBOX)
- The menu can be a bit intimidating if you are not used to it
- LaunchBox has issues with certain games
While it has issues with this front-end and its a paid application but I'll be honest it actually worth the money considering the amount of work put into this. and I saw from version 5.2 to now and I see this project going places but it needs to fall into the trap of adding too much too quickly without compromising the core system. While though it has issue it's still has soo much potential as well and with the developer being so transparent as well help this product immeasurably.
This is a rough look at it considering I'm a hyperspin-phile and I don't disagree this project is going places. Anyways that it for another part to my rough guide and my next up on the bat is
Thats right I will be covering this in my next part of my rough guide.