Back Row General Discussion - Printable Version
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Back Row General Discussion - djdafreund - 2009-12-10 06:14
General discussion concerning the skin's development
- mcborzu - 2009-12-11 06:20
Yea, you guys got a pretty solid skin...no clue why this was hidden/under the radar for so long, at least concerning these forums.
- djdafreund - 2009-12-11 07:11
Well, we have been going pretty strong in the xbox-scene skin forums, which most all of us stem from until the xbmc forums came around. And are pretty known amongst them. But i figured since over time the xbmc official forums were around, it only made sense to also get a proper thread here as well. I honestly view the thread's here more often then i view the xbox-scene thread's. (The only ones i actually even viewed there were the XBMC threads anyway.) But thought since it was such a great theme, and so many XBMC users were pretty familiar and aware of "Front Row", it was only deserving to have a gallery page and forum thread on the official xbmc forums.
If you google search, you will even find an official wiki page mentioning and showing images of Front Row Theme. I just thought, with all the ones out there, a lot in my opinion not even coming close to the beauty (MY opinion 0nly.) to the other ones out there already having an official thread on the XBMC site, and yet have been around longer then quite a number of them, it only made sense to give it the proper respect it deserved. Sharpe is a friend of mine, and has worked so hard at tailoring it to be what the community has wanted in it, and he's complied in almost every way.
He's always been pretty amazing with adding almost every good idea in a theme. Making it be the best of what we all want a theme to be and have.
Wow - AnalogKid - 2009-12-15 18:49
I had no idea this skin existed....
It's VERY good.... not perfect, but highly stable and with a few tweaks might be the skin for me!
I will play with the skin a little more before offering any suggestions.... but so far, it's quick, stable and easy to use....
- AnalogKid - 2009-12-15 19:49
ok... Issues I've found:
Fanart Wrap view for Movies (and TV Shows)
The 'current' selected Movie (or TV show) is not central... it's one position too far to the left (i.e. 3rd from the left). I understand it's to make the 'info' transition nice and easy (and just slots into the right hand side nicely... but it looks odd. It might be nicer to slide the current movie to the left as the info appears, and slide back to the right (middle) afterwards?
Ken Burns effect on background
It's a little jerky, but acceptable... probably a PC performance issue more than the skin... but Aeon65 skin seems smoother (might be placebo effect)
Fanart Wrap view for Music
Doesn't seem to be any ability to 'auto' show info (even if it's set in the settings)... waited 5, and 30 seconds... saw nothing.
A manual 'up' option would be nice to bring up the info for an artist or album
There doesn't appear to be support for album fanart (fanart stored in the Album folder... which is now natively supported by XBMC)
It would be nice to have a more general support for fanart in all views.... either on, or off. There are some great views that don't support fanart... if they did, it would be great.
Track List views
The views already provided are 'ok'... but for track listings... it's very hard to justify Jukebox, Wall, Fanart Wrap etc etc... which all result in the same album cover image being repeated multiple times on screen. As beautiful as those views are, I feel they are a bad choice for track lists, and therefore, something like Aeon65's lowlist.... (a less obtrusive version of list) might be nicer. A sexy sleek 'list' is almost certainly the better option for track lists.
Music Videos (Videos) in Home screen
There doesn't seem to be an option to disable this menu item in the Home screen, yet there is such an option for other for other items. (It should also be noted that TV and Movies share the same visibility option, and it could be argued they should each have their own option).
No option for conditional weather backgrounds (that I can see)... this is common now in most skins. There IS an option to support multiple images for weather, but doesn't seem to be conditional upon the actual weather.
Home Screen Menu Positioning
I would argue that a horizontal menu running through the MIDDLE of the screen is likely to wreck 80% of background images, and would be better placed towards the bottom of the screen. Yes, this IS a personal preference, but also based on the rule of thirds in photography, where most of the important image data lies in the top 2/3's of an image. (I know there are many exceptions, but a menu right through the very middle is a generally a bad choice)
Home Screen filmstrip
just an idea, but it MIGHT benefit from a 'zoomed' focus... i.e. the currently selected frame being zoomed/enlarged.
Happy as it is... just a thought
DVD Case Wrap
Very sexy view indeed.... fanart would be welcomed... PLUS, possibly use cdart.png in the movie folder to display the ACTUAL CD art (otherwise use the existing image as fallback)... Spinning might be nice too... or possibly overkill?... and well, this is a VERY outlandish thought.... after a short period of time showing the case open view.... animate yet again to mimic a rear cover (zooming to show the movie info)?
If you DID support fanart in this view... similar issue as the previous item regarding placing the images in the middle of the screen rather than towards the bottom.
Ok that's all for now...
REALLY loving this skin. It's slick... as slick as some of the newer skins coming out... a few more tweaks and I think a LOT of fanart fans will jump on this skin (since the newer skins are setting a trend of playing down the fanart)
- ederson - 2009-12-17 19:14
Very nice skin.
Simple , clean .... I like it a lot.
I pretty much agree with AnalogKid`s comments. Especially the addition of fanart in all views would be great
- Sharpe - 2009-12-17 20:27
Hi guys - some really constructive suggestions from AnalogKid there - great feedback.
I'll take them on board as I continue to develop the skin and I'll keep you posted when I do.
- kautious - 2009-12-17 22:30
Hey!! Nice to see this skin again. Thanks for keeping it up to date Sharpe and djdafreund
What happen to the giant icon for the home screen ex.Movies,Tv.Music.
Has anybody tried this on the xbox? Is it still being built for the xbox or HTPCs? Using the Smaller film strip setup, I get very so slow and choppy movement, and I alot of times I have to reboot my xbox just from going it and out of menus.
I would love to see a lowered textures pack
- djdafreund - 2009-12-18 06:13
Here's the thing with the xbox. It has always been kept compatible with the xbox, and a lot of skins dropped worrying about if it worked or not since the xbmc even dropped development anymore on the xbox format, other then bug fixes and such. It was mentioned on the main site.
Now, in 4x3 mode, it will use the smaller filmstrip, and in 16x9/16x9 modes, it uses the wider strip, which is great so you can see more of the strip when quickly moving through it. Easier at a glance kind of thing. It's hard to balance keeping things down to working great and fast on the xbox, and that becomes a hinderance with the whole concept of HDTV systems, which is where the majority of focus on XBMC has been. And why the hard development towards other smaller PC system's that run it, so we can use it as a substitute for XBOX'S for the same price, but gain much more advantage's, as well as playing HD content, and not being limited to lower resolution / smaller texture's / graphics to keep the xbox from getting sluggish, which more and more is no longer becoming a focus.
With that in mind, it should work just fine in 720p on xbox, as i've been using only Back Row on it for years, and never had much issue's with speed. Now, in 1080 mode, sure, it's a little slower, but you can't do much for that, considering your talking about a 733mhz or something processor with not much memory and not much video ram to handle it. But 720p still looks beautiful. But that's why they pushed the focus and porting over to other systems like linux and windows and max and iTV and such, as they are much better to handle, and we don't want to stay with much limiting our capabilities just because of the xbox. Granted we still like that it still works fine, but they have ALWAYS said, don't bother getting much of performance using anything higher modes then 720p, that's just expected due to the hardware limitations.
I agree with Sharpe (NICE TO SEE YA HERE NOW!!!YAY!!!) about some good feedback comments and feature's. I will be helping to make some of the remaining HD images to finish things off. The biggest thing we've been sitting on that mostly is honestly because of trying not to kill things from working on the xbox still. But this is going to be discussed. What we can do to keep things working ok, but yet not having to sacrifice limiting ourselves on all the machine's it's used on, JUST for the sake of the xbox system.
In other words, we don't want the theme not be kept downgraded of it's potential, JUST because of one system that is outdated and not supported even. Scary i know, since we've loved the xbox for so long, and was so basic in it's XBMP days. It's grown so largely and fast really with functionality. But every product after so much time, like it or not, becomes outdated due to it's hardware. We, just like XBMC want to grow, as technology opens up more and more capabilities.
I hope that helps understand the direction and also about the xbox.
One thing, about the filmstrip in the bottom. That was already done, and the thing about it is, as someone also really big into graphics and art, the focus of attention is usually towards the center of the object, which when it's put at the bottom, you really loose a lot of the focus level point. Maybe an option perhaps, but it really does best kept at the center. I do have some other idea's in mind that i will touch base with Sharpe to see what he thinks. And i will do the graphics to help pull it off.
- kautious - 2009-12-18 06:34
Thanks! And now I know.
I'll probability never have another question about where you guys are at on the xbox!
Should make a Sticky Thread for that!!
Nice work you guys.
- caboosification - 2009-12-18 10:31
this looks solid, cant wait to check it out later today after work
- pecinko - 2009-12-18 15:34
Very, very nice. Thanks for sharing it here. Although one could find a few missing things (media flagging in file views), my impression is this is well thought out and nicely done skin which is fun to use! Very clean and to not bloated with every feature XBMC skin could offer - like combining info, flags, cover, trailers, banners and fanart all in one view.
I have only one suggestion for now - keep it this way and do not add all kinds of stuff to it. We already have skins or mods with that kind of views, but there are not many of them like back-row.
- AnalogKid - 2009-12-18 19:48
djdafreund Wrote:Here's the thing with the xbox. It has always been kept compatible with the xbox, and a lot of skins dropped worrying about if it worked or not since the xbmc even dropped development anymore on the xbox format, other then bug fixes and such. It was mentioned on the main site.
I think it's right to stick trying to keep the skin working for all platforms... it's too easy to start favouring one platform and harnessing the performance that (say linux) might offer. I love the fact that the skin is still pretty small and yet keeps the appearance of a high end UI.
I cannot agree with the center being the focus of attention... it's well documented and proven in countless design techniques and UI's that the top 3rd grabs most attention.... and for a general image... top two thirds... there are lots of reasons for this... but it's not the end of the world to keep the home menu in the middle. It's one person's opinion over another's (the Aeon skin offered the option between middle and bottom).
That said... you can go overboard with 'options' too... might just be easier for someone to say "if you want to change the menu position... modify line 97 of home.xml" (for instance)
It's very hard NOT to sound critical when folks want to help enhance a UI... and also, there's a danger of go faster stripes making the UI look worse, not better... So please.. don't think any thoughts are criticisms (I don't think you think that anyway).
I'm very impressed with this skin, which is why I made a few comments... I think it has places to go!
Hope you can keep up the good work.... I think you user base is starting to increase!
- djdafreund - 2009-12-19 06:11
Feedback is always good. I wasn't talking in terms of UI's, but just in general with art, being i've had 30 or more years of experience with and training. I know UI's are different though. And i also agree everyone has there own opinion. I don't usually believe in 'well documented' articles though, as there's thousands of things it's used in, yet can be totally different in each application, and usually never has a perfect solution for all applications. A 'Rule of Thumb' works, but look at SO MANY programs out there that are the most of popular in the public eye, and yet having totally different designs and alignments of everything in the GUI. Yet each one still special in it's own way. Look how big M$ is and decade's of experience, and still don't get things right, constantly changing it, until the majority of the people like it, even though GUI's have been 'proven' to have one main choice of design that works. I joke about that. Being the biggest company in the world.
And no, i don't take things as criticism. I welcome your comments and such. That's why this theme, IMO, is one of the best out there and only one i have been using for years and years. Sharpe has sculptured it from a base, by using A LOT of user's comments and requests. Without you guy's support and comments and idea's, it wouldn't be what it is today. So just as big thanks to you guys for help making it what it's become, and also thanks for all the good support you've given. (Mostly from the X-S scene community, but it's more proper to have it here now.)
And thanks for the nice words said. I'm very proud of Sharpe's work with this theme just as well. I've tried so many other's, and some have missing views i like, or some have too many things, and some just have some quirks i just can't deal with, always coming back. It just has everything perfectly done that i like in a theme. And keep's getting better. Your comments are always welcome my friend!!!
- AnalogKid - 2009-12-19 15:31
I'm wondering too... about the DVD case opening animation....it's very sexy... but not serving too much purpose... (but still I like eye candy!)...
Perhaps this could be extended for the Music and TV shows.
There's something in the back of my mind niggling me though... that the box opening should open to reveal something useful...CD art would be one possibility... or some additional info like plot, or cast etc. I know I mentioned it in my first post... but maybe the case opening (as it is now) then closing in reverse to show the rear with additional info on the rearview. A lot of animation I know... but then again, it's only a transition from one angle to another... so not THAT much work *grin*
I do agree there are some other skins with views that maybe this skin is missing.... but you can't do them all!. There are aspects of Aeon I love, and of Transparency!... and the Elipsis theme manages to put a little 'sex' into things... it just doesn't quite embrace fanart in the way I would like it to.
In my opinion, this skin isn't the best any single aspect of a skin, but reaches the best compromises... and so makes it the best overall skin (until I change my mind lol)
And for those reading who say "what about Alaska?"... I think it's a great skin and breaks a number of 'traditional' XBMC UI styles.... which is really welcomed in order to be innovative. It's just not for me.