improved and very usable performance with modified skin

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goolong Offline
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Big Grin  ATV2 improved and very fast performance with modified skin plus video
Post: #1
First all, Thank you to all the developers that have made this possible.So I registered and wanted to share some of my experience with the community here in hopes of stirring up some skinners to try some of the things i've done that made using XBMC on the ATV2 very usable and extra snappy. Below is a list of things I've done that has greatly improved performance. I hope the creator of Alaska revisted doesn't mind that i hacked his skin apart a bit. Please also note that I am not a developer/skinner and this has been a lot of trial and error and not everything is how i want it to look yet but its usable for now. Also , I'm sure this is not the right way to modify a skin so please be careful.

Unrelated to performance but for those getting static from AC3 content, I set the audio to Analog as a temporary work around untill it gets fixed.

Please also note that I use Stark covers to make all my poster covers look nice, then i use a file renamer to rename them to folder.jpg. This way i won't need XBMC to overlay all those nice templates.

1. So i installed Alaska revisted from the built in skin manager ( I didn't even know that wasn't the latest version untill today so i haven't tried this on the newest version)
2. The first thing i did was disable Fanart from within the skins menu, and disabled the thumbnail downloads like everyone else is saying to improve performance.
3. I use WinSCP (Use whatever you like) to browse through the file structure to "/private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/XBMC/addons/skin.alaska.revisited.mod" (Make a backup of everything) which is the main area from which i will describe the mods . From here i drilled down further to /extras/filters and here you can do two things. You can delete all the PNG files here for the fastest speed bump or you can change them which is what i did because i still wanted a nice look The original files are 1080p resolution and are actually quite large (about 3 megs)for PNG files so i resized them to 720p, and changed them to my own custom look down to 70k. Feel free to use them. I used the below image with the help of photoshop for the Filter.png file and the home_vignette.png and deleted the rest.
[Image: filter.png]

4. Next i modified the color scheme to look a little nicer inside the /colors/defaults.xml changing many of the dark grey fonts to white so it will look better on the black background.
<!-- Info dialog colours -->

<color name="InfoTitle">FFFFFFFF</color>
<color name="InfoPlot">FFFFFFFF</color>
<color name="InfoYear">FFFFFFFF</color>
<color name="InfoGenre">B9202020</color>
<color name="InfoDetails">FFFFFFFF</color>
<color name="MovieInfoLines">dd727272</color>
<color name="InfoRating">B9202020</color>

5. Next i went into the 720p folder where all the XML's are for all the views are located and changed the most of the XML files. I knew which one to change by using the debugging option in the skin which showed which xml i was on., I changed any XML where there is:
<backgroundcolor>0xff000000</backgroundcolor> to black (0xff000000) to match my image above or else you get a thin background color surrounding the PNG background.

6. I also went through a bunch of XML and any place where it tried to load a texture.png file I renamed to textureZZZ.png so it wouldnt load. (Yes i know that is the wrong way to do this). I did this trying to be careful not to lose the reflections png when in poster mode.

Each time you change the XML or image files, you will need to get out of XBMC completely for the changes to take effect. I also included a donwload link on megaupload so if you are too lazy, just copy the 720p, colors, and extras folder into your own Alaska revisted theme.

megaupload link http://www.megaupload.com/?d=EOT7SQJ2

youtube Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uel7RR8zQjw

I hope this helps the skinners and community out there!!


Now for some issues im still trying to figure out
1. The settings area is behind the PNG image so you wont be able to see it but if you navigate around in that area, a text popup describes what area you are in and will load correctly after.
2. I'm still working on the video overlay when fastforwarding or looking at video information ( Ill look at the texture pack next as i just read about it while posting this)
(This post was last modified: 2011-02-22 01:50 by goolong.)
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Candor Offline
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Post: #2
Can you provide a screen shot of your work?
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CASHMON3Y Offline
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Post: #3
Or maybe a video? I am running the newest Alaska revisited with the only settings being disabling fanart and it runs pretty snappy. In fact the only complaint I have is the slight lag going from one menu to another (Home to Movies) But I also get this on my Atom with a SSD so I assume thats just XBMC related.

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AppleTV2 Offline
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Post: #4
Great job - Do you know what the base path is to drop the unzipped files into - or, alternatively, what's the best way to install the modified skin?

Thanks.
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goolong Offline
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Post: #5
if you use winscp or any sftp you can drop the zipped files there. the base folder you can drop the files to is "/private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/XBMC/addons/skin.alaska.revisited.mod
There are corresponding folders ie , the 720p folder, the extras, and colors folder. I'll see about recording the video on my phone to upload to youtube.
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goolong Offline
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Post: #6
CASHMON3Y Wrote:Or maybe a video? I am running the newest Alaska revisited with the only settings being disabling fanart and it runs pretty snappy. In fact the only complaint I have is the slight lag going from one menu to another (Home to Movies) But I also get this on my Atom with a SSD so I assume thats just XBMC related.
Added youtube Video link in the original post
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DavidA Offline
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Post: #7
Really appreciate the effort on this. I will try it too.

Your movie collection is large!
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goolong Offline
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Post: #8
yeah, if it wasn't for the huge collection the loading i think would be a lot faster.
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Shoesy Offline
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Post: #9
Really not sure (by looking at the video) that the performance is that much better than simply turning the background pictures off in the skin.

/settings/alaska/Home Options/Enable Home Backgrounds > Off

To see further improvements turn fanart off for movies

/settings/alaska/View Options/Hide Fanart > On

But in the long run I'm sure many performance increases are coming in the next few weeks - be patient.

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(This post was last modified: 2011-02-23 02:00 by Shoesy.)
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Candor Offline
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Post: #10
Thanks! Definitely on the list of to-do tomorrow.
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DazNoonan Offline
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Post: #11
Shoesy Wrote:Really not sure (by looking at the video) that the performance is that much better than simply turning the background pictures off in the skin.

/settings/alaska/Home Options/Enable Home Backgrounds > Off

To see further improvements turn fanart off for movies

/settings/alaska/View Options/Hide Fanart > On

But in the long wrong I'm sure many performance increases are coming in the next few weeks - be patient.

I was also thinking the same as this... Have you done a text with the above settings against your own option posted?

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goolong Offline
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Post: #12
yes i have done a test with it. What you'll notice is an increase in framerate in the top left with debugging on. Pretty much the performance didnt seem snappy enough for me when i first set this up and after reading through and adjusting disable fanart, thumbs etc, it still didnt feel snappy enough. That's when i tried to optimize it by having it load as little overlays as possible.
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thesuffering Offline
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Post: #13
this seems fairly snappy to me, and i like the layout of alaska to that of simplistic (which i was using for speed). only thing i wish alaska had was a poster + plot view for movies which it seems to not have.
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Hooper818 Offline
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Post: #14
Thanks for the help ill try this skin when I get a chance.
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galvanash Offline
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Post: #15
I posted here how to do some optimizations to allow the ReFocus skin to run well on ATV2.
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