I've read both threads and at first I thought.. why would you need a games launcher? I was puzzled... I am a games addict (self confessed) and dont use/want a launcher so what am I missing?
So I went in brainstorm mode and found all these good reasons for quite different kinds of launchers. Just sharing since I did the thinking and perhaps there are some nuggets of use. Note: I dont think the different needs want the same tool at all
* you play lots of esoteric, old, indie etc. games which don't all start easy and don't all play nice in the start menu (or, like me, you've been moving games folders for n generations of computers and get tired of adding them to start menus manually)
* you dont want your games in the start menu, or the desktop, it's a lot of noise/clutter (very true. I use fences to hide all the games icons out of the way)
* you have lots of games, and want to keep information - things you might keep track of: general info (pulled from the web?), personal notes, keys reminder, where the special folders are (for example screenshot folder, saved games), any mods or extensions (although these might have their own entry, perhaps related), links to community, walkthroughs etc. For long, complex games perhaps a journal tab..
* you want other things started at the same time as certain games - say chat, voice comms, an overlay, a screenshot/screenrecorder tool, or a virtual CD loading the game CD image - or you might even want certain things to be closed/killed before you start a game (i switch my virus scanner to games mode, and sometimes I do start some of the above tools. manually)
* you remove/reinstall games a lot and want to keep stuff in between. Where you were at, what version/patchlevel/mods, what the saved games are, any notes (imagine an rpg) - does that fit in a launcher at all I am not sure, but a launcher would keep your entry when you uninstall the game, so that is a start
Now I started thinking "i dont need a launcher". I find the launchers that come with steam, impulse, raptr etc. to be annoying. I think the steam/raptr etc. tools are popular because of autodetect, but they are not very useful. For example, I only *install* in steam, on average I then start the program directly...
I muddle, I just browse, dig around, keep notes in Opera and LWA and online - and start the things from wherever I can/must... Right now I use Stardock fences and put all games there not in the start menu, minimize the fence to a small square most of the time, and drag it open when I want my games. But that is just plain old windows link launching - no features to have info, reminders, other apps launched - so I could see the value of having something nicely tuned for games...
The question then will be of trade off - the time it takes to invest in such a tool to get it to the point where the benefits are kicking in AND the fact that any time/information put in there is stuck in that tool and would take more work to get out for reuse elsewhere (even with an export). That is a problem for any information management tool, in the end. Portability, clean exports etc. will all help
anyways, perhaps this was useful and perhaps this was noise
off on a tangent...
Going back to the autodetect, there is a lot of information about games that is both useful and global. I for example spend time figuring out what needs to be backed up so that my configs and saved games can be migrated to another computer (or sync'd). Some games nicely put savegames in clear places, others hide them in systems folders. Sometimes there are additional ones or stupid things hard coded in like paths... I bet 20% of the people who play any game will do the same... Now we have several sites online which have huge DBs of games and reviews etc. do any of them have an API? DO any of them track this kind of more practical information (where are saved games? screenshots? what are the basic keys for basic things?). Being able to check and get information, or share information back up....
in short, is there a public, open GDDB?