ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE. Software > Post New Requests Here

IDEA: PC game launcher/organizer/frontend

(1/7) > >>

I have searched high and low for a simple PC game launcher, but to no avail.

The retro gaming scene is filled with specialized launchers. Arcade gaming has MAMEUI. Console and handheld emulation has QuickPlay. And an excellent frontend to DOSBox for running old DOS games is DOSBox Game Launcher. But where is the frontend for PC games?

All these apps have the same general layout. On the left is a folder tree which saves searches and helps to organize games by various criteria. The main part of the screen is a list/details view that shows the games that have been loaded into the frontend. On the right is a spot for game screenshots. All these apps are built around a database, and many are able to scrape data from websites like Moby Games.

There are frontends that support PC games. One that comes to mind is D-Fend Reloaded. But this, like many others, is first and foremost a DOSBox frontend, so it's not exactly ideal for PC gaming.

Here's what an app like this would need:

1. A database, xml or ini or whatever, filled with game profiles. Entries include game name, target executable and any associated command line switches, screenshot directory, icon (if different from executable), year, genre, developer, publisher, playcount, etc.
2. A basic GUI, with folders on the left, a list in the middle with icons and columns of info, and space for game screenshots/scans on the right.
3. A simple game import dialog, with a browse button for the EXE, and space to fill in data.
4. Ideally, it would interface with Moby Games and grab data/screenshots automatically!

I have no idea how difficult it would be to make an app like this. If it's an unreasonable request, then let me know. If not, I would love to dig in and beta test whatever comes out!

Are you on Vista or Windows 7?  If so, there's already the games explorer, and a few apps that integrate with that to make it more user friendly and editable.  Would one of these work for you?  And if not, why?  (Just trying to get a feel for what's missing/that you would like to change)

Thanks for the reply  8)

I'm on Windows 7 but didn't even know Games Explorer existed! I had a look - it's like all native Windows apps, pretty and somewhat functional but not at all customizable and not terribly powerful. No custom columns, no custom filters or categories, no support for command line switches, no support for launching helper apps like FRAPS or Xpadder, no support for game screenshots, no support for custom icons...

I've been spoiled by the power and flexibility of the apps I mentioned in my original post, and would love to see something similar dedicated to PC games ;)

There's a lot hidden in the interface.

1. You can customize the columns.  Change the view to details, and right click on the columns at the top.  You can select what columns show.
2. You can filter the games.  The search in the upper right hand corner applies to only the games.  Type in what you would filter on, and as you type, the view is filtered.
3. Custom icons are supported with the game explorer in the article I linked, along with adding new games with command line switches and other applications.
4. You can also change the grouping by right clicking on a game and changing the grouping.

I can post a little tutorial/how to if it's not obvious when you take a second look.  I guess this is the reason I'm asking- all of what you asked for (other than perhaps the interface- they have a preview rather than the tree view, but windows interfaces are getting away from that) is available, so I'm trying to figure out what isn't?

1. You can choose other preset columns, but you can't create custom columns. You can't rate games, you can't add tags, you can't sort them in your own way like these other apps allow.
2. This is just a basic instant search. It cannot search specific fields, and the searches cannot be saved. I cannot create a folder of all games I've completed, or for all FPS games older than 2000.
3. OK you got me there :)
4. I was talking about a folder tree - call me old-fashioned I guess.

I downloaded that game adder you linked to. I didn't find anything about custom icons or command line switches. It crashed on me before I could add Bejeweled Blitz. That's the problem with native Windows apps - you need to download 3rd party programs to hack into them in order to make them useful.

THIS is the sort of thing I am looking for. It's QuickPlay, a frontend for emulators. It can run PC games after a fashion, if you create .lnk shortcut files in place of "roms" and link to explorer.exe as the emulator. It could even display game icons if I were to take the time to extract them from each EXE and zip them up. It's great for emulators, but for PC games, it's far from ideal.

I don't just want an easy way to launch my games - I want a way to sort them, rate them, tag them, categorize them, and explore them visually via screenshots and box scans... But moreover, I like to be in control of the apps I use. I use Directory Opus instead of Explorer, and foobar2000 instead of WMP. Windows apps, designed for the average user, simply don't offer that kind of flexibility.

Oh, and one more thing - what happens when I want to re-install Windows? My games might all be backed up on a non-system partition or drive, but I'll lose all my data in Games Explorer. Not a good incentive to spend time adding a few hundred titles...


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version