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Old 14 December 2016, 19:06   #1
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PyAGLaunch Guide Creator 1.0

As a Linux user, I got bored of running AGLGen.exe through wine, and two days ago I started to work on my own AGLaunch Guide Creator for my WHDLoad collection...

The result of my work is called PyAGLaunch Guide Creator 1.0 and it is written in Python 2.7 (I will make it Python 3 compatible, but not right now - any help is appreciated!). Program combines functionalities of CreateLists program for Amiga that generates file lists and AGLGen.exe windows program that generates guide files. This all means that it is intended to be run on WHDLoad collection accesible from PC, before transferring it to Amiga drive (or you can have synchronized copies on PC and Amiga, which is my use-case).

Guide generation is configurable, for example, you can adjust:
- number of columns and spacing in game/demo/main page lists
- prefered game language, TV system, etc. (include only english games if multiple version exist, or only pal, or any combination of preferences)
- all paths needed for guide generation, filenames, etc.
- guide window width (if you have an Amiga with higher workbench resolution, your launcher can be wider and have more links in it on one page)

All the settigns are on the beginning of program, with detailed explanations, and they can be changed as needed. Initial scanning of info files and guide generation takes about a minute, but after all the info files are cached in PC RAM, subsequent generating is fast - 5-10 seconds (at least on my PC). This makes it good choice for parallel testing inside emulator, as you can see the results almost instantly.

What can you do with it? You can, for example, make all links visible on standard Amiga resolution in main launcher window by increasing number of columns and removing space between rows:
Click image for larger version

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Or you may adjust the layout to be like AGLGen.exe if you like that:
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I really didn't like "condensed" game names, as it was sometimes hard to read them, so I used a different approach, to reverse game name from directory name. It's not perfect, but I think it does the good job in about 90-95% of cases:
Click image for larger version

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As number of columns in game/demo lists is configurable, you may also get something like this:
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Long game names on standard Amiga resolution may be too shortened (I use word shortening, not whole name shortening), but on higher resolutions this should look good.

Info file with multiview as default tool is also generated, so you can just click on the launcher

Program was tested a lot today, but I must say that there are probably bugs in it. If you find one, please give me a detailed description, so I could replicate and solve it.

And before someone asks, I didn't test this on windows, as I don't have it and do not want it. Program is released with GPL3 licence, it's open source (I don't like closed source programs for retro machines) and if someone can make it work on windows, I'll gladly make the changes to make it compatible.

Hope someone finds it useful...

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Last edited by zzarko; 14 December 2016 at 19:19.
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Old 15 December 2016, 00:56   #2
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hi & welcome.

just tested your tool with cygwin on my win7 peecee.
does work out of the box.

made Games_WHDLoad and Demos_WHDLoad folder next to the python script.
generation just finished without any message: 'python PyAGLaunchGC.py'
maybe you can add something like: "start generating guides" "just finished" - so one can see something was done.

had to add WBRun from aminet (will be used from within guide files to start whdload).
made assigns for AGL: and Games: and i could launch the demos/games from the guide file.

as written in 1st post, you should read/edit the first lines of the python script.
make changes of those variables so they fit your needs.

cool tool

ps: just found out, whdload does phone home, got request for inet access, after starting whdload.
do we really need that?
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Last edited by emufan; 15 December 2016 at 01:05.
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Old 15 December 2016, 01:21   #3
Ya' like it Retr0?
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Драго ми је да видим паралелни креацију, као што је то!

Welcome to EAB! there is plenty of retrolicious mischief going on around here - please let me share with you this project started in 2011 - AGLaunch - Thank you for the mention in your files!

Many members collaborated, modified and customized the project to make it theirs and I believe it is enjoyed by a few fellow Amigans out there, according to Aminet AGLaunch has been downloaded over 1,600 times

Initially designed for a limited 2MB environment ( stock A600 / CD32 ) I kludged together a very simple PC program to create Amiga Guide Text files based on a Classic Workbench Game Directory setup - when Bloodwych included this to the basic Classic Workbench pack's I was (and still am) very thrilled and humbled!.

Here is a very basic version running on a 2MB (A600) environment

[ Show youtube player ]

I think your project could take this even further with additional information on software titles, possibly with links to reviews and HOL information - it could be quite a concise database that has the ability to launch the WHDLoad title. The only real limit would hard disk space - but that is quite mutable these days

Last edited by Zetr0; 15 December 2016 at 01:28.
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Old 16 December 2016, 22:07   #4
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@emufan: thank you very much for testing it on windows, I completely forgot about cygwin... I'll consider that problem solved now

@Zetr0: thanks a lot for taking the time to look into this. I was using your program a lot and it was main inspiration for my version. I found it very useful not only on low end Amigas (unaccelerated A600/A1200), but on high-end also, it is actually very clean and fast solution (I got to test pre-production version of Vampire 500 V2 and it works like a charm ). I didn't knew Bloodwych was your inspiration for guide file layout, so I added him also to main screen. Thanks to both of you!

Anyway, today I decided to squash bugs that I have detected, and also to include more options for list generation:
- name expansion is more robust, and remaining titles that don't expand very well are adjusted manually (see ExpandAs part of settings)
- automatic translation of non-english game names is also included (can be turned on or off)
- option to display only games from preferred languages (if you want to have a list of, for example, only French games)
- preference for regular or demo/preview game version

Game/demo list window now has suffixes explanation at the bottom:
Click image for larger version

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In the process of analysing game names from WHDLoad archive, I found several inconsistent names (mainly the order of suffixes in game name that doesn't look like the rest of the game names). Those names are marked with the comment "# wrong name?" in ExpandAs part of settings. Maybe someone who has more knowledge about naming conventions in WHDLoad can look into this?

I'll consider version 1.1 final for now. If someone have suggestions, or can improve the program by him/herself, please contact me. Zetr0's proposition for more game information is very interesting, but I don't think I could do that by myself for now (not enough time/knowledge).

P.S. I know that this is Amiga board, but I'd like to ask if someone knows any game/demo launcher solution for Atari ST/Falcon?
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