We have been busy (and by we, I mean me) testing the limits of the released BETA 1 version of Source Media Arcade and researching different media library designs that we might implement in the next release.
A portable media library able to be transferred from one computer to the next, without breaking, is absolutely essential for the next release. It is what makes multiplayer possible.
To accomplish this, we have taken a page out of XBMC's playbook and used a combination of file hashes and NFO files to maintain a passive media library for the user. This means that your files are NOT moved, but referenced right from where they are.
Artwork associated with your media items is what brings the 3D environments of Source Media Arcade to life. Without artwork images, your shortcut to GoldenEye 007 would be nothing more than an AVI file icon. However, nobody wants to spend hours searching Google for artwork associated with their media items. Finally, Source Media Arcade has a solution.
Missing artwork can be automatically downloaded, in the background, while you play! And it can be acquired from a few different sources:
1. Artwork URLs listed in an item's NFO file
2. Directly from the multiplayer arcade game server
3. Scrapped from sites such as www.imdb.com and www.steampowered.com
Any artwork automatically acquired goes directly into your library folder, unless you are in a multiplayer game, in which case it goes into your library cache instead.
After all, nobody wants the artwork automatically downloaded from "Hannah Montana's Country Arcade" to contaminate their personal media library! By keeping cache files separate from the user library, you can easily clear out all of the artwork image files downloaded in multiplayer sessions without any effect on your personal media library, freeing up disc space and reducing clutter in your personal library. The artwork will automatically be reacquired the next time you join the Country Arcade.
So, by now you may have noticed that the next release of the mod (to be called Source MEdia Arcade v2) is all about MULTIPLAYER and INTERNET CONNECTIVITY. You will be able to join your friends' custom arcades and see them exactly as they do. You will be able to launch the games placed in your friends' arcades, as long as you own them, and will be able to easily purchase and download games that you don't yet own, safely, through the Steam interface.
There has finally been sufficient research, coding, and testing to announce the following features for Source MEdia Arcade v2:
Tentative BETA 2 Features
- Authentic virtual arcade feel
- Launch ANY game or open ANY file
- Manages a detailed User Media Library
- Automatically downloads media items' missing artwork from supplied URLs
- Alternatively, can download missing artwork directly from multiplayer arcade game server
- Alternatively, can acquire missing artwork by scraping internet sites such as www.imdb.com and www.steampowered.com
- Full support for MULTIPLAYER arcade game servers
- Uses a library CACHE to keep the resources of your personal Media Library separate from files automatically downloaded from multiplayer arcade game servers
- Includes a toggleable 2D item browser for quick access to your media library in case you get lost in the 3D world
- Compatible with many existing media library folder structures (including XBMC!)
No release date has been decided upon yet, but your continued support of the released BETA 1 version of Source Media Arcade is appreciated (and encouraging). I'm here to answer your questions on the official ModDb profile when ever you have them.
Until next time, GAME ON!
SM Sith Lord
Source MEdia Arcade
We are still looking for Source engine artists to help produce high-quality assets for the mod. Contact me through the official ModDb profile if you are interested.