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Enhanced Help Screen


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Here are some pictures of the enhanced help screens we will be adding to x-port emu's. The screen will be displayed when the user presses "start" while in either the "game select screen", "favorites select screen", or when viewing a text file. The text "LThumb Left/Right For Screenshots" will be changed to "Press Start for Help."


These are the two we have so far.




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My other idea that is a WIP is what could be called "context sensitive help 'Synopsis style'". The basic idea being like this.


Help system for the game configuration screen for the different emu's.


Basically it would just consist of some comments on what the options mean and/or what purpose they serve. This idea would also be extended to the "in game options" screen since it can include emu specific options as well. It would be relatively easy to emulate since these "options" are all handled in the emu side of the code and not in commonfuncs..


For example... In atarixlbox you have..


"Swap Joystick Port 1 with 2 -"


The help entry would say something like.


Some games look for the joystick in port two. Use this option for those games.


There are a couple ways we could handle this. We could do it synopsis style and have the user press a certain button to get help for an option (like start or right-analog-stick-button). Or we could just have the standard generic help screen which displays all the information for all options on that screen.



Once suggestion came from RessX himself..

What if the options menus displayed the help automatically, in a smaller separate window at the bottom of the options screens? When you're highlighting over an option in the option selection window there is a smaller window that takes up the bottom of the screen that automatically pulls up the short help text on it for display.


Or, even better, maybe even we could display just the top line of the help text in the "help window" and leave it to the user to press the right joystick button down to see the full help text.


I'm kinda leaning in that direction myself or some type of combination.


Any suggestions or comments are appreciated. Thanks!

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Here are the configuration options for Atarixlbox and a brief little blurb I made for each. Comments are welcome since I tend to be a little wordy at times!


Machine Type - Set to 5200 for 5200 games, Atari 800 for OS/B games, Atari 800XL for 8-bit games, 130xe for games needing 128k, Atari320xe for games needing 320k.


Shared options


Computer Type - Pick 5200 for 5200 games. Atari 800xl for most stuff. Atari 800 for older titles. Atari 130xe (320) for games/demo's that take advantage of extra RAM.


Cart Type - Banking scheme used for cartridge based games. Typically matched by cartridge size. For the 5200 it's typically "Two chip 16kb" for 3rd party games and Atari prototypes, "One chip 16kb" for Atari published games.


Artifact Mode - Some games relied on Artifact mode for Color. If the game is B&W try enabling this.

Swap Joystick Port 1 with 2 - Some games look for the joystick in port 2.

Download Configuration/Cheats - Download configurations from a web site (currently not supported at the x-port url). Best to rely on autoconfigure.

Preset Controller Type - Load predefined controller type for this game.


Save Current Controller Config To - Save the current controller configurations as the selected Preset Controller Type. Allows you to set them to your own personal preference.


Configure Controllers - Use the submenus to do the following: Change controller/keyboard mappings, Change default in-game options controls, Set analog sensitivity, Set autofire, Rumble config for controller, Create combo-moves to playback controller actions.


5200 Options


Dual 5200 Analog Sticks - Robotron and Space Dungeon made use of two controllers. One for firing and the other for movement.


5200 Trackball Mode - Set this to "On" if you want to play 5200 games that are trackball compatible in trackball mode. Best candidates are Centipede and Missile Command.


5200 Stick/Trackball Sensitivity (0-100) - Determines the sensitivity of the 5200 analog stick or the trackaball if trackball mode is set to "on". Useful for games like Breakout, Kaboom, and Missile Command.


Computer Options


Lock In Autoselect Media Type - Set to "Yes" to keep the user from accidently changing the media type.


Media Selected is - Different games used different media types. Extensions (.a52,.bin,.rom) = Cartridge, (.exe,.com,.xex) = Executable, (.atr,.atx,.dcm,.pro,.xfd) = Disk, (.cas) = Cassette, (.bas,.lst) = Basic (Enable Basic). Note: Atarixlbox does not support .atx format disks yet.


Use built in Picodos disk Menu (disk only) - Use this for menu or mega disks with several games/executables.


Video Mode - Set to NTSC for US released games and PAL for Europe released games to run at correct speed. Note: Most US games, although released in Europe, were not rewritten for PAL.


Stereo Pokey - Set to no for louder sound. Yes for stereo games and demo's.

Disable Attract Mode - Useful mostly for Demos. Keeps attract mode from activating if no key is pressed.

Atari BASIC ROM is - Turn on for Basic games. If a disk based game when loading stops and says "PLEASE TYPE 1 LETTER". Try turning the BASIC ROM on.

Patch SIO Routine in OS - Sometimes needs to be turned off in order for some games to load or run.

Patch for H: Devices - When on allows DOS to access any files located in the emu directory "d:\\atarihd" on the xbox.

H: Device is Read-Only - Makes "d:\\atarihd" read-only so files cannot be modified, deleted, or created.


Mouse Emulation - Set to Light gun to use an Xbox light gun. Set to Paddles to use left analog stick for the paddles. Other settings include Touch Tablet, Koala Pad, Light Pen, Light Gun, Amiga Mouse, Atari ST Mouse, Atari Trak-Ball, or as Joystick.


Mouse Speed - Determines the left analog stick acceleration when Mouse mode is activated.

Mouse Port - Determines which emulated port (1-4) the emulated mouse is plugged into.

Edited by Shannon
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  • 2 months later...

The two help menu's are now skin specific. So if the emulator finds the files in a directory called "backgrounds" in the skin directory it will use them. Otherwise it looks in the emulators directory for a "backgrounds" directory.

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