My days of Xlobby Skinning have come to an end. Except for the music server, all my Xlobby machines have been swapped over to MediaPortal. This page will continue to exist, but I am ONLY supporting ZS5 (Music Distribution) skin builds.
With the abilities of the Maytrix, and the addition of an external CD player added, I realized the limitations of ZoneSkin4. The Maytrix will allow for multiple external devices to be connected to either soundcard line-in's at any time. This also opened up an extra instance of winamp for each floor, so now each floor has the abilitiy to select up to 4 MP3/Shoutcast streams each. Zones on each floor can now be synced with zones on the opposing floor perfectly via another MP3/Shoutcast stream that utilizes the motherboard sound chip. This output goes to one of the Maytrix inputs. The AM/FM Tuner, and an external CD player will connect to other Maytrix inputs. So in summary, the end users will have up to 7 sources to select music from.
With this expansion of sources that the system could utilize, this meant the display/info screen had to be enlarged to accomodate this greater control, so even the backend of Xlobby expanded, hence the dawn of this new skin. During the course of this new design, I attempted to take into account touchscreen users feedback by indicating some of the buttons are too small. Another thing I tried to do is simplify the Xlobby events by making the KX ini functions perform more. An example of this: instead of having a command to individually lower each slider then to raise a slider, I combined functions so there is only one command. A general layout of this is when selecting a source, it will first minimize all the other sources before maximizing the selected soure. Also in Xlobby, I segregated commands/events into logical groups, then to perform actual functions within Xlobby, I used the "run event" command to bring everything together. This made mass modifications easier and I was able to set up the xml files in a standard text editor such as Notepad or Textedit outside of Xlobby.
In summary this skin with existing circuitry I'm using allows:
8 independent zones (across two Audigy cards)
9 winamp sources (4 sources per floor, and full sync source)
3 additional external inputs
ZS5 is now officially released and can be downloaded from this page.
I've added a ZS5 support thread on the Xlobby forums, which can be accessed here: http://www.xlobby.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6635.
The actual skin uses the same plugins as ZoneSkin4. As well as fonts for the most part. I did change from using the Digiface font to a font called Wipeout Fusion for the display window. The actual install will also include my current KX DSP files, pervTalk files and their associated ini files.
The skin underwent a graphic re-vamp from its first iteration (see last picture for ZS5 below). It has been integrated into my existing system, and so far is working out very well. I will be working on some individual client zone screens which I will include as add-on packs.
This skin allows for the maximum flexibility in a DIY multi-zoning setup. It is complex but allows for un-surpassed capabilities.
Below are some pics:
I have to get rid of the blue select triangles still. The button select across the top: Purple - current selection, Blue - "enter" select color.
Shoutcast page...again the blue select triangles have to go still.
So I'm at it yet again. Unsatisfied with the direction of Glass, and not to mention a constant menu rotation bug when using xMenu and a IR remote, and to lump into the equation the fact that I was very unhappy about not achieving satisfactory results in getting WinTV integrated nicely into the skin, I actually dropped using Xlobby for using (can't believe I'm actually going to endorse it...) MediaPortal. I know I've been very harsh on MP in the past, but they have come a long way since the last time I attempted to use it. The software actually ran pretty good, and the killer was the StreamedMP skin. It is an absolute gorgeous skin, and was perfect for showcasing what the HTPC was all about, which is to glamorize your media library. Though MP has come a long way with their v1.10 RC2 (they are now at RC3), the software still suffers from some short comings of crashes and complete re-installs. These short comings forced me to work on a new Xlobby skin. One that capture the beauty and flow of the MediaStream (StreamedMP) skin. So I've been developing the xStreamed skin, which I have released. This skin was introduced in modular format, where you are able to install the main skin files, along with weather, and then you can install additional module packs, depending on what you want to use your media machine for. It has since evolved to a full skin, combining all the current modules together into one download. Any future work on the remaining sections will be added and a new download will be offered. I ended up going this way because it was getting more and more difficult to keep aspects of the skin in different modules. Basically if you didn't have one module or another, you may not be able to take advantage of certain aspects of the skin in whole. The only modules that I will keep separate will be the TV/PVR module. Reason being because I have two designed, one for using with GBPVR, and the other with MP.
The skin will be in widescreen format, which eventually I'm hoping to be able to port it over to Xlobby V3 as well.
The skin will include a slew of plugins. Some of the plugins are as follows: xRemote, xHideMouse, xHideTaskbar, xlToolkit, xRecieve, xWeather (with updated weather images), and XMoveWindow, xTvDB, xTopPicks, xNowPlaying, xGetPhotos, xStats, xMonitor, xDBImportExport, xChangeSkin, and xPowerEvents. Applications that will be used by the skin can include: poweroff, xSend (part of the xReceive plugin), Rom2Xlobby, xTVDB application, and a .bat/.vbs combination for restarting Xlobby.
I'm starting to put together an on-line manual (link to the left sidebar), which will cover the installation/setup and operations of the skin, along with information for the end user to modify the skin to their environments.
Discussion for the skin can be done over at the Xlobby forum thread .
It should be also noted that this skin will use extensive use of Ant Movie Catalog, and the xAnt plugin, especially for the movie stuff, but can be tailored for all video, TV and music databases if desired.
Below are some pics, and I will add more as I make them:
Pretty crappy video (too dark) of the Glass skin in action. I will have to redo it and upload a nicer video.
I decided to allow users to download a prelim copy of the horizontal menu skin to try out. Unless you copy other modules into it, it won't do too much. Currently only the main menu is setup as horizontal.
You can download it here:
This is a Use As Is, and I will not support it right now.
Here's an experiment with a new plugin designed by m_ski...it allows fades between images...and will be included in an upcoming version of xStreamed.
*XLOBBY FORUM MEMBERS MODULES* - I encourage to help turn this skin into a community skin where everyone can have an input. If you have designed a module that you figure will suit this skins philosophy and wish to post it, let me know and I will host it for you.
Xlobby Glass *Retired - never released*
Well, I'm at it again! I've decided to do an overhaul to the HTPC skin. I want to keep the revolving menu system as in Mirage, but I also want it to look similar to the AppleTV skins that reside on both the MediaPVR and BES. So I've come up with the concept of "glass" icons...to which, I'm calling the skin "Glass". It is very early on in design, so here are some prelim screen shots.
Weather screen (created glass images for weather icon display)
Forcast screen (with 9-day sneak peek across the bottom)
So lately I've been working on incorporating fanart. Here is what I've come up with:
In setting up my eventual home theater PC, I've considered using one of two skins. One is the Redeux 2 skin created by Buddabing. The other is the MediaX skin created by Qtip. Both are excellent skins, and up until recently I was going with the Redeux skin. I had already done many changes to the skin to suit my needs and it's been running really good. I then started to play with the MediaX skin and have taken a real liking to that one now, and depending on how difficult it is to setup for my system, this may be one I will go with. I'll let you know more as development goes on.
Album Select screen
DVD movie select screen
Movie Description screen
Movie Rating Screen
More 3D menu views (music selections)
Even more 3D menu views (game selection)
Below is a partial list of plugins required to get the full effect of using Mirage:
CDEX, XAnt, XEvent, XGetPhotos, XLDVDImportPlugin, XLToolkitPlugin, XMoveWindow, Xweather, XScriptNG, XTransistion, XRemote, Xusbuirt , XWOL, XReceive, XUTube, XPowerEvent
The latest version can be downloaded here.
Check out the forum post on the Xlobby site for more details here
I've now retired the KISS modified skin, and I'm now starting to use a modified version of the AppleTV skin. I'm still working on new GAM screens to suit this new look. I also figured it would blend in better with TheaterTek, which I more recently swapped over to. Below are some screen shot of the skin.
Menu screen. I added current weather, date and time info to the screen.
Notice I stripped out buttons for weather, and in theater....they just weren't being used right now. TV/PVR still takes you to GAM, and the music button will fire up the and connect to the music server running ZS5...which I'm now setting up zone dependent screens with this skin's buttons, so it will blend in.
The one thing I really like about this skin is the huge listing of movies on each page. I added a button in the bottom corner that will cycle through children DVD's, adult DVD's and recorded TV. Also added Dalanik's star rating system to XAnt, and it works really well.
I'm also in the midst of designing this skin for use on the BES setup. It will be a widescreen version, and will be setup to open a thin client on the bathroom TV/Monitor. When the bathroom Zoomplayer opens, it will shutdown the client, when the movie is finished, Zoom will close, and the client will restart.
The MediaPVR version of the skin can be downloaded here. The BES version has yet to be released.
Forum discussions for the MediaPVR's version are here.
This skin uses the following plugins:
xWeather, xHideTaskbar, xHideMouse, xWOL, xlToolkitPlugin, Xreceive.
NOTE: for music, I have it setup to connect to my music server via Thin Client. Specially talored screens will be included with the ZS5 download.
Now that ZS5 is released, I have the time to do some upgrades/updates to this skin. I finally figured out the basics to the xDatabase plugins ability to do coverart reflections, so I'm going to add some new views to this skin to take adavantage of this plugin. Below is an early screen shot of the added views.
For my MediaPVR build, I decided to keep things simple. I have the system setup using a Xlobby skin created by a great ambassador of Xlobby, nicknamed "Buddabing". Buddabing has created some excellent skins, and one of his early skins is called KISS, or Keep It Simple Skin. I stripped out music and other things not required, added a few things, but the general concept of the skin has remained. The other aspect of this skin was to interface it with some sort of PVR software. At first I was going to use a Xlobby plugin for TV, but none of the ones offered suited my needs. I then decided to try and use the PVR software that I had started to use on the system Got All Media (GAM or GallM). Actually I had started off only using Got All Media from the system start, opposing to use Xlobby on this system as GAM appeared to do everything that Xlobby was capable of doing, and had the PVR integration included. Though I do like GAM for this PVR integration, all other aspects of GAM are left to be desired. I have left a pros/cons list of GAM below, including a final view of the software in general.
Anyways, the skin is now distributed with the irremote.ini file for Hauppauge remotes. I also included with the download mc2xml for EPG retrieval. Also it has a bunch of vbs and bat files that have been defined in the irremote.ini file for control of the skin with single button action.
The skin has been designed to use Zoom Player for its video playback. The music section was also modded to integrate my ZoneSkin into it by connecting to the music-server via thin client. As mentioned above it uses GAM for TV/PVR capabilites. I also have installed the small Poweroff program for controlling the system power states.
Goto my MediaPVR link and towards the bottom of the page, I define the Hauppauge button pattern.
This skin uses the following plugins:
xWeather, xHideTaskbar, xHideMouse, xWOL, xInTheaters, xlToolkitPlugin, xClock
The Xlobby forum post is here
The skin can be downloaded here.
Here is the main menu screen shot:
It's a very simple interface. I stripped out the now playing/next playing music info in the bottom section and replaced it with base weather info. I did this because this system will not be required to play music direct, but as you can see, I changed a button to allow connection via thin client to the music-server. I also changed the graphics to keep with a common theme. The final change I made to this screen was to add a TV/PVR button that opens GAM directly to the guide for setting up recordings. In GAM I stripped almost everything outside of TV control as I did not require any of it. You will see the resulting images.
I added the xinTheaters plugin and above is the resulting screen.
Theater showtimes overlay
Screen capture of the movie 300 using Zoom Player on the system (no ffdshow processing)
This small menu opens with a few options. The last being close, will close down GAM and go back to Xlobby.
One of the few remaining accessable GAM screens, where the user can open up a TV screen for LiveTV control. I won't be using this function too much but just decided to leave it. The actual GAM main menu also remains with the only option is to goto this TV section.