Xlobby Skinning

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.

Music Distribution Skin

Xlobby ZoneSkin5 (ZS5)

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:
 
New menu screen with new button design, and layout.  More pics to come.


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.


Playlist page...left side is current playlist, right side are saved playlists


External CD Player control...will replace the red indicators with something a little more cool.


External Tuner control...like above with, the red indicators have to be changed.


Current Weather screen.

Main Menu (first iteration)



Home Theater PC/Media Skin  

XLobby skin for HTPC and MediaPVR

Xlobby "xStreamed"

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:
 .












xStreamed Horizontal Menu


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.


Retired/Unsupported/Limited Supported Skins

Home Theater/MediaPVR Skins

Xlobby Glass *Retired - never released*
Pretty crappy video (too dark) of the Glass skin in action.  I will have to redo it and upload a nicer video.

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.
Splash screen
Main Menu
 Movies Screen
Weather screen (created glass images for weather icon display)
Forcast screen (with 9-day sneak peek across the bottom)
Weather Images screen
 Intheaters screen
 Intheaters Info screen
 Traffic Cams screen
 Webcams screen (same as traffic cams, only the database changes)

So lately I've been working on incorporating fanart.  Here is what I've come up with:
With Fanart turned on
With Fanart turned off

Another experimental feature I have finally gotten to work is background ambiance effects.  Every menu change will bring a new background effect as shown below:










Mirage 3D *Retired*

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.

Mirage - the HTPC sega continues, with its SECOND COMING...

Well to continue on with the HTPC skin.  I decided to create my own which is highly influenced by both Redeux II and MediaX.  I call it Mirage.  Basically, as nice as the skins above are, I still wanted to create something all my own, for my own use.  The background image and graphic icons are from http://www.freeiconsweb.com/ and http://www.iconaholic.com/.  All buttons (rectangular/round/triangular) are created by myself using GIMP.  If I didn't create them, then they are carry overs from some of Buddabing's skins that I have tried out in the past.  All menu type buttons are organized into database/catagories (like MediaX).  This skin will be widescreen (1920x1080) only, and very remote freindly.

28/1/08 - Mirage...coming of age.

It's been a while, but since I started designing the Mirage skin...it has taken on a different look and flow.  The screen shots below will show how Mirage is looking today:


New Mirage Splash

 

 

 


 

Main Menu

 




 Video Menu

 

 

  

Album Select screen

 


 


Karaoke screen

 

 


  

DVD movie select screen

 

 

 


Movie Description screen

 

 

 


Movie Rating Screen

 

 

 


Weather 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


Multimedia (MediaPVR)/BES Skins

Xlobby skin on the MediaPVR, and a widescreen version for BES *Retired*

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.

New Splash screen

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.
 
 
More info to come in the near future.


Kiss Modified *Retired*

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.
This movie selection screen remains the same, only the second button is now a toggle button that toggles through different databases: adult movies (what is shown), children movies, recorded TV.



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)

Pressing the TV/PVR button on the main menu opens GAM to this screen


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.


Music Distribution Skins 

Xlobby ZoneSkin4 *Retired* 

ZoneSkin4 has now been basically retired with ZS5 release looming ever so close.  Large part is because my music system, yet again, has expanded.  This version allowed for the synchronization of multiple zones to multiple sources...meaning, any zone can switch into any source at any time.  It continued to use PervTalk to interface with the KX drivers for direct control of mixing and volume right at the soundcard level.  This setup is a great way to get full functionality out of the Audigy/KX DSP setup.  This is a good system for individuals that want to push the envelope beyond the norm of a winamp instance tied to a specific zone.  See pic below to get an idea.  View more screen shots here.

Download the latest version of the skin here (updated 22/07/08)

Check out the forum post on the Xlobby site for more details here


 

 

 

ZoneSkin4: Zone Select Screen

 


Xlobby ZoneSkin3 *Retired* 

 

ZoneSkin3 has been retired in my setup and has been replaced with ZoneSkin4.  It is a direct replacement of ZoneSkin2, and allowed for more zones, more capabilities, and better flow.  It was my first skin to incorporate PervTalk to interface with the KX drivers for direct control of mixing and volume right at the soundcard level.  See pic below to get an idea.  This system was the optimum setup for achieving basic control and diversity across the Audigy/KX DSP.  It is a great system for someone who wants basic zoning capabilities, but still wants some reasonable flexibility.

Download the last version of the skin here

Check out the forum post on the Xlobby site for more details here.  Since this skin is no longer used in my system, I am no longer supporting it.

 

 

 ZoneSkin 3 main page

 

 

 



Blast From The Past

ZoneSkin2

 
The Original ZoneSkin
 
 
Original Skin Attempt...Xlobby's version of the HDeeTV skin
 
 ...boy was this bad!