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Best multi-emulator frontend?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by SoNick, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Hello!
    For several years I had a cheap PC running MythTV. I upgraded the parts over the years and even did a near-complete replace at one point, but eventually my roommates and I switched cable providers to one that provides encrypted content to STBs over ethernet so the PC was gathering dust. My intention is to turn the decently-powerful computer into a file server, an emulation station, and possibly a video player. The first will be simple; I have two 1TB drives and two 3TB drives in there, once I have more files than basic OS stuff on it I can just share out the storage drives. The last one is also simple; I have VLC installed and running and I just need to move my videos from my backups over to this computer.

    The second has me stuck. Sure, I can install emulators with ease and I have no shortage of controllers and controller adapters. However, I would also like to run a frontend that looks good from the couch. I recall talking with CoolJerk on IRC several times as he's gone down this path before and I believe that he recommended MediaPortal at the time, but I have no information on what it's current features are vs. Boxee or basic XBMC. What I really want is a frontend that stores metadata such as release date, genre, publisher, and so on, preferably pulled from an online source to save me the time it takes to type it in for each game. It was fun playing with Linux, but in order to support more games I'm running Windows 7 64-bit now. Support for Steam games from the frontend would be a nice plus, but if that isn't available then I can just add a "Steam" launcher to the consoles page and then have it run in Big Picture mode. I also have access to a Netflix account so something that will allow me to access that service without a keyboard/mouse would be a neat plus, but some quick searching on an independent program to do so has dampened my hopes of finding a frontend with a plugin that supports this service.

    Do any of you have any recommendations on what I should use?
  2. Impish


    GameEx does the large majority of those features, and can integrate with XBMC somewhat, the only problem is that it isn't free, and the trial version is super basic. Plus to get the data scraping stuff (thats what its called when a program accesses online databases to get metadata) you'll have to use Emumovies, which is also better when paid for a subscription, but it's not a requirement.

    If you're fine for something a bit less information heavy, but much flashier and better looking, go for Maximus Arcade. Maximus has a timed trial and then you need to pay for it, but its well worth the money + - or the hunt for a pirated copy, I did see one, ages ago   . It is simply gorgeous with it's screen to screen animations and simple menu styles, and the skins are good too. It also works with Emumovies, but I'm not sure of the capacity for automatic integration of the information it has.

    But yeah, for the best automatic configuration front-ends, you're probably going to have to go for a paid one. If your happy getting your hands dirty with some XML code however, there is a free, more aesthetically pleasing one available. HyperSpin is entirely database based, so to customize even what games it shows (it'll assume you have fullsets at first) you'll have to change the xml files in it's databases. However, it is arguably the best looking front-end out there, especially if you get all of the snaps, banner art, box shots and gameplay videos for each game sorted into their specific folders, which make the front end come out looking like a real arcade machine or games console.