QuickPlay New Features Guide

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Information for the QuickPlay 4.1.3 release

     * New full Retroarch Efind 

The Retroarch team's goal of standardising and making loads of emulators 'just work' for the average user is totally the spirit of QuickPlay, so install this alongside Retroarch, do an EFind in QuickPlay to find all the Retroarch emulators, link them to your roms, and play some games....MAME through retroarch should work well, but MESS is a more complicated matter so Retroarch MESS support will be the next QuickPlay release

     * Multiloader Cache

Some brand new functionality I wrote when on holiday: QuickPlay can cache archived disc images locally in a temp directory - this is designed for if you run a NAS box or similar, cd/dvd images that you've downloaded to your laptop will stay on your laptop in the cache. The reason for this is twofold: firstly you can be without network and still keep on playing your games, and secondly if you hold your games as zips somewhere on a network its not a good idea to mount the zip remotely, or to unzip the iso to a remote location, or to try to unzip a remote zip to a local location. Instead, the thing to do is to copy the zip to a local cache and to then process it locally.

By default the cache directory is C:/QPGame, but you can change this if you edit the multiloader ini file (tools/multiloader/multiloader.ini). The cache is on by default. The downside of the cache is you then have to maintain it yourself (i mean delete your zips and isos manually when you don't want them locally any more) but there is a flag in the ini you can set to go back to the old behaviour of wiping the cache every time you exit a game.

Bear in mind also that you can delete the iso after playing a game, but if you delete the zip, then QuickPlay will download it again and re-extract the iso next time you run i.e: even if the iso is still in the temp dir (the reason for this is that we need to read what's in the archive to know what the iso is called). So you have to have the zip hanging around unfortunately...

To know what needs to be cached, the multiloader uses robocopy and looks for symlinks - We use robocopy as this has been installed by default on windows since Windows 7. The core way the cache works is by this simple rule, which you either have to live by, or not use the cache - let us know if this doesn't work for you!): if the rom you're trying to load with the multiloader is a symlink, the multiloader will assume that the file is not on the local machine and will copy the zip to the cache directory before processing it. But if the file isn't a symlink, it will assume the file is somewhere on your local filesystem and will process it directly from there (for instance, if you're mounting the actual iso rather than the zip it will then use 7zip to unzip the iso to the cache directory, so be aware there will still be files in the cache that need manually deleting - again let us know if this doesn't work for you?). In order to have fine-grained control of what is and is not a symlink I really recommend LinkShellExtension[1] its a really great tool that windows users should be proud to have!

Checks your local copies of archives and recopy if they got interrupted/corrupted - if your archive file is readable by 7zip, it does a quick check to see if it can open the archive. If not it will pull it down again. Useful for if you didn't quite get time to finish the download before you had to leave....

Now that QuickPlay implements a cache for CD/DVD, new things become possible - for instance here's just one idea: if you can make your games available to you when you're out of the house (for instance over webDav or FTP or similar) you can use Netdrive[2] to mount the store as if it were a local drive, and then point QuickPlay to some symlinks that link to that drive. Then if you're away from home, selecting a CD/DVD game in QuickPlay will download your game and keep it locally for as long as you need it.

    * Multiloader functions/upgrade

The multiloader's been upgraded to exclusively use Daemon Tools Lite 10.4 (released in July 2016). Its a great release - the previous release forced you to create a new drive every time and the added delay of doing this when mounting was painful. This time around, they've allowed you to persist a drive with the same drive letter across reboots (though I'd note that their api states that daemon can tell you what the drive letter is, and the number of virtual drives you've got mounted, but this is non-functional). So make sure you download the latest version (they change their command-line call every time they release!). If you can't use the latest version for whatever reason, you'll have to modify the DT calls in the multiloader_imp.bat.

Its important for many emulators that you keep the same drive letter for the daemon tools virtual drive, and important for many games to work that it is a SCSI drive. So create a SCSI drive (installing the driver as necessary) and tick all options to peristently mount the drive as the same drive letter.

you can now mount a zip in daemon tools and pass the iso to the emulator - we finally made use of Daemon Tools' ability to mount zips, but you need to alter the multiloader config file to tell it what drive letter to use (tools/multiloader/multiloader.ini). You have to do this because Daemon can't tell us what drive letter it is using itself - a bug report needs to be filed with them.

We now look in archives using 7zip to find the runnable iso - due to the amount of stuff the multiloader now does, its console window has been made visible. Sorry its not pretty, but at least this way you can see progress.

Made multiloaders for some PSP, Gamecube, NDS and Dreamcast emus - so why do we have a multiloader for emulators that don't need a file extracted or mounted (like gamecube and dolphin with the .gcz format)? The reason is because we can now cache those systems' games too, so you can store games you are playing on your laptop

Added Saturn emulator SFF to multiloader - the problem with SFF has always been that it insists on the right bios for the right region's game, and this was outside of the multiloader's remit. But there exists a region free bios out there somewhere, which means, if you have this BIOS, you should be able to now use SFF with the multiloader

Supports the non-typical command line of NullDC the Dreamcast emu - a short exception for NullDC has been added, allowing QuickPlay to call the iso directly inside another parameter in the call. As long as there is the string 'NullDC' as the emulator filename (and the EFind will only find it if it is!), and if you select the 'direct' multiloader for NullDC (passing the ISO file to the emu rather than the mounted ISO) this will be automatically-applied

    * Multiloader maintainance

Fixed a bug where you sometimes had to click a rom twice to (multi-)load it - the fault was in the executable that runs the multiloader bat file. Its good to have a bat file for users to alter themselves (did I mention that Daemon Tools alters their command-line EVERY release - it's the strangest thing! Best to give the user flexibility), but in order to achieve that we have to compile a batch runner to an executable that QuickPlay can find. For many years I've used Faith Kodak's bat2exe converter, and his newest version handles quoting shortnames better than any other bat2exe converter I've ever found. However, by their very nature, these throw up false positive virus warnings - for instance see here. I had to write to sourceforge last month to get them to whitelist QuickPlay because their Mcafee or something thought Faith's last exe was a virus. Its not, so please just add an exception to windows Defender or any other anti-virus prog for Multiloader.exe (strangely only one of my test PC's shows this problem and all the others don't try and quarantine the file) - notice your antivirus vendor can only tell you that the exe's 'signature' is similar to a virus - that's because it runs executable code based on a text file! That's how it works! Its not a virus. I need to use a bat2exe converter, so this is always going to be a problem.....

Removed winmount from the multiloader (this was great but got discontinued)

Fixed exclamation marks and ampersands in paths

Fixed to consitently use 8:3 names/shortnames or longnames - its useful to process romnames with the ancient 8:3 name format sometimes (because they can be stupid long) so we try to favour that, and support being passed both short and long names

    * Efind

Fixed bug with efind window and large displays - if you've set the 'appearance of fonts and other items' to be larger than 100% on windows (and if you've got anything larger than an HD monitor you probably have!) then this was rendering the efind window unusable unless you swithed to a lower resolution. I redesigned the gui element.

Fixed issue with results screen

    * added background images submitted by dar3255
    * Corrected system names for some systems

Largely to make more consistency with Retroarch

Information for the QuickPlay 4.1.0 release

     * v.4.0 prep - Added new tool.ini files and support for Butterfly100's new tools files. More to do...
     * Includes many fixes from the new comunity
     * Tools sidebar now populates with all community supplied tools on first launch -
     * tools either launch or provide docs about their use
     * Tempest's tools have been altered with hard-coded paths and help files for easy use within QP
     * System Ini Files' game history dat files now set themseleves up as Game History media panel items for new users for the 29 goodsets we made them for

In QP's left hand-sidebar there are 4 tabs: ROMS, SEARCHES, EMULATORS and TOOLS. 'Roms' holds your folders, 'Searches' holds saves your searches, 'Emulators' lists your emulators, and 'Tools' is a user-configurable way to setup Tools that can be used in QuickPlay. We have setup some of these tools based on the community-supplied work posted since the last version of QuickPlay - In particular Romdata Magician (which applies Game information to your Goodmerged and other romdatas) - to back up Romdata magician, new users will also find the Game History files for all the goodsets set up for the appropriate systems in QuickPlay's media panel (existing users can link to the individual History.dat files here: qp\tools\Romdata Magician\GoodMerge System Ini and History Files\). Each of the Tools in the Tools Sidebar Tab has its own readme.

     * Updated, cleaned up and attributed icons

We now post a lot of great icons with QuickPlay itself, thanks to those contributors you can find named in About/QuickPlay. The icons are simply named after the Machine they represent, so Atari 2600's three icons are named 2600.ico, 2600_1.ico, 2600_2.ico

     * Fixed .gif not displaying
     * Fixed resizing of assets in Media Panel
     * Word Wrap

Background images can now be in .gif format, screenshots now resize themselves in the Media Panel, Text in the Media Panel (History files, Additional Info etc) now word-wraps.

     * Added ReactOS CMD command and improved support for Start and Explorer commands
     * Emulators.ini now instatiates on 1st run with ReactOS for PC Games (Start and Explorer)

A really annoying thing that can happen with frontends is that you end up having to create a lot of 'fake' emulators because the only way to start games is to have separate settings for each. To fix this, a new install of QuickPlay will set itself up with two emulators under the system 'PC' for Start and Explorer (Or you can scan the QP directory with an EFind to find these if you're upgrading). These allow you to make calling a game and its parameters a thing that you put in your ROMLIST rather than in an 'emulator'

     * Updates to Arcade functionality
     * "Rename Mame Roms" now directs users to Perl script and (extensive) online support
     * Mame Icons now show parent icon if needed and if they can
     * Mame languages ini setup
     * Mame Perl script updated inc. support for 7z and fully merged sets
     * Mame History process fixed and updated
     * Mame Info process fixed and updated

A lot of small tweaks have improved the MAME support in QuickPlay making it work better and making it easier to setup, there is a good walkthrough for how to set everything up, and it sure looks pretty and works well when you have!

     * The first call to %EXEPATH% as a CMD param now MOVES the position of the emu call in the CMDline instead of repeating emu call

Long-time quickplay users will know how useful this is. This is just a quick way to be able to setup an emulator, but call something ELSE before we call the emulator. We used this to put the Multiloader Tool into EFinds. As soon as you put %EXEPATH% in your command line to call, it will move where the emulator gets called

    * Mess Efind updated to 0153
    * Mess Icon directory can now complement QP's own icons - added to appearance options

MESS Magician is included in the Tools folder and allows you to make individual folders from Mess softlists. A full set of the working systems for the latest version of Mess can also be downloaded from the forum site if you don't want to do this manually yourself. MESS assets can be used in QuickPlay, in particular if you want to add to the system Icons included with QuickPlay with all those ones in mess, you can now link to your MESS icons directory in General Options

    * Multiloader now available as a TOOL
    * Multiloader updated
    * Multiloader now configured for various systems in EFinds

The QuickPlay CD/DVD Multiloader is the exe that automatically deals with multiple types of compressed images and mounting disk image types for QuickPlay. Previously you guys had to download and set this up yourself, but now the Multiloader Tool is in the QuickPlay package and can be accessed via the command line by calling %TOOL:Multiloader% - this can be used in combination with %EXEPATH% to pass your Emulator and Game to the Multiloader. The Multiloader will now also prompt you to install 7zip or Daemon Tools Lite if the operation you asked it to do requires them and they aren't installed. See the Multiloader readme which you can access by double clicking the Multiloader Icon in the Tools tab.

Various Multiloaders for different emulators are included in Efind searches via an Efind in the EFinds folder called multiloader.ini. If you have any of the emulators that are already configured, it will setup the MultiLoader for that Emulator for you when you do an EFind. Then just point at some disk images, click the button, and there you go - its setup for Mednaen's PS1 and PCE-CD support, 4DO, Fusion (for SegaCD), Magic Engine for PCECD), NullDC, PsX, WinUAE (for CDTV/CD32) , Nebula (for NeoGeoCD) and PCSX2. 'Direct' in the title means that there are probably two versions of that Multiloader - the 'non-direct' version will pass the disc image to Daemon Tools and the 'Direct' version passes the image directly to the emulator. Please help us set it up for more systems by posting us your command lines at the forum [3]. The multiloader EFinds sometimes like you to have drive K:\ setup as your daemon Tools drive, but this is changeable on the system's command line call - have a look at each command line call.