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post #1 of 19 Old 05-30-2012, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Alright, two or three months a do i stuck my PC in the living room and changed over to my Mac Mini for my office machine. Then I didn't use it, as the 360 just works so well. A couple days ago I loaded up Deus Ex 0 and after spending an hour and a half playing with settings, testing out 3D formats (1080p/30 3D works!), and working around general ATI driver design flaws. The first thing I noticed is that the advent of FXAA on the 360/PS3 has really closed the gap in visual quality between console and PC graphics, but on the other hand a perfect 60fps is quite a nice improvement over the consoles' solid 30fps.

Anyway. Using a mouse in the living room is retarded. So what HTPC gaming front ends do you guys use? Preferably I want something that sees my Steam folder and new games just automatically show up in. Also, controlling it with a 360 gamepad is a huge plus, though Harmony control would also work.

My suspicion is that this forum tends to trade horrible user interface for 60fps, but I'd love to be proven wrong!
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-30-2012, 04:32 PM
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I use a logitech trackball mouse (wireless) in the living room when browsing around the PC. It works just fine for me. Hardly anything close to retarded.

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post #3 of 19 Old 05-30-2012, 04:33 PM
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I would love to find a decent option for this as well. So far I have not had any luck.

I keep hearing rumors of Valve working on a 10 foot Steam UI. Hopefully those turn out to be true and will address some of the shortcomings in the current client. Grid view with large thumbnails looks nice on my TV but it is kinda dumb that you have to use a mouse in that view to start your games.

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post #4 of 19 Old 06-01-2012, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So nothing guys? Everyone here just uses a 2 foot interface at 10 feet and slaps the "good enough" sticker across the front of it?
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-01-2012, 09:16 PM
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I use GameEX for my arcade cabinet frontend. It works with pc games also. Pretty user friendly program that just works.

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post #6 of 19 Old 06-01-2012, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now that looks like a quality solution! Thanks WiseGuy! I'll give it a run and see how it works for Steam games.

What I really want is Steam's Big Picture mode. It's Valve though, so I shouldn't hold my breath on that one.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-02-2012, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Now that looks like a quality solution! Thanks WiseGuy! I'll give it a run and see how it works for Steam games.

What I really want is Steam's Big Picture mode. It's Valve though, so I shouldn't hold my breath on that one.

All of my PC games are in Steam myself, so what I do is I set up a custom entry point in Windows Media Center to load Steam and stop any playing media. That minimizes WMC and brings up Steam. With Steam itself, I have the window maximized (which is remembered every launch), and have it set to automatically open to the Games view, only showing my installed games. The list view can be navigated with my WMC remote. (Unfortunately, the grid view doesn't work with the remote, because that one looks nicer at 10 feet). And then when I'm done, I just hit the "Exit" button on my remote, which kills the Steam process and returns me to WMC.

It's definitely not ideal, and stupidly Steam also doesn't let you navigate their menus with a controller either. Still, it works well enough for me. I know there's setups like GameEx or GameBrowser (a MediaBrowser plugin) that work great, but I didn't want to have to manually configure every single game I install.

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post #8 of 19 Old 06-18-2012, 12:44 AM
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I made a custom steam skin that has larger text that better matches my DPI. I have always been bothered by the fact that some companies as big as valve just choose to write software that ignores DPI scaling in windows. The steam skin is not perfect but I can upload it somewhere a bit later. It could also be altered further for people with poorer vision.

I personally use an logitech performance MX mouse and 95% of the time I mouse on the arm of my couch. I find it works great. But I run into people who are xbox fans so I hooked up xbox controller and use a joystick modding program to allow the xbox controllers to navigate windows and move around. Works good in windows and also works good in WMC.

That being said the mouse is just strait up a superior input device. I am always trying to go the opposite way, I wish I could figure out how to get my mouse and keyboard to control my entire media system. I bought a logitech harmony link thinking I could control it with my PC but does not appear to be the case.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-06-2012, 08:30 AM
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After much fiddling around, I was finally able to integrate Steam into my XBMC setup for my living room PC. I set up Advanced Launcher to point to my Steam games. I added some artwork to the games selection screen and now I have in my opinion a very nice ten foot interface to choose my games with. Once I exit the game it returns me full screen to XBMC. I also set it up to where I can control the whole thing with an Xbox controller.

It would be nice if the setup process was a little easier to do however. When I add new movies or shows into XBMC the scrapers grab all the correct info and artwork 99% of the time. When I was adding my games, the scrapers were very unreliable. They got the info correct, but I had to do some searching for images to get some nice looking ones.

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-06-2012, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjb16 View Post

I use a logitech trackball mouse (wireless) in the living room when browsing around the PC. It works just fine for me. Hardly anything close to retarded.

Same here. Same mouse. I don't see how 'Windows' is "retarded". Seems like their little formula of an interface has been working out for them. rolleyes.gif

Imho, using a gamepad to navigate super dumb and non-useful interfaces is just as large a compromise to me. To each their own.

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-07-2012, 11:00 AM
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I think Scott is better than dlj so whatever Scott does I'm going to do with my new gaming rig. Guys, can I have a model number for that Logitech trackball?

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post #12 of 19 Old 08-07-2012, 11:35 AM
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Lol! Hey now.... James is kewl. tongue.gif

This is the exact mouse I use at home and at work: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-910-001799-M570-Wireless-Trackball/dp/B0043T7FXE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344364477&sr=8-1&keywords=logitech+trackball

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post #13 of 19 Old 08-07-2012, 12:43 PM
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I like to antagonize...

Here's a pic of my first and only trackball:

LogitechTrackBallMouse.jpg

Still have it, and just for shnitz-n-grins I'm going to string together a couple of extender cables after my rig is setup and see how it works. biggrin.gif

BTW: The reseller site where I got the pic from wants $30 bucks for this. cool.gif

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post #14 of 19 Old 08-07-2012, 02:06 PM
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I have (had) the one after that. It's in a couple pictures on that Amazon link compared to the new wireless one.

Love my trackball and keeps people off my computer! biggrin.gif

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post #15 of 19 Old 08-08-2012, 08:25 AM
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XBXC with Launcher addon is the way to go for a front end. As for controller, I ordered a wireless receiver for the 360 controller from China for like $10 (have had it for 2 yrs and never had any issues). I know "real gamers" rolleyes.gif don't like using a controller on a pc but playing on a 55", 15ft away from tv, sitting on my couch with a keyboard and mouse just isnt going to happen. Plus I normally play single player like Skyrim, Mass Effect, Just Cause etc. For FPS games that do not support 360 controller I use Pinnacle Profiler and it works really well.
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-17-2012, 09:26 AM
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Looks like Steam's 'big picture mode' will be out in a few weeks. Definitely glad for that, because it should make my setup from WMC work that much better.

http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/8/17/3249199/steam-big-picture-mode-beta-hardware

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post #17 of 19 Old 08-17-2012, 11:18 AM
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I'd be interested in trying it on my big screen. Although, I'd sure like to see what it looks like. I didn't see any pictures or previews of it in the article.

My Dual 18" LLT subs 120dB down to 10hz

 

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post #18 of 19 Old 08-18-2012, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

Looks like Steam's 'big picture mode' will be out in a few weeks. Definitely glad for that, because it should make my setup from WMC work that much better.
http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/8/17/3249199/steam-big-picture-mode-beta-hardware

First in line for the beta! biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-18-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So come October or November when Big Picture actually hits beta I guess I'll slap it on my laptop and see how it does. With good results, I'll use it as an excuse to build another machine. Everything else has been horrible, so Big Picture doesn't even have to be that good to immediately jump to the #1 position in it's field. wink.gif
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