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A (Very Unofficial) Aeon FAQ - Printable Version

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[FAQ] A (Very Unofficial) Aeon FAQ - Leeuw - 2009-05-05 05:31

I. GENERAL

1.1 What are "Stark" and "Auriga"? What is the difference?

[INDENT]"Stark" and "Auriga" are codenames for different releases of the Aeon skin (just like "Babylon" is the codename of the current version of XBMC). Stark is the codename for version 0.91 of Aeon, released at the end of March 2009. Auriga is the codename for version 1.0 of Aeon, which is currently still in development - so the Auriga branch is essentially a pre-release version of Aeon at this time.

Stark is a more "finished" product than Auriga and may be preferable to some users. Auriga is fully stable, however, and includes several features, such as multiplex and the night theme, that are not in Stark.[/INDENT]

1.2 Where can I download the latest version of Aeon?

[INDENT]NOTE: IT IS CURRENTLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU USE THE LATEST RELEASE OF XBMC WITH AEON, WHICH IS v9.04 "BABYLON", AVAILABLE HERE. ADVANCED USERS MAY ALSO WANT TO TRY THE LATEST SVN RELEASES FROM THE XBMC DEVELOPERS, ALTHOUGH BE WARNED THAT THESE ARE NOT OFFICIAL BUILDS AND FEATURES OCCASIONALLY BREAK AND MUST BE FIXED AGAIN BETWEEN RELEASES (USUALLY DOESN'T TAKE MORE THAN 24 HOURS THOUGH).

Before downloading the rest of the Aeon skin, you will need to download the fonts from the aeonproject.com website (direct link). Download the fonts and put them in a temporary location for now. After you have downloaded the rest of the skin files as described below, extract the fonts and place them in a "fonts" subfolder in the same root folder as the rest of your Aeon skin.

The latest version of Auriga is hosted at Github. There are 2 methods for downloading the Aeon skin files from github:

1. The Easier Method (for less advanced users):

The easiest way to download Auriga is to simply click on the [Image: download_button.png?add25bbfa82f0b09a209...6544a9699b] button from Github, which will give you the option to download the complete skin files as either a .zip or .tar file. This method will be all that is needed for most users, however, the advanced method described below is preferable if you would like to stay up-to-date with the latest releases or if you plan on modding Aeon.

2. The Advanced Method:

(Update 11-May-09: Now that djh has slowed down the pace of new releases, setting up github is probably not worth as much bang for your buck, so to speak, unless you are going to be modding.)

The preferred method of downloading is to use cygwin to clone a local copy of Aeon to your hard drive. Because Aeon contains a large number of files, an advantage of using Github is that, as new updates are released over time, you can download only the particular sections of code that have changed and automatically sync your local copy of the skin with the latest releases. This is also helpful if you have modded your skin files, as the modded code sections will only be overwritten if those particular sections of code have been updated by djh in a new release (i.e., even if other parts of the same skin files have been updated your mods will not be affected). A detailed guide to setting up Github for Aeon can be found here.

After you have downloaded the latest skin files from Github, remember to extract the fonts you downloaded above and place them in a "fonts" subfolder in the same root folder as the rest of your Aeon skin.

*To download Stark instead of Auriga, you can get it directly from the Aeon website at aeonproject.com.*[/INDENT]

1.2B Will Auriga run on my Xbox? Apple TV?

[INDENT]If you are going to be using Aeon on an xbox, apple tv or a pc that does not meet the suggested system requirements, you may want to try using a "lite" version of the skin. For xbox or pc users, there is an unofficial lite version of Aeon available from this thread, which includes instructions for basic installation and setup. For apple tv users, another lite build is in development here.[/INDENT]

1.3 Where do I get the backdrops?

[INDENT]The "official" Aeon backdrops can be downloaded from the aeonproject.com website in jpg format (direct link to gallery) or from mediafire here. (Update 5-May-09:) It is recommended that you convert any backdrops for the home screen to bitmap format (since jpg is a compressed format, using bitmaps can improve performance a bit because there is no decompression required to display the images. The performance increase may be negligble, however, if you have a fast machine already, so arguably you can skip this step). If you are using windows, there is a free program called IrfanView that is highly recommended for batch converting and/or renaming image files.[/INDENT]


- Leeuw - 2009-05-05 05:31

II. SETUP - GETTING THE "MOST" OUT OF AEON

2.1 How do I organize my media library for Aeon? What meta-files do I need and where should they be stored?

[INDENT]Aeon supports a number of meta files, including some that are not natively supported (yet) by XBMC. Getting everything to work for the time being until has required some hacks and work-arounds, and your files must adhere to Aeon-specific naming conventions and organization. An excellent visual guide with pictures and examples of the various meta information recognized and displayed by Aeon is available in this thread (based on this original version without pictures - good for quick reference).[/INDENT]

2.1B All my files are already organized/named another way! What can I do?

[INDENT]If you already have your files named or organized differently than Aeon requires, don't worry - there are a number of utilities to batch rename/move your files. This thread is a good place to start.[/INDENT]

2.2 How do I get the icons for bluray, movie studio, etc. (aka "Media Flags") to show up?

[INDENT]NOTE: THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMONLY ASKED ABOUT FEATURES OF AEON AND REQUIRES SOME PATIENCE AND READING TO GET WORKING. PLEASE READ THE GUIDES CAREFULLY.

Since the release of Stark, Aeon has the ability to display png images, called "media flags", highlighting certain meta information about your movies, including the studio, source type (e.g., bluray, hd-dvd, etc.), resolution and audio type. However, native support for media flags has not yet been added to xbmc, so Aeon uses a bit of hacking to get the job done. A detailed guide to setting up your library for media flags is available here and here.[/INDENT]

2.2B Is there a way to turn off all the "?" icons for flags that I don't have configured?

[INDENT]Yes, you can turn off either just the default "?" icons (they will be replaced by blank spaces) in the settings under Customization -> Advanced -> Views; or you can turn off media flags altogether by ticking Flags: On/Off from the library menu bar.[/INDENT]

2.3 Landscape thumbs for tv series?
[INDENT]Yes, Auriga is the only skin that uses landscape thumbs for tv series, and yes, that means you will have to download a whole new image type for each of your tv shows. Call it egoistic, call it unfair - the issue has been debated and the developer understands how you feel, but you will have to get over it and move on if you want to use Auriga. (Update 6-May-09: There is now a mod for going back to poster-sized thumbs for tv shows, starting here (keep reading through the next few posts to get to the files)). If you are new to Auriga, you actually have the advantage that most of the hard work has already been done for you. Landscape tv thumbs have already been created for dozens of tv series and are indexed here and hosted on thetvdb. Since the thumbs must be named "folder.jpg", you should use a batch renaming tool to rename all your existing folder.jpg files to something like "poster.jpg".[/INDENT]

2.4 Where can I get fanart and thumbnails for my media?
[INDENT]Movies: the default resource for movie fanart and posters is themoviedb.org (TMDb for short). XBMC scrapes TMDb for posters and fanart by default. In addition, getvideoartwork.com has a very large database of high resolution posters without any studio copy, similar to the posters displayed on itunes and apple tv. Another site that shouldn't go without mention is IMP Awards, especially helpful for foreign-language movie posters.

TV Shows: TheTVDB.com is the "mother" of all tv meta-data sites and is the default site scraped by XBMC for tv episode information, thumbs and fanart. You should be able to find what you need there, or you can request it in TheTVDB forums.

Music and Other: htbackdrops has a large collection of high res backdrops/fanart for music artists, as well as a growing section of backdrops for generic categories (e.g., generic-videos, generic-settings). A very nice aeon-specific "settings" backdrop is also here.[/INDENT]

2.4B What size do my thumbs and fanart need to be?
[INDENT]There really is no "optimum" size - so long as the pixel height of your images are at least as great as your screen resolution height, your images will not be stretched. The dimensions of your images are important though; fanart and tv show thumbs for multiplex should be 16:9 and poster thumbs should be 2:3. Of course, larger images will generally look nicer, and you should not have to worry too much about performance issues since (theoretically) everything is handled by xbmc's internal caching operations.[/INDENT]


- Leeuw - 2009-05-05 05:33

III. ADVANCED

3.1 What are all these mods I see posted in the forums? Where/how do I get started modding Aeon?
[INDENT]XBMC skins are made up of a series of xml files, which can be modified, or "modded", to add to or change the functionality of a particular skin. Partially due to the fact that Auriga is still in development, and also due to Aeon's popularity, an especially large number of mods have been posted in the Aeon forums. If you haven't been reading the forums since Stark was first released (or even if you haven't checked the forums for just a few days), it can easily feel a bit overwhelming to know where to begin or if there are any "must have" mods that "everyone" is using.

The answer, I think, is that there really are no such mods and the vast majority of users probably will not find it necessary to mod Aeon at all. Substantially all of the more popular "new feature"-type mods have made it into Auriga in one form or another (or djh has announced that they will be implemented eventually). The remaining mods generally fall into the category of "alternative design/layout"-type mods that really are personal to the tastes of individual users.

If you are willing to take the plunge and would like to explore the modding options available, just search/browse the threads in this forum with the word "[mod]" in the title. For the most part, the mods on the first couple of pages of the forums are all you will really need to look at -- there is no "essential" mod buried on page 17 somewhere.

Ultimately, though, there really are no shortcuts or FAQ's likely to be able to stay current with all the mods posted from time to time. To some degree, there is no avoiding the task of reading through the forums and staying somewhat current with new threads if you want to be on the bleeding edge of all new feature development for Auriga. Again, I think this is overkill for most users -- unless there is a particular tweak (tweak not entire feature) that you want to search for or try to make on your own, you will eventually get all of the major new features and updates through new releases of the main skin from djh.[/INDENT]

3.1B How can I write my own mods?
[INDENT]If you want to try writing your own mods, the best place to start reading is the XBMC skinning manual.[/INDENT]

3.2 Where do all the high res backdrops and fanart come from? How do I make my own?
[INDENT]Follow the rabbit hole...[/INDENT]


- krypt2nite - 2009-05-05 05:57

Thanks for writing this. With my thread on flagging my real intent was to create a source of information especially for the lurkers. With all the talk recently involving people having a hard time navigating the forums and the shear amount of topics I'm glad to see people start writing this stuff. Now someone needs to work on a huge informative post that deals with everything so Duncan can sticky it.


- tuckbodi - 2009-05-05 06:00

This is great. Basically organizes a bunch of my notes and bookmarks into one place for me. Smile An info area on mods would be much appreciated! Thx again!


- Leeuw - 2009-05-05 14:30

krypt2nite Wrote:With my thread on flagging my real intent was to create a source of information especially for the lurkers. With all the talk recently involving people having a hard time navigating the forums and the shear amount of topics I'm glad to see people start writing this stuff.

Krypt2nite, your guide is terrific, and a huge thanks goes out to the others on this forum who really did the "heavy lifting" of putting detailed guides together on specific topics -- this FAQ is really just a portal to your efforts.


- rcoops - 2009-05-05 14:33

Thanks for this great guide, I am certainly going to bookmark it for easy reference in the future.


- azido - 2009-05-05 15:42

one question though:

Quote:NOTE: IT IS CURRENTLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU USE THE LATEST STABLE RELEASE OF XBMC WITH AEON, WHICH IS v9.04 (BABYLON) BETA 1

i hope you meant the minimum recommendation for aeon to work is to install babylon beta 1 or higher..


- Leeuw - 2009-05-05 16:53

azido Wrote:babylon beta 1 or higher..

Azido, do you mean the release candidate or the later svn releases?


- azido - 2009-05-05 18:04

Leeuw Wrote:Azido, do you mean the release candidate or the later svn releases?

i mean the actual svn releases. they work like a charm with aeon as long as there is nothing broken in a build. at least for me using always the latest build reflecting any changes in the win32 branch.

you know, ppl tend to act like sheeps, so if someone states aeon is only working with babylon beta 1, they skip using newer builds Wink that's why i thought i might post here.


- Leeuw - 2009-05-05 18:27

azido Wrote:i mean the actual svn releases. they work like a charm with aeon as long as there is nothing broken in a build.

Yeah, I struggled initially with whether to include a note about the svn releases because of the "as long as there is nothing broken" aspect... I updated the FAQ though with a warning about potential issues, so people will at least know there's a choice. Thanks for the feedback!


- azido - 2009-05-05 22:23

Leeuw Wrote:Yeah, I struggled initially with whether to include a note about the svn releases because of the "as long as there is nothing broken" aspect... I updated the FAQ though with a warning about potential issues, so people will at least know there's a choice. Thanks for the feedback!

you're welcome Wink


- Leeuw - 2009-05-06 17:36

The FAQ has now been updated with sections on modding and fanart/thumbs.


- boxterduke - 2009-05-07 15:38

Great job OP, thanks for sharing. This will save people hunting for threads.


- phatnutz - 2009-05-12 01:57

Just wanted to say thanks for this - It's a huge help! If you have the chance to address it, I'd like some help getting the custom weather images working. I read that it's supported in the latest rev on github, but I couldn't get it working and got sidetracked on something else so it's still not working for me.

Thanks again for a great FAQ