Lets make a difference to XBMC (joint skin project) => Team Razorfish and MediaStream

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MikeBeecham Offline
Team Plex
Posts: 987
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Post: #1
Ok...I know the title is a bit cheesy...I couldn't think of what else to put which clearly defines what the post is about.

For some time now, I have been dissatisfied with the skins that we have for XBMC. Probably the best one out there is PM3 without a doubt...it's classy and does the job it is designed to do but, lets face it, it's getting old now, and I'm sure jezz would agree?. HarshReality once posted that he gets tired of seeing exciting mockups come to nothing more than decent graphics on the forums...all style and no substance. I have to say that I find myself agreeing more and more these days with that statement.

In XBMC we have a media centre that blows ALL competition away in terms of feature-rich functionality. XBMC really does have all the bells and whistles it claims to have. Nothing (and I DO mean nothing) can come close to what we get in XBMC for free. AppleTV can't come close, HP Media Centre cant come close, and Vista MCE can't come close. In terms of functionality, we have the best that there is, and it's getting better with the help of people like Jezz, Spiff, Donno, and others on the XBMC Team

However, it saddens me to feel that the visual GUI of XBMC lets down the functionality...and this is where I want to step in.

I am calling out to the XBMC community, on both the XBMC and Xbox-Scene forums, and asking if there are people here that would like to be part of a collabroative effort to create a truly Professional-looking skin for XBMC. I'm talking about creating a skin that can MORE than match the paid-for skins provided by Microsoft, HP, Acer, etc.

Within the community we have people with staggering talents. We have designers and coders that can create amazing peices of work when the motivation is in place. What I want to do is pool these resources into one big team (or maybe maybe two smaller teams...I'll explain shortly) and make a collaborative effort to create something new, fresh, exciting and professional. I'm not wanting to create a new skin for the sake of a new skin. No disrespect of offense intended, but I dont want to create Halo skins, music skins or movie skins because they're the fave game or music at the time...I want XBMC to boast an exciting, visually-pleasing skin that ticks all of the boxes, and (as said before) can match the paid-for media centres that professional companies create and charge for.

We need to bear in mind that the project would have tosplit into two and run parallel with each other...obviously there is a need to embrace HD technology and create the skin to meet this standard...however many people are still using SD (myself included) and, therefore, this would need to be a consideration when taking the project forward.

So then...over to you. I am happy to project manage or share the responsibility with other people in order to get things going, but it wont happen without YOU. Do you want to be part of something that could change the face of XBMC forever? Do you want to be part of an effort to give XBMC a facelift and put it firmly in first place.

If this is something that you would like to be part of, then please email me at teambeecham@gmail.com, letting me know what part you could play, along with any experience you've had in the past.

I really hope you guys take this opportunity with both hands and run with it. I think it's exciting, and I hope you will to.

Cheers for listening, and I hope to hear from you soon.




Mike
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HarshReality Offline
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Post: #2
Interesting idea Mike. There are alot of skinners (wish I was one but if you dont have the talent you just dont have it) maybe this can serve to motivate them to work in a single direction on a project rather than a series of smaller projects... who knows maybe they could pool resources and complete some of the already existing projects and then work on additional future projects.

Im curious to see if the creative minds here can collaborate in a single unified direction......

[Image: x3.jpg]
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blittan Offline
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Post: #3
Excellent idea there Mike. I can surely agree with the pain in seeing great mockups that turns out into a sloppy made alpha and then dies.

There sure are alot of talent out there, but I guess that most (since they havent done it before) knows the kind of effort that is involved in skincreation. Also we need to remember that PMIII has evolved into what it is now over several years.

Hope this turns out nicely Smile

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pike Offline
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Post: #4
The King needs new clothes

hope this will result in something special

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C-Quel Offline
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Post: #5
pike Wrote:The King needs new clothes

hope this will result in something special

Bear in mind hehas also gained weight... so its got to be heavy material!

Zotac ID89 + 4GB + 160GB Intel SSD + Samsung UE40D7000 + DS411+II / 2 x 3TB WD RED CAVIAR (TVHeadend Package + 4 Tuners) + Fibaro HC2 Home Automation Intergration!

^^^

Fucking awesome springs to mind :)

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MacGyver Offline
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Post: #6
like the idea, and I've seen your art work, so I know you'd be a good man for the job.

I think real life cuts into almost every skinners plans, so I propose that you break the development down even further into sections, we all start out trying to create the thing by ourselves, but it's a daunting task to have to create a whole skin with even two people, so for all that join up, dish out a window or popup, give them their mockup (directed by you) and have them only have to worry about their one screen or media view. Hopefully enough people are into the idea, that you can dish out the same screen to more then one person, then you can have more then one to chose from, then have the two work together building the best screen out of the best of each others ideas.

What about using this thread as a place for you to collect ideas about how it should look, and what it should be? Then you could create mockups to fit what's coming in, and basically design the entire skin in a mockup form all the way down to where popups will go, then divvy out the projects to make it into reality. That way everyone gets an idea of how it all fits together with their piece of the puzzle.

BTW, count me in for a media view or two Smile
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Gamester17 Offline
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Post: #7
May I suggest that you use the XBMC Skinning Project's SVN and trackers for easier management to start with?

Good luck!

PS! Another argument for team-work collaboration and making the skin/skins a community project is that it will not die, ...because if there is something that tiers me more than mockups that goes no where, it is great skins that stops being maintained because it only had one person working on it and only that one person who had access to the full source, and that one person stops working on it or goes M.I.A.

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Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
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MikeBeecham Offline
Team Plex
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Post: #8
Absolutely great point Gamester!

Another good point is MacGuyvers, and something that I have been thinking about. If I get a few names, I can split down the designers and coders into separate groups (another people I have forgotten...sorry!!). Once we have clearly defined group or groups set up then we can give all these people the login details to the SVN.

We speak to the designers, brainstorm a design idea...maybe look at what has been done on the corporate side (MCE, HP' media center, etc) then see if we can get something consistent mocked up.

Would it also be a good idea at that point to create a special section to the forum for those involved (and only those for the time being) so it would be easier to contact each other, etc?

Once we have a design plan and clearly defined roles, it would be then down to the designers to get some images created for the coders to work on.

It might also be a grand idea for the coders (and designers) to talk over the sub ject matters of animation, etc.

I like where this is going!!!
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skunkm0nkee Offline
Team Razorfish
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Location: London
Post: #9
I totally agree that a structured team approach to creating a new skin is a great idea. Far too many skins are created by solitary skinners who start out with plenty of enthusiasm and ideas but once they get the main windows looking sexy and the core functionality done (if they even get that far!) they being to lose their drive and the thought of hunting down the bugs, getting full functionality and getting the skin to completion is just too much.

I also agree with MacGyver that it would be a good idea to have someone leading the project (you!), managing the volunteers and overseeing who is responsible for what. Getting a good, clear initial design will also be vital and with some of the designers and artists we seem to have on the forums it shouldn't be too hard. Nod

One thing that might be worth considering is whether it needs to be a completely new skin or whether we could take an existing concept (one of those that didn't get to completion) and put all these resources into improving it and completing it?
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timdog82001 Offline
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Post: #10
great idea. Hopefully something cool comes out of this. I would be willing to contribute, but i'm already in the middle of making a skin, and i leave for spain for two months in about a week...so I'd be out of the picture before it even began, most likely. Hope all goes well!
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jaredharley Offline
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Post: #11
Unfortunately, my talents are weak compared to most of the master skinners in these forums Smile
However, I think Mike's right, and this can make a difference - I'll support it as much as I can!
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Broads Offline
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Post: #12
Sounds like a plan Mike, I'll help where and when I can.
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SyphOn Offline
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Post: #13
It's a realy good a idea, but... it realy needs a good method or a strict structure for it to work. Like mentioned before, people also have real life which can get in the way sometime.

I hope u can get this to work!
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BritneysPAIRS Offline
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Post: #14
I have no issues helping.... but for me there is a few issues that skinners cant control that I like to sort out for myself. I have many ideas and fully functioning stuff that isnt in any skin ive seen and would hand any sources over or help. The concept is the most important part and locking the vision down, the skinning side is pretty easy just takes time. I myself use only PM3 modded but I am currently doing exactly what you say and im looking at exactly what I want in a skin and ill spend a long time making sure everything is exactly the way I want it.
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MikeBeecham Offline
Team Plex
Posts: 987
Joined: Apr 2007
Post: #15
very good point there BP, and one that we should begin to focus in on. The first thing we will need to do is look at what is already out there in terms of functionality and design, then look at something better.

Mind you, in terms of design I have to say that thedeViL's Fluid is one of the nicest mock-ups I've seen that gives the professional nature of MCE, etc a run for it's money.
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