Alaska - The Vision

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Hitcher Offline
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Posts: 10,877
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Location: Eastleigh, UK
Post: #1
djh -

There are several things about Aeon that frustrate me, so I decided to exorcise them. This is a modest project in comparison. Aeon will still be finished (one day). Consider this the anti-Aeon.

Key features/objectives:

- Almost no textures = very small footprint (approx. 5-10mb)
- Ubiquitous elements include Now Playing widget and RSS (visible everywhere, never disturbed by screen transitions)
- High performance at 1080p
- Incredibly easy to mod (just tweak the backdrop filter and font colours for graphite, brushed metal themes, etc.)
- Very simple - n00b-friendly throughout
- Seamless transitions between all windows create single unified environment

These are concepts. The entire skin will be designed first and implemented second. More screens as they become ready; consider these strictly WIP. Expected elements like scrollbars, flags will be added.

[Image: alaska_movies.jpg]

[Image: alaska_moviesFA.jpg]

[Image: alaska_episodesFA.jpg]

[Image: alaska_movieinfoFA.jpg]
To give credit where it's due, the list layout for TV was derived from something Emilio was working on a while ago. It's just a shame he's so busy as I doubt that project will ever come to light.

Regarding the idea of a dark/light theme, the advantage of having so few textures is that mods like that should be very easy to do. You're basically just changing the colour of one large panel and the text. And the lack of obstructive furniture on the screen should make modding the layout / inserting custom view types similarly straightforward.

Important things to mention.

- the icon is actually by Jonatan Castro, whom I haven't approached (yet). It's just there to indicate the kind of size and quality I'm after
- there is no Picture library in XBMC, so the items count is just a pipedream. I'm not even sure if you could pull the item count from the Movie/TV/Music libraries. Would be nice, though

[Image: alaska_home.jpg]

[Image: alaska_homeFA.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 2010-05-28 19:13 by Hitcher.)
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Hitcher Offline
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Posts: 10,877
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Location: Eastleigh, UK
Post: #2
djh -

As you've probably guessed, this Info page is just part of the browser. The focus icon slides across and the info appears, much like old Aeon.

[Image: alaska_movieinfo2NFA.jpg]

[Image: alaska_movieinfo2FA.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 2010-05-28 19:13 by Hitcher.)
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Hitcher Offline
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Posts: 10,877
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Location: Eastleigh, UK
Post: #3
djh -

Realtime:

[Image: alaska_movies_realtime1.jpg]

[Image: alaska_movies_realtime2.jpg]

[Image: alaska_episodes_realtime1.jpg]

[Image: alaska_episodes_realtime2.jpg]

[Image: alaska_episodes_realtime3.jpg]

One of the more interesting features of debug mode:

[Image: alaska_grid.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 2010-05-28 19:13 by Hitcher.)
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Hitcher Offline
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Post: #4
djh -

Icons are by David Lanham, with the odd strategic tweak here and there. I've decided there won't be any custom background support for the homepage; that's Aeon's job, and I'd rather this stayed simple and effective. The backgrounds weren't exactly visible anyway.

[Image: alaska_home_final1.jpg]

[Image: alaska_home_final2.jpg]

Home screen #1 would probably have been used had it worked. Unfortunately:

- proper text alignment simply wasn't possible
- I'd never have found a consistent set of icons at that quality

I see I'll be doing two versions of the Home page or I'll never hear the end of it. I had considered doing a text-based alternative so it's not a problem - just don't expect anything glamorous. I'm sure someone will mod custom backdrop support in at some point.

Anyway, here's something else for you to moan about. Ignore the glyphs on the icons - they're mostly random placeholders at the moment. What you can't really see in screenshots is that both the icon panel and text labels 'float' to assume the best positions. Looks nicer than you'd think.

[Image: alaska_settings1.jpg]

[Image: alaska_settings2.jpg]

Right. Here are some TV section screens in case you want to prep any artwork.

[Image: alaska_tvshows1.jpg]

[Image: alaska_tvshows2.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 2010-05-28 19:13 by Hitcher.)
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Hitcher Offline
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Post: #5
djh -

There's so little code in this picture wall that you could do loads of different grid options with very little overhead, so I suspect I'll do that. I've tried out 4x3, 7x2 and 7x1 so far. I'll also put in an optional clear-out of the screen if you idle for a few seconds, so you get a proper view of the artwork without the whole click/back business. There'll also be a few options for the 'fogginess' of the backdrop, though nothing too drastic.

[Image: alaska_pics1.jpg]

As for the Music Wall, it currently has a few unwelcome features similar to the old Aeon wall, but until there's a proper control for wall browsers there's little I can do. Again, there'll be opacity options for the cloudiness here as it's currently prettier than it is functional. That's inevitable, really, given the unique demands of the skin's overall layout. That animations for the entire skin are looking fantastic at the moment.

[Image: alaska_musicwall1.jpg]

[Image: alaska_musicwall2.jpg]

Bit of a change to the home page. Now it uses user-definable art to create something more dynamic - let's face it, icons are so yesterday - but still simple. The images are pulled from folders and change together at preset intervals, much like custom backdrops. The differences:

- you see multiple bits of artwork at once, none of them obscured by anything
- because they're smaller, the amount of artwork available goes through the roof. No more missing out on stellar art because it's only available at 800px

The layout creates all kinds of possibilities for showing additional metadata, from NXE-style "recently added" covers to numeric data such as weather. It uses just one texture, too. Alaska should come in at around 5mb and perform accordingly. While you can just use your usual fullscreen backdrops as the artwork, I've found you get better results by creating bespoke artwork. Choice is yours, though.

[Image: alaska_homev2.jpg]

[Image: alaska_homev2b.jpg]

[Image: alaska_homev2c.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 2010-05-28 19:14 by Hitcher.)
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CF2009 Offline
Alaska Group
Posts: 289
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: UK
Post: #6
Hitcher Wrote:As you've probably guessed, this Info page is just part of the browser. The focus icon slides across and the info appears, much like old Aeon.
[Image: alaska_movieinfo2FA.jpg]

we are going to have to rethink about how this is done as it only works right if you are using poster view...

[Image: problem_solved.png]
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djh_ Offline
Aeon Project Founder
Posts: 1,890
Joined: Jun 2007
Post: #7
My thought about that was to have the same layout for all the info pages, but only use the seamless WindowOpen/Close transition for the poster view. So if you're looking at music albums and press Info, the same info view fades in but with album art in place of the poster. Provided you get the zoom/fade right for the info and the parent view type, it should look elegant enough.

www: aeonproject.com
email: djh@aeonproject.com
flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanjharris/sets/

Unintelligible ramblings about UI design, tech and games: attempt to follow them on Twitter (djh_)
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