Video Game Library/Scraper?

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GoTeamScotch
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Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by GoTeamScotch »

With all of the available emulators and games for the original Xbox, it's odd that when you go into games/emulators you get a title and a thumbnail and that's it. XBMC shows movies and music in beautiful library formats but not for games. Has anyone ever tinkered with a games library addon? Does one exist? There's several online databases of game information to pull from (for example GiantBomb) that could be scraped. I wrote a PHP-based scraper for GiantBomb in the past personally. Wouldn't it be awesome to see games listed with a description, release date, ratings, and cover art like movies/music/tv shows are? The thought came to me as I was going through each game and finding wide icons to go with them and making ones that were missing: "Why isn't there a games library feature?!".

I'm not against teaching myself how to do it and coming up with some basic implementation myself. I work as a web developer/server admin full time and am familiar with the basics of python and have been using XBMC for years and years now and I guess the point of this thread is to just get a conversation going about how hard this concept would be to create. I haven't written full-on add-ons for XBMC yet but rather just tweaks here and there to existing ones plus one XBMC script I wrote to send basic commands over telnet years ago.

What do you guys think of this concept?

Edit --
I see jan made a script in 2014 -> viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2594
Going to try it out later. It doesn't mention working in confluence...
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Dan Dar3
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Re: Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by Dan Dar3 »

I see this has been discussed before by the XBMC team, I just found this article in the wiki covering the various areas:
http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/wiki/Games_Library_Ideas

This is what I think we already have so far:
  1. scraping content (adding to the database and generating thumbnails)
    1. database: UserData\Database\MyPrograms6.db
    2. scraping: program scanner already does some of this and adds them to the database, generates the thumbnail from the game files or from default.tbn
  2. presentation - simple presentation support
There is no support for fanart (scanner nor presentation), there was a ticket created a while and turned down.
http://redmine.exotica.org.uk/issues/301

There was support added for QueryProgramsDatabase HTTP API. I'm just mentioning this just if you want to query the database yourself to see what's in it, I believe it was used by Dom DXecutioner to implement something similar to this in his XBMC Origins skin. I don't know if it is possible to run a Python based scanner and somehow call it from the internal job manager - this would pull down the information down from various websites and could use the HTTP API call to SELECT / INSERT records into the programs library and cache the necessary images. It could be an an alternative to writing the scanner in C++ or as an XML/regex scraper.

Have a look at Dom's XBMC Origins skin - I hope he will see and join this thread, maybe Development section would be a better place for it for visibility - I think that something like that would need to be implemented in say Confluence Lite, but moving and unifying the custom artwork logic to be in line with the existing video / music artwork (to support artwork caching etc).
http://www.xbmc4xbox.org.uk/forum/viewt ... =15&t=4393
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Re: Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by tim619 »

I think this is the most important thing which is missing in xbmc4xbox. Maybe it would be the best idea to collect the data for all xbox games and build an 'own' api and host the images on external servers. Some time ago I implemented some of the few available xbox data apis but most of them give poor data. Since there are 'only' less than 1000 xbox games we could collect the data in some way if some people would help. I could write a small program to scan 256x256 transparent cdart (xbox disc) from jpg scan.
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Re: Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by Dan Dar3 »

That would help with having a uniform source of data which usually is taken care by a local scraper type of logic without the need for hosting it externally, and although it is interesting and has certain merrits, it just adds to the amount of work to be done initally as well as ongoing maintenance without solving the problem of getting the data in and presenting it. But at the same time, Tim if you feel that is something you would be interested in doing, you can still do it and it should be able to feed it like any other source.
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Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by GoTeamScotch »

Dom DXecutioner's origins skin seems to do exactly what we're talking about already, except it only applies to one skin. I wonder how hard it would be to write a standalone plugin based on his work that will accomplish this.

I'm more of a script-kiddie when it comes to C but I'm comfortable enough with python to make a plugin and start breaking ground on this soon. I've only recently even pulled a copy of XBMC's svn and started looking around so a python plugin is probably where I'll start. How cool would that be though if Estuary can be adopted AND better games library support was added? That would be a pretty cool release ihmo. But I don't want to be that guy who talks a lot about big ideas without ever submitting patches, so I'll hold my tongue. ;)

I'll start really digging into this over the weekend. I've sent a PM to Dom DXecutioner, so hopefully he'll chime in and give some insights seeing as how he's done it in the past. :D
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Re: Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by fxmech »

Well some of the work, or at least a good framework (addon.xml formatting) has been pounded out.

His skin reads and displays the contents of this file for each Xbox game and for each Emulator. I think, however, we should enhance this concept to allow for emulator .cut files which already can directly launch games via many emulators. Byron and Ninhooo have been working on ROM Collection Browser, which both creates these shortcuts and also handles scraping of game info.

There could be a scraping utility script that simply prepares addon.xml for reading by the Xbox Origins skin.

We will all be best served if relevant and all motivated parties kind of figure out a standard for working with the skinning environment. That is, before we fragment our efforts.

We have the technology. I think we can have a rather streamlined solution for the Xbox without much change to the X4X source itself.
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Re: Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by Dom DXecutioner »

interesting topic...
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Re: Video Game Library/Scraper?

Post by fxmech »

Dom DXecutioner wrote:interesting topic...
I thought I killed it. 8-)
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