Same UX, different backend

Lately I have been spending a lot of time staring at the Resume/Restart dialog of GNOME Games.

The Dialog

Games currently allows the user to resume most retro games from the exact state the game was left in last time it was quit. To do this Games saves several files required to restore the state of the emulator core and resume it’s execution. These files grouped together are called a “savestate”. Currently Games has only one savestate per game which is overwritten everytime the user exits the game.

The purpose of my GSoC project is to allow the user to store and manage more than one savestate. These past days I have been writing code that makes Games create a brand new savestate everytime the user exits the game.

Before my changes the Resume button would simply load the single savestate which existed for that particular game. Now it loads the latest savestate that was created, so from the user’s perspective nothing has changed (with one tiny exception I’ll explain later).

My changes are slowly amounting to 1000 lines of code (insertions + deletions). I admit it does feel a bit uneasy to edit 1000 lines from the app’s code and not see any changes from the user’s point of view. It makes me wonder how often does this also happen with other software that I’m using :S

Unfortunately, there is one minor downgrade that my changes have introduced. As can be seen from the first image in the post, there is a screenshot of the game behind the Dialog. My changes have altered the sequence of operations required to boot the emulator core, which in turn broke the loading of screenshots. Now, when starting the game there is always a black screen behind the Resume/Restart Dialog 😦

Gloomy Dialog

In the next days I will finally start working on a primitive UI that is going to display all of the savestates that are available when launching a game. The UI would also allow the user to boot the game from a particular savestate on click.


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