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Thread: Front Ends, Skins, and Modding

  1. #1
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    Front Ends, Skins, and Modding

    Before I invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars, I would like to ensure a carputer is right for me. Specifically, I would like to find out if I have the technical skills to modify a front end (FE) to get it to do what I want. Can someone with front end modding experience give me some insight?

    A search through the FAQ revieled that a "front end is a unifying application that provides a common interface to several functions in the Car PC". I suspect that the "skin" is the interface of the FE; correct? Or does changing a skin just change how the FE looks without changing functions?

    The FAQ recommends downloading FEs to determine one that works for you. Unfortunately, my computer uses Vista, so I'm unable to try this out. Also, I've read that Road Runner is the only FE that supports Sirius satellite radio, a requisite for any system I have.

    I have not seen posted RR skins that fit my needs, so I suspect I may have to mod one that is close. How difficult is this to do for an enthusiast without programming experience? I have created custom skins for my Phillips Pronto remote control, but that probably isn't the same. Do you have to know C++ or Visual Basic to mod a skin?

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate cMags's Avatar
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    Skinning (at least in RR) is pretty easy. No previous experience with programming needed. .skin files are just text files that specify what graphic is where, and what action it performs when you click it. Everything you need to know is in the included readme, and will just require a bit of reading.

    If you want to customize the look too, you'll need a graphics program like PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro. The skins are basically .JPG's and .skin's. That's it. If you have an XP machine you can play with, I recommend downloading a copy of RR, and playing with the skin. It's the only way you'll learn it.

    Oh, and you can always do a beta system for pretty cheap before really investing a lot. Check the classifieds in here for good deals on used equipment. In fact, I've got two spare "Book-PC's" w/ P3's, one 566Mhz, the other 900MHz that would just need a monitor (biggest cost), keyboard/mouse (use full size temporarily to save $), and PSU (again-used for well under $100). PM me if you're interested in looking at one of my spares.

    CarPC v2.5 up and running - all hardware installed, skin configured, and iG tweaked like crazy. Now for OBD-II, and voice control, and camera plugin, and... :nutz: - it never ends!

  3. #3
    Raw Wave treetop777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cMags View Post
    Skinning (at least in RR) is pretty easy.
    no offence but that's the same thing a brain surgeon would say about brain surgery.."oh, "nothing to it"

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate Dennis5587's Avatar
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    what he was refering to was most likly that its easy on the programming level... making it look nice is the hard part...

    You can make the best skin ever for yourself... but it may look like ****...

    What makes a skin look good is just simply how good you are at digital graphics... the skin beyond that is a joke...

    2006 Mazda 3
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cMags View Post
    Skinning (at least in RR) is pretty easy. No previous experience with programming needed. .skin files are just text files that specify what graphic is where, and what action it performs when you click it. Everything you need to know is in the included readme, and will just require a bit of reading.
    Thanks for your response! So, if I want to change a function (such as changing a GUI button that executes "Launch Explorer" to "Launch Firefox") I'ld have to mod the Front End rather then the skin?

  6. #6
    FLAC DodgeCummins's Avatar
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    Why don't you simply download ALL the front ends...and try them out?

    Then decide if you need to make your own.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DodgeCummins View Post
    Why don't you simply download ALL the front ends...and try them out?

    Then decide if you need to make your own.
    Eventually, I guess I must. However, my desktop OS is Vista and doesn't run FEs.

  8. #8
    FLAC DodgeCummins's Avatar
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    Have you tried?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DodgeCummins View Post
    Have you tried?
    Nope. A forum search indicated that not all functions work.

  10. #10
    Raw Wave treetop777's Avatar
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    Maybe not with RR but there are many more front ends. You are going to have to do some testing.

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