PC Gaming. It’s the pinnacle of gaming, even consoles these days are just middle of the road gaming rigs.
So why is there no unifying interface for all the app stores and emulators in use? After all, consoles get some kind of gaming specific user interface, right? Better yet, why is that interface not controller friendly?
My gaming rig is in my living room. It’s connected to a 50”, 120Hz LED screen. My audio system is a 5.1 channel home theater receiver. I don’t have your typical gaming setup.
My preferred controller for gaming is currently an Xbox 360 chrome series wireless controller, and I use it with the vast majority of games I play. I keep a wireless keyboard and mouse plugged in. Not because I like having them handy, or because I do a lot of typing on this machine, but because there’s currently no good alternative.
- Joy2Key - Excellent programs, but only focused on a single application at a time.
- Steam’s Big Picture Mode - Nice feature. No boxarts. Lack of overall functionality.
- Launchbox - Features gated behind paywall. Lack of overall functionality.
None of these things really create a unified experience with a controller. Console interfaces are serviceable for a controller user albeit limited in features. Windows gamers who play with a controller still have to use a keyboard and a mouse. All the time.
Then there are the so called game launchers. These are mostly paid affairs, or trial “you can’t use the best parts unless you pay up” software. The problem with this approach is it doesn’t inspire any kind of confidence in the software. And what languages are those things even coded in anyway? Dash is being built in C#, for Windows 10 64bit with Visual Studio 2017.
- If I’m playing games, why do I need to interact so much with Windows?
- If I’m using a controller, why do I need a keyboard and a mouse?
- If I only do the above with my device, why is there no software to make it simpler?
Dash is a game launcher and controller abstraction layer for Windows 10. The goal is to get Windows out of the way, and make it possible to navigate your rig with nothing but a controller.
What is Dash?
Dash is a game launcher. Dash will fetch boxarts and metadata for any game, from any service (emulated games too!)
Dash is a hardware abstraction layer for controllers. You press the buttons, Dash will translate that into configurable actions.
- If an emulator is running, left bumper + back could be configured to create a save state.
- If the Windows desktop is active, with no games running, the Guide button could be configured to open the Start Menu.
- If a controller is connected, Dash indicates the battery state.
What makes Dash different?
Dash is coded in C#, and is made for (and on) windows 10. This means I can take advantage of Windows 10 technologies. That said… I’d like to get rid of the keyboard & mouse based UI entirely. I would like to reach a point that Dash can stop falling back to the desktop entirely.
An overview of upcoming work on over the next few months.
As a caveat - this is a living doc, and will evolve as priorities grow and shift. The Dash project will always be adapting to new use-cases and evolutions in the platform - this roadmap is more of a working guide of what’s being worked on than a strict timeline.
Windows 10 Optimization
I’m working on a guide and accompanying scripts, tasks, and registry files to deploy a stable performance oriented setup for gaming on Windows 10. I wont be covering overclocking or anything scary, just the basics. This is only to help tune Windows 10 for a more console-like setup. More info will be announced here as possible.
I’ve recently launched the website for Dash. Going forward I’ll work on the theme only as needed and focus on finalizing the documents.
- Finalize theme as needed
- Start getting information on the project uploaded.
- Working on the Credits page
Dash is currently on Kickstarter! My greatest thanks to anyone helping to fund this project. I’ll be working on the controller abstraction layer next, so look for beta builds coming soon.
Currently finishing up the website. I’ll be posting ideas and plans here. I’d like to get this finished and then begin work on getting the windows abstraction layer ready for testing.
Community and Ecosystem
I’m starting to build the Dash community. More details will be added here as they become available.
- Increase Dash + Community engagement.
- Tighten the core development and community feedback loop - better evolve Dash as the community evolves.
- Publish all elements to github for community review.
- Regularly publish project and roadmap updates.
- Work with community members to help drive elements forward.