What Has Happened To DesktopX?

Lack of Activity

Friday, May 9, 2008 by PuterDudeJim | Discussion: DesktopX

I am just wondering what has happened to the interest in DesktopX themes lately? No one seems to be putting out any new themes. I love making the themes but was noticing that interest seems to be fading.I really hope that does not happen. I will miss DX themes terribly. I am trying real hard to think more "outside the box" when making new themes. Someone recently told me in an email , from support, I think, that Stardock isn't happy with the direction DesktopX is taking. No, I reiterate, it was a fellow skinner. Anyway, I thought writing this may get some answers, or at least bring attention to the recent shortage of themes being made. I think this is my first article, if it can be called that...lol. Maybe it should have been for the forum?
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ZubaZ
Reply #1 Friday, May 9, 2008 7:16 PM
DX was used to create the interface for GalCiv.  It is being used to create the interface for The Political Machine 2008.
So the good news is that it's not dead.

I like DX desktops too.  but so many recent ones look the same.  The ones I've used the most are ones for my Kids and ones for guests.  Not power user desktops but simplified, controlled desktops.

Having said that  . . I'd love to see desktops based on the bullshit I see on TV that makes me cringe.  Just so I can show people how crappy it would be to use.  (My biggest beef these days . .the UI on any CSI:Miami PC - how can any of that crap be usable?   ).

WeatherBound
Reply #2 Friday, May 9, 2008 7:42 PM
I am just wondering what has happened to the interest in DesktopX themes lately? No one seems to be putting out any new themes.




I like Making them too.

I have vista and all meters and task bars ect... Do not work so well with Vista.
So therefor I'm not so eager to make a Desktop theme.
Wizard1956
Reply #3 Friday, May 9, 2008 7:44 PM
Limiting some to a specific resolution doesn't help any. Configuring others can be a chore. I love DesktopX but admit that themes are the hardest to get used to,if that makes sense.I love to experiment with it anyway. The "click and go" approach of My Colors is what casual users are after.Most of rest of us hope Zubaz is right about it not being dead.  
Having said that . . I'd love to see desktops based on the bullshit I see on TV that makes me cringe.


Put "American Idol" on my desktop and I'll hurl, I swear!  
Philly0381
Reply #4 Friday, May 9, 2008 7:47 PM
PuterDudeJim just took a look, and since the the first of the year there have been 21 DX Themes put in the Gallery Library. Now we don't know if any were submitted and didn't make it to the main library.

Of the 21 you have submitted 8. Of the last 8 put in the library, 7 are yours. Downloads of the themes seem to be good so there are people or appears to be people using DX Themes. There are some pretty good skinners in the 21 themes that made it into the main library like gef, HAPTORK, Tiggz, BigDogBigFeet and bilbo1930 to mention a few.

I'm just a user of the skins here in the Gallery Libraries so can't really speak for the skinners. Maybe the skinners who were making themes feel they did what they could with what was available. What could be added in DX functions the might cause folks to start skinning again?

Or maybe someone needs to put together a DX Theme contest to help highlight it as a desktop customizing tool. That might work.   

EDIT: Damn I took too long typing this.  ( 

cplair
Reply #5 Friday, May 9, 2008 7:56 PM
This opinion is based on my personal feeling and not any statistical facts;

I feel that it has something to do with the varying screen resolutions with many of the older themes being exclusively set. Loads of people are migrating to widescreen formats, which to me translates to very few utilizing DX themes because most of the older themes were made in lower resolutions.

And the users who are still within the standard format has to ponder and negotiate certain themes because of this and most novice users don't want to be bothered or don't have the know-how.

1024 X 768? 1280 X 1024? Resolution Independent? What the hell is that? People don't have to go through that with any other application.

Personally I love DesktopX and have actually created my own theme a while back!

But you are correct about the diminished interest in DesktopX Themes PuterDudeJim, I'm feeling that way too!

Sadly, I guess people are happy enough with DX widgets and objects.

Cp

  

WeatherBound
Reply #6 Friday, May 9, 2008 7:59 PM
Limiting some to a specific resolution doesn't help any.


You nailed it right on the nose.
Jafo
Reply #7 Friday, May 9, 2008 8:21 PM

1024 X 768? 1280 X 1024? Resolution Independent? What the hell is that? People don't have to go through that with any other application.

Oh yes they do.  Litestep has 'suffered' from resolution dependency since day one.  Coding themes to genuinely be res-independent can be quite difficult, particularly with the more 'adventurous' themes.  Wallpaper-specific themes [designed for one wall ONLY] were even worse....

Frogboy
Reply #8 Friday, May 9, 2008 9:36 PM

A good DesktopX theme is resolution independent.

After all, the games that use it have UI that are resolution independent.

Wizard1956
Reply #9 Friday, May 9, 2008 10:21 PM
I've only dl'd four desktops, one by gef, three by some guy named...PuterDudeJim  3 RI(1024x768) One close enoughto use.Some success seems to be linked to how popular the WB is that it ties into. Maybe this new subscriber skin deal would be a good place to show off the power of DX. 12 skins=12 DX themes+players,widgets,etc.
Philly0381
Reply #10 Friday, May 9, 2008 10:46 PM
Maybe this new subscriber skin deal would be a good place to show off the power of DX. 12 skins=12 DX themes+players,widgets,etc.


Wizard1956 now that sounds like a great plan.  
RedRaven
Reply #11 Saturday, May 10, 2008 10:58 AM
I've just gotten a new computer and a new OS, so I'm getting back into DX after being away for a while. I also noticed that the majority of the themes are the same ones I saw a couple years ago and wondered about that. I imagine y'all are right about the resolution issue being a big factor, but I don't quite understand that. (I actually just got a new monitor myself while in the middle of making a theme and so it's something I'm dealing with). Yeah, it takes a little more effort, but if people are willing to make skins that have umpteen flashy lights and such, you'd think making a couple versions or making them resolution independent wouldn't be a biggie. If you look back a couple years it was standard practice to make versions for two or three resolutions, if the thing wasn't res independent. Actually the theme I'm working on right now is going to be a pain to make resolution independent, so I may have to make a couple versions. Don't see the big deal. Maybe people have just gotten lazier? *shrug*

Maybe as OS's start to have more customization built-in people are less into doing it themselves?

Personally, other than simply getting busy with other things, the biggest reason I periodically stop working with DX is that so many themes just don't work/don't meet my needs. I think I went through every theme going back to 2004 the other night and only found about 5 that were anything like I was looking for. Of those, 2 made my computer pretty much explode. And, I suppose if you are frustrated by just using the themes, you probably aren't going to want to go even further into it by making your own. (Though personally, I just find that a challenge to do better).

As far as making themes myself... well, I've never actually finished one. Lol. My problem is being a perfectionist. I don't wanna just throw something together that's been done 20 times. So I end up needing to get into major scripting, which I don't know how to do, and so I give up - thinking I'll get back to it later. By the time I do, there's a whole new version of DX out and I have to figure out new stuff, etc.

(Actually the theme I'm working on right now has minimal scripting so hopefully I'll have it done soon - keep an eye out. I'm also working on teaching myself VBscript and my brain hurts, but hopefully I'll get it eventually and can start making some interesting things).

RR
PuterDudeJim
Reply #12 Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:31 AM
but so many recent ones look the same.
I am trying to come up with something more creative, more outside the box. Alot of mine are the same style.
PuterDudeJim
Reply #13 Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:34 AM
There are some pretty good skinners in the 21 themes that made it into the main library like gef, HAPTORK, Tiggz, BigDogBigFeet and bilbo1930
And PuterDudeJim?   
werewolf
Reply #14 Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:43 AM
I've want to get back to DX, but since I got this Vista machine, it won't install, so I'm just biding my time until one of these versions installs
zakai1369
Reply #15 Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:48 AM
I'd have to agree about the resolution restrictions on many of the themes in the gallery being a deterrent. But there are some good ones in there that are resolution independent.

Also there are just so many skins out there for the standalone programs that I change my desktop every couple of days usually.

Wizard1956
Reply #16 Saturday, May 10, 2008 12:03 PM
DX can do so many things,it's both impressive and overwhelming at times.Plus I just love gadgets,widgets and other "gismos" Old ideas ,updated or combined would be a start. Why not find out what people liked/used the most and why they stopped using DX?(WCPodcast?) I can't create,but I can dream. An Object folder that looks like a briefcase? I could use one now. My Computer Icon that also displays cpu/ram info on it's screen? I want one. And put them on a wall with what looks like a desktop(in/out mailbox,opening drawers w/pop-up menues, picture of "the little woman", click on the coffee cup to activate SS,etc. all to scale, used together or with other themes.Or a garage wall w/workbench and toolbox,same deal. Any takers? And good Luck, RedRaven  
cplair
Reply #17 Saturday, May 10, 2008 12:49 PM
Oh yes they do. Litestep has 'suffered' from resolution dependency since day one.


most novice users don't want to be bothered or don't have the know-how.


Then Litestep is another case in point Jafo and the same could be said about ObjectBar2. Most newbs will shy away from these extensive themes because they turn it on and it scares the hell out of them. They're pretty much over their heads from the gate, even though we all know they're just one touch shells. To be honest, I've been overwhelmed with some of this stuff when I first started.

Most of the people who I've helped that has new computers don't even know what a screen resolution is.
bilbo1930
Reply #18 Saturday, May 10, 2008 1:30 PM
There are some pretty good skinners in the 21 themes that made it into the main library like gef, HAPTORK, Tiggz, BigDogBigFeet and bilbo1930

And PuterDudeJim?   


Of course Jim too..
zakai1369
Reply #19 Saturday, May 10, 2008 3:07 PM
Why not find out what people liked/used the most and why they stopped using DX?(WCPodcast?)


Ok I know what you meant by that was for them to discuss it on the podcast.

But theres an idea for a project for someone.

A media player widget linked to the WinCustomize Skincast so that those of us that don't use Itunes to be able to subscribe to it can just open the widget and see a list of the available episodes there.
sViz
Reply #20 Saturday, May 10, 2008 3:43 PM
First off, thanks for you great DX themes, Jim. If it weren't for you, that gallery would be dead.

The way I see it there's two problems with DX themes.

Making an efficient theme is hard work. It has to be pretty much ready to go on startup. That means resolution independence...which as stated before is quite an effort. It means, the shortcuts have to be easy to configure (can't tell you how many times I've seen someone asking how to change the shortcuts/font/labels etc). It means, creating several wallpaper sizes (if your theme is built around a wall). It means, taking the time to anticipate the user's needs, including meters, weather, time, startmenu, systray, taskbar, cursor position, pixel color, media player, shortcuts galore etc, etc. It basically means making the theme as familiar as a regular Windows UI. Eon by Richard Mohler comes the closest to that.

That last point is the basis for my second thought. DX themes are completely unlike WindowsBlinds. WB’s simply change the look of your interface, leaving everything the way you had it before. DX themes change how your interface functions. I've used quite a few DX themes over time and my biggest problem, from a consumer's perspective, is that it was just too foreign. Suddenly, it felt as though I was using someone else's interface. Everything wasn't where I had them before, the start menu didn't have all my usual shortcuts, the taskbar didn't have my quick launch, the floating windows of information (weather, meters, etc) was like having several widgets running at once, many of which I had no use for. I would have like for them to be consolidated into one window or one menu. There wasn’t much flexibility as far as customization or configuring things the way I wanted them, save for setting shortcuts. Simply put, it was too unfamiliar and I would end up using it only for a day or two.

I've uploaded only 2 themes to the gallery. I stopped because, looking back they were totally lacking in functionality. I decided if I ever upload another theme it will have to be vastly improved and more carefully considered. I started a new DX theme last year to try to address and solve the two problems I mentioned. Let's just say it is taking alot more time and effort than anticipated.

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