ELVis for PSX


Contents

      Elvis_744 (66K)

Introduction

PSX includes an excellent cockpit layout system which gives us great freedom to tailor the views according to our own requirements and wishes.

But this also creates what the French call an embarras de richesse — so many possibilities, so many alternatives! Each single "9pack" includes nine different layouts, each of which can have up to four "sub-frames". Now imagine running two PSX instances in parallel on two computers, and you are dealing with the configuration of up to 2 x 9 x 4 = 72 sub-frames...
How to cope with them, how to keep the overview, how to find the elusive optimum?

This is where ELVis, the Easy Layout Visualizer for PSX comes in. It is a simple tool to give you an overview where, in the context of the whole cockpit, any or all sub-windows, as defined in a 9pack file, are located.

Note: The purpose of ELVis is merely to give you an overview by displaying your layouts in the context of the whole PSX cockpit.
It is not an editor: You cannot create or change layouts with ELVis.

Note: Consider this version a kind of "public beta". No guarantees (especially not if you don't read the remainder of this document ;-).
In particular, don't miss the chapter "Questions and Known Issues" below.

Installation

Usage

Questions and Known Issues

  1. Which Java version does ELVis require?
    The add-on has been developed and tested under Java SE 6 and SE 7 (a.k.a. 1.6 and 1.7).

  2. Why does the cockpit image have a fixed size (1280x981 px) — that's far too {big | small} for my screen!
    The major challenge while creating this tool was splicing Hardy's coordinate system together with the screen resolution and image coordinate systems. It could be done for different cockpit image sizes, but I'd rather not... :-). And a smaller image size wouldn't be a good idea anyway, as it would lose too much detail.
    Solution: Scroll as required! :-)

  3. Why can't I zoom in and out?
    See above. The coordinates are tricky enough as it is. More importantly, the whole point of the tool is to give you an overview — zooming in on details would counteract that purpose.
    Solution: Take a screenshot and zoom in and out of that! :-)

  4. I can't see the full name of the 9pack file on the ELVis "control panel".
    That's because this always-on-top window was kept as narrow as possible, so as not to eclipse the cockpit image too much. Therefore only the first 20 characters of the 9pack filename can be shown.
    Solution: Use shorter file names! (joke :-)
    Real solution: You can always see the full filename (and path) of the loaded 9pack in the title bar of the window with the cockpit image.
    Or you can hover the mouse above the abbreviated filename on the "control panel", and the full name will then pop up as a "tool tip".

  5. My layout #4 has only one sub-frame, which ELVis labels "4d". Shouldn't it be "4a"?
    Not really. Remember that in the PSX window you have always three vertical and horizontal dividers, to create up to four sub-frames. That is also true if you want to have only one sub-frame: the dividers are then just sitting somewhere at the edges.
    If you, for instance, move the vertical slider(s) to the very left edge, and the horizontal one(s) to the very top edge, the one sub-frame remaining visible is technically the "lower right" one, and will therefore be labelled "d".
    You could move the dividers to the very right and very bottom edges, resp.; then the sub-frame would be the "upper left" one, with label "a". And so on. The same logic applies to cases where there are two sub-frames visible; they will not always be "a" and "b".

  6. In saved images, the sub-frame lines and labels drawn by ELVis are blurry and not as brilliant as in the original. (It depends a bit on their colour).
    This is because they are saved as JPEG, which is a "lossy" format: higher compression means less quality, and vice versa. Contrary to popular belief, JPEG is not a format universally good for everything: it works very well for halftone images (think fotos), but not at all for "diagram type" graphics (think simple lines and homogeneously filled areas). Even though ELVis saves the JPEGs with a "maximum quality" setting, there is still some (minor) quality loss for the lines and labels.
    ELVis could use the lossless PNG format instead, but the trade-off would be that the saved images have about twice the file size compared to the high-quality JPEGs.

  7. When I want to save an image, the file dialog presets the filename with a *.9pack extension. But I need to save a *.jpg file!
    This is by design. (The same dialog is used for loading 9packs, and remembers the folder and the last-loaded 9pack; thus you can save images in the same folder from where you loaded the 9pack, without having to browse around.)
    Solution: Just hit "Save", simply ignoring that .9pack extension; it will automatically be replaced by the proper .jpg ending.
    The advantage is that you don't have to enter anything if your saved image is to have the same "first name" as the 9pack file. But of course you can also edit the filename if you wish (again, no need to enter the .jpg extension, it will be appended by ELVis).

  8. If I overwrite an earlier image file with a new one, using the same name, the content changes all right, but the file time stamp remains the same as before.
    This appears to be a Java thing.

  9. Why is there no "Load Image" button, so that I can load and view in ELVis any images saved earlier?
    Mainly because I did not wish to re-invent the wheel, i.e. to create a full-fledged image viewer in ELVis. :-)
    Solution: Simply re-create the layout display in ELVis, it takes just a few mouse clicks.
    But if you really need to work with saved images (e.g. for comparisons), obtain a proper image viewer (very highly recommended: the free IrfanView, you'll never want to live without it again), and view your saved images with that. IrfanView will let you zoom, rotate, enlarge, export to other formats, and even modify colours, brightness, contrast, etc. Really no point to try and top that within ELVis.

Have fun!

Martin


End of document
© 2014 Martin Erdelen
08.08.2014: version 1 for public release