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MUNIA skinning

Skins for MUNIA are defined as SVG files with some custom attributes mixed in to identify and animate various controller parts. Benefits of using SVG files include perfect scaling, self-contained files and ability to use high quality image editing software such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.

Process overview

  1. Find base image: when adopting a new skin one typically begins by finding an existing image of the desired controller. For many popular controllers well-built SVG files may already exist. Should this not be the case then tracing a high quality image of said controller is a viable alternative.

  2. Add highlights: button presses are typically shown by changing the color of said button, but MUNIA allows a lot of freedom in this aspect. Per button you normally define 2 object groups, one for the non-pressed and one for the pressed state of this button. They will typically overlap exactly, but this is not mandatory. The MUNIA software will show only one of both states at a time.

  3. Add metadata: the last step is to add some XML attributes to the resulting .svg file. These will allow the MUNIA software to identify the various parts of the controller, and thereby animate them in the desired way. Full details on the possible attributes to specify are detailed in the sections below.

Skin engine

The MUNIA skinning engine initially loads the SVG file, identifies the various parts in it, and caches the drawing of most individual elements. The controller with all button, stick and trigger elements removed is used as base image. All elements are continuously rendered against this base image.

Layering

The controller is rendered as a layered image. The base image is fixed at layer '0'. Individual elements can be placed 'behind' or 'in front' of the base by specifying the munia:z-order=x attribute on it, where x can be any integer. Elements placed at layer x<0 are placed behind the base image in order of incrementing x. Similarly elements with positive z-order are drawn on top of the base image, again in order of incrementing x.

Skin elements

Game controllers typically contain 3 kinds of elements that require some form of animation: buttons, triggers and sticks. We also need one XML element to specify what kind of controller is defined in this file. The following sections outline how to model each of them in MUNIA skins.

Info metadata

The root svg element in the resulting document should contain a munia:info element specifying a name for the skin and the device type it is compatible with. Example, taken from gc.svg that ships with the MUNIA software:

<munia:info munia:skin-name="Gamecube" munia:device-type="NGC"/>

Supported device types at the time of writing are:

  • NGC
  • SNES
  • N64
  • PS2
  • XInput

Buttons/dpad

Buttons and d-pad directions are considered identical in the MUNIA software. This simplifies skinning them. These are the relevant XML attributes:

  • munia:button-id="X": this specifies which button links to this image element. Refer to the final section in this document for hints on finding the correct id.
  • munia:button-state="pressed/released": this indicates whether this element is supposed to be visible in the pressed or released state. Effectively the software replaces the image group with munia:button-state="released" for the one with button-state="pressed" group if both have matching munia:button-id attributes. If you specify only one of both, the other is simply never drawn.
  • munia:z-order="x : see Layering section above

Example

Taken from the SNES skin snes-light-blue.svg skin that ships with the software:

<circle id="A" munia:button-id="7" munia:button-state="released" cx="380" cy="125" r="25" style="fill:#4d4d4d"/>
<circle id="A-pressed" munia:button-id="7" munia:button-state="pressed" cx="380" cy="125" r="25" style="fill:#0000ff"/>

Sticks

Sticks refer to the control sticks that made their appearance in the 5th generation of videogame consoles. They are typically represented as a graphic that moves its vertical and horizontal position relative to a resting point. Sticks may also be pressable in which case you should define the button-id and button-state attributes if you want to use a different graphic for the stick depending on whether or not it is pressed. The MUNIA software implements to following attributes for specifying how these are to be rendered:

  • munia:stick-id="id": indicates that this element is to be considered a stick, and assigns an id to it. The id should be any unique integer number.
  • munia:axis-h="h" munia:axis-v="v": id's of the horizontal and vertical movement axes respectively. Refer to last section.
  • munia:offset-scale="f.f": a real/floating-point number indicating how far the stick moves away from its center. Good values are easily determined through trial and error. Typically a number between 0.5-2.0 should work well.
  • munia:button-id="x": see Buttons/dpad section above
  • munia:button-state="x": see Buttons/dpad section above. When using different graphics depending on the press-state, you should define the svg node describing the graphic twice; once for the pressed state and once for released. The graphic itself may of course differ in color, shape or structure.
  • munia:z-order="x": see Layering section above

Example

Taken from the Gamecube skin gc.svg skin that ships with the software:

<g id="Control Stick" munia:axis-h="0" munia:axis-v="1" munia:offset-scale="1.8" transform="translate(8.6180222,-28.433458)"> ... </g>

Triggers

The MUNIA software can render controller triggers as either a bar that fills up, or as an element that moves in certain direction.

  • munia:trigger-id="id": indicates that this element is to be considered a trigger, and assigns an id to it. The id should be any unique integer number.
  • munia:trigger-axis="x": id of this trigger axis on the controller. Refer to last section.
  • munia:trigger-range="a-b": specifies the deadzone. Defaults to '0-255' but can be limited, e.g. to '30-240' for controllers with imperfect range.
  • munia:trigger-type="bar/slide": whether this is rendered as a bar or slide. Bars are made partially visible, and slide-type triggers move some amount in one direction, depending on how far the trigger is pressed.
  • munia:trigger-orientation="vertical/horizontal": whether the bar/slide is filled/moved in vertical or horizontal direction.
  • munia:trigger-reverse="yes/no": only applies to bar type triggers. When non-reversed (default), bars fill from left-to-right or top-to-bottom. Specifying trigger-reverse="yes" reverses that.
  • munia:trigger-inverse="yes/no": only applies to bar type triggers. Non-inversed triggers are 0% filled when the trigger is in resting state, and 100% filled when the trigger is entirely pressed. Inversing makes it so that not pressing the trigger reveals the entire object instead.
  • munia:offset-scale="f.f": applies only to slide-type triggers. Similar to the offset-scale attribute for sticks.
  • munia:z-order="x": see Layering section above

Finding id's

One can easily find the id's of buttons and axes of a controller using the built-in Gamepad tester under Tools in the main menu. Hat/dpad id's are mapped after the button id's, in order up/down/left/right. So if the controller has 6 face buttons and a d-pad, then the last face button has button-id=5 and the left-direction on the d-pad is assigned button-id=8.

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