Christmas Comes EarlyRed | 08 Nov. 2008
I've had some requests for more news articles. Eh, VP isn't a news site, so that can be tricky. It's got be something new, good, and related. Being it's Christmas time (at my house anyway), I though I would get everybody some presents.
I had to figure something out. So, here you go. Here are a couple of games for you loyal VP fans. Naturally, they are all skinnable freeware games.
This one is a DX-Ball clone game... which is a breakout clone... which is pong on acid. Anyway, follow the bouncing ball, mash the bricks, and make you own levels. You can download or make your own skins. It's a fun game to mess around with, and has a kid mode that is great for little nephews and those who suck at video games. There also is a portable version for your flash drive.
Frets on Fire
In case you didn't guess this one is a clone of Guitar Hero. I haven't tried hooking up my PS2 controller adapter to it yet, but you know I'm gonna try.
Now not only is this one skinnable and portable, but you can get more songs for it too.
Frets on Fire
In Other News
No not truly skinnable, but very original, there is also Jooleem
. It's yet another puzzle game, but not a clone of anything I've seen. A new puzzle game is always welcome in my book. The graphics are in separate files, but that just makes them easier to edit. Skinning support isn't official.
No, if that doesn't make it feel like Christmas, I've an extra bit of gaming goodness for you. Our friends at Shell Extension City
found a gem of an article about over 150 cool flash games
. My favs are Raiden X
& Winter Bells
. Not skinnable, but if you could embed one in your active desktop, that would so rock.
So, here's that news article you've all been wanting, and an early Merry Christmas
from all of us at VP.
Spot Light on DesRed | 25 Jun. 2008
Just when you think things have gotten too quiet, somebody goes and makes a little noise. One of our own, Des, has made his little corner of the web worth a visit. He's got several nice tricks to try out, but first here's a mini-interview for those who haven't been lurking around the VirtualPlastic.net forum.
: So tell us a little about yourself & your site?
: I'm 28 years old and a 'customization-freak' or something like that. I mean I customize everything. Not just windows and programs, but hardware stuffz also, such as my pc, or custom cooling system for my cpu or vga card. Or a simple desk lamp, bicycle, photo, or anything I can customize a bit. I started customizing win xp in 2005. before that i did not care about how my windows looked.
: What are your favorite parts of windows to mod?
: Fav parts to mod in windows: hmm... shellstyle, my visualstyle, logonui, user accounts, add remove programs, my html desktop, going total iconless and simple as possible, the menus... and programs like firefox, foobar, miranda, foxmail, everything.
: What are you working on for the future?
: Working on xp-sp3 right now. Switched to sp3 (from sp1) two months ago. Plus working on my new site to share my hacksperiments.
Des's site has tutorials on controlling crazy things, like the windows analog clock colors, to function things, like striping the folder 'taskpane' to just icons. The thing that stood out to me, as an experienced file tweaker, is the regular use of a hex editor. He's no stranger to it, and his tutorials explain what you need to change. I'm really tempted to try it out. He also has a lot of Original/Hacker screenshots. That gives a great visual to the site, making it worth the visit just to see what he's done.
Here is a list of his modding content:
Windows clock colors
Windows calculator colors
Iconic taskpane (Classic)
Removing control panel icons from category view
List view in control panel's category view
Add / remove programs window layout
Removing the annoying focus rectangle (Sp3)
On a side note, he also has an unique "Tips and Tweaks" section too:
Removing the drive letters
The find, search panel / bar
Your control panel (.cpl), hta application
Customizing the user accounts window
Balloon message icons
That doesn't cover the whole site, but what I don't want readers to miss. I'm sure most customizers out there will find a gem or two in his collection. Special thanks goes out to Plastic for hosting his site, and just for being a good guy.
Des's Site: http://des.virtualplastic.net/index.html
Des's VP Profile: http://www.virtualplastic.net/msgboard/profile_s.php?nick=des
Add some life to your balloon tips:
"Snarl is a notification system inspired by Growl
for Macintosh that lets applications display nice alpha-blended messages on the screen.
Unlike other forms of notification, Snarl does not hijack the current focused window, nor does it force the taskbar to be visible. Notifications can either be cancelled by clicking on them, or left to disappear automatically if ignored for a period of time."
Extensions are already available for the following applications:
- MSN Messenger (notifies when people sign in)
- Microsoft Outlook (notifies when new mail is received)
- The Windows System Tray (translates the contents of balloon tips)
*Tip: Turn off ballon tips in Tweak UI, to have Snarl as a notification for the tray
It also includes SnarlClock which displays an hourly reminder(nifty).
Support from 3d party developers would turn this into a standard on Windows.
And we're back...plastic | 22 Nov. 2006
.. DNS is starting to resolve around, so hi. New server, but no changes here.
, known by many of us here as pogrelz, has released 3RVX. A successur of 3R-1C, 3RVX is a skinnable volume controller that has these features:
- Skinnable with 32-bit PNGs and multiple meter orientations
- Notification icon with volume display
- Eject notification
- Hotkey support to raise and lower volume, as well as eject
3RVX works with the Fn key on laptops as well and it's really refreshing to see a new image instead of the classic sndvol32.exe dialog...
*The .NET Framework (v1.1, v2.0, etc.) may be required to run 3RVX.
Dana 1.3 - Simple, Skinnable IRC ClientRed | 08 Sep. 2006
Dana is a simple, skinnalbe IRC client. It's actually been around for a fair amount of time, but not many have heard of it. Special thanks to craeonics from teknidermy for pointing it out.
There isn't too much to say about Dana. It's a basic IRC client. It just connects and works. No file transfer or anything fancy. Between that, and ~300k file size, it's blazing fast. It does let you store a number of servers, and even has a favorites list. It also connects to you favorite channel on launch, and the icon blinks if there is not connection. Naturally, it keeps a log file. Simple features, but everything you need.
The skinning format is pretty simple and straight forward. One odd thing is that the images have to be in a folder with a .dcs extension. Another odd thing is that the site lists skins in a single .dcs file. They aren't renamed zip files (I tried). They might be another archive type, but it's hard to say with that part of the site being only in German (despite a link that claims to be in English).
If you want something simple and skinnable, this may be perfect for you. Those used to more robust clients will find it lacking in many features. If those kinds of apps are too much for you, then you many have found yourself an IRC client. It won't steal away any mIRC users, but it is fun to play with.
Xion 1.0.58 Music PlayerRed | 05 Sep. 2006
No, not Xion the 545 app. This is a new app, and the developers probably never heard of the other one.
Xion is a music player that can handle anything from MP3s to Mod files. The interface of app still feels like it's in its early stages. Many parts of it are not skinnable yet. Nonetheless, the main window/control is impressively skinnable, and can integrate animation and visual effects nicely. Moshi and a few others have already made some nice skins for it.
It will be awhile before it can compete with Foobar, Winamp, or even QCD (soon to be QMP). There is hope though, as there currently is no widely used skinnable, minimal, purely music player. The long term goals of the app are unclear, but let's hope they learn from the other players' strong points.
• Xion Music Player
• Skins & Screenshots
Online since 11 March, 1999