Each wheel in HyperSpin is represented by one database file. Database files or "Lists" are in XML format. Don't worry if you dont know what XML is. XML is a standard and structured way to organize information that can be read by just about any programming language. This is good because other people can easily write programs to read and manipulate the data if needed. This is the case of the program HyperList which is a program written by Lashek, a member of the HyperSpin development team. You can manage your lists with HyperList and you can also easily edit your lists with wordpad or any text editor.
So one question is why is each wheel a seperate list in HyperSpin, instead of one giant XML file that gets filtered on the fly by the frontend. Well the obvious disadvantage is that there will be more files to maintain by you. But there are several advantages.
- Any single list in HyperSpin can be shared amongst users easily.
- Any single list can have its own custom ordering determined by you and not the software. This allows you to organize games the way you want to see them. Certain games should belong together in a certain order naturally. But due to rom naming conventions, paritcularly MAME, your games could get mixed up a little. Even if sorting by the description of the game.
- Any single list can have its own index points. Index points can be set by you to allow you to jump to those points in the wheel by pressing left or right. A really good feature once you learn how to use it.
So what does XML look like and how easy is it to edit?
Lets look at the simplest of the databases you'll be working with, the "Main Menu". The Main Menu is a little different than the rest of your databases but the concepts are the same.
This is "Main Menu.xml" inside your databases folder. You can open this file with wordpad, Excel, or any text editor. Just by looking at the above example you can probably see that its fairly simple to visualize your main menu. Adding a system is as simple as adding a new line between the menu tags and adding a name for that system. HyperSpin comes with a bunch of premade databases for you already with the latest rom naming conventions. We will talk in a lot more detail about lists and how to manage them in the list section of this help area. For now, you should know that each wheel is made up of a file like this.