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Steampunk desktop themes: your screenshots

Started by Stefan Freestate, August 17, 2007, 02:41:47 PM

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Whats your desktop like?

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67 (44.7%)

Total Members Voted: 147

Cousin Itt

Hi Unk,

I tried sending you a message, but for some reason it doesn't seem to go through.
Here's a couple links to my latest in progress builds on a website I'm a forum host on.
It's easier to post photos there. (No links required.)


Itt - Looking forward to seeing the finished article. Hoping it will be running an o/s that supports my widgets...
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Currently working on another of my creations, this time it is a steampunk media player. It runs on Windows and Mac os/x and uses each system's default media player to interact with music files. It is not really possible for one person to write the code to interact with every known file format that exists (I would be forever writing codecs) so instead I just use the in-built media player that already knows the majority of formats and interface with it via an o/s API.

Fig 01. The player in simple mode.

On Windows it is the WMP (Windows Media Player) and on os/X it is QT (QuickTime). The same logic/code is used for each and the steampunk player acts/responds the same on each platform, not quite multi-platform but dual certainly. It may well work on the Ubuntu 13.03 with the Yahoo connect TV engine but that is completely untested.

It has two modes, simple compact mode where it takes up very little screen space and allows you to resize the thing to tuck it away anywhere you like. On a small pull of the keychain it enters normal mode where it shows you all the tracks in its current list.

Fig 02. The player in simple mode showing it in operation.

I am just updating the widget's menus, fixing the help screens and adding new folder browsing functionality. The old YWE engine provides access to the standard Windows folder browsing API but it does not allow you to determine where the default folder location is, instead always starting at the computer's drive root which is a pain. I am just recreating that folder browsing functionality and adding the folder start parameter that the YWE developers forgot. I am creating a browser window that looks like an old XP classic frame but I will create a more steampunk look-and-feel for it later using photoshop.

You might think it would be more sensible to use active X to use a system-level call to bring up a folder browser window and you'd be quite correct for almost all programming languages except javascript. Javascript traditionally runs in a browser and is restricted from being able to access desktop APIs. Even with these desktop engines your javascript still code runs in a browser context, in the konfabulator engine it has embedded the webkit browser and the javascript engine that comes with it. Since NT6 (Vista) access to certain activeX APIs has been restricted/deprecated, it now seems to check the language type and so you can no longer fire up a folder browser as you'd like to. Instead you have build your own from scratch.

Note: Microsoft's own jscript which runs natively on the desktop can still access these APIs, it is just those embedded in the context of 3rd party browsers that are now forbidden to access certain Windows APIs, thanks Microsoft - we know what you are doing there...

Fig 03. Displaying the original folder browser, styled to look like XP classic, new skin yet to arrive...

Fig 03a. Displaying the new folder browser, a medieval skin

Isn't it amazing how a simple skin changes the whole? The two skins above were formally created using the same methods and form but the skin changes everything.

Fig 04. Displaying the help for the player in 'simple' mode.

Fig 05. Displaying the help for the player in 'full' mode.

Fig 06. The player on my desktop with a few other steampunk creations.

Steampunk Weather (top)
Steampunk Volume Control (top right)
Steampunk Clock Calendar (left)

Fig 07. The right click menu

The right click menu showing the RJtextEd shortcut link that allows me to edit the program project files at a simple select and click

Fig 08. The build button used to initiate the program.

For each project the build button is set to simply run the project's KON file, the file that is recognised by the engine by default to initiate the running of your program. You set this using the following menu option:

Project - configuration - run settings - run

These two simple configurations speed up the debugging/development process considerably.

part II

On the steampunk media player I have modified the folder and file listing code to allow displaying both folders and files on the same pane, previously it was was just folders or files.  A simple filesystem.getDirectoryContents using the konfabulator API listing just gives you an alphabetical dump so in some way you have to sort the contents, display the folders first, then the files afterwards.

I am in the process of adding a slider to allow scrolling up/down which only appears when there is more than one screen of files/folders. Also allowing the manual selection of files using the up/down keys as well as scrolling pages using the mouse scroll wheel. It indentifies known file types as they are displayed and allows you to interact with the folders alone as this is a folder selector.

Why am I doing this? Not quite sure, it started out as a fix to the limitations of the engine but suddenly I am writing a full folder/file browser pop-up in javascript and starting to replicate default Windows functions. As you get stuck into something I feel the need to do it 'right' and not to alienate Windows users which means doing it roughly the same way.

It is only when you try to recreate something from the o/s yourself that you realise what a lot of code goes into a simple folder browser window...

Part III

// now allows selection of files but not to drill down into...
// now allows the up and down key selection of tracks/folders
// does not allow the selection to go above or below the list on a key up/down
// if a track is clicked upon or key'd then the default folder is chosen.
// implemented a return to open a sub-folder
// implemented the CTRL+HOME to return to the top screen and select the top track
// implemented the CTRL+END to go to the bottom screen and select the last track
// changed the selected track colour to match the rest of the window

More recently:

// selection by mouse only allowed on populated folder/tracks
// up icon click now correctly calcualtes from current tree position
// onMouse Scroll movements to select up/and down - WIP
// up icon now checks to see if the folder is a drive, if so now passes a boolean variable to cause the drives to be displayed
// added folder exclusion list to prevent the Windows folder from being browsed - ERROR!
// the readfolderslist now shows drives
// added a drive icon for drives only
// changed text alert for folders that contain no audio files
// changed the tooltip texts to be more relevant and informative
// changed the play button to a select button
// added ting and page turn sounds to navigation events
// added folder list refresh function to F5
// added back button code to handle the very last folder selection
// remove back icon when showing drives only
// when a folder has no files but still has sub-folders within, it requests to turn recursive searching on and do a rescan.

Part IV

I've added a help screen for the folder manager

A working version is now out:

// fixed a bug with some CDs that have no track information causing no track title to trim()
// up to drive e: when the tooltip should say drive root, added code to handle the up icon mouse enter root identification
// added help screen and menu item
// added roll over highlight of the buttons
// added tooltip change to reflect file or folder selection
// created file background with file plaque changed according to type
// fixed the file/folder browser type as called from the various places.
// there is no selected file by default any more
// no file selection does nothing as it should
// double click a file in file mode must play it
// the 2nd and 3rd folders selected should not replicate the first if the folder selected is the same
// right click select fourth saved folder selects the wrong one, now calls setmenu
// save the selected folder to the current prefs so that when opening the new folder selector the previous position is retained.
// back pressed twice, the up location is not set correctly

Unfortunately, there may be one or two bugs but in general it works and does not crash. It is a fairly basic file/folder explorer with no drag/drop nor filename editing on-the-fly but it allows navigation, file or folder selection, has full help and does the job it was designed to do. It also has a unique look that appeals to me.
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Cousin Itt

Quote from: yereverluvinunclebert on January 12, 2019, 02:13:49 PM
Itt - Looking forward to seeing the finished article. Hoping it will be running an o/s that supports my widgets...

Hi Unk,
For now I'm only running W10 on it.


That'll do it - hateful operating system that it is. Windows 10 is really just an interface for sharing your data on the cloud.
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute

Cousin Itt


No ~ I took it down, no point on spending money on customisation that the majority are not interested in. Even steampunkers can't really be bothered to customise their systems these days. Everyone is using Apple devices (that are all the same) or cheap Android devices and frankly customisation and individuality is a dying breed even amongst steampunks...

In the deep past each of my widgets would receive approx. 1,000 downloads a day but now I'd be happy to receive that many in ten years... :(

The site was more trouble than it was worth. Costs in maintaining, upgrading the supporting tools, handling hacks, hackers and spammers amounted to hundreds a year in time and cash. I didn't receive anything from it, not a penny. I've had a donate button on the widgets but nobody ever does, ever. It was only ever to pay for the infrastructure but without the donations, it was just a drain on resources.

Everything is expected for free these days but the lack of a good method of payment and a disinclination on the part of the users to donate deters those providing a service from doing so, which is sad. The rule used to be: for every 1,000 views you'd get a download, for every thousand downloads you'd get a comment, for every thousand comments you'd get a donation £1 or $1. That was a pound per million downloads. In my case I've done better than that, I've had a couple of million downloads and perhaps twenty or so tiny donations over the last 8 years but they've petered away to nothing.

I'd say you could multiply some of those figures by ten now (one in ten thousand) and it might be more realistic as people just don't donate. Crowdfunding is out of the question as customisation is largely dead as a concept these days. As you come to use Windows 10 you'll find all the obstacles in your path that prevent customisation. We are all corporate Apple clones now it would seem.

Honestly it is soul-destroying, as a result I no longer distribute my widgets, I don't update them in the places where they used to be distributed. I simply create them for myself and tell a few interested souls on the sites I used to frequent as they were fun places to be (deviantart, brassgoggles and I'll also show them off at the forums of the tools I use to create the things to help publicise the tools - RjTextEd).

One day I may resurrect the site when I have plenty of cash or if someone chooses to finance it!
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute

Cousin Itt

That's a shame.
I'm finally building another Steampunk PC, and hope to have better luck this time around.
Once I get the hardware part done I'll be doing the desktop customizations.
I don't see many builds going on anymore, at least not like there used to be.
I'm finally using all of that neat old stuff I've stashed away for years, along with stuff I'm still finding.
I'll have to see if I can find my DeviantArt password, it's been quite a while since I've been on their site.


It is a shame but it is reality.

So, I help those that want it and deliver just to please myself. That way frustration is removed.

I look forward to seeing more pictures!
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Dear unclebert,
I hope you will not mind but I would like to take inspiration from your splendid desktops for a little project I'm hoping to put together for a display our group is putting on later in the year, basically a Steampunk information point. Unfortunately I would not be able to use your widgets directly (not because I'm using one of the corporate OSs as you mention above, but because I do just the opposite and use a really alternative OS) but I hope to bring their combination of intricate, engaging imagery combined with practical functionality to the presentation.



Oh yes, go ahead, and use what you like. A credit is all that is required. I'd love to see what you are doing and hear about you building it too.
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Many thanks - and you've just made me realise I should add a 'credits' page to the program to do just that. I'll combine it with the 'further information' and use that as an opportuninty to flag up BrassGoggle's url. I'll post up some progress reports over the next few months; the deadline is middle May so I need to make a start to fit it in amongst the other creative activities for the weekend (helping to create a 'set' for photo opportunities for the visitors and of course making a new outfit for yours truly  ::) ).



Hoping your rather unusual o/s isn't TempleOS.
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Quote from: yereverluvinunclebert on January 22, 2019, 01:57:50 AM
Hoping your rather unusual o/s isn't TempleOS.

I had to Google that one - if using it would exceptionally fervent praying stop it from crashing?  :D



Shouldn't think so! Unless you had a direct line to, and some really, really powerful influence over the Almighty! (allowing that there is a belief in an Almighty, too!) ;D ;D

von Corax

Quote from: Miranda.T on January 22, 2019, 07:34:18 PM
Quote from: yereverluvinunclebert on January 22, 2019, 01:57:50 AM
Hoping your rather unusual o/s isn't TempleOS.

I had to Google that one - if using it would exceptionally fervent praying stop it from crashing?  :D


During system boot you have to sacrifice a gerbil over the system unit.
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
By the Beans of Life do my thoughts acquire speed
My hands acquire a shaking
The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
The Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics is 5845 km from Reading


Well, the 'Red by Night' event was last weekend, and I've only just recovered from it - really tiring (early starts follwing some fairly intense preparation into the weeks running up to it) but great fun and wonderful company.

So, the Steampunk Illumatarium/Babbage Booth seemed to be pretty popular. I'll get a photo up of the casing shortly but here is an image of the display:

Text on the right, scrolling images at the bottom and videos in the 'iris'.

To give an idea of the display in action, I did a screen recording of it running. It's not fantastic quality and running a bit slow (the laptop was struggling to run the program and record it at the same time), and there's no audio (so you'll have to imagine the various hissing, clicking and clanking sound effects), but here's the recording to give an idea of it working:

The categories are selected using a rotating switch, the wires from which were soldered to the pads of a stripped down games controller, with the output from this captured by the program. The categories were 'What is Steampunk', 'Steampunk concepts', 'Steampunk traits', 'Literature', 'Film & TV', 'Music & art', 'Fashion', 'Other 'Punks' and 'Community'.


Edit: Here's a picture of the casing coursey of Magorian Pye -

As you can see, I am deeply indebted to Admiral Wilhelm for the brilliant idea of how to make the speaker 'cone'.


Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


I'm working on a new utility that can help give a steampunk aspect to your Windows system, laptop or desktop.

It is a tool that works with Rocketdock to allow easy insertion of icons into Rocketdock's icon map. There was an old method provided by Rocketdock that worked to a fashion but my tool is an improved and much more functional version of it.

You must have Rocketdock installed first. I think it looks rather nice. It is NOT one of my widgets so it does need the widget engine to run, instead it is a traditional Windows program written in VB6. It took me a few months to complete. It is coming out soon.

Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


Quote from: yereverluvinunclebert on December 04, 2019, 01:00:06 PM
Christmas (advent) desktop

Oooh, I really like that, unclebert!
Your stuff (almost) makes me feel guilty for running a Mac! ;D


Some new icons in PNG format, a set I just knocked up as I needed them.
There are icons here for the following formats:

Windows Media formats (.asf, .wma, .wmv, .wm)
Windows Media Metafiles (.asx, .wax, .wvx, .wmx, wpl)
Microsoft Digital Video Recording (.dvr-ms)
Windows Media Download Package (.wmd)
Audio Visual Interleave (.avi)
Moving Pictures Experts Group (.mpg, .mpeg, .m1v, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .mpe, .m3u)
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (.mid, .midi, .rmi)
Audio Interchange File Format (.aif, .aifc, .aiff)
Sun Microsystems and NeXT (.au, .snd)
Audio for Windows (.wav)
CD Audio Track (.cda)
Indeo Video Technology (.ivf)
Windows Media Player Skins (.wmz, .wms)
QuickTime Movie file (.mov)
MP4 Audio file (.m4a)
MP4 Video file (.mp4, .m4v, .mp4v, .3g2, .3gp2, .3gp, .3gpp)
Windows audio file (.aac, .adt, .adts)
MPEG-2 TS Video file (.m2ts)
Free Lossless Audio Codec (.flac)
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


My desktop without all the Christmassy sh1te I put on there.

For me, a steampunk desktop is not a choice, it is simply a requirement.
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute


My Rocketdock Enhancement Utilities have made a lot of progress since my last post, no longer do you have to have Rocketdock installed. I have managed to create a working replacement for Rocketdock itself, called SteamyDock.

I've added a few new icons for fonts and a dinky little rocket has been adopted from Kludgets and adapted to suit my needs. I need a favicon and this little rocket will do nicely.

It has a new fin, a rocket exhaust, a new door and the porthole has been improved. I've also done some shading. More improvements on this small icon to make it fully my own expected shortly. I'm thinking of creating another set based on the these lines.

SteamyDock is working and is usable but I have not released it yet as I need to get it into some sort of shape where it stands side-by-side comparison with Rocketdock. At the moment it is an improvement on Rocketdock "under the hood" as it were but with regard to some of the animations that make Rocketdock really shine, it is not yet complete.

I have been working on this for a while and it is teaching me to code using Windows APIs and GDI+ to do the hard low level work.

If you compare it to the real Rocketdock you will see SteamyDock is starting to really shape up.

I am working on implementing themeing and the themes themselves.

The new 'ZakToon' skin on Steamydock.

This is Steamydock displaying the running process 'cog' that shows the process associated with the icon is running now.

I have another 15 or so major bugs/feature changes to implement before I can release it, these should take a few weeks to complete but the end is nigh!

Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute