GameBase was originally designed to be both a database front-end, and an emulator front-end. Although these are still it's main uses, you can use it really for any arbitrary collection of data.
GameBase needs a database to run. You can either create one, or configure an existing one that you may have downloaded. You can find many existing GameBase Databases (“GameBases”) listed on the GameBase website.
- Use an existing Database - If you have downloaded or obtained an existing GameBase database, you'll need to configure it before you can use it. This includes setting the paths for pictures/music/extras, and setting up your emulators so that the games will run correctly. See Configuring Existing GameBases for more info.
Once you have a database up and running, if you haven't done so already, you'll usually need to verify which files you have, so that the front-end can function correctly. Make sure your paths are correct (Tools→'Database' Paths) then Select “Verify Available Files…” from the Tools menu in the main GameBase window. This tool will report any missing files, and affect certain user interface elements (such as only enabling the “Play Game” button if a game-file is found).
GEMUS (GameBase Emulator Script) is the system GameBase uses to setup and run games in emulators. You must setup at least one emulator with GEMUS if you want to play any of your emulated games. This is not as daunting as it sounds, in fact it is usually very easy and takes only a small amount of time. See the GEMUS Guide for more information.
Although it's name suggests that only games are supported, GameBase also supports music. Due to the fact that many computer emulated tunes are “attached” to games but many aren't (e.g. demo tunes/intro tunes), GameBase manages this by splitting it's own database into 2 tables. Firstly there is a Games table, where all games and their respective info is stored (including the game's music tune file). Secondly there is a Music table, where all music tunes that are not directly attached to a game are stored.
In GameBase you can view items from the Games and Music tables seperately or together in the same list. Items in the list are identified by their icon:
- When you click on a Game item, the game's info will appear under the list of items in a tabbed display and any pictures will appear to the right of the list.
- When you click on a Tune item, the tune's info will appear under the list of items and the tune author's photo (if one exists) will appear to the right of the list.
You can drag/drop game and music files from the main list of items into another program or Explorer window.
- Dragging a Game item with the left mouse-button will drag/copy the game's Game File.
- Dragging a Game item with the right mouse-button will drag/copy the game's Music File.
- Dragging a Tune item with the right mouse-button will drag/copy the tune's Music file.
You could use drag/drop to add tunes into a music player's playlist window, for example.
GameBase manages it's list of games and music tunes in what it calls Views. Directly beneath the list of games and tunes is the View Selector. With the View Selector you can choose which games/tunes are displayed in the main list. There are 4 Default Views, but you can also create your own Custom Views with multiple filters via the small button to the left of the View Selector.
- <All Games> - This view will always contain all the games in the database (i.e. the full Games table).
- <All Music> - This view will always contain all tunes in the database (i.e. the full Music table, and all games from the Games table that have a music tune linked to them).
- <Favourite Games/Music> - This view will contain games and tunes from both the Games and Music tables that you have marked as your favourites. You can mark a game/tune as a favourite from the Edit menu in the main GameBase window.
- <All Games Excluding Clones> - This view contains all the games in the database, excluding those marked as clones of other games.
In addition to the Default/Custom Views, there is also the Quick View, which can be set or changed from the View Selector button or by pressing CTRL+Q in the main GameBase window. This special kind of view is similar to a normal View but works slightly differently in two ways:
- You can quickly create temporary custom views quickly by filtering games/tunes from the database by a single specific field.
- By clicking on a field-link (the hyper-links in the details under the main game/tune list), all items in the database that match the current value of the clicked field will be displayed in the list. This newly created view will overwrite the currently selected Quick View.
The Quick View is always listed as the last view in the View Selector.
Generally, right-clicking any field-links in the game/tune details under the main list will open up a new window where you can change that field's value. To change the game or music file attached to the current game or tune, click the relevant cell in the status-bar at the far bottom of the GameBase window. The first cell is the game file cell, the second cell is the music file cell. When the selected item is a tune from the Music table the game file cell is not shown, so the first cell becomes the music file cell.
You can also edit specific fields for ALL games or tunes in the current view in one operation. You can select to do this for the majority of database fields from the Edit menu in the main GameBase window. Note: when you perform batch-update operations like this on the database, they cannot be undone, so make sure the changes you are making are 100% desired.