A Guide To The Demo Tool Vol. 3: Recording High Quality Videos

Not everybody who plays this game knows, but Neverwinter actually has a replay feature! It allows for capturing high quality screenshots or replaying the action of an entire dungeon boss fight. So how does it work?

An alternate way to start a demo

The Cryptic live folder, arrow marks "GameClient.exe"
The Cryptic live folder, arrow marks “GameClient.exe”

This one loads up the demos way faster than the “traditional” method. You will want to go into your Neverwinter installation folder under “…\Cryptic Studios\Neverwinter\live\”, where you will find a “GameClient.exe”.

Create a shortcut of “GameClient.exe” and go into its properties. Under “target” you enter “-demoplay DEMONAME.demo” behind “\GameClient.exe”, where DEMONAME stands for the demo’s name you want to play.

Also you will want to select “Run this program as an administrator” under “compatibility”.

Where you have to insert the commandline, arrow marks position.
Where you have to insert the commandline, don’t get irritated by the german. The position is the same for you.

Why didn’t the Christian lose all of his files?

The mysterious "save" button
The mysterious “save” button

Because Jesus saves. I am so sorry I made that joke. But just try to find funny headlines about the word “save”. I am waiting.

This part is about saving the camera path you created into your demo file. If you don’t know what a camera path is, I suggest you read part 2 of my guide. For everybody else, I am talking about the “save” option in your path list. If the “*” did not go away after saving, then it was not successful.

For some odd reason I can only get it to work when starting the demo with the method depicted above.

The secret uncovered

After you have successfully saved your camera path, you will want to create another shortcut in the same way as described above.

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But this time we enter “-demosaveimages DEMONAME.demo VIDEONAME tga” instead of “demoplay DEMONAME.demo” behind “GameClient.exe”, where “VIDEONAME” stands for the name you want to give your recording. Also make sure to always run this as an administrator and you might want to name it differently from your first shortcut.

While the first shortcut will start a demo, the second one will render a demo as 30 screenshots per second without HUD (just like regular screenshots). It will open the game just like playing a demo, but this time it will start to immediately play your camera path. Be sure that your monitor does not turn black or activates a screensaver.

Now what?

You will find the images of your rendered demo in your regular screenshot folder under “…\Cryptic Studios\Neverwinter\live\screenshots”; You should probably empty it before rendering. The screenshots will be in .tga format and will have a numeric sequence with “VIDEONAME_00000” being the first image.

The .tga file format has the best lossless quality but also takes up a lot of hard drive space. I would suggest that you create a directory somewhere on a hard drive (even external possible) that has enough disk space and move all of the images over there.

To actually open that sequence you have to go into your video editing program and open your first image while selecting “open still image sequence”. This might be different depending on which program you are using. This example is for Sony Vegas. If you are unsure just search for “how to import tga sequence” for the software you are using.

Into the magic we delve once more!

So you were successful up to this point, bravo! What comes now is comparably easy. The “demosaveimages” command jumps you directly into the demo, without letting you change certain settings, like “visscale” or “timestepscale”.

So fear no more! For the solution we need to go back to the shortcuts we created. All the commands you used during camera path creation to make the game look better can be added just like “-demosaveimages” to the shortcut’s target.

An example would be “-renderscale 2 -visscale 1000 -nofog -demosaveimages DEMONAME.demo VIDEONAME tga”, where “-nofog” removes the fog that is used to simulate distance. But more on that in part 4 of this guide.

NOTE: Your actual ingame graphics settings should be set up before rendering.


So that was the more “professional” way of recording videos from a demo. The next and final chapter of this guide will add some general tips/tricks, an even faster way to start a demo and more advanced settings. Also a “what looks good in Neverwinter and what doesn’t” section, stay tuned!

Cheers, Jay

 

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JayAgeDee

I do stuff about Neverwinter on the internet. Module guides for Xbox, Strongholds cost spreadsheet and Neverwinter Machinima. And now I write for NWO:U, which is totally unnecessary to say since you are reading this on their website. I wrote it anyway. Lul.

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