A Guide to the Demo Tool Vol. 4: Final Part/Miscellaneous

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 even more alternate way to start a demo

You just want to make screenshots and don’t want to have to edit command lines to get into every single demo? I have just the right solution for you!

This little nifty software called “Demolisher” let’s you jump into demos way faster. Here is the download link from Sourceforge: https://sourceforge.net/projects/readcrypticdemo/

The demolisher interface
The demolisher interface, don’t touch the “Hide”, “Empty Zone” and “Window Size” boxes

After installing you will have to set the path for your Neverwinter live folder. On the right you may then click and select a demo to load. Before loading you can also change some settings before actually jumping into the demo.

This way to start demos is perfect for taking screenshots as it is the fastest way to load up a demo after closing the game.

Here is an oddity: You can’t save your camera path with this method. If you want to save a camera path for rendering you have to use the method depicted in part 3 of this guide.

Rendering however is very much possible and it even gives you the option to set renderscale/visscale/timestepscale before playing or rendering a demo.

Recording cinematics with sound

You will have to double the work. Sadly recording in timestepscale lower than 1 or render in tga single frames causes your recording to lack sound.

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Just capture your camera path in regular speed with your screen capture software before the “real” recording. Then cut away the visuals of the regular speed recording and match the sound track with the visuals of your “real” recording.

Much ado about screenshots

If you want to skip the tga format conversion, you may type in “screenshot_jpg” so your screenshot is in .jpg format already. Now this may not always work out the way you want. If I render a demo in jpg images it turns out way too dark. Just experiment with it, it might work for you.

Also you should notice that the .tga has little to no quality loss. If you want to edit your screenshots afterwards then this should be your preferred choice.

Witchcraft and sorcery/Advanced Settings

The demo tool is so much more than what it looks like. Are you ready to go deeper?

  • Press F4 while in an active demo. This will show up the wireframe of the map which can be thought of as a collision grid. Pressing F4 again will only show the wireframe and the third press will turn it back to normal.
  • Press F5 while in an active demo. This one brings up a really interesting menu of developer-access-only graphic settings. Some of these are really useful for ingame recordings and some will crash the game.
  • Nofog. Under the “Sky” tab you may tick the box “No Fog”. Neverwinter simulates distance with a fog that is even persistent in enclosed areas like buildings or caves. This fog is basically just a reduction of contrast.
  • But images/videos with contrast are pleasant to watch for the human eye. Removing the fog can make for great lighting effects too. I would not suggest to use it in open areas though, where simulating distance actually makes sense. To use this in a command line for the render gameclient of part 3 of this guide type “-nofog” after your renderscale and visscale commands.
  • Under the “Object” tab you may select to de-render certain types of draw entities. “Skinned objects” are players, NPCs and visual effects.
    An example of how you could take a screenshot with skybox in the back ground and unusual perspective.
    An example of how you could take a screenshot with skybox in the back ground and unusual perspective. That’s my huntress in Vellosk btw.

What looks good and what doesn’t?

  • Generally speaking you will want to bring depth into your videos/screenshots. Having a fore- and background makes your project seem more alive.
  • Get into places you usually can’t reach. Of course you should not show an area with missing textures, but positioning your camera in an unreachable spot (just playing around with the perspective’s height will do) and then viewing back into the map makes your projects way more exciting. You are giving new perspectives.
  • Neverwinter has rather spectacular visual effects, especially for powers and lighting.
  • Some of Neverwinter’s skyboxes (sun/moon and the sky textures) are just plain beautiful. Try to get them into the background.
  • For videos: Sometimes you will encounter nasty renderbugs: flickering textures, wrong render distances (disappearing and reappearing objects) and wrong animations. Every class that can dodge uses the TR’s roll animation and the SW just runs really fast which looks hilarious. My advice: Just change camera perspectives and try to film around it.

Done! That was the last part of the demo tool guide series for now. I hope it helped and we will maybe see some amazing ingame screenshots or cinematics pop up because of it. For me it was a pleasure writing these and I hope you enjoyed reading them the same amount. You were a wonderful audience:D

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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