A Guide To The Demo Tool Vol. 7: Slow Motion & Correcting Visual Bugs

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. This series first teached the basics and then went on explaining some advanced stuff to create stunning demos.

Single frame rendering in sub realtime

Now if you are like me hungry for the maximum quality in your projects then you should use single frame rendering (which I explained in part 3).

The downside is that the command “timestepscale” does not work while in render mode and is honestly not needed to get a stutterless cinematic.

But you may still want to slow down the demo for a slowmotion effect. Maybe for a PVP video where the replay speed could fit better to the music’s pace? If there was only a way to slow down the demo without opening the console or using the HUD…

WELL LOOK NO FURTHER!

While in a demo (playback or render) you may want to press the “ARROW LEFT” and “ARROW RIGHT” keys. These will either half or double the demo speed. This works also while rendering.

Ok it has a downside. Because the demo tool is still rendering in 30 FPS with about 8mb per screenshot you will have huge amounts of data storage consumed by your recordings. You might shorten your camera paths a little (since you are recording for slowmotion anyway).

Second downside is the “timestepscale” watermark in the top right corner. That means you have to zoom in a bit. Quality loss is only minor though.

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Third downside is the same camera path-demo time disparity the timestepscale command has. You might want to “lead” your camera path a bit or the camera will lose sync with the demo.

Character displacement for screenshots

This one is a real oddity. Credit goes to Seavia for the discovery.

If you pause a demo and press the “R” key your character gets teleported to your camera’s current position until you unpause them demo.

Then everything goes back to normal. Sadly that means there is really only one application where this could be useful: Screenshots.

That's me in Vellosk's wolf face
That’s me hovering in Vellosk’s wolf mouth. Funny to see the relative size of a player model.

Small visual bugs

Now this one is actually really important. A lot of the time a thouroughly set up camera sequence gets ruined by a visual display error, be it a flickering vfx or an awkward character animation.

The bitter truth is only some of them can be fixed (at least that I know of). I will still list some of the unfixable ones so you know what to expect.

  • World vfx visible through solid walls/environment (Heroic Encounter light pillars for example). Solution: Disable TXAA Antialising in your “Display” settings.
  • Spell/ability vfx not properly loaded (Stuff looks like coloured squares). Solution: Try rendering/recording again with a higher buffer time in your camera path (start the actual path a few seconds later into the demo). This will hopefully give the tool enough time to render everything correctly.
  • Characters use wrong movement animations (DC, SW, HR use the TR’s roll animation as dodge). I don’t know of a way to fix this yet. I tried playing around with the animations tab in the F5 menu. Maybe you can find a solution?
  • Animation/Spell vfx derendering when you get too close. Solution: Position the camera further away (duh). Still listing it here since it can sometimes be really useful actually.
  • Awkward character animations. The HR’s arrows don’t actually come out of his bow but more out of his nose. Gear textures (cloaks or weapons) clip through other body parts. Not really noticable if not in a close-up slowmotion.
  • Flickering environmental/spell vfx (Bryn Shander fire places). God how I hate these. Sometimes (seemingly random) certain vfx start to flicker (render and derender) if viewn from certain angles. The only solution is not to use that angle in a camera path.

If a scene is too dark to set up a camera path

Maybe you want to record a really dark cavern but it is actually way too dark for you to see where to put the keyframes of your path.

Here is a quick way to brighten up the demo: type into the console “unlit 4”.

This will usually brighten up the scene enough for you to set the camera path. It will of course not change the actual outcome of your cinematic.


That’s it for today. And still the demo tool has so much more to offer!

As these parts about smaller more specific tips and tricks come in I am preparing a camera movement focused chapter that should go into more details on how to make a good cinematic.

Cheers for staying with me 😀

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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