This morning I am going to go in a different direction… and ask the Blaugust community with assistance on something. For years I have been a loyal FRAPS user for the purpose of recording game screenshots. I have a legally registered copy… that happens to have personal information in the registration details screen so I have mosaic’d it out. There are an awful lot of pirated copies floating about but I happily plunked down my $40 and have been using it for over a decade at this point. It has always simply worked as intended and given me the ability to record screenshots without fail. This changed however when Destiny 2 made the weird decision to block any form of an overlay for “security reasons” there by making it so that FRAPS could not record anything successfully.
First I feel like I need to start off with why I use FRAPS rather than in game screenshot tools. It all comes down to the fact that I like posting a significant number of screenshots in my morning posts… and that I am lazy. I cannot remember what the directory MMO number 376 that I have installed on my system uses for screenshot storage. As a result I like having everything dumped into the same directory where I can filter through them quickly, and eventually archive them off to my network attached storage. I have a truly nonsense number of screenshots stored out there at this point.
Ultimately what I am looking for feature wise…
- ability to capture fullscreen, borderless and windows screenshots without capturing the window frame or my desktop
- ability to save to the format of choice… I tend to dump things to JPG because my blog gets grumpy if I upload PNGs anymore
- ability to work flawlessly without having to constantly check to see if its on
- ability to change the target directory and dump everything to one place
- ability to bind whatever it is to work off of PrtScrn button because its habit
For years FRAPS did all of these things but one of the recent Windows 10 updates seems to have changed that. Now any time I launch a game I need to kill FRAPS and relaunch it to get the overlay to work properly. This means that it is now a fiddly mess and it makes me grumpy. So what I am asking you my community is… is there a hidden gem out there for screen capture that I am unaware of? Now I am going to talk about some of the alternatives that I have used.
This one seemed like a no brainer given that I run Nvidia based cards and this ends up installing to your system regardless if you want it to. It isn’t a flawless system but it was the only reliable way that I seemed to have to be able to record Destiny 2 given that the overlay is hardware based and not something executing at a software level. Its major flaws were the fact that it would not dump to a single directory, but instead a series of directories named off of what the game executable thinks it is. This causes some weirdness when the game developers don’t actually go back and fix the name of their executable… for example the Quake Champions screenshots I have are in a directory called “PC” or Dauntless for whatever reason shows up as “Archon” which was maybe an early name for the game?
Another flaw is that you cannot change what format the screenshots are dumped in as it always saves to PNG, which involved me going through a morning ritual of converting all of the screenshots that I was going to upload to JPG to bypass the nonsense size limit. Lastly and quite possibly the most damning problem is when I happen to be running a game in windowed mode… it records my entire desktop like the above screenshot. This means I either need to drop it in photoshop and cut out the window or just live with the fact I am posting a postage stamp for a screenshot. Not ideal to say the least given that when I am streaming I occasionally run things windowed so I can see what is going on in stream etc.
Another screenshot software that has been recommended to me numerous times is Dxtory by ExKode which is I believe a Japanese based software house. It is also in the 30-40 dollar range price wise and does a really good job of capturing both images and video. The problem is… it would occasionally just stop working and not give any indication of this. I would be playing along thinking everything was working as intended… I would still have an overlay in game indicating that the software is active… then when I sit down to write a blog post the next morning I would have zero screenshots to show for the previous nights play time. The unreliable nature and the fact that this was not an every night occurrence made me move away from it. Some times it would go for three or four nights without flaking out on me… and other times it would happen multiple times in the same night. I was not able to find any sort of pattern around it. Whatever the case however it was unreliable and I opted to move away from it.
This is an open source software mostly designed to capture regions of an image much like windows clipping tool. However it does in fact have an unattended screenshot mode and as a result I attempted to use it as my software of choice for awhile. The problem is that when running Windowed Borderless… it would intermittently alternate between taking a screenshot of my desktop and taking a screenshot of the game. This became problematic given that I was missing a bunch of screenshots and again… maybe had nothing to show for my night of gaming come blog post time.
The core problem is that most of the screenshot tools don’t really do the thing that I want them to do given that they are largely focused on capturing video… and not capturing still images. I have StreamLabs OBS for those moments when I want to capture video so I have that covered. However what I want instead is just a reliable screenshot tool that I can use with literally every game I play, so the images don’t get lost somewhere on my hard drive. I may give Dxtory another spin because it has been numerous years since I last tried it. Ultimately however what I really want… is FRAPS to stop being a butt and just work again. In the meantime however, I would love to hear some of your suggestions for screenshotting games? Do you still rely on the in game screenshot tools, or have you consolidated to using some tool other than the ones I have mentioned?