Sunday, June 23, 2013

Game Tip - Planetside 2: Missing Terminal Panels/Displays with Anti-Aliasing Enabled (Fix/Workaround)

Just a quick tip for Planetside 2 that I meant to post a while back: If you have Enabled AA through the Control Panel of your Video Card (NVIDIA or AMD/ATi) and can no longer see the display screens of the Vehicle/Resupply Terminals or other transparency effects (and if you want to keep AA enabled and see them), all you have to do is go into the in-game 'Graphics' Settings and adjust the 'Render Quality' - even just knocking it down from 100% to 99% will allow them to show up again - a screenshot example of the setting and the result is below
Have fun and See You In The Games!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Game Tip - Minecraft: Seed with Village at Spawn II

Just a quick tip for Minecraft I've found: another seed that generated a helpful Village near the Spawn Point! I think I typed in "bobvilla" lol but I'm not 100% sure so here is the seed number: 1643249337 and it is in the screenshot below. Beware, as (perhaps fittingly) it is a 'fixer-upper'... Also, for those that don't know yet, you can't quickly see the Seed for games by just hitting F3 anymore, you need to hit / and type seed, to make it say /seed and then hit Enter
Have fun and See You In The Games!

This view is from just above the Spawn Point. The Village/Town can be seen poking out from behind the trees on the right side of the screen. Beware, it's a 'fixer-upper'... Enjoy! Click to see Full Size

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And More: How to record with H.264/AVC/x264/x264vfw (MPEG-4 Part 10) so that your video clips will open in Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere (Short Tutorial/Example Video)

Originally created to show an example of what to change so that your game recordings using the H.264/AVC/x264/x264vfw (MPEG-4 Part 10) codec will open up in Vegas, this also works for Premiere, Lightworks and other NLE's (Non-Linear Editors), for those who were having problems editing.

In this example*, I am recording with an x264vfw (Komisar's Unofficial, Black Logo) interface**, which sets up h.264/AVC encoding, used as an "External Codec" in Bandicam:

*Just a silly version of the video, sorry for taking up your time with this little joke
Summary of Video: Within the x264 Video For Windows interface, change the FourCC code that x264 is recording with [think of it as the 'UPC label' or 'QR tag' for the videos] to a code that these video editing apps can recognize natively. That's all.
Now, you should be able to import all your future game recordings into Vegas and Premiere without problem...

Ok, for a truly easy-to-follow video, that shows examples of how to set the code for Bandicam, Dxtory and Afterburner, look no further than here:

The true version of the video, showing how to adjust the setting required

As you can see, because the main setting to change occurs within the x264vfw interface itself, this change can be utilized no matter what game recording program you prefer to record with (Bandicam, Dxtory, MSI Afterburner, etc.)

**If you are using the 'Official' version of the x264vfw codec interface (Red Logo), the setting to change is indicated in this screenshot below:

»» Note: 
When editing the x264vfw codec with NLEs (Non-Linear Editors) such as Sony's Vegas line of products and Adobe's Premiere applications, you may experience artifacts such as 'trails' or 'corruption' unless you set the GOP setting to "1", which will make "Intra-frame only" encodes. This will encode frames that do not depend on surrounding frames, containing all necessary data within each frame itself (similar to how the MJPEG codec operates, requiring more bitrate/filesize, but MPEG-4 still uses less bitrate overall), which alleviates this problem.

This seems to only occur with Vegas, Premiere, Lightworks and similar products when using MPEG4, but does not occur with most other video editing applications (tested with Windows Movie Maker, CyberLink's PowerDirector, Nero Video, Avidemux, VirtualDub, etc), so you could always extract the portions of the video you want from your recordings with those, then import your portions into Vegas/Premiere/etc and finalize your video projects that way. However, to omit having to do that extra step, you can have your H.264/AVC (x264) recordings editable in Vegas/Premiere/etc by doing the following:

For the Official (Red Logo) x264vfw interface, add "--keyint 1" (without quotations) into the Extra Command area at the bottom
For The Unofficial (Black Logo) x264vfw interface, set the Maximum GO Size to "1"

A lengthy article, talking about recording with x264/H.264/AVC in detail (testing settings, recommendations for speed, etc.) can be found at the blog here:


Have fun editing and See You In The Games!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And More: Game Recording for Compatibility with Video Editing Programs (Text-Only Version)

Just some quick tips for recording your gaming adventures, so that no matter what recording or editing program you use, you can open the recorded file and edit it without any problems:

Most game recording programs will automatically install CODECs (COmpressor/DECompressors) when you install the program itself. Codecs can be thought of as 'handlers' for the video and audio formats that the program will 'prefer' [that is, formats that they were programmed with], so that you can open them in video editing applications. Also, most video editing apps can read certain widely-accepted/standardized formats such as MJPEG, RGB, YV12, Uncompressed, and so on, "natively" (without installing any additional codecs, once you install the video editing program itself). The thing is, sometimes there is a format that is selectable or useable in a recording application and then you can find out later that your video editing application "doesn't like it" (won't open your recorded file)...

To solve this problem, you can do a few things (in order of ease-of-use):

  • Change the format you are recording with.
[This also works if you don't want/can't install any additional codecs on the system]
All you have to do is switch the recording codec you are using to something that the editor can easily open. If your recording cannot easily be imported into your video editor, take a look at the 'importable formats' that are listed for your video editing application at the manufacturer's website.
You can also just do a couple of short test recordings to find out what can be recorded to and opened by your favourite editing app without problem. You may, for instance, test with a short recording and find that only the video (or only the audio) can be opened. This means you just have to check what formats you are recording with and switch out the one that is not being read properly. 
For example:

Problem: Sony Vegas opening a recorded file and the video track is fine but the audio has only a small 'sliver' of data (no sound track)
Fix: Change the audio recording format to Uncompressed PCM Audio
Now Sony Vegas can properly open both the video and audio portions of the recording (without installing any additional codecs) - all solved by merely switching to using a different codec for recording

  • Install the codec you wish you use.
A recording program may offer a format that you can record with, but it may not automatically install the decoder portion for it, so you may have to download and install the codec package in order to open the recordings.
Some examples:

Some find that when using the MJPEG codec offered within MSI's Afterburner program to record, they cannot open the MJPEG format recorded files in their video editing application. Within MSI Afterburner, there is an option to enable an MJPEG decoder within it, if it is needed (it shouldn't be, since most video editing programs support MJPEG natively (it is just a sequence of JPGs))

Some find that when using the Xvid codec offered within Bandicam to record, they cannot open the Xvid format recorded files in their video editing application. To solve this, merely download the Xvid codec package from the website and then you should be able to open the Xvid recorded files in your video editing program

  • Convert the recorded file into a format that the video editing app can open without problem.
Most editing programs have a list of 'compatible' formats that it was programmed to open natively [without installing anything else]. From the list, choose a format that is easy for you to convert your recordings into, so that you can easily import them into your video editing application.

To convert your recordings, you can use the conversion program that came with your camera or multimedia device, if it came with one. There are also many freeware programs that you can use, such as:

Xmedia Recode
Nero Recode
and more
Simply use the one that you find easiest to use and convert your files with. You can also purchase a video editing program/software suite that will allow you to convert/edit the recordings.

Once you try one of the above steps (listed in order of easiest/quickest first), you should find importing your recordings into your favourite editing apps going a lot smoother and having less problems/glitches when starting your editing.

Good luck with it and Have Fun editing your gaming adventures!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

And More: How To Stop the "Trails" and "Corruption" in Sony Vegas When Importing an Xvid Codec Recorded File (Tutorial with Example Video)

[The title sounds like a spell of some sort.. BEWARE THE TRAILS OF CORRUPTION]

As part of the 'And More' of this blog, I would like to present a Tip that will help anyone that may be experiencing the 'trails' or 'corruption' effect that appears when importing an Xvid-recorded video into the Sony Vegas line of products.

This effect can occur no matter what game recording software you are using (Dxtory, Bandicam [as an External Codec], MSI Afterburner, etc.**), if it is configured to record with the Xvid codec downloaded from the website. An example of the corruption (and the associated setting that can fix it) can be seen in this short video:

The first portion is an Xvid Codec recording with the Motion Search Precision setting ON (which is the default setting if you are using the "Real-time" Quality Preset to record with, for instance).
The second portion is the same Xvid Codec recording, but with the Motion Search Precision setting OFF (Set to "None" (0)).

That is all that need be changed to fix this problem with importing Xvid recordings into Vegas, all other settings can remain how you prefer. One more example of what can be fixed/corrected (a still frame from a 'corrupted' video) is shown here:

To change the required setting in the Xvid Codec interface:

  • After selecting Xvid MPEG-4 Codec as your recording codec [in whatever game recording software you prefer], click on the Configure button to open the Xvid Configuration window. Then, under the More section, Quality Preset, click the "more..." button past the pull-down menubar and it will Question you with the choice to Copy the values that cannot be changed to a "User Defined" setting. Clicking "Yes" will copy the Real-time Preset settings to the pull-down selection called "User Defined" and then you can change the preset settings within.
Click to see Full Size

  • In the Motion Precision category on the first tab (Motion), next to Motion Search Precision, click on the pull-down menubar and click on "0 - None", to turn off Motion Searching when recording using the Xvid Codec.
Click to see Full Size
That's it. Sony Vegas Movie Studio and Sony Vegas Pro should both now be able to import your Xvid format recordings, no matter what game recording program you are using (Dxtory, Bandicam [as an External Codec], MSI Afterburner, etc**).

** Users of Bandicam will find that a built-in/optimized version of Xvid is already included within the program codec menu and provides good capture ability/quality, it just does not have the codec-native configuration interface (to change settings) and this version will not natively import into Vegas, as of this version.
If you are using Bandicam as your game recording application and you wish to record with the 
built-in/optimized version of Xvid and import your recordings into Vegas, simply download the Xvid codec from the website. Then, Bandicam's version of the codec can be opened within the Sony Vegas line of products. The problem presented above in the article does not occur when using Bandicam's built-in/optimized version of Xvid††

†† It should be noted, that this issue of "corruption" or "trails" or "glitchy-ness" does not occur in all Video Editing Applications. While most NLE editors (Vegas, Premiere, Lightworks, etc) will experience this, many 'Pro-sumer' grade video editing programs, do not. I have personally tested editors such as Corel's VideoStudio Pro, CyberLink's PowerDirector and even Microsoft's Movie Maker - and none of these editors display the issue mentioned herein.
If a user desires to stick with Xvid as their recording codec (indeed a speedy and potentially semi-high quality codec), then perhaps utilizing one of these other editors, should be considered.

Have fun recording and See You In The Games!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Speedrun - Hitman: Blood Money - A Vintage Year (Silent Assassin, Pro Difficulty, Suit Only, Targets Only, "No Coins")

Messing around trying another Speedrun, this time booting up some good'ol Hitman: Blood Money, "A Vintage Year" level.

Hitman is a wonderfully crafted, enjoyable game. In my opinion, every single installment in this series has been. People have enjoyed the 'puzzle-play' aspects of it, people have enjoyed the gunplay, the stealth. Players have also enjoyed trying to run as-fast-as-they-can through levels that were probably not designed with this intention. Now, Hitman: Blood Money may not win any awards for "realism" in some areas of gameplay, but I personally have something against the concept that an Assassin, wearing a nice suit, most likely a millionaire, is carrying around twenty dollars in pocket change. Heck, I am sometimes annoyed at the jingle in my own pocket of a couple of quarters when I come across them. Thus, my personal aim with this level: to do a Suit-Only, Targets-Only, Silent Assassin, 'No Coins' Speedrun (on Professional Difficulty). I am probably not the fastest at this sort of thing, I have only done a couple of intentional Speedruns in the past; but it was still fun to make and I figured it was 'decently fast', so I wanted to share. Enjoy!

Recorded game:  Hitman-Blood Money, First/Third Person Shooter/Stealth/Action
Recorded with:  Bandicam (Registered Version) @ 1080p
Recording codec:  MPEG-1 @ 80% Quality (Default Setting), 30fps

This was actually not as hard as I thought it would be - after finding out that Delgado.Sr is snipe-able up out on his balcony. It was his Son that gave me trouble (as it seems to do with everyone, after a few forum finds on the subject). I started just pushing him down the stairs and also setting up the Barrels to fall on him; but eventually I settled on just a good-old-fashioned-assassin-stand-by: the single bullet to the head. This felt 'right', after sniping dear-ol'Dad, anyway. Instead of pushing the Guards at the bottom into the water, I just walked non-chalantly by them, as they didn't seem to care anyway.
[On the actual Playthrough, I seem to get some guards' attention, but I assumed this was for going into the areas I wasn't supposed to, not for being witnessed killing anyone]

I also wanted to do things like 'leave nothing behind', such as 'just dropping weapons' (like the Sniper Rifle) to save time. This sort of stems from the multitude-of-coins thing... Don't get me wrong by the way, I appreciate the time so many have taken to figure out their own ways to complete Hitman levels by using distractions. I just for some reason [OCD?lol] find it hard to extend my fantasy thinking within the game 'that far' - to where a so-called Silent-Assassin-slash-Hitman is always carrying around and actually utilizes enough laundry money to make the homeless cry on every mission. [I didn't actually mean to rant here, hah] I just think if an assassin wanted to throw anything around to distract guards, it could more realistically at least be a found weapon of some sort, as opposed to a ton of coinage everywhere (pebbles could even make more sense).

At any rate, whether you use coins (a mechanic that is indeed offered directly within the game) or you don't, there you have it; not the fastest run [or the most 'Silent' lol], but hopefully an enjoyable little watch, nonetheless.

See you in the games!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Quick Tip: Can't Record Your Game At All? (64-bit/32-bit Fix)

Just a quick tip for when it seems like you cannot record your game 'at all':
64-bit computing is still relatively new for home users, which means that not all 64-bit hardware and applications communicate without problems. Many game recording apps simply can't record games that operate in 64-bit modes. Just look for a 32-bit version of your game/gameclient and then your game recording program (no matter which one you use, be it Dxtory, Bandicam, MSI Afterburner..) should be able to record the screen. [For games that use Java (eg. Minecraft), download the 32-bit Java at their website]

See you in the games!