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Recording a fly-through video of a Quake 2 map

I was recently asked how I made this HD video of spirit2dm7 so here's a quick and dirty tutorial.

Installing some desktop video capturing software

Quake 2 doesn't support recording of videos so you'll need some software that captures your current screen as a video. Fraps is quite popular but it's commercial (the demo will do for your first try). Taksi and CamStudio are free and should do the job. I like CamStudio.

Whatever you chose install it and take a look at the settings, the default capture quality may be too low (I use full-size and 30 frames per second).

If you want HD quality you obviously have to capture in an appropriate screen resolution, too.

Preparing your Quake 2 client

To record a good video you will need to remove the Quake 2 crosshair and HUD first. Quake 2 has no console command to do this but you can use this pak file to remove the HUD (instructions in the zip).

Next step is to get some friends to play the map or install a mod that provides bots to get some action going. If you opt to go for the latter I recommend to get the 3ZB2 bot (Quake II 3ZB2 bot mirror).

Now make sure that you started the video software and then fire up your Quake 2 client (I'm using r1q2.exe here, yours may simply be 'quake2.exe' if you're really ol' skool) with the 3zB2 mod and map by changing the command line of your Quake 2 shortcut to something like this (or using a shell to run this command):

r1q2.exe +game 3zb2 +set deathmatch 1 +map spirit2dm7

You obviously have to replace 'spirit2dm7' with your map of choice. Now that you're in-game, let's get into the Q2 console and prepare some stuff. The next 4 commands will do the following: get you into spectator mode, spawn 4 bots, adjust your field of view and reduce the speed at which you're flying around as a spectator. You can also remove the HUD:

spectator 1
sv spb 4
fov 105
cl_forwardspeed 100
scr_draw2d 0

You are now ready to go and the bots should already start fighting. If the bot command didn't work you didn't load the 3ZB2 mod (see above). Press the video capture key of your video recording software (F9 for Fraps) to start/stop recording. Note that you can change your speed by holding the run/walk key (usually SHIFT).

Processing the video

The video you just made will be *very* large (about 1 GB / minute with the settings I suggested above and a high screen resolution). To get the video ready for youtube or the internet, you'll obviously have to re-encode it to make it smaller. I used avidemux for this, it's easy to use and free. I am a total noob when it comes to video editing/encoding but to get good quality for youtube, the following settings worked for me, i.e. the file size was ok (80MB instead of 3GB for the video) and the video still looked really good:

Audio: AAC
Format: .mp4

Have avidemux render the video by adding it to the queue and starting the job, this took about 20 minutes for my video. You can then upload the output file to youtube or whatever.

Disclaimer: As I said I have no clue about video encoding and the avidemux settings listed above may be total nonsense. They produced this video for me though and I'm fine with that quality. ;)

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