Fraps — Screenshots on Steroids

I’ve mentioned Fraps before, but until recently I never really used it that much even after paying to register it.

Originally I purchased Fraps to record in-game video for Unreal Tournament 2004. The problem is that even very fast machines have a lot of difficulty both running a game full screen and recording it at an acceptable frame rate and resolution. I just broke down and bought a Tivo with a DVD burner for video.

But that introduces another problem — any time you scan convert video, you lose a lot of detail. I’m very happy with the game video my Tivo records, except that it loses a lot of detail in the in-game chat (i.e., its unreadable on the video version). That, and there are times when I just want a screenshot rather than digging out the video.

Which is why I as impressed when I went back and looked at Fraps. It has a wonderful option that lets me hit a key and automatically take a screen shot every second. There is definitely a performance hit for doing so, but its more than acceptable. Typically, my machine will run a game like World of Warcraft at 45-50 frames per second, and taking a screen shot every second tends to knock that down by 3-5 fps. I can live with that.

Of course that does result in about 8 gigabytes/hour worth of screen shots, so those 5 hour marathons can really start to eat up hard drive space. I then use Zip Backup to CD to automatically Zip up the screenshots and burn them to DVDs.

Just in case there were some of you who didn’t realize the depths of my obssession for recording and archiving everything.

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