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The best PC game video capture software: 5 top recording tools compared

Ian Paul | March 7, 2016
For an emerging Twitch broadcaster, or any gamer eager to share epic highlights with pals.

Nvidia ShadowPlay

Nvidia’s GeForce Experience software looks straightforward, but it’s not always the simplest to use. The interface can be confusing at times, and it may take a minute to understand the inner logic of the program. Like Plays.tv, GFE does more than just record video. It’s Nvidia’s hub for all kinds of graphics cards settings and for automatically optimizing your games’ graphics settings for maximum visual effect.

To get started with ShadowPlay you first have to click the ShadowPlay button in the upper right corner of the GFE window. A small pop-up window opens; flip the faux mechanical switch to turn on the feature. Once it’s active, you’ll be able to tinker with the quality, audio, activation, and length of recording options in the pop-up panel. If you close the small ShadowPlay pop-up and navigate to Preferences > ShadowPlay in the main GFE window, you’ll find additional settings options.

By default, ShadowPlay records up to five minutes of gameplay at any given time unless you turn on the manual recording feature, which captures your action until disabled. One nice touch: ShadowPlay will save the last five minutes of your gameplay if you press Alt + F10. That’s an important feature if you do something cool, but forgot to hit record first. You can also configure ShadowPlay to stream your gameplay to your Twitch account.

Raptr/AMD Gaming Evolved

Raptr, the company behindPlays.tv, has a desktop client of the same name that also records your gaming. Making it more confusing, Raptr is also bundled with Radeon drivers as AMD Gaming Evolved.

The Raptr client used to have its own dedicated game recording software, but now has Plays.tv integration currently in beta. Like Plays.tv, Raptr automatically records your gaming sessions by default when you start a game. Tapping Ctrl + F2 saves your last 30 seconds of gameplay, and those clips can then be easily uploaded to Plays.tv. Raptr can also optimize your games for you, just like Nvidia’s GeForce Experience.

Raptr also comes with built-in Twitch.tv integration, allowing you to broadcast your live gaming with just a few clicks. It’s unbelievably easy to start. All you have to do is log into your Twitch account via Raptr, turn off Raptr’s automated game recording settings, and start your game. Once you’re in the game, tap Ctrl + [, and your live broadcast begins.

If you’ve been thinking about getting into Twitch broadcasting but you’ve been putting it off because of the technical hassle, or because you think you need a dedicated broadcasting PC to get going, Raptr kills all those excuses for you. I was broadcasting in no time. The only trouble: At first it wouldn’t recognize my webcam, but after I chucked my eight-year-old webcam and bought something that wasn’t pre-Windows 8 it worked just fine.

 

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