I’m happy to announce that I have *finally* gotten my own domain/webhosting.
Please update your bookmarks to http://www.authorizedtoramble.com!
I plan to close this URL/blog down in a day or so — Make sure you follow me on Twitter for updates!
It was brought to my attention by an awesome shaman that maybe I should blog about my process for recording and producing Fraps videos of our raids (or other crap I tend to record). And the little things that go into making a WoW video.
Let me preface the following post by saying that I’m not a videographer, a video producer, a hobbyist of video-making tendencies.. none of that. I just record our boss attempts/kills and sometimes add music.
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 (Service Pack 2)
CPU TYPE: Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz
CPU SPEED: 2.36 GHz
SYSTEM MEMORY: 6 GB
VIDEO CARD MODEL: ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series
VIDEO CARD MEMORY: 3.24 GB
VIDEO CARD DRIVER: aticfx32.dll
DESKTOP RESOLUTION: 1920×1080
HARD DISK SIZE: 1.82 TB
HARD DISK FREE SPACE: 1.44 TB (79%)
DOWNLOAD SPEED: 1.63 MB/s (13.7 mbps)
(I totally pilfered that from my beta profile on bnet :>)
I generally have 30-45 fps in a major city even during peak times, even given my not-quite-awesome video card. So…Yeah I got no advice on that part. It is what it is.
Fraps is software that lets you record window content — games, browsers, etc. You can even record your desktop. You can download a trial (but only record limited-length videos), but I recommend buying a license. It will be money well-spent!
Here are screenshots of each of the Fraps settings screens to show how I have mine setup. Your mileage may vary depending on your hard drive space and personal preference for overlays, etc.
The General tab shows my current version and build of Fraps — I have the paid version. The boxes that are checked are just some personal preference-type things about how Fraps window behaves. This part won’t make or break your vidya producin’.
The stuff on the FPS tab all looks really important, right? NOPE. The only part of this screen I actually use is where to put the overlay when it’s on the screen. Lower right (because it doesn’t cover anything too important).
Okay now.. the Movies tab is where the customization comes into play. I’ve selected a file path for saving movies after they’re recorded (done automatically after using the hotkey to stop recording). To make my life easier and my computer last a bit longer, I’ve selected a folder on my 2TB internal hard drive. Believe me when I say you will need a big hard drive if you are seriously thinking of working with video files. They can be monstrous in size and your computer will cry and kittens will cry, etc etc.
I’ve set up my hotkey to be F9 because, well, it wasn’t being used in-game. If you use default keybindings, you will want to unbind F9 because it’s default binding is to open one of your bags. You don’t want a bag opening at the beginning of every video you make, right? Esc > Keybindings > Open Bag # (look for F9) > Unbind Key. Done.
I also selected the “Record Win7 Sound” because this is what will capture vent/mumble sounds and game sounds. I suggest you don’t select “Record external input” because it will pick up EVERY LITTLE SOUND. I never realized how often I sniffle until I used that setting one night. The video had to be trashed. >___>
The Video Capture Settings is set to 30 fps by default. I picked 60 fps because it seemed the best. Things have been going okay so far…
As for the last of the settings on this panel, I just don’t use them. If you end up using them, let me know how it goes!
This final panel shows some screenshot settings. I don’t use them mostly because I use WoW’s default screenshot key (print screen). But if you’re not playing WoW and want a screenshot, Fraps will let you do that! I think the settings here are pretty self-explanatory, so.. :}
Now! So you’ve recorded some video of your awesome Blackhorn kill from last week but you don’t know how to get it on to Youtube! What do you do! I can show you how I do it on my Windows 7 PC. If you have a Mac, I’m sure there’s some sweet ass app you have that will do this a thousand times better… :|
First, you need to make sure you have a Youtube account. :|
Second, Open up Windows Live Movie Maker. Make sure it’s the Live version and not the previous Windows Movie Maker version (the previous is not as easy to work with and does not come with upload-to-Youtube-directly capabilities). If you don’t have WLMM, you can get it here for free.
Third, Click the “Click here to browse for videos and photos”, find your raw Fraps video. WLMM will load it up.
Fourth, Make any edits to the video in terms of trimming out that accidentally recorded 10 min raid break >__>
Fifth, Add a witty title and credits pages, as necessary.
Sixth, Click the Youtube link, sign in, fill in all the field YES ALL THE FIELDS JUST TYPE SOME CRAP OKAY. You can always edit this later :>
Note: If you select Private at this screen, you will need to edit the video later to set it to Unlisted if you want to share it but not make it Public. Private means what it sounds like — only you will be able to see it.
Seventh, Click Okay (or save or whatever it says that isn’t Cancel) and your movie will be saved then published!
After the “Publishing” timer is done, you’ll be offered to “Watch Online,” “Open Folder” or “Cancel” (I think, I didn’t really pay attention xD Old habits!). If you click “Watch Online,” you will see this screen:
Once your video is available, you can make minor edits to it or add music.
– If you want to add music, make sure it’s of a free nature (and I don’t mean no cost; I mean not copyrighted!) You can add music in WLMM (there’s a button for it!) or you can add it after it’s uploaded to Youtube. Note: If you use Youtube, know that it will swap out any sound in the video for the music (that’s why it’s called “AudioSwap”).
– There are some pretty nice transition animations included in WLMM. Take a look for some fancy stuff!
– Be sure to save your movies at the highest resolution as possible for best playback quality.
– You may notice that most of my videos have a black border all around it. This issue is caused by what I call “double-letterboxing”: WLMM puts black bars on the left and right of the video (I think) and when it’s uploaded to Youtube, Youtube adds the top and bottom. I dunno man, it doesn’t really bother me. xD
Good luck in your vidya-ing ventures! Please let me know if you have any questions!
My friend, @outbirk, recently created a very moving, deeply touching “comic”. After reading it and experiencing the emotions she so perfectly captured, I was in shock. Not shocked by the content, but by her unfathomable ability to make people feel real emotion.
Because I can’t hit “retweet” more than once on Twitter, I wanted to link to her post over at her art blog, Marching Ant Studio, to share this beautiful art.
I also wanted to post this message as a reminder to everyone that real people are experiencing these illnesses and They. Are. Real. Please remember that the next time you use the word “insane” or “crazy” or “mental” — words have power to hurt; to dimish; to ignore. Words can also uplift people and make them feel included. We all use words sometimes without thinking and it’s definitely hard to be a watchman for every thought exiting your mouth. But. Think about using a different, more accurate word, the next time you think “crazy.” Be compassionate for those with life experiences different than yours. The world will be a better place!
Liz’s Golden Rule #3: Say what you actually mean and mean what you say.
Okay, off to level my 4th shaman with tears in my eyes.
Upon waking in a shallow grave, Suffolk looked around and began absorbing his new surroundings. Dank, musty, wet, cold… Suffolk sighed. “I guess this is it, huh,” he said to no one in particular.
Just as he was dusting himself off, he noticed a bony, flesh-eaten hand waving in the air. “Oh jesus, what now?” he wondered. He scooted over to the owner of the grotesque hand. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“My name is Undertaker Mordo,” said the putrid-smelling corpse. “Welcome to Deathknell! I have an urgent task down in The Shadow Grave,” said Mordo.
Suffolk sighed again. He looked up at Darnell and his jaw dropped a little more than normal. “That’s a big bastard!” he smirked to himself; “I wonder who the hell he was in his life.”
Darnell smiled amiably to Suffolk and asked, “Are you ready? I know the way.”
Suffolk scooted behind Darnell, following him to the entrance of The Shadow Grave. For all that’s happened to him today, he really shouldn’t have felt the heebie-jeebies creep across what’s left of his skin. But he did. He shook his head quietly and descended down the crypt’s stairs.
When they reached the last room of the crypt, Darnell began looking in every crevice and on every shelf for the Undertaker’s supplies.
Suffolk looked around for half a second before spotting a small table over in the far corner of the room. He glanced at Darnell, who was still examining an empty shelf. Suffolk sighed.
“They’re over here, Darnell,” he said unimpressed.
“Oh! Right! Great job, Suffolk!” said Darnell emphatically. They ascended the crypt’s stairs and headed straight for Undertaker Mordo. Suffolk hands over the embalming fluid and thread.
“Well, I guess our task here is done,” said Darnell. “I’ll be on my way to Tirisfal Glades. See you soon, Suffolk!”
Suffolk watched that big bastard head off toward the huge gate and just shook his head, smirking to himself.
The picture above is what I’ve got going on, with a couple changes made between last night and today. It may not be the prettiest interface setup out there. And there is some duplication of things on screen. But it works. It actually works sooooooooo much better for me.
What it is, yo:
Setup Configuration (and other redundancies)
A lot of this might be pretty self-explanatory. If it’s not, send me an email or comment below with your questions.
To begin, I have set up Bartender toward the bottom center of my screen with 3 bars stacked. I have my totem bar set to fade until moused-over (and will change this to be [combat]show;fade – Show during combat but fade otherwise). I also have another 1-2 bars set up to remain faded until moused-over on the far right. Setting up the action bars this way consolidates my visual field (I use the cooldown timers on the buttons profusely).
I next have the FX cooldown timer across the top the action bars. While having the cooldown timer AND showing the cooldown swirl on the action buttons is a bit redundant, I really like that FX comes with a secondary splash (shown above as the big Healing Rain icon on the left side of the FX cooldown timer bar). This splash is in my face, which is a necessary thing during fights like Ultraxion (or Ultramarathon as Waypoint calls him).
I installed Prat for two main reasons. First, to make the chat text actually readable for me. I’m getting more and more nearsighted as I get older and that thin little Arial Narrow default font just ain’t cuttin it anymore. I’ve set it up with the Friz Quadrata font and a thin outline. That outline is sooooo awesome. And second, Prat includes a sound module that will play a sound when certain types of messages are sent to specific channels: raid, whisper, Real ID whisper, Party, guild. It’s pretty helpful for me since I alt+tab a lot I MEAN I am looking at other parts of my screen. <:}
Xperl is a bit.. ugly. There, I said it. The raid frames are unwieldy for healers (hello appropriate visualization of DEBUFFS and BUFFS), but I really, really, REALLY, like that I can make my buffs/debuffs HUGE on the target and focus frames. Given that I use a focus macro for most of my spells, it really helps to see quickly who’s got which buffs.
I actually only use Xperl for Player, Player Pet, Pet Target, Target, Focus, Target of Target and Focus Target unit frames. No Xperl Party or Raid frames. NOPE.jpg.
I use Grid for Party and Raid frames plus HideBlizz to /forreal/ hide the default Party and Raid frames. I’ve tried several “hide Blizzard” addons and HideBlizz is the best (there is an actual in-game config menu where you can select to hide the Player/Target, Party and/or Raid frames! :O!)
I have Grid setup to show Earth Shield, Riptide, Water/Lightning Shield on me, Dungeon Role (as opposed to Raid Role — the difference is that Raid Role will display the two DPS types, melee and ranged, and Dungeon Role just displays who is a DPS. I just DGAF about that too much). I also have it set up with the Grid Raid Debuff module to show the various debuffs associated with each raid tier. Additionally, I have the center icon set to display magic or curses, both of which I can remove. Maybe I’m a terribad healer, but if I can’t remove it, I really don’t care about it because I’ll just have to heal through it anyway.
You’ll notice (if you’re familiar with Grid and customizing it at all), that I’ve left if pretty much “out-of-the-box” in respect to the raid frames themselves. I’ve switched the frame orientation from vertical to horizontal, but that’s about it. Less screen real estate that way (and yes, I know I have a big screen. I like to keep it sparse).
One of my favorite heavyweight, little-glory addons is MikScrollingBattleText (MSBT for short). It really makes a difference in my interaction with the UI. Before using it, all I would see is big green numbers all over the screen, obscuring my view. Now, with MSBT, those numbers have more meaning (by displaying spell icons, spell casters, etc) and are out of the way, yet visually accessible. Nice.
I’ve linked above to Deadly Boss Mods’ search results page on Curse so that you would see the Deadly Boss Mods – Spell Timers addon. And maybe download it. And love it like I do. This little nifty thing adds spell timers to the DBM timer list for important spells like battle rezzes, Innervates, Reincarnation, etc. Pretty handy to see who’s spell will be available and when.
The other addons I use are for convenience’s sake. Raeli’s, Omen, Skada*, Auctionator and AtlasLoot are information sources. Can’t do without them.
*Note about Skada: Apparently Recount’s memory-hogginess will cause you to pizza instead of french fry**on Ultramarathon. You’ve been warned.
Still Up in the Air
Although I really like the cooldown bar and notifications on my warlock for the ending of Soulstones, I’m having a tough time working with the actual spell timers included with ForteXorcist. I think part of the reason is that I’m just not used to looking at bars for my buffed targets. That could be learned. I think part of the reason I’m having trouble is because I don’t know where to freaking put the spell timers. For now (not shown above) they’re just kinda hanging out to the right of the raid frames.
Both Healer and DPS Approved
I’ve recently leveled my awesome warlock to 85 and started the grind for gear. After installing Xperl, I literally /gasped with joy at the GIANT debuffs with timers (on the target unit frame). It’s so much better to glance at the target, note my DoTs’ time remaining and go from there. And since I’m not using the Xperl Party or Raid frames, I don’t have to worry about making two profiles (one for healer, one for DPS) and switching between them.
Welp. I’ve said enough. As I mentioned above, if you have any questions, leave a comment! o/
It’s back with more fun and WTF moments! xD
Well. Although I have been using Neav UI for a few days (week?) in 5-mans and LFR, I wanted to see how it would perform in a “real” raid setting where debuffs matter more and coordination is king. So we tromped into Dragon Soul last night and I was rocking Neav UI. Everything was good as gold until _that_guy. You know who I’m talking about. He’s T13’s Chimaeron (for Waypoint, at least). Warlord Zon’ozz.
Since I am specced into both Improved Cleanse Spirit and Cleansing Waters, I was asked to be the sole dispeller on this fight. I was also asked to call out who I was dispelling so they would be ready for the knockback. (Keep in mind, this was a strategy we were trying. This strategy, whether right or wrong, is not the point of this post.)
I was excited. I had a specific job to do during a raid. I had responsibility. I didn’t want to let my raid leader down.
For the first few seconds of the fight, everything was peachy. Then the debuffs were doled out. And all hell broke loose, in my head. The oUF raid frames clearly show the debuff — BUT IT COVERED THE NAMES. Granted, I should know who is where on my raid frames, but I have issues with self-doubt and I get paranoid about doing the wrong thing, so I had to mouseover to check. I even installed Decursive to help, but those unit frames don’t have names either. People, we have two priests, two druids (the death knights aren’t an issue as one is a tank & was the first raid frame).
And then there’s the issue I’ve been having with my mouseover macro for Cleanse Spirit:
/cast [@mouseover, help]Cleanse Spirit; [help]Cleanse Spirit; Cleanse Spirit
Seems pretty straight forward, right? Well, so did I until last night. I realized that my placing this macro on a shift+ modifier button (See screenshot below, bottom bar, button 7; notice the empty slot on the second bar >.>;) was causing it to misfire in relation to the GCD. At least that’s what I could tell. Ever since 4.3, I was having to manually select a target then use my macro. Which negated the whole “mouseover” thing and infuriated me to no end. So, in an ephiphanic moment, I moved my macro down to my main action bar (unmodified) and IT WAS WORKING AGAIN. Sons of biscuit eaters I am a moron.
Let me give you a pro tip: Use what works for you. While some things may be prettier than others, what really matters is your performance in the heat of the moment. Don’t be like me; don’t let your raid leader down over some STUPID issue like dispels. ;~;
So it is with a still-frustrated, perturbed, and slightly sad heart that I will be uninstalling Neav UI. I know I can just change the raid frames. Or I could tweak the raid frames. But I’m now over it as a UI. I’ve failed myself and my raid team in trying to use it — I’m not going there again.
Okay this post is all the stuff I forgot to talk about in my previous post. Derp.
Other Cool Stuff About Neav UI
Given all of the issues surrounding the default raid frames and patch 4.3, I’ve been switching back and forth between different raid frame addons. And I’ve caught the UI tweaking bug again. ;~; I have given up all motivation to build an interface from scratch. I just don’t have the patience or tolerance for bugs like I used to, I guess. I have also tried the newest iterations of several popular compilations (ElvUI, Tukui, and RealUI), I wanted to find a new compilation to try.
Enter Neav UI.
Neav UI caught my attention immediately because it does the one thing I want interface modifications to do: Look like the default, but better. Man, this UI is pretty sweet. Not only does it improve the look of the UI, it brings a couple nice features, which I will talk about below.
I’ve used the action bar addon included in this interface before, nMainbar. What I like the most about it is that the XP/Rep bars are legible. I know Bartender has a similar preset, but Bartender shrinks the XP/Rep bars to unreadable font sizes. You can’t even distinguish the “bubbles” — No thank you!
I also like that the Player/Target/Focus unit frames retain the look of the default unit frames, but add in details like class color and shortened health/mana texts. The Focus frame also comes with a little “tag” of sorts — it’s the same group number identifier used on the default player unit frame when you’re in a raid. On the Focus frame, this tag is also the way you move the frame around (left click and drag).
The raid frames are handled by the oUF addon and have been configured for this UI. They also work straight out of the box — I didn’t need to set up my indicators for my buffs/HoTs. Those were already set up! Talk about awesome. And a minor, yet makes-Liz-exceedingly-happy, detail: The indicator colors are colors I would have chosen. Double awesome.
Above the action bars, you’ll notice a small, thin blue bar. That’s an additional mana bar, which is another beautiful detail in this UI. For some reason (and I have checked the LUA file), you can’t move the player/target unit frames like you can with the default. I typically bring them both down to the middle-bottom of my screen so I can keep an eye on my mana bar. I think the inability to move these unit frames may be the biggest drawback to this UI. But with the addition of that additional manabar, I really don’t care. I can watch my health on the raid frames and I can watch my mana on that second bar. I can’t tell you how amazing that bar is. Middle of a fight and I know *exactly* how much mana, right there, in my stupid face.
There is one thing to note about this UI: No in-game configuration. You will need to be able to at least read a LUA file and know the basics of the syntax in order to tweak this UI to your liking. I had to do some tweaks myself, but they were pretty minor since I am not a LUA expert. You can find my tweaks below:
Neav UI Tweaks (Note: I have listed the various AddOn folders where you will need to edit the enclosed config.lua file. Go to your WoW directory > Interface > AddOns > Folder listed below > config.lua. Open the config.lua in Notepad, make your edits, and save the file.)
– Adjusted position to (0, -250)
– Adjusted scale on all main units to .95
– Changed horizontal health bars to true
– manabar horizontal orientation set to true
– Adjusted castbar position to (0, 175)
– Adjusted font size to 13
– Adjusted health font size to 12
– Set showKeybinds and showMacronames to true
**Moving Focus, Raid Frames & Stance bar (haven’t figured out how to move totem bar)**
Last Sunday, I decided to do something wild and crazy. This is something I haven’t done in a really long time (because I found a great guild and I now raid)…. I pugged. Not only did I pug, but I pugged Seige of Wyrmrest Temple.
Rick was watching one of his anime series out in the living room and I needed to unwind from my parents’ visit. So I opened up the Raid Finder panel and hit “Find Group.”
Two minutes later, I’m clicking “Enter Raid” — Insta-queue is very nice! I’m not sure how long the average DPS wait is, but it can’t be that long right now (given that LFR is brand new). Or that 17 DPS are pulled from the queue to make a group. Maybe I’ll try this later on one of my other 85s.
We started with Morchok (as the currently LFR-accessible content is only the first four bosses of Dragon Soul) and one-shotted him. Some people died, but I attribute that to either arrogance/ignorance at the deadliness of the Black Blood of the Earth or just laziness. One of our tanks died twice, but he thought he was out of the way in time. Nope.
Just a tip: The Black Blood of the Earth appears to reach out to the SAME EXACT locations each time. So run back to the same SAFE place you were the first time that event occurred. Trust me. (Unless Blizzard decides to mess with everyone and make it dynamic).
All-in-all, Morchok (or Porkchop, as he is affectionately known to Waypoint) was pretty easy. I thoroughly enjoyed the stacking required on this fight so I was able to appropriately use Healing Rain and Chain Heal to get the most benefit from both.
We then charged on to kill Warlord Zon’ozz (Zo’loft), Yor’sahj the Unsleeping (Yo’gurt), and Hagara the Stormbinder (Haggis). We roflstomped Zon’ozz and Hagara. We would have one-shotted Yor’sahj if the DPS actually killed the slimes/mana voids like they were supposed to.
One difference to note between LFR-Dragon Soul and regular raid-Dragon Soul (normal and heroic versions) is that the green slimes do not do the AOE thing on LFR. So the kill order for slimes in LFR is Purple > Yellow > Red whereas regular-raid is Purple > Green > Red. The blue slimes are also pretty annoying, especially when DPS don’t kill them quickly after the other slimes. But I did surprise myself with how much healing/stabilizing I could do with just Healing Wave.
I think part of the reason that we had such a smooth time in the LFR Dragon Soul was partly due to most of the other 24 people having recent raiding experience. They may not know these new fights (I didn’t know two of them), but they are good at moving out of the fire and other basic raiding skills. Our success could also be attributed to the required iLvl to use LFR (372) so we outgeared the raid encounter. To have at least that iLvl, you have to had completed some Firelands bosses or run a bazillion Zulroics in order to get enough VP to buy T12 or T12-equivalent gear. So you should be familiar with not standing in the fire (*hurr hurr Firelands jokes here*). And of course, the fights are not nearly as complicated as say, Ragnaros (DOUCHENAROS).
Easily-understood mechanics + gear + basic understanding of staying out of the fire = LFR Success.
I will probably do LFR a lot more — it’s an easy way to get 250 Valor points in about the same time as it takes to complete a full zulroic. I could see, however, horrifying LFR runs where you can’t one-shot these bosses. I’m not sure I have the temperament to withstand more than 4 wipes on one of these bosses. Partly because I don’t think these bosses are so hard that it requires more than one wipe to “get it” and also partly because I don’t have enough time to take hours to complete a LFR run. I like to save up my energy for my guild’s raids because I know those people and actually *like* them.
But now! Now we’re on the road to glory and punching Deathwing in the face!
Sidenote: Ever since 4.3 launched, the default raid frames have been buggy in terms of dealing with buffs/debuffs and totems. Prior to 4.3, totemic buffs show up on the raid frames out of combat. Once combat occurs, the totemic buffs disappear and other buffs such as Riptide and Earth Shield are shown. This is all borked now that the bug results in the totemic buffs being shown throughout combat. It’s hard to see how many Earth Shield stacks remain and the time remaining on Riptide. I have switched between Grid, Grid2, and now Blizzard Raid Frame Indicators to deal with this bug. I think Grid has been the best choice for me so far.