After recording like a billion VODs for Quake Live, I thought I’d write a quick little tutorial on how to record your own Quake Live VODs! It’s fairly easy and you can do it with nothing more than the computer you already own. Assuming it’s not a piece of crap, of course.
Watching Quake Live Demos on Wolfcam
You’ll need a couple things:
- The actual demo files you want to watch.
- Software to actually view the Quake Live demo file(s) (Wolfcam is the program we use for all of our VODs and our amateur shoutcasts).
Watching Quake Live demos is a fairly straightforward thing to do. We use a program called Wolfcam which we find much easier and ergonomic than watching the demos in Quake Live itself. There is this post on the Quake Live forums outlining the basics of the program. A link to download the program is right here. The version that we use is a modified version of 9.11. This download should yield a folder called, for example, wolfcamql9.11. Place that folder wherever you want. My folder is on my desktop.
Once Wolfcam has installed, you need to give it access to the Quake Live maps. Navigate to C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\LocalLow\id Software\quakelive\baseq3. This is a bit tricky, however. If you use explorer to navigate to C:\Users\[UserName], you’ll find that there is no AppData folder. It’s hidden. When you arrive to this directory, use the address bar at the top of the window and actually type in “\AppData” and then you can continue to navigate through the folders. Of course, you can also just copy and paste the whole thing and replace your username. You should also note that this directory is created by actually having a Quake Live account and having downloaded all the maps previously (of course).
Once you’ve navigated to the previous directory, select all of the files and then copy and paste them into wolfcamql9.11\baseq3, wherever that wolfcamql9.11 folder was extracted to. Now Wolfcam can actually load the maps in order to properly play back demos. If you don’t do this step the demos will not play.
Next, in the wolfcamql9.11 folder, navigate to the wolfcam-ql folder. In this folder there is another one called “demos“. This is the location where you will put all of your demo files. There are some demo files already in there for you to watch, but let’s obtain our own.
There are a few good places to obtain Quake Live demos:
- esreality.com is a good source, but there hasn’t been a large influx of new demos recently.
- qldemos.appspot.com is another source we’ve used a couple times, but it’s pretty dead.
- A new source is on QLranks.com. Here you can find a huge source of demos from all sorts of players. This is a great place to start.
- Looking for DreamHack or QuakeCon demos? trance.gg has huge selection!
There are some other sources, of course, but these are the main ones that we use.
Let’s use this demo from here to try things out. It’s a great game between evil and rapha during the grand final of QuakeCon 2013 on Furious Heights. Take the downloaded .dm_73 (demo) file and stick it into the wolfcamql9.11\wolfcam-ql\demos folder from earlier.
Now that we have a demo, all of the Quake Live maps, and Wolfcam to actually play the demos, let’s try it out! In the wolfcamql9.11 folder, double-click wolfcamql.exe and you will be greeted by a screen that looks like this:
From here, click “WOLFCAM-DEMOS”. This navigates to the demos folder we stuck our demo in earlier.
Click the name of the demo and press play at the bottom of the screen. The demo should load for a few seconds and then the game should begin! You are now watching a Quake Live demo!
The most important thing to remember: stick the demos you want to watch in the wolfcamql-9.11\wolfcam-ql\demos folder. Maybe just make a shortcut to that directory on your desktop so it’s convenient to access. Also, watch out for changes to maps or new maps being introduced. You will have to add/update the maps manually.
Recording VODs Using Wolfcam & OBS
Wolfcam can record video files of demos, however the files it creates are bulky and huge and it’s not exactly a practical solution to create VODs. For recording the VODs for our Lagserv VODs YouTube channel, we use a program called Open Broadcaster Software. Give that a download, it’s a free program generally used for streaming on websites like Twitch.tv, but we’re going to “stream to the desktop” … which basically means to create video files locally without streaming to the internet.
After OBS has been downloaded and installed, we now need to set it up. Open up the program and click Settings at the top, and then Settings from that menu. A window will pop up.
Click “Broadcast Settings” on the left hand side of the window and change the drop-down menu next to “Mode:” to “File Output Only”. Next, change the file path to something convenient such as your desktop. I also recommend setting up a start/stop stream hotkey so that it’s easy to record VODs on the fly. It’s worth noting that if you’re creating a file called “stream.mp4″ for example, when you create a second recording it will be named “stream(01).mp4″ and so on. So no, you won’t accidentally overwrite your files when you record.
Settings in “Encoding” and “Video” will vary depending on the specs of your computer. Happily, there is a web page (http://obsproject.com/estimator) that will estimate what your settings should be set to. Here’s a screenshot of my results:
Set your settings as recommended and adjust them as need be. It’s a great starting point.
Next, close out the Settings window and right click in the “Sources” box… Go to Add > Game Capture. Give it a name like “Quake” or something. Right-click “Quake” in the Sources box and go to properties. Then open up Wolfcam and minimize it (or Alt-Tab or something). In the “Application” drop-box, select Wolfcam (it’ll come up as something like “[wolfcamql]: wolfcam quakelive demo player”). Then check “stretch image to screen”. Press OK.
Make sure “QUAKE” or “Game Capture” or whatever you named it is checked in the Sources box. Then press “Start Streaming”. The top part of OBS will show a preview of what it’s recording. You may also want to adjust the audio levels of your recording at this time. If the window in OBS looks really strange (ie. Wolfcam is too zoomed in/zoomed out/not centered), right-click “Game Capture”/”Quake” or whatever you named it, go to “Position/Size”, and then click “Fit to Screen”. Open Wolfcam back up and run the demo for a bit. Then close Wolfcam, press “Stop Streaming” in OBS, find the .mp4 file that was created and check it out. Things look okay? If not, play with your settings. If so, you’re ready to start recording VODs!
To record a VOD now that everything’s set up should be pretty simple.
- Open up OBS and Wolfcam.
- Hit your “Start Recording” hotkey when you want to start recording, and your “Stop Recording” hotkey to stop. Duh.
Another trick you may want to use is to run Wolfcam in windowed mode so that you can see what OBS sees when it’s recording to make sure everything looks okay.