“I’m throwing money at the screen, but nothing is happening!”
This was one of my favourite comments we saw shortly after releasing our first trailer for Defect. We tried to create a trailer that would give people a glimpse as to what the finished gameplay would look like. Whilst we are still in production and have a long way ahead of us, the game is looking pretty close to what you saw in the trailer. The overwhelming positive comments we received show people liked what they saw! But how did we do it?
First we started with an old-fashioned hand drawn storyboard by Drew, inspired by scenes from classic sci-fi movies and TV shows. We wanted to keep the cuts fast and the trailer short (around 2 minutes) and the final version was cut down to fit to the music track we purchased, to keep the viewer engaged and not bored.
Once we were happy with the look of the storyboard, we scanned it, cut it up into the individual pictures and put them into the editing program, stretching each one out along the timeline to get a feel for the flow of the trailer. This made creating and inserting the captured footage later a lot faster as we knew the length each shot would need to be.
There are a number of different ways of capturing gameplay footage of a finished game: some good, some bad and some expensive, requiring adaptors or cameras. Whilst our game is currently running on tablet devices and PC, we also wanted to create footage of gameplay we had not yet finished, and have it all look smooth and continuous.
We used FRAPS (real-time video capture and benchmarking software) to capture the gameplay as the game was running in Unity. FRAPS will automatically (9 times out of 10) capture the correct window out of Unity, and it will create video files that are the dimensions of that window. It can take a bit of resizing the window manually to get it to the aspect ratio and size you want but after a few quick tests you can get this set and then save the Unity workspace as a ‘Capture’ layout for next time. It also seems to capture the tool bar along the top, and as I couldn't figure out how to turn this off, I simply added 20 or so pixels vertically and cropped it out later. We worked to 1280 x 720.
All the shots in the video were created in Unity, using the game in its current playable state, and hand animating a few flybys and missile fires (we were still working on this mechanic at the time). No special effects were added to any of the game play shots other than speeding up the ship creation scenes, and adding the lightning to the large ship in the final shot. Everything else was in game footage and animation of existing in game assets.
Once all the clips were captured through FRAPS (uncompressed), we edited them together, inserted titles, added music, and exported uncompressed. The 2 minute trailer (uncompressed) exported out to around 8Gb. We then used “Any-Video-Converter” to compress it down to around 80Mb, which made for a smaller YouTube upload. I found working with uncompressed video and then using a freeware ripping software to add compression gives the best result. It keeps the file size down and also keeps things looking nice once its compressed again when uploaded on YouTube.
That’s about it, hope these tips and tricks can help you with your own game trailer making. Check out the final cut of the trailer below.