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How to Take Screenshots with MacroLua

September 21st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

That’s right, MacroLua isn’t just for making combo videos. You can also utilize scripts to set up and refine elaborate screenshot scenarios. The latest build (1.10) features several settings to facilitate the process. Here’s a brief overview to get you started.

Simply follow the directions provided in the documentation to get MacroLua installed. Once you have it running, the first thing you should do is turn off input display if it’s enabled by default. You probably wouldn’t want those command symbols showing up in your screenshots.

Next, turn on pause after playback. This setting automatically pauses the emulator at the end of the script. Once it’s paused, if you like what you see, you can simply press F12 to save a lossless native resolution screenshot to your screenshots folder. It’s that easy.

Now all you have to do is come up with a good idea and write the script to make it work. Include a W command at the end (like W10!) and use it to control when the emulator pauses. If it’s too soon, then increase that number. If it pauses too late, then decrease the number.

Here’s a recent example which happens to be conveniently straightforward:

W10,_R-_L.W30,^L+^R.W30,-D.DL.L3+D.DR.R3.W13!
# SFA2 Evil Ryu HP Hadoken vs Akuma HP Gou Hadoken
# Normal speed

It’s usually helpful to set the game to normal speed from within its internal configuration menu to avoid turbo speed frameskip hassles. It’ll take longer to run the script multiple times, but the added precision will save you time in the long run.

ComboVid.com - Fighting Game Combos, Tutorials, Matches, Screenshots, and Strategy

If you’ve written a lengthy script, you can also use the emulator’s Fast Forward and Turbo Speed functions to speed up playback. Just make sure to revert back to Normal Speed before it ends, because accelerated playback can cause the emulator to pause on the wrong frame.

Lastly, don’t give up too easily. You’d be surprised at how many random factors affect gameplay on the one-frame level. Projectiles, super moves, and Custom Combo systems in particular tend to be extremely erratic.

If something isn’t working the way you expected, then try changing the W number at the very beginning of the script. This might break your entire sequence and force you to recalibrate all of your W numbers individually, but it may lead to a completely different result.

It’s not uncommon for me to spend hours on a single shot – whether it’s making an idea work or fine-tuning the spacing between characters or trying to catch a background lightning strike. As you’ll see for yourself, having access to the proper tools raises your standards dramatically.

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  1. September 22nd, 2010 at 00:30 | #1

    By the way this only scratches the surface of the many techniques and methods available. Personally i prefer using scripts to prepare screenshots, but frame advance is a perfectly valid alternative.

    Simply pause the game and perform commands in slow motion using the Frame Advance hotkey, then advance forward until you reach the desired frame to take a screenshot.

    Even if you don’t like using this method for complicated scenarios, frame advance is an excellent way to preview a specific attack’s animation cycle frame by frame. Alternatively, you can script the entire thing and output it to an image sequence which you can look through.

    You can even enable hitbox display to show character interactions in a more technical light, if you don’t mind boxes covering up the sprite artwork.

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