This guide will teach you how to use console commands and the AI/level editor to create screenshots just like the ones seen in the game’s Steam page: No HUD, good placement of characters, and nice quality.
Setting up your scene
Important: If you follow some of this guide, but skip some of it and fail to put two and two together, you can get yourself blocked off from entering levels. Read the final section for troubleshooting.
On this guide, I will teach you how to use console commands to turn off the HUD to get nicer screenshots, then how to use the level editor to position bots and game elements in your scene. I am a*suming you will be doing this on singleplayer, and i have not tested the editor in multiplayer to see if it works.
To begin, open a singleplayer level and join a team. Either a little after the shooting begins, or before that, hit F4 to bring up the Editor. Here’s how that should look:
3 riflemen spawned with the Editor, and a fourth is about to be created.
Bringing up the Editor will pause bot’s AI, so you will be doing most scene planning and camera work from inside it.
Where’s the action?
Created bots will always be facing you, so you can already start to prepare a scene. But maybe the current map is a bit too clean for you – no signs of battle, and the bots are just… standing there. You can press F4 again to close the Editor, which will turn on the bot AI and make them start attacking – then pause it again to see how the scene has developed itself.
If your scene has more than a few enemies, pressing ALT on the editor can bring up the item spawner menu. Create a few whisky bottles for yourself away from the scene so you can heal yourself in case the bots decide to attack you.
Just in case.
There are a few more quirks of the editor you should keep in mind:
Bots that are not in your team don’t seem to respect the different teams. In screenshot below, both of these forces attacked me when i played the scene, and would not attack each other even when line of sight was broken.
There’s a limit to how many bots you can spawn – after a few, maybe they will start being spawned as invisible entities, or maybe they start spawning as another team. If the latter happens, switching to another of that team’s presets usually means you can spawn a few more before you hit the limit. There’s another way to increase the number of bots available to spawn:
The DEL key can remove entities in a radius around you, but beware – this key may cause crashes in some OSs and maps. For example, I found Sawmill Defense to be a particularly vulnerable map, on Manjaro systems at least, and i could not remove some entities there.
Capturing your scene
So, you’ve setup a scene, you let it roll for a while, and you paused it again – nice job. If you got the hang of item spawning, maybe you took the opportunity of spawning yourself a shotgun and creating new bullet holes in the wall while the bots were fighting. Anyway, now that you paused the scene again – how to capture a nice screenshot?
It should go without saying that your game settings should be turned as high as possible, antialiasing especially. But after you have turned them up:
Open the console and type in:
This will disable your hud until you type cl_drawhud 1, allowing for better screenshots.
One more thing: Steam’s built-in screenshot function (the one you use with the F12 key) compresses your images, and results in .jpeg artifacts. I recommend using some external means to capture your images, to get better quality: I tested, and even with the slightly smaller size resulting from Windowed mode, the quality is much better.
When taking screenshots of the game without Steam’s tool, if everything you try results in a black screen, take your screenshots on Windowed mode instead of Fullscreen.
Steam screenshot (left, scaled up slightly) vs. System screenshot taken on Windowed mode (right). The difference is a bit hard to see here on Steam, but believe me when i say there’s a huge difference.
You can also turn on cheats with sv_cheats 1 and then use noclip to fly around the map in order to get some novel camera angles.
Once you have set up a scene, let it play out for a while, paused it again, disabled the HUD and captured your screenshot with external means, it should look a little like this:
We used this picture as the background for the FoF speedrun leaderboards, which you can check out in context here: https://www.speedrun.com/fof – [speedrun.com]
You could go further with pictures – edit them to improve clipping textures and other areas where the Source engine shows its age, but that’s beyond the scope of this guide.
Some aspects of the editor are unknown to me – I have not discovered precisely the maximum amount of bots allowed in a map, I have not discovered what makes the NPC spawner sometimes create bots in the wrong team or be unable to spawn prop bottles, and i have not tested custom bot scripts which you can use to create your own behaviours and loadouts (bring up the scripts menu in the editor with the right click). If you know anything about the Editor that i haven’t covered here, feel free to let me know and I’ll update this guide.
Troubleshooting – things to keep in mind
1. If you turn cl_drawhud to 0 and leave a level or even close the game, that option will remain on, and will stop you from entering levels until you disable it – this screen, the one used for joining a game, is also affected by it. If you join a level and find yourself in a state of noclip, then you forgot to turn on cl_drawhud.
Level join screen on singleplayer, also disabled by cl_drawhud 0.
2. If a level ends while you have the Editor opened, you might not be able to select any of the HUD’s buttons until you close the editor with F4.
3. If you cannot open the console, make sure “enable developer console” is ticked on the game options.
This is all we can share for Creating cinematic screenshots with the level editor – Fistful of Frags for today. I hope you enjoy the guide! If you have anything to add to this guide or we forget something please let us know via comment! We check each comment! Don’t forget to check SteamClue.com for MORE!
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