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Screenshot-taking Guide
by Slappy & Taluntain

Taking Screenshots

The following is a brief outline of how to take screenshots within all the Infinity Engine & other games (BG1, BG2, IWD1, IWD2, PS:T, DDO, NWN, NWN2), plus their expansions, and then submit them to us to share with the world.

There are lots of different games, operating systems and hardware configurations that people might be using while taking screenshots. However, in most cases you will be able to take a screenshot simply by pressing the "Print Screen" key, which is normally found next to the "F12" key. When you press this during a game, 1 of 2 things is likely to happen:

  1. A screenshot will be taken and stored on your hard drive, usually inside a subdirectory of the game's install directory, or simply dumped into the game's install directory directly (NWN). For example, a screenshot taken in Baldur's Gate 2 will be given a name like "Baldr000.bmp" and stored in the ScrnShot directory. This directory will be in your game's install directory; normally something like - C:\Program Files\Black Isle\BG II - SoA\ScrnShot. Unfortunately, the game doesn't tell you that the picture has actually been taken, but you might notice a slight pause in gameplay at that time.
  2. A screenshot will be taken as described above and then you will be dropped out of the game and back into Windows. A message screen will appear saying "Print Screen – you copied an image to your desktop… etc."

This second method can be useful as it allows you to paste the screen shot directly into a picture-editing program and, of course, lets you know that the screenshot has been taken. To actually paste the picture, you will have to have a picture-editing program up and running and then select "Edit/paste" or "Edit/paste as new image" from its menu. You can also do this by pressing and holding the "Alt" key and then the "Tab" key. This will drop you out of the game (if it didn't happen automatically) and again allow you to paste the picture into a picture-editing program. Details on using picture-editing programs are given later in this guide.

Of course, for just taking screenshots, it's easier just to stick with option 1) above. However, the second method is useful for being able to see immediately what your screenshot looks like.

[DDO Sidenote] Taking Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach screenshots is a bit different:

If you want to be able to hide the game's interface, go into the game's options (CTRL+O), click the "Key Mapping" tab, scroll down until you see the option "Hide UI" in the "Interaction" menu and click it. The next key you press will map that key to the "Hide UI" option. We recommend using the F12 key. Once you have remapped the key, you hide your UI in the game by pressing the shortcut key.

To take screenshots in DDO, press CTRL+P. Screenshots, by default, will appear in the My Documents > Dungeons and Dragons Online folder.

[NWN2 Sidenote] Taking Neverwinter Nights 2 screenshots in high-quality Targa format (.tga) requires you to:

1) Locate your Neverwinter Nights 2 install directory (by default this is inside the My Documents folder).
2) Find nwn.ini inside the install directory.
3) Open it with Notepad or any other text editor.
4) Under the [Graphics Options] section in nwn.ini, there's an entry "ScreenshotFormat=jpg". Change the jpg to tga.
5) Save the nwn.ini file.

Doing the above steps will make the game output screenshots in a high-quality lossless format (good), instead of a heavily compressed lossy format (bad).

WARNING: If you have done the above, and then installed any of the NWN2 expansions, you will need to repeat the process after their installation, because the subsequent install does not preserve your screenshot format changes.

Possible Problems

If you are experiencing problems, there are a number of things you can try. Firstly, if you are using one of the later games with quasi-3D support (like BG2) you could try disabling it. Run the "Config" program (normally Start/Programs/Black Isle/BGII - SoA/BGConfig) then select the "Graphics" tab then uncheck the "Use 3D Acceleration" setting before pressing "Apply" and "OK."

There might also be memory issues if you are using the 2nd method described above and trying to run several programs at once. Some graphic cards can also cause problems when trying to switch between windows. If either of these are the problem then stick to method 1.

Also keep in mind that in certain games (like Planescape: Torment) the in-game method of taking screenshots with the Print Screen key will not capture screens where you have the dialogue panel open.

Finally, you could try using a 3rd party program which can capture screenshots, such as Irfanview. Don't forget to set the screenshot-saving format to BMP or TGA in such programs!

Screenshot Size

Screenshots should not be over 1680x1050 pixels in size, if possible. If you are taking shots in earlier games (BG1, PS:T & pre-HoW IWD), which are limited to 640x480, simply send us the screenshot in its original size and DO NOT try to resize it.

How to Change Game Resolution

This option only applies to the later games like Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale with the Heart of Winter expansion installed. Earlier games were limited to a screen size of 640x480 pixels. To change the screen size you need the "Config" program. Again, normally this can be started by selecting something like "Start/Programs/Black Isle/BGII - SoA/BGConfig." Select the "Graphics" tab then check the "800x600" option in the "Game Resolution" section before pressing "Apply" and "OK." Now the game will be running in 800x600 and your screen shots will automatically be taken at the same resolution.

Picture Editing Programs

If you are not sure what picture-editing program you are using, you can automatically load it by finding your screen shot file and double clicking on it. If you don't have a picture-editing program, you can normally get them free with computer magazine cover disks or download free trial ones like Photoshop.

File Format

The screenshots you submit should be in BMP or TGA format (see above how to enable TGA output in NWN2). This allows us to easily correct too bright or dark pictures and to output optimally compressed images for the SotW feature. Please do not send screenshots in JPG format.

E-mailing

OK, you now have a picture of the right size and the right file format. It's time to send it to us so we can all enjoy it. If you know how to use your e-mail, then fire it up, start a new mail message addressed to and put SoTW or Screenshot of the Week in the topic. Then choose "Insert/File" and attach your screen shot(s). If it all possible, please zip or rar the images if you are sending more than one.

Good Pictures

Please don't send in any old rubbish. Most really good pictures are the result of forethought and planning. Try and keep to pictures that are interesting, or funny stuff like dragon victories, cool spell effects, tough fights, funny dialogue, etc. An important thing to keep in mind is that as much as possible should be happening on the screenshot. Screenshots 90% covered by the fog of war or empty background and highly uninteresting to look at (unless, of course, there's a very good reason for it, like some related dialogue).

Hacked characters in action or screenshots of the game being altered in any visible way (like cheating via the CLUAConsole) will not be accepted. However, screenshots showing cool new fan-made custom content (placeables, monsters etc.) in the Neverwinter Nights series will be accepted. Finally, before sending the screenshots in, read the checklist below.

The Checklist

1. The games you can send us screenshots from are all of the games we cover on SP.

2. Send us stuff that looks good, like dragon victories, cool spell effects, tough fights, funny dialogue and similar. No hacked characters in action etc.

3. Send in screenshots in BMP or TGA format, preferrably in up to 1680x1050 pixels resolution.

4. Write a short description of each screenshot you are sending in, or a comment you would like to see displayed along with the screenshot. Don't forget to write your name or alias your screenshot should be posted along with. Also, if you are sending screenshots from the NWN series of games, please specify whether the shots are from the NWN OC, SoU, HotU, NWN2 OC, MotB, SoZ etc.

5. Do not send in screenshots from foreign language versions of games. For example, a screenshot with dialogue in German or any other game shot where text is in a language other than English would not be understood by the majority of our visitors so we will not be able to accept such screenshots.

6. Do not send in screenshots that have been altered in any way, like by cutting out the party bar and similar. Such screenshots will not be posted.

Mail the screenshots to and put SoTW or Screenshot of the Week in the subject.

Thanks!

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