Slippi is without a doubt here to stay. It’s not only granting players immense amounts of data about our own matches but we can now scrutinize the analytics of top player matches as well. Slippi’s replay functionality is obviously what most of use it for, however rendering replays through Dolphin doesn’t grant us simple tools like rewinding that scrubbing through traditional video has. Thankfully, obtaining an AVI file of your sets by using Dolphin’s built-in frame dump allows us to mixdown clips in real-time! Unfortunately this method doesn’t capture audio from the match but what better way to launch your music career than to pair it up with sick nasty Melee clips?
Big shout out to the homie @RococoSSBM for indirectly helping with the creation of this tutorial! If he hadn’t posted to Reddit showing how this method works, I would still be screen capturing in OBS at a chunky 10 fps. (shouts to my old processor)
First, open up Slippi Desktop App and navigate to Configure Settings > Advanced Settings. Copy the path shown and open it in explorer. Navigate through Users > Dump > then create a folder here called ‘Frames’ without the apostrophe. This is where our VODs will be created so I would recommend creating a shortcut to this path.
Next, open back up Slippi Desktop App and navigate to your Replay Browser. Pick which replay you’d like a VOD of and be ready to render it in real time. This next part is crucial: hit play then immediately pause the replay using the Dolphin ‘Pause’ tab.
*Note: I advise you don’t change the scaling of this Dolphin window to exceed its borders (no black bars above/below or on the sides of the replay.) I experienced what I assume is a bug that changed my frame dump resolution resulted in AVIs that had the right 1/3 of the game clipped off. Keeping this window flush against its borders was the only solution I could find.
Go to Options > Graphics Settings > Enhancements and select an internal resolution that will maximize your graphical fidelity while still allowing you to dump frames. Think of this as rendering the game plus light video capture software running behind it, thus the better your computer, the higher resolution you can choose. I personally use x1.5 resolution to maximize image quality while still viewing a clean 60fps render. Some compression is used when mixing down these AVIs but it’s nothing worse than a lot of streams back in 2010.
Next, hop over to the Advanced tab and move down to Utility. Check off the box for Full Resolution Frame Dumps. This enables a higher resolution for our AVIs thought I haven’t actually eyeballed a difference when having this checked versus leaving it off. Still, I’d say check this off as it should be making a difference I just haven’t conceived.
Now that you’ve got your settings tweaked just how you want them, it’s time to start making VODs! Close out of the graphics menu and click on Movie > Dump Frames. From now on, this will be checked by default when loading a Slippi Replay. Watch the replay in real-time and when it’s all finished, press Stop to cap the AVI and close out of Dolphin. If there’s a series of matches you want recorded in the same AVI, it’s possible to pause, load up a different replay, then resume while keeping everything in the same file.
If you ever want to watch replays without making a VOD, just pause the game before the match starts, uncheck this option, then resume play.
Something odd about this method of video capture Dolphin usually won’t let you have more than one framedump0.avi in your Frames folder… but sometimes will. I haven’t figured out what causes the creation of framedump1, 2, ect… but often times, these clips contain only moments of the ‘waiting for game’ text. Anyways, to get around this problem, I rename VODs and move them to a separate folder. I also keep a shortcut to this VODs only folder in my Frames folder so after I rename a video, I can drag and drop it over.
So there you go — a method to turn your replays into VODs without OBS or audio for that matter. Maybe soon we’ll have a Dolphin build that has built-in screen capture! Or maybe we’ll all get better CPUs that can handle the chug of Dolphin 1080p + OBS 720p. Heck, maybe we’ll get none of this and we’ll all be frame dumping like crazy for years to come. No matter what future we have to look forward to, I’m just happy we have the most competitive Melee environment and growing nearly twenty years after this game’s release.
Thank you, everyone, who helped keep the dream alive!
If you know of any topics worth covering or tutorials worth shedding more light on, hit me up on Twitter, @SheeshFr.