As a blogger I take an awful lot of screenshots in the games that I play. Unfortunately not all games have good screenshot capabilities in-game. Here are just three examples of different levels of features and approaches to this.
Good – World of Warcraft
I suspect many wouldn’t think of WoW first if asked “what game has good support for screenshots?” but actually the game has very good options beyond simply rebinding the key. You can use config file options to finely tune the quality of screenshots and select different formats.
My characters haven’t unlocked the S.E.L.F.I.E camera in-game, to be honest I’m not fussed on having one either, but it’s great the developers give players the option of it as a bit of fun!
Bad – Neverwinter
According to the configuration options Neverwinter should have pretty good screenshot support. You can bind different formats to different keys (JPG or Tiff), in both cases either showing the UI or hiding it.
However the big issue in the game is that some situations will not allow you to take a screenshot – a very basic and annoying issue is that if you have the inventory open you can’t screenshot it! That’s pretty bad as I often want to take screenshots of new items that I find!
I also find action combat games, those that lock the cursor to the mouse, make taking a screenshot of your own character harder than it should be since you can’t easily rotate to see the front of your character.
I always found the game’s screenshots to be a bit unflattering as well, either the compression is set to high on the JPG format or the screenshots are saving to a low quality. In any case the game looks better on-screen than the saved images would suggest.
Unreliable – SWTOR
Sadly over four years after launch SWTOR continues to have very unreliable screenshot functionality. Zoning between areas, planets or instances can randomly break them entirely and yet zoning again might, seemingly at random fix it again.
I get around this without using external software (such as Fraps) by using the CTRL+PrtScn key combination. That seems to work reliably regardless of whether the default PrtScn is working or not. The issue with this alternative option is that it only copies the image to the clipboard, so you have to paste it into MS Paint or similar and save it somewhere.
One positive point I will make is that SWTOR, unlike both other games I’ve used as examples follows the good IT/systems practice of saving the screenshots into a subfolder of documents in your user profile not in the game’s installation directory. It’s rather bad practice for a game to be saving user specific files to the install folder and so many MMORPGs do this. It’s fine if your computer is yours and yours alone but what if siblings or other family share a computer, they’re screenshots would be quite a jumble!