FRAPS is a program for PC users that runs in the background and records, in real time, footage of whatever game you are playing so long as you hit whatever key you assigned to "record". As an Android gaming site, we have to wonder, why has this not been created for mobile users?
Ever see those really awesome player-created videos of various games on YouTube? Chances are those games were recorded with the program called Fraps. Fraps is used not just to record game video as you play, it can take screenshots as well. One of the coolest features is that it is a decent benchmarking software to the point where it, in real time as you play, displays a number in the corner of your screen that tells you how many frames per second you are currently getting.
From their site:
Welcome to the FrapsTM website!
Fraps is a universal Windows application that can be used with games using DirectX or OpenGL graphic technology. In its current form Fraps performs many tasks and can best be described as:
Benchmarking Software - Show how many Frames Per Second (FPS) you are getting in a corner of your screen. Perform custom benchmarks and measure the frame rate between any two points. Save the statistics out to disk and use them for your own reviews and applications.
Screen Capture Software - Take a screenshot with the press of a key! There's no need to paste into a paint program every time you want a new shot. Your screen captures are automatically named and timestamped.
Realtime Video Capture Software - Have you ever wanted to record video while playing your favourite game? Come join the Machinima revolution! Throw away the VCR, forget about using a DV cam, game recording has never been this easy! Fraps can capture audio and video up to 2560x1600 with custom frame rates from 1 to 120 frames per second!
When doing a video review for any Android game currently, most people have to take out their video camera and hope that they don't shake so much holding their device that it is even half-watchable. Even using a tripod is a bit of a pain in the ass. If we had software like this you would be able to see more and more people upload videos to YouTube or even sites like this and allow other users to see first-hand how well a game is running on a device. Ever wonder why in a game description on the Android Market it lists devices that run the game, but never say how well? This would put a stop to that. Developers could use the same software to show people how well it runs on every device they test it on.
People love showing off their super-combos and high scores as well as doing videos to help out those who are stuck on a stage or on a boss. This is the type of things that greatly helps out the community.
And this doesn't just benefit end-users either. This greatly helps developers. You can show them as you Beta Test their game how well it runs on your older phone. Or, you could show them some graphical glitch that you run into before the game hits the market and they can get it fixed. There are so many benefits to this, I am not sure why somebody hasn't invested in an app to do this. Maybe I am alone on this, or maybe it is just never going to be possible on Android, but if Google wants to enhance the experience of the market and also make it more beneficial to developers to get more of them to get on board with Android, maybe they need to write the code to get this to work.
Going along with the help the developer piece, if developers had access to software like this, they likely would no longer need to make Demo versions of their game for the most part. Developers who use higher end graphics would get the most out of this. They could just upload to YouTube two-minute long videos showcasing their games on different devices. For example, Dungeon Defenders and Spectral Souls are two of the games I see players most often asking how well it runs on X device. If those developers had this, that would greatly cut down those questions, freeing up more time to answer others. This also may lead to more sales initially.
While many people wait to hear from other users how well it runs and then hope that the word of mouth results were correct, they could just watch the video. And lastly, this would help cut back on refunds. When you read comments in the review section of the market most people who rate things low ask for a refund and the most common reason is that the game runs like crap on their device. See where I am going with this again? Exactly!
Would you like to see something like this make it to market? Have any experience with Fraps yourself? Is there anything negative that this would bring? Let us know in the comments below. As I got to the end of typing this article I went and shot an email over to the guys and gals at Fraps and if/when they respond I will update the article appropriately and let you all know what was said.
AndrewH - Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DroidGamers. Having been a hardcore PC and console gamer all his life, this passion is now applied to Android gaming and writing about it. When not playing or writing about Android games, he spends his time with his wife and son.