I have posted various parts of this elsewhere and decided I should post it in a more visible part of the forum.
I bought LockOn for two reasons.
1. To be able to fly the A-10; my favorite aircraft of all time.
2. To be able to export movies of my flights to DVD.
So far I have been completely satisfied with wish number one. This flight sim is excellent.
Unfortunately I can't say the same for wish number two.
When it comes to exporting movies for DVD there are a couple of things you need. You need to be able to export with the correct frame size and aspext ratio. You also need to be able to export full quality footage as recompressing video data results in ugly movies.
I figured out fairly quickly how to get correct frame sizes and aspect ratios. You can achieve this by editing the graphics.cfg file in "..\LockOn\Config\". Under the Display section is a section labeled Simulation. You can edit this section to get the correct sizes. For PAL you need to set resolution to 720 x 576, fullscreen to 0, and aspect to 1.067. For NTSC you need 720 x 480 for resolution and 0.9 for aspect. Your output will appear slightly squashed vertically, don't stress your TV will stretch it. I have a special graphics.cfg expecially for AVI recording which I swap with the normal one whenever I am ready to record.
I have tried all sorts to get decent quality footage out of LockOn. Although theoretically you can get both Uncompressed frames and also HuffYUV encoded frames out of the AVI plugin there is a fatal flaw. The AVI plugin appears to use AVI1.0 which has a 2GB filesize limit. When exporting uncompressed frames or even HuffYUV compressed frames you hit 2GB very very quickly. Obviously my first thought was to simply make multiple recordings using different start and end times in the AVI plugin. So I tried exporting 1 minute 30 second segments. The track file I was attempting to work with is 17 minutes long. After many hours of screwing around I found to my dismay that each 1:30 clip is completely unique. Cloud formations are different destroyed objects are different. Not only that but I also found that the sound recordings (which appear to be recorded by running the simulation all over again) are not consistent with the video! Ok so recording mulitple segments won't work so what could I try now? So far I haven't come up with anything except a few ideas for the developers regarding how they could deal with this issue.
Developers, I know you aren't getting any more money for LockOn development but please consider my plea.
I would like you to consider the following fix ideas for AVI recording.
1. Use AVI2.0 (via DirectShow I believe) instead of AVI1.0; problem solved as far as video recording long files is concerned.
2. If AVI2.0 isnt doable then please have the AVI Recorder automatically divide its recordings into multiple 1GB avi files; again problem solved as far as recording long files is concerned. We can use VirtualDub or Premiere or some other video editing package to rejoin pieces.
3. Whilst rendering the video part of a recording please create a file that will be used by the WAV recorder. This file would be taking notes during the video render phase as to when particular samples are triggered etc. When the WAV recording phase begins instead of running a new simulation which could suffer from inconsistency problems instead it would use this 'cue' file to build the sound output instead.
With these ideas taken into account either in a patch or an addon product my dreams of exporting high quality footage for DVD authoring would be realised...and I would love you forever
I have also noticed a few other anomolies with video recording. Even with all graphics settings maxed out (using LOMAN) I still see tree's poping in and out close enough to the camera to be obvious. Frame reate is not important during video recording so can't everything just be 'on'? Also when switching views the first 3 frames or so after the change the 'scene' slowly builds for example no clouds after view switch. They don't show up until frame 3 after the change or so.
Anyway I have now said way to much on this for the moment I will only mention one more thing. I'm not quite sure how to go about 16:9 widescreen videos assuming that the above issues are addressed. I know that the actual framesize is still 720x576(for PAL) and that the player is simply instructed to stretch the image but I have yet to find out the aspect settings that would achieve this...anyway thanks for making a great flight sim and i sincerely hope that you will continue to support the awesome A-10 in future flight products.