Windows 10 added a great feature called Game bar that enabled you to record games while you were playing them. The on-screen action was saved as a video file and you could then share them with friends either privately or publicly.
Creator’s Update has completely redesigned this feature and it is a brilliant and very easy way to record game play. Some changes are just a rearrangement of the settings and they are accessed in a different place, but there are also a few new features too.
Let’s take a look at recording a game. I chose City Racing 3D because I wanted to test Windows ability to capture fast action. Would it stutter and fail to keep up? We’ll see.
The game is also free, which always gets my interest, and it has good ratings in the Windows Store. It is a Windows 10 app that runs on PC, Xbox, mobile, holographic and Game hub. It's a lot of fun if you want to try it for yourself.
Start the game
Game bar is a service that runs in the background and there is nothing to run. It is there, waiting, so just start the game you want to record. Make it full screen rather than a window on the desktop.
At any point you can display Windows Game bar on the screen by pressing Windows+G. This displays a toolbar and clicking the red Record button begins recording. Anything that appears on the screen from now on is saved to a video.
You can also press Windows+Alt+R to start recording, but this does not display anything on the screen, which leaves you wondering if it is recording. It would be annoying to get your highest score ever or to ace a level in a tough game and it hadn’t recorded. For this reason I like to press Windows+G and click record, then I know it is working.
Play the game
Now you just play the game. When you want to stop recording, press Windows+G to display Game bar and click the stop button, or press Alt+Windows+R again.
Bear in mind that videos can grow very large. A four minute video was 150MB and that was at a fairly low quality - 1200 x 800 pixels at 30 fps.
Watch your videos
Each video recording is automatically saved to your personal Videos folder in your account folder. The filename is also automatic and is based on the game’s name (probably title bar text).
Open Explorer, click Videos in the sidebar and then open the Captures folder. Double clicking a video clip plays it in the Windows 10 Films & TV app.
Upload it to YouTube
Go to YouTube and if you are signed in with your Google Account, click the Upload button in the top right corner. Drag the video clip from an Explorer window and drop it on the browser to upload it.
While it is uploading, fill in the information, such as the title, description and tags.
Click the Publish button when it has finished uploading and processing. A collection of sharing buttons for popular social media sites is displayed. Either copy the link and paste it wherever you want or use the Facebook, Twitter and other buttons to share it.
Watch the video recorded with Game bar
Configure the Game bar settings
Let’s look at the Settings app first. Open Settings in Windows 10 Creator’s Update and click the Gaming section. Select Game bar on the left and there is a master On/Off switch. Make sure it is on or your will not be able to record games!
Below are all the keyboard shortcuts for the various functions, such as:
- Show the Game bar = Windows+G
- Start or stop recording = Windows+Alt+R
- Record that = Windows+Alt+G
- Microphone on/off = Windows+Alt+M
If you want to provide a voice commentary when recording your game play, show the Game bar and tick the option to turn on the microphone. Laptops have a built in microphone, but you might need to add one if you use a desktop PC.
Game DVR settings
Select Game DVR on the left and there is a Background recording option. An On/Off switch enables or disables it. Doesn’t all recording happen in the background? Yes, but this is different.
The Game DVR is basically a continuous recording of the last 30 minutes, one hour or two hours, depending on the time period set under Record this.
Game DVR means you do not have to press any keys to start or stop recording or show the Game bar, recording just happens automatically in the background. Continuously.
When you have achieved something in your game or have done something significant that you want to save as a video, press Windows+G and click the Record That button - the third icon in the Game bar toolbar - or just press the keyboard shortcut Windows+Alt+G.
The last 30 minutes, hour or two hours is saved to disk as a video.
Background recording can affect the speed of games, but try it anyway with the shortest duration recording.
Further down the Game DVR settings are Audio and video quality settings. If you have a super powerful PC then by all means set the maximum audio and video quality and set the frame rate to 60 fps.
For most people, 128 kbps audio, standard video quality and 30 fps is best.