Choice: What it means for games and why you will never truly see it in them

WARNING: The following rant has rampant spoilers for Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, the Ultima series and various other RPGs.

We have all heard the cries before: “We want choices that actually mean something!”, “We want choices we make in games to matter!” etc.  These calls have been yelled at almost every RPG that touts “choice” as an important part of the gameplay and storytelling, however when you actually play the game all choices you make have very minor effects such as small text changes, missing NPCs or other such small details and any large story twists and reveals feel railed and somehow clunky for a game touting choice. Yet these games still sell extremely well and generally have several sequels. You wonder why a game that clearly has not delivered on its promises is doing so well and how there is even a sequel? It is very simple. Sadly, the people who actually MEAN these things are in a vast minority. Players who want REAL choice in their games are very rare. What most people are saying is “We want more choices that lead to us winning!”, “We want choices that determine which good ending we get!”.

In this short rant I would like to present my view on what real choices are in games, how they affect the medium and why choices that actually matter will never appear in them.


Cause and Causality

There are two types of choices that a game can have which can be defined as “meaningful”: The type that affects the gameplay and the type that affect the actual player.

Let us first discuss choices that affect the gameflow directly. These choices determine how the events further down the plot will unfold and how the world changes with your actions. These are the choices that determine which companions will live or die, what will happen once the adventure is over and are generally fairly numerous throughout modern RPGs.

Now let us talk about choices that affect the player rather than the gameplay directly. These choices make the player feel the difficulty of doing what they do and make them either feel uneasy, unhappy or happy about the result of whatever they have just done.

The best choices are those that combine both.

Storytelling and the investment in characters have a very big impact on how we perceive a decision and how we make choices.  If the story is told well, the players will generally like some characters and dislike others for their traits, be they mentality, personality or actions. If a player is invested in the story and feels well connected with the world around him the choices he makes will feel much heavier and much harder to make.

Let us take Fallout 3 and Mass Effect 2 as an example for this. In the beginning of Fallout 3 you enter the small town of Megaton, aptly named for the HUGE FUCKING NUKE in the middle of it. You get your quests from the people in the town, do them, get your experience and phat lewt then before you move on, you meet a man in a snazzy suit and a bitchin’ fedora who will ask you to blow up the city for a very good price. Afterward you will meet the sheriff who will ask you to disarm the bomb, for a pittance of a reward compared to what you would receive if you blew it up. I know of very few people that actually saved the town. Why? Because they saw it as nothing more than a quest hub. Blowing it up was squeezing the last few drops of XP and money out of it before moving on. But you just detonated a bomb. Killing dozens of people and children for money. Yet it just felt… meh. Not only that, but there is no real effect to this. You don’t have access to the vendors and NPCs inside anymore and you have a nice negative karma (I’ll get to this absurdity later) however no other city in the world has apparently heard of your actions or actually condemns you for them directly. How can you miss a nuke exploding? This should be at least known around the other cities, rumors going around and certain people behaving differently because of it. Yet nothing happens. The point is, after you blow it up, there is no direct result from it, only secondary effects as I will discuss later.

Now let us compare this to a moment in ME2. The infamous choice whether to kill or re-program the Geth. You have fought the Geth throughout ME1 and ME2. You have seen them raze colonies and kill people. You know of their past, or so you thought. When Legion reveals the actual internal workings and conflicts that the Geth are having among themselves, they suddenly become much more than a simple enemy. These are intelligent beings, a new civilization that is discovering itself and the various problems that come with that. They are in a war over faith and have split into two factions. You have only been fighting one of these factions. You have in fact never seen the peaceful Geth. The faction you have fought is now in front of you, in its entirety. Helpless. You have the choice, kill them all for the murders and various other atrocities they have committed or reprogram them to serve your cause. How many of you just looked at  the choice screen, put down the controller or simply sat back in your chair in front of your PC and just looked at it? The little cogs in your head turning? It is a very hard choice to make, although it logically should not be. Brainwash them and gain more soldiers for your battle against the Reapers. Yet it is not that easy. Should you choose to kill them, you will have removed a large menace from the universe, however you have just committed genocide. While synthetic, these beings were in fact sentient. You just killed hundreds of thousands if not millions of intelligent beings because of your own agenda towards them. What if you decided to reprogram them? You just played God by removing their free will. They CHOSE the path of confrontation, yet you have now changed them, without them knowing. Regardless of which choice you make, few players feel good about either and therein lies the greatness of it. Nobody outside of your party will know what you did either way. The only one who has to live with his decision is you, for now. However, this choice has NO EFFECT in the game at all, along with several others such as the killing of the Rachni queen. I am however not going to damn the ME franchise just yet, because I expect these actions to have an effect in the conclusion in ME3. If not, brace for an epic ragestorm.

Now, why are decisions such as this extremely rare in games? Two reasons. On one side choices like this are highly dependent on the storytelling up to this point and creating a world where choices like this matter is extremely difficult and time consuming to do. If the situation is even a tiny bit off, the choice will have highly decreased effect to the point where it could seem shoehorned in and inorganic when considered within the storyline. This means longer release schedules due to having to craft a well developed story and less $$$ for the developers if they are even a tiny bit off they would have wasted a great amount of resources and manpower in setting up the player choice section only to have it essentially fail, which they could have used in other areas of development. The second reason is much more potent however. These choices are HARD TO MAKE. The player is presented with a situation in which they dislike all possible options. While it was handled great in ME2, imagine this put into a darker, realistic (the ME universe is not realistic get over yourselves) setting where the player choice could have grave consequences for the people around him. Many players do NOT want to make such choices. They would not abandon the game because of it, but it would diminish their fun, which is bad.

There are many, MANY choices throughout RPGs that fall into neither of these categories, essentially providing no benefit at all but are added in order to make the game feel like it is offering you options while it really does almost nothing. A lot of Peter Molyneux games come to mind…

The Asshole Meter

I refuse to call it the “Morality Meter” because that is a lie. Morality is relative to the person and a choice that seems evil to some may be considered necessary by others. No, what we have here is an Asshole Meter. Why? Because most actions, and choices, fall within three options on it:

1. Goody Two Shoes: “Why yes, I will go out of my way of saving the world to gather these cakes for you!”

2. The Gray Jedi: “I am sorry, I cannot spare the time.”


Out of these three choices, which seems to be the most reasonable one? The second one, by far, however it is never chosen by players. Why? Because option 1&3 usually enjoy more content and more importantly, get points toward either good or evil. And in most games, being all good or all evil gives you massive bonuses however staying in the “gray” zone usually deprives you of almost all of them as well as the unique dialogue options both of the extremes provide. What does this mean? It means that even if a player himself would chose a “neutral” option in a dialogue or a conflict or any other large choice, he will not. He would use one of the extremes to get the bonuses that come with the added karma/force alignment/whatever as well as better loot and the fact that neutral choices generally have much weaker dialogue connected with them.

Not only this, but neutral choices very rarely have unique and interesting situations happen while both extremes do. Neutral choices also almost never have any unique actions associated with them. For example in ME2 you have the option to perform Sugary Goodness and Asshole Supreme acts during cutscenes, both of which have unique effects as well as dialogue and effects on the unfolding situation. You could technically argue that not taking either is neutral and the result is unique, but it still puts the player at a disadvantage as well as the feeling that taking no action is not really a choice. This causes a HUGE problem for game designers as this idea for a “Morality Meter” has been hammered into a lot of the newer RPGs. Originally part of KOTOR, where it actually made sense due to the way the Force was developed in the fluff, however it still suffered from the aforementioned problems of railroading players into either being completely selfless or complete assholes.

Basically a player will do what brings the most benefit to his character and a lot of choices that he would normally make are ignored in lieu of ones that bring more benefits. The obvious solution to this is to make all choices DO something have meaningful effects and make the player feel like they changed something with their actions, however this would require much more work than feasible because it would take way too long and make release schedules a nightmare.


The shit hath hitteh the hyperdrive sire!

A lot of people simply do not understand what true, powerful choices do. What do they do? Shit goes unexpectedly wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. What does this mean? It means that a lot of choices that a player makes can have massive negative consequences. And most importantly, this can happen much later in the plotline than you would expect. A good example of this is the Ultima series where simple choices could have grievous consequences like having your companions tortured and killed by the villain to get information from you. There is very little of this kind of result from choices however, as most “bad” choices usually count towards getting a “bad” ending with the right combination. This means that individual choices have little to no impact but instead count towards a tally that determines how “well” you did at the end. A good example of this is King’s Quest 6. You are supposed to save a princess in a tower and solve a bunch of mysteries and sidequests along the way. You don’t HAVE to do them, and chosing not to will get you the “bad” ending. What is the bad ending? You still defeat the bad guy, marry the princess and rule a whole land. You miss out on a lot of swag but technically you did not lose. This exemplifies the issue with bad choices, since they don’t really have much impact anymore.

The extreme of this area of choices are those that kill your character. They were the most common choice in ye olde RPGs from the buddling years of gaming. Clicked on a flower? Poison dust. Clicked on a river to drink? You get pulled under. Talk to raven? Be sucked into black hole etc. The issue with this choice is that it is very powerful. The reason is was so common in old games was to extend gameplay by forcing trial and error (fuck you Sierra Logic. Fuck you with a rusty spork) and as games progressed it became extinct. Why? If you make a stupid choice your character should die! It should not be as common as in the early years of RPGs, but it should not be impossible for your stupid choices to kill you! The most recent development for this has been ME2 when it announced that Shepard could die. It got a big discussion from the community with people flaming each other back and forth why this is a good or bad idea. Bioware was smart and didn’t tell the people WHEN Shepard could die, so they expected it throughout the whole game the first time around. This certainly changed how some people made choices, opting for things that didn’t sound completely suicidal. Now let us get to the ending. The final grand attack on the Collectors. This is where Shepard could die, at the VERY END of the game. However to achieve this, you needed to make so many mistakes that it was hard to do unless you were trying for it. Maybe it was just me, but it was fairly clear who to send where since the categories of companions was rather well developed. So yes, ME2 allowed for a true “BAD END” but you actually had to TRY to get it. If you didn’t mess up enough, a lot of your companions died which falls in the previous category of “varying degrees of winning”. The Collectors were still defeated. The only other time you can die from choice is when handling Morinth. However, again, to die from this you have to be fairly dense. Your companions warn you. They warn you again through your intercom while you are talking with Morinth. When you go back to her place for some hot alien mindfuck (literally) THE ENTIRE ROOM IS FILLED IN A DARK RED LIGHT. I doubt they could give you more warning signs without plastering the rooms with police tape and having Morinth wear a “I kill what I fuck” shirt.

I guess what shocked me the most about this is that some people were actually annoyed that the main character could die, yet yell at developers for choices that have deep impacts on the gameplay. It was also slightly annoying that this story got so big across so many news sites. A character that is trying to save the world against overwhelming odds should not always come out on top with everything being hunky dory. Being up against great odds should feel that way, and dying should not be ignored as a possibility. The issue here is how to provide such events without making the player feel like they could not do anything about it…


That was not supposed to happen!

How many times have you said these words when you clicked on a choice and something bad happened? And how many times have you decided that you did not like the outcome, reloaded your game and tried again? How many times have you quicksaved before conversations simply to see what the best way to get through it is? How many times have you looked up a FAQ that explains the “best” way to go through a game? Now how many people do you think do these things? A lot. Many players feel like they are playing the game wrong if they make a “bad” choice and wish to do everything right and be the best. This however defeats the point of choice in the RPGs. If you know what the results of your actions are beforehand and act according to this knowledge you are essentially nullifying a lot of what the devs worked for. A good example for this would be the various companion pickups throughout RPGs such as ME and KOTOR. I for one slaughtered Juhani. I didn’t even know she was a companion until I finished the game and read up on the various things to see what I missed. I did not save Sunry in his murder trial in KOTOR 2. Did this remove any from my gaming experience? No, because the choices I made were mine. Made with no other knowledge than what my character knew. This made a tailored experience for me, crafted by my own choices, which is what I believe is the point of RPGs that offer choice. I do not see how someone can achieve enjoyment out of the game by following a guide or following someone else’s choices to achieve the “best” possible combination of things. There are many RPGs that are linear, which so not a bad thing if done right, which sound more like the game these people should be playing rather than messing with the development of choice RPGs.

By avoiding or bypassing choices with knowledge from outside of the game you simply sidestep all the effort that the developers put into making them. There is little motivation for game developers to develop possible pitfalls and branching choices when gamers try to find ways to bypass them on purpose.


Never compromise! Not even in the face or Armageddon!

When you look at most RPGs you will notice that the story usually involves you saving the world from some Bigbad. Generally you start as a complete underdog and along the way you become powerful enough to take on the final evil. Along the way you will also acquire several companions to take along and you will also be faced with a lot of side quests and choices that should determine certain outcomes.  What is the problem with this? The fact that there is almost no compromise along the way. Almost all choices you make are definite and usually extreme (See Asshole Meter). There are almost no choices that force some compromise on the side of the player. Even if one exists, several others exist that end with better results that do NOT compromise. This makes the player feel like a special unique snowflake that can always do the right thing. No need to ever compromise unless it is in your favor somehow. Essentially this flaw creates a feeling that the world is created for your character to win in rather than a world where your characters lives in and has to use in order to achieve his final goal. This lapse simple makes a lot of worlds seem a lot less… real.



Well, what I hope you have taken away from this short rant is that since gaming has become much bigger than a decade ago it has also become a much larger business. Games cost millions upon millions of dollars for development. This means that games have to make much more profit than they did previously. This means that they need to appeal, and appease, a much larger audience than they previously did. Sadly the people they need to appease do not take loss and pretty much any deviation from the “I am the infallible hero that saves the world!” formula. This means that choices have to SEEM to matter, without actally having effect in order to appeal to the most players. Some games have managed to avert this (ME2 for example) however many, many games still suffer from moneyhungryitis.


How to Encode High Quality Video From PC-Game Footage

I posted this guide a year or so ago however a lot has changed since then so I am re-writing sections of it an re-posting it here.

So, you’ve seen all those fancy game videos on YouTube, downloaded WoW videos or other MMO gameplay and enjoyed the high quality ones? Well you can do it too!

I am going to provide a step by step guide for creating high quality, full screen resolution (1680×1050 and above is very possible, although half size should be used on slower computers) videos of any game you wish to apply this guide to really. It is highly recommended to apply this guide to decently powerful systems of a dual core or more.

We will be using MeGui as our main encoding UI and x264 as our codec. AAC will be used for sound. First of all, you will need the following:

  • Sony Vegas (optional but very recommended however any video editor will do, except Movie Maker)


Order of Installation

  1. Fraps
  2. AVISynth
  3. Video Editor of choice
  4. Lagarith Lossless Video Codec
  5. MeGui
  6. NeroAACEnc
  7. AvsP

First Steps: Setting Up

The first things you should do after you download and install all this software is to setup Fraps the way you want it. For most games, it is now very possible to record at full screen with sound at 30fps, with no lag, on a decently powerful computer (Quad Core or above). These are also the suggested settings. Make sure, if possible, that your recording directory is on a different PHYSICAL Hard Disc than the game (make sure you defrag your FRAPS drive often, it really helps). This allows for much smoother gameplay while recording. Recording at Half Size is also decent, if you have a weaker machine and it will speed up encoding somewhat because you can choose lower quality settings but will, obviously, look worse than full screen videos.

Then, open your task manager, right click on fraps.exe and click on “Set Affinity”. Make sure that Fraps is running on at least 2 cores (or 4 if you have an i7), as shown in the following screenshot. Once you start your game, alt+tab out of it and, if you have a quad core, set it to run on the two (or four) cores that Fraps is NOT running on. Otherwise it should already be running on both cores most of the time. This way you get no interference and both  the game and FRAPS can run at maximum efficiency. For thew newest games however this may cause a slowdown for the game. On really powerful machines this step can be generally ignored.


How to make sure FRAPS is running on multiple cores.

Now that we have Fraps all set up, let us take a look at MeGui. It comes with a load of different codecs for both video and sound. The first thing you should do when you run it is update (Options -> Update). This will download the newest version of all codecs as well as MeGui core files. Next, you need to add NeroAACEnc to the list of encoders for MeGui so we can encode the game sound. You should generally keep the game sound in case you want to keep it in your video, however if you are planning on putting music over your recording anyway not recording the sounds increases the in-game performance quite a bit.  Go to Options -> Settings -> Audio and search for where you installed NeroAACEnc. That is it for now, you can close MeGui.

Time to Snip: Editing and Preparing for Encoding

Now that we have MeGui and all the codecs set up, it is time to edit and encode our video. First of all, if you do NOT want to edit the video and simply encode it, skip down to the next step. If you are going to use the file for streaming, see the end of this section.

This part is really simple. After editing your video to your liking, putting in audio and effects, save your project and head to render. Make sure you select AVI as your file type. As a codec choose Lagarith Lossless Video Codec. Go into the codec configuration and check “Enable Null Frames”, “Use Multithreading” and select “YV12″ as your mode. For audio, makre sure you select the “PCM Uncompressed” codec with 44,100Hz and 16 bit depth. Go ahead and render the file now. This might take a while so go grab a snack or something.


Now, if you are planning to simply upload the video to a streaming site like YouTube or use it for any kind of streaming only, you can skip a lot of the work below and do something else instead.

Because the streaming sites now support enormous files (2GB+) the careful encoding using MeGui might not be needed and you can take a much faster way out. Simply encode using the Sony AVC (or whatever other h.264 codex your video editor supports) with the following settings:

Audio: 192 Kbps, 48,000 Hz, 32 Bit, Stereo, AAC
Video: 45 fps (same FPS as you recorded in FRAPS), 1920×1080 (whatever resolution your recorded video is in) Progressive, YUV, 15 Mbps
Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.000

This ensures that there is absolutely no quality loss even in high detail games, however this is not viable if you want your videos to be downloaded and viewed as any decently long videos would be much too large. With these settings a 7:30min long movie is roughly 830MB in size. A 15 minutes video would be roughly 1.6GB which is well below most upload limits. If you need to fit a longer video you can reduce the bitrate to 10mBit and not lose too much quality.

Now, before you actually encode the video you want to add some color correction. FRAPS records in RGB and converting it to YUV12 forces the video to lose some contrast. In Sony Vegas click on Tools -> Video -> Track FX -> Color Corrector. In this screen increase the Saturation up. How much depends on what the actual footage looks like and it is up to your discretion.

Getting the Footage Ready: AVISynth for Dummies

Now, MeGui can’t take AVI files directly, so you are going to have to feed it an AviSynth script. Since you have now installed AviSynth (if not do it NOW), you can right click anywhere and create a “New AviSynth Script”. Name the script whatever you want and then open it with notepad.

AviSynth is a very powerful tool, but we will only be using simple functions, like adding video. For this, you need to enter the following code into the script and save:

AVISource(“H:\Name of File.avi”) + AVISource(“H:\Name of File2.avi”)

As an exmaple, this takes lets say two fraps videos ond drive H and puts them together so MeGui can render them as one movie. If you have edited your movie with an editor and saved it using the lossless codec then you can skip the “ConvertToYV12()” line. You can also add as many files together as you want using the syntax above, but keep in mind that you should plan on the encoding taking about 2-3 minutes for each minute of footage.

Now on to color correction. FRAPS records in RGB and converting it to YUV12 forces the video to lose some contrast. To do this start up AvsP and open the .avs file you created earlier. Add the following below ConvertToYV12():

TWEAK([<"hue", -180.0, 180.0, 0.0>],[<"sat", 0.0, 10.0, 1.5>],[<"bright", -255.0, 255.0, 0.0>],[<"cont", 0.0, 10.0, 1.1>])

Now click on the following two buttons to access the menu you just created:

Depending on the footage you will want to increase the Hue and the Saturation to an agreeable level. Save your script.


Now, go ahead and start MeGUi. You will see an “AviSynth” line. Search for the script you created and open it. A preview window should open and show you the exact middle of your video. Your files are now loaded into MeGui and are ready to be encoded. Give it a name in the “Video Output” and select the appropriate x264 codec (see section below) and then MP4 as the file format.

Further AviSynth syntax can be found here and here.

The Encoding: Trial, Error and Lots of Time

So, you made it this far. That was the easy bit. Now comes the hard part, encoding the video with a decent quality! Depending on if you recorded full screen or half size will matter greatly here.

Make sure to select x264: *scratchpad* so you can setup your encoding then click the Configure button. There are a TON of different settings in the x264 configuration, however I am going to explain the most important ones only. If you want to see ALL the different settings and what they do, take a look here.



You can safely ignore these. Any changes you make will be applied instead of these.



The bitrate is the general quality measure of your video. For good computer game encodes, in full screen resolutions, you will want a bit rate from 3000-6000. Keep in mind that the higher the bitrate, the higher the filesize will be. You can save space with the right compression settings, but higher bitrate will always make bigger files with the same settings.


You will generally only want to use “Automatic 2Pass”. This means that the encoder will work over the file twice. The first time it will analyze it in order to be able to save as many bits as possible in scenes with little movement or action. This way you save a lot of space with no real loss to quality.

Constant quality will make sure all the scenes use the same bitrate, however this means a lot of wasted space. Not the best setting for computer game recordings.

1Pass Encoding is not really recommended either, as it means that the file will only be looked over once, foregoing the bonuses of either constant quality or 2Pass. Do not use.

De-Blocking and CABAC

This is a very important setting, especially when dealing with electronic video. There is no reason to disable this as it provides a substantial quality boost to the video. There are two settings for deblocking: “Deblocking Strength” and “Deblocking Threshold”. Strength determines how strongly a blocky part of the image can be modified. The higher it is, the stronger blocks will be smoothed, but this means that details surrounding blockyness will be smudged. Threshold is the power with which the encoder decides what is blocking and what is actual detail. The stronger it is, the more aggressive the search will be but the more details will be lost because the encoder will not be sure what is blockyness and what is details. The standard setting for this is 0:0, however for perfect quality material (full screen screen capture for example) you will want to use something like -1:-1 (or more) in order to preserve the details of the video. However, if you have recorded in half size, you will want to have something a little stronger along the lines of 1:2 or 1:1. These are just examples however, it varies from video to video.



Screenshot from original material.

SWGEmu with strong deblocking. You can see details becoming smudged.


High quality encoding with weak deblock. Details are saved and the good encoding helps to remove artifacts.

This is WAR with weak De-Blocking.

This is WAR with strong De-Blocking. As you can see, de-blocking strength is dependent on the game. While in SWGEmu higher de-blocking causes loss of detail and smudging, in WAR, it provides good quality. It really depends on the picture composition of the game you are playing. If you are playing a game with a lot of minute details and thin lines you might want to opt for a higher bitrate/other settings and lower deblocking (even in the negative range) in order to preserve quality.

As for CABAC, keep it enabled at all times.

M.E Algoritm and Subpixel Refinement

This defines motion vector quality. For the M.E Algorithm “Multi Hex” is generally enough for good quality, but Exhaustive or SATD Exhaustive can be used for high resolution video for quality improvement, but really shouldn’t. SATD is extremely slow and I suggest Exhaustive as the highest you should go, however rarely.

The Subpixel Refinement should generally stay at “10 – QP-RD” unless encoding time is really an issue as it provides good quality improvement, however slows down the encode.

Keyframe Interval and Min. GOP Size

This varies from video to video according to its framerate. A video with 30fps should have a minimum GOP size of 30 and a keyframe interval of 300. A 60fps video should have 60 minimum and 600 maximum etc.

Number of Reference Frames

This setting determines how many frames can be referenced by P and B frames. In other words, the higher this is, the better the quality will be because of more reference material, but the encode will slow down with each one. About 5-7 reference frames should work well for most video.  The P-Frame Weighted Prediction should be set to “Smart”. Encode Interlace and Pulldown should be OFF.

One thing to note is the I-Frames. The higher the number here, the slightly larger the file will be but the more sensitive the encoder will be to scene changes. This means that in games that have a lot of movement such as FPS a higher number should be used as opposed to say an RTS. About 60-80 is good for an FPS, and roughly 40 should be enough for lower movement games. However it is dependent on the game itself so you will have to experiment and see what works best for your footage.

B Frames

B Frames are highly compressed frames that can increase the general quality of a video by storing quality information very effeciently. About 4-5 B frames should be sufficient for very high quality encoding.

You should keep Weighted Prediction for B-Frames checked, Adaptive B-Frame should be set to “2-Optimal” and the B-Pyramid should be on normal.

Macorblocks and Extra

Make sure to have ALL macroblocks enabled for the best quality.

MV Prediction Mode should be set to “Auto” and Trellis should be set to “2-Always“.

Make sure No DCT Decimation and No Fast P Skip are checked. Any other checked options will decrease quality.

Encoding it at last!

Now that you have set up the video encode, go ahead and que it. Do not start the que yet however. We still need to encode the sounds! That’s right. Unlike conventional encoders MeGui takes video and audio separately. We will need to combine them as the final step.

Now, go ahead and open the SAME AviSynth script you made for the video in the audio tab. Set it to use the Nero AAC codec with whatever settings you want for your sound. Go ahead and que this too. You can go ahead and start the que now go eat lunch, take a nap, whatever. Assume 2-4 minutes of encoding for every minute of footage, at the least.

WARNING: Make sure the output file for your VIDEO and your AUDIO are different! MeGui does NOT check this and WILL overwrite one with the other.

Combining It All

Now that you are done encoding both video and sound you are ready to combine the two into your final video! In MeGui go to Tools -> Muxer -> MP4 Muxer. Set your encoded video and audio and make sure the “No Splitting” option as well as the “Standard” device is selected. Set your final video name and go ahead and que it then start the que.

Congratulations! You have now created a high quality video of a good size! It is ready to upload and share. For downloadable videos I suggest using FileFront, FilePlanet or some and is relatively fast for DL.

There are many codecs that have been used for this in the past, especially XVID, however I would not suggest Generally  Xvid has created larger files than x.264 and much worse quality. The footage is 1.5 minutes long and is 33MB in x.264 and 40MB in XVID. This means a 25 minute video would be 550MB in x.264 and 666MB in XVID.

Recommended Players

There are two players that I recommend for playing back such videos: VLC and MPC: HC. MPC:HC seems to take better to high bitrate encodes. I suggest following this guide for enabling VMR9 in MPC.