Rules for Recording with Emulation and Real Hardware

Last updated on 2 months ago
Here is a more up to date thread on rules for record longplays using both emulation and real hardware for video game consoles and handhelds, arcade systems may not follow the same rules for creating longplays and PC is also a different topic for recording.
Note that there can be acceptations to these rules in specific situations and we want to update what we can and can't accept as longplays as new emulation and hardware come out.
If you don't understand these rules or have questions about something not mentioned, then feel free to ask us in the discord.

The main emulator we use is Bizhawk
Note that for emulation we do not want it to have any visual or audio glitches that are not present if playing the same game on real hardware. Longplays with such examples may be rejected or require replacement if these bugs are fixed through updates to the emulation

We accept most cores that are supported in Bizhawk not limited to but including systems for NES, SNES, N64, GB, GBC, GBA, NDS, Sega MS, Sega MD, Sega CD, Sega 32x, Sega Saturn, Sega GG, PS1.
Only crop the video if the edge that needs to be cropped is blank throughout the video
Generally these systems are displayed at their internal resolution and when avidumping should be done at 2x or 3x base resolution and upscaled further during the encoding process for best results, systems that change resolutions, i.e. N64, PS1, Sega Saturn, must be recorded at the highest resolution the game outputs without any internal upscaling.

PS1 using octoshock as the core with the pixelpro setting will be played and recorded in a resolution of 800x480 and must be cropped to fit the widest resolution displayed during the game. For interlaced games, octoshock defaults to weave deinterlacing. If you choose to use a deinterlace filter, using virtualdub's filter at the default settings is recommended, then please provide both the original and deinterlaced versions of the longplay.

N64 games that are using Ares64 core must not have any issue where the gameplay is sped up due to the framerate running at 60fps. An example of this is Knife Edge: Nose Gunner where the longplay is running too fast because the emulator is running the game at a constant 60fps but on normal hardware the game does not.

Gamecube is still in beta on Bizhawk and not recommended as it runs extremely slow, Dolphin emulator can be used as a substitute as long as the recording is done at base resolution and using a lossless codec
Wii applies the same as Gamecube through Dolphin

PS2 can be done with PCSX2 but must not have any emulation errors during the recording and recorded at the game's base resolution. If a game switches the internal resolution for things like cutscenes then it is required to record those separately at the resolution displayed, then edited into the longplay

(TODO: Add more info on systems not mentioned here that are supported by bizhawk or other emulators we accept)

Real Hardware
For hardware recordings you must use a capture card that can support the resolutions of the system you are recording. Systems that display games at 480i must be done using an upscaler that has motion adaptive deinterlacing, these include Retrotink 5X Pro, Retrotink 4K, and OSSC Pro. There is also the PixelFX Morph 4K that can do motion adaptive deinterlacing but currently it only supports HDMI input at the time of writing this post.

Games that support 480p or higher are not required to use an upscaler for recording.
Recording resolutions of 480p, 720p, 1080p must use a capture card that supports H.264 encoding at a bitrate of at least 40mbps
The recording bitrate must be at the highest the capture card supports
If the capture is choppy due to the recording settings you need to upgrade your PC, it is recommended to record 1080p and higher to an internal SSD

Capture cards must support the refresh rate at the resolution being recording, 50 or 60hz, and must be recorded at those framerates
Capture cards that support VRR must be recorded at 120fps, currently only PS5 and Xbox Series support VRR, but there is no capture card that can record VRR at 4K120 at RGB 4:2:0 thus it is not currently accepted
Capture cards that we will reject longplays recorded from are: Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2 and Avermedia Live Gamer Mini, these are designed for streaming and as such do not record at a high bitrate.
Recommended capture cards for 1080p and below are: Elgato HD60 and Avermedia Live Gamer Extreme
Recommended capture cards for resolutions higher than 1080p are: Elgato 4K Pro and Avermedia Live Gamer Pro
(TODO: Add more capture cards that will and won't be accepted for longplays)

For 480i recordings using Retrotink 5X Pro it is recommended to use the 1080p Under preset as this will double the resolution within a 1080p window and all that is required is cropping during the encoding process.
Using a Retrotink 4K for 480i is basically the same, just set it to display an integer scale of the input resolution to 2x and you can set the RT4K to 1080p for the output resolution and crop during editing, if recording at 4K then set the internal resolution to 4x instead then you must downsample back to 2x the base resolution.
(TODO: Test the OSSC Pro and PixelFX Morph 4k's upscalers to find out the best settings for each)

Aspect Ratio: If recording on a system that can only output maximum of 480i or 480p then aspect ratio should be set to default or 4:3. Aspect ratio should only be set to widescreen if the system can output 16:9 resolutions such as 720p or higher. If using an emulator such as Dolphin, it is ok to play a game in widescreen in that case since dolphin can actually output the proper resolution instead of stretching the pixels.
If you do record a game where it is set to widescreen but the actual resolution is 480i or 480p you can force aspect correction by putting in the video's metadata to force video players to display it in 16:9.

Recording on real hardware is okay to have mistakes in the recording, however we can reject a longplay if there are too many mistakes that need to be edited out.
For example: in a racing game if you are required to come in first to progress and have to retry the race over and over again then it is required to edit out the failed attempts. It is okay if an attempt is not edited out if it is only partially done, as this can easily be missed during editing. But if it is a full attempt and must be redone to continue the game, then it will be rejected or requiring replacement if not edited out.

Accepted systems with HDMI mods are:
PS1 with PSDigital or Retrogem with the internal resolution using an integer scale

PS2 using the Retrogem with the internal resolution output at an integer scale, make sure that resolution switches do not drop signal for the capture card (this can be avoided if using the Direct Video mode and plugged into an OSSC Pro, Morph 4K or Retrotink 4K and letting them use motion adaptive deinterlacing)

N64 using N64Digital or Retrogem can be recorded at 480p, 960p, or double resolution within 1080p window then cropped, interlaced games must have motion adaptive deinterlacing turned on. UltraHDMI mod for N64 is mostly the same except 480i must be done using weave deinterlacing (as it doesn't support motion adaptive deinterlacing) but not recommended if the game is interlaced during normal gameplay, 240p gameplay with 480i menus are fine.

Dreamcast using the DCDigital or Retrogem can be recorded at either 480p or 960p. If a game cannot be VGA patched then it is recommended to use motion adaptive deinterlacing if possible, otherwise weave is acceptable. 240p games must be properly recorded without the system displaying it as 480i (DCDigital tends to do this if the game is not properly VGA patched)

Original Xbox with the XboxHD+ HDMI mod recorded at 480p is accepted for every game, and 720p for games that support the resolution. 1080i is currently not accepted for the few games that support it.

HDMI modded Gamecubes and Wiis are accepted, such as the GCDual. Be sure to avoid signal drops as much as possible when using the GCDual as it changes between 640x448 and 640x480 on some games and can result in a signal loss

(TODO: Test more systems that have HDMI mods)

Accepted systems that can be recorded with high quality component cables:
For the systems that support component cables it is recommended to use high quality cables such as the ones made by HD Retrovision. They have cables available for PS2/PS3 and Wii systems, they also make cables for other systems but we do not accept longplays from those systems done on real hardware because the emulation for them is already perfect.
For Gamecube it is recommended to use the official component cables released for the system, we need testing done for any other component cable made for that system to determine if they are good enough.
For the Original Xbox it is recommended to get the official Microsoft Xbox High Definition AV Pack and pair it with HD Retrovision Male to Male component cable
(TODO: Test more component cables made for these systems to find out which cables are the best without being too expensive)

Both Xbox and Wii have support for 480p for 99% of their game libraries so to be sure to record those systems at that resolution

All original Xbox games can be modified to force 480p (even PAL games run at this resolution with no issues), games that support 720p can be recorded at that resolution but some games suffer performance from the higher resolution so it is up to the longplayer if they want to record the game in 480p or 720p, 1080i is currently not accepted for the few games that support it.

Most Gamecube and Wii games can be forced to run in 480p through homebrew software and is recommended to record this way on real hardware, however not every game will be able to. Any game that only runs in 480i must have motion adaptive deinterlacing applied to it with an upscaler.

PS2 games that officially support 480p can only be done so with component cables. Some games can be forced to play at 480p even if they don't officially support it. However, there can be issues for some games (i.e. FMV cutscenes don't work, the game runs slow, graphical bugs). It is only recommended to do so for games that run normally if forcing 480p

Accepted Systems that either support component and HDMI or just HDMI:

Xbox 360 games can be recorded at 720p or 1080p, 720p is recommended due to it being compatible with all games but 1080p is accepted for games that support that resolution. If you are unsure if a game runs at 1080p and can't find anything about it then best to record at 720p. If using component cables then it must be done at 720p. Xbox 360 and PS3 games that have better performance in 720p compared to 1080p are recommended to be done in 720p

PS3 games are the same as Xbox 360, but a PS3 will always output the highest resolution the game supports so no need to try and find out if the game supports 1080p or not as the system will just display in 720p by default instead. If using component cables then it must be done at 720p. If using HDMI on PS3 then it has HDCP so an HDCP stripper is required. PS3 and Xbox 360 games that have better performance in 720p compared to 1080p are recommended to be done in 720p

Wii U is pretty much the same as Xbox 360, if you are unsure if a game runs at 1080p and can't find anything about it then best to record at 720p. If using component cables then it must be done at 720p

Nintendo Switch can output all games to 1080p but there are some that run natively at 720p then upscaled (poorly) to 1080p, it is best to record these at 720p if there is evidence online of a game specifically running at 720p in docked mode. Recording the longplay at or close to native resolution helps keep the video quality looking good for when we upscale it to youtube. If a game is reported to run at some weird resolution in between 720p and 1080p then it is still fine to record it at 1080p. If you can't find anything about a game's native resolution on the Switch in Docked mode then it is fine to record it at 1080p. If you have your switch set to output 1080p then make sure it is also recorded and submitted at 1080p. Nintendo Switch must also be in docked mode for longplays. A modded switch that allows for capture when in handheld mode is not accepted.

PS4 and Xbox One must be recorded and submitted in 1080p, even if the game is running on PS4Pro or Xbox One X or through backwards compatibility on PS5 or Xbox Series

PS5 and Xbox Series games must be recorded at 4K60, thus we will not accept Series S longplays but you can record original Xbox games, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on a Series S all at 1080p

Systems that have RGB SCART that require upscaling are:

PS1 supports RGB SCART through either PS2 backwards compatibility or through a PS1, however each system requires a different kind of SCART cable in order to work. Only the Retrotink 4K is currently accepted as it can upscale each resolution while also resolution switching with optimal timings each time. OSSC Pro may be able to do this as well for every PS1 resolution, further research is required before being able to accept it.
(TODO: Test PS1 SCART output with OSSC Pro and PixelFX Morph to find out if they can integer scale properly for PS1 longplays)

PS2 supports RGB SCART but only up to 480i NTSC and 576i PAL signals, this means it must use previously mentioned upscalers that have motion adaptive deinterlacing

Sega Saturn natively supports RGB SCART and can be recorded if using RetroTink 5X Pro, Retrotink 4K, and OSSC Pro while using optimal timings for each resolution and upscaling to 2x, 4x or 8x then downsampled to 4x

N64 systems that are RGB modded can be accepted if using Retrotink 5x Pro, Retrotink 4K, and OSSC Pro. 240p must be upscaled to either 2x, 4x, or 8x then downsampled to 4x
Not all RGB mods for N64 systems are going to produce the same quality, it is not recommended to record N64 with RGB SCART but we don't any tests done with high quality RGB mods.
(TODO: Test footage using different RGB SCART mods with upscalers to find out which RGB SCART mod can be accepted or rejected)

Consoles using these methods for recording must be approved individually for each console before they can be accepted to ensure the proper settings and cables are used

Sega Dreamcast can display 480p through a high quality RGB SCART cable. However, we have yet to test this as a viable option and requires testing before approval
(TODO: Test footage using RGB SCART cables for Sega Dreamcast)

Systems that support VGA that can be recorded directly through capture card or using Retrotink 4K, OSSC, or OSSC Pro:
Sega Dreamcast can record using a VGA box, it must be officially licensed or high quality. Test recordings must be submitted if using an unofficial VGA box to make sure the quality of the signal is good before approving
(TODO: Test unofficial VGA Boxes to find out which are accepted or rejected)

Xbox 360 supports VGA, however we require testing before approval
(TODO: Test Xbox 360 VGA output)

Systems that have HDMI solutions through existed ports (i.e. Xbox to HDMI, Dreamcast to HDMI, Gamecube to HDMI, Wii to HDMI) without internal mods can be accepted if the quality of the signal is good enough. Cables like POUND HDMI cables are not accepted as they tend to have quality issues in one way or another.

Systems that are running on some sort of backwards compatibility:

PS2 games running on a PS3, either officially from the PS store as a PS2 Classic or running off backwards compatibility, are accepted as PS2 longplays. For some reason when running a PS2 game this way will result in color space being forced to limited. So be sure to adjust recording settings, otherwise the longplay may be rejected or require replacement. PS2 games running off a PS3 slim through modded firmware is acceptable as long as there are no graphical or audio issues with the game

Xbox games run through backwards compatibility on Xbox 360 can be accepted but must be played at 480p and must not have any emulation issues. Refer to this link for compatible games to see if there are any emulation issues:
Current longplays that were recorded using Xbox 360 backwards compatibility require replacement due to either bugs in the emulation or they were not recorded at the correct resolution that the game supports (i.e. 480p games recorded at 720p have interpolation and need replacing)
(TODO: Test original xbox games on xbox 360 backwards compatibility that have no known issues listed to find out if they are to be accepted or rejected)

Original Xbox games running through backwards compatibility on Xbox One or Series consoles are to be submitted in 1080p as Xbox One longplays, even if the game supports 4K on Xbox Series X it will still be labeled as Xbox One and done in 1080p to save space on the Archive

Xbox 360 games running through backwards compatibility on Xbox One or Xbox Series are still going to be labeled as Xbox 360 and can submitted in either 720p or 1080p. Xbox 360 games that we already have a longplay for can have a bonus video added of the game from the original longplay recorded on Xbox One or Series consoles. This will be considered as a "Xbox Enhanced" bonus video added to the longplay but will not replace the original and does not count as an Xbox One or Series longplay. If we do not have a submission of the 360 version then the "Xbox Enhanced" video will count as the 360 longplay

Wii games are allowed to be done on Wii U as it is official backwards compatibility, but it is not recommended due to the Wii U's output of Wii games are more blurry than on original hardware. They must be downsampled to 480p if recorded at 1080p. Gamecube games running on a Wii U are not officially supported, and tends to have visual glitches when running on nintendont. Therefore is not recommended for gamecube longplays on that system

Handheld Systems

Handheld systems with native output to TV:

PSP 2000, 3000, and PSP Go supports video out through official component cables. They are displayed at native resolution within 480p output. It is recommended to use an upscaler to record at 2x resolution or higher for best quality, then cropped during encoding for the longplay

PSTV can play PSP and PS Vita games and must have software mods using the sharpscale hack to display at native resolution for PS Vita or 2x for PSP games. These can be recorded with a regular HDMI capture card but the PSTV has HDCP so an HDCP stripper is required. Cropping during the encoding process is required

Handheld systems with internal capture mods:

3DS capture mods support both DS and 3DS, you can get one here:
3DS can be captured at native resolution using OBS, then must be integer scaled by 2x during encoding
The 3DS capture software supports both sideways and normal screen orientation so be sure to capture at the correct resolution if a game is played in either configurations

DS games can be recorded using the same method as 3DS games, however they must be displayed at 1:1 internal resolution by holding the START button during bootup of the game on the 3DS, then captured using the same way using OBS, then cropped and integer scaled during encoding

PS Vita has a katsukitty capture mod that is no longer made but is accepted if you manage to get one, it requires 3.5mm audio cable to be able to record audio and a ground loop isolator to remove audio buzzing
PS Vita has softmods that allows it to be seen as a webcam source on PC, this is not accepted as it can only output 30fps consistently

PSP games can be captured through the same method as PS Vita and is a native 2x integer scale already so no upscaling required
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