How to Create a Recording of a Simulator Drive

You might not think that screen recordings and driving simulations go together, but believe it or not, in our experience they do.  One of the questions we are frequently asked by our clients is, “How can I make a recording of a simulator drive?”

If you’ve ever wondered the same thing, well, you’re in luck!  Today we’ll take you through a process to help you record a roadway scene that a driver has already navigated.  Just so we’re clear, this process is going to focus on using screen recording software solutions (not physical cameras) which will record the simulation computer screen, not the actual driver as he or she uses the simulator.

First and foremost, we do not recommend trying to record live while a driver is actually using the simulator.  Doing so could negatively affect the real-time performance of the simulator, and we know how important it is for researchers and clinicians to have accurate data!  If you need to record a drive, the best way to do so is by using the STISIM Drive’s playback mode.  That way, if the performance is somehow affected, your data will be safe.

 

Here’s where you can find the playback of the most recent drive.

 

As you may already know, with the STISIM Drive simulator, when a drive is completed the software creates two separate files: a raw data file (with a .DAT file extension), and a playback file (with a .PLB file extension).  It’s important to note that the playback file is not a video that can be played directly; it’s simply a file that contains all the driver’s inputs (e.g. when the accelerator or brakes are pressed) from the simulated drive (along with some other necessary information).

This is where it gets a bit complicated, but stick with us here!  To record the drive, what you’ll need to do is “re-drive” the simulation using that playback file.  But this time, instead of a real person providing the driving inputs, it’s the file using the previously recorded data.  Kind of like a robot without the hardware.

While the simulator is driving itself, it’s safe to use video recording software to record the screen during playback.  There are a lot of software choices available, and which one you use will have to depend on your personal preferences and budget.

Here are some free video recording software options:

CamStudio

CamStudio is an open source desktop video recorder that can record all screen and audio activity and create AVI files for you.  Click here to learn more about it.

Windows 10

Do you already have Windows 10 installed on your computer?  All you have to do is hit Windows Key + G, which will open the game bar that allows you to record your screen.

Or you could try one of these recording softwares (we’ve used them and liked them), but they aren’t free:

Fraps

Fraps is a universal Windows app that can be used with DirectX or OpenGL graphic technology.  Capturing your screen is as easy as pressing a button.  The software will automatically name and timestamp your recordings, too.

FastStone Capture

FastStone Capture is a “powerful, lightweight, yet full-featured screen capture tool and screen video recorder.”  (This one happens to be our favorite recording tool).

Once you’ve chosen a video recording software, simply open up the software, load an STISIM Drive playback file, set your STISIM Drive preferences, and click play.  When the playback is ready, use the video software to start recording, then run the STISIM Drive playback.

And, voila!  You’ll have a recording of your driving simulation in no time!