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How to collect evidence for reports
#1
When making a claim against someone, let it be to get them banned, get yourself unbanned, or report a staff member or donator, evidence is one of the most important things you can provide. Evidence can come in the form of screenshots, videos, and chat logs, and each have their own merits and are useful in different situations. I think it's safe to say, for example, that chat logs would be less useful than a video in most unban requests, wouldn't you? 

This thread details how to collect each of these types of evidence so that you can be prepared for any situation. These methods focus on efficiency, so that you're not caught off guard and don't end up without evidence when you need it most. To help you, this section is divided into guides, and provides multiple tools (if applicable), so you can take your pick depending on your computer.


Screenshot Evidence

-----

Screenshot evidence is the most basic form of evidence you can provide, and it has it's upsides and downsides. For one, you can use it to quickly get a grasp at something that's happening. For example, a screenshot of someone obviously shooting someone would be worthwhile evidence. The thing with screenshots, though, is that they contain a limited amount of information, and for more complicated issues, videos are a much better option. Screenshots still remain the obvious choice for simplistic evidence and logs (both chat and damage logs), however. One thing to note when submitting a chat log from console or Steam is that screenshots are much more trustworthy since they're harder to fabricate than chat logs, and can be verified on the server in some cases. If the chat takes place on the server, the best thing you can do to be thorough is to take screenshots of the conversation in console and in chat.

There are many screenshot utilities out there, but we're going to limit it to the top options, and you can choose the one you prefer.

ShareX/puu.sh
ShareX is a versatile utility that is more of a swiss army knife of functionality than a simple screenshotting tool. ShareX supports taking and editing screenshots, recording videos or GIFs, uploading files, and more. All of these can be uploaded to different webhosts, so, for example, you could upload images to vgy.me with this (a lossless image host that I use all the time). ShareX is the most complicated tool on this list, but it's functionality is more than worth the setup you'd need to do to use it, so I highly recommend you take the time to look through what it can do beyond sharing screenshots. It's basically revolutionized how I share files. Puu.sh, which used to be it's own utility, is actually bundled into ShareX now. If you want to use Puu.sh to store your files, you can do that, too!

Gyazo
Gyazo is a simplistic screenshotting utility that can be used to upload screenshots or GIFs, with minimal editing options. If all you want to do it take and upload screenshots, this is a great tool to use. It pales in comparison to ShareX, but it has it's own charm to it if you don't want to use any of the other features ShareX provides.

F12
Sometimes the classics are just what you need. Steam has a screenshotting feature of it's own that can be used by pressing F12 while in a game. Keep in mind that this only works in games, but it can take pictures of the Steam overlay. It's not suitable for every situation you might need it in, but if you don't want any extra utilities, Steam has you covered. It's also worth noting that Steam automatically compresses the screenshot, so that it appears a bit more pixelated, so if you need visual clarity then this might not be the best option.


Video Evidence

-----

Video evidence, by nature, is one of the most damning pieces of evidence you can provide; it can make or break your case, because it shows us everything from the point of view of the person who recorded it. More often than not, we'll see screenshot evidence instead of video evidence, because people think that you need to preempt the situation by starting your recording right when it starts, but this isn't true. It's completely possible to be recording all the time and not waste space, and grab a moment from back in time if you feel like you'll need it, and you'll find out how in this section.

The feature in particular is called a replay buffer, and the purpose of it is to store video footage in your system's RAM so it doesn't take up hard drive storage, and can be saved to your hard drive with the press of a button. This means that you can set your replay buffer to record, say, the last 15 minutes of whatever has happened, and if something happens in the last 15 minutes, you can simply press a button and it'll save those 15 minutes to your hard drive. This is amazingly useful when playing a game like Trouble in Terrorist Town where issues with players pop up left and right, and you can use the replay buffer to prove that you did nothing wrong if a situation comes up. While certain software supports replay buffers. It's also important to note, however, that replay buffers come at a cost. Depending on the quality of the video you're recording and the framerate, it'll take up more RAM on the system, meaning it's reserved for that program and can't be used by any other. If you have a particularly weak system (with maybe 2GB of RAM total) you might not be able to take advantage of this feature as effectively as someone with a higher amount. This also means, though, that the more RAM you have, the more footage you can store in RAM, and the longer you can look back in time.

OBS Classic (scroll down and download OBS Classic, not OBS Studio)
OBS is a utility that's commonly used to stream to services like Twitch, but it also has many more uses that aren't quite as well-known. OBS can record footage locally, meaning it'll record it to a file on your hard drive instead of streaming it. OBS also features a replay buffer feature, which secures it's place on this list. It's simple to set up a replay buffer with OBS, but there are a few settings you should take advantage of primarily. For one, you should appropriately set the bitrate of your recording, and make sure to use QuickSync if you have an Intel CPU; QuickSync is a feature by Intel meant to benefit streamers, but it works for this purpose, too. It uses the CPU's integrated graphics instead of the CPU itself, lowering the load on the system. It has a side-effect of very slightly lowering quality, but it's not noticeable enough to be a detriment. Additionally, make sure that you set the length of the replay buffer to account for how much RAM you have (five minutes is a good value and only uses just over 1GB of RAM, I personally do 15 minutes which takes just over 3GB of RAM). Finally, make sure to set the hotkeys to start a replay buffer and save it. You don't want to be recording and not have a way to quickly save it, after all.

OBS is a somewhat complicated utility, and may be hard to figure out your first time around. Google really helps in this instance, but you can also ask me for help if you need it.

Nvidia Share
Nvidia Share, formerly known as Shadowplay, is a feature exclusive to Nvidia cards, available with the Geforce Experience program. Share functions similarly to how OBS' replay buffer works, except it uses a section of the GPU to minimize performance impact, allowing you to record at all times without affecting your FPS. Share is supported on any Nvidia GPU from the 600-series and up, and is relatively straightforward to set up.


-----

I find it important to mention that these programs obviously aren't all that are out there that can achieve what's mentioned here, but these are the most trustworthy and useful ones that I've found, that most people will be able to use without any problem. Remember that keeping tools handy that allow you to record evidence might be a pain you'll have to endure to set them up right now, but it'll save you from the pain of being without evidence you might need later on.
#2
(01-01-2017, 11:49 PM)Rhapsody Wrote: When making a claim against someone, let it be to get them banned, get yourself unbanned, or report a staff member or donator, evidence is one of the most important things you can provide. Evidence can come in the form of screenshots, videos, and chat logs, and each have their own merits and are useful in different situations. I think it's safe to say, for example, that chat logs would be less useful than a video in most unban requests, wouldn't you? 

This thread details how to collect each of these types of evidence so that you can be prepared for any situation. These methods focus on efficiency, so that you're not caught off guard and don't end up without evidence when you need it most. To help you, this section is divided into guides, and provides multiple tools (if applicable), so you can take your pick depending on your computer.


Screenshot Evidence

-----

Screenshot evidence is the most basic form of evidence you can provide, and it has it's upsides and downsides. For one, you can use it to quickly get a grasp at something that's happening. For example, a screenshot of someone obviously shooting someone would be worthwhile evidence. The thing with screenshots, though, is that they contain a limited amount of information, and for more complicated issues, videos are a much better option. Screenshots still remain the obvious choice for simplistic evidence and logs (both chat and damage logs), however. One thing to note when submitting a chat log from console or Steam is that screenshots are much more trustworthy since they're harder to fabricate than chat logs, and can be verified on the server in some cases. If the chat takes place on the server, the best thing you can do to be thorough is to take screenshots of the conversation in console and in chat.

There are many screenshot utilities out there, but we're going to limit it to the top options, and you can choose the one you prefer.

ShareX/puu.sh
ShareX is a versatile utility that is more of a swiss army knife of functionality than a simple screenshotting tool. ShareX supports taking and editing screenshots, recording videos or GIFs, uploading files, and more. All of these can be uploaded to different webhosts, so, for example, you could upload images to vgy.me with this (a lossless image host that I use all the time). ShareX is the most complicated tool on this list, but it's functionality is more than worth the setup you'd need to do to use it, so I highly recommend you take the time to look through what it can do beyond sharing screenshots. It's basically revolutionized how I share files. Puu.sh, which used to be it's own utility, is actually bundled into ShareX now. If you want to use Puu.sh to store your files, you can do that, too!

Gyazo
Gyazo is a simplistic screenshotting utility that can be used to upload screenshots or GIFs, with minimal editing options. If all you want to do it take and upload screenshots, this is a great tool to use. It pales in comparison to ShareX, but it has it's own charm to it if you don't want to use any of the other features ShareX provides.

F12
Sometimes the classics are just what you need. Steam has a screenshotting feature of it's own that can be used by pressing F12 while in a game. Keep in mind that this only works in games, but it can take pictures of the Steam overlay. It's not suitable for every situation you might need it in, but if you don't want any extra utilities, Steam has you covered. It's also worth noting that Steam automatically compresses the screenshot, so that it appears a bit more pixelated, so if you need visual clarity then this might not be the best option.


Video Evidence

-----

Video evidence, by nature, is one of the most damning pieces of evidence you can provide; it can make or break your case, because it shows us everything from the point of view of the person who recorded it. More often than not, we'll see screenshot evidence instead of video evidence, because people think that you need to preempt the situation by starting your recording right when it starts, but this isn't true. It's completely possible to be recording all the time and not waste space, and grab a moment from back in time if you feel like you'll need it, and you'll find out how in this section.

The feature in particular is called a replay buffer, and the purpose of it is to store video footage in your system's RAM so it doesn't take up hard drive storage, and can be saved to your hard drive with the press of a button. This means that you can set your replay buffer to record, say, the last 15 minutes of whatever has happened, and if something happens in the last 15 minutes, you can simply press a button and it'll save those 15 minutes to your hard drive. This is amazingly useful when playing a game like Trouble in Terrorist Town where issues with players pop up left and right, and you can use the replay buffer to prove that you did nothing wrong if a situation comes up. While certain software supports replay buffers. It's also important to note, however, that replay buffers come at a cost. Depending on the quality of the video you're recording and the framerate, it'll take up more RAM on the system, meaning it's reserved for that program and can't be used by any other. If you have a particularly weak system (with maybe 2GB of RAM total) you might not be able to take advantage of this feature as effectively as someone with a higher amount. This also means, though, that the more RAM you have, the more footage you can store in RAM, and the longer you can look back in time.

OBS Classic (scroll down and download OBS Classic, not OBS Studio)
OBS is a utility that's commonly used to stream to services like Twitch, but it also has many more uses that aren't quite as well-known. OBS can record footage locally, meaning it'll record it to a file on your hard drive instead of streaming it. OBS also features a replay buffer feature, which secures it's place on this list. It's simple to set up a replay buffer with OBS, but there are a few settings you should take advantage of primarily. For one, you should appropriately set the bitrate of your recording, and make sure to use QuickSync if you have an Intel CPU; QuickSync is a feature by Intel meant to benefit streamers, but it works for this purpose, too. It uses the CPU's integrated graphics instead of the CPU itself, lowering the load on the system. It has a side-effect of very slightly lowering quality, but it's not noticeable enough to be a detriment. Additionally, make sure that you set the length of the replay buffer to account for how much RAM you have (five minutes is a good value and only uses just over 1GB of RAM, I personally do 15 minutes which takes just over 3GB of RAM). Finally, make sure to set the hotkeys to start a replay buffer and save it. You don't want to be recording and not have a way to quickly save it, after all.

OBS is a somewhat complicated utility, and may be hard to figure out your first time around. Google really helps in this instance, but you can also ask me for help if you need it.

Nvidia Share
Nvidia Share, formerly known as Shadowplay, is a feature exclusive to Nvidia cards, available with the Geforce Experience program. Share functions similarly to how OBS' replay buffer works, except it uses a section of the GPU to minimize performance impact, allowing you to record at all times without affecting your FPS. Share is supported on any Nvidia GPU from the 600-series and up, and is relatively straightforward to set up.


-----

I find it important to mention that these programs obviously aren't all that are out there that can achieve what's mentioned here, but these are the most trustworthy and useful ones that I've found, that most people will be able to use without any problem. Remember that keeping tools handy that allow you to record evidence might be a pain you'll have to endure to set them up right now, but it'll save you from the pain of being without evidence you might need later on.


OBS studio is better than obs classic even for not streaming.

ALSO: GMOD is not a GPU intensive game so its much better to use the NVEC encoder for OBS (Same encoder that shadow play uses) to capture HD video at full 60FPS at 1080p and higher without having to downsample your video for quality.
[Image: tenor.gif]
#3
NVEC encoder is only usable with Nvidia GPUs, and OBS Studio doesn't currently support replay buffers.


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