Posted: December 1, 2013
I have mixed feelings on this one. tl;dr I ended up buying Fraps to get my game captures.
About me: I make a lot of fragshow/machinima movies and have about 10 years experience. This program didn't work out so well for that purpose. I also did some research on YouTube for reviews prior to my purchase, but unfortunately my mileage varied quite a bit.
I found I had to alt tab a few times to get the overlays to appear - like it wouldn't select the open game for a while. Then, even when turning all overlays off in the settings, they still appeared in my recordings.. and yes, i had turned the overlay off from the active game prior to recording!
Another problem I had was that I had to close and reopen the program a lot, and relaunch my games so PlayClaw would show up, which caused steam to go "hold the phone! we're closing or opening something" all the time [black Steam box in middle of screen.] I'd also get "failed to launch app" as PlayClaw or its "hook" which displays/hooks into games would get frozen in the background. I'd have to restart my games, steam and eventually my PC to try to get things going.
Can't blame the dev for that though, as it appears to be how Steam handles licensing. However, I can blame the dev for this: I emailed explaining my issue, and asked for a license for the non-steam version (which is feature-same, does not have new features) and was refused saying to try the new beta.
I don't want to try new betas. I want to have working software delivered through Steam if thats how I purchase it. But if one of my core issues is that I'm having problems LAUNCHING the app, I should be given a key for the non steam version as I had requested.
I can see this argument.. if you buy a game on steam, and it has issues, would you get given a normal CD key for the game AS WELL? well, no. But this is a piece of software designed to run alongside games, and maybe Steam isn't built for that.
The program also always prompts for admin rights (Win 8.1 x64) which, if you're reopening it multiple times, becomes quite the annoyance. Also each time I quit the program it would display a variable error.
Then comes the quality. I found recording the same footage in Fraps vs in PlayClaw resulted in about a 60% smaller file in PlayClaw. Maybe this is good for some people, but it wasn't good for me as I wanted to retain as much quality as possible using this type of recording method.. meaning the reds got junked up a bit due to compression.
I guess I'll close in saying that PlayClaw seems to have some cool features which I'll try to use eventually since I paid for it but it has some problems - which all software does. What wasn't cool for me was the developer refusing to let me use a non-steam version of the program I had bought a license for.
If we buy on Steam, we shouldn't have to manually install things. In my opinion If we opt to do that, we should be granted the privilege.