I just want to start this off by saying there is no exact or correct way to make a game trailer. Everyone has access to different software depending on your operating system. In this post, I discuss how I made the first trailer for Perspectrum with a limited budget and basic video editing skills.
Planning the Trailer
Before I could record any gameplay footage or make any graphics, I needed to know exactly what I wanted the trailer to be like. After reading several articles from other game developers and watching some of my favorite game trailers for inspiration, I started to think about what made Perspectrum unique to other games, not only in its genre, more to any game that someone could buy instead of Perspectrum. To me, that was the elemental shift mechanic, so highlighting all the elements in the game was something that ended up being the majority of the first part of the trailer. Then I planned to add other sequences of the various puzzle solving mechanics (without giving away solutions) and I wanted to capture a few of the best areas in the game. I ended up creating a simple text document that listed all the gameplay sequences I wanted to record and a rough estimate of how much time I wanted them to be in the trailer. I had originally planned to try and make the trailer 30 seconds, but after listing everything that I wanted to include I found that it was double that time easily.
Graphic Creation – Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop CC 2018
I wanted to create an end screen that showed when the game was launching, what platforms it would release on, what stores/web portals it would be available on, and links to all of Perspectrum’s social media. I could have easily done this in Adobe Photoshop and exported the file directly as a high res png. However, I ended up using PowerPoint, which I felt allowed me to experiment with different layouts more quickly. Then when I had the layout I wanted, I just started a slideshow and took a screenshot in full screen. I ended up creating two end screens for the trailer – one with the platforms (which is where the Steam trailer ends) and on the full trailer, I have another that shows the web portals where the game can be purchased.
Recording Gameplay – OBS (Open Broadcasting Software)
To record the gameplay, I used OBS because I am most familiar with it after experimenting with Twitch streams in the past and it helps that it is free. Within the settings, I adjusted the output to be HD 1920 by 1080 pixels (the same resolution the game was running as well) and I first tried to record 60 fps (frames per second). I ran into a problem because with the combination of the game running and the software trying to record that many frames, it ended up lagging and my video had only 10 fps at times. My solution to this was to switch to a better spec’d desktop machine (glad I had access to it) and I also switched frames to 30 fps, which allowed me to re-record those sections with no problems.
Putting it All Together – Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018
After recording all the gameplay footage, I was ready to put all the clips together. In Adobe Premiere, it was easy to drag in the clips that I wanted and trim that down to the exact sections I wanted to highlight in the trailer. In the above screenshot, you can see the blue squares in the bottom section are video clips, the green wave track is the trailer music that was used, and the pink squares are all screens of text overlays or images that were used. Once everything was adjusted to what I wanted, it was easy to export the trailer in the right format I needed for Steam.
Feedback and Peer Review
After finishing the very first trailer, I shared it with Connor (the crazy guy that came up with this game) and we were able to talk through things that could be tweaked to make it better. The biggest change I believe that came from this was to change the music from a track that was used once in the game to really the core theme track that plays throughout, as it really compliments that art in the game. Connor also got me much better font than one of the default options I was using from Adobe.
Completed Trailer – Upload to YouTube and Game Store
Once I rendered out the final trailer, all that was left was uploading the video to YouTube and the store pages for the game. You can watch the latest trailer for Perspectrum on our Steam page here and while you’re there, please follow and wishlist the game! We will be releasing a press release soon with more details about Perspectrum’s launch, including the release date.
So do you think I’m crazy for using PowerPoint instead of Photoshop to make the ending trailer screen? Or do you have another comment you want to share about the article? Please tweet me @JordanHallow on Twitter, I enjoy all feedback!