PlayClaw 4 Documentation

Welcome to PlayClaw 4, the essential tool for gamers. This documentation will provide you with enough information to get started.

You can also watch an introduction to the settings available in PlayClaw:

The User Interface:

When you start PlayClaw you will see the following screen:

Let’s take a look at each section individually:

The Tool Bar:

The options available in PlayClaw are split up into 4 sections:

 -  Common options – Basic settings for PlayClaw.

 - Capture Settings – Here you can adjust settings for capturing your gaming           moments.

 - Overlay Settings – This screen gives you the tools to adjust all overlay settings.

 - Manage Profiles – PlayClaw creates profiles for each game that is played.            These profiles can be managed here.

Common Options:

The subsections for this screen are:

  • Updates and Licensing
  • Settings

In the Updates and Licensing section you can select to Check for updates to PlayClaw when it starts. If would like to help out with the development of PlayClaw by providing feedback on future releases, check the Check for beta version option as well. A button is also available to Check now.

Moving onto the Settings subsection, you have the following options available:


  • You can adjust the user interface language using the pull-down menu.
  • Start with Windows will launch PlayClaw when Windows loads.
  • Start minimized will minimize PlayClaw when it is launched.
  • Minimize to system tray will minimize PlayClaw to the system tray when you click the minimize button on the PlayClaw main window.
  • Show hint overlay on game start controls the information screen shown at the bottom center of the screen when you load a game. It contains information such as current resolution and rendering type (OpenGL or DirectX).
  • Record only desktop (DWM) with Desktop profile controls whether or not you want to record the Windows desktop instead of a game.

Capture Settings:

The available subsections of the Capture Settings screen are:



Here you can set the folder to be used to store screenshots captured during play. Click select to see a browser and select the desired folder. Click Open to open the folder to view your screenshots.

Take screenshot hotkey – This is the key you will use to take screenshots whilst playing a game.

Image format – You can select which format the image will be in. This is either JPG or PNG.

Enable auto-screenshots every – Enabling this setting will take screenshots automatically for you at the specified interval time. The default value is 30 seconds.



This section controls the capturing of video. As with screenshots you can select a folder to save your videos to using the Select button. The Open button will open the folder that contains your videos.

Start/stop video hotkey – If you click this button you will be able to set which key is used to start recording a new video.

Stop & delete hotkey – By default this key is not bound. If you set a key for this function, pressing it will stop your current recording and remove the files it has created.

Toggle pre-record hotkey – This function allows you to continuously record without writing any data to your hard drive. You basically have a cache or pre-record buffer that you can define in a value of time (see the corresponding option below). By default the last 10 seconds of game play is kept in the buffer. So while you are playing press the hotkey you define here to start using the pre-record function. You can then continue to play and record constantly and when something awesome happens, press the Start/stop video hotkey to store the last 10 seconds of footage on  your hard disk and continue recording from that point until you stop recording. This way you will never miss an awesome moment!

Video output target – Here you choose between storing recorded data to a hard disk or to a virtual webcam or both.

Video file FPS – This determines how many frames per second are captured.

Resize frame to – Because PlayClaw makes use of multi-core processing it is possible to resize your captured video on the fly. Here you can select either a fixed frame size or even a custom defined frame size.

Capture Cursor – Enabling this option will ensure that your mouse cursor is also captured in games where this is important.

Encoder – This options defines how much compression is used during recording. You can select between No compression, Low compression of MJPEG. If your computer is powerful enough, MJPEG is the best selection ensuring that disk space usage for your recording is relatively low.

Encoder Setup – The Encoder setup button is only available if you have selected MJPEG as the compression type. On the Encoder setup screen you can set the quality of the image and also select to use YUV411 compression.

Compression threads – Here you can define how many threads you would like to reserve for compressing your captured video.

Max pre-record buffer size – This is where you can set how long the re-record buffer should be.


The Audio subsection for capture settings allows you to adjust how all sound is captured.

The list shows all available audio sources. Simply select the desired source and check the Enable source option. In the above screenshot you can see that a Microphone and the Speakers (game sounds) have been enabled. For each enabled source you can also choose to capture the input only when a certain key is pressed. This is done using the Capture only when hotkey is pressed button.

Transform float to PCM -

Transform to stereo – If you are capturing multiple inputs as is the case in the above screenshot, you can choose to merge all sources into a single audio file with this option enabled. With this option enabled the Conversion options button also becomes available.

Write ALL audio tracks in separate WAV files – This options allows you to record each audio input separately which is very useful for post editing of your video.

Advanced settings:


There are four options available on this screen

Use process name as subfolder for capture – Enabling this option will create a subfolder which has the same name as the process that is being recorded.

Use timestamp as subfolder for capture – This option adds another layer of folder structure in the form of the a timestamp.

Use alternative OpenGL code - This option is meant for people who use an ATI/AMD graphics card. If you use such a card, enable this option to gain better performance when recording OpenGL based games.

Use alternative DX free resource code – This is a separate code path for recording DirectX games. It is faster than the default code path but may not be as reliable the original code path.


Overlay Settings:

In this section of the PlayClaw user interface, you can configure how your overlays are displayed. An overlay is an informational aide for while you are in game. You can for instance see live information about your CPU, graphics card, recording time and recorded file size.


By default you will see a black preview frame with the various boxes showing which overlay you have at your disposal. On the right hand side are the properties of each overlay with some other settings for configuring the preview frame:

The first setting you will need to adjust is your screen resolution. In the example here it is 1680×1050. The most commonly used resolutions are available from the drop-down menu. If you so wish you can also click the Select back image button. This feature is very useful when determining the position of your overlays. Simply take a screenshot of your game screen, set the preview frame size and click Select back image to load the screen shot you have taken. Now you can drag the overylay boxes to position them.

Notice that when you click an overlay box in the preview frame, the dropdown-list updates to show which overlay is selected. The properties for the selected overlay are shown in the lower section of this screen. Generally these properties refer to the appearance of the overlay (i.e., font, size, colour etc).

The Toggle overlays hotkey can be used to turn overlays on and off while you are in game.

Let’s look at an example:


Here you can see a screenshot of Minecraft. In this case, the user has a minimap enabled in the top right corner. Thanks to this image, the placement of the CPU overlay can be adjusted to ensure it does not cover the minimap or any other HUD element.

Finally, PlayClaw 4 also supports the use of a webcam as an input for an overlay. You can record your face while recording any game and display it anywhere on the screen in any size.


Simply select the webcam overlay option, then from the dropdown-list, select your webcam. Your webcam will be enabled and you can adjust the angle as needed. Note that the size of the overlay is very important for a good result. You must size the overlay on the VIsual Appearance screen so that the image you are recording with your webcam is properly visible and not stretched.

Manage Profiles

The last section of the PlayClaw user interface is the profile management screen. On this screen you can create and manage profiles for PlayClaw settings.

In the top drop-down box you can see “My Profile 2” which is the currently selected profile. If you click the New profile button you can give the profile a name and it will appear in the drop-down box. The idea behind these profiles is that you can create different configurations and easily switch between these settings by selecting a profile. For instance on profile “A” you have set your video settings like this:

And for profile “B” you could have the following settings:

Note the changes to the path for captured video, the compression threads, frame size and Encoder. It is now easy to switch between these two profiles thereby automatically configuring PlayClaw exactly how you need it!

PlayClaw also keeps track of games it has hooked into. This list is shown in the lower section of the Manage profiles screen:

With this screen you can link detected EXE files (games) with the selected profile thereby automatically configuring PlayClaw for that game.

Processes filter – If you have a lot of processes that have been detected,  you can filter them using this drop-down.

Link with current profile – If you have selected a profile and a process from the list, this button will link the selected process (game) to the current profile.

Unlink process – Does the opposite of the previous button. You can unlink a game from the current profile if needed.

Add to black list – It is even possible to disable PlayClaw for certain games/applications using this button.

Remove from blacklist – If you disabled PlayClaw for a game, simply select the process in the list and click this button. PlayClaw will once more be enabled for the game.

This is a basic description of the features available in PlayClaw, if you cannot find an answer to your questions in this documentation, please visit the PlayClaw forum at:

or contact support

Enjoy recording your gaming moments with PlayClaw!