Taksi: screen-recording app that captures 3D-rendered graphics


Taksi is a free video/screen recording tool that can capture 3D graphics applications such as games. It will record any Windows application that uses DirectX 8, DirectX 9, OpenGL or GDI and create an AVI file using any type of codecs that are installed on your system (or capture frames to PNG/BMP). Audio capture is not yet implemented.

[Editor’s note: this review was written by reader Gaurav Paul with some subsequent editing by the webmaster].

Imagine a situation (or perhaps this may have actually happened) where you may have cleared a very difficult level in a game that nobody from your circle ever dreamed of. “I did it man” you tell them, to which their response is, unfortunately: “give us the cheat, where is it ?!”.

The problem is that almost all screen recording/capturing software will record normal desktop activity but will not handle 3D graphics. Don’t fret, though, for this tiny software, which comes up to a mere 257K download, is here to help you produce some proof.

Taksi is able to record 3D applications that use DirectX 8, DirectX 9, OpenGL, or GDI API. It screen-records your favorite applications, allows you to choose your FPS setting, and encodes the output into video files using your favorite codec(s). It can also capture screenshots easily so you can share them with others – and it’s FREE. Here are more notes on this program:

  • How to use: the first thing you have to do is let Taksi know which app you want it to record. You cannot specify an area of the screen; it will record the output generated by the app you select (whether it is 3D graphics output or normal app activity).
  • App Hook: this allows you to tell Taksi to latch on to the next app that you open or select.
  • Recording: Taksi will (optionally) superimpose a small, square indicator on the top left of your screen that is there to show the current app which is being recorded/captured.
  • Half-size output: you have the option to produce full size videos or half the original output resolution. The latter can be very valuable in terms of cutting the video size down. I personally would always use this option by default, especially if the videos are intended to be ultimately published on the net (where chances are they will be made even smaller).
  • Hotkeys: you can define hotkeys for various controls such as record/pause/stop functions. Many of these are function keys by default but can be changed, which is good in the case that your game or app actually uses that hotkey (for example you can change “begin recording” from F6 to Alt+F6 if you need to).
  • Codecs: choose the type of video and audio codecs (installed in the system) to encode with. Keep in mind the device you may want to play it on when you do this. If you are unsure of a good codec, download and install Xvid, found here.
  • Target frame rate: choose the target FPS as per your convenience. Be mindful that the higher the frame rate the larger the size of the captured file.
  • Performance: is generally very good although the game I was recording was somewhat choppy and less “smooth” in its 3D rendering than usual.

Wish list: (or how this program can be even better)

  • Audio support: will make a huge difference, obviously. The Taksi website states that Audio support is in the works but it seems to be taking a long time (the last update of this app reviewed here is dated June 2006). You may want to record audio separately (e.g. with a program like Mp3MyMp3) and re-combine with your video using an editor such as VirtualDub or AviDemux.

The verdict: overall this is a great app to work with and use. Initially you might have to experiment with codec, compression, and FPS settings as these relate to your desired video quality, but you are certain to figure it out quickly after two or three trials. You will finally end up loving it just as I did!

Anyone will quickly be able to use this tool, from budding gamers playing Counter-Strike (or any other game) to people who may want to create and publish video tutorials on, say, 3D modeling software.

While Taksi specializes in 3D graphics, it is also great if you are interested in video-recording a specific (3D or non 3D) app or apps without worrying about specifying the exact recording area around it, etc. For screencasts of general desktop activity other free apps such as CamStudio or Debut Video Recorder are probably more suitable (and will record audio to boot).

Version Tested: 0.76. Tested apps: Counter Strike 1.6, Google Chrome, winRAR, Notepad.

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 258K).