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How to create a proper GS dump
#1
Since a lot of people don't know this (I even didn't until recently!) I thought I would write up a brief post to refer to when one of the devs needs a GS dump.


First: What is a GS dump?

Basically it is what it sounds like. It is a dump of the core output that goes to the Graphics Synthesizer. Basically it allows someone else to "replay" what is "recorded' in the dump.


Second: Why is this useful?

A GS dump is useful for a few reasons. First and foremost, it allows a developer who does not possess the game in question to still tackle and fix graphics bugs with it. It allows replaying of a specific scene of any game without needing the game itself at all. They are useful for recording bugs and then providing the output to devs to work on. Even if the dev DOES own the game, a GS dump is still useful because it allows them to instantly replay the bug in question instead of having to play the game and find the issue.


Third: What types of bugs are GS dumps useful in solving?
Pretty much any graphics related bug. There is the off chance that a graphics bug is actually a core problem, but that isn't too likely.


Fourth: Anything else?
It's important to note that the dump is independent of your GSdx settings. Since the dump is actually the output of core itself, it doesn't matter if you have 3x scaling, native, software mode, anisotropic filtering or all that. The dump will be the same because it is generated before any of that comes in to play. So one GS dump is fine regardless.



Okay, now that we've got the explanation out of the way, here is how you make one.


The first thing you want to do is boot your game in PCSX2 and get to whatever part has the bug. Then to generate the dump you press SHIFT + F8 for a single frame or CTRL + SHIFT + F8 for multiple frames. If you use the multi frame option, the important thing to note is that how long you hold down the key combination determines how long the GS dump is. If you press for 4 seconds, you get a 4 second dump. What you want to do is hold the keys long enough to capture the entirety of the graphics bug. However, a single frame dump is enough 99% of the time. If you are wondering whether you need single or multi frame, just go with a single frame until told otherwise. Multi frame dumps get very big very quickly and are only needed in special circumstances.

Okay, now you've got your GS dump, what do you do with it?

In the "snaps" folder of PCSX2 you will find two files with the name being like "gsdx_20150408134014" and the extensions being .gs and .bmp. The BMP is an image file snapshot of what you recorded. The .gs is the GS dump itself. First you should rename these files to something meaningful. An example might be "FFX text bug.*" for the text issue in FFX. The .* is the original extension, leave those as is. Make sure to include the game name in the file name so the devs can keep their stuff sorted nicely. Then take both of these files and compress them(e.g. with 7zip, WinRAR or whatever you like). Then upload them to a file sharing service like Dropbox.

Now you are ready to rock. If someone simply asked you to provide one, give them the link and that's it. Otherwise if you are reporting an issue for the first time, go to the GSdx thread. Make a new post there and link your GS dump along with providing a nice description of the issue. Don't expect things to be fixed instantly, but the more GS dumps and information the devs have, the more progress can be made!

That's pretty much it!
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#2
Good idea.

1/ technically the gsdump is the input of the gs (or the output of the "core")
2/ Try to explain somewhere that the dump is independent of the option (except few exception). So no need to generate a dump for each Renderer/Scaling or others option. One is enough
3/ Shift+F8 is enough 99% of the time. Otherwise multiframe needs CTRL-SHIFT-F8 with F8 held.
4/ Please ask people to rename the gs to a meaningful name.
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#3
if possible, I quite like naming it gamename-gs for gsdump, related issue, for example

Bad textures:
FFX-GS-BadTex.gs / .bmp

Depth/Stripes
GoW-GS-Depth.gs or GoW-GS-VSS.gs (Vertical Stripe Syndrome)

This way whenever Gregory (or somebody) is looking for dumps relating to the issues they are working on, you can easily see what dumps you have relating to it.
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#4
But then the filename will be invalidated if the problem is solved. In 6 years nobody will know that a vertical stripe syndrome is since it was already solved.
(Maybe not an issue since the core will be changed from time to time as well which will invalidate the gs dump.)

I guess version number of core and/or date of creation could be relevant for the future...
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#5
No because it can be a regression later. Trust me it is ten times easier for me.
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#6
(06-09-2015, 08:25 AM)gregory Wrote: Good idea.

1/ technically the gsdump is the input of the gs (or the output of the "core")
2/ Try to explain somewhere that the dump is independent of the option (except few exception). So no need to generate a dump for each Renderer/Scaling or others option. One is enough
3/ Shift+F8 is enough 99% of the time. Otherwise multiframe needs CTRL-SHIFT-F8 with F8 held.
4/ Please ask people to rename the gs to a meaningful name.

1 - Okay, I was actually wondering.

2 - I considered that, but I was not 100% sure on it.

3 - Okay

4 - Okay

I do these things now Tongue2

Edit: Done
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#7
shift-f8 is 4 frame minimum but I like the simplification.
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#8
Is there any possibility to stress that gsdx settings don't matter? Maybe make that sentence larger or bold or something like that? Most people will not consider as obvious that a gs-dump is gs independent.
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#9
(10-02-2015, 04:55 PM)willkuer Wrote: Is there any possibility to stress that gsdx settings don't matter? Maybe make that sentence larger or bold or something like that? Most people will not consider as obvious that a gs-dump is gs independent.

I agree with this, not all people seem to notice that point. would be better to just enlarge that part with more details and point it out as willkuer suggested.

I wonder whether you got this idea from the same post as the one I had in mind. Tongue2
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#10
Better?
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