The Beginners guide to streamingIntro:
With immence popularity of the Mario Kart series, the Rise of game streaming sites like Twich, and with more and more folks buying capture cards/devices there has never been a better time to set up your own streaming channel and show the world your karting skills. This guide will detail the basics of getting up and running, optimizing your hardware and software for the best quality stream and maybe a few extra tips, tricks and all software in this guide is free.
What you will need:
· A Computer: Self-explanatory and the more horsepower and storage your computer has the better. OBS's rewrite (called OBS Studio) now also supports Mac OS and Ubuntu Linux but the best feature set and broadest hardware section remains on Windows.
· A capture device: Also self-explanatory, keep in mind though not all capture cards are created equal, if you’re not sure what capture card to buy my capture card buyers guide is a good place to start (https://www.mariokartboards.com/threads/displays-and-capture-cards-the-beginners-guide.35/post-54)
· Good upload speed: Very critical for streaming as with streaming your sending video of your gameplay to the internet NOT the other way around.
· Streaming Software: There are many to choose from but we will be using Open Broadcaster Software and its 100% free and open source and provides all of the features most users will need to get a good quality stream up and running, further customization can be done with OBS's plugin system.
· An Account at a streaming website of your choice: Again many choices to choose from here but our choice will be twitch.tv as it’s marketed as a gaming streaming site first and foremost. You could also use YouTube if your account is enabled for streaming.
Setting up and customizing your channel:
For this guide we will be using twitch for our streaming site, so head on over to www.twitch.tv and signup for an account or login if you have an account already and for the bare essentials your channel is ready to stream, but really most folks are going to want to spice up their channel a bit more so head on over to www.twitch.tv/settings and we will focus on three areas to start customizing your channel
· Profile: For setting up basic settings like your public name, your email address, adding a profile icon and a short bio.
· Channel and Videos: Mainly effects the workings of your actual channel page by allowing you have a custom video banner for when offline, a welcome message, an mature content notification, and options to help keep your channel chat in-order like blocking hyperlinks, adding banned words, opting out of twitch’s built-in list and you can even require users have a verified email to be able to chat in your channel chat.
· Security & Privacy: Mainly for keeping your password up to date, changing some account privacy settings and enabling Two Factor Authentication for enhanced account security.
With the basics out of the way there a few more extra customization options
· Long Bio: If you want to say more about yourself then in the 300 character profile bio then you will need to set up an content panel to do so start by going to your channel pan (twitch.tv/yourusernamehere) and enable editing for panels located under your stream player and click on the big plus icon. There you can add a title, an image and a link attached to said image and a description box which is the main body for your bio. Click on submit and the content will show up under the info tab on your profile page and under the player on your channel.
· Custom Channel Chats: Handy if you want a separate chat just for your buddies or clan mates. To create one go to your channel page, click on the chat tab and click on the plus button, type in a name and you will placed in the room.
Getting Started With OBS:
Open Broadcaster Software or OBS for short is one of many streaming software suites available and will be the example used in this guide as its 100% free and open source sand provides all of the features most users will need to get a good quality stream up and running, further customization can be done with OBS's plugin system.
To start head on over to https://obsproject.com and click on the button for your OS (Windows, Mac OS or Linux) to download the latest build of OBS, install it like any normal application and start it up.
Note: That if you have a 64bit OS you will have both a 32bit and 64bit version installed, use 32bit unless your capture device has a 64bit driver. My Extreme Cap U3 does so I will be using 64bit OBS
Once installed and started up you will see a screen like this:
From here we can start adding sources like your capture card, adding scenes, adjusting your volume for both mic and desktop audio sources and adjusting your settings. A good place to start off is by optimizing OBS for your computer so go ahead and click on settings and click on the output section.
Here is where you can select your encoder type, quality, bitrate and audio bitrate and more. If you have the Intel Quick Sync, Nvidia NVENC, or AMD VCE options available use one of those instead of the x264 option which encodes directly on CPU and can easily bog your computer to a standstill if your computer already lacks horsepower to begin with or if wrong settings are selected. Intel's Quick-Sync, Nvidia's NVENC, and AMD's VCE do the encoding on your CPU's iGPU and GPU respectfully so leaving more of your CPU available when streaming leading to a smoother stream and more responsive system while streaming.
However If you have one of Intel's "X" Series platform (X58, X79, X99 or X299) + an 6 core or higher Core i7 or i9 CPU or one of AMD's Ryzen "7" or "Threadripper" 8+ core CPU's The X264 software encoder would be a viable way to go though, as those CPU's have the muscle to handle X264 and X264 as generally better image quality at the same bitrate compared hardware based encoders like Intel's Quick-Sync and Nvidia's NVENC.
I have a powerful to very powerful PC (see my sig) so I will be using X264 encoding for the best stream quality
See Below for a video detailing some quality and performance loss differences between X264 on different CPU's and the GPU based encoders
If you do not have any option for a hardware encoder and need to use x264 you will need to enable the advanced encoder settings and fiddle around with the x264 CPU Preset if you’re experiencing performance issues.
Next let’s go to the audio tab and set up your desktop and mic sources and enable push to talk and mic boost if needed. The desktop audio feature is handy if you want to stream your desktop audio like a music player along with your voice (mic) and game
For selecting your video bitrate the speed of your upload connection will help you decide this. Twitch recommends a video bitrate between 3-6mbps, if you do not know your connection's upload speed, go to speedtest.net and run a test of your connection and note the upload speed.
My Current Speed
Setting up OBS to stream:
Next step is to setup up OBS to connect to your twitch account so you can stream your gameplay. Start by going to settings again and click on the Broadcast section. Set Stream Type to Streaming Services and set Service to Twitch.
Below is Twitch's recommended audio and video settings for most users
Now to stream to your account on Twitch you need to provide OBS your Stream Key, To get your Stream Key go to http://www.twitch.tv/yourusernamehere/dashboard/settings, click show key and copy and paste it in to the Stream Key box in the Stream section. You will also want to go to the Output section again, switch to Advanced Output Mode and increase the Keyframe Interval to 2 seconds and profile to main.
Adding sources in OBS:
To add a source, click Plus icon in the Source's box and select add video capture device, give it a name and click ok.
You will be then taken to the properties window for your video capture device which will look something like this:
Here you can change all sorts of settings regarding audio and video and see a preview of the output from your capture device. For the most part the default settings will be fine for most people however if you are not getting any output, getting an error as the output (like above) set the Resolution/FPS Type to Custom and adjust your resolution and FPS until you see the proper output. Otherwise click on ok and go back to the main window, make sure your capture source is selected then and it will show up in the main preview window.
Next lets check the audio from your capture device right click on the source for your capture device in the Mixer section, select Advanced Audio Properties and enable Audio Monitoring for your capture source and check to see audio and video are working properly, If you don't hear anything go to settings/advanced and set the audio monitoring device to your computer's current audio output. If everything sounds good, disable the audio monitoring if you want and set the source to fill the screen if it’s not already by right clicking on the source then selecting Transform then click on Fit To Screen.
If you’re still Getting audio and/or video issues right click on the source and click on properties and adjust the settings until you’re happy with the preview.
Streaming for the first time:
Once you’re happy with preview of the stream stop the preview and click on start streaming and OBS will connect to your twitch channel via your stream key and after a few moments your stream will start playing, go to your channel page and watch your stream, see if there is any quality or stuttering issues. If so you may need to adjust the bitrate or x264 CPU Pre-set to resolve such issues. If you’re happy with the quality from your channel page, congats you are now streaming your gameplay.
Streaming multiple sources:
Now that you are setup to stream your gameplay, optionally your voice and maybe music from your favorite media player OBS can also stream multiple sources at the same time. A popular use for such feature is to stream your game and yourself via a webcam and that is the example I will be showing in this guide, you can also use it to show image if for example you’re affiliated with a network or site as well.
To get started make sure your webcam is connected and has the proper drivers installed, add it as a source to OBS, enable the new source and depending on the default resolution of your webcam the result will look something like this
Now mind you’re most likely going want to make your selfie source smaller so the focus stays on the game & not you, so click on the webcam source in the preview windows, now the webcam will be highlighted in a red box with 4 internal wire-frame squares. You can now drag the source to any part of the scene and make it smaller or bigger as you see fit. You can also do the same to any source as well by just clicking on it within the scene
Stream preview with a size & placement adjusted webcam source and old site logo
Other Tips and tricks:
· If your using x264 (CPU) encoding OBS will let you know if your current settings are overwhelming your PC and causing issues for your stream.
· If you rocking a muti-monitor setup OBS can use the any of monitors on your pc as a full screen preview. To enable it enable your scene or source and right click on your scene or source and select full screen projector and then select the monitor you want to use. To leave full screen preview right click on the preview and click close.
· The real flexibility of OBS comes though it’s plugin & scripting system. If OBS doesn’t have the ability stream the content you want to stream there may very well be a plugin or script you can download to add such ability. There are plugins stream your twitch chat, an IRC chat, video and audio from the web or files on your computer to plugins that can switch your scene on the fly or remotely control OBS from another computer. Head on over to OBS’s plugin page @ https://obsproject.com/forum/categories/plugins.35/ & https://obsproject.com/forum/list/scripts.28/for the full list.
· OBS Studio now features an available reply buffer for recording past events (think of it like Flash Back Recording on Elgato or Instant Reply in Nvidia Shadow Play). To enable it go to settings, output and check enable reply buffer, and setup a max replay time. Keep in mind this uses System Memory (RAM) and the bigger the reply buffer the more ram will needed to maintain the buffer.
· It should go without saying but if you’re experiencing issues keep your pc’s major drivers up to date, your OS (windows) updated as well and clean out your storage drive if your running low on space
· Hold down your ctrl key when editing source sizes in OBS to ignore the aspect-rato lock when adjusting source size. Also if your click on a source you can then use your arrow keys to move it with a very fine level of control it will also not snap to the edges of the scene when doing so.
· Keep your expectations in check when streaming, it’s a resource intensive task and if your pc is running slow when just browsing the web it may be time for some maintenance, an upgrade or even a new pc altogether.
· If you are worried someone is using your stream to help gain a real time advantage over you (AKA stream sniping), go to settings, then click on the advanced section and enable stream delay and set the delay time as you see fit (default time is 20 seconds)
Created this basic overlay to keep other sources from overlapping the main game source and added some extra bits like a twitch chat display. The Overlays are free to use and mod as you see fit but requires a grpahics editor that can read PSD files (IE, CS Versions of Photoshop or GMIP)
720p & 4:3 version PSD: https://www.dropbox.com/s/y4hlhkoh2l4jkx6/stream overlay-720p.psd
Populated Overlay example in OBS
Well that about wraps it up for this guide. I hope you find the information usable and if you have any questions or comments about this guide, or streaming in general don’t be afraid to post on the thread and me or others will do our best to help you.