A Beginner’s Guide
Streaming has become a fun hobby for many people and a career for many. It is a great way to share your experiences, especially gaming, with friends, family, and even strangers worldwide. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting, streaming is an accessible and fun way to engage with others who share your passion. And looking at how the streaming world has evolved into its state today, it is safe to say that streaming can be a full-time job with the right mindset and guidance.
In this beginner guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to start streaming your gameplay, including what equipment you’ll need, how to set up your streaming software, and how to optimize your stream for the best viewing experience.
What you’ll need to get started
Before you can start streaming, you’ll need a few critical pieces of equipment:
1. A gaming computer
To stream games, you’ll need a computer that can handle the demands of both gaming and streaming at the same time. If you’re just starting, any computer that can run the games you want to play will work. However, as you grow your channel and increase your streaming quality, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful computer or even two!
2. A webcam
A webcam is optional but can add an extra level of interaction and personality to your stream. You don’t need to spend much on a webcam; even a basic model will do the job. If you can’t afford a webcam, you can always use your smartphone as a cam for your rig with relevant software.
3. A microphone
A good microphone is essential for communicating with your viewers, so they can hear your thoughts and reactions as you play. A simple USB microphone is a good choice if you’re just starting. Remember not to cheap out on this or skip it at all. Viewers are always more interested in listening to what you say over the gameplay you broadcast most of the time.
4. Streaming Software
Many different streaming software options are available, but some of the most popular include OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, and XSplit. These programs allow you to capture and broadcast your gameplay to Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming platforms.
Decide on a streaming platform
There are a few streaming platforms that are ideal for gamers who are looking to start. The most popular and beginner-friendly ones include Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming. Each platform brings something unique, and choosing one is up to you. Twitch is ideal for discoverability. Facebook Gaming is perfect for building a community. While YouTube boasts better monetization options. Choose wisely!
Setting up your streaming software
Once you have all your equipment, the next step is setting up your streaming software. Initially, this might seem a little complicated, but you will get used to the process and streaming software quickly. Let us take the go-to software for gaming, OBS Studio, as an example, and here are the basic steps for setting it up:
- Download and install OBS Studio from the official website.
- Open OBS Studio and complete the auto-configuration wizard (recommended connecting your account to the desired streaming platform).
- If you failed to set up your account in the previous step, go to the “Settings” menu, go to the “Stream” section, and select the platform you want to stream to (e.g., Twitch, YouTube, etc.).
- Enter your stream key, which you can find in your account settings on the platform you’re streaming to, or simply log in to your account.
- In the “Sources” section, add your game capture source by clicking on the “+” button and selecting “Game Capture”.
- Select the game you want to stream from the dropdown menu and set any desired capture options.
- Add your webcam and microphone as sources as well by clicking on the “+” button and selecting “Video Capture Device” and “Audio Input Capture”, respectively.
- Arrange your sources as desired, click the “Start Streaming” button, and start your journey!
Optimizing your stream
Once you’ve set up your streaming software, it’s important to make a few key optimizations to ensure the best viewing experience for your viewers. Here are a few tips:
- Choose the proper resolution and framerate: The resolution and framerate you stream at will affect both the quality of your stream and the number of resources your computer will need to use. A resolution of 720p and a framerate of 30 FPS is a good starting point, but you can adjust these based on your computer’s capabilities and your viewers’ preferences. Remember that most platforms lock out higher streaming qualities and options until you become a partnered streamer, so if you can’t stream at higher quality early on, it is not your system’s fault.
- Use a fast and stable internet connection: A fast and stable internet connection is essential for a smooth and reliable stream. If you’re streaming from home, consider upgrading your internet plan or using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi for the best results. If the internet connection is poor, try dialing your resolution down to a lower yet watchable setting.
- Monitor your stream for dropped frames: Dropped frames indicate that your computer struggles to meet the streaming demands. If you notice that your stream is experiencing dropped frames, try lowering the resolution and framerate of your stream or closing other programs running on your computer to free up resources. You can monitor this on the streaming software’s UI itself.
- Engage with your viewers: One of the best parts of streaming is interacting with your viewers in real-time. Encourage your viewers to ask questions, share their thoughts, and participate in your streams. You can also use tools like chatbots to help moderate your chat and keep things organized. After all, you are the star of your stream, and people want to see you and your personality.
- Promote your stream: Once you’re ready to start streaming, let people know about it! Share your streams on social media, join gaming communities, and collaborate with other streamers to build an audience.
In conclusion, streaming can be a fun and engaging way to share your love of gaming with others. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting, the tools and resources are readily available to help you get started. With some preparation and optimization, you’ll be on your way to building a thriving streaming community in no time! However, keep in mind that it is improbable that you’d be famous overnight, so keep grinding till you do.