MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Feb 10th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Streaming, Gaming, internet, online, Twitch, YouTube, Periscope, OBS,


I totally stole this graphic from Ars Technica. Give them some love.

Unless you've been living under a rock the last few years, you'll know that, not only is gaming a huge deal on YouTube, but it's exploded all over the internet, with regards to people streaming their gameplay live. With modern consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One allowing the ability to stream directly to services like Twitch.tv, YouTube, and others, it's more accessible now than ever. Some people even manage to make a living from streaming, or by offering services in conjunction with their streams, so they can make a living doing what they love. Those individuals are the exception, rather than the rule, but as the greater games industry continues to rake in billions of dollars each year, more and more people find creative ways to make a living either directly in the industry, or in the periphery. Others, like myself, see streaming as a fun way to expand upon the hobby we already love, and to be more active within said hobby. I thought I would regale my experiences from my first month of live streaming, and offer a few thoughts on the subject.



WARNING! A BATTLESHIP
"HUGE DISCLAIMER"
IS APPROACHING FAST!

I want to make it perfectly clear that I've been streaming for a month. That's it. I'm no expert. Not even a little bit. This article is mostly for me to put out a few thoughts, talk about the pitfalls and successes I've had so far, and explain what I've done, and how I've done it. This isn't a how-to guide, or a "streamers advice" column. Take everything in here with a grain of salt (or twenty), and keep in mind that I'm still very new at this, and am only sharing my thoughts so far.


The OSSC is a slightly less expensive alternative to the Framemeister line of upscalers, and comes with some options those others don't. Plus, they're upgrade-able with new firmware.

I made the decision, at some point last year, that I wanted to start streaming video games. I probably made the decision prior to that, subconsciously, but starting last year, I was determined to make it happen at some level. I purchased a decent PC, with plans to outfit it with what I would need to make a 1080P, 60FPS gaming rig. I was lacking a good video card, a capture card, and the money to make that happen. Fast forward a few months, and I finally got the means to purchase what I needed, so in December of 2018, I bought the last couple components I needed to begin putting together my streaming setup. I landed on an EVGA-branded nVidia GTX 1060 6GB video card, and an Elgato HD60 Pro capture card, with HDMI input, and HDMI output/pass-through, so I could still send the signal out to my TV for playing.

Because I wanted to stream some older consoles as well, I knew I needed additional hardware to make that work. I settled on the Open Source Scan Converter, heretofore known as OSSC, because of its near-latency free line doubling capabilities, and ability to process incoming RGB signals through multiple connection types.  However, it only supports RGB SCART (not a format that caught on in the US), Component (only semi-modern consoles had this option, or some older consoles with expensive aftermarket cabling), and RGB via a 15-pin DSUB connection, like a VGA signal from a Dreamcast, or Xbox 360, with the right type of output cable/adapter. I wanted to stream systems that didn't have any of these options as well, so I also opted for a RetroTINK 2X, which can take incoming 240p and 480i signals and line double those to a reasonably good 480p signal via HDMI, to send to the capture card. I ordered all the hardware, and waited for it to arrive.

I had my video card and capture card installed prior to January 1st, so my plan was to start streaming on that day, and to begin streaming my Nintendo Switch, playing The Messenger. I hadn't played it yet, so it was to be an experience that I would share with my audience 100% of the way through. However, I had to decide where I was going to stream. I wanted to find a way to send my stream to multiple services simultaneously. Thankfully, there are options. I'm currently using Restream.io to do this, and their free tier allows me to send my stream to them, and they rebroadcast it to YouTube, Twitch, and Periscope (via Twitter) simultaneously. Streamlabs also has a solution for this, though I haven't explored it yet. Both solutions offer chat aggregation services as well, so I can have a window in my stream that shows all incoming chat messages, from any services you're connected to, so I can have YouTube viewers, Twitch watchers, and tweeters all chatting at me, and all those messages appear inline within the stream.


Yes, I fully admit it. This is all an elaborate ruse to drive traffic to my YouTube channel. But here's my first "official" stream - test streams don't count!

I also had to decide what software to use. Elgato makes a package available to use with their HD60 Pro cards, but I opted for Open Broadcast Software, better known as OBS Studio. There are a couple flavors of this, but the most common is the open source version from the OBS Project. After downloading this and installing it on my gaming rig, I needed to figure out how to use it. There are a myriad of tutorials on YouTube, explaining how to use OBS, and how to accomplish a number of tasks related to setting up a stream with various parameters. One good resource that I've used for a number of things is the Gaming Careers YouTube Channel. They have a lot of videos that are easy to follow, and offer practical advice on configuring OBS, and getting the most out of it.

Within a couple days of rigging this all up, I was streaming with a reasonably okay setup, and garnering viewers. Not a large number, mind you, but for a first-time streamer, it was a great start. I wanted to make sure my production values were good, so I began to play around with what OBS could offer, in terms of a good layout, and a template I could use for multiple streams. I made sure to have an intro screen, for starting up the streams, and I customize that with artwork and graphics relevant to the game I'll be playing. I have a screen just for my webcam, so when I do in between stuff, or to help intro my streams, I can have that connection with the audience more directly. And I've massaged my template several times through the month, to help me get the best visual experience I can muster with my limited graphics abilities. In addition, I'm incorporating cool elements like a widget from Streamlabs that displays any new follows on YouTube or Twitch during a stream, so I can call out that person and thank them for the follow.


Gotta brag on my streaming accomplishments, including a 1 credit clear of Lightening Force on Normal difficulty.

A few things to keep in mind about my experience so far:
1. I already had a presence on YouTube and social media, so I was coming into this with some measure of an audience already.

2. I spent months building relationships in other people's live streams, and continue to watch other streams and comment in them, to help get my name out there, so people check out my channel and content.

3. I'm bringing in new people slowly but steadily because of the variety of games I'm playing.

Stuff to consider before you start streaming, or to help you, if you're discouraged:
1. Not every game will be something your entire audience wants to watch. Some folks will come to watch YOU, because of your personality, but others come specifically for the game, and maybe stay because of you. I have shmup fans watching me play Lightening Force and [/i]Zanac[/i], and some other mix of folks who were watching me play through The Messenger. That's a slightly different batch than are watching me now play through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as I'm playing through in Master Mode.

2. Not every game will garner viewers. I haven't had any streams yet that didn't have at least 1 spectator, but it's bound to happen at some point. Depending on when you stream, what you stream, and how much of yourself you inject into the experience, that will determine how quickly you grab an audience.

3. Also, remember that services like YouTube and Twitch are huge platforms that are very saturated. You may find an audience quicker if you choose another platform to stream on, where the market is a little more open.

Once again, keep in mind that I'm still incredibly new at this, so take what I'm saying from that perspective. But I've received advice from folks who have been in the game a while, and am trying to distill that in a practical way, based on my own experience and how I've been able to apply those ideas. For anyone who wants to get into streaming, there are far better resources on YouTube than myself, in terms of giving you practical advice on starting up, and what the most effective ways are for getting noticed, growing an audience, game selection, audience engagement, and so forth. For me, I'm just having fun, trying to grow my streams and my YouTube channel beyond the small size it is now, and do something more impactful than what I've done thus far. I hope my journey into live streaming has been an interesting read, and would invite anyone reading this now to come check out one of my streams, and of course, my YouTube channel.


I can't help myself - just one more. This is where I beat The Messenger. Spoiler alert, obviously.



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Comments
 
Love the OSSC / retroTINK 2x set up.  I've slowly moved all my consoles over to those two over the past few months and I'm a big fan.  The latest firmware (.82?) even somewhat fixed the issues my TV had with picking up the SNES's odd refresh rate so now I can play it in 2X and occasionally 3X.

If you plan on streaming N64, I'd say going the S-Video - retroTINK route is the easiest.  I RGB modded my N64, and although its really nice to be able to run games at 5X, the S-Video cable is MUCH easier as I had a somewhat troublesome time soldering the RGB mod in.  Games that run in "hi-res" AKA 480i look very similar between the retroTINK and OSSC.  Being able to turn off the blur with a switch with the RGB mod is very nice, but I think at some point I'll switch over to the UltraHDMI at some point down the road.
 
My son has been bugging me to get our setup "stream ready" for a while now. We just got a webcam in the mail and have been messing around creating overlays in OBS (thanks for the tips on that Wink ). We are going on a family trip next week, but the plan is that when we get back home we are going to start a father/son gaming stream and we will both occasionally do some solo content also.

Really looking forward to it!
 
@blcklblskt: For me, there are only a handful of N64 games I'd want to stream, so the RGB and/or UltraHDMI mods for it would not be cost justified. So S-Video will work for my meager needs. That said, I'm glad there are options out there, should I ever choose to go that direction. The OSSC is definitely very cool, though it's a bit quirky, and you really have to play with the settings for some consoles, to truly get the best output. Still, I'm glad I bought it.

@Crabmaster2000: Looking forward to seeing you stream!
 
Doing a big setup like this and being tied to a schedule sounds like something I'd never want to do personally, but I have fun watching streams when I'm just chilling out or working on something else. From what I've seen, you're doing a good job with it so far!
 
@MetalFRO: I've used FirebrandX's OSSC timings page and have had great results!

http://www.firebrandx.com/osscprofiles.html
 
@Duke.Togo: Thank you very much! I appreciate the support and kind words.

@blcklblskt: Addicted pointed me in that direction when I got my OSSC, and I've checked them out. Pretty cool stuff!
 
I'm not sure I want to stream but I'm still building the command center.

I try to join your streams when I can. Keep up the good work!
 
@Addicted: Thank you kindly, good sir!

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