What I know so far about streaming quality with Xsplit and @TwitchTV — advice appreciated.

Alright, so you’ve decided to get into streaming games? Well, good news! Everyone else is doing it as well, so there is a lot of advice going around as to how to get the best quality, etc. I predict that video will eventually take over most blogging. It’s just too easy to do and anyone can do it. Writing is hard, streaming is easy. I know more people who have left a perfectly good blog in order to stream more. Unfortunately this means more crap out there than not, so here’s what I know right now in order to do some good streams. Decent streams. OK, some entertaining yet sometimes JUST OK streams. (As far as quality goes.)

  • First, my stats:
  • Core i7 3770 Proc
  • 12 gigs of ram
  • Radeon 7770 2 gig card
  • Built in audio, MAXX blah blah
  • Monitor only running at 1680 x 1050, so no 1080p for me. The monitor will not support it. Will I upgrade? Sure, some day. Let’s go with this set up for now.

At Massively we use Xsplit and Twitch.tv. We’re still relatively new to things, but already I am inviting developers and guests on my streams. I tend to do streams that show HOW to do something rather than just “Hey, this is me doing what I always do.” For example, I am starting a series on how to grow a little plot in Wurm Online and interviewing developers or playing along with them.

I run Xsplit on these settings (open for suggestions and tweaking of course)

Preset: Xsplit default (should I adjust this?)

Quality: 10

Max bitrate and buffer both at: 2000 (I’m sure I can go up, how will this effect performance or quality?)

Resolution: default stage resolution (not sure what this means, but I think it refers to using the resolution that I choose in the “view” area of Xsplit. Which brings me to the next section.

In “View” I set in Xsplit (this is where you set res and frame rate, etc):

Resolution: 1366×768 OK, this is an odd one. Allow me to explain. First I know I can run in full screen and capture my game in CLOSE to 1080p by running it at my desktop resolution. I need to run my game in a window and I capture the screen region for a couple reasons:

1) I need to access Xsplit frequently, to start and stop the stream, to click on different scenes of files like a splash screen that says my Twitter handle or that intros the stream. I would like to use shortcuts, but many of those shortcuts will fire off something while in the game. So, I have to physically click on Xsplit. If I run my game at full screen windowed mode, the Xsplit box will pop up in the stream. With it off to the side of my windowed game I can access it and no one sees it. Some games don’t work well with this, like DCUO, and sometimes the audio cuts out when I go off screen of the game.

2) I stream all sorts of MMOs. There are HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS. My streams are not like a typical SC2 stream or something. I am covering games that people have never HEARD of, so they can often crash or have issues. If they crash and I was capturing the game client INSTEAD of capturing a screen region, the stream would crash and I would be left with broken recorded streams. Also it is important that, if a game is prone to crashing, it needs to be seen by potential players. Remember I am writing and streaming about games so players will try out new ones. The only way to do this is to show them the games, warts and all. But I do not want to lose a stream.

Now, here is an example of DCUO running with the setup I mentioned: http://www.twitch.tv/beauhindman/b/334098438

That’s at a resolution of 1366×768. Not bad, a bit over 720. FPS is fluid, etc. My sound is still being worked on…the background noise you hear is actually the rain sound.

Now, here is Mortal Online, a very indie and BROWN game: http://www.twitch.tv/beauhindman/b/334101226

Again the game looks fluid, etc, and (most important) you can actually read the text on the screen.

This is what works for me. I’ll be down for any advice. Basically I CAN get a second monitor and with this setup run at a higher QL.. but monitors cost cash and I just spent a lot on this machine. We have stuff to pay for and, well, freelancers don’t get paid in gold.

Any advice? What’s your setup? I know that some people want to be able to watch my vids on fullscreen and crystal clear resolutions, but it’s important to remember that many of our viewers watch live so they can ask us or the developers questions, etc.

 

Beau