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Streamer Guide Ep.3 - Software Requirements

Welcome content creators!


In the last episode we looked at the hardware you'll need to get started in the world of content creation and some options for if you're looking to upgrade to a more professional set up. In this episode we'll be taking at what considerations you need to make from a software perspective, and some of the options available to you. Enjoy and let us know your thoughts!


STREAMING SOFTWARE


When it comes to streaming software, there are 2 main programs that dominate the market for game streaming; OBS & Xsplit. OBS is an open-source, free broadcast software that is community driven, while Xsplit is a business, and so costs money to get the full package.


OBS - Open Broadcast Software - An open-source community driven project that has been the go-to for most of the streaming community. Due to the source code being open to the community, OBS is a free package that gets frequent updates as community coders add more features. It’s open source availability meant that other streaming centric companies could develop their features into their own program, thus having StreamLabs OBS (SLOBS) and Stream Elements OBS.Live.

The problem with open-source is it’s community driven aspect. This means updates are community written and tested, which can lead to annoying instabilities that can take weeks or months to be fixed. For the most part, OBS is reliable, especially for a free package, and the extra features available make it the go-to for your everyday streamer.

























SLOBS - StreamLabs OBS - StreamLabs version of OBS, that combines all of their features into OBS, simplifying scene and widget setup, while allowing you to do everything in-app. Slowly becoming the top streaming app, due to it’s cleaner UI, simpler widget setup and stability benefits to traditional OBS.


SE OBS.Live - Stream Elements OBS.Live - Like StreamLabs, Stream Elements have their own version of OBS with built in features making it easier to implement their community driven widgets. OBS.Live sticks true with the original OBS app as far as UI design, but optimise the app to have more seamless features to make live production easier.


XSplit - The main (or only) competition for OBS when it comes to streaming software. Xsplit offer a whole load of features, and extra stability that OBS does not, but comes at a premium. The safer option for those that can afford it, as stability can mean less stress on technicalities, giving you more time to develop your channel.


All Streamlabs/Stream Elements options are available for Xsplit, and setup is roughly the same as traditional OBS. XSplit Premium Licenses cost around $5 p/month with a lifetime license costing $200. There is a free option, which is viable for basic scene setups, but limits you to 4 maximum scenes. Xsplit is sponsored by GIGABYTE, so you may already have a free 12 month license due to your motherboard without knowing it.




EXTRA SOFTWARE


Outside of streaming software, there isn’t much else you’ll need to complement your stream. Below is a list of extra software that may help you in your live content creation. These are complementary, and so aren’t must haves.


AUDIO


VB-Audio VoiceMeeter Banana- A virtual audio mixer that helps EQ your mic, allowing you to achieve the sound you want, with little to no EQ knowledge, thanks to their easy to use panels. VM Banana is donationware, so is free, with options to donate if you want. VM Bananas ease of use and free option has made it a staple in the streaming community, allowing streamers to learn how to EQ without the need to buy physical midi controllers and the setup involved around it.


RECORDING


Overwolf- Game Summary - While recording via streaming software is possible, cutting through hours of recorded footage or VODS can be time consuming. Overwolfs’ Game Summary helps you save that time, by tracking all your (supported) games, and returning stats and highlights from them.


Once setup, Game Summary will automatically record kills, deaths & knocks for every match you play, returning a full summary of your session highlighting total kills, whether you won or not, and a timeline you can navigate to individual kills in the match. Very handy for collecting clips for social media usage, or reviewing your highlights for the day. GS will use the same encoder as your streaming software, so please understand that running this on top of your stream (especially on a 1 PC setup) will add extra demand onto your system. We recommend you only use this while streaming if you have a powerful PC, or using a secondary streaming PC on top.


*Note- This can be very storage intensive, especially if you don’t organize it frequently, so make sure you allocate plenty of space for it, or get into the habit of organising it after every session.





Nvidia Shadowplay- Comes with Geforce Experience, as a part of any driver package available to any compatible Nvidia GPU. Shadowplay uses the built in Nvenc encoder to record up to 4k60fps footage in the BG while you play. With the option to clip the past 30 secs, or full gameplay recording, Shadowplay has made a name for itself due to the quality of the recordings it outputs, but mainly because everyone with an Nvidia card already has it setup on their computer.


*Note- Shadowplay clashes with capture cards and other recording software, so could lead to headaches in the future.





VIDEO/CAMERA


Xsplit VCam- Virtual green screen software. Algorithms are used to calculate and key out your BG without the need for physical green screens. A green screen can look ugly and take up a lot of space, so for a premium, you won’t ever need one! It is a strain on your GPU or CPU, so don’t go paying for it if your computer can’t handle anymore stress. Subscriptions go from $3p/m - $25 p/y or $50 for a lifetime license, and as it’s a standalone app, it’s compatible with all streaming software.




StreamLabs Face Mask- AR or Augmented reality has brought interesting things to the world. Popularised through snapchat, and other social media filters, AR has become a staple in online memetics (memes). With more advanced code being developed, stability in the market has improved greatly, and so more apps are starting to appear for streamers; StreamLabs Face Masks being the best on the market, and free.




So that's it for our whistle stop tour of some of the useful software options that are out there to make sure you're maximising your options for creating professional content.


In our next episode we'll be talking about the advantages and disadvantages of streaming from console, but make sure you check out our other recent journal articles for more advice on passive income generation, hardware considerations and which graphics packages will give you the most value for your money in terms of viewer engagement!


Article written by Etski, commentary by AN00BIS.


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