So you have decided to take the plunge into the world of Twitch streaming, but you have no idea where to start, or what to do. Fear no more! This guide will help you understand the basics of streaming on Twitch and how you can get started and kick-start your streaming career.
- Stream Computer
- Twitch Account
- Microphone and Camera
- The Stream
First and foremost in streaming; you need a computer to stream from. Personally, I use a laptop as the specs are more than enough to handle gaming and streaming at the same time, as well as anything else that I need. You need to make sure that it will be able to manage your stream being encoded and sent to Twitch, while also playing your game. Which is in its own right is a very intensive task.
Twitch recommends having at least an Intel Core i5-4670 processor (or its AMD equivalent), 8GB of RAM and Windows 7 or above. You will also have to make sure that the graphics card you are using can also meet the demand needed, again the general recommended here is for NVIDIA anything GTX 650 or above (I use a 1050Ti) and for AMD anything Radeon 6850 or higher.
Lastly, your internet connection. Twitch recommends an upload speed of at least 3Mbps, but the higher, the better. Higher speeds mean you can send more data equaling a higher quality output for viewers.
A Twitch account is essential to streaming; this account will be your face on the internet and where viewers will watch your stream. You can register an account at www.Twitch.com for free.
It might be an idea to have an avatar, banner and some introduction text ready to add so that viewer can get a feel for who you are and what you do. We will be going into this in the Graphics Guide so you may want to skip the graphics for now.
There are various bits of software out there that will allow you to stream to Twitch, some of the most popular, OBS, StreamLabs OBS and XSplit are easy to use and user-friendly. Twitch does have a list of supported software, which can be found here. We will go into the software basics in another guide.
In general, most software follow the same principle, you select sources to show (i.e. windows, images, webcam, microphone) and lay them out on screen how you want them to appear. This is what your viewers will see.
Once you have a layout set, you can then encode and send this to Twitch so viewers can watch you.
Microphone and Camera
One of the most important things about a stream and one thing I would highly suggest you invest in is your microphone and camera. These are the bare basics of interaction, and you need to make sure that they are up to standard.
The only thing worse than watching a dull stream is watching a dull stream where the quality of the microphone and or camera is terrible, it leaves a bad taste for viewers. With this said, you can get away with bare minimum quality (such as a simple gaming headset) for a while, but you will need to up your game soon enough.
Microphone wise, it may be an idea to invest in a dedicated one so that you can control all aspects of the sound that your viewers hear, again with the camera if you don’t have one to start with, then that’s ok but you may want to think about getting one shortly after starting your streaming career. I would suggest any Logitech camera, as these offer a sharp and high-quality video but for a low price.
Once you have all the basics set, you are ready to stream!
To do this you need to get your Twitch Stream Key, this can be found on your Settings page and allows your software to link to Twitch and send your encoded video to the masses.