When I first started, I remember thinking about how daunting live streaming was with all of the things that could possibly go wrong and approached it with great skepticism. Unfortunately, there are no magical guides that can ensure a perfect first time, or following times, but these tips can help you get started in the right direction.
There are lots of things to pay attention to when starting a streaming channel. Good stream quality alone won’t bring you viewers, but the lack of it will send them away. Once you are set up properly, things will become easier and give your viewers more of the good stuff they want to see. The first thing to consider is hardware. If you’re going to be streaming games, you’ll need to make sure your system is powerful enough to run the game at a good framerate and broadcast it at the same time. Screen capture and broadcasting both consume resources that can slow down the usual performance of your favorite games. Barely meeting minimum requirements on games will often not give good results when adding the extra load to your machine by streaming it. Consider upgrading your hardware to exceed the recommended requirements for the games you’d like to stream, or playing games that are less demanding on your system’s resources.
While considering hardware and system resources, you’ll have to start by figuring out what games you’ll be playing. You should ask yourself a few questions to make the right choices. Will my system run these games well? Can I play them while still paying attention to the chat? Is it fun to watch? All these things will help you figure out if you should stream these particular games and what kind of system you’ll need to do it properly.
Aside from system resources, you also need to consider your stream’s audio and video setup. You’ll need to have a microphone that can project your voice clearly without distortion. If you’re planning on showing your face while you stream, you’ll also need a webcam. Another variable is your background for your webcam. Most of us won't be working from a studio environment so background noise as well as lighting and an optional backdrop like a green screen are all things to consider before going live. Lastly, you’ll need enough internet bandwidth to stream clearly and without lag. There are numerous guides out there to help you determine quality guidelines for broadcasting with different software on different platforms. You should investigate bitrate limits of the streaming service you choose and determine how much bandwidth you’ll need in order to broadcast without lag or interruption.
Once you're satisfied with your hardware setup, you’ll need to select and customize your streaming client to display the game you’ll be playing correctly. Most streaming clients have a preview mode that will give you an idea on how the game will be displayed to your viewers. You’ll want to balance the game sounds and any music you may be using so that nothing overpowers your voice. If you’re using a facecam, make sure that it is on an area of the screen that doesn’t hide information that your viewers will want to see, like in game stats or minimaps. Screen real estate is important with not only your webcam but anything that may cover up important elements of your game screen. If you use any overlays like donation tickers, sub goal trackers, or follow alert boxes, you’ll want to make sure that none of these cover up things that your viewers want to see at all times while you're playing the game.
Now that you’ve selected the game, met all the hardware requirements, and set up your streaming client. It’s time to start broadcasting! You’ll be going live in front of people that will be visiting your channel. Welcome them and let them know you’re grateful they're there. Try to include your viewers in decisions within the game, celebrate victories with them, and graciously accept constructive feedback while dealing the less constructive or hateful comments swiftly to not distract you or your viewers. Consider recruiting friends or trustworthy viewers to help moderate your chat. This will help you pay attention to making a good show instead of babysitting people who try to maliciously distract you. Encourage people to follow you for future streams and thank people who participate or interact with you graciously and openly. You’ll find that positivity and excitement are contagious and are what good streams are made of. I hope these tips help you to go out there and have a great streaming experience!