How to stream PC games on Twitch

Join the game-streaming boom that has made Twitch insanely popular.

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Source 3: How to set up microphone audio

If you don’t have a high-quality microphone there are two ways you can go. The first is to use a headset microphone, which some gamers do. We’ve got a great roundup of the best gaming headsets with the top all-around suggestion being the HyperX Cloud Alpha ($100), while our favorite budget choice is the Astro A10 ($60).

Most streamers use a USB based desktop microphone, however, such as the always popular Blue Yeti ($130). The best USB based mics offer superiour sound quality over headset mics and are generally very easy to use, but do not sound as good as studio/podcast grade XLR microphones like Blue's Ember ($100). XLR based set ups offer the best sound quality possible but require more equipment, like an analog to digital interface, and a deeper understanding of audio production principles. For now we will focus on the simplier options.

By default, OBS adds a microphone input to you stream, but if you have multiple inputs such as a built-in mic, webcam mic, headset mic, and desktop mic, you should specify which one you want.

obsstudio audio IDG

Mixing your audio sources is available from the main dashboard.

To do that look below the game and webcam stream window for the section called Mixer (highlighted here in red)Now find the Mic/Aux entry and click the settings cog on the far right. This will bring up another properties box. Click the Device drop-down menu and select your microphone and then hit OK

Now you can mix the various sounds to get the right settings for your stream. Many people lower the desktop sounds and raise their microphone so that viewers can hear the streamer over the game audio. Others choose to make both relatively equal. Whichever way you want to go, lower or raise the blue marker under Desktop Audio and Mic/Aux until you get the desired level for each.

Source 4: How to add a watermark

To give a stream that extra veneer of professionalism, you can add a watermark—the ghostly little logo that appears in the bottom corner of TV broadcasts. For this example, I pulled a sample logo off Freepik.com.

OBS watermark Ian Paul/IDG and Freepik.com

Click the plus sign again in the Sources box, select Image, and click OK to get to the third window. Choose your image from your PC and then click OK again.

Going back to the main window, click on the watermark image in the letterbox window and it will be outlined in red. Now adjust it for placement and size. If you want to make the image transparent, right-click the image and select Filters > Chroma Key. Then choose a numeric value (out of 100) in the Opacity option to make it more transparent. You can also play around with the various sliders to get your desired affect.

twitchpreview Ian Paul/IDG

The finished product with game, webcam, microphone, and watermark (lower left).

Now that we’ve got a watermark, preview the complete stream by starting your game. Looking good? Then it’s time move on to the Twitch side of things.

How to stream in Twitch

twitchdashboard Ian Paul/IDG

The Twitch dashboard.

Twitch is simple to set up. Just visit the site and create a user account. Click your user name in the upper-right corner, then in the drop-down menu that appears, select Dashboard.

You can preview your stream from the Dashboard, but it won’t actually appear until you connect your OBS client to your Twitch account. To do this, click on Settings in the left rail of the dashboard. On the next page you should see an option in the main part of the window titled “Stream Key.” Choose that and on the next page, select Show Key. Copy the code to your clipboard.

obs stream studios Ian Paul/IDG

OBS Studio’s Stream settings.

Next, open OBS and click Settings in the lower-right corner. In the next window that opens, select Stream. Under Stream Type, select Streaming services, then under Service, select Twitch.

At this point OBS Studio may run a test to find the best Twitch server suited to your location. If it doesn’t select a server close to you, you can choose one manually from the Server drop-down menu. Finally, copy the streaming key to the field marked “Stream Key.” Click Apply and OK, and you’re done.

Now go back and preview your stream in OBS Studio one final time.

Before we start streaming, go back to your Twitch Dashboard and click Live in the left rail.Under the sub-heading Stream Information, enter a title for your stream and the name of the game, then click Update Information.

Now it’s time to go live.

twitchlivestream Ian Paul/IDG

And we’re live!

Back on your desktop, click Start Streaming in the main OBS window. You’ll see the stream appear in your dashboard back at Twitch, which means you’re up and running. Congratulations!

Final considerations

Now the hard part begins. After watching Twitch you’ll notice that some of the most successful broadcasters understand how to balance their attention. When you’re streaming you’re not only playing, but speaking to your audience, responding to viewers on the chat, and occasionally keeping an eye on OBS to make sure the stream is running as expected. 

For all of this you’ll definitely want to use dual monitors since your game will take up the entire space of your main monitor—unless you’re crazy enough to play a game in windowed mode. But if you only have one monitor don’t let that stop you. Get your streams going and worry about refining your approach later, or keep an eye on chat with a secondary laptop or tablet to start. Since you’re replying with voice there’s no need to worry about typing—you only need to see the chat.

There’s much more to explore on Twitch and OBS to really master the broadcast, but at this point you have everything you need to get started. Have fun showing off on the big stage!

This story, "How to stream PC games on Twitch" was originally published by PCWorld.

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