In the world of gamers and streaming, Twitch has risen to an almost mythical status. Twitch Streamers are superstars, and some are making more money than NBA players.
Start streaming your gameplay on Twitch and you could potentially have millions of people watching you play, making millions of dollars and have Red Bull sponsor your progress.
Twitch streaming is changing the computer gaming industry entirely and creating opportunities for all gamers.
Photo: Vlogging Hero
Whatever your motivation may be, fame, fortune or glory, this quick article will show you in concrete steps how to stream on Twitch and make your dreams a reality.
Let’s jump right into it…
How to Start Streaming on Twitch
STEP 1: Choose Your Streaming PC
To start your streaming journey, you don’t need a monster PC, no need for 64 GB RAM and a ridiculous multi-colored graphics card
You do, however, need a computer that can handle the resolution and frame rate of your online game, and also handle streaming that back to your audience with out lagging.
As you will see, streaming software is very forgiving with PC specifications. So we’ll give you 2 examples of different levels of PC specs for Twitch streaming, to give you an idea.
Twitch Casual PC build
This is a good standard. This configuration will let you run a solid 720p stream on a variety of new games.
Ideal for games like League of Legends, Apex Legends, World of Warcraft
CPU: Intel Core i5 (4670 or similar)
RAM: 8 GB DDR 3
Motherboard: MSI B250 Pro-VD
Graphics Card: GTX 1050 Ti
So, if you decide to take things a bit more seriously. This configuration is powerful enough to let you stream most games in 1080p, on high settings.
If an experienced streamer invites you to his place, you might find something like this on their desk.
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K
RAM: 16 GB DDR4
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
Graphics Card: GTX 1060 6 GB
This is good enough for the beginning.
Streaming setup, what else is there?
You will also need a decent webcam and microphone for streaming.
After some time you might think about investing in a quality SSD, and maybe some trendy headphones just for show. But this is just icing on your Twitch streaming cake, it’s not essential at the beginning.
STEP 2: Choose Your Streaming Software
Without streaming software, there is no way for your signal to reach Twitch. Two of the most popular streaming programs are XSplit and OBS Studio.
XSplit is more user-friendly and professional, but you will need to spend some money to unlock all the features.
I will be focusing on OBS Studio since it’s completely free and has everything you need to start streaming.
OBS Overview (read our full OBS overview here)
OBS is comprised of the following sections: scenes and sources windows, mixer, settings, and stream preview. I will briefly go through each of them.
Scenes are used for numerous purposes: announcing your streams, various intermissions, and technical difficulties. This is what your followers will see while you are preparing to kick some ass.
This is where most of the magic happens. Clicking the plus icon to add all important stuff such as webcam, microphone, and a game you need to capture (more on that later). You will be spending most of your setup time right here.
For everything related to audio. You will want to go deeper into settings to set up some filters for your microphone. This is an easy way to make your voice sound much more warm and professional, also to cancel out some of your computer noises.
The stream preview window shows you everything that your followers will see once you start streaming on Twitch.
You can have as many profiles as you want, all with different settings. That means every game you stream can have its distinct look.
For example if you play apex legends and you want to have a particular color or overlay on your twitch stream, that is different to when you play Fortnite. It is useful. Bear that in mind.
Setting Up Your Microphone for streaming
Even if you have a pretty good cardioid mic, you will still need to tweak some things to get the best sound possible. Go to the mixer, click wrench and then a plus sign. We will be adding 4 different filters. Don’t worry, this is not as hard as it may sound.
This baby will take care of all that annoying low frequencies you wouldn’t want in your videos like buzzing and vent sounds.
This has a function similar to Gandalf in the Lord of the rings. Simply put, if your voice doesn’t pass a certain volume threshold it shall not pass as the mic won’t register it. This is a great way of eliminating other types of background noise. Be sure to experiment with it. If you set it too low your mic will always pick up the sound. Set it too high and your voice will sound unnatural.
The compressor is a filter made in heaven. If you suddenly lose your cool and start shrieking it will briefly lower your mic volume and save everyone’s eardrums. This one is a must-have.
Works simply by raising and lowering overall volume.
Overlays are windows in which you can display things like your logo, donations, chat, and webcam. A good overlay will help your stream stand out from the myriad of others.
There are plenty of good and free designs here, but you can also make some yourself via Photoshop. Choose something that fits your personality and goes well with games you will be playing.
You can also add text to your overlay and design some slick logo. To do this, go to sources> text. There is plenty of options to choose from, so you can let your imagination run wild.
Choosing Stream Quality
We are almost there! Your stream quality will depend on 2 things: hardware specifications and internet speed. Let’s start with the hardware.
Now it is time to run Auto-configuration wizard. After a few moments, you will get rough estimates on what your frame-rate and base resolution should be. Information you will get is good enough to start, but be prepared for some tweaking to get the best performance. Your stream quality depends on plenty of things, so there is no simple solution.
For streaming, you will need a good wired connection. Wi-fi is too unstable, and you will probably experience constant crashes or lag spikes. If unfamiliar, you will find your internet speed here. Next, open this to see which stream quality your bitrate supports. To change it, go to Settings > Output > Streaming.
If you decide to set your stream quality higher than advised, your stream may become unwatchable as your image becomes muddy or your frame-rate drops. For this reason, you should do some test streams before you start to stream. Now it’s a good time to ask your friend to watch your stream and give you feedback. Pay attention to your frame-rate and audio quality.
STEP 3: Setup Your Twitch Account
Photo: Vlogging Hero
Twitch is free to use and signing up is straightforward. But there are a couple things to consider at this point.
Your username should be catchy and easy to remember.
Choose something that you will not regret later on, as this is a bit tricky to change and will cost you some followers. And messing up any branding you have developed.
Archive your streams from the beginning
I recommend that you immediately archive your broadcasts so that people can view them when you are not live. Go to Settings > Channel & Videos > Archive Broadcasts.
Stream Key Tips
Stream key allows OBS Studio to sync up with Twitch. The key is free and you can get it on this page. Once you get it, don’t give it to anyone. This is all someone will need to enter your account. If you’ve already made this mistake, you can easily change it. Now, simply go to Settings > Stream and enter your key. Voila!
STEP 4: Get Streaming
That’s it, you are finally ready to start streaming!
Set a streaming schedule, and stick to it. Have a think about the timing, you may not want to conflict with other similar big names in your niche.
Make sure to engage with your viewers, it will help you with growing your following.
This is a quick-start article. If you want to go more in-depth. Check out the full guide to streaming on Twitch!
We hope you enjoyed reading this. Have a good one!
Special thanks to Marko from Vlogginghero for this article.
BIO: “I write a lot about the computer setups that gamers use to stream on Twitch, and I also give helpful tips for people getting started.”