Live Streaming is a growing industry where anyone and everyone can share their gaming experience with the world. Whether you are just watching others play a game and talking to your favorite streamers in the chat, or live streaming yourself, Twitch.tv creates a huge, interconnected gaming community. Contrary to popular belief, steaming is relatively easy!
This guide will be detailing a very basic setup using the trial or free version of a program called “XSplit Broadcaster.” We’ll start by explaining how to get a Twitch.tv account and download XSplit Broadcaster, then how to format it for a beautiful stream, and finally, will help you start your broadcast! It may look like a lot of steps, but that's only because this guide is thorough!
This particular guide is done using Windows 10, but the instructions are practically identical for all other operating systems. Finally, this is XSplit Broadcaster Version 2.5, but almost every step is identical and all the features are the same, they may just be a slightly different color or in a different place!
- Stable internet connection
- Any computer video game or access to games on the internet
- A quiet area/room (your streaming studio)
- A twitch.tv account
- A facebook, twitter, and youtube account
- $15 for a 3 month X-Split subscription
- A second monitor with HDMI or other connection
- USB or built in webcam
- USB or bluetooth Mouse
- USB or bluetooth Keyboard
- USB or Bluetooth headphones and/or headset
- Downloads: 30-90 minutes (depending on internet)
- Design and Set up: 30 - 2 hours (depending on preference)
Step 1: Getting Started
First, let’s make sure you have a Twitch.tv account and download XSplit!
Go to Twitch.tv and either select Log In if you have an account already or Sign Up if you are brand new. Fill in the Sign Up information
Step 2: Getting XSplit Broadcaster
Now, open a new tab and go to xsplit.com. XSplit is the program we’ll be using and manipulating to make your stream look more appealing. Here, click register or log in in the top right corner. Registering is free, however you can upgrade your “streaming license” later.
This basically just means you get a few extra features if you pay a certain amount of money per month ($15 for 3 months). I only suggest this if you are planning to stream professionally. Throughout the guide, we will point out a few things that do make the streaming license worthwhile, but it is by no means required.
The “setup wizard” should pop up. First, click next. You will then need to decide what folder to send the download too. By default, it creates a new folder called XSplit Broadcaster, but you can browse and select a folder if you want it somewhere specific. Once you’ve chosen a folder, select next.
The third page will ask where you’d like to create shortcuts to easily access the program. It will automatically have the Desktop and Quick Launch Toolbar selected and I suggest you leave these. This will allow you to easily access your program from the desktop of your computer. Click Next.
Finally, click Install and allow the program to install. Depending on your computer and internet connection, this can take just a few minutes. If any black boxes pop up, just ignore them and allow the installation to continue. You may get another box asking permission to install and of course, allow it. Finally, press “Finish” when prompted.
Step 6: Designing XSplit
Let’s start by formatting your XSplit so you’re ready to Live Stream!
Once you are ready to set up your streaming format, click the XSplit Broadcaster shortcut you made on your desktop.
Tip: Put this somewhere you can easily find it, perhaps even near your other folders and games you will use for streaming. Notice how these are separated from other applications. For easy access, you may also want to create a specific folder on the desktop for all your graphics and applications.
XSplit will ask you to register an account, but you already did that in step 3! This means you can click the “Login” option and fill out the information you used to create your account. Logging in may take a few moments, but be patient. When it’s ready, it may offer you some software updates that will help your stream go more smoothly, so go ahead and click yes.
Finally, a fresh slate should open up, looking a bit like this. This is the fun part! Now we get to begin work on designing your stream layout. Most of this will be up to your preference, but let’s go through a basic stream design.
Step 9: Making a Background
It’s nice (but not required) to start with a background image. As a basic rule, it’s better to have a simple one or two color background that is perhaps a simple pattern or something not very distracting. To add a background image, first pick one from the internet. A simple search for a color you like should provide many options. We’ll go with green. Right click any image and click “Save As”. It’s best to save this to a folder specifically for streaming like I mentioned in step 6.
Now, go back to X-Split and scroll over “Add Source.” Click “Media File” and then navigate through your files until you find where you saved your image. Double click the picture or click it and then select “Open” to insert the picture to your production.
Now, you’ll notice the picture is very small. You want it to take up the whole background, so we need to do some stretching. First, click and hold the picture and put its top left corner into the top left corner of your screen. Scrolling your mouse over the bottom right corner will make an arrow appear and allow you to drag the corner diagonally across the screen to make the image bigger. If you try to pull the image’s corner to extend it, it won’t cover the whole screen!
Right click the image. This will bring up a four-tab selection of features you can change about your image. Click the “Layout” tab and un-check the “Keep Aspect Ratio” box. This will allow you to stretch your image to the edge by dragging the right edge to the end of the XSplit window!
WARNING: This is why we suggest using a solid or patterned image. Look at what happens if you do this with another image (Image 3). It’s very strange and distracting.
Step 13: Adding Game Footage
Once you have your background, now it’s time to add your game footage! First, open a game of choice. For this example, I’ll open Hearthstone. Make sure you can still see your X-Split application. Click “Add Source” like before, but instead select “Game Capture” and you should see the title of your game. If you are playing a game from the internet like a flash game, you will need to go to “Add Source”->”Screen Capture” and box your game instead.
Optional: If you have a second monitor around, it’s nice to plug it in and use it as a second screen. That way, you can have all your streaming materials on one screen and the game on another so you have more room and you can see everything!
Step 14: Sizing Game Footage and Adding a Webcam/Microphone
Now, your game will appear tiny like the pattern did before, but this time, we don’t want to mess with the aspect ratio. If you do, the game will look distorted and strange, so just pull the corner until you reach the size you like for your game. On the bottom right of the white box, you’ll see an up and a down arrow. Clicking these will change what source is on top. Make sure your game footage is above your background. (Notice how mine lists the webcam, then the game footage, then the background. Always make sure your background is the LAST one to be listed!)
Optional: If you have a webcam, leave enough space to fit your face! Similar to the last few steps, click “Add Source”, then “Webcam”, then drag it to the size you want!! If you have a solid colored background, you can right click the Webcam section, select the “Color” tab, and chose “Chroma Key” to get rid of the background and make the image just you. It’s not perfect though, so we’ll just be using a webcam feed with no adjustments. You can also add other music/microphone inputs with “Add Source” and “Audio.”
Step 15: Adding Text
Next up, you may want to add text like your social media links! This helps people find more about you and maybe even donate. You can format this anyway you want, but for this stream, we’ll be putting them to the left under our face! To do so, just click “Add Source,” then “Text” and the following should appear. This will allow you to change the size, color, font, scroll speed, thickness, and so much more! For now, I’ll leave it this way, but play around!
To ever get back to this formatting menu for your text, just right click the text!
You’ll notice the text is huge and in a weird place! To fix it, drag the entire section to be visible and push and pull the text until it will fit where you want! Make sure the text color is readable against your background. AS a basic rule, use light text on dark backgrounds and vice versa!
You may notice that the text is too long to fit well and still be readable! One solution is to make the text scroll. Right click your text, and under the “Text” tab, you will find the “Animations” section. Click the scroll circle and you will see options for speed, direction, and line limit. Again, speed is up to personal taste, but make sure your audience can read it! Usually 1-5 is a good speed.
Furthermore, you can add as many of these as you want! Continue to add text, pictures, and other sources as you need them. You may even want to add a secondary background for your information to make it pop. Some things to include are the addresses of your social media and, if you are playing a multiplayer game, including the server or your name in the game can be a very nice addition! This is all up to your personal taste, but I recommend asking friends or the internet to give feedback and adjust accordingly!
Step 19: Making Scenes
The last feature we’ll cover before streaming is creating “scenes.” Scenes allow you to have multiple different styles of livestreaming all on one presentation. Scenes are found in the bottom right hand corner of the XSplit window. Without paying for an XSplit license, you can only use up to 4 scenes, but that should be plenty!
Once you have the setup you like for streaming, click in the “Current Scene” box and type in a name like Gameplay, Main, or anything that you will understand is your primary streaming scene. Now, click “Scene 2” and you will be taken to a brand new, fresh screen! It’s suggested to have screens for AFK (away from Keyboard), just your webcam, and anything else that needs a special format! This way, you barely have to change anything while live!
You make these the same way as you made the first scene! Don’t forget to name them so you know which scene you are on! You’ll also notice there is a section labeled “Transition” where you can add a nice effect for when you change scenes! Feel free to play around with it. Tip: It’s nice to make personalized screens/images like the one in the first picture. This allows you to add a personal flair to your stream. The one below was made in MS Paint, so you don’t need fancy software to make a nice stream!
To switch between scenes, you can either click the name of the scene you want to go to, or make hotkeys. To make a hotkey, go to “Tools”->”General Settings”->”Hotkeys.” Now, double click the scene and press the key you want to use to easily get to it while streaming. I suggest the number pad keys corresponding to the scene number.
Step 21: Let's Get Ready to Go Live!
Now your X-Split program is beautiful and you are ready for the main attraction, live streaming!
First, you need to connect XSplit to your Twitch.tv channel! Click the “Broadcast Tab”, then “Add Channels”, and select Twitch.tv.
This will bring up a box and the option “Authorize.” When you click it, you can enter your Twitch.tv information, log in, and then click “Next.” This will bring up the “Setup Wizard” that will automatically find the best server for you to stream on, so you don’t need to know any of the extreme technical ins and outs.
The wizard will determine what your computer and internet can handle and make them your settings accordingly. If you have more technical knowledge, and we will be looking more at these specs soon, but for the time being, just use the automatic settings and select next.
Now, you’ll be brought to the “Properties” tab. Here, you’ll find the account name you entered and a section to select a server. Click the arrow to drop down the list of servers and find the one that is closest to where you live. For example, the closest to me is the US Central: Dallas, TX server, so I’ll select that.
If you’re not sure which one to pick, leave it on Automatic and click “Test Bandwidth” and it will identify the one you should use and make sure you can stream to it effectively. If you get a green circle when it’s done, that means you can stream!
XSplit also allows you to automatically save your broadcasts to your computer. This can be helpful if you want to edit and upload streams to Youtube, get pictures or screenshots of something you did during your stream, etc. If you want to allow it to do so, you have to check the “Automatically save recording to a local drive” box.
Leave the second box checked. As for the “Enable Stream Delay” box, that is up to your personal preference. Stream delay essentially just means you can set up how many seconds after you do something, people will see it. This is useful if you’re playing a competitive game against people watching your stream.
Tip: However, this does mean if you are reading and talking to people in the twitch.tv chat, they will get their answers later. Also, almost all the time streams are naturally delayed by your computer and internet service by a second or two, so most players leave this unchecked.
Step 26: Resolution and Frame Rate
Now, we’re going to get a bit technical. You need to test your computer’s upload speed. To do so, use a website like speedtest.net. Ignore the “Start Scan” button. Click “Begin Test” and it will calculate your download and upload speeds in mbps (megabits per second).
We will now use this to determine what resolution and frame rate you are going to stream at. Again, when using the setup wizard, it should default you to the correct setting, but this is just to double check. Use the tables below from the XSplit forums to find the approximate resolution and frame rate you can use, and then in the next step, we’ll explain how to change it in XSplit.
In the top right hand corner of the XSplit window, it tells you your resolution. Click the down arrow beside it and it will bring up the options. Using what you found in the last step, select the framerate and resolution your internet can handle.
Step 29: Last Check
Finally, you’re ready to get started! First of all, make sure you white microphone bar is all the way up and the mic is un-muted. You’ll know it’s muted if there is a slash through the microphone symbol. Also, make sure the speaker sound is up. The speaker scale manages how loud your game’s sound is in comparison to your voice. It’s always best to have your mic louder than your game sound, because people are there to listen to you give your commentary!
Step 30: Getting Your Chat
Now, open Twitch.tv on your computer and go to your channel by clicking the down arrow beside your name and then “Channel.” Your chat should be on the right hand side. Click the gear in the bottom left of the chat section and select “Popout.”
Now, your chat is in a separate window! This way you can play and read the chat at the same time! Close your Twitch.tv tab and any other tabs and applications not in use to avoid lag, and make sure you’re ready to stream. You don’t NEED to be able to see the XSplit window at all times, but like mentioned in step 8 of section 2, if you have a second monitor, you have more space to have all the things you need open!
Step 32: Going Live!
Finally, click “Broadcast” ->”Twitch” and you are live! You can see how many viewers you have on the top of the XSPlit window in red, and now you can play! The rest is all up to you. Remember to have fun with your viewers and your game!
Step 33: Share Your Stream and Have Fun!
You should also tell people on Facebook and Twitter that you are live! Click “Tools”->”Share your Stream” and then click on the Facebook icon. You will then be prompted to input your facebook login. Do so, click next, and then do the same for Twitter if you have one. Finally, write a nice concise message with the link to the stream and click “Share.”
And that’s all! I hope this guide was helpful to getting you started. There are many other things on Twitch.tv that you can do, including adding Twitch Alerts, but those are all for another day! Enjoy your live streaming!
Step 34: Troubleshooting/Help
If you have problems or want to know more, XSplit and Twitch both have forums and help pages linked below!
You can also shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
XSplit Support: https://support.xsplit.com/
Twitch Forums: https://discuss.dev.twitch.tv/
Also, check out my blog for more me! http://meplusfree.blogspot.com/