Here is a excellent guide from the Twitch subreddit:
Creating Your Channel
- Coming Up With A Name: Like any product, you want something that is catchy, simple, and memorable. Also, for those who really want to roll with it, you can have a theme! Your name is important because it really sets you up for having solid branding for your channel. Some people just make a channel, and their username is something unoriginal or unattractive “Jdawg2245” or “JackDavies” or something along those lines. You are trying to diversify yourself in this highly competitive market, so give thought to your channel name because it sets the stage for a lot of future decisions.
- Catch Phrases: It may sound silly, but catch phrases are a big deal in this industry. They create branding, and they create a sense of familiarity for fans/viewers to recognize a channel. CohhCarnage for example has his “Good Show!!” when he receives a sub, or for Ezekiel_III, he not only has a whole spiel, he also has a thing he does that is a unique fist bump for when he gets a new sub. For myself, when someone followers, I say “Welcome to the Moose Squad”. I’m Canadian, so I felt utilizing that helped play on my nationality, but also was interesting because … well Moose are pretty badass! The Moose also opens up a lot of branding opportunities. Coming up with your own catch phrase will make people get excited in your channel, they will look forward to your catch phrase, and hell, they’ll say it themselves when talking with fellow viewers!
- Schedule: Before you stream, know when you plan to stream. This is important in order to provide a concrete, cut and dry, timeline of when you’ll be online. This is important for viewer retention. Stream consistently for generating regular viewers as they can’t come to watch, if there’s nothing to watch! On the flip side, don’t stream too much, or you’ll burn yourself out, or have no new content. Keep it healthy, and keep it consistent.
This is the most discussed part of streaming, each persons setup is unique, and it’s difficult to say there is a perfect setup. What I’m going to do instead is explain to you the necessity of each component, and how it’s critical to the stream and your viewers experience.
- CPU: The CPU (or Processor) is probably the most important aspect regarding the technical side of streaming. If you are using a 1 PC streaming setup, not only is it running the game, it is encoding your content as it broadcasts to Twitch. What is Encoding? Encoding is the process of converting the media content that you are uploading (In this case audio-visual content) and converting it into a standard that Twitch will receive. Encoding is CPU intensive (uses a lot of CPU power) and this means you need a fairly decent CPU. I recommend some of the higher end CPUs in order to give yourself both sufficient processing power, and also some longevity. Buying an introductory processor will only mean you get a short time frame of which to utilize it. Higher end AMD/Intel processors will allow you to get the most for your money because even though it’s $100 more, it may last another 2 years until needing to upgrade.
- GPU: Your GPU (or video card) is essential in running the games that you are playing. The two major players are AMD and nVidia. The better your GPU, the better your graphics will be, and the higher quality your stream will be because of how the game looks. Unless your using the nVidia nvenc encoder, the GPU isn’t super critical on the stream technical side of things, mainly just on the game side.
- RAM: Your RAM (or memory) is all about “short term memory” the minimum I would recommend is 8GB, but I highly recommend 16GB or more as Open World games and Survival games are utilizing more since they are temporarily storing data from servers in your RAM client side in order to display it on your machine. RAM significantly helps with multitasking as you start to run a few applications at the same time while you stream.
- HDD/SSD: Your HDD (Hard Drive Disk) or SSD (Solid State Drive) are all about storage. SSD’s are great for storing all your main programs and OS on, and running from there, and using a HDD for storing data is handy. HDD utilize mechanical components in order to run, therefore increasing the odds of fairly, so if your data is important to you, have a backup that is typically a bit larger than your current hard drive, in order to make sure ALL your content is backed up. SSD’s use flash memory (the same as Thumb Drives, and this allows them to be faster, and more reliable, as the odds of mechanical failure are slim to none. If you are looking to edit your content on your computer, make sure to have a decent sized HDD so that you can record your stream as you stream it!
- Monitors: Monitors become your best friend as your stream grows. I currently use 3 monitors. I know right? I’m insane! but this allows me to have the center monitor act as my main action monitor (the game I’m playing), my left monitor is my OBS screen so I can check my frames, uptime, and see any alerts that are broadcast (more on this later ;]), finally my right monitor is for my bot/chat client (I use Ankhbot, again, more on this later).
- Webcam: If you are deciding to use a webcam, it’s worth getting a decent one right off the bat. A nice logitech webcam is under $100, but should last you for a couple years!
- Microphone: This is a more difficult decision. Each person has a different way they want to broadcast their audio to their viewers. Many just use a headset, and eventually upgrade to something else once they’ve established themselves. Others will use something with more umph right from the get go like a Razer Seiren, or a Blue Micophones – Yeti Mic. And even higher, this includes myself, people will use a digital audio input, use a high end studio microphone, and a scissor stand, to record professional quality sound, with more options for effects and the like.
- Network: It is important that you have ~5mbps upload speed. This will allow you to upload at the recommended encoding bitrate of 2000kbps.
- Capture Card: for those of you who want to stream console games, a capture card is important. There are a variety of capture cards for old connections and for HDMI. You also have the option of internal or external capture devices. This will reduce the load on your PC as the processor is being used just for encoding as the game is being played on the console. Search for the right capture card for you, and see how it goes!
- Peripheral: This includes mice, keyboard, etc. This doesn’t have a major impact on the stream, just get what you like and makes game-play more comfortable for you!
Setting Up OBS
- First, download OBS, this is the application that this guide is based off of, and while allow you to broad cast your stream to your twitch channel.
- Second, download “CLR Browser“, this is important to providing your channel with Alerts and other similar add-ons for notifications.
- Third, follow the instructions to install both of them in order to have your OBS installed, with the CLR Browser Plugin.
- Fourth, go to your Twitch Dashboard, go to Stream Key, and show your stream key. This is important for OBS to broadcast to your Twitch channel. Go to your OBS Settings-Broadcast Settings and input your stream key into the Play Path/Stream Key section, when you’ve set Mode to Live Stream, and Streaming Service to Twitch.
- Fifth, set your encoding bitrate. The golden rule for a non-partnered streamer is around 2000kbps for your Bitrate. Make sure you are using CBR, and I personally use the x264 encoder.
- Sixth, set your video settings. The golden rule is 1280×720 (720P) with an FPS of 30.
- Seventh, set your Audio settings to how you like them (desktop audio device and what you want your default microphone to be). I personally have a higher quality, stereo microphone, so I force my Microphone to Mono.
- Eighth, start creating your scenes. There are two different squares you’ll see. Scenes and Sources. Scenes are the unique scenes for say “Stream Starting”, “Main Overlay”, “BRB”, “Stream Ending”. Sources are the things that are added together to make a scene. This includes images for overlays, graphics, CLR Browsers for alerts/notifications, Text, Webcam, etc.
- Ninth, do a test stream. This is important for you to gauge if your quality settings are at the right place for you, and allows you to fine tune them.
- Logo: Your logo is your face. Find something professional, but at the same time catches the eye and helps draw a theme for you!
- Overlays: Whether you buy them online, have someone make them, or make them yourself, overlays help enhance your stream scene. Keep it simple, while still adding flair. Recently I removed some stuff from mine so there was more game space for what I am playing, while still displaying the same information for viewers regarding latest follower, donation, etc.
- Information Panels: On your channel, you have information panels at the bottom. Use them to your advantage. I highly recommend having a schedule panel, links to your various social media, etc. Creating your own panels, that match your general theme, are worth it to create that Branding we are aiming for. You are a product, you don’t want crappy packaging.
- Social Media: Try and match all your social media to your channel name. This breeds familiarity with all the folks you are networking with. They will recognize the name across all different social media platforms. Reddit, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.
Streaming! The Good Part!
This is going to be general tips to help you on your path to becoming a great entertainer. There’s ALWAYS room for improvement, even the best streamers and entertainers have room for improvement
- Don’t be quiet: Talk to your viewers, whether it’s 0 or 100. Talk to yourself, talk about what your doing, talk about the song, just go full blown ADHD and keep up the pace. Not only will this provide content and dialogue, it’ll help you workout your vocal cords so that you can talk for extended periods.
- Minimize off screen time: Try and minimize the amount of AFK time that you have. If you are younger, let your parents know you are streaming. Explain to them what you’re doing, and hopefully they understand. Let them know how long you’ll usually stream for, and if they absolutely need something, to let you know before hand, or via a text message. Nothing is worse than Mom busting in telling you to take your underwear out of the bathroom.
- Don’t play oversaturated games: Try to avoid what I call the “Top 4”, LoL, Dota2, CS:GO, Hearthstone, unless you are REALLY good at those games. They are competitive games, and you are competing with professionals of those games and giant tournaments. Try to stream games that are around 500-3K viewers, unless it is only one broadcaster with that many viewers.
- Don’t call out lurkers: Don’t even get your bots to do it. It’s tacky, and WILL make most people leave. Some people just want to sit back and see how you are. They’re trialing you out, and you don’t want a “BUY MY ALBUM” mid song.
- Don’t ask for donations: This can come across as pathetic to some people. By all means, have a donation goal for whatever you are aiming for, just don’t ask.
- Be Confident!: People like seeing someone who’s comfortable, confident, and knows what they are doing, or, if you don’t, “Fake it until you make it!”
- Network, Network, Network: The best way to network imo, is to support other streamers, and organically support their endeavours. What do I mean by “organic”? I mean don’t force it. Find streamers you actually like and enjoy, who are around your size, and show your support because you care about THEIR stream, not just yours. Eventually you’ll see the favour returned.
- Create Channel Competitions: These can breed fan loyalty and help turn people from lurkers to regulars and super engaged community members!
Bots (The Good Kind)
I’m only gonna list the major three free bots
- AnkhBot: This is my favourite, so some bias here. It is entirely free, and allows you to create a custom named bot, and will integrate with Google Docs and save everything there in my butt. It has Song Requests, Giveaways, “Bank Heists” – which you can change to a custom mini game, A Sound FX System through commands, timers, Currency and Ranks, Quotes, and more! Underneath that all it has moderation capabilities for blocking links and language and lets you ban people from the chat console.
- Nightbot: A free, web based bot, that provides moderation capabilities, song requests, and custom commands.
- MooBot: Similar to NightBot in that it is butt based. Includes song requests and more.
- Create a separate email, that doesn’t include your name anywhere. This will create a divide between you and your online persona. Batman doesn’t go around telling everyone he’s [REDACTED] does he?
- If creating a paypal, upgrade to a business account, and make sure all your information is kept private. Your address may be displayed when you purchase things, but this will protect you when users pay you money and it displays your information. I recommend using the Name of “Channel’s Twitch Channel”.
- DON’T USE SKYPE WITH VIEWERS, heck unless you 100% trust random viewers, don’t even use TeamSpeak. Discord is is a new app that secures your ip to prevents users from obtaining your ip.
- Don’t give too many details out about your location, and if you invite friends/family (I recommend not doing that so that you create an independent identity) make sure they don’t address you by your name. Get a PO Box if you’d like to send things to viewers without worrying about them get your personal details.
- Ensure your Steam Profile is changed to your new channel specific email. If you send a game to someone for a giveaway, it will show your personal email unless you change it.