What makes for a good streaming overlay? With streaming as a medium still in its infancy, the answer is rapidly-evolving and highly-subjective. Once upon a time, overlays weren’t a thing. Then we moved into a phase where streamers filled the screen with design elements and widgets. These days, the new wave is a larger camera view within your gameplay scene so that viewers get a better view of the streamer.
Furthermore, overlays aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As one example, I greatly prefer the look of streams that put the camera overtop of full-width gameplay. However, that particular presentation style doesn’t work for speed-runners who display their time splits on the side or for retro games that are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Based on my experiences of watching Twitch and tinkering with my own overlay, here are aspects of overlay design that I like. There are links to every streamer I reference in case you’re interested in checking them out. I’m by no means an expert on overlay design. Just using this post to share design elements that I appreciate!
Everyone would love to use licensed music if it weren’t for the whole copyright thing. Over the years, online platforms have gotten increasingly harsh on creators who play licensed music in full, leverage snippets, have it play in the background because a car across the street was blasting it, or even poorly singing a few bars of a licensed song in jest.
Getting caught can subject your videos to getting partially muted, having any ad revenue that it would have made go to the music license holder, getting hit with a permanent copyright strike that will push your channel closer to deletion, or even lose your account outright. YouTube is far stricter than Twitch in this regard, but some of the platform’s largest streamers have been suspended for using licensed music in the past. It’s inevitable that Twitch will increase its efforts to shut down the illegal use of license music in order to protect itself from liability.
If you want maximum control and minimal liability, your best bet is to steer clear of licensed music. But where do you turn to when you need background music for your just chatting sessions or want music to fill the empty soundscapes of the battle royale games you play? Try these options!
(and avoid the last one)