One of my favourite non-gaming corners of Twitch to visit is the music section. From musicians showcasing their talents, to producers talking shop about the creative process, to DJ sets that give me something to listen to for extended sessions, there’s a lot of entertainment to be had here.
I also think there’s a lot that we as game streamers can learn from music streamers, even if we don’t have a musical bone in our bodies.
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!
Your voice is your most valuable asset as a streamer. No one else in the world sounds exactly like you. No one else has your exact perspective on the world. No one else can share your specific insight on a game or subject. The more you use your voice, the more you will stand out amongst the masses, even if you’re playing the same games as everyone else.
In spite of this power that we all wield, countless streamers under-utilize their voice. They sit silently for minutes at a time, even when some are streaming with the best microphone audio can buy. Considering how first impressions are usually made in seven seconds or less, viewers may be leaving in droves because your silence gives viewers the sense that you’re just another streamer playing a video game with nothing else to offer.
Coming up with stuff to talk about for hours on end is difficult, especially if you’re not the talkative type. Thankfully, there’s a convenient source of material to draw from right in front of your face: the game you’re playing. By narrating and commenting on you’re in-game actions, thought process, and reactions, you’ll almost always have something of value to say. Here are some tips for narrating and commentating like a pro!
Streaming to zero viewers isn’t something to be ashamed of. Roughly 88% of active streamers have an average concurrent viewership of 0-5 viewers. Many in that group never see viewers at all. It took me about a year of floundering on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch before finally finding my footing above the 0-viewer threshold.
For those who have ambitions of climbing out of that hole, maybe I can help? Though I certainly don’t have the experience or wisdom to help you become the next Ninja, the experience I do have may be enough to get you past 0-viewer Andy status.
Using the site nobody.live for reference, I decided to watch over 100 0-viewer streams and make note of some common factors that could be holding these streamers back. Here are some common challenges I noted and some potential solutions for overcoming them!
During the peak of my Among Us frenzy, my wife and I stumbled on a jacksepticeye video of him and a number of other top gaming content creators playing the game together. During the voting phase, the camera punched inward to focus on Jack, making for a better viewing experience in that moment. Other streamers do this with their VODs as well, such as Pokimane, Disguised Toast, Ninja, and more.
The thing is, this zoom effect is done after the fact in a video editor. But could an entrepreneurial streamer implement that same effect in a live environment?
I have implemented it on my stream and I love having for the sake of having an “aside” with viewers without taking them completely out of the game. Here is how you can implement this zoom-in during gameplay!
One of the big criticisms levied at OBS versus other broadcast software is that it doesn’t have the chat and event list built in. Having to look at different windows to see all of the information you need as a streamer is a nightmare, which oftentimes drives users to alternatives.
Some go to Streamlabs OBS, which does offer these features, as well as direct integration with Streamlabs alerts and overlays. While this is more than enough for some, its walled-garden approach gives it a much lower ceiling from a technical perspective if you really want to push your streams to the limit. I used to use StreamElements OBS Live, but recent hiccups in the software would cause my OBS to crash on start-up. Uninstalling it did the trick and I’ll never recommend it again.
So what does one do now? Well, there’s actually a very easy trick to add your chat, event lists, stats, or anything you can see in a web browser inside OBS! Best of all, you don’t need to install any intrusive software to make this work!
OBS is the go-to broadcasting software for streamers. It’s incredibly powerful and it’s free. If you don’t already have it, grab it here! Putting together your first stream isn’t that difficult, but you can really take your stream to the next level with a few tidbits of advice you may have missed along your journey.
Here are my top 10 tips for streaming like a pro in OBS!
Actually, there are 11 tips, but “top 10” works better for SEO purposes and #11 might be the most important tip of all. Let’s get to the tips!
As is, OBS is an incredibly powerful tool for streaming. But you can really take your stream to the next level with an assortment of third-party plugins. Much of what I do on-stream is powered by third-party plugins that allow you to zoom into my face as math equations swirl around my head, censor my screen, and even blow the Poke Flute for a shot at a shiny Snorlax!
You can do all of this and more by implementing third-party plugins in your OBS setup. Here are some of my favourite third-party plugins for OBS!
By default, your camera feed will appear as a rectangle. But did you know that you can make your camera appear in any shape you want? Yes, it’s possible to just round out the corners, go full-on circle, or any other shape your can imagine. Here’s how you can achieve this look in OBS or Streamlabs OBS!
Transferring your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island from one Nintendo Switch to another is…not the easiest process. In order to minimize the potential for cheating, Nintendo has implemented some rigid restrictions into the game. The biggest of which is that players can only have one island per Switch and that islands can’t be easily transferred between consoles.
As Steff was awaiting for the arrival of her new Switch Lite, I scrambled to find a way for us to transfer our island to her Switch. Based on the little information online, I got a lot of conflicting messages and couldn’t find a solid answer on how to do it. Some guides even suggested lying on the phone with Nintendo in order to get them to do it!
Our island is now safely on Steff’s new Switch. In case you’re wondering how you can transfer your island, here’s how we did it.