KodeTen

KodeTen's Living Notebook: Streaming Tips & Tactics

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EDIT 3OCT2016: Folks while I have stopped streaming regularly I still try to stay on top of OBS Studio streaming options and settings and will absolutely help you troubleshoot your settings to get the best experience with your streaming service. Contact me in Discord.

 

The past few weeks I've been focusing very hard on developing the highest quality stream within the constraints of my system. This post will be constantly updated as I find things not necessarily public knowledge to help increase the quality of your stream and give you tips & tactics to succeeding in this crazy world.

Date last updated: 21JAN2016

A discussion on mindset.

There are some streamers who want to do it simply to do it, they have no aspiration to "make it big" or any variation thereof and simply want to play some games for whoever will watch. There's nothing wrong with that, and please read on, but if you are such a streamer please frame everything I discuss in the context that I'm speaking to those wanting to achieve some degree of success be it Partner on Twitch, effectively monetizing YouTube, whatever.

First, ask yourself why you want to become a live streamer.

If at any time you said to yourself "Hey he's just playing a game and raking in money and fame for it, I can do that." STOP. About face, walk away. Streaming will crush you.

What I mean is there is a very distinct difference between "just playing a game" and being an entertainer. I'd wager a large percentage of gamers play their games while staring blankly at the screen. Maybe occasionally laughing or commenting (to themselves) about what's happening. If you think it's as easy as "just read a chat while playing" Then you're in for a shock as to the response you get, or lack thereof.

It's difficult for me to describe the composition that makes a successful streamer what he/she is. If you watch the top talents of live streaming you'll notice it's not exactly something that's easily defined, and it can come and go. You'll have good days, weeks, months, years, and bad days, weeks, months, careers, but the bottom line is to succeed in this business you need to be an effective combination of tech geek, gamer, and entertainer. You have to develop that special knack to make light of any situation and inject positivism into your persona so it projects out and draws in others.

It's work. An awful lot of it. Being a live streamer talent doesn't stop when you punch that "Stop Streaming" button. You need to constantly refine yourself, research things that you feel you're weak at, practice, upgrade equipment you feel is shortcomings in your system, adjust lighting, manage social media, adjust your background (or tweak the green screen), manage social media some more, realize your channel art sucks, fix it, realize it sucks more now, manage social media, network, chat with other live streamers, trade notes, manage social media, manage it more, realize that you still have to pretend you have a real life, go outside, and manage social media.

Let's talk tech & settings:

I stream using the latest version of OBS MultiPlatform 64-Bit

Kodeten's Suppressed BattleBox

  • MSi GAMING 970
  • AMD FX-8370 (4.4GHz Boost Clock)
  • 16GB (4x4GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3
  • SAPPHIRE R9-Fury 4GB HBM
  • Samsung 840 EVO 120GB (System Disk)
  • Seagate Barracuda 750GB HDD (Personal Files)
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD (Game Drive)
  • Fractal Design EDISON-M 750W Gold PSU
  • Fractal Design DEFINE R5

KodeTen's SpeedTest

4994837452.png

 

Different systems will encounter different results, this is very much a process of working within your system constraints.

My Setting Screens, and explanations:

SINGLE BOX STREAMING

Streaming and gaming on the same box is entirely possible, it just has a few nuances that need to be accounted for, anything that will assist in taking load off the CPU will be used, here's a look at my settings for Single-boxing:

Output Screen

Outputscreen.png

Audio Track: 1 

No reason to change this, just increases the amount of Audio Tracks being recorded for later editing. If you stream only, this has no use.

Encoder: Intel Quick Sync H.264 Encoder

This was actually a major breakthrough and shared with me by Sinzia and PunkPoets during one of my troubleshooting streams. Intel Quick Sync is a technology that leverages the Integrated GPU (iGPU) on most Consumer Intel SKUs to perform video encoding. If you're using a discreet GPU (Most gaming machines are) then you can bet your iGPU has spent most of it's life sleeping. OBS MP has the API to allow for it to use the iGPU to perform encoding, which has resulted in a 25% decrease in CPU usage while live.

AMDs FX Line doesn't have integrated graphics, If you are using an AMD APU, unfortunately there isn't yet an option to utilize the on-board GPU to encode, HOWEVER, if you've crossfire'd the APU with an AMD GPU, it is possible to leverage that technology using AMD VCE (Video Coding Engine) which utilizes an encoding ASIC on the AMD GPUs to perform encoding. I haven't yet checked to see if it results in a measurable load on the GPU, it may not, in which case the APU wouldn't be utilized anyway.

Enforce Streaming Service Encoder Settings

Checked, unchecked, doesn't really matter, I focus on setting my OBS within the constraints of the ingest server and my machine anyway so this doesn't really matter. I just turned i ton while writing this guide so I'll update with benefits if any.

Rescale Output

This is actually a very crappy "pre-encoder" Downscale that results in very distorted output. Uncheck and forget it exists.

Profile: High

Expected Encoding Profile by Hitbox. My dashboard yells at me if I'm set to anything else. This is more of a "Your OBS talking to their Transcoding engine"

Keyframe Interval (seconds): 2

Once again a setting demanded by most Streaming services. There's a very technical explanation for Keyframes. Just set it to 2.

Rate Control: CBR

Every streaming service I know of demands CBR (Constant BitRate) control. Doesn't make sense to me as being able to ramp bitrate up and down would be more efficient on processor and bandwidth but it's their house.

Bitrate: 2500

You're limited here by a number of things as a Non-Partner. Your Upload speed is the primary. Since my Upload speed is around 5 I'm actually using half of my available upstream at 2500 MBps. The other half is available downstream of your viewers. As a non-partner you're limited to Source encoding or "What you see is what you get" So to watch a 2500 Bitrate stream you'd have to have a connection that can downstream at minimum 3Gbps or 3000 Kbps.

I know, this is 2016 and everyone should be able to download well faster than that but it's not really the case. For whatever reason Hitbox can deliver higher bitrate streams to more people with less issues than Twitch, as a non-partner on Twitch i regularly streamed at a 1500 bitrate, anything higher and too many viewers would buffer out. On Hitbox the minimum is 2000.

Video Screen

Videoscreen.png

Renderer: Direct3D 11

Direct3D is the more efficient Capture method on Windows machines. OpenGL is a distant second but necessary if you're a weirdo capturing on Mac or Linux.

Base (Canvas) Resolution: 1920x1080

Set to the base resolution of your desktop.

Output (Scaled) Resolution: 1280x720

This is an "After encoder" Downscale and much more clear and efficient. plus we have a lot more control over the method of downscale. Set this to 540p (960x540) if you're non-partner on Twitch. As a Partner without Transcoding options on Hitbox I run 720p.

Downscale Filter: Bicubic

This is one of the big things to help with quality of your downscale stream. Experiment with this to find the sweet spot of quality to processing power requirements.

FPS Values

This is another quality setting, For non-Partnered Twitchers I'd stick to 30 FPS streaming, on my end I can run up to 60. This is going to depend a lot on your processing power. 60FPS crushed my i5 until I figured out to offload encoding to the iGPU, even then I still run 75-80% usage while playing and streaming.

 

Beam.pro Notes

love Beam.pro, I think it's a better streaming service than any other in terms of community and technology, and it is the officially endorsed streaming platform for the ATGC.

That said, there are some notes to consider.

Tachyon: FTL vs. RTMP

Beam has released their own re-write of OBS (labeled Tachyon) To engage with OBS' FTL Streaming service.

FTL allows for an unprecedented sub-second latency between streamer and viewer, it allows you to communicate with your audience in real-time, but it has it's caveats.

I'm going to go on record and say that I do not use or recommend FTL at this time. While, as a service, it's concept is amazing, it's still not completely 100% there, or user-friendly to engage with. That said, using standard OBS Studio and engaging Beam's RTMP Servers leads to a very respectable 2-6 second delay between the streamer and their audience.

The bottom line is while FTL is cool, I personally use and recommend Beam's RTMP service due to ease of connection, and the fact that the latency for Beam's "lesser" connection method still beats the pants off it's competitors.

 

More to come.

 

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w00t, Quick Sync!

I honestly thought you were already running it, I'm SUPER happy its working out for you!

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Love this type of article and I'm really glad someone like @Kodeten wrote it.  this quote from it made me laugh harder than it should "Streaming will crush you."

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I've actually found that using nvidia encoder in OBS to be much better for my situation. Reason being is that I am using a 290x as my main GPU and, wait for it, an Nvidia 660Ti (yes in the same system at the same time in the same OS) as a secondary GPU. It takes a TON of stress off my CPU so I can get smoother frames in games.

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