My experience with game streaming

Since I started blogging my gaming life has gotten more sophisticated, I started with the 3 main consoles and an old gaming laptop; nowadays I have a PS4 and a;pretty powerful, PC capable of running modern games. I have also started a Youtube channel and was uploading with regularity, recently however this video making process has been hampered by problem after problem. I also had aspirations of streaming a little each week.

What follows is a newbies’ account of streaming via a PC.

In the beginning there was a dream, create Youtube videos for public consumption (and probably derision) and eventually make my way towards streaming gameplay. I knew the basics and knew roughly what I would need to achieve this. How hard could it possibly be?

Step One – acquire recorder.

The first task was choosing a recorder; while the Elgato was/is the streamers choice it was my first place to look. Won an eBay auction for an Elgato and celebrated…until there was a problem with the purchase, the seller was unwilling to send the device; I promptly opened a grievance with eBay and they settled it very quickly.

This was only the start of the problems.

Without a recorder my ideas and plans were dead in the water. I had to acquire one. Elgato’s weren’t for me, my laptop was getting old and was slowing drastically, i needed something else. Step up the Hauppauge HDPVR Rocket, with it’s on-board processor it was exactly what I was looking. Research showed that it’s capturing was every bit as good as the Elgato and it was cheaper. Bonus! I jumped on one and it came quickly. The excitement was palpable, this was the first step to enhancing my blog content.

Stage one done now I needed a program to allow me to capture and as luck would have it Hauppauge had kindly supplied their own software with the Rocket…brilliant! Now I can capture my; slightly less, than average gameplay for the world to see!

Stage 2 – capture gameplay that looks good.

And it worked, my god did it work, I was test capturing all sorts and it all looked…

…frankly it looked shit!

I was capturing in standalone mode and it look horrible! Pixels everywhere, the game looked 420p I was at a loss, was this capture card a piece of crap? I fired a quick phone call to Hauppauge’s costumer services and they had it solved in moments, my flash drive had to be formatted to FAT32, and right enough this changed things. My gameplay looked great in it’s 720p glory! Another step towards Youtube and the multimedial blogosphere.

Stage 3 – Video editing.

Video editing is something that I have no experience in (save what I have done for the day job – a few short videos) and I had never used anything but Windows Movie Maker for those. This wasn’t robust enough to create Youtube videos, or indeed any video worthy of my 720p gameplay that was average in skill. I needed something better.

I acquired a copy of Sony Vegas; not the most recent version, that shit is crazy expensive, I got one two versions old (Vegas 12) for a good price. I started it up, eager to edit my first video…

sony_vegas_10_screenshot_by_meerkat_gal-d325y52

…holy shit this is complicated WTF do I do?

…there was a learning curve. My god there was a learning curve, I had no idea just what I was doing! It took ages and a number of youtube tutorials for me to just be able to add video and my voice recordings together. To make my first video? Must have taken me a full week, but it was a learning curve I overcame and now i’m pretty handy at Vegas…now to finish my journey of discovery…let’s stream to twitch.

Stage 4 – Streaming to twitch.

OBS and X-Split downloaded; the pro’s are pretty much split evenly by these two products so they must be good. I open OBS and while it is clunky; it doesn’t take me long to have a monitor capture on the go and my gameplay being captured in good resolution. Fantastic!

This is the first stage that has went without a hitch until I connect my mic and opened Audicity. All of a sudden my laptop processor became over burdened and I was dropping more frames that an optician during an earthquake…this was unworkable. OBS would have to go, the monitor capture was taking up far too much resources. I’ll try X-Split. No good. My capture is not supported, again a monitor capture would be my only way. Not good.

It was here that my streaming dreams died; i’d need a new PC to cope with the stress of streaming…yet my capture is not supported by the two biggest broadcasting software out there. It was over.

May 2014: Hauppauge announce they now support Rocket streaming.

It was back on! I downloaded the update to the capture software and boot the device up with it’s new firmware and it all looks good; did a test stream of Destiny. All good.

Then I added my voice…oh dear…out of sync…badly.

I’d have to wait until, they update the software and hope they allow for compensation, so I can delay the video so it syncs with my voice. To this date, they have still not added this feature…however they seem to have fixed this glaring omission. I did a test stream and it seemed to work fine; I’ll do another soon to make sure and if that works out then we will be good to go, i’m hoping that I can stream soon!

I’m here with a PC that’s more than up to the task of streaming, a broadcaster that’s more than ready to get going on this project and yet the software seems to be holding me back. Take this as a precautionary tale. Oh fellow broadcasters, please do the research and look into compatibility issues that may (and will) arise! Sometimes even the best will is not enough.

From conception of the idea to my first stream it has been 4 months.

I’ve yet to have a successful stream without issues.

I’ll continue to try.

Do you have any similar stories of technology failing you, or you failing your tech? Do let us know in the comments below.

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