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Start streaming on Twitch – 7 Tips

In just over one and a half years of streaming on Twitch, I’ve gained nearly 20,000 followers (Which you can check here on my channel). I wanted to outline what I believe are the most important things you should be doing to maximize your potential when you start streaming on Twitch. Getting people to your stream is hard enough, keeping them there is even harder.

I have spent many hours reading and learning about streaming and the Twitch platform. I have also learned from personal experiences and the experience of others. I run followtrain.tv and I run a Twitch community where we discuss Twitch related topics. It would be fair to say I know a thing or two about streaming.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when you are just start streaming on Twitch.

1. Make sure your internet connection is solid

You don’t need to run out and buy a dedicated T1 line when you start streaming on Twitch, but you definitely need to have a decent cable broadband or fibre optic connection. The number one thing you need to do is be able to stream and with a bad internet connection you will end up with a totally black screen or a laggy viewing experience. I already outlined in another post what the best settings to use when streaming, so make sure you check that out.

2. Get a decent microphone

People visit Twitch to watch and listen to people playing games. If your commentary is inaudible due to a low-quality microphone, you won’t get many followers or viewers. You don’t need a recording studio quality mic but you do need to be sure that your voice is clear and louder than your music or in-game sound, with little to no static or hum.

Try and get a microphone with built in noise reduction in case something is going on behind you, perhaps you live near a busy road and the windows are open because of the heat outside. These small sounds will be heard on your stream as just background noise which can really irritate people. I keep an updated list of what I consider to be the Best Hardware for Twitch.

3. Get some custom graphics and a decent overlay

Your channel and brand is important for people to remember you, starting at just $5 you can get custom graphic design service. You will create your HUD (Heads up Display) in your streaming software, something like OBS or xSplit. Personally, I do mine with OBS. The idea is to make sure that your stream looks good and is viewer friendly. There are a ton of streamers out there, so the viewer experience is going to be what sets you apart.

For example you could create a border around your webcam that tells something about your personality or your favorite game. It is also important that pop up notifications give praise where it is due. When someone gives you a donation or follows you you should have a pop up or something cool happening.

When viewers see a celebration over even the smallest of donations, they are more likely to donate a few dollars as well. Make an even bigger celebration for your top donors. Remember, people are throwing money at you for doing something you would probably be doing anyway, so make sure they know how grateful you are.

4. A HD webcam is a must

Okay, so maybe Lirik doesn’t use a webcam… but you are not Lirik and you didn’t start streaming nearly five years ago when he did. Do yourself a favour and buy a decent webcam. There are plenty of streamers who don’t use a webcam, this is true, they also they don’t have many followers or viewers. If you want to be one of them random unknown faces then be my guest but it wont help you grow on Twitch.

People like to see faces, even if you think you are the ugliest person on earth I promise you beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s just nice to have a face to go with the voice and the username, so don’t be shy.

I was simply amazed how much people did not troll me when I first used a webcam. Most people are genuinely friendly. We all got bullied a little school for one thing or another and that fear is still with us but in my experience on Twitch it’s not an issue. Really you should try it once or twice and I promise you wont regret it, in fact you will enjoy streaming even more. Yes it feels awkward at first and maybe you need to get comfortable with speaking before turning on the camera but sooner or later you need a webcam.

You want to be able to stream and record in high definition a 720p camera is the minimum, but a 1080p is always preferred. Many viewers, when looking for a new channel to watch, won’t even click on one unless they see a picture-in-picture cam. Read more about what I think is the best webcam for Twitch.

5. Interact with your viewers

There is only so much that hardware and software can do for you, and there are a ton of great players out there. After that, your persona has to carry you. You will truly begin to stand apart from the crowd and gain a following when people see your personality, and that means interacting. Gaining followers and regular viewers is really about being entertaining.

Once you have hundreds or thousands of followers, you may not be able to greet everyone by name, but at least when you are starting out, don’t let people slip in and out of your channel without even being acknowledged. Say something like, “Hi [username], welcome to the stream!” Try to answer questions that viewers ask, and even ask some of your own and check out the responses. Yes, you need to pay attention to the game too, but the game isn’t following you or making donations, so put your viewers first.

Don’t argue in the chat box. If someone is really being obnoxious, mute them quickly and move on. Do not waste time or energy with trolls, insta-ban them and forget about it, they will move on to someone else who will entertain their trolling efforts.

6. Get a chat bot for your stream

I’m not talking about view bots—those are a good way to get your channel banned. If you are a regular Twitch viewer, you probably already know what a chat bot is. Chat bots basically serve one purpose—they keep the chat box safe for you and your followers and provide additional interaction functionality.

They can ban people for saying certain words, they can tell users what music you are currently playing and they can even help you run giveaways and answer common questions for you. You can also give certain moderators the ability to add commands to some bots to further reduce the amount of work you have to do when streaming.

My personal favorite is DeepBot. DeepBot is not free and can be overwhelming at first, start with something like Moobot or Nightbot and consider DeepBot later on.

7. Be consistent and persistent

When you first start streaming on Twitch, setting up a schedule for streaming is in my opinion the single most important thing you can do if you want to build regular viewers. How do you expect to get regular viewers if you cant even be regular yourself?

Being consistent allows you to get repeat viewers rather than just competing for whoever happens to be on when you decide to stream. Don’t give up if your stream doesn’t take off straight away. Sometimes it takes a while for people to get to know you and decide that your channel is more fun or exciting than the other channels that are currently open.

Keep learning and striving to become a better streamer, watch other peoples streams and figure out why they have so many viewers. What are they doing differently and ask yourself how can you be more like them?

In my personal experience, last year when I had a three day a week schedule, I was able to build my viewers up to an average of around 70-80 people per stream. I took six months off in the Autumn of 2015 and when I returned I struggled to get just 10 viewers. At the time of writing this article I am now back averaging 30 viewers per stream but I only commit to one day per week, with an occasional impromptu stream on other days depending what is going on in my real life.

Sure, things can go wrong when you first start streaming on Twitch. Your Internet or power may go out during a stream. Someone could be trolling chat looking to pick a fight or harass other users. Hardware fails and software breaks, life issues and unexpected social happenings like friends and family turning up at your house. All of these things can effect your stream and your passion for streaming but don’t let setbacks get you down. The most successful channels are the ones that deal with all that adversity but continue pushing forward and making their followers glad to be there.

The Final Word

Hard work, research and commitment is what makes a top streamer. I hope you take the time to read more of my articles on this blog and I hope you can gain some insight into streaming on Twitch.

I spend a lot of time helping new streamers and I can show you how to get more followers, but it takes some hard work. Please leave me a comment if you have any questions or topics you would like to know more about and I will reply or blog about it in the future.


Steam Link with RetroArch + Ice, running emulators for SNES and Genesis in Big Picture Mode

Yesterday was a wonderful day, I finally got my Steam Link working flawlessly with RetroArch and a PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller on the big screen in my living room. It was my third attempt at getting an emulator to work with the Steam Link and now I can teach you exactly what I did and what I have learned over the past week.

Since I got my Steam Link I have been obsessed with the idea of running old school games like Super Mario World for the SNES and Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis (MegaDrive). I saw some people had done it already so I knew it could be done, but the tutorials out there leave much to be desired and can be confusing and over complicated at best.

I will try in this article to keep things simple. I will explain some of the basic concepts that you need to understand to get this working. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will try to help.

How to run emulators on the Steam Link

We will be using RetroArch, which is creating quite a bit of buzz in the emulator world right now because it allows you to control multiple emulators and works on multiple platforms. RetroArch is kind of an emulator manager, it is more than that but for the purpose of this article it allows you to have multiple emulators all under one interface.

Then we will use a piece of software called Ice to create the bridge between RetroArch and the Steam Platform. Once we have RetroArch and Ice configured we can use our Steam Link to launch emulators and play retro games directly from Steam in Big Picture Mode with a seamless integration.

Where to save every thing?

There are no rules where you save RetroArch, Ice or your ROM files. I will show you how I have it on my machine to make this tutorial easier to understand.

I install some of my Steam games on my extra hard drive. I have a folder there called “SteamLibrary” and this is where I install some of my Steam games. I decided I would keep all of my game files all in one place so now I have RetroArch, Ice and my ROM files all in a SteamLibrary folder on my 1TB external hard drive.

So E:\SteamLibrary\steamapps is where some of my Steam games are installed.

I then created an “Emulator Folder” under E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator so that I can store every thing connected with emulation all in one place.

Then I created:
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\RetroArch
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\Ice
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs

Inside ROMs I have two more folders which contain some ROM files:
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs\SNES
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs\Genesis

Remember there are no rules here, you do not have to have this structure and the fact that these folders are inside my Steam folder serves no relevance to the tutorial whatsoever because you can install these things wherever you wish.

First let’s download and start RetroArch

Before we think about Steam or using the Steam Link its important that we get RetroArch running first. You will need to install “RetroArch” load up a “Core” and then load some “Content”. In other words we will use RetroArch to load a console for example the Super Nintendo core then we will load a game which is also called a ROM file.

Download the latest stable version of RetroArch for Windows and unpack it into E:\SteamLibrary\Emulators\RetroArch, you will need WINRar or similar to unzip the 7-Zip file. You can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit depending on your current operating system. I use Windows 10 so I went with the Stable 1.3.2 64-bit download.

After you unpack it, launch retroarch.exe and you should see the RetroArch GUI. Now we need to download our first Core and then we can load a ROM file.

RetroArch GUI

RetroArch GUI

Navigate using your keyboard and follow the steps below:

Download a Core:
Settings tab > Online Updater > Core Updater > bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll

Once you have a Core downloaded you will need to load the Core.

Load a Core into RetroArch:
Settings tab > Load Core > bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll

Once you have a Core loaded you can now load a ROM file.

Load a ROM File:
Settings tab > Load Content > Select File > E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs\SNES\Super Mario World.sfc

If all is working correctly you will see the game you just selected and you should have control using the keyboard. For a more in depth article or if you get stuck with my guide you can read Getting Started with RetroArch you can also ask questions on the LibRetro Forums and you can check the LibRetro Wiki.

IMPORTANT: YOU MUST HAVE RETROARCH WORKING BEFORE YOU CONTINUE!

Using Ice to add ROM files to your Steam Library

Once we have RetroArch working we need to create the bridge between Steam and RetroArch. To do this we will use a really awesome GitHub project called Ice created by Scott Rice. Ice will scan our ROM folders we created earlier and add any games it finds into Steam as non-Steam games. Its customizable, with a fairly low level setup. It also helps you find artwork so that your ROMs look great when you are running Steam in Big Picture Mode which is the mode launched by default when you use your Steam Link.

Configuring Ice to work with RetroArch and the Steam Platform

Download the latest version of Ice and unpack it into E:\SteamLibrary\Emulators\Ice.

There are three config files that you will need to edit to get Ice working correctly.

config.txt
consoles.txt
emulators.txt

The reason I showed you my file structure earlier is to try and help you understand how to configure the Ice config files.

Here are my config files, you can of course configure Ice to work differently but for the purpose of this article I will show you what I have in my three config files. I have removed most of the content that comes in these files to keep the demonstration simple and to show you that some things are not needed for our particular setup. Please review the files you downloaded from the Ice website and compare them with mine. I have added some of my own comments to help you understand how these three files work together. I am currently running both SNES and Genesis/MegaDrive on my Steam Link so if you only want SNES games you can ignore the Genesis stuff but I have left it here to help show you how this stuff is working.

config.txt

[Storage]
# My ROM Files:
ROMs Directory=E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs

[Grid Images]
# The default is ConsoleGrid (consolegrid.com/api/top_picture)
# If this field is left blank, Ice will not attempt to download images
Source=consolegrid.com/api/top_picture

consoles.txt

# This [WORD] represents the category in Steam
[Super Nintendo]
# nickname must match you folder name in your ROMs folder
nickname=SNES
# This is the name you specify in emulators.txt
emulator=RetroArch_SNES
# This is the file extension of the ROMs in the ROMs folder
extensions=sfc

[Sega Genesis]
nickname=Genesis
emulator=RetroArch_Genesis
extensions=md

emulators.txt

[RetroArch_SNES]
# Location of RetroArch.exe
location=E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\RetroArch\retroarch.exe
# Location of SNES CORE and some launch options
command=%l -fullscreen -L cores\bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll %r

[RetroArch_Genesis]
location=E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\RetroArch\retroarch.exe
command=%l -fullscreen -L cores\genesis_plus_gx_libretro.dll %r

Ice will also grab the artwork to use for the ROM’s when in Big Picture Mode. But the ROM file name must match the name found on the consolegrid.com website.

For example I had to rename my Super Mario World ROM to “Super Mario World.sfc” before running Ice so that Ice could get the correct artwork for me.

Once you have your config files edited and pointing to the correct locations on your hard drive you must exit Steam and launch Ice.exe. If all is successful you will see a screen which looks similar to the one below.

Ice for Steam Link

If you have some issues with Ice you will need to read what the Ice console tells you and Google for any problems that it reports. You can also read the Ice Getting Started Guide where you can read more about the ROM folder structure and how to set custom images and icons for your games in Steam.

If Ice executed without any issues it’s time to load up Steam, launch Big Picture Mode and test if all is working correctly. Once you are happy that all is working as expected on your desktop it’s time to move into the other room and boot up your Steam Link for some awesome retro gaming fun!

It should work flawlessly once you have all the kinks ironed out.

Steam Link with RetroArch and Ice running in Big Picture Mode

Steam Link with RetroArch and Ice running SNES Games in Big Picture Mode

This is a dream come true for me and I hope that you are also able to play some ROMs on your Steam Link. It brings back a ton of childhood memories and I am excited to play on the Steam Link with my friends and family.

The Finishing Touch, Using the 8bitdo SFC30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller with the Steam Link

Wireless SNES ControllerI just purchased the 8bitdo SFC30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller. I have no idea if this thing will work. I will update you here as I get my hands on it to let you know if the SFC30 works with Steam Link and RetroArch.

 

The Final Word

After trying for several days I truly believe that this article outlines the best setup for running emulated games on the Steam Link. Many people are using LaunchBox or BigBox as a layer in-between Steam and the emulator but this comes with it’s own issues. I personally was not able to get things working using LaunchBox, my controllers never worked and it looked horrible trying to navigate LaunchBox plus I really don’t see why you would want to use LaunchBox when you can launch games directly from Steam Big Picture Mode which looks great and it just works better.

If you add more Cores to RetroArch you simply add a few lines of code to your Ice config files and then run Ice again. If you add more ROM files you simply exit Steam and run Ice again. I love how RetroArch works independently in this setup. I can swap shaders, configure controllers and do all of that fun stuff directly in RetroArch, afterwards I just boot up my Steam Link and it works flawlessly.

I really hope you have been able to learn something today and If you have any questions, comments or praise to give, please do so in the comments below and I will try to reply.

Known issues and Frequently asked Questions

I will try to keep this article updated and if I get similar questions from people I will try to add them here as a help resource.

Where can I download ROM Files?
It is actually illegal to download ROM files. People say if you own a physical copy you can download a copy of the internet. This is not true. The copy you download is an illegally distributed copy and this is not ok. You will need to purchase a Retrode 2 and create your own ROMs using your original games. These ROMs will be backup copies of your already purchased games. You can purchase games from dkoldies.com and lukiegames.com and make your own backup files.

Issues with the Steam Controller not working with RetroArch!
I did have some issues with the Steam Controller bindings when I launched my first game and you will need to modify your Steam Controller to map it to the keyboard inputs used by RetrocArch. I actually just used my DualShock 4 controller via Bluetooth and it worked instantly with no extra setup required.

Problems when running Ice and the consolegrid API!
Originally in my ROM folder I had folder called “MegaDrive” which made Ice report that the consolegrid API was down, but in reality it just didn’t know that MegaDrive was is also called Genesis. I renamed the folder from MegaDrive to Genesis and then Ice worked correctly and grabbed the artwork from consolegrid.

Everything seems correct after running Ice but the games just wont load from Steam!
Test the ROM and the Core directly from RetroArch first, Launch retroarch.exe and make sure it works as expected before running Ice and trying to launch it with Steam. If it wont work just using RetroArch it definitely wont work using Steam. During the setup process I had downloaded the bnes_libretro.dll it took me a good thirty minutes to realise that I had downloaded a NES Core instead of a SNES Core which prevented it from running in RetroArch. I switched to the bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll and then it worked as expected.

Games launch correctly but my controller does not seem to work!
It seems sometimes that if you have a controller plugged in to your desktop PC, RetroArch gives priority to that controller and then the controllers connected to the Steam Link don’t seem to work. Unplug any controllers from your desktop before launching your games in Steam.


CPU issues when streaming and playing games

I noticed I was getting lag spikes in game after starting to stream with OBS. It was not because of my internet speed but because my CPU was using 100% of it’s processing power and killing my mad skills in CSGO. This was causing me to have some pretty horrible issues when streaming and playing games on Twitch.

How to fix CPU related issues when streaming and playing games?

The information in this post will apply to all games not just Counter-Strike Global Offensive so if you have a CPU streaming issue please read on.

I didn’t stream on Twitch much since the summer. Mostly because of other projects and because I started hitting the gym a few times a week! I formatted my PC and put Windows 10 on it plus bought myself a brand new BenQ XL2430T 144Hz monitor and I had taken my green screen down to have a huge sort out in the room I use to stream. All of these things combined meant I had destroyed my streaming setup! Putting things back together takes time but I started to do that this week.

Starting fresh

So previously I guess I had tweaked my CSGO game and my streaming settings, something I must of totally forgot about.

I tried to stream the other day and my CPU was running at 100% and causing CSGO to stutter which made me play really badly. I had to make a some tweaks again and now my CPU is running at around 90% which is perfect in my opinion because I have almost maximum performance from my PC and no issues while streaming and playing games.

Before we start tweaking

If you understand a few simple ideas then you will be able to make choices that work for you rather than just plain copying me. We all have different gaming rigs and stream different styles of games so the fixes are down to you to makes choices.

Understanding the streaming process

When you stream your capture software usually XSplit or OBS is recording your screen at the number of frames you specify, then it is resizing the dimensions of the capture as you specify and then it tries to compress it to the size rate which you specify (1800 KB/s in my case) then it sends it down the wire to Twitch.

So the more frames you have and the larger your screen resolution the larger the amount of data your CPU has to crush in order to meet your specified streaming KB/s.

On top of that CSGO is known to be a very CPU expensive game, the source engine that runs Counter-Strike uses the CPU more so than other games. Newer games pass much more of the graphic processing work to the GPU.

So in my case both CSGO and OBS are using my CPU.

You can check this by going into Task Manager, on Windows by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.

CPU issues when streaming and playing games on Twitch

Analyse CPU issues when streaming and playing games on Twitch!

Reducing your CPU usage is easy

You have to make some choices as to what works best for the style of games yo pay and what software and hardware you use. I outline 5 fixes below.

You may have to use all 5 of them.

Fix 1: Free up valuable CPU processing power

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and go in to Task Manager. The first unexpected thing I noticed in Task Manager was a little program called “RzStats.Manager.exe” I saw that is was using between 10-12% of my CPU when I moved my mouse. This is because I have a Razer DeathAdder 2013 gaming mouse and when I installed the Razor Synapse 3.0 software it asked me if I would like to turn on statistic tracking for my mouse. At the time this seemed like a great idea. I soon realised that all it really does it create a heat map which is in my opinion completely useless. I disabled statistics tracking in the Razor Synapse software and then the CPU usage disappeared and I gained an extra 10% free processing power.

Analyse what is going on under the hood of your machine using Task Manager and work out what programs are hogging CPU and decide if you need them or not.

Fix 2: Reduce the amount of CPU used by the game you play

In my case CSGO is using my CPU. I like to have all my graphics settings on maximum and I still get over 150 FPS. Reducing the screen resolution of CSGO can give you more CPU if you combine that with lower graphics settings you can free up a lot of CPU power. I play 1080p and I prefer gaming in full quality so I won’t be reducing my settings in CSGO. This is my personal choice.

Adjusting the game quality settings and resolution of your game can sometimes free up CPU power, especially if your game is known for hogging CPU.

Fix 3: Stream at a lower FPS

Reduce the the number of frames per second that you record in. This is what I mentioned earlier. If you are capturing in 60 FPS you are capturing twice as much data as someone who is streaming at 30 FPS and you may have to reduce this. If you are streaming a game like Hearthstone you can probably go as low as 24 FPS without much visual concern. CSGO is a fast paced FPS and I choose to stream at 60 FPS. I can’t sacrifice this.

The lower the frame rate you stream the less CPU will be needed.

Fix 4: Downscale your stream

Downscale effectively throws away some of the data so the CPU handles less data. The less data being used the less work it does. I record my screen at 1080p and I downscale to 720p. I don’t believe many of my viewers watch my stream at full screen and even if they do 720p is still classed as HD.

The more you downscale the less CPU you will use.

Fix 5: Spend some money!!

If you have tried all of the above and still you find your games unplayable it’s time to bite the bullet and spend some money. I am serious, If you think you can be a streamer on a cheap old laptop you are probably wrong. Have a real hard look at your setup, is it really a gaming setup, more importantly can it even stream…

If all else fails go and spend some money on some new kit! 

My crappy old gaming rig

Yes I want to upgrade, I consider my setup a little old now because I have to make sacrifices to stream! I am waiting for the release of the Oculus Rift before I do any thing major with my rig. I want to be an early adapter of the VR technology that is coming and I want to stream that sh*t! Yeaaahh Buddddyy!

Motherboard: ASUS – P8P67 Deluxe
Processor: Intel Core i7-2700K CPU @ 3.50GHz
Cooling: Antec Liquid Cooling KÜHLER H2O 920
RAM: 32 GB Geil Evo 2.400 MHz DDR3 RAM
OS Hard Drives: 2 x Kingston 240GB HyperX SATA III SSD
Data Storage: 2TB Western Digital HD
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 7800 EYEFINITY 6
Power: AMD Radeon HD 7800 EYEFINITY 6
Case: Akasa Venom Full Tower Yellow

Please look at my gaming rig spec above and if your machine is a lower spec than mine then you are probably going to have to make even more compromises than I did. if compromising is not something you want to do then you will have to simply go and spend some money on buying some better streaming kit.

The Final Word!

I left my CSGO settings on maximum plus I really want to stream at 60 FPS. My compromise comes with fix number 4, I downscale to 720p and this was enough to keep my CPU usage in check. There are some other smaller optimisations that you can make but I haven’t mentioned them because if you can’t fix your issues using fix 1, 2, 3 or 4 then I suggested you go straight to option number 5.


The best upload settings for Twitch

I wanted to make a short video on what I think are the best upload settings for Twitch. Quite simply through trial and error over the last 1.5 years of streaming I have learned what does and doesn’t work. According to Twitch your upload settings should be calculated based on your personal bandwidth upload speed. In practice I have found this is not accurate information. I was originally using the above guide to set my Stream upload speed. I started to get complaints from viewers who simply couldn’t see my Stream. I have noticed when I am on a slow connection I experience the same black screen issue when visiting some streams.

Viewers complaining about a black screen

My basic understanding is as follows. Just because you can upload at 3500kb/s does not mean your viewers can watch your stream. If a viewer in your room has a slower connection for example 1000kb/s they simply wont see the stream. This is because they can not download quickly enough the stream you are trying to send.

A lesson to be learned

When you receive a complaint from a viewer do not instantly assume they are in the wrong. I have tried to advise many streamers that the settings they use are too high and that I can not see the stream. Often another chatter raises his voice and say’s “Well it is perfect for me!” and the streamer simply ignores my comment at which point I leave the stream because I just see a black screen. Now consider the number of people who do not even comment and simply leave the stream assuming it is broken. Remember where there is smoke there is fire, if you keep getting feedback from users that are trying to tell you something then you should pay attention and investigate the issue. Remember there is no point having crystal clear stream in ultra high definition, if people can not even watch it.

Why does Twitch recommend streamers to use such high settings?

I think the settings Twitch recommends are accurate based on video quality alone, if you want to stream 1080p at 60 fps I think for optimum quality you should be using 3500kb/s as recommend by Twitch. I also believe that perhaps when creating these articles Twitch is taking into account that there is a ‘Video Quality Option’ on the Twitch video player where users can adjust your stream quality and set it to either Source, High, Medium, Low and Mobile. But new and un-partnered streamers do not always get this luxury all of the time. You will probably not have the ‘Video Quality’ option on your stream.

Video quality settings can be found on the bottom right of the video player but new streamers may not have them.

Video quality settings can be found on the bottom right of the video player but new streamers may not have the option and their viewers are forced to watch at Source quality.

Best upload settings for Twitch Partners

If you are already a partner then you will always have the ‘Player Options’ popup and in that case it makes sense to use the recommended upload settings. If you have the ability to stream at 3500kb/s then it makes sense to do so because users on slower connections can adjust the rate at which data is sent to them.

Best upload settings for non Twitch Partners

I really believe there is a sweet spot at around 1600-2000kb/s where you can have great quality and the largest number of possible viewers. It is a happy medium between quality and maximum viewership.

The best upload settings for Twitch

Adjusting the upload settings for Twitch in OBS.

The Final Word!

If your a partner by all means you should be using the maximum upload speed that you can. If you are new to twitch and are not partnered I believe you should lower your upload setting to around 1800kb/s. If people can not watch your stream you will have less viewers, less chatters and a harder time making it big on Twitch. Drop the upload speed and once you become partnered you can stream in ultra high quality.


How I picked up over 400 Twitch followers in just 4 days!

I wanted to share what I did over the last few days to capitalize on an opportunity that happens several times a year. If you play a game that has a large e-sports event you may be able to gain some extra followers just by watching Twitch and being part of the event on Twitch. I picked up over 400 followers in the last few days and I didn’t even stream once.

ESL One Cologne 2015 just happened and we saw millions of gamers tune into the event. I mostly play Counter-Strike Global Offensive so I will speak about my experience with that but if you play one of the other big games such as Dota2, Battlefield 4, Hearthstone or League of Legends then there is similar e-sports events which you may be able to capitalize on in a similar way.

Team EnVyUs - Photo by Helena Kristiansson

Team EnVyUs – Photo by Helena Kristiansson

Getting seen by over 800,000 Twitch viewers!

The value of being seen by over 800k viewers on Twitch is priceless! But the cost is just $6.99. Warren Buffet arguably one of the greatest investors ever said “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Remember this advice when trying to grow your Twitch channel because some small economic commitments can mean big rewards.

The Counter-Strike event was broadcasted on several official live streams, I subscribed to the Official ESL CSGO Twitch channel during the event. This costs $6.99 for one month. This means that I can speak in the chat room when the room is in subscriber only mode which is the case for all of the games when they are live. During this time there is hundreds of thousands of people watching Twitch and reading the Twitch chat. This is where you can gain some serious exposure, attention and followers.

Don’t get banned!

MODS can be super aggressive especially during live events, be careful what you say and how you behave! Remember that hundreds of thousands of people are watching you and what you type in chat. Don’t be a d*ck, your trying to gain the love and respect of the community. Be helpful towards people and answer questions, you will get some private whispers from people who are not subscribers. At times it can be too much to deal with, you will have alot of people messaging you and some of these people will send you some new follows.

Do not post links, if you do mention “giveaways” or ask people to “follow you” be warned you may get a ban. I had several small bans over the weekend between 60 and 600 seconds. When this happens I just calm down, usually it is because I am over talking and over dominating the chat room.

All the Top Streamers are there!

Another thing you will notice is that all of the top streamers on Twitch will be present at the event, they love the game, they love Twitch and they love to be part of the huge pro events. You are now mixing with the Twitch VIP’s.

On a Subconscious level

Another thing which I think happens and makes a huge difference is some people will say to me “I recognize your name” or “Did we play together recently?”. I think this is because I am present in these large chat room events. My name is being seen and is going into peoples minds on a subconscious level, a few weeks from now they may stumble across my stream and instantly they will think they know me from somewhere or perhaps they even remember me from a large esports event.

Remember to Unsubscribe

A word of warning a Twitch subscription will auto renew, so if you are not interested in running your subscription for several months make sure you unsubscribe during the event or straight after the event or you will get charged $6.99 every single month. You can manage your Twitch subscriptions here.

The Final Word!

I have subscribed to each of the last four major CSGO events and each time I pickup between 100 and 500 new followers. This time round I gained just over 400 Twitch followers. This will work on smaller scale events also where perhaps there is only 40,000 to 100,000 people watching but you will get some followers by simply being part of the event on Twitch and you will be growing your name and presence in the community.


BEAT CSGO Lounge – Try again in a few seconds fix!

If you are reading this article you already know the pains of betting on CSGO! Every time there is a major event you cannot for love nor money get your bets placed in time, you later find out you would have been in the money and you’re super frustrated!

I will show you exactly what I do to get my bets on in time for ESL One games. I made a video of me placing a bet using my fixed method, showing you how I beat CSGO lounge when it’s not accepting bets and when you get those annoying messages like:
“Please try again in few seconds.”

Give me the JavaScript Code!

Here is the JavaScript snippet for placing a trade:

setInterval(function () { $('#placebut').click(); }, 1000);

Here is the JavaScript snippet for getting your returns, use the same method as shown in the video but do it to get your returns back:

setInterval(function () { $('#freezebutton').click(); }, 1000);

I Hope the video makes sense, please leave me a comment if you are stuck.

The Final Word!

Placing bets on CSGO Lounge during busy times is a pain and for some people it’s basically impossible. Use this super simple method to get those broken csgolounge bots to accept your trades!


The best Twitch profile banner template with PSD download

I am currently reworking the graphics on my Twitch channel and I noticed some interesting things about the Twitch profile banner image that I will share with you. It took me a little while to figure this out so I hope you like it! Also if you are looking for more followers then I have a bunch of Fiverr gigs that can generate you a lot of followers on Twitch. Check out some of my customer reviews, I am very proud to say I have many happy customers!

So let’s take look at what I learned about the Twitch profile banner. I have also included a free Photoshop file for you to download.

Twitch Recommends

Twitch recommends that we upload an image which is 900 x 480 pixels. I noticed that this size is almost a 16:9 resolution. 16:9 is a very common ratio size for video and most HD monitors work using a 16:9 ratio.

I have attached an image below which shows a 900 x 480 pixel image that has been stretched so it’s width is 1280 pixels which allowed me to test it against a 1080p resolution or 16:9 image ratio. As you can see there is a small red bar at the bottom of the image that represents the difference in size between the recommend Twitch profile banner size and an image which is 1920 x 1080 pixels.

900-stretched

Twitch profile image and it’s strange behavior

I noticed that if you upload an image which is larger than 480 pixels in height Twitch will resize it to be 480 pixels and then it stretches as the screen size gets bigger.

As monitors change in size so will your background and how it looks.

I have included two images below which will show you how my 1080p test graphic changes depending on the size of the users monitor. To test this you can simply drag your Twitch profile window bigger and smaller, this will only work if you already have a large monitor.

test-graphic

1080p-test1

1080p-test2

Working with really huge monitors

Finally Twitch encourages you to add a background color to your image upload and I figured this is to support really huge monitors. But I don’t seem to be able to produce a scenario where a background actually requires the background color to be present because it seems to always stretch the image to be as big as the users screen.

The Best Background Size

After much testing I can recommend creating a background profile image that is 1870 x 500 pixels. This allows you to create a really good design plus it doesn’t create the awful scaling problems that seem to happen with images that are using a 16:9 ratio.

Twitch Profile Banner Template PSD

I have created an Adobe Photoshop file which can be used to create stunning Twitch profile backgrounds that work across all screen sizes. Below is a link to my Twitch profile banner template and a sample of how it looks.

Click Here to DOWNLOAD the Twitch profile banner PSD file

I have put some notes in the file but basically the majority of the important information and image should be placed in the area marked Visible Area #1. This allows all users to see your message and main graphic.

twitch-profile-template-background

Visible Area #1 – This area should contain any important messages you want the user to read. Be careful of the Twitch footer overlay and Twitch profile Avatar.

Visible Area #2 – This area can be seen on larger screens that support 1080p HD. This area can contain nice art work. Most people will see this area as well as area #1.

Visible Area #3 – Most people will not see this area but some people may see it.

Sample Background

I made a very quick sample background which looks beautiful across all screen sizes.

example-1280px-800px

example-hd-screen

example-fullscreen

The Final Word!

I hope you found this tutorial informative and useful, please leave me a comment below with a link to your Twitch profile if you use my photoshop template, I would love to see what you can do with it!


Download videos from Twitch FLV to MP4 convert

I recently attempted to make a small montage from some of my past broadcasts on Twitch. It is not as easy as you would expect. Firstly there is no way via the Twitch site to download videos, you will need to use a 3rd party website to get the video file from Twitch. Secondly once you have the video file it seems most video editing software doesn’t understand the format. Videos from Twitch download as the FLV file format which I found will not import into iMovie or Adobe Premier.

How to download videos from Twitch

This is the easy part, there is a few tools online which will take a Twitch URL of a previous Twitch broadcast and allow you to download the video.

Here is a current list of Twitch video grabbers:

Once you have the video you will need to convert it into something more useful like an mp4 video file.

Converting Twitch FLV to MP4

For this I use a tool I have been using for years, it is with out doubt the best video converter there is… simply because it is free and it works! Imagine that!

You will need to download handbrake and this will convert FLV files to MP4 files.

YouTube Video – Convert FLV to MP4

I decided to start making some video tutorials to help streamers who visit this blog. Here is my first video tutorial. I will show you exactly how to download videos from Twitch and how to convert Twitch FLV files to MP4 files easily with handbrake.

The Final Word!

Handbrake is awesome, Twitch FLV file format is not so awesome. It would be great if Twitch would allow direct download via their site in MP4 format but for now we need to use this work around. If you plan on using Twitch content to make YouTube videos regularly then I recommend making a copy of all broadcasts at the time of broadcasting, this is easily done with OBS. See option 3 of this article for a brief how to.


Using Twitter to get Twitch followers

I wanted to share with you some of the things I do to get Twitch followers using my Twitter account. I will show you my own techniques that I use to grow my Twitter followers and my Twitch followers.

Get it RIGHT! Setup your Twitter bio like a BOSS!

The first thing you need to realise is that most people wont just find you by accident. You need to help people discover your Twitch channel and you need to tell them to follow you!

Visit my Twitter page and read my bio (Hey, send me a follow while you are there!), you will notice I use the website field to promote my YouTube channel and I use my personal bio to tell people that I giveaway CSGO skins and that it happens very often. Also I include a link to my Twitch channel because people are probably to lazy to type it.

Get Twitch FollowersMy bio is designed to lure people to my Twitch channel and I encourage them to follow me, it really WORKS!

Remember not to lie on your bio, If you are not giving away skins don’t pretend you are. Tell them something else which is cool and true about your channel. I am a CSGO streamer and CSGO players love skins, so this works great for me!

Now your Twitter bio is ready and you can generate interest in your Twitter page!

Archie.co auto favorites tweets!

I used to use TwitFox, but that service was recently shut down because it seems that Twitter doesn’t like services that auto favourite or retweet tweets. My theory in life is people get rich by exploiting loop holes while they exist. I don’t know how long Archie.co will be online but right now it generates me between 25 and 50 new Twitter followers every single day.

Archie.co searches Twitter for specific types of tweets which contain specific keywords and then it favourites them for you. This generates an email from Twitter to the user and other types of notification. Then hopefully they will visit your Twitter profile and like your bio, then follow you on Twitch. It’s a numbers game but it works!

You choose the keyword and archie.co does the rest. If you play World of Warcraft perhaps you can make archie.co look for tweets about “WOW” or “MMO Games”. This helps find people that are interested in the type of games you stream.

Unfollowers.me creates an auto-responder!

If they haven’t already followed you on Twitch after reading your bio, you can now send them a private message via Twitter telling them about your Twitch channel. Hopefully now they will follow you on Twitch.

Go to Unfollowers.me and after you login via Twitter visit the “Automate” tab. From here you need to turn on “Welcome DM” messages.

Create a good welcome message, include your Twitch URL and tell them again why to follow you. Here is my welcome message:

TY for follow, I do lots of CSGO Skin give-aways, Why not follow me on Twitch? http://www.twitch.tv/fivemandown

Now you are fully automated, archie.co is generating traffic to your page and unfollowers.me is telling people about your Twitch channel. This is how you can use Twitter to get Twitch followers!

The Final Word!

BOOM! You are officially a BOSS! As your Twitter grows you also have the ability to send cool tweets to your followers and continue to reap the rewards of your hard work! Remember people need all the help you can give them when it comes to following you, make it easy, make it worth it and be clever about your automation so your social media can work through the night and create interest in your Twitch channel!

Please leave me a comment below – I would love to hear how you have used this article to grow your channel or how you have tweaked this method to get even more Twitch followers!


Get 300 extra Twitch followers every month!

I am sure you are already using FollowTrainTV but still you are looking for even more Twitch growth, well Twitchstarter is an online community that can help you gain extra viewers and followers. Gamers of all ages and disciplines from professional gamers to people who just found out what an Xbox One is use Twitchstarter. They have many great articles and information which can help you become a better streamer. They have a bunch of cool tools, websites, forums and blogs. It’s really a go to network for Twitch streamers and gamers in general!

I have been using the Twitchstarter service now for several months. I have been a premium member, I have paid for banner adverts with them and I have used some of the free tools they have to offer.

If it suits your budget I would recommend trying everything you can, the thing about streaming is something may work for you even if it didn’t work for someone else and vice versa. You have to simply try things and see what works. I also have a bunch of Fiverr gigs that can generate you a lot of followers on Twitch. Check out some of my customer reviews, I am very proud to say I have many happy customers!

How can you get 300 extra Twitch followers every single month for free?

This is easy peasy and it just takes 5 minutes per day. There is a tool on Twitchstarter called ‘Followers Club’ this is a follow for follow exchange system. This means you will follow 10 new people per day and in return you will receive 10 new followers. This is almost guaranteed that you can get 300 extra Twitch followers every single month. You just have to dedicate 5 minutes of each day because there is a maximum of 10 new followers per day.

Visit the Follower Club here: http://www.twitchstarter.com/free-twitch-followers-club.php

At the time of writing this article I have been using Twitchstarter for several months, nearly as long as I have been streaming. I have 10k in followers and over 100k in views on Twitch. According to the data on my Twitchstarter dashboard they have sent me 1705 followers and 290775 views.

It is common that people will follow and unfollow so the exact amount of followers I currently have from the figure above is probably a little less. Also I assume the view count is something to do with my Twitchstarter profile and not to do with my Twitch video views. But I think you would agree it’s been a great help to me and my stream.

The Final Word!

Many people have said to me that followers are not important but what is important is concurrent viewers, this is true. But having lots of followers increases your viewership and it also shows people that you are someone who is worth following.

Even now when I already have 10k in followers I still try to use the Followers Club every single day because the more followers I have the better, it is as simple as that!