Welcome to #BloggersWhoStream, a fun and informative community event to kick off 2020 in collaboration with the incredible Luke from Hundstrasse. We’re inviting everyone to share their streaming experience regardless of how long they’ve been doing it, so we can all learn from each other’s knowledge.
My own experience started a year after setting up my original blog, when a small group of friends and I participated in the first GameBlast event for SpecialEffect in February 2014. After meeting my other-half in 2015 and finding out he was keen to give it a go, it’s now something we doing fairly often and we’ve taken part in the charity marathon every year since. Things often don’t go smoothly but that’s all part of the fun: every stream is a learning experience to be used to make the next episode better.
Although we have a space set aside to be our dedicated gaming area, now our home is still undergoing renovations so it’s nowhere near ready yet. This means we’ve taken over our living room with our streaming kit – and it’s going to stay there until the end of February while we stream for GameBlast20. There are so many cables trailing throughout the house right now which is a bit of a pain, but it’s so much easier leaving it like this than having to set up again every night. Sorry to anyone who decides to visit us during the next month!
Pete loves any excuse to buy new hardware so looking after this side of our streams gives him plenty of reasons. This year we’ve added a Behringer X122USB mixer and Elgato Key Light to our set-up, along with plenty of cable ties; and his favourite item so far is a Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI capture card. Next up is a better switch and a second camera. He also created some great new artwork for GameBlast20 – more about that below.
The software side of our streams usually falls to me, although Pete likes to get involved. We’ve tried XSplit in the past but have been using Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) for a while because we find it does enough without over-complicating things. All of our scenes are tied to buttons on an Elgato Stream Deck and if you’re planning on streaming regularly, I’d recommend investing in one of these: I thought it was a bit of an extravagance when my other-half bought it but now I love it, because it makes running a steam so simple.
We’ve tried to improve upon the look of our stream for every GameBlast event and Pete has created some new artwork this year. This includes two main scenes, one focusing on the game being played and the other on the camera, each with a message ticker along the bottom of screen, along with a retro-looking intro. Another shout-out to the awesome Gao Li from Gao Li Occasionally Reviews too: this talented blogger produced a set of GIFs especially for us, including one of our cat Zelda falling asleep on a keyboard.
Marathon stream advice
General streaming advice
If you’ve never streamed before and you find the prospect of going live on Twitch daunting, try playing a game you’re very familiar with first. Then add a mic after a couple of sessions, and a webcam after a few more: build up your stream gradually alongside your confidence. Remember to be yourself and have fun because if you’re enjoying it then your audience will too. And finally, if you need any support or want some advice from others within the community, consider joining The Support Role on Discord.
Speaking of the The Support Role, there are some fellow members from whom I’ve learnt a lot about streaming. Luke from Hundstrasse has a way of getting viewers involved in conversation and imparting knowledge about the game he’s playing; and Jett from In Third Person has given me plenty of advice when it comes to both technical set-up and feeling more confident about talking while on air. Watch other streamers who you admire and you’re sure to pick up tips.
So what does the future hold for Later Levels in terms of streaming? Hopefully more of the same. We know we’re never going to have the most popular stream, or play the latest games, or be able to give up our day-jobs; but we enjoy what we do and that’s enough. We’ll continue to participant in the GameBlast event every year to raise funds and awareness for SpecialEffect – although I’m not sure how we’re going to top the 50-day challenge for the next one! If you have any ideas, please do leave them in the comments below.
Are you a blogger who streams? Would you like to share your own experience, set-up and advice? Then get involved: check out this post over on Hundstrasse for all the details and publish your post by Saturday, 02 February 2020. In the words of Luke himself, we look forward to reading how everyone gets their gaming exploits on to the interweb!
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.