Twitch tools

You’ve finished setting up OBS Studio after reading the guide, and now you want to take it to the next step. It just so happens the tools and tips below will help you accomplish that.

Overlays

General overlays: Player.me

You’re going to need an overlay to show things like:

As a new streamer, you want to stand out and have a recognizable look to your stream, especially if people are browsing by thumbnails of streams.

Player.me is the platform for setting up a simple overlay with lots of customization options and excellent free overlays for you to try out.

For info on how to set up overlays on the old version of Player.me, Strexm, consult [JackFrags’s guide][jackfrags-guide] (6:31), which is also referred to in the OBS Studio guide.

Discord overlays: StreamKit

Discord’s StreamKit is simply a tool to help you add Discord-related overlays for chat, voice, and server info. You may even consider replacing your Twitch chat entirely with a Discord if that’s to your liking.

Consider using StreamKit when talking and playing with your friends on stream, as the overlay will help people get to know who’s talking. You don’t think about how other people can’t recognize the voices of strangers, especially since big channels don’t do it because their mates are already famous or known to the channel community.

Chat overlay

I’m not talking about overlays that appear on your stream; for that, there’re tools like KapChat and Streamlabs chat box.

I’m referring to an overlay that shows on your monitor on top of your active game to make it easier to read and notice your chat.

Be aware that these overlays that are basically just apps set to be Always On Top require you to run your games in Borderless Windowed.

Here are some of the apps to check out:

In addition, there are apps to force games to run in Borderless Windowed and make apps be Always On Top.

Dashboard

If you’re serious about streaming, you’ll a dashboard with an overview of all pertinent information while you stream. Twitch’s official dashboard is pretty awful so you may look elsewhere to some of the services listed above.

Some of the things you want in a dashboard are

Twitch’s dashboard missing an event log seems like a particularly stupid oversight compared to the alternatives.

You’ll probably want some combination of these:

The best setup depends on your number of monitors, devices, and PCs.

Alerts, donations, stats, and other services

Player.me

Muxi.io

(WIP.)

Revlobot

Update: Revlo shut down operations on June 16, 2017.

Revlobot is a loyalty system where regulars accrue points just by being in the chat. It looks like you can a simila service with StreamElements.

Default rate is 1 point per minute.

StreamElements

StreamElements, although the website is a bit wobbly, is looking to be the new big, must-have service next to Streamlabs. Here are some of the useful features worth using it for:

You also get useful commands like:

StreamElements subservices

OBS.Live works a lot like Streamlabs’s Labels and Chatbot, except it’s built as a direct add-on for OBS that runs natively inside the UI and makes everything a lot more manageable.

Unlike Streamlabs’s Chatbot, OBS.Live’s chat is just an embedded Twitch chat. And just like Stream Labels is integrated with Streamlabs, OBS.Live’s activity feed is integrated with StreamElements, for better and for worse.

Schedule

Check out WhenStreamerOnline which generates an average schedule based on your past 100 VODs. To link to your specific schedule, just add ?id={channel}; eg

https://tungnk1993.github.io/WhenStreamerOnline/?id=franplayshalo

Check to make sure whether it includes VODcasts; the Twitch API, like the dev outreach and support, is a mess and this guide may be outdated by the time you’re reading this so check for yourself to be sure.

Since you installed Nightbot, you can easily generate a !schedule command:

!commands add !schedule This is an average of my schedule lately: https://tungnk1993.github.io/WhenStreamerOnline/?id={channel}.

(In my case, I don’t stream a lot.)

Setting up a !schedule command with Nightbot in 1-2-3

The service used to have an issue with conflating VODcasts with livestreams, but I think recent changes to the API may have resolved that, but you’ll have to check for yourself.

Streamlabs (formerly TwitchAlerts)

Streamlabs is basically the unofficial official Twitch tool all streamers need. It’s never a good idea when you need to put all your eggs in one third party’s basket, but what are you gonna do.

Streamlabs subservices

I prefer the poorly named Streamlabs Chatbot for dashboards and managing chat and the channel. It keeps me from having to run demanding browsers in the background. On top of this, Streamlabs also has their Stream Labels, which doubles as an event log window, and Streamlabs OBS (AKA SLOBS).

Which brings us to …

Chat and bots

I’ve moved most of this part of the guide to my moderation and chat guide which is under development.

Discord

Check out the dedicated Discord guide for all things Discord.

Privacy and safety

First of all, disable whispers on Twtich. Trust me on this. Tell people how best to contact you instead, on your own terms.

You’ll generally want to be logged in with a streamer account whenever possible: PSN, Windows, videogame platforms. The reason is that you’ll risk showing your name and other personal information you don’t want to share.

PSN will show (full) names (or your friends’); many sites, games, and VoIP clients show your IP without a VPN; Windows and Microsoft Edge will show your name; Chrome will show your username in the top right; Google Docs shows your e-mail address. Games that use P2P networking reveal your IP.

Try typing %USERNAME% in File Explorer and see what name it shows. Is this a name you’re comfortable with showing up in your Stream? It’s going to show up in programs like Sublime Text, the command prompt, and other programs where file destinations are shown. You might also want to disable the address bar in File Explorer which can also show your Windows username.

Set up your stream-specific e-mail address and use it for all the services and games you plan on logging into while streaming. And remember to set up two-factor authentication.

If you live in the US, try to get a dedicated phone number for two-factor authentication and other cases where you have to use a phone number. You can only use the same phone number for two YouTube accounts within a year, so there’s also a limitation that you may need to set up a separate phone number for. A lot of us have several accounts as it is, and YouTube just doesn’t want things to be easy for anyone.

If it sounds impossible to set up a safe stream, that’s because it basically is. Here’s a shorter version of what I just said:

Steam privacy issues

Because Steam is a garbage service by incompetent morons, you can’t ever change your SteamID, which can unfortunately expose any personal information your current SteamID might contain.

And for some dumbass reason, you can’t even hide your SteamID in any settings, which sucks in particular for people with streaming PCs who can only do monitor captures.

On top of that, SteamID is used by developers who literally use it to identify users in their databases. So if you’re a prominent streamer or there’s a change you’ll end up in the top rankings of a game, you’ll want to be extra careful. If you hide your SteamID, but it’s still guessable based on your Twitch handle and so on, people can still look you up in SteamID databases.

In other words, Steam is, as always, a complete shitshow, and they can’t be bothered to give a shit about the privacy of their customers, just as they don’t about your personal information and credit card.

Family Sharing

One alternative is to create an entirely new account. While this is an extreme measure, you can use family sharing to import the library from your original account to also have a friends list that is separate from your original account’s.

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Unfortunately, the games will still show up as “x’s games” in your Games list, so it’s more for creating a separate identity with different friends, and so on. It also looks like devs will still be able to fetch the “host” SteamID.

One other thing to remember about Family Sharing is that VAC bans appear to hit the “host” account as well, so you may want to hold off on letting your good-for-nothing little brother share your games.

Instead, consider GOG which supports username changes.

Make sure to also change your alias and your alias history.

Hiding your Steam ID from viewers

You can do a couple of things to at least hide your Steam User ID on stream:

In Steam, you can change the interface mode by enabling Small Mode under View.

Using third-party interfaces, you can use:

The obvious problem with either of these approaches is that any of them could fail at any time without notice and give you up; Metro for Steam’s layout tends to break every so often, so you both have to update your skin frequently while risking that a new update has a bug that gives you up.

Such is life when Valve don’t care about your privacy.

Surprise: Steam shows you e-mail address

At some point, you’re going to get one of these in Steam out of the blue:

"Is this still your e-mail address" Steam asks while showing your full e-mail address

So either never show Steam or at least use an e-mail you’re comfortable with everyone knowing.

PO Boxes

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On top of this, be aware that people can put location trackers in the packages they send you.

Be sure to check out my security and privacy settings, too.

Getting and giving help in emergencies

Address Confidentiality Programs

In the US:

Address Confidentiality Programs were created to protect victims of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes from offenders who use public records, such as voter or drivers’ license registries, to locate them. These programs give victims a legal substitute address (usually a post office box) to use in place of their physical address; this address can be used whenever an address is required by public agencies. First class mail sent to the substitute address is forwarded to the victim’s actual address.

Thirty-six states have launched Address Confidentiality Programs (see below) and laws governing eligibility vary from state to state. It is important to remember that these programs can only work if the perpetrator does not know where the victim lives, and when used in conjunction with other safety strategies.

More info at the Stalking Resource Center.

Getting help in emergencies

This is your “panic sheet”:

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Giving help in emergencies

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Dealing with swatting

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(More specific advice is complicated by differences in how each state and jurisdiction handles swatting. All the more reason to get a lawyer.)

Audio

Now playing

Snip

I’m using the latest 6.x version which had to be set up in a very different way. However, you may want to use v5.3.1, later versions don’t seem to work with Spotify. I use iTunes so it doesn’t matter to me.

The program is simple to a fault, but it gets the job done. Just create a Text OBS source and point it to the text file Snip creates. Make sure Snip’s saved any text to the file if nothing shows up in OBS; most likely, your audio files don’t have any metadata to read.

If you make Snip launch on startup, it will usually make iTunes launch automatically as well. If you wonder why iTunes keeps launching on startup, that’s probably your reason.

SMG

I’ve had way too many issues with Snip, and it seems it’s just stopped working again. SMG is still maintained and has a paid option, and just feels a lot more polished. Check it out.

Virtual audio cable

(Below is a brief overview of VACs; check out the audio guide for a more comprehensive guide about the ins and outs of VACs and multiple audio channels.)

By default, you only have two audio channels at your disposal: input and output—assuming you even have a microphone.

Breaking things down more granularly makes it easier for you to manage all the sound your audience hears depending on the source such as:

You may even want to send audio that isn’t your microphone audio somewhere, such as the music you’re playing in order to share it with others in, say, your Discord community.

To split your audio into separate channels, you need a “virtual audio cable”. Something like VB-CABLE Virtual Audio Device with VoiceMeeter Banana let you create one VAC, or three if you throw some money their way.

With them, you can now set up a program to send or receive audio and manage this from OBS by adding it in your Audio settings:

The Audio section of the OBS Studio settings

You can now manage the audio for the program by changing the volume, assigning it to a separate track for recording, apply an audio filter to your heart’s content.

Overview of audio tracks in OBS Studio.

OBS Studio’s audio mixer

This, by … sigh, Cirrus McGoat, is a fine audio-visual how-to:

I still haven’t managed to get it to work consistently, but play around with it, and if anything goes south, you can always uninstall the VAC drivers—and, worst case scenario, remove and re-install your own sound drivers.

You can also “cheat” by using some of the other audio channel in your Windows “Sound” settings on some setups—it doesn’t work for me—but I find that using dedicated VACs is the simplest solution, which also won’t be prone to issues when you change your hardware.

As you can see in the section “Using VAC and Discord” below, you can also output audio from one program to another using the VAC first for output and then for input.

Jukebox

Using VAC and Discord

A simple-ish approach to sharing the music that you are playing, is to change the output device of a player like VLC to your VAC and have the VAC (see the above section) be the input device of a separate Discord account in a voice channel. This account will then broadcast whatever you’re playing in VLC to the voice channel in question.

As hairy as it may sound, it’s fairly simple, but obviously only lets you control the music.

Smozzle explains how this works in his video below:

Using a music bot

FredBoat is really great at the moment. About as straightforward as can be.

Using MediaSharing

(WIP.)

Analytics

Social Blade and Twinge are mainly generalized databases of info for everyone, but StreamElements seem to be doing some pretty solid work of tracking and analyzing data for your stream, so I recommend you hook it up and leave it running. Their website doesn’t run very well at the moment, however, but you won’t need to visit it to get their e-mail reports.

We all know how meagre Twitch’s own analytics tools are, so better to embrace any decent alternative that comes along.

Dual monitors

DDMM

For people with dual monitors on the same computer.

The mouse delay to move between monitors is really useful for gaming with Windowed Borderless where you click on the other monitor by accident.

You can also switch between Windowed and Fullscreen with Alt + Enter, but it only really works as an alternative to alt-tabbing.

Free, but basically abandoned; SourceForge is kind of a sketchy place to download from these days so consider getting it somewhere else.

You can’t disable it easily, which means you’re forced to open and close it. You’ll want a mouse movement delay between monitors for gaming, but it’s a total pain for general use. Be great if it could be limited to certain applications, but alas.

Update: I swear DDMM also introduces some serious mouse input lag. Make sure to check if I’m right about my hunch before you use it while gaming.

Synergy

For people with dual monitors on separate computers.

Configurations sometimes reset so try to back it up if supported.

Costs $19 or $29 with literally a $10 surcharge if you want traffic between computers to be encrypted. Absurd pricing if you ask me. Get the Pro version with encryption. You’re literally sending all your keystrokes to another computer, so encrypt that tout de suite.

Try the coupon code linus8 for 50% off: https://symless.com/synergy/linus8; it still works as of August 2017. They’ll surely run similar campaigns elsewhere that can be googled.

Do not try to pirate something like this. Either buy it or don’t.

Charity streams

If you want to fundraise on your stream, you can’t do better than Tiltify.

IFTTT and automated “Now live!” social-media posts

IFTTT (IF This Then That) now has Twitch support. What this means is that you can create recipes where one event triggers another. This is particularly useful when you don’t want to post in five different places at once about going live or something else. Here are some useful recipes:

Go see all the IFTTT Twitch recipes.

This also lets you create bot-like triggers in your Discord server. I’ll go through how to create these in my upcoming Discord guide.

What next?

With this guide done, you can move on to the audio guide.