Getting Started with YouTube Gaming

Background

The extremely popular video sharing service, YouTube, just announced a new gaming service today. If you’re interested in getting started with the service, this will serve as a simple guide to show you how to set up your account, install live streaming software, and start streaming your content to the world!

Streaming Software

There are a few software packages that YouTube has certified support for. While other software may work with the service, you’ll most likely want to stick with YouTube-approved software for the most reliable experience. The software packages that YouTube supports are as follows:

Your Account

The first thing you’ll need to do is visit your YouTube Live Dashboard, sign into your account, and configure your live stream settings, including the Title, Description, Category (generally “Gaming”), and the Game Title. YouTube Gaming has already imported most popular gaming titles, and will automatically find the game you’re looking for when you start typing the game’s title (see screenshot). Each game has its own, separate landing page, so you’ll want to make sure that you select the proper game that you’re streaming, so that it’s easily discoverable by people who want to watch it. If you don’t specify the game title, people are less likely to find your live stream. You want more viewers, right?

YouTube Gaming :: Basic InfoSetting up XSplit

The first piece of streaming software that I tried out is called XSplit Broadcaster. Overall, the experience of getting it set up was incredibly simple, and the software is quite powerful as well! Go ahead and install it and create an account.

Scenes

Set up different scenes
Set up different scenes

Once you enter the main interface, it’s easy to set up multiple “scenes.” Each scene provides a unique layout, made up of multiple windows, so you can position your game, webcam, and other content in the desired positions. You can even rename each of the scenes, so that it’s easy to remember which one you want to use for different scenarios. From the menu, you can select a different scene transition, and transition speed (in milliseconds), to use when you switch between scenes. Transition options include a simple fade, slide left / right / up / down, and quite a few others. The default fade is a pretty nice option for transitions.

XSplit Scene Sources

Each scene can have one or more windows (“sources”) on it. Each source can be a game, webcam, a second or third webcam, an image or video file, a screen capture, a web page, and others. As you add more sources to your scenes, the more processing power that will be required, so keep that in mind. All of these sources have to be aggregated together then encoded, and uploaded to YouTube, so there is quite a bit of work going on.

Once you’ve added a variety of scene sources, you can uncheck the box next to each one to disable it, instead of removing it. This saves time so you don’t have to reconfigure each of the scene sources each time you want to make it visible or invisible to your audience.

Each source has its own settings, such as transparency, which means that you can overlay items on top of your game capture, without completely blocking out the game behind them. This ensures that you can continue to stream your game in full-screen, rather than having to down-size it to fit other elements on the screen. Camera sources, such as webcams, even allow you to use chroma key, which is the setting that enables you to leverage a “green screen” and capture just your body, or other objects, in front of the screen, while making the rest transparent.

Encoding

While the default H264 encoding method is highly CPU intensive, in order to reduce the performance hit to your CPU, there is a different encoding method called Quick Sync H264 that uses the GPU to encode.

XSplit Encoding Settings

Broadcasting

XSPlat - YouTube Channel Properties (filled in)Broadcasting to the new YouTube Gaming service is incredibly easy with XSplit. You can simply add a YouTube Live Channel from the Broadcast menu, click the Authorize button, login to your Google account, configure a few options, and that’s it! You’re streaming! XSplit will automatically grab the channel metadata that you’ve configured (eg. Title and Description). There are a handful of options, such as encoding method, video bitrate, and audio bitrate. If you’re on a slower Internet connection, you’ll probably want to keep the video bitrate lower, but if you have extra bandwidth, you will probably want to set it between 2500 – 3500 KB/sec for the best streaming quality. When streaming to YouTube, you can also check a box that enables a “carbon copy” of the video that will get written to your local filesystem. Be careful though, because video files can get very large, especially if you’re recording at a high bitrate!

Although XSplit is designed for broadcasting to live streaming services, such as Twitch and YouTube, you can also use it as a tool to record local videos. Under the Broadcasting menu, there is an option to perform a local broadcast, and there is also a tool that you can use to view and manage the local broadcasts that you’ve performed. When you broadcast locally, XSplit creates a .mp4 file that you can then edit and upload to a video hosting service.

Conclusion

If you are interested in delivering live streams of games, or other content, then you should definitely check out the new YouTube Gaming service! Using the XSplit Broadcaster software, you can easily stream application, games, web pages, images, videos, and other content to your audience, and have tight controls over what is shown, and how it is shown, during the broadcast. Best of luck in your broadcasting!!