I Have a Board Game Idea – Now What? Part 46: 4 Tools for Streaming on a Budget

Welcome back, everyone! It has been another busy week. Hope it was a good week for you as well.

One of the things I’ve wanted to try and do for the last number of years is to stream on Twitch as a way to increase awareness of The Hackers Guild, connect with supporters/fans, and to just share my love for the board game hobby with others. Unfortunately, until just recently the Internet in the little town where I live was woefully inadequate, to say the least. I have since joined the 21st century in regards to my Internet connection, and have spent the last few days perfecting my stream set up in anticipation of my inaugural stream. While not completely finished, I’ve made some really great headway and wanted to share with you 4 of the tools I will be using to stream for basically free.

Tool 1: Twitch

The first tool you will need is a streaming service provider in order to get your streams online. There are a number of options, including YouTube Gaming and Mixer, but I chose to use Twitch. The biggest reason for me was the popularity of Twitch, as well as the amount of support that is available on the internet. It also is used by one of the hosts of the first podcast I started listening to on a regular basis. Check out this blog post to try and help you decide for yourself which platform you are going to use.

Tool 2: Voicemeeter Banana and VB-Cable

Voicemeeter Banana is an advanced audio mixer application that allows you to send different audio inputs (Microphone(s) or system sounds) and mix them together and send them to one or more audio outputs(speakers or headset). Adding VB-Cable’s virtual audio cable driver makes it even more functional as you can now separate certain system sounds from the rest, like if you were running Discord, Skype, or some other similar software. It also provides you with an additional output option: being able to control which inputs are sent to your streaming software.

This is where the basically free comes in. These pieces of software are released as donationware, meaning you can pay whatever you feel they are worth to have them.

Tool 3: Streamlabs Chatbot

This particular piece of software was fairly new to me prior to this week, but I have found it very helpful. One of the best ways to interact with your audience on stream is through the stream chat. What this software does is it allows you to automate some of the chat moderation tasks. Some of the features of the bot you can configure are a song request system, giveaways, minigames, and a virtual currency system that rewards your viewers and enables them to take advantage of some of these features.

Tool 4: Streamlabs Open Broadcast Software (OBS)/OBS

The final piece of the puzzle is some sort of broadcasting software. What this software enables you to do is take all your different inputs (webcam, gameplay video, audio from Voicemeeter Banana) and send it all to your streaming provider for distribution on the internet. Like the provider themselves, there are a number of options for streaming software. Some of the two most popular ones are Open Broadcast Software and XSplit.

Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) is OBS with some additional functionality added to it and is provided by Streamlabs, a company that makes software for adding additional functionality to your stream (like the previously mentioned Chatbot). What Streamlabs has done with SLOBS is integrated some of the additional functionality they have previously provided into you broadcasting software, reducing the load on your CPU while streaming.

Well, that is everything for this week. I am super excited to start streaming and interacting with you in a new, exciting manner. If you are a streamer, what software do you use? Reach out and let us know. I’d also love to hear what you think of this week’s post. Until next time, happy designing.

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