If you had told me twenty years ago that the world would get to a point where thousands of people could tune in and watch people play a video game live just about anytime you want, I’d have called you crazy.
And I definitely would have been wrong.
When I pause to consider online streaming and all that it’s become, it really does just sort of leave me awestruck. I can’t believe how “on demand” things are now, from video and movie streaming services, all the way to streaming as a more general rule - not just for video games, but for other things like art, cooking, or “slice of life” vlogs.
If you had told me six or seven years ago that I’d be able to do streaming as a piece of how I’d make my living, I definitely would have thought you were blowing smoke out of you-know-where. The odds of making it “big” on a streaming platform are astronomical.
Again, I’d be wrong.
I haven’t made my whole life all about streaming so that I make my entire living off it or anything, but I picked up streaming almost as soon as I came to Stardock and it’s become an integral part of my job over the last five years. In addition to doing it at work for all of our major releases, I sometimes stream some of my favorite games that I play during my leisure time, just for fun.
Because streaming is something I do often in both my work and home life, I’ve picked up a few tricks and things that help my experience run smoothly for both myself and my viewers. Specifically, a few pieces of software that make my life a lot easier - let’s take a look at them!
I talk about Groupy a lot, but it’s because it deserves to be talked about! I don’t have the space or the resources to have three or four monitors on my desk - I have two. Obviously, one of those monitors needs to be dedicated to running the game itself; the problem that I have is that I need to be able to view too many different things than can comfortably fit on that second monitor.
I need to be able to monitor the chat on my Twitch channel (or in the case of streaming for work, the chat on Steam). At the same time, I need easy access to my X-Split so that I can change scenes or make adjustments to my sound or troubleshoot any other stream problems. Depending on what I’m playing, I might need a guide open or have to occasionally reference an outline so I remember all of my talking points. I also tend to keep Discord open, especially if I’m playing a team-oriented game and need to be on voice chat with my friends.
Cramming all of this on one monitor without having to waste a bunch of time squinting at my task bar (my eyes are getting old) and trying to find the right thing to maximize from a minimized state is impossible! Enter: Groupy. It makes my life so much easier and allows my streaming process to run smoothly. I can easily switch through my tabs using hotkeys, or trail my mouse over there to click on the one that I need to look at. If I need to grab an asset for my stream, like an animation or an image, Groupy’s organization makes it so much easier to find.
Fences is another program I talk about a lot, and that’s mostly because it has really helped me personally. I have never been great at organization (both on my PC and off of it!), and Fences makes it possible for me to organize in a visual way that I find appealing and easy to navigate.
While Fences doesn’t serve the same practical “in action” purpose that Groupy does for my streaming, the work it does is still essential to my sanity. I have all of my frequently used programs organized into specific Fences on my desktop, which includes a fence for gaming (it contains mostly games and game-adjacent programs, like Battle.net) and also a fence for streaming.
I know right where everything is because they are neatly categorized (and even colored differently), so when I’m ready to sit down and stream I don’t have to spend a bunch of time hunting down everything I need - it’s all right there ready to go!
I only have one PC here at home that I use for streaming. I built it a few years ago, and although it’s probably due for some upgrades, we designed it specifically so that it could handle the load of running a game and the streaming software, plus other things, all at once. Some people don’t have that luxury, though, and that’s where Multiplicity comes in!
With Multiplicity, you can have one PC do the heavy lifting of the processing and running the streaming software while the other focuses on the game. You can control it all easily with one keyboard and mouse, so you don’t have to fight with a bunch of hardware covering your desk.
If you have a laptop, Multiplicity can create a “docking station” for it, so that you can utilize it easily while you stream. Being able to pull up a Twitch chat or stream preview on the laptop without having to lean over and use its keyboard or mouse pad is a luxury I enjoy whenever I use it myself. Above, I'm showing my buddy Spencer's setup, since it's shinier than mine (and I don't want to clean my desk off for a pic right now ).
These programs have worked great for me for a number of years and are now an integral part of my streaming process, especially at home where I have more limited space and resources.
Do you stream games at all? Share a link to your channel with me in the comments! If you’re interested in seeing what I stream during my leisure time, feel free to toss me a follow over on Twitch.