Competing with fellow racers and showing off your skills is a huge part of what makes racing games so enjoyable. An excellent way to share your talent with other is streaming your races on Twitch. For this guide we reached out to YouTuber and streamer John Theodore who’s been creating racing content for four years. With his expertise we’ll set up your Twitch stream in no time.
Reading time: 6 minutes
If you are into gaming, you are probably familiar with Twitch, the world’s biggest live streaming platform. “Setting up the stream for sim racing wasn’t terribly difficult. You just need to configure OBS Studio correctly, which is pretty easy to set up,” says John Theodore, who’s made himself a name as an iRacing streamer on Twitch. Together, we’ll talk you through the basic steps to get your channel going.
In order to stream on Twitch, you need an account on the platform of course. Before you start, you need one more thing to capture your game, though. In order to broadcast your gameplay on the platform, you need additional software. There are lots of programs you can download from the internet. The most user-friendly one is OBS. It’s free and works for Windows, mac, and Linux. It allows you to stream your games, switch between scenes (for example between in-game scenes and your studio) and sets all the settings required correctly.
Summed up, this is the software you need:
- Twitch account
- OBS (alternatives: XSplit, Gameshow)
- Your game of choice
- Optional: Streamlabs
The most complicated part is probably the technical requirements: You need both a computer that is powerful enough to run a game and a stream simultaneously as well as a stable internet connection. Twitch recommends the following hardware:
- Operating system: Windows 7 or later version
- CPU: Intel i5-4670 or AMD equivalent
- Memory: 8GB DDR SDRAM
- Internet: bitrate range of 3-6 megabits per second
Apart from that, it really depends on what you want to do on your stream. If you just want to stream your game without any commentary or showing yourself, you are almost good to go. However, most streamers want to interact with their audience, so a good microphone and HD camera are key. Our pro’s advice: “A webcam is optional but highly recommended – people want to see you – you’re the draw,” says John Theodore. According to him, it is also advisable to be able to read the chat to interact with your audience.
“A second monitor is a must, definitely recommend that over an overlay. Position the monitor so it’s right next to the edge of your main monitor – or above if you have a three-screen or ‘trips’ setup.”
When streaming, the sky is the limit. There is always something you can improve on or additionally include. It’s up to you in the end and where you want to go with your channel and how much you want to invest – money and timewise.
Setting up your stream
After logging on to Twitch, you can select “Creator Dashboard” in the drop-down menu on the top-right of your screen. This leads you to a subpage on which you can make many adjustments to your stream by accessing the drop-down menu on the top-left.
There you find a bunch of helpful options to customise your stream. For starters, you should click on “Preferences” and then on the subcategory “Channel”.
Besides cosmetic customisation options such as your channel’s banner, there is an extremely important code you need to set up your stream: the Primary Stream key, which you should never share with anyone.
Next, copy this code and open your OBS. Open the settings, click “Stream” and insert the Stream key. This is how you synchronise your streaming software with your Twitch account, so you don’t broadcast into the void.
Next up you’ll want to get the right video settings. Depending on the upload speed of your internet connection, you have different options to choose from. While the base resolution can be the maximum which is defined by the monitor you are using, the output resolution has to be adjusted to match the speed of your internet connection.
From an upload speed of at least 8 Mbps you can stream in 1080p and a framerate of 60fps. Below that, you should consider turning down to lower resolutions and framerates. You require at least 3 Mbps upload speed, with which you should be able to stream in 1,024 x 576 pixels and 30fps.
After that you should go to the “Output” menu, where you make the fine adjustments for your stream. The following steps ensure that you have the best possible video quality. Choose the “Advanced” output mode, set NVIDIA NVENC H.264 (new) as your encoder and check the “Enforce streaming service encoder settings” box. If you happen to have a graphics card by AMD, you probably need a third-party program to ensure you have a fitting encoder such as AMD ReLive.
By default, your Rate Control setting should be Constant Bit Rate (CBR). Your bitrate, too, depends on your upload speed. Twitch has a max bitrate of 6,000 Kbps, so don’t bother setting this value any higher. If your stream turns out to be laggy, you should tune the bitrate down until you don’t have any lags. If you are not able to run your stream at 2,500, you might have an internet connection that’s a bit too slow.
The “Preset” option determines the computing power that your CPU uses for streaming. You should aim for “Maximum Quality”, but if your PC can’t handle that, you should choose a lower setting here too.
After all these steps are completed you should have covered the most important settings and can run your first test stream.
Ready, set, go!
Now it’s time to put your stream to its first test. Close the settings and click on the small plus in the “Sources” window. Select “Game Capture” and the application you wish to broadcast. You can add more sources and edit them in the menu to show overlays and other features on your stream. For now, however, you are good to go for your first stream.
Particularities when streaming sim racing games
If you happen to stream iRacing, John recommends the app package from Kutu. It comes with a lot of overlays catered to the needs of iRacers such as standings, fuel, water, and oil trackers, and many more features. There is also a more sophisticated version called Kapps, however, you have to pay a monthly subscription for this tool.
Further additions to your streams
Additional customisation options such as notifications, alerts and sounds can be added with third-party tools like Streamlabs. You can link your Twitch account to these programs and add more features to your stream to make it more interesting and appealing for your fellow sim racers. If you’d like to know more about such feature or if you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment.
Find all the downloads here:
Photo credit: iRacing/Twitch