Streaming your jam on Twitch

How to get the best out of your streaming technology and make your jam known to the world.

For 2020 we will be using Twitch as our main streaming platform.

There are two elements to this - managing your own jam stream, and broadcasting on the GGJ central stream.

Also we encourage all sites to show the central GGJ stream on a screen or projected on the wall - so your jammers can seen snapshots from sites all around the world!

If you do stream, be careful you don't reveal the theme until the time is right!

Setting up a stream for your jam site

If you have the internet bandwidth and the equipment, it is worth setting up a stream for your site, so that others from around the world can check in to see how you are doing. See just below for the technical requirements.

The central GGJ stream will be featuring sites all around the world throughout the event! Each site who is accepted will get between 30-60 minutes to showcase what they are doing. We encourage all sites to apply, and ask for active participation, so maybe interview jammers, showcasing project, a tour round your building - something that will be fun and engaging for our viewers. Applications to be part of the central stream open early December. Applications to be part of the 2020 central stream are now closed.

Technical requirements

To get your site broadcasting you will need:

  • A computer or phone to stream from, preferably one not being used for any other tasks

  • A suitable camera to capture video for your stream

  • Broadcasting software to stream your video feed to the world

  • A reasonably fast and reliable internet connection (remember you'll have extra traffic from your jammers to deal with during the event).

  • A Twitch account

  • The Global Game Jam and Twitch code of conduct

Computer

The recommended specs for a streaming computer are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4670 or AMD Equivalent (use this tool to compare your CPU)

  • MEMORY: 8GB DDR3 RAM

  • OS: Windows 7 or later

  • GPU should support DirectX 10 and up

If you can, we recommend that you have a computer set aside exclusively for streaming connected via a LAN/Ethernet cable. If your computer doesn’t have to share resources among multiple tasks, you will produce a smoother, higher quality video feed.

Camera

The Logitech C920 / C930 are widely-used webcams by broadcasters. For streamers using a camera with an HDMI connection, we recommend the Magewell USB 3.0 dongle, AverMedia, or Elgato capture devices.

Broadcasting software

To broadcast, you'll need broadcasting software. This is the program that will encode video and audio information from your camera feed and send it to a streaming platform for broadcasting. There are several software solutions to choose from, including:

  • Streamlabs OBS - free, built upon OBS with automatic configuration and tuning (It's one of the easiest to get up and running)

  • Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) - free, open source

  • XSplit - basic version free, paid subscription for more features

  • FFSplit - free

  • Gameshow - commercial, flat fee to own

  • vMix - Expensive, Complex, Windows only and extremely capable (this is the software running the Central Feed Mixing in 2020).

Once you choose your software, spend some time getting to know it. Play with the settings, and run some test streams and ask for volunteers to watch it and give feedback on the video and audio quality.

Pro-Tip: Figure out how to record locally to your computer (it's usually one extra button), that way if your broadcast is disrupted, you will still own a pixel-perfect copy of your GGJ adventures.

Recommended Stream Settings

  • 1080p 30fps - 6000kb/sec (Twitch Maximum is 6000kb/s, so don't exceed this).

  • 720p 30fps - 3000kb/sec (Good for lower bandwidth connections).

  • 720p 30fps - 2000kb/sec (This is about as low as you want to go, maybe use a 4G phone if your main internet connection is struggling).

Pro-Tip: Once you've got your ideal setup, ensure you have a backup plan: e.g. 4G Dongle, Mobile Phone, or know how to put-out a lower quality/bandwidth.

Pro-Tip: Don’t leave your stream setup until the first day of the jam only to find that something isn’t working!

Internet connection

Venue bandwidth: For a smooth stream, 6 Mb/s (6,000kb/s) upload is recommended, and if possible it should be an isolated connection that is not impacted by traffic from other users. If you notice that your streaming software is dropping frames at any point, consider lowering the video quality or switching to your backup connection (just like you practiced).

Accounts set up

Twitch account

Of course, you’ll need a Twitch account. Read more about how to set to stream for the first time.

Register for the GGJ directory widget

We will be listing an official GGJ channel directory, so viewers of the main feed may be tempted to check-in on you over the duration of the event. In order to be featured on this directory, you will need to include your twitch channel URL during registration.

Be sure to set the “Live stream link” on your GGJ site page to the URL of your Twitch stream page. This way, anybody visiting your page will be able to easily find your stream.

Code of conduct

Before starting your stream, please read the GGJ inclusiveness policy and code of conduct and adhere to them at all times during broadcast. These documents exist so that everybody can have an enjoyable and safe game jam, so any site broadcast that breaches them may be removed from the directory without warning. You will also need to adhere to the Twitch community guidelines.

Further reading