How to be a Facebook Gaming Streamer Part One: Hardware
This article is the first in a series of guides on how to be a streamer. From start to finish, we'll tell you everything you need to know about starting a stream on Facebook Gaming.
First things first, you're going to need the necessary hardware. While it's possible to stream directly from your phone, we'll be focusing on the hardware you need to stream from a computer. Assuming your phone is powerful enough, all you need is the right app and you're good to go - you don't even need this guide! Streaming through a computer isn't so straightforward, but its many advantages make it a much more preferable method.
Benefits of Streaming from a Computer
- If you don't have a capable PC, it's going to cost a bit of money to make your PC stream-ready. Fortunately, PCs are modular, so you don't have to upgrade everything at once.
- Since your computer will be handling all the encoding, it will be less stressful on your phone.
- Streaming on your computer will allow you to have a larger display in front of you open for looking at chat, previewing your stream, making adjustments and customizing.
- You have the flexibility of using a webcam/external camera to capture your face - phone cameras usually aren't in the best position when you have it in horizontal mode and your thumbs blocking the front lens.
- You have the benefit of using a stable wired internet connection.
- There are a lot of different programs out there you can pick and choose when it comes to streaming.
- Having a PC means having access to tons of games that aren't on phones, you'll be able to increase the variety of your stream content.
- If you're not keen on gaming, you can even use your PC to stream yourself working, creating content, or even host a podcast!
It might be daunting to set up. Making sure that everything works usually isn't too difficult, but making sure that you're on the best settings for your stream is going to take some trial and error. If you're not running a powerful machine, you'll need to tweak your settings so that your game doesn't slow down when you're broadcasting at the same time. This way you'll enjoy playing the game and your viewers can also enjoy watching a lag-free stream.
There are two routes you can take here: purchase a prebuilt or build a PC for yourself. If you're purchasing a gaming machine, chances are that it's stream-ready and you won't have to worry about the details. Generally, you'll want your PC to have the following specs:
For your processor and GPU, it will be highly dependent on what you plan to stream. If you're planning to stream indie/casual games, you won't need the highest-end processors but you might want to future-proof your machine in case you do decide to stream more intensive games in the future. At the very least you'll want a quad-core processor - an Intel i5/i7 or AMD Ryzen 5/7. Less powerful processors might be capable of streaming but can affect your streaming experience i.e. frame rate drops on your game or stream.
The same goes for your GPU - you're going to want at least a GeForce GTX 1650 an equivalent or better. NVIDIA's NVEC technology, which is present in all their latest cards, are great at alleviating the encoding workload normally taken on by your CPUs. Radeon's Ryzen processors with built-in Vega graphics can also work here if you're on a budget (you can get a separate GPU later on). My machine has an i7 9500 CPU and GeForce 980Ti which still holds up since I only stream games at 1080p (and I don't play the latest titles) - however, I'll upgrade it once it is no longer sufficient.
If you want to stream in 720p or 1080p, you're going to want at least 16GB of Dual Channel DDR4 3600 MHz RAM. And if you're using a Windows 10 machine, 16GB is the minimum I'd recommend anyway - it makes using your computer a much more pleasant experience. In my opinion - you can't have too much RAM! I have 32GB of RAM on my machine since I stream intensive PC games and multitask at times.
Video capture device - if you're planning to stream mobile games, this is necessary. You need some way to transmit what's on your phone to your computer and video input is the most common way. Computers don't come with HDMI inputs by default, so you'll need an interface to decode the output from your phone. Video capture devices are available in many different formats, sizes and prices - pick one that suits your budget and needs. Personally, I'm using an AverMedia Live Gamer HD 2 which supports 1080p at 60FPS. It is also an internal capture card which works for me since I don't want to deal with additional USB dongles sticking out of my computer. If you're using a laptop, you'll need an external one.
The above are the main things you need to be concerned about when building a streaming PC. The rest of the parts (motherboard, PSU etc.) don't matter too much as long as they work with your hardware.
Extras for streaming
Everything here isn't necessary - but can improve the quality of your stream or your streaming experience
- Solid State Drive (SSD) - a high-speed drive will do wonders for your loading time if you're playing intensive games. While they aren't necessary, they do reduce the load times on your stream, which is always a good thing.
- Green screen - for changing or removing your background - can be used for entertainment purposes or for your video feed to not take up so much of the screen for gaming.
- Ring light or desk lamp - most webcams have terrible picture quality when there isn't sufficient light. As a result, the image will be extremely grainy. to avoid this, you can make sure that your face or surroundings are well-lit while streaming.
- Additional monitor - two monitors will allow you to game on the PC and check your messages at the same time without having to alt-tab between windows. this helps you have a more seamless stream with fewer pauses if you need to check anything while gaming. It also gives you the flexibility of having a window open that you don't want to be accidentally broadcasted to the world (as long as you set up your stream correctly).
- Decent microphone and headphones - if you want to sound clearer/better on your stream, a good mic can help with that. Headphones are a great way to make sure that your microphone doesn't pick up additional sounds that you don't want on your stream. Since people spend long hours gaming, you're going to want something that's comfortable. Wireless headsets are a good choice if you like to move or walk around, however do take note that you'll need to keep them charged.
- Comfortable chair - again, you're going to spend long hours sitting in front of the computer - you might as well make yourself comfortable and not hurt yourself while doing it.
- Quiet or silent keyboard/mouse - if you don't want your mic to pick up the sounds of you hammering away at the buttons on your peripherals, you can go the option of using silent switches, or tweaking your audio settings (which can be tricky at times) to eliminate the clicks and clacks.
Now that we've got the hardware settled, check out part 2 where we talk about the software you'll need to set up and run a Facebook Gaming stream! In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them in the comments below or on the Facebook post. Stay tuned to eGG Network for more content on being a Facebook Gaming creator!