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Proletariat’s Live Streaming Rig

Gordon Ryan

Proletariat’s Live Streaming Rig

If you haven’t noticed, we like to live stream. A lot. In fact, we’re on Twitch three times each week (possibly four, soon…more on that later). We’ve been doing it since very early in World Zombination’s development history—the first recording I could find in our YouTube archives of our live streams was this one of Seth working on level design way back in September 2013!

Never mind how primitive World Zombination looks in the video (seriously…it’s so different now!); look at how simple our stream was. The whole scene is a basic screen capture and a webcam window trained on Seth (whom you can barely hear speaking due to the less than optimal sound quality). Over time, live streaming became an important way for us at Proletariat to connect with and expand our community, so our streaming set-up evolved as well.

Whether it’s the Let’s Play strategy session with Josh and me, live development with our artists and engineers, or the weekly World Zombination update, we’re serious about producing a high quality live stream. We should be: our Twitch channel now has about 2,000 followers and our broadcasts have gotten 735,000 views. That’s a lot of eyeballs. These days, our streams are more like this:

Pretty significant difference! It’s taken some trial and error to get to where we are now, but I think we have a pretty good system at this point. Whereas once upon a time our streams were a laptop and—ummmm, that’s about it—we’ve now put together a rig that’s capable of delivering a really high quality program in a variety of situations. Here’s what it looks like:

Proletariat Inc live streaming rig

Our live stream rig. So PRO.

Here’s a breakdown of everything that’s in that photo:

  1. Our streaming PC. It’s a beast that Seth custom built in the office. The specs in a nutshell: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0Ghz Quad-Core processor, 16GB of DDR-1866 memory, 256GB SSD, MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card. We want to make sure we have enough power to take in HD content from multiple devices in addition to  high quality audio, merge it all together into something attractive, and push it out to the internet without introducing lag or visual problems along the way. This box gets the job done, and it should be capable of doing so for a long time to come.
  2. Dual monitors. The big TV is so the people who are streaming can see a preview of what the world will see in addition to a Twitch chat window so they can answer questions from viewers as they stream. The small monitor in the back is for the stream’s producer, so they can make scene changes on the fly.
  3. The game/software being streamed. This is the iPad/computer/console/device that World Zombination is being played on or that we’re doing development on. The star of the show! It connects via HDMI to…
  4. A capture card. We actually have two of these, an Elgato Game Capture HD (which connects to our PC via USB) and an AVerMedia Live Gamer HD, which takes up an internal slot in the computer. We haven’t tried yet, but we’re hoping to use both at the same time someday, so we can do some head-to-head gameplay on two separate devices.
  5. An HD webcam. This is so you can see the other stars of the show…us! We use a Logitech c930e because it gives us both HD resolution and a wide angle lens, which makes it a very flexible camera that can handle pretty much anything we need it to do.
  6. Microphones. We have three microphones available for our streams: two Audio-Technica AT899 lavalier microphones and an MXL 4000 multi-pattern condenser microphone. The AT899s allow us to closely mic a couple of people so we can get clear voices without too much background distraction and the MXL 4000 is our workhorse that can either be a third person’s mic (in unidirectional mode) or as a mic for the whole room when we have a big group (in omnidirectional mode) as we do on our Friday streams with the entire team.
  7. An audio mixer. We have an Allen & Heath ZED-10 mixer that I am absolutely in love with. This allows us to take in the audio from all three microphones, adjust their levels so they match well, and then send the signal via USB to the PC to use in the stream. Probably my favorite piece of equipment.
  8. LED lighting. We have a Genaray SpectroLED-14 Three Light Kit. We went with LEDs since we wanted something that wouldn’t give off much perceptible heat  and also because they have good color consistency. I use colored gels to match the lights to the color of the ceiling lights in the room. These make us look nice on camera 🙂
  9. A green screen. A basic background paper holder used by photographers and a roll of chromakey green paper. Because it’s fun!

All of this comes together in our streaming software, XSplit. Our UI artist Mike made us some nice frames to use in the stream (to give it a more professional look and convey some information, like how to follow us), the game/content gets put in the frame, the webcam video gets layered over top, and the audio from the mixer gets pulled in. From there, it gets pushed to Twitch and broadcast out to all of you. After streams are over, I generally export them to our YouTube channel for archiving, so anyone who missed them live can watch them later when they have time.

That’s it! It’s become a pretty simple process now that we do it so often, but it has a lot of parts, as you can see. In the end, it helps us to do something we enjoy a lot and are really proud of being able to do for our community. If you have any questions about our set-up, or anything else regarding the streaming process, let me know in the comments.

Also, be sure to tune in to our live streams! Here’s our schedule:

  • Tuesdays, 5:00pm ET – Let’s Play World Zombination with Josh & Gordon. This is when our game designer and I play the game while talking strategy and taking questions from viewers. It’s my favorite time of the week!
  • Wednesdays, 5:00pm ET – World Zombination development. On this stream, you get to see a coder, artist, game designer, or the quality assurance team work on the game while answering questions about what they’re working on and what they do.
  • Fridays, 4:30pm ET – World Zombination weekly development update. The whole studio is on this one! We get together and talk about the newest features we’ve been working on and give a sneak peek at upcoming characters.
  • Proletariat Plays! This is a new stream we’re thinking about doing immediately after the Friday update stream. Just us playing games from other studios and having fun. Come hang out with us!

 

Gordon Ryan
Community Director

2 Comments
  1. Hi Gordon!

    That is indeed a very respectable setup you guys have there. I must admit that I have never given much thought to what it takes as far as hardware goes to produce a good stream.

    I normally watch your streams when you publish them on YouTube but I have attended them live a few times and I am very impressed =)

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Softbuns! Not every streamer needs such a complicated setup, but we have a multitude of needs, and I’m a bit of an A/V geek, so I wanted to make sure we were set up with quality equipment that will last us a long time. Glad you’ve been watching and I hope to see you in some more stream chats!

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