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Streaming Software Rant / Recommendations

  • #1
    Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 12,297 mod RopeDrink


    Hey folks,

    This is part rant, part review, part recommendation-request. I'd be curious to hear about your experiences or suggestions regarding these softwares. I've been recording, streaming and uploading to YouTube for donkeys years, yet after recently dabbling on Twitch with other streaming software (and getting a craving for all the trimmings, like alerts, events, chatboxes, overlays and other shenanigans), I'm afraid the alternatives have left me with nothing but frustration.

    -- I'm currently using Mrillis Action! - which records and streams flawlessly with no noticeable in-game impact (unless going absolutely bonkers with resolutions and bitrates). Unfortunately, this program will disconnect and reconnect to the site in question after streaming for long periods, which isn't bad when dealing with raw gameplay streams but would be awful if I setup webcam/engagement streams.

    -- I've got a lifetime liscence with XSplit but every time I test it, it causes massive in-game performance loss and records/uploads at extremely choppy FPS with a noticeable dive in quality no matter what settings are used (relaxed or intensive).

    -- Streamlabs OBS doesn't incur in-game performance issues but the FPS and quality infrequently spike, making it all seem very sporadic. It's not the worst alternative I've tried, but I'm looking for stability.

    -- Shadowplay (as an NVidea-carded gaming PC) has desktop recording FORCE ON. This is a massive no-no as it'll capture anything and everything > overlays, tabbing out, other applications etc. Also has practically no functionality whatsoever.

    It seems to me that Action! is the best bet, yet it is only just starting to adopt various features that I'd love to get working properly, such as overlays so that I can manage things in-stream until I get a second monitor, better alert/event handling (which is pretty barebones at the moment), and various other things. I'll be grabbing a greenscreen for myself for Crimbo and already have a relatively OK webcam and USB microphone - it's just a shame that almost every streaming software I've tried thus far has let me down in one way or another.

    So, any suggestions? Are you using something different, or maybe you're using the same one(s) but in a different way? Trust me, I've dabbled with resolutions, bitrates, codecs, the works, as well as sticking to recommended settings for each site, so it's something more complicated.

    Meanwhile, I can stream to YouTube @ 12000bitrate @ 1080p with 60FPS absolutely flawlessly with Action, so I'm struggling to figure out why the most popular/used softwares give me hassle no matter how high or low I set them.


Comments



  • OBS. No Streamlabs. Problem solved :D I've probably streamed a couple thousand live events and only had issues at one or two. A lot of these add on sets bring their own problems. Xsplit is, as you said, a resource hog.

    Actually if you really really want to do it properly, and absolutely eliminate lag or frame drops, the answer is not software. You need to use a second comp to stream from.




  • Well that's the thing - I can do it flawlessly already with certain software on this single computer. Any time I've tried regular OBS, Streamlabs OBS, XSplit Broadcaster or Gamecaster, they all present issues, which is strange when they typically come with more tweakable features to try and perfect it. Didn't matter the resolution, bitrate, FPS, the results were never satisfying.

    OBS (Standard) - Records & Streams very choppily, usually with no in-game impact.
    XSplit - Tried it again after a fresh reboot and some tweaks. It no longer lags in-game but streaming at 60 FPS will make it look like it's at 20 FPS. This is upsetting as it has features to accomodate for the few people (like me) who are currently doing it on a single monitor, as well as ease of alerts and other features, so I'm trying to make it work, but Gamecaster is extremely limited compared to OBS/Broadcaster.
    Streamlabs - no in-game impact at all and can work OK with recording and streams, but still has that sort of choppy look.
    Shadowplay - forced desktop recording with no real features at all.
    Mrillis (Action!) - flawless recording, flawless streaming, 1080p @ 60 FPS @ 12000 Bitrate (whereas the others have a fit if you use half those settings). I'd be happy to stick with it if it didn't pose some connectivity problems now and then and/or had more features.

    I'll be organizing a self-present (Elgato Green Screen), already have a Yeti Nano Mic and a Logitech streaming Webcam so I'm trying to find the best option for the day when I sit down and consider giving it a serious go, but so far I'm having absolutely no luck whatsoever. The others work better when reducing the FPS to 30 and/or the resolution to 720p, but when you know you could stream double that with no problem at a high bitrate, it makes degrading very unappealing, so I'm trying to figure out ways to either improve that or find an alternative.




  • So, done another test with Gamecaster: 1080p 60FPS with 9k Bitrate with NVEC codec.

    The game streams poorly in borderless windowed, which should have been obvious to me but didn't get around to testing it. It also has an issue dicerning between capturing the game (by selecting the game itself) or selecting 'stream any game'. If windowd, and you select the game itself, it'll capture the border as well. I don't like having it set to 'any' because it has a habit of picking up browser windows and other things that it might feel are a game.

    With Mirillis, it doesn't care if it's borderless, windowed or fullscreen and doesn't capture anything when tabbed out. Still, nice to have found one issue and I'll continue to test, but still open to ideas/feedback or other products entirely if you can suggest some.




  • RopeDrink wrote: »
    OBS (Standard) - Records & Streams very choppily, usually with no in-game impact.

    Did you have the OBS stats window open while testing? Or what about log files? One or the other will indicate what the source of the choppy footage is: frames skipped from encoding lag, or frames dropped from rendering lag.

    And if it's neither of those, then we need to start looking into what your PC setup is, GPU in particular.




  • I'm not sure I have the stamina to take it to that level at this point -- this is something I've been bashing my head against on-and-off for countless weeks. I've tried all the available codecs (x264, NVEC, NVEC-NEW), reduced bitrates, reduced resolutions, reduced the FPS, tried full-screen, borderless windowed, dabbled with the key-frames and all other advanced settings, watched various tutorials, yet the result is the same in OBS, Streamlabs and XSplit regardless, even if I reduce it to 720p @ 30FPS with a smaller bitrate. Meanwhile, I head over to Action, set it to 1080p 60FPS @ 8-12k bitrate and voila, as close to 60FPS as can be and absolutely no issues at all.

    The testing I did today in Streamlabs gave the "Skipped Frames" warning, but I suspect that's because I was forced to try fullscreen (instead of borderless), and tabbing out in FFXIV @ Fullscreen for any reason causes the game to hang momentarily. This improved by swapping it to old NVEC, but the result was still choppy. Action, however, doesn't struggle regardless of the windowed mode (nor tabbing out), but like the others, the new NVEC codec seems to cause a few issues.

    Here's some temporary/unlisted footage to compare. Note that the first one (SLABS) might not look terrible, all things considered, but the FPS still pales in comparison to the second. I just can't figure out why that is when they're using the same codecs, streaming to the same servers,using the same bitrates and as close to identical settings as possible. I have a feeling it has something to do with the 'window selection' process in Xsplit/OBS, because it tends to act up when selecting FFXIV as the capture application. I don't recall having as much issue with certain other games, but that's more of a problem than a relief.

    SLABS - 8k Bitrate - 1080p - 60FPS - NVEC
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5U1h33SKpY

    ACTION! - exact same settings.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiQ8AEr-Xqc

    Famous last words, but... I can't see it being my machine. It's pretty beastly, tonnes of free space, multiple dedicated drives for recordings and programs, and via Action I can record 1440p @ ultimate settings with absolutely no drawback at all, even when it's recording files of countless gigabytes in size, so streaming at a quarter of that really shouldn't be causing me so much grief in the most tweakable streaming software going. I've even tried removing or reducing overlays and features, also testing with Streamlabs to create a one-in-all online widget rather than adding multiple widgets, but nothing improves it.

    Either way, here's what I have:

    32GB RAM
    250mb Broadband
    Windows 10 / 64bit Operating System / 64bit Processor
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6850K CPU @ 3.60GHz/3.60GHz >>
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

    500gb CDrive / 1TB Backup Drive (Games & Programs) / 1TB Backup Drive (Recordings) / 1TB Backup Drive (Misc/Downloads/Whatever).

    Even with a game like FFXIV open, memory usage won't exceed 30% unless I'm doing some serious shenanigans on top of that. Oh don't worry, I know how easy it is for some tiny minor thing to be throwing the wrench in the works no matter how good/bad a comp is, but I must stress that if I can stream at 12k bitrate @ 1080p @ 60FPS flawlessly with one package, that wrench must be really obscure for it to be wrecking every other alternative in this way.


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  • RopeDrink wrote: »
    The testing I did today in Streamlabs gave the "Skipped Frames" warning, but I suspect that's because I was forced to try fullscreen (instead of borderless), and tabbing out in FFXIV @ Fullscreen for any reason causes the game to hang momentarily. This improved by swapping it to old NVEC, but the result was still choppy. Action, however, doesn't struggle regardless of the windowed mode (nor tabbing out), but like the others, the new NVEC codec seems to cause a few issues.

    Without logs, I can't say for certain, but this is sounding almost entirely like an overloaded GPU with limited spare resources for compositing and encoding the stream.
    RopeDrink wrote: »
    I have a feeling it has something to do with the 'window selection' process in Xsplit/OBS, because it tends to act up when selecting FFXIV as the capture application. I don't recall having as much issue with certain other games, but that's more of a problem than a relief.

    Some basic Googling is showing you're not the first to have issues with FF14 in OBS. Which capture method are you using - display/window/game?
    RopeDrink wrote: »
    Famous last words, but... I can't see it being my machine. It's pretty beastly, tonnes of free space, multiple dedicated drives for recordings and programs, and via Action I can record 1440p @ ultimate settings with absolutely no drawback at all, even when it's recording files of countless gigabytes in size, so streaming at a quarter of that really shouldn't be causing me so much grief in the most tweakable streaming software going. I've even tried removing or reducing overlays and features, also testing with Streamlabs to create a one-in-all online widget rather than adding multiple widgets, but nothing improves it.

    No offense, but like... my machine is similar, and the issue is always GPU utilisation.




  • Some basic Googling is showing you're not the first to have issues with FF14 in OBS. Which capture method are you using - display/window/game?

    I've tried all of them. I actively avoid display because I have to tab out to keep an eye on things with a single-monitor so having that happen on stream would be pretty aggravating for all, though I don't doubt that it would probably help a lot. Game and Window fall into the same category because you have to select said window/game, and yes, it could be exclusive to FF14 for all I know, but it's what I stream the most at present so I'll have to look into it. As for GPU, again, if one is working flawlessly at 1080p 12000br and another is chopping like crazy even on 720p @ 30FPS with literally half that bitrate then I'm not inclined to believe it's the GPU. The other even has individual overlays (about 4) and I've even streamed at 1440p pretty stable with those bitrates. The more I look at it, the more I'm suspecting the window/game select. There are times where it sometimes even fails to pick up games at all when trying to capture this way.

    I'll reserve judgement until I run a few more tests on other games, but again, I did try PoE two days ago and it gave much the same problem. Guess I'll wait and see how other games fair when I give it another test, but I think this weekend I'll just enjoy Action! and dabble with Streamlabs to see if I can suss out some overlay alternatives. It'd just be nice to monitor/interact with chat without having to tab, which is why I wanted to give XSplit a good attempt. Unfortunately, the chat-widget will fail to connect to chat after about 10minutes or so, so it seems that's out of the window anyway.

    As said, I'm fully aware that even beastly machines can be tripped up by the most minor of things, so I'm not dismissing the suggestion at all - just saying I'd rather go through the software with a fine comb first to make sure there isn't just that one tiny little setting causing havoc, but I'll try that after I test more games first and look into the problems other people had with FFXIV. I have suspicions as is but it's a bit of a slog to rinse/repeat tests over and over, hence was snooping around for other alternatives, but I don't think there are many left to try.




  • RopeDrink wrote: »
    As for GPU, again, if one is working flawlessly at 1080p 12000br and another is chopping like crazy even on 720p @ 30FPS with literally half that bitrate then I'm not inclined to believe it's the GPU. The other even has individual overlays (about 4) and I've even streamed at 1440p pretty stable with those bitrates.

    If Action works very similar to how ShadowPlay itself does, then there's probably minimal extra work being done that needs GPU resources to re-encode the scene before it is being sent to the stream. This is different to OBS which from my experience generally needs about 10-15% GPU spare to encode properly, especially if the preview is active and even moreso if you are in studio mode.
    And I know this first-hand, for instance there's some scenes when playing Forza Horizon where the game's GPU usage jumps from it's normal 60% to near-maxed, and suddenly OBS becomes a 15-20FPS mess until the game's GPU usage normalises. So until you say for certain that FF14 is not using 95%+ of your GPU resources while streaming, I can't rule it out as a potential cause.
    RopeDrink wrote: »
    The more I look at it, the more I'm suspecting the window/game select. There are times where it sometimes even fails to pick up games at all when trying to capture this way.

    Dependent on the game though. Some games actively resist direct capture; like Horizon, or even stuff like Destiny 2.
    RopeDrink wrote: »
    It'd just be nice to monitor/interact with chat without having to tab, which is why I wanted to give XSplit a good attempt.

    Can you rest your phone on a stand near your monitor or something, so you can have chat up and viewable while playing? The YT live dashboard is not great on mobile, but Twitch's mobile app dashboard does okay and shows the important stuff.




  • I'm one of those people who treat phones like they're there to make phone-calls - and if I'm not, I'm not using it. I haven't even got internet sorted on it because I focus on the comp, so that won't be an option (but still appreciate the idea if I do fix the phone up).

    The issue is mostly YouTube. You can use a program called "Chatty" on Twitch along with something like "See Through Windows", allowing you to be able to read/chat with Twitch, have the window over the gameplay and even set the size/transparency on the fly so it doesn't intrude with the game, even make it click-through or always-on-top. However, YouTube has nothing like this, unless you want to use something like 'always on top' and just plaster a browser-based YT-Chat popout on top of your game and stomach the eyesore. I have no problem playing things like Path of Exile in a window and having YT or Twitch chat on the side. In fact, I could even head to Photoshop and probably organize it in a way where that all might look normal even on stream (if I could fill the bottom part of empty space in a meaningful way), but it wouldn't beat being able to play the game full-screen and still being able to keep an eye on things. I want to get a second monitor and it wouldn't be hard for me to do so, but the hard task is getting a bigger desk first which can fit all the shiny new hardware, so until that happens, I'm stuck in this loop.


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