Starting a dev live stream was something my brother and I decided to do on a whim. If you know the two of us, doing anything on a whim just isn’t in our nature. We did as much research as necessary so that the image and sound quality would be passable and what tools most people use and went for it.
Since doing this there have been a handful of things that I’ve noticed and took note of within the first week of our live streaming sessions. I’ve written them out below.
Things specific to dev streaming
Use a virtual machine
Using a virtual machine will allow you to keep your personal stuff separate from what you’re wanting to stream. For instance, when using a web browser on your personal machine you’re gonna have all of your web history on display for your audience. Even if you’re not surfing the web for “inappropriate” stuff, you still may not want showcase all of that on air.
Sure, you could just download another browser or use incognito/private mode, but that only related to browsing. I’m not particularly interested in sharing pictures, contacts, messages, emails or other personal info with everyone. So I just use a VM to side step that whole issue.
Your audience ceiling will more than likely be smaller than the top gaming streamers or other “more interesting” categories. Don’t get sad, you just have to keep in mind that the group you’re potentially streaming for is a niche group.
The bonus is that you can be more intimate with the group since it will be smaller. You’ll probably get to know most of your viewers and can have some great interactions/experiences with them.
Mistakes are going to happen
My brother and I are close to 15 year veterans in this field of development, but still forget the smallest things. That’s ok, we can’t possibly hold everything in our brain. Don’t be afraid to take a trip to the docs, or check out stack overflow while live. Let your audience know you’re human.
Commentary and personality helps
Let’s keep it real… It’s software development - sometimes it can be like watching paint dry. Don’t be afraid to laugh and talk through what you’re doing. Even if you’ve been programming for quite a long time it can be hard to keep up with what someone is doing on screen. Let your audience know your plan of attack and recap often.
Stuff for streaming in general
Multi-tasking is hard! Especially when live
We’ve been lucky to hit a whopping 10 max viewers and 5 chatters at once (Twitch keeps good stats btw!) and it can be hard to stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve and interact with people in the chat.
I’m sure as time goes on this will get easier, but right now it’s pretty foreign!
When you’re first starting out you may not know all of the scenes that are needed. As you find yourself needing to show off something specific, make a scene for it and be sure to give it a good name so you can reuse it.
It can be tempting to shove everything into one scene and show/hide things as needed, but scenes give a cleaner transition and will prevent you from pulling your hair out later.
Make sure to setup scenes that let people know the stream is starting soon, and a BRB scene - just in case you have to go AFK for a min or two. Ideally, these scenes should have the mics and camera off for added privacy.
The Windows OS is king
The best tools to stream that I’ve found all are Windows based. It kinda sucks, but it makes sense. Most people streaming on Twitch, or Mixer are streaming games, games usually run best on Windows so therefore the tools will be developed with Windows top of mind.
I’m not saying there aren’t any tools that work with other OS’, it’s just that a lot of what you’re used to seeing on twitch in terms of alerts, goals, and cool effects are done with software that runs on Windows.
For those that are interested we’re using Streamlabs OBS - https://streamlabs.com/
Take advantage of highlights
Highlights are a great way to sprinkle about on social media. During our last stream I unboxed something as a joke. I made that a highlight and posted on social media about it.
I shared it on social media and received a decent amount of likes and attention from it, considering my follower counts.
As important, funny, or notable things come up, use the marker system in Twitch (if you’re using Twitch) or write down a note to go back to find that bit to reuse later.
Check out the one I did here:
Here’s to more streaming in the future!
Follow us on Twitch here - https://twitch.tv/willcode4money