Game streaming is all the rage these days. Whether you’re playing a heavily loaded first-person shooter or a casual driving simulator, someone will be interested in watching you do it.
However, streaming and playing on the same PC can drain system resources. So if you have an old PC lying around, why not use it to stream your game instead?
And don’t worry about getting a capture card as there is a way around that. Here’s how to stream your games for free on your old PC.
What you need to stream games to a second PC
First of all, you need two computers, one for gaming and the other for streaming. On both devices you must have the following applications: streaming software, preferably an application like OBS Studio, NDI Tools to send your screenshot from one PC to another, and the NDI OBS plug-in, to make the NDI application work with OBS.
You should also connect your computers to the same network so that your streaming software can detect the source. Although high-speed Wi-Fi works for reliable streaming, it is best to connect the two devices through the local network. This way, you can get the best possible connection quality, reducing the latency and delay of your stream.
And if you want to engage with your audience, your camera and microphone should also be connected to your streaming PC. This way your gaming PC will not have to deal with any additional load.
To download: OBS Studio for Windows, Mac and Linux
To download: NDI Tools for Windows and Mac
To download: OBS NDI plug-in for Windows, Mac and Linux
Setting up your gaming PC
On your gaming PC, open the OBS Studio app. To minimize the use of system resources, do not add multiple scenes and sources. Just add a source: the monitor you want to stream.
To do this, go to the Sources window, then click the plus sign menu. To choose Screenshot. In the new window, click on the Create a new radio button, and then press Okay.
In the Display drop-down menu, choose the monitor you want to stream. Once you have selected the correct screen, press Okay. You should see the app or game you’re streaming on the OBS Studio app preview on your gaming PC.
You must then go to Tools > NDI output settings. In the NDI output settings, check the box Main outlet check box. And in the Main output name text box, write the name you want to call your gaming computer. When finished, tap Okay.
To make sure you capture your game audio, go to To file > Settings > audio. Under Global audio devices, click on the drop-down menu to Desktop audio. If you know the sound source you are using, you can choose it, but if not, make sure it is set as default.
Once set, you don’t have to do anything on your gaming PC. The NDI application and plug-in will capture what OBS Studio sees and hear on your computer and then stream it to your local network.
Streaming your game to your PC
Once you’ve got your gaming PC ready, it’s time to set up your streaming PC. To do this, open OBS Studio, then under the Sources window, click on the plus sign. In the menu that will open, choose Source NDI. A Create / Select Source window will then appear.
In the pop-up window, click the Create a new radio button. The default name is NDI source, although you can choose a different title for your gaming computer stream. Also make sure that the Make the source visible the box is checked. When you’re happy with the name, tap Okay.
A Properties for ‘[NDI Source] The window will appear after pressing OK. Under the Source name drop-down menu, choose the computer you are going to stream from. You should see it as your computer name plus whatever name you gave it in your gaming PC set up in parentheses.
Keeping all other default settings, press Okay. Your gaming computer screen should then appear on your streaming PC preview screen. Feel free to resize the stream to fill your screen.
Interact with your audience
Most of the time, just streaming your gaming session isn’t enough to win over an audience. Being a good player at your game is not going to be enough anymore. You have to engage with them by showing them your face and having a live chat about the game you are playing.
Alternatively, you can talk about an interesting topic and turn your game feed into something of a podcast. Whatever your goal, letting your audience see and hear you as you play will greatly benefit your broadcast.
To do this, return to Sources window, and under the plus sign menu, click Video capture device. The Create / Select Source window will appear again. Click on the Create a new radio button, then give your camera a name. Again, make sure the Make the source visible is checked, then press Okay.
In the Properties window of “Video capture device”, navigate to the Device scrolling menu. Choose the camera you are going to use for your feed, and then tap Okay. You should see your camera view appear in the preview section of your streaming PC. Resize it and move it around so that it doesn’t block anything important on your feed.
Finally, to add an audio source to your stream, repeat the same process. Go to Sources window, click on the plus sign menu, but this time choose Audio input capture. The Create / Select source will open again. Click on the Create a new radio button and name your microphone, then press Okay.
In the Properties window of ‘Audio input capture’, click the button Device drop-down menu, choose your computer’s microphone, and then press Okay.
Checking your configuration
To make sure your audience hears your broadcast, both the game and your voice, take a look at the Audio mixer. Try playing a sample song on your gaming PC, then check the NDI Source (or whatever name you gave your PC gaming stream) into the audio mixer. It should move with the loudness of your audio.
Do the same with the Audio input capture to check your microphone. Once you are sure you have reliable sound, you can now press Start broadcasting.
While OBS Studio is online, you will see the Stream status in the lower right corner. Here you will see the performance of your stream, like the number of frames lost, how long you’ve been live, the CPU resources your stream is using, its frame rate and bandwidth.
Have a spare PC, start streaming
Even a fairly old computer can still be used for streaming. For example, a 4th gen Intel Core i7 can still let you cast your screen. And instead of spending more on a video capture card, you can use NDI tools to connect your devices.
So if you have a spare PC lying around, put it to good use and start your own game stream. Who knows? Maybe you’re the next Twitch star.
We’ll walk you through how to record and stream games using Microsoft Mixer, Steam, or your video card’s native software.
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