I get people from time to time asking me how my config is set up. They usually inquire about the PiP (picture in picture) setup the most, so I thought about giving a little behind the scenes view and explain how I work. First of all, I use 2 machines to get PiP going and there’s a few downsides with my method, but we’ll get to that soon. I have a Dell laptop of about 5 years old, and a desktop that I have very recently upgraded. These combined give me some flexibilty in terms of streaming and being able to do other things in the meanwhile.
The specifications for the Dell XPS M1530 are
- CPU: Intel Core2 Duo T8100 2.10Ghz
- GPU: nVidia GeForce 8600M GT
- RAM: 4Gb DDR2 667Mhz
I bought this laptop specifically to play Enemy Territory Quake Wars back in the days, which I was playing on a Dell D610 before that at framerates of 20-30. So this XPS laptop is well capable of running any game up to that generation of games. This mean it also runs Quake Live perfectly. Combined with the HDMI and S-Video Out on this laptop, this makes it an excellent asset for my setup. It’s also used for playing the music, chatting and announcing, and starting/stopping the record function on Own3d.tv. I have it running on Linux Mint Debian Edition 64bit, dualbooted with Windows 8 64bit.
The other machine I have in use is a custom build PC with the following specs
- CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.50Ghz
- GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 460
- RAM: 8Gb DDR3 1600Mhz
I recently upgraded so I could stream better and more games, which you will have noticed in the past weeks. It runs any game while being able to stream. This is an important part, I was able to play games on my Q8200 as well, but as soon as the stream went on, frames dropped and quality was low. This is not an issue anymore. The purpose of this machine is to encode the stream, render the game and it has my headset attached for voicechat, etc. The OS on this machine is Windows 7 64bit.
To tie all of this together, I use an S-Video cable that I run from the laptop to the desktop, which houses an Hauppage WinTV 88x analog capture-card. I also have a simple audio cable with small jacks running from the laptop’s line-out to the desktop’s line-in so I can toggle music freely without alt-tabbing out of the game, which sometimes causes a hickup and rarely even a hang on the game. Depending on situations I’ll also have Synergy running, which enables you to share a mouse and keyboard over the network.
Quirks and issues
There are some downsides with my current setup regarding PiP and they are related to the fact that the Hauppage card is analog. The input in the card is 1024*768, forcing me to lower the resolution of the laptop, but it only outputs 320*240. It looks fine as long as I don’t make the image too large, and I often use it for the built-in webcam. The card captures the entire screen of the laptop, however you have the possibility to use the S-Video out as a secondary monitor. Since a game usually goes to the primary monitor and the Nvidia Linux drivers aren’t very lenient in that matter, I always opt to overlay monitor 1 and 2 so that what’s shown on the laptop is also being shown in the PiP view of the stream. Biggest problem is that now my desktop and my laptop are occupied so I can no longer chat, announce or record the stream straight on Own3d.tv.
My little fix for that is a Nintendo DS with an Edge card and CLIRC chat client so I can at least look at suggestions written in #holysh1t or other channels.
My Quake Live streaming config can be found on pastebin.org. I have included the quality settings of XSplit in the screenshot below which shows how everything is set up schematically. I use Photoshop/GIMP to whip up the stream background because then the text looks nicer than XSplit’s “titles”. The font I use for this is Ubahn and if anyone is wondering, the music streamed is free music and are mostly OCRemixes from Project:Chaos.
I hope you appreciated this post and I would love to get more feedback and streaming suggestions!