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How to Record and Stream VR Gameplay on Twitch and YouTube?

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So you have read our previous articles on Twitch VR streamers and want to join the ranks of gameplay producers, but don’t know where and how to start? Are you enthusiastic about this new platform that is just starting to grow in popularity, with a growing player and consumer base but technicalities scare you? Well, fret no longer my friends since you have stumbled upon a perfect resource to ignite that fire burning inside of you and give you all the necessary knowledge to become a producer and influencer in this amazing new field.

The world needs more people like you who are willing to share their enthusiasm and personality with the world, so let the preparations start, prepare the rocket, soon you are heading into space, to the stars of VR.

Technical requirements

First and foremost, we need to build you a strong computer rig that will be capable of producing and encoding content at a favorable quality for your audience.

The best way to go about this business is to make yourself two computers, one is for playing the game, and another is for encoding. Although you could cut corners and play and encode video on the same computer, you would have to be aiming for a pretty powerful setup to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

Gaming PC setup

This setup is for those of you who don’t want to cut corners when it comes to their gaming platform. This kind of setup will ensure that you will have no problems achieving 90 FPS in just about any current or upcoming game in the ent year or so from now on be it for Rift or HTC Vive.

The components will provide you with a high-quality gaming performance for getting high FPS at max settings but will provide you with a cool, quiet, reliable and stable rig that will help you in your vision to VR stardom.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
GPU: GTX 1080
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
OS Drive: Crucial MX500 500GB SSD
Storage Drive: Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD
Power Supply: EVGA 850 G2
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Case: Corsair Crystal 460X or Enthoo Pro
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4
Operating System: Windows 10

Streaming setup:

The other part of the equation is the streaming rig whose only job is to encode content and ensure no glitchiness, high-quality video to connect with your audience. While the final cost may prove to be pricey when taking into account the cost of the gaming rig, investing in this setup will prove to be more than a good decision when you can pride yourself on high quality, seamless content which will blow all other VR streamers out of the water.

Video Capture Card: Elgato HD60 Pro
MotherBoard: MSI X99A Raider
CPU: i7-5820K
GPU: GTX 1050
Memory: 16GB DDR4
OS Drive: Sandisk 240GB SSD
Storage Drive: Raid 1 3TB WD Reds
CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro H100
PSU: EVGA 650
Case: Corsair Carbide 540

Accessories

Camera: Logitech c930e
Wireless Mic
1/4 to 3.5mm audio cable

If you are looking at this list and scratching your head in wonder, do not be alarmed! Here is a wonderful video of a VR streamer we covered in our previous article, TribalInstincs, who will walk you through the process of assembling this streaming setup and will provide you with a detailed explanation behind each piece of hardware:
And here is a graph that connects all of these parts together.

Required software:

OBSstreaming/recording software

Open Broadcaster Software is a long time favorite of many streamers everywhere. It is completely free, the source code is available on GitHub. The added benefit of OBS is that it uses GPU-based capture to lower the resource costs, meaning you will not be needing a separate computer for video capturing (although it may be beneficial for added performance). The video is recorded in either MP4 or FLV file-types and the video can be streamed straight to Twitch and YouTube.
This is a low-resource recording software that is a simple must for your streaming needs.

For a free, low-resource recording program that’s available for everyone, consider checking out Open Broadcaster Software.

OBS OpenVR-Plugin – a VR compositor capturing plugin

As everyone knows, VR content is not the same as regular 2D content, so getting this plugin is an absolute necessity. You see, by using just regular OBS software for capturing video, you cannot capture the direct video you see from your VR headset, but the video that is projected on your computer. Obviously, that will not do, so OBS OpenVR Plugin comes to save the day.
This plugin provides an input for 64-bit OBS that allows capturing directly from OpenVR/SteamVR mirror surface in full resolution.

Cropping can be configured in the plugin properties, with some presets provided for the HTC Vive. The presets take into account the OpenVR mask to provide a maximum capture area without any black borders. However, some OpenVR games still render these mask areas so with those games cropping is not necessary.

Here is how to install it:

Chatty – a twitch chat client that has audible notifications for join/leave/message alerts

Getting to know your audience is an important part of your career as a Twitch streamer, since growing and maintaining a connection with your audience is of paramount importance.
So here comes Chatty, a Twitch chat client for everyone who appreciates a dedicated desktop application (similar to a classic IRC client), but doesn’t want to miss out on Twitch-specific features.

4. OVRDrop: a desktop window for displaying Chatty or another chat feed in VR ($15)

In their own words:

“OVRdrop is a Utility Application for SteamVR that can mirror a Desktop Window, an entire Monitor, or a WebCam into a Cross Game SteamVR Overlay. OVRdrop works on SteamVR and should be fully compatible with any SteamVR headset, though you will need tracked controllers for many of the features.”

But what does that mean exactly to you? To put it plainly, you can use this software to clone an application right into the VR space with you, be it chat application or anything else for that matter. It is an absolute necessity that is of tremendous help for any streamer and is well worth the price.
Not to mention that you can use it to watch your favorite anime or movies while waiting for that long load times whilst playing Elite Dangerous.

Alternative to OVRDrop: OpenVRDesktopDisplayPortal

If you are a bit short on monetary resources, you can go with a free version from the same developer, but since it is no longer updated you will most probably run into a lot of issues. Still, it does a fairly good job.

Stream Labsgood for getting alerts, chat feed and much more into your stream output display

Another necessity for any professional streamer or one who is aiming to become such, Stream Labs is an application that will make donations, alerts and other notifications much easier to manage. And it’s completely free!
For a very detailed review click here.

Here is a nice review:

Stream Labels – good for having dynamic information displayed in your stream output such as animated follower list etc. –

Another thing you will need is a:

A Twitch account! (duh!)

Making an account is completely free, and be sure to customize it, add a custom avatar, banner and a description that best captures your personality and intent.
If you would like to archive all of your broadcasts for later viewing, go to Settings > Channel & Videos > Archive Broadcasts.

How to build yourself as a VR streamer persona:

1. Build yourself an audience

Twitch is a platform that allows for many to make a stable income broadcasting, but not only because they play the latest games or have a gaming setup that is an envy of many – but because they are entertainers in the full sense of the word.
Building and maintaining an audience is key here, do not forget that you are in fact in the entertainment business so treat your audience as stars of the show.
If you grow big enough, which you surely will when abiding by this guidelines, Twitch will offer you a partnership, which will allow you to get a cut of broadcast revenue and offer you exclusive perks in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.

2. Be genuine

You don’t have to jump all around the room to be entertaining, nor do you have to speak rapidly in a high pitched voice to get any attention. Just be yourself and let your personality shine. Play and stream games that are in accord with your inner character. If you are more of an RTS fan, so be it.

Amaze your audience with your diligent planning and flawless execution of strategy which leaves your opponents in the dust. Are you an FPS fan? Great, show your fans how good you are at headshots, heck you might as well suck, but still be quite fun and entertaining while playing.
You don’t have to copy others, and you probably shouldn’t, because people can sense when someone is being genuine and when someone is just faking it.

In whatever color, form or shape your personality comes in, trust me, just be yourself.

3. Be consistent

When people log onto Twitch and start watching other people stream, it’s quite similar to when you turn on the TV to watch your favorite show.

You would like consistency, wouldn’t you? It would confuse you or simply irritate you if the show you’re watching come at random times, so mimic than those who have succeeded in making a name for themselves.

Consistency and persistence is another form of applied faith. If you want to succeed and if you believe you will succeed than you will persist. There may be months or even years before you make your big breakthrough, but when that moment comes, and come it will, you will have your discipline and consistency to thank to.

4. Become friends with other streamers

There is no better and cheaper way to promote yourself than to become friends with other people in whatever category of entertainment you’re interested in. So in the realm of streaming, become friends with other streamers.

You see, money follows attention, so the greater the number of eyes fixed onto you the greater the number of zeroes that will follow the first digit on your bank account. It is simply so.

When you make a name for yourself with other Twitch or YouTube streamers you will have a ready supply of followers before you even start your own channel. So, be sure to offer a helping hand to other streamers, and they will be more than willing to return the favor.

5. Interact with your audience

Young Man with a Guitar Performing on a Beach Concert

This would be one of the most important, if not the most important point in this list. In contrast with other forms of entertainment, the audience is an always a part of the experience and maintaining a quality interaction is key.

All Twitch streaming comes with a chat room and the better you are at making your audience feel as though they are right next to you, sitting on a couch, the better you will be and more successful you will be as a streamer.
Fortunately, with the aid of the software above, you will have no problems maintaining the interaction with your audience, so be sure to utilize it!

For a final conclusion of all the points mentioned above, be sure to watch this video of a popular streamer Trump who has condensed his philosophy and outlook on streaming in this short 10-minute video:

Hopefully, with all the information laid out in front of you in this article, you will have received a necessary push which will help you make your first steps on the road to VR streaming stardom.
Be sure to have fun along the way, everything is so much easier when you have fun while doing it, but also keep in mind all the advice mentioned here and success is virtually guaranteed!

Where to Watch Free VR and 3D Movies?

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With the virtual revolution in full effect in the past few years, the availability and sheer volume of 3D and VR content have increased exponentially. But, as with most things in life, the vast majority of content for your VR headset is paid. Luckily for you, there are some high-quality applications that have secured a niche for themselves by providing users with high-quality FREE VR content.
So, if you want to enjoy the full experience that your VR headset can provide, without breaking the bank, read on.

Where to watch free VR video content?

Littlstar

This magnificent little application has found its way into many of our articles, namely useful for watching VR movies on PSVR as well as for watching adult entertainment videos on the same platform. But, not only does it provide PSVR users with the possibility of watching VR content readily available and downloaded to your USB drive, it has its own stream of content.

If you’re looking for something more than user-generated video content and photos, Littlstar is the right place to start your VR video search.
It is home to popular titles like 50 Shades Darker, My Brother’s Keeper and many others with few games thrown in for a good mix.
It has lots of categories for you to choose from, like Sports, Travel, as well as the bread and butter, Movies and TV.

You should definitely check it out.

Jaunt

Proudly presenting themselves as being the global partner of choice for worldwide distribution of immersive virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality content, Jaunt is slowly rising to the top of the list of applications which you can use to watch free VR content.

There are movies like Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, as well as popular TV series Mr. Robot in Jaunt’s library. You may find that most of the content on Jaunt and Littlstar is the same since media corporations usually give the same kind of licenses for free content to such third party sites.

Unlike Littlstar, however, you can find some extremely high-quality experiences made specifically for your VR headset, the likes of which are too many to enumerate, so you should just dive on in and experience them for yourself.
With Jaunt and LittlStar as the head of our list, you will find yourself immersed in many hours of content and never get bored.

Within

Within is another website abundant in high-quality VR videos that range from exhilarating experiences to heart-wrenching stories about refugees and the environment.
The applications are available for all major VR platforms, such as Oculus, Vive, and PlayStation VR and have many videos to offer.
You will laugh, you will cry, but you will never get bored.

Discovery VR

If you’re a sucker for natures documentaries, Discovery has an entire VR section dedicated just for you. Dive into the open space of the oceans and swim with the whales, experience the thrill of standing toe to toe with the majestic felines such as tigers and lions or pet some of the natures endangered species.

If you’re more of a peoples person and are interested in lives of those living on the other side of the planet, you do not need to book a flight to African planes or the Tibetan heights, you can just strap on your headset and head to the Buddhist temple yourself.
The application is available for mobile handsets such as Gear VR and Daydream, as well as Oculus Rift and Vive.

So, download the app and totally immerse yourself in these numerous experiences.

360 Rize

Unlike other application on our list, which is focused mainly on premium VR content, 360 Rize is more of a user-generated collection of thrilling and exciting visual experiences.
360 Rize is focused on activities that will spike up your adrenaline such as jumping off cliffs, airplanes or speeding at high speeds on a motorbike that will leave you gasping for air.

YouTube Official VR Channel

While it is not primarily a platform for providing full-length VR videos, YouTube VR channel is a platform that is widely considered one of the best places for finding virtual reality content anywhere on the web. There are videos being added daily, so you will not have to worry yourself for exhausting the platform for content.

There are videos of varying degrees of quality to be fair, but for an avid searcher, finding high-quality videos and experiences will not be an issue.
You will find videos in as many different categories that you can think of, such as nature videos that will rival those of Discovery VR, high-octane videos that will make your chest pound or theatrical videos that will leave you pondering on its meaning.
And the best part of it all is that the platform is completely free!

Facebook 360

Another popular platform for sharing user-generated VR and 3D content is Facebook 360.
Although Facebook has poured large amounts of money into the Oculus Rift, it is readily available for users of all major VR headsets.

Like YouTube 360, you will find countless hours of entertainment by scouring through this website, the layout of which is pretty much the same as the social network we all use.
Another great thing about Facebook 360 is that you can find loads and loads of amazing 360-degree photos, which have been captured by world-class artists around the world.
So, if you’re looking for any sort of VR and 3D content, Facebook 360 will have something in store for you.

So there you have it guys. With these websites under your belt, an entirely new universe of high-quality VR and 3D movies has been opened unto you. There is something that will suit anyone’s taste, be it adrenaline-spiking daredevilry, stunning documentaries from Africa’s savannah or movies made by acclaimed studio houses.

Whatever is your pick, you will never be bored again.

How to Make a Cheap DIY VR Headset?

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With the advent of the first virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, a whole new universe of possibilities has been opened. In the meantime, a lot of DIY enthusiasts have decided to take matters into their own hands and have produced HMD of impressive quality. But not one of them is so easily available and easily made as Google’s Cardboard VR, the template which is available for the public to use. Even though the plans are readily available, the instructions are so detailed that they might get confusing. With that in mind, we have made a complete step-by-step guide which is easy to follow and will reward you with a final product worthy of mentioning.

How does VR work?

Virtual reality is a technology that brings users into a virtual world quite unlike anything else experienced in front of a flat 2D monitor. VR has developed in such a way that it will not be a surprise if it starts to incorporate all of our senses, including vision, hearing, touch and even smell.

The only current problems are the availability and the price of such hardware, meaning for the best possible experience you have to spend a significant amount of monetary resources.

Luckily, Google has taken head-on that issue in an effort to increase the availability of VR technology to the wide populace with its Cardboard and Daydream ecosystem, of which we shall be using Cardboard as a means of ushering into the land of VR.

Virtual reality, in essence, tricks your brain into believing that you are in the real world. The main way VR technology does this is by using stereoscopic display.

You see, each of our eyes receives a 2D picture of the surrounding area from a different angle, and our brain works to complete them into a 3D representation of our world.
Stereoscopic imagery works in the very same way. Two slightly different angles of the scene are displayed for each eye, thus simulating a depth effect. Combined with the fact that farther objects relative to you move slower and shading works to create an almost lifelike experience!

The way stereoscopic screen look varies platform to platform as each headset displays images in its own unique way. More advanced VR headsets such as Oculus or Vive, use two feeds sent to LCD displays, one per each eye. There are also lenses which are placed between the eyes and the rendered image, which help to focus the picture for your eyes.
The lenses also reshape the picture for each eye by angling the 2D images to mimic better how each of our eyes views the world. Try closing your eyes, one at a time, and focus on a distant object to get the idea behind it.

The example of a stereoscopic image

Now, when you know a bit behind the technicalities of it all, we shall start with our guide to a DIY VR headset. By using this tutorial you will be able to make yourself your very own VR headset with no cost to you at all if you have some cardboard, plastic bottles, and magnets in your home. Velcro strip comes as an added benefit. You can practically build this headset with recycled materials, and consider yourself an ecological activist in the process.

The lenses are maybe the trickiest part of this tutorial since Google recommends you buy one which will be the costliest item on the list, but a very good solution is to make ones yourself using clear plastic. The lenses used in VR help reduce the least distance of distinct vision, since your eyes can’t focus on something very near to you, thus allowing you to see the screen of your smartphone quite clearly only a few centimeters off your face.

What you will need:

– Scissors
– Exacto knife (stencil cutter)
– Glue
– Quick dry epoxy
– Clear plastic bottle made of PET (Pepsi cola does the trick
– Velcro or rubber band (optional)
– Glue stick and a glue gun
– A small piece of dense foam
Google Cardboard template

1. Cutting lenses

Find a bottle, preferably a large Pepsi cola bottle and cut away all parts of the bottle you won’t need. All you need is the top part of the bottle next to its neck.
Take a cork and draw circles of 25mm diameter and cut out 4 circles with scissors.
It is especially important to use bent plastic next to the neck as it is the perfect shape for the lenses.

2. Making the lenses

Now when you have 4 circles, glue two by two together, but leave a small air cup between them. Use hot glue to glue them together. Once glued, fill the lenses with water and press them a bit so there are no air bubbles inside of them. Then fill the hole with more hot glue.

Let them dry for a couple of minutes. Then test them if they’re magnified by placing them above a page with small printed letters.

Keep in mind that as the diameter of the lens increases, the magnification power of the lenses decreases. That is the result of the amount of curvature in the lenses since magnification power is a function of curvature. As the lens site increases, the curvature decreases, making for a lesser magnifying power.
That is the reason why higher magnification lenses are generally smaller than lower magnification lenses.

3. Make an enclosure for your DIY headset using Google’s Cardboard

This step is pretty simple, all you need is to make a box slightly bigger than your phone, and about 5 cm shallow.
– Download the template and print it on a large piece of paper in landscape mode
– Cut the template
– Attach the template to a cardboard (you can use a pizza box)
– Cut out the template
– Assemble it

4. Attach the lenses

Now for the delicate and important part. Place the pair of lenses you made earlier onto the eye-slot of the assembled Google Cardboard Headset and glue them so they fit tightly.

5. Make a soft mask

Believe it or not, you are almost there. The hardest part is well behind you and now for some finishing touches. Now you need to cut out a piece of foam so that you make a mask that will fit nicely with your face. Cut out the foam by making a place for your eyes, forehead and make holes for the eyes, then glue it onto a finished VR headset.

To box/unbox your mobile phone while inside the Cardboard you can put some Velcro strips or a simple rubber band.

Believe it or not, you are finished!
Test your final product by turning on some Virtual Reality app on your phone, or a 360 video and place your phone in. Enjoy!

If you would like to watch some videos of people assembling the headset, there are many available, but this one goes nicely with our guide.