Equipment and setup
This page aims to document the various tools I use for streaming and recording speedruns and other gameplay footage. A lot of my hardware is not the best quality (or directly suited for my purposes), but upgrading usually takes time as there are several elements involved in the "signal flow" of any given setup. As I test out more hardware and software, this page will either have more information added to it or become more incomplete; time will tell. (I did update this page in September 2023 but accidentally overwrote it with the previous version a week later so until I feel like updating it again it's still the version from early 2023.)
These are the consoles that I own, and relevant accessories/mods:
- Nintendo GameCube (Japanese DOL-001, Platinum Silver)
- DOL-003 Controller, Platinum Silver
- Official 251 block memory card
- Memory card with SD Media Launcher injected (I didn't do it myself, but I think it's also an official 251 block)
- Aftermarket generic GC memory SD card adapter, with cheap 2GB SD card (for launching GBI/Swiss etc.)
- Aftermarket generic GCN->GBA cable (I opened it up and removed the sharp shoulder button nubs)
- Gameboy Player attachment, Platinum Silver
- Hardmodded by seller to be NTSC-U, still cheaper than most "legit" North American GCs
- OEM analog->AV cable
- Retrobit component cable (I'm not a videophile so I cannot see the imperfections I've read about. It's still leagues better than AV and allows for progressive video)
- 1 Melee disc, used for booting into SD Media Launcher. 30% or so of the game does not function because of the poor condition it was sold in, but the exploit works so I'm not too disappointed.
- 2 Wario World discs, both of which have some crashing issues, despite one being sold by a typically meticulous retro company.
- SNES Classic (a.k.a. SNES Mini, SFC Mini)
- All original accessories. I also use one of the controllers as my main controller for emulation
- I followed the typical homebrew process with Hakchi2 CE, but haven't done much with it as I don't play SNES games often
- Two Gameboy Advance SP consoles (AGS-101)
- One SP, black, was modded by the seller to charge via USB-C. Over time the filling wore down and now the unit does not charge. It still is usable if I swap out a charged battery from another console
- One SP, platinum on red, does not read DMG/CGB carts. It was modded by the seller to have some noticeable scuffs on the lid. I also dropped it twice (embarassing), so there are some nasty cracks on the hinge edges and lid. Still works but its days are probably numbered
- Official SP/NDS charger for the model with a normal charging port
- Everdrive GB-X5 (not most advanced model), with 4GB microSDHC
- Everdrive GBA-X5 (not most streamlined model, but was current at the time of purchase) with 8GB microSDHC
- Some official cartridges
- New Nintendo 3DS LL (overseas equivalent of XL; mine is Japanese)
- Optimize capture board, installed by Delfino Customs
- 64GB microSDXC (the console was shipped with a 16GB microSDHC)
- Typical modern homebrew apps (the ones that 3ds.hacks.guide recommends you install)
- Generic 1/8" audio cable splitter (not in use)
- Generic 1/8" stereo to two 1/4" mono converter
- Some DS carts (currently no physical 3DS carts)
- New Nintendo 2DS XL (US)
- This console's SD reader started malfunctioning in late 2022, and now renders the console unusable for most purposes. Either way, it is obsoleted by the 3DS with capture card listed above.
- This console formerly had several homebrew apps on it (most of which I used solely for casual purposes, including GBA-runner and NDS-bootstrap), but because I can't use SD cards anymore the console only has the homebrew that was initially installed on the internal NAND.
These are the methods I use to capture/process video footage from consoles:
- GameCube: RetroTINK-5x (preferred), Insurrection Industries Carby digital->HDMI, generic passive AV splitter, generic powered AV->HDMI converter
- HDMI: generic powered HDMI splitter, generic USB3 HDMI capture (the style where the HDMI port appears to lead directly to a USB cable)
- New3DS: Optimize capture board with katsukity software
I don't have my own external monitor at the moment, so I have simply used whatever HD TV is already incorporated into my living space at the time. These kinds of TVs add a noticeable amount of delay from processing(???) the video, even in "game" mode, so they can't be taken very seriously for my purposes. While it is not a big problem to adjust for most kinds of games, including platformers, there are some that suffer especially in a competitive context. Rhythm Tengoku for the GBA (using GBI for GameCube) is a good way to see how well your TV really is suited for anything requiring good syncing or reaction time, using either the rhythm test mode or just trying to play any of the minigames.
- Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (first gen, old): main audio interface for microphone and speakers/headphones
- Lexicon Lambda (old): secondary audio interface, currently used for my 3DS capture audio as there was some strange downsampling problem when I used the Scarlett. I use two "insert" i.e. line-input channels for the stereo audio and also monitor it through the interface with headphones (adds no latency)
- Sennheiser MD431 II microphone (expensive and overkill for streaming; I was lent the microphone indefinitely for unrelated purposes)
The computer I use is a bootcamped Macbook Pro 2019 (I think), gifted to me for unrelated purposes. I allocated 256 GiB to the Windows partition, and I use two different generic USB hubs to connect most devices, including an old wired mouse, one 32GB SanDisk flash drive where I store most portable apps, and a 1TB Seagate SSD which I use for VOD storage. 99% of the time I only have access to the built-in monitor, but because it is already quite large (and uses high DPI) I can make do. I haven't had any need to upgrade to a better PC, although I will say this is objectively not suitable as a gaming computer.
The only method I have ever used for video capturing that I can recommend is OBS. I have used a wide range of settings in the past but for now I am happy with streaming at 720p 60fps with a target bitrate of 5Mbps. I have also used the streamlabs app for Android, and it does work, but it is very clunky and very focused on monetization.
Below is a list of addons I have used with OBS:
- DroidCam OBS, for using my phone as a webcam. Free with paid features
- obs-asio (not necessary for my current audio interface)
Here are some other tools I have used in streams and recordings:
- Clock browser source (run from local copy)
- Mini Padder, browser-based lightweight controller overlay (run from local copy)
- NohBoard, lightweight keyboard overlay
I use LiveSplit for any live speedrun timing on PC. In addition to the large variety of included functionality, I also have expanded its capabilities with some community-developed components:
- Focused Hotkeys
- LiveSplit Remote, an Android app that I use to control LiveSplit when my setup doesn't allow me to be near my keyboard. Uses LiveSplit Server
- Speed Guides Live, a tool that allows for displaying notes in a separate window for splits. I downloaded it originally to display information about the current game when doing runs of consecutive Wario Land games, but have since used it for Bomberman 2 and Scribblenauts/Super Scribblenauts to recall the route (this can be surprisingly hard in longer runs with little downtime).
- Split Name Auto Incrementer (direct download/mirror), a tool which looks for bracketed/parenthesized numbers in your split names and increments them every time you complete that segment.
- therun.gg auto uploader, a tool that automatically syncs current split info with therun.gg (split analysis website).
For the two mobile games I have speedrun, I used "Floating Speedrun Timer" (Play Store link). I also used "FramePerfect Speedrun Timer" (website) for running a game on console without access to a computer, although it is a freemium app that locks some useful features behind a paywall and I additionally couldn't get the splits.io integration to work.
Also of note are splits.io and therun.gg, two comparable split analysis websites. splits.io has permeated the speedrunning community and is integrated into several sites and applications, with the only downside being that it locks more advanced features behind a subscription service. therun.gg seems to be a free alternative to splits.io (although there is still an option to support the service), with one advantage being that there is a LiveSplit component (listed above) that syncs your splits automatically with the site.
Only the emulators I have used frequently for speedrunning purposes are listed here.
- BGB, well-rounded accuracy-oriented GB/GBC emulator with a "speedrun mode" setting which displays information useful for verification
- BizHawk/EmuHawk: multi-system emulator focused on accuracy for TASing, but also suitable for speedrunning in many communities (I use it mostly for GBA emulation)
- melonDS, finally a DS emulator that cares about timing accuracy. Seeing anyone use any other DS emulator, even for casual gaming, breaks my heart. (Also ported to BizHawk in recent versions)