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How to Add a Speedrun Timer on Twitch

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If you enjoy watching speedruns on Twitch, you’ll always notice something pretty similar between each one, regardless of what game is being played: The timer! Speedruns are broken up into segments, which runners use to track their progress through each milestone in the game. If you think that most people’s timers look similar, it’s probably because they almost all come from the same program: LiveSplit!

What is LiveSplit?

LiveSplit is a free and extremely versatile speedrun timer. It’s simple to operate, packed with features, and is highly customizable. You can control the size and orientation of the splits, and customize everything from the colors and fonts to the segment names — and even give them custom icons!

One of the best features, especially for people new to LiveSplit and speedrunning, is the ability to import a layout from a downloaded file. Many speedrunning communities already have a generic LiveSplit configuration that you can download and import to get started right away, including things like segment names, icons, and comparisons. One example is the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past community, which has several pre-built LiveSplit layouts ready and waiting for new players.

How to Add LiveSplit to OBS

  1. Step 1

    Launch LiveSplit and OBS.

  2. Step 2

    In the OBS scene that you want to add the timer to, click the “+” next to “Sources.”

  3. Step 3

    Click “Window Capture.”

  4. Step 4

    Make sure “Create new” is selected and name it “LiveSplit.”

  5. Step 5

    Click “OK.”

  6. Step 6

    Make sure that the “LiveSplit.exe” window is selected, then click “OK.”

How to Add LiveSplit to Streamlabs OBS

  1. Step 1

    Launch LiveSplit and Streamlabs OBS.

  2. Step 2

    In the Streamlabs OBS scene that you want to add the timer to, click the “+” next to “Sources.”

  3. Step 3

    Click “Window Capture” on the left-hand side, then “Add Source.”

  4. Step 4

    Check the “Add a new source instead” box and name it “LiveSplit.”

  5. Step 5

    Click “Add Source.”

  6. Step 6

    Make sure that the “LiveSplit.exe” window is selected, then click “Done.”

Best LiveSplit Settings

There are no “best” LiveSplit settings because it’s built to be customized to suit your specific needs. With that in mind here are some considerations that may help you build the best layout possible:

  1. 1. Quick Layout

    Once you’ve selected what game you’re speedrunning, check the “Resources” tab for the game’s page on speedrun.com. They may already have a layout ready and built for you that can be used as-is or tweaked to make it unique to you!

  2. 2. Community

    If the game you chose doesn’t have a community there, you may just need to find it — for instance, many of Mega Man’s top runners prefer to use https://megamanleaderboards.net/. Lots of communities have Discord servers now, which may have more up-to-date information!

  3. 3. Window Capture

    You may wish to uncheck the “Capture Cursor” checkbox for the Window Capture so that it doesn’t get blocked by accidental cursor movements

  4. 4. Window Size

    Don’t adjust the window size within OBS or Streamlabs OBS. You can click and drag the corners of LiveSplit to adjust it, or set it to be a specific size by using the “Set Size” function within the layout editor

  5. 5. Custom Layout

    twitch speedrun layout

    When building a custom layout, consider what size your game is. For instance, many retro games will natively record at or upscale to 640×480 (4:3 aspect ratio). If you’re streaming at 720p (1280×720), you may consider a layout with the game on the right-hand side at 960×720, your camera in the top-left or bottom-left corner at 320×180, and your splits aligned with the camera on the left at 320×540. That will create a layout with proportions as shown here.

  6. 6. Compare

    For games in a 16:9 resolution, it may be tougher to find space to fit the timer without also opening up space above or below the game. Look at other speedrunners’ layouts for ideas on how to best navigate this!

Conclusion

For any speedrunner, new or experienced, LiveSplit is the timer of choice due to its wide-ranging capabilities and customizability — plus an unbeatable price! Many communities have their own LiveSplit files that you can use as-is, or as a starting point for making your own unique-looking timer.

No matter what, you should take a little time to familiarize yourself with LiveSplit’s features and capabilities. The best place to start is on the LiveSplit website’s introduction page which has good video tutorials in both English and Spanish, plus an FAQ. Regardless of your aspirations as a speedrunner or a streamer, LiveSplit is an essential tool that you should learn and love because it will stay with you all the way from a beginner to pro!

About the Author

Kurt

Forever an avid techie, Kurt (aka Physek on Twitch) is a Software Engineer by day and a streamer/content creator by night. These days, he mostly streams Mario while talking about life, technology, and especially cats.

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