In the magical world of software that streams video games onto the internet, there are two main pillars: XSplit and Open Broadcast Software. Within this space, however, there are still other options. One of the most interesting being Inifinscene. After recently going into open beta, it is becoming a tool that any streamer can utilize or at the very least should be aware of and keep their eyes on.
So, what exactly is Infiniscene?
Infiniscene, as the developers put it, is a “broadcast studio powered by the cloud”. Much like XSplit or OBS, it takes the stuff on your computer, whether it be your screen, webcam, mic, or any combination of those, and broadcasts it to Twitch, Youtube Gaming, or Hitbox. The “cloud” part being most notable since traditionally, the broadcast software would run on a local computer and would be very intensive to run. If you thought just running a game on high settings was hard, you might find that with streaming your problem doubles in some cases. Infiniscene aims to shoulder this burden for you and take much of this load off of your computer.
If you don’t see the value in having a huge CPU load being put on a computer that isn’t yours, the other side of Infiniscene is that it aims to be intuitive for both new and long-time broadcasters. The scene editor in Infiniscene is much like it’s contemporaries. Once you download the Infiniscene app onto you computer, you can load most things that you would expect to build up your stream from your monitors, webcams, capture cards, all your different audio inputs and outputs, as well as uploading images for your overlays, all on a dashboard via the Infiniscene website. The app is only for connecting your computer to Infiniscene while the actual studio part of Infiniscene exists in your web browser. Infiniscene also has a browser source plugin built in with a specific TwitchAlerts plugin for those that utilize any one of the TwitchAlerts’s tools. Lastly, while Infiniscene does have a text tool, currently you can’t load text from a file so if your overlay incorporates anything like that, you’re out of luck.
From there, you have a couple drop-down menus to set your quality. At the top, you can set your base resolution, which currently only has three options between 480p30fps, 480p60fps, and 720p30fps. Support for other resolutions and FPS settings will be added in the future. If you’re not partnered on Twitch, these are probably good options from a bitrate perspective. One problem I do have with these resolution options is that your output resolution scales the editing stage instead of scaling at the broadcasting stage. That means if you decide at some point you want to change from 720p to 480p, instead of just making everything smaller, you have to manually move and rearrange your assets in this now smaller window.
The other option for quality you have is the quality of your assets from your computer. If, for instance, your bandwidth is somewhat limited, you can lower the quality on your sources to lighten that load a bit. Interestingly, this is pretty comparable to lowering your bitrate in any other situation so you can expect the same kind of results. But don’t take my word for it, just look at the quality.
Timestamps: “Best Performance” Preset: 0:58, “Good Performance” Preset: 7:03, “Good Quality” Preset: 13:55, “Best Quality” Preset: 20:17.
The quality options are very nice and very straight-forward. A number-cruncher nerd like me might want more numbers behind some of these settings but I can live without them. From a usability standpoint, both “good” options are a bit weird because you’d probably want the best in either direction or just one middle option if either end is to extreme. At 720p30, it’s pretty easy to see the change at either end of the performance options with almost no CPU impact despite the options menu giving me a warning. This is a point where your mileage may vary though as each computer is its own beast, so to speak.
There are actually a couple really nice aspects about the Infiniscene editor. For one, Infiniscene by default has a non-live editor. That means that you can make changes to your scenes and move things around in a space where you viewers don’t have to watch you tinker with the specific sizing of boxes. There is no option to toggle this off so if you don’t care about this feature, you have to hit two buttons to change scenes instead one. The other really nice thing about the editor is that there is a mobile app integrated with the website. You set up your scenes in your web browser then, if you so chose, you can go live and control your scenes from your phone. It might be a novelty but it’s very cool and part of me wishes XSplit had an integration like that built in.
Using Infiniscene somehow feels different. Sometimes not always good different but it’s a different experience. For one, Infiniscene currently doesn’t allow you to monitor anything you’re doing live. In XSplit and OBS, you can, for instance, see your volume bars going up and down and compare them for a sense of how you’re sounding or see your scene transition happen so you know that what you see is what your viewers see. With Infiniscene, you can hit the button to change scenes but you will have to wait and see how things turn out on your stream or after your viewers tell you. I have, without realizing it, put a lot of trust in my XSplit preview window and I feel very unsure without it. The nature of a cloud-based solution also means that you can’t record videos or have a local copy of anything you do which, if that is an integral part of your production, is a bummer. Whilst Infiniscene does takes load of your computer, it takes up more of your bandwidth and can result in internet-related issues more annoying and pronounced.
All this being said, Infiniscene feels very much like technology of the future. That future might only be 5-10 years from now but at some point in the future, this is probably how many streaming applications will work. In small ways, StreamPro or Strexm are a lot like this where your overlay is in the cloud and all you have is your game and a browser source. This just takes it one step further. As this grows as a solution, the possibilities are potentially endless. If I could stream more devices, like my consoles or my phone even, directly to Infiniscene, it would make streaming much more straightforward and accessible.
I’ll be keeping an eye on Infiniscene and I’ll be sure to post about major updates to the service.