Setting up a Twitch stream is mostly straightforward once you've installed OBS, hooked up a webcam, and have a game in mind. I often find that I'm quickly engrossed when playing fast-paced battle royales like Apex Legends while dual-streaming with my partner. While this level of focus can lead to some entertaining highlights, I'm definitely guilty of checking the Twitch chat too infrequently, and missing messages from my online friends.
Maintaining the conversation while handling the pressure of a 2v1 clutch is a skill you perfect if you stream regularly, but it's much easier to keep up with ongoing discussions if your chat box is positioned in a convenient spot. Swinging my curved ultrawide round to use as part of a dual monitor setup isn't exactly ideal. I've also found Twitch chat to be far too small to comfortably glance at when propping my phone or tablet up on my desk. I've been making do, but my setup isn't optimally arranged for streaming, and adjusting it would only upset my tidy working-from-home corner.
This week, Marco Schuster—also known as u/Enubia on Reddit—shared a standalone Twitch chat overlay he's been working on that does a good job of tackling some of the issues I've encountered. Available through GitHub, Ghost Chat is a free app that lets you select any Twitch channel, and import the chat directly from Twitch to a clean box that overlays whatever's running on your primary monitor. It's simple to download and install, and there are no security worries as you aren't required to log in to use it.
One of Ghost Chat's best features is that you don't have to compromise your existing stream overlay to accommodate it. If you use OBS to capture a specific window, the chat overlay will only be visible to you and won't show up for your viewers. There is a small downside in that you have to run games in windowed or borderless windowed mode. This can noticeably impact performance if you're used to pushing higher frames in shooters, but it feels like a worthwhile trade, overall. Depending on the types of games you usually stream, this may not even affect you. Schuster also intends to add fullscreen support once the software he uses (Electron) facilitates it.
After downloading and launching Ghost Chat, tweaking its settings only takes a few minutes. You can drag the chat window anywhere on your screen and resize it so it doesn't obscure important HUD elements. There's also an option to add a background colour to the chat box, and adjust its opacity to ensure the text is legible. So far I haven't been able to click through the overlay to interact with game menus positioned behind it. That said, Schuster does highlight this feature on Reddit, so it may be possible to get this working with a few minor adjustments.
This app is really easy to recommend because it solves an awkward issue I've been struggling with for a few weeks now. I also imagine this app will be particularly valuable for new streamers who may not have a spare monitor lying around, and aren't looking to purchase new streaming equipment just yet. While a dual-monitor setup is ideal for closely monitoring a livestream, Schuster has made it significantly easier to stream using a single monitor, and has shared a neatly-packaged solution that works remarkably well.