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Need even more information on the upcoming Linux-powered Steam Deck from Valve? We've got some more that has trickled through to talk about.

Firstly, in a newer IGN video the team at Valve went over the hardware and power of the Steam Deck and talked about what it's actually capable of. During the video Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais mentioned "We’ve been looking at various games over the past few years in the back catalogue but the real test for us was games that were coming out last year", he continued, "They just couldn’t really run very well on the previous types of prototypes and architectures we were testing and this is the first time we've achieved the level of performance that is required to run the latest generation of games without a problem. All the games that we wanted to be playable is the entire Steam library, we haven't really found something that we could throw at this device that it couldn't handle.".

Now that sounds pretty exciting. However, there's a difference between developers saying it can handle it and it works, and what we're all expecting the performance to actually be like. Griffais mentioned how most games will scale down "to their 800p 30Hz target really well" but "if people start heavily favouring image quality then we might be in a position where have trade-offs but we haven't really seen that yet".

In a follow-up Twitter post Griffais mentioned "The "30 FPS target" refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we've tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far. There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.".

Really interesting to know there's going to be an FPS limiter built in. There's already some available on Linux like libstrangle to tweak that.

What we also know as well from Griffais in a Twitter reply, is that the Steam Deck itself will be using the gamescope project that we mentioned back in January 2020 which is a Wayland compositor for the normal Steam gaming session (not the KDE Plasma desktop mode) - so it's likely the FPS limiter used is built into that directly.

Another very interesting bit of info is that Steam Big Picture is getting overhauled, using the new UI built for the Steam Deck which was confirmed by Valve developer Austin P on a Steam post where they said "Yes, we are replacing Big Picture with the new UI from Deck. We don't have an ETA to share yet though.".

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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36 comments
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CatKiller 26 Jul
Quoting: subBut not communicating that openly will cause major damage to the project.
If they're sensible (which they normally are), and they're intending to be transparent (which they've given every indication they are), they'll have both SteamOS 3 and the anti-cheat (and any other) improvements squared away and released for public testing well in advance of the hardware release.

Release early, release often.

Gabe Newell should probably try to avoid implying that the hardware is only for boys, though.


Last edited by CatKiller on 26 July 2021 at 7:01 pm UTC
whizse 26 Jul
  • Supporter
Slightly off topic, but I'm curious about this section on Steamworks:

QuoteOnce you are set up in your Linux environment / developer kit, you will be able to use the provided debugging tools to run game builds through a remote debugger, and profile performance. Access to the tools is still a work-in-progress and this page will be updated with more information in the coming days.
Anyone know what they have planned for profiling? Gpuvis?
elmapul 26 Jul
i wonder what they mean by run...
run without all the features (cutscenes from guilty gear, sound effects from trackmania etc) count as run? because according to protonDB it count, i hope they arent taking this site serious and they are doing some serious QA with an version of proton that isnt avaliable yet for public consumption (but i dont know what they would do that, maybe to caught microsoft by surprised and not let then have any time to react? wishfull thinking)
CatKiller 26 Jul
They've been working on cutscenes for a while. They've implemented enough so that games no longer crash when they're trying to play something that they can't (that's what the test-screen in-game videos are about) and they're working on getting the video to appear instead. I heard a rumour that they were doing that by re-encoding every video on their end into a more sensible format, and then swapping it in as needed; I haven't investigated whether that's actually true, though.
CatKiller 26 Jul
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: elmapuldigital foundry did an framerate count on some of the footage of games running on steam deck

I guess I found the wrong video, but still quite interesting:
Valve Steam Deck Spec Analysis: Can It Really Handle AAA PC Gaming?
("Proton really needs to deliver!")
This is the one you're after.
elmapul 26 Jul
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: elmapuldigital foundry did an framerate count on some of the footage of games running on steam deck

I guess I found the wrong video, but still quite interesting:
Valve Steam Deck Spec Analysis: Can It Really Handle AAA PC Gaming?
("Proton really needs to deliver!")

yes, wrong video, the video that i saw had ~1 hour, but just an small part of it was performance test
CatKiller 26 Jul
Quoting: CatKillerGabe Newell should probably try to avoid implying that the hardware is only for boys, though.
In case anyone thinks I'm just being random here, it was an interview with IGN, talking about the Deck and the Switch, where he said
QuoteSo I think Nintendo does a great job targeting the audience they do with the content that they have. And that's going to be different. Like when you pick this up, it feels much more like the ergonomics for somebody who's used to playing with an expensive game controller, right? Because it's bigger and it's bulkier than a Switch. And if we're right, that's the right trade-off to be making for the audience that we're going after
A perfectly reasonable interpretation of his thought process here (although not the only one) is that "the Switch is for filthy casuals with their childlike and girly hands, but the Deck is for PCMR with their big manly hands."

I doubt it was a conscious thought, but biases rarely are. The Valve promo videos show girls being allowed to play, at least.


Last edited by CatKiller on 26 July 2021 at 10:31 pm UTC
Lofty 27 Jul
specifically limiting FPS to 30 for power saving feature aside..

I have heard almost no mention of freesync on this device from valve, or on forums such as this either, what am i missing? surely this is the exact instance where freesync would be perfect in allowing smooth FPS all the way down to 30 from 60.

There are going to be many titles where proton's overhead or Anti-cheat rears itself sporadically. Be that due to unavoidable shaders compilation happening in realtime (or if people get sick of waiting for shader compiling and hit 'skip)'or frame drops from DRM and many other such things like loading areas from an SD card.
Let alone the lower the resolution you go (800p) the more CPU load you place on the device as is the way with every PC. Vulkan does not fully mitigate this and games often use CPU for many other reasons like physics etc.. my point being that there will be frame 'dips' on this device.

So is there any indication that this device will support freesync for smooth mobile gaming ? or is it 'film like' 30fps gaming or 'arcade' 60fps with the settings cranked down low ?


Quoting: Horiit's better to have a stable and consistent 30FPS than fluctuating between e.g. 40-60.

If the game can hit 60 and then occasionally drops to 40 (which can look smooth with freesync) then i disagree as mostly you could be enjoying the game at 60 apart from some occasional dips. Rather than accepting a compromise such as 30fps locked (outside of power saving.)


Last edited by Lofty on 27 July 2021 at 2:04 am UTC
Hori 27 Jul
Quoting: Lofty
Quoting: Horiit's better to have a stable and consistent 30FPS than fluctuating between e.g. 40-60.

If the game can hit 60 and then occasionally drops to 40 (which can look smooth with freesync) then i disagree as mostly you could be enjoying the game at 60 apart from some occasional dips. Rather than accepting a compromise such as 30fps locked (outside of power saving.)

But does the Deck even have freesync?
But yeah it also depends on how much fluctuation there is. But if e.g. you play a shooter and every time there's a bit more action the framerate drops and everytime the scene is emptier or you look at the sky/ground it goes all the way up, and there is no freesync, then that's not ok at all.
Although, for a shooter game, I'd rather lower the details than the framerate, but for other genres it can make more sense. It depends.
slaapliedje 27 Jul
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Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: CatKillerGabe Newell should probably try to avoid implying that the hardware is only for boys, though.
In case anyone thinks I'm just being random here, it was an interview with IGN, talking about the Deck and the Switch, where he said
QuoteSo I think Nintendo does a great job targeting the audience they do with the content that they have. And that's going to be different. Like when you pick this up, it feels much more like the ergonomics for somebody who's used to playing with an expensive game controller, right? Because it's bigger and it's bulkier than a Switch. And if we're right, that's the right trade-off to be making for the audience that we're going after
A perfectly reasonable interpretation of his thought process here (although not the only one) is that "the Switch is for filthy casuals with their childlike and girly hands, but the Deck is for PCMR with their big manly hands."

I doubt it was a conscious thought, but biases rarely are. The Valve promo videos show girls being allowed to play, at least.
Ha, I would interpret it as being for full sized adults, and not kids that would drop it. I mean we should face the fact that the Switch, and Nintendo in general targets more of kids and grown kids... the joy-cons are absolutely too small for my hands to comfortably use, and I have to use my Pro controller to play games on it (at least it is one of the nicest controllers I have.) Gabe probably has the same complaint about the joy-cons as I do. They are made for smaller hands.

If anything he is implying that the Steam Deck is for men and women, not boys and girls.
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