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Recently a bunch of people from other sites went to Valve's offices for some hands-on time with the Steam Deck and it seems the overall impression was pretty positive.

Like a lot of others, we're in the waiting line for whenever our unit ships early next year so we're currently going by whatever info Valve give out and by what other lucky people think after testing. Obviously Valve are going with the top few PC gaming sites / video content creators to make as big a splash as possible, they're certainly doing massively better on pushing it this time compared with the Steam Machines. With that in mind, we do have a few videos to show from others.

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From what's been shown, I'm pretty glad our unit has been reserved at the top-end for the anti-glare etched glass which very clearly makes quite a noticeable difference.

Plenty of comparisons between the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch for obvious reasons, with the Deck being a good bit bigger. From the comments it seems it doesn't actually feel as heavy as expected and is pretty comfortable, so at least on the design Valve has done well. Multiple people noted how much nicer the thumbsticks are compared with the Nintendo Switch too, which is a good sign because those are pretty bad.

Nice to see the KDE Plasma desktop mode working well too , with Linus Tech Tips showing how smoothly it popped up when plugging it into a monitor. That is, I think, going to be very fun to see more users and developers interact with a proper Linux desktop and since it seems to "just work" that's another mark in its favour.

Good to see so much positivity around it! Although, each person only got a somewhat limited amount of time, the real test will be regular gamers spending days with it. It's also worth noting that these are still early units in testing so considering none of the software is final yet - it's all a good sign on how much people enjoyed using them.

There's a few more you can find around and it seems when PC Gamer spoke to Valve, they confirmed that there will be some new API that developers will be able to hook into that will tell games if they're being run on the Steam Deck. That sounds really good, as at least then developers can ensure their game will look good on the smaller screen, and gives developers a chance to set some automatic graphics settings for the best experience.

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71 comments
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CatKiller 7 Aug, 2021
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QuoteThere's a few more you can find around and it seems when PC Gamer spoke to Valve, they confirmed that there will be some new API that developers will be able to hook into that will tell games if they're being run on the Steam Deck. That sounds really good, as at least then developers can ensure their game will look good on the smaller screen, and gives developers a chance to set some automatic graphics settings for the best experience.
I'd actually rather devs didn't do this. There is a whole spectrum of performance characteristics that don't fit into the is on a deck or isn't on a deck boxes. If they need to know the resolution, capabilities, or speed, of the hardware they're running on for their game to work properly check for those things.

Also, Valve have said that they want other manufacturers to make their own handheld computers running SteamOS in the future. Those are going to have different characteristics. Where are they going to fit in the is a steam deck binary?


Last edited by CatKiller on 7 August 2021 at 9:37 pm UTC
rustybroomhandle 7 Aug, 2021
The demo units had about 30 games installed on them, all of them either Valve games or games from what they call "partners". I would love to see a list of those games to see which big publishers are among those partners.
Solitary 7 Aug, 2021
Quoting: CatKiller
QuoteThere's a few more you can find around and it seems when PC Gamer spoke to Valve, they confirmed that there will be some new API that developers will be able to hook into that will tell games if they're being run on the Steam Deck. That sounds really good, as at least then developers can ensure their game will look good on the smaller screen, and gives developers a chance to set some automatic graphics settings for the best experience.
I'd actually rather devs didn't do this. There is a whole spectrum of performance characteristics that don't fit into the is on a deck or isn't on a deck boxes. If they need to know the resolution, capabilities, or speed, of the hardware they're running on for their game to work properly check for those things.
But Steam Deck can be much more then just small PC,... there is already talks about resuming gameplay on a different device, or ability to quickly switch between multiple games when using Steam Deck, all of that might be easier done if the game can communicate with the device. I mean we can only speculate what that API could do, but I doubt it's only for getting specs, even though just that would also be good. This device can only get better if the games don't treat it as "any other PC" where it doesn't even try to meet halfway and take into account the desired handheld/console-like experience.
BielFPs 7 Aug, 2021
I would like to see one of them testing this game
Whitewolfe80 7 Aug, 2021
Honestly am impressed and i think its going to be a huge sucess but i wont ever be buying one as previously said all of my downtime occurs when am home near my gaming rig. When am working i cant even phone my wife unless its a medical emergency work has a very very strict outside communication policy.
jrt 7 Aug, 2021
I was very positively surprised by the LTT video. He didn't mention "installing Windows" or the current anticheat situation.
I think it's great that we are at a point where people can be hyped about a Desktop Linux device without a constant "but it would be better with windows".
Liam Dawe 7 Aug, 2021
Quoting: BielFPsI would like to see one of them testing this game
We shall be testing plenty of that when we get our unit :)
Purple Library Guy 7 Aug, 2021
Quoting: Whitewolfe80Honestly am impressed and i think its going to be a huge sucess but i wont ever be buying one as previously said all of my downtime occurs when am home near my gaming rig. When am working i cant even phone my wife unless its a medical emergency work has a very very strict outside communication policy.
You can get one after you get your self-driving car. Play during commute.
slaapliedje 7 Aug, 2021
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Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: Alm888New API? I wonder, what will it be?
In my impression developers just need to target WIN32 API releasing for Windows and Valve will do the "magic". Well, that and Vulkan is preferable. At least Valve has said as much…

Well to be honest in order to fulfil "that will tell games if they're being run on the Steam Deck" that API could be just /etc/os-release :-)
Seems to me all they'd need to do is add the controller scheme to the Input API that already exists. More developers should use that anyhow, as it makes in-game prompts for buttons SO much better!
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