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Dynamic Cloud Sync to let you easily switch between PC and Steam Deck

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Valve has announced the latest upgrade to help players with a Steam Deck. It's called Dynamic Cloud Sync and will let you easily switch between your PC and a Steam Deck.

The idea is that when you enter suspend mode on the Steam Deck, like you might with other consoles, the Steam Deck will then upload any modified save data to the Steam Cloud ready to be picked up anywhere else. When you wake the device, it will then automatically download any changes ready for you to carry on.

Valve say this is not a requirement but they "recommend" developer use it to give players the best experience possible. Without it though, there may be problems as Valve say: "Without Dynamic Cloud Sync enabled, Steam will still track when save game data is changed on the Steam Deck. However, any user who suspends their Deck while your game is running and then tries to resume that game on a different device, will be prompted to first return to their Deck to close the running process or continue without their most recent save game progress".

It's free to use but not automatic so developers must do some work to take advantage of it. This includes new integrations into games, which is where some problems may arise. This has been announced really close to the release of the Steam Deck, which of course is not ideal for developers who are often already overworked. Are many likely to go back through their older titles to add it in? It doesn't seem overly likely.

FNA developer and game porter Ethan Lee mentioned on Twitter: "Considering an overwhelming majority of titles I see use autocloud I'm hoping sleep mode triggers a transaction and resuming makes it go 'we detected new save data from another PC, do you want to restart the game?' because no way is anyone going into their back catalog for _this_".

Developer Tyler Glaiel (The End is Nigh, Bombernauts, The Basement Collection and more) also seemed unimpressed on Twitter too.

It is more work for developers but hopefully over time it will become something developers think on during development. As players, we can just hope developers find easy enough ways to implement it and share that with others.

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mindedie Jan 25, 2022
For unimpressed lets put games on full-blown emulation (virtualization) and save state, problem solved?
kokoko3k Jan 25, 2022
Quoting: mindedieFor unimpressed lets put games on full-blown emulation (virtualization) and save state, problem solved?
I fail to understand, but for sure saving the state of a game means having state files of several gigabytes (easilly 10 or more on heavy titles).
kokoko3k Jan 25, 2022
It is a nice feature,
when you put the deck into sleep, it will upload the save to steam cloud, then you open the game on the pc and it will use that.
From the developer side, the required step is to load the savegame if it changed when the deck wakes up.
Still "seamlessly", is marketing thing, as you can't expect to restore the game exactly at the same point everytime just because savegames never worked that way everytime.

Last edited by kokoko3k on 25 January 2022 at 5:49 pm UTC
Philadelphus Jan 25, 2022
Sounds like a pretty cool idea. But yeah, even if we take "Steam Deck shipping in February" to mean February 28, that's not a lot of time for developers to integrate this new tech into games, no matter how easy Valve's made it. And of course games vary wildly in terms of save systems and how well they might work with this, so I predict we won't see all that many games with this implemented by the time regular consumers start getting Decks in their hands (maybe some Valve games, or if they've been secretly working with some developers to have it implemented at launch). Hopefully that number will increase over time, though, as devs get familiar with the new APIs and start adding it.
slaapliedje Jan 25, 2022
Quoting: Hori
QuoteThis has been announced really close to the release of the Steam Deck, which of course is not ideal for developers who are often already overworked

Amy I missing something? IIRC they already said in the past it would not work out-of-the-box and that some changes might be required. I think it was in the developer Q&A sessions.
They mentioned something about it in the initial press stuff. Something about being able to play your game on the Go on the deck, and then being able to pick up where you left off on your computer. Which basically would be just cloud saves. Though the way it works on something like Android or the Switch, where you can put your device to sleep, and then pick it up and the game has been put into the background also kind of sounded like what they might be saying, with synced cloud saves, I don't know why you couldn't just pick it up and go. Though that means when you put your deck to sleep, it won't be really really asleep until the sync is done :P

Also as someone mentioned, some game saves can get HUGE...
elmapul Jan 26, 2022
that reminds me of the old days:

this game support rumble pack , this game support/require memory card.

" this game suport trading cards, this game support dynamic cloud sync"
MisterPaytwick Jan 27, 2022
Nice feature indeed, but I understand the reaction of the devs (well Lee and Glaiel here, tho I expect it to be pretty common) extra work for either a feature that shouldn't requires it (because it's just extra work to avoid a few steps for the use of the soft),

Quoting: mindedieFor unimpressed lets put games on full-blown emulation (virtualization) and save state, problem solved?

I'm not sure I'm getting your meaning, but while it's off the table, it'd be interesting to see how that kind of things can emerge. I don't expect it for now, nor with the current way things are done, but looking over a project like Arcan, we can see network transparent transition of games could be a reality: even if there is limitation such as LAN only, etc, since most people that send a game from the computer or steam deck to the other one.

Tho arcan is a wild thing and Steam isn't going to support that first, they have bigger fishes to go for, like driver improvements.

Last edited by MisterPaytwick on 27 January 2022 at 8:21 am UTC
Philadelphus Jan 27, 2022
A thought I had just now: is this Linux-exclusive, or would these APIs work on Windows/MacOS too? I know, I know; it doesn't mention OS anywhere in the announcement, and Valve like making things open, so there's no reason it wouldn't work on other OSes...but on the other hand, Valve also don't need to support people installing Windows on their Deck, so there's also no particular reason they've done the extra work to make it work on something other than Steam OS 3.0. (Could even be a subtle way of encouraging people to stick with the default OS.)

Realistically I'm sure it works across all three OSes (since it could also serve to sync progress between desktop & laptop, etc.) but still...a man can dream.
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