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Steam Deck UI comes to Desktop in Beta to replace Big Picture Mode

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Valve has finally done what a lot have been waiting for, made the Steam Deck UI available for desktops although it's only available in the Steam Client Beta for now.

To access it open Steam -> Settings -> Account -> hit the Change button under Betas and select the Steam Client Beta. After that, you also need to add "-gamepadui" as a launch argument. So in terminal on Linux you can just simply run steam -gamepadui for it to work. Or just add it to the end of whatever shortcut you're using, same can be done on Windows too.

For anyone who has been following any Steam Deck footage from me or others, you will know what it looks like by now but here's a couple shots from my desktop running it:

It's not perfected yet of course, hence it being in Beta and hidden behind a launch argument. One issue I already found (shown above), was that the Steam menu ends up showing whatever I have behind it. Weirdly though, the Quick Access Menu doesn't have that problem.

As far as I know, it will still be called Big Picture Mode but it just gets replaced from the old to the new, taken from the Steam Deck UI design.

Valve say the updated UI includes:

  • New Home Screen, where you can continue playing recent games, and see what’s new with the games in your library.
  • New Universal Search, that searches across Library, Store, and your friends
  • New controller configurator, designed for ease-of-use of picking, adjusting, or creating custom controller configurations
  • Optimized Steam Store for controller navigation
  • Updated in-game overlay, with access to achievements and guides
    • Press Steam / Guide / PS button while in game
  • New system menu, for quick navigation to different parts of the interface
    • Access this with the Steam / Guide / PS button
  • New quick access menu, for access to notifications, friends list, quick settings, and more.
    • Access this with Steam / Guide / PS button + A

Here's a quick run over it:

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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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26 comments
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mphuZ Oct 27, 2022
Finally!
Mashard4 Oct 27, 2022
I like this a lot more.
Mohandevir Oct 27, 2022
Great news! Is it working like on the steam deck for AMD FSR setup?


Last edited by Mohandevir on 27 October 2022 at 8:25 pm UTC
Cybolic Oct 27, 2022
It's actually been in the stable client for months. Before now, it just had to be launched with two arguments instead of the one. I was running it for a couple of months earlier in the year with gamescope (behaves better that way) using the following command:
gamescope -W 3440 -H 1440 --steam -f -- /usr/bin/steam-runtime -steamos -gamepadui
Back then I got annoyed with the client trying to control the system - things like shutting down the OS on exit or wanting to restart the system, which makes perfect sense on Steam Deck, but not on desktop - so I went back to the standard client.

EDIT: I assume the new stuff is that it works better without gamescope - first step to becoming a proper desktop client.


Last edited by Cybolic on 27 October 2022 at 8:42 pm UTC
1xok Oct 27, 2022
So we can finally use it on the Deck in desktop mode ...
hardpenguin Oct 27, 2022
I am impressed, although I think I will wait for it to be made available for everyone by default.

For now, the Big Picture still starts with the old interface if you don't use the launch command provided in the article.
Purple Library Guy Oct 27, 2022
Funny thing is, I don't think I've ever actually used Big Picture mode. Never seemed like there was anything I wanted/needed to do that Big Picture mode would give me and the normal, um . . . small picture mode , wouldn't. Is this likely to change that?
Phlebiac Oct 28, 2022
Quoting: hardpenguinFor now, the Big Picture still starts with the old interface if you don't use the launch command provided in the article.

It gave me a big black screen here - I had to kill Steam. Been a long time since I tried using it, so I don't know if that problem is new on my system with the latest update.
Phlebiac Oct 28, 2022
Quoting: Purple Library GuyFunny thing is, I don't think I've ever actually used Big Picture mode. Never seemed like there was anything I wanted/needed to do that Big Picture mode would give me and the normal, um . . . small picture mode , wouldn't. Is this likely to change that?

I think "gamepadui" is descriptive here - it's more controller friendly.
hm11 Oct 28, 2022
Good, i knew it was only a matter of time. This UI IMO is actually better than the big picture one.
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