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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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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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ShabbyX 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?

You'd want this mode if you are connected to a tv and all you have is a controller. Only place I found that to be useful was that; on my GamerOS console.
kellerkindt Oct 28, 2022
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Not so sure whether I am happy that. It seems a bit early? For example, Last week, when I set up by Steam Dock, I realized I hadn't updated my Steam Controller for BLE yet (woopsie). Updating it was not possible through the Deck-Ui but only through Big Picture Mode instead...
jordicoma Oct 28, 2022
Quoting: CybolicIt'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.
I was having a big Deja vu with this news. I remembered trying it with my linux desktop but I didn't remember how.
Still, the new interface lacks the media player. Hope they improve it.
anyone_yun Oct 28, 2022
This beta broke hidpi support for me. I’m switching back to stable, if somebody else is having this issue, switch to stable
Cybolic 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?
If you like using something like the Plex Media Player instead of mpv or the "party" mode on various media players, then the new Steam Deck UI could fit you. It doesn't necessarily have any major features that the "small picture mode" hasn't, but the feel is different. For me, it was a nice way to put myself into gaming mode - no distractions, no window handling, just games.
Klaas Oct 28, 2022
Has anybody found a way to make it start in library view/automatically skip the home screen?
mr-victory Oct 28, 2022
QuoteNew quick access menu, for access to notifications, friends list, quick settings, and more.
Access this with Steam / Guide / PS button + A
Why didn't anyone tell me Quick access is accessible by PS Button + A?
Eike Oct 28, 2022
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Quoting: CybolicIf you like using something like the Plex Media Player instead of mpv or the "party" mode on various media players, then the new Steam Deck UI could fit you. It doesn't necessarily have any major features that the "small picture mode" hasn't, but the feel is different. For me, it was a nice way to put myself into gaming mode - no distractions, no window handling, just games.

That's well said. :)
I don't usually use BPM; but what I do to get myself into gaming mode is fullscreen gaming and (usually) no alt-tabbing.
deathxxx Oct 28, 2022
New Big Picture is laggy and buggy. Missed so much options.
Cannot use controller for Elden Ring.
Back to normal.
slaapliedje Oct 28, 2022
By the way, the ability to use -gamepadui on the desktop client has been there for a while. Is this just more of an official bullet point in the changelog?
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