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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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Liam Dawe Oct 28, 2022
Quoting: slaapliedjeBy 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?
This is the official Beta point
buckysrevenge Oct 28, 2022
I'd be okay with it being laggy but it's pretty unusable on my old Stream Machine because if I go to the library section, the UI stops properly highlighting the selected item so I have no idea what's selected until I click on it.
wit_as_a_riddle Oct 28, 2022
This is super cool, glad to see they're finally replacing the old Big Picture Mode. I used it exclusively for Steam on the TV in my living room for years until my gaming PC went on the fritz.

I've tried this beta with the flag and for me somehow it has replaced Desktop mode as well! Steam boots right into the new Big Picture mode. I think this may be due to a workaround I had previously configured to force Steam into the SteamIU long before this beta.
Phlebiac Oct 28, 2022
Quoting: Phlebiac
Quoting: hardpenguinBig Picture still starts with the old interface if you don't use the launch command

It gave me a big black screen here - I had to kill Steam.

The latest update fixed it; once it came up, I remembered why I never use it, lol!
Liam Dawe Oct 29, 2022
Updated the article with a video showcase.
Thetargos Oct 31, 2022
Quoting: deathxxxNew Big Picture is laggy and buggy. Missed so much options.
Cannot use controller for Elden Ring.
Back to normal.
This was my exact experience with it. Though I did notice that this happened when much was going on in the client, specifically when downloading a bunch of updated shader caches or patches. At one point the portraits lost their outline to identify what I had selected in the home screen.

All in all, I see this as a perfect fit for a "steam session" on a set top/media/general gaming box.

I was one of those odd chaps that did like (and used whenever it fit) BPM, I especially liked the ability to open the overlay, press left bumper for the browser (to search for guides, for instance) or right bumper to open chat, and have the main game screen if you needed something else. All at a much simpler home→LP/RP→home, I absolutely despise some residual bugs that were never fixed (and at this point most likely will never be fixed) like PDF rendering in the Steam browser, at times some over drawn elements (achievements/notifications) not disappearing, the overlay not drawing correctly, artefacts when using Vulkan, etc.
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