Wow. Valve sure love to just drop awesome stuff out of nowhere don't they? A brand new Beta update is now live for Steam with some massive improvements. There's also a fresh Steam Deck Beta too!
First, let's talk Steam Desktop. The Beta brings in a whole new Steam Overlay with a new interface and a fancy toolbar, that gives you easy access to various things like friends chat, achievements progress, guides, discussions, a browser, and more. There's a new notes app that lets you type in whatever you like, saved in the cloud and synced across other systems. Even more awesome, is that you can now pin things on top of the game window, to have them show on top — which sounds incredibly useful.
Above you can see the new overlay in action on Fedora KDE 38, with a bunch of windows open. And a note telling myself that I need to "Git gud". If you notice, the guide has a blue pin, because that has been pinned to the game, so when looking at the game it would show up like this:
Wherever you place a pinned window in the overlay, is where it will show on the game.
Notifications have been overhauled too and they even upgraded the screenshot manager.
For Linux and macOS, Valve even said their work has now enabled hardware acceleration bringing it up to the same level as the Windows client. So now Steam should be a lot smoother. One thing they noted is how a lot of work went under the hood for all this, as they changed how they share the code between desktop, big picture and Steam Deck to help bring features out faster.
There's subtle design changes across the whole client too, so a lot more of it matches with their newer modern design elements and it looks pretty great now overall, much more consistent.
It also wasn't mentioned directly but the old Steam file picker when adding a Non-Steam game is gone, instead it now seems to use the desktop file picker. Finally! That was one of the worst parts of the Steam client because that old Steam file picker was pretty terrible but now you get your full desktop picker. Excellent.
This overall is really quite a fantastic upgrade for Steam on desktop. According to Valve designer Lawrence Yang on Twitter the overlay improvements will eventually come to Gaming Mode on Steam Deck too.
Meanwhile, the Steam Deck also had a Beta and Preview update with these changes:
- Added a new warning icon to the header that will display when Steam Deck can't reach the Steam servers. Clicking the icon will navigate a page with more details.
- The wifi icon will no longer show a yellow exclamation mark when Steam Deck can't reach the Steam servers. It will still show this icon if Steam Deck can't reach the internet (e.g. the connection has a login portal).
- Added support for Mouse4 (Back) as B button in the interface.
- Fixed opening the "Reorder controllers" dialog in the main Big Picture Window when a game is running.
- Added new config export path that works while offline. In personal configuration dropdown the options are now "New Personal Save", which is this new option and "New Sharable Personal Save", which uses the existing Steam Workshop backend.
- Filter the configuration export options based on whether the device is connected to Steam/Offline.
- Fixed some flashes when adjusting sliders in the Quick Settings section of the configurator.
- Fixed moving right in the mode settings page not jumping to the appropriate settings sub-page.
- Fixed turning off the Dual Sense Edge controller.
The Steam Deck has all the new overlay stuff too but just in Desktop Mode for now.
Update 28/04/23 20:08 UTC: an additional Beta update went out, fixing up some issues and adding back the missing Steam Play settings.