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Steam gets overhauled with new overlay, Steam Deck big stable update

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Valve has now released the latest big update to the Steam client, which brings with it various UI updates and the new in-game Steam Overlay. This is the update they announced back in April, with it being promoted from Beta to Stable.

While there's plenty of tweaks, Valve said the biggest changes aren't actually user-visible because they've changed "how we share code across the Steam Desktop Client, Big Picture mode, and Steam Deck" resulting in "quicker implementation and iteration of new features" and now much code is shared between them.

Some of what's new includes:

  • Various tweaks to the Steam App UI.
  • Richer notifications.
  • A whole new in-game overlay that lets you make notes, and pin windows on top of games.
  • Hardware acceleration for Linux and macOS.

Here's an example of the new in-game overlay:

Really great update actually, the new overlay is many times more useful than the one before. The notes system is a good idea, and having it sync to your Steam account so you have it anywhere is really quite useful.

Check out Valve's overview video:

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Full Steam desktop app changes can be seen in their blog post.

Over on the Steam Deck, we finally have a fresh Stable Steam Client update as well, bundling together a whole lot of the tweaks and changes Valve has been putting out in Beta. Naturally, a lot of this is the same as what's found on desktop, since they are sharing code now but there's various specific Steam Deck tweaks like fixing the notorious issue of the Steam Deck claiming it cannot reach Steam servers when resuming from sleep. Most of it is bug fixing but there's also these additions and changes:

  • Added support for notification types shown in the Desktop Client and Mobile app: Wishlist, Trade Offer, Steam Turn, Help Request, Major Sale, and Comment.
  • Added a bell icon to the header when there are new notifications, and a green indicator to new notifications in the notifications list.
  • Apply text filtering preferences in Guides in the Overlay.
  • Expand the hitbox of buttons in the footer to make them easier to click.
  • Improved performance of dual trackpad typing in the Virtual Keyboard.
  • Any button press will now cancel the Wake custom startup movie.
  • Changed game invitations to show the launch option dialog instead of using the first option in the list. If the user has selected an option and asked to remember it, that option will be used instead of showing the dialog.
  • Added support for Mouse4 (Back) as B button in the interface.
  • Search will now return tags in addition to games. You can search for categories like "Free to Play" or individual tags like "survival" or "zombies".
  • Enabled additional toast notifications that were previously only visible in Desktop mode.
  • Restored display of Special Offers in the What's New section of the home screen.

The full details of the Steam Deck update are here.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Apps, Misc, Steam, Update, Valve
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42 comments
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cbones Jun 15, 2023
Steam launches but the interface just shows a large black square in the middle of my screen for a second, disappears for a few, and then does that again. Repeatedly. I can launch recent games from the tray icon but that's it.
Etienne Mahler Jun 15, 2023
Wow, so happy to see Steam's new dress – and it already seems to run smoother on Linux
Belaptir Jun 15, 2023
Quoting: elmapul, if your game makes the player confused you probably need to tweak it so the players dont get confused anymore instead of relying on then using an note taking overlay to keep track of their progress

There are some games that have a huge amount of content and it's useful to have some notes, for example for what do you want to do first. I do that a lot in games like FFXIV, where I want to keep a track of what I'm missing here and there. Other times, I might just want to remember to come back some place later because I don't want to forget something.

The point I'm trying to make is that not because you can take notes to help you with the game it means the game is confusing or badly designed.
Eike Jun 15, 2023
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Quoting: Belaptir
Quoting: elmapul, if your game makes the player confused you probably need to tweak it so the players dont get confused anymore instead of relying on then using an note taking overlay to keep track of their progress

There are some games that have a huge amount of content and it's useful to have some notes, for example for what do you want to do first. I do that a lot in games like FFXIV, where I want to keep a track of what I'm missing here and there. Other times, I might just want to remember to come back some place later because I don't want to forget something.

The point I'm trying to make is that not because you can take notes to help you with the game it means the game is confusing or badly designed.

Yes! Good luck playing Hadean Lands without taking notes. I actually made Excel LibreOffice Calc tables for this one! And I'm sure this is part of the artistic vision of the developer.
apocalyptech Jun 15, 2023
Bah.

I know a lot of folks really like the new update, but for me it was the final straw which made me abandon the beta branch and try to avoid it for awhile. I know they've said they put a lot of work into making it fast/smooth/whatever, but it just *feels* dog-slow to me. Visible little flickers when a menu activates. Little rendering delays when a window closes so there's a black area visible on the main window until the client catches up. It's just so infuriating. I hate how every app nowadays is just some Electron-or-whatever webapp, and optimizing that kind of thing properly is nearly impossible. I really miss native widgets.

The whole shader-rendering thing is annoying as hell too; I know they'd theoretically put in some "fixes" for that but it still seems super sub-par. I was really hoping that this lousy update would've spent more time in beta to get more of this kind of stuff figured out.

Anyway, crotchety old-man talk here. Just venting, apparently. Alas!
pleasereadthemanual Jun 15, 2023
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: pleasereadthemanual
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: pleasereadthemanual
Quoting: EikeHere's a tip for scaling:

steam -forcedesktopscaling 2
Sorry, I have to take it "working flawlessly" back. The Steam Overlay is HUGE when in-game. More like 4x, rather than 2x. I also can't drag windows around by clicking the top part of the window and trying to move it OR with SUPER+Left-Click, so I can't see the entire window.

Sounds like two options kicking in the in-game overlay? Maybe you can remove the old one?
I tried toggling off "Scale text and icons to match monitor settings (requires restart)", but this didn't make a difference. I have no clue what might be affecting it. I've dug through all the likely settings, and all I can tell you is I have hardware acceleration/decoding/smooth scrolling on. Also, I have display scaling set to 200% on GNOME, but font scaling is 100%. There's nothing untoward in the .desktop file, and I can drag windows in normal Steam, just not the overlay. It's a mystery to me.

I'm totally speculating here, but maybe GNOME scaling works in overlay - and forcedesktopscaling too, so they get multiplied. You could give it a test by disabling GNOME scaling for a moment (if you still find your buttons then, that is ;) ).
Nope, that's not it (I thought it would be too). I even logged out of the desktop session after changing it to 100%, logged back in, opened Steam, waited forever for Vulkan Shaders to process (apparently this is something that's going to happen on every launch now), and the overlay is still huge and immovable. It being huge wouldn't be such an issue if I could move the windows.

Thank you for your tech support :) I think it's time I find the official place to complain about the new Steam Client, wherever that is. Hopefully something in our discussion helps someone else.

Some more issues I've noticed:

  • Steam gets unresponsive regularly (three times so far in the past three hours) and the only way to fix it is to kill it.

  • I have my games on separate drives. Sometimes they aren't noticed by Steam on startup. The way to get it to recognise them in the old client was to click Install -> Click the dropdown and select the drive. That's it. The new way is to click install, click settings, click +, click the right drive, and click Ok. There are now far more steps for no reason.
scaine Jun 15, 2023
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Quoting: CybolicAh, I was hoping they'd have fixed the Store/Web view going black when switching windows, before labelling it as stable. Maybe next update.

I used to get this all the time on Gnome, but now that you mention it, Ive not had it at all since jumping over to KDE, so maybe it a compositor bug.
Goggo66 Jun 15, 2023
Quoting: pleasereadthemanualThank you for your tech support :) I think it's time I find the official place to complain about the new Steam Client, wherever that is. Hopefully something in our discussion helps someone else.
https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues
Raaben Jun 15, 2023
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: CybolicAh, I was hoping they'd have fixed the Store/Web view going black when switching windows, before labelling it as stable. Maybe next update.

I used to get this all the time on Gnome, but now that you mention it, Ive not had it at all since jumping over to KDE, so maybe it a compositor bug.

I've been using the beta of this for a few months now and can't recall seeing anything like that, what exactly did you do to trigger it?
Mar2ck Jun 15, 2023
This update adds fractional scaling (finally!!) but in the process they also added a load of bugs to the way scaling is handled in different parts of the UI (desktop, big picture, in-game overlay). Relevant Github issues for anyone interested: #5908 #9565

Also if you're on KDE Plasma X11, whenever you close Steam or open Big Picture mode there's a chance the entire desktop environment will crash and therefore all of your opened programs too. If there was any reason to keep this in the beta branch a bit longer it should've been that.
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