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Huge Steam Beta upgrade with new overlay, screenshot manager & more

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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:

General

  • 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.

Steam Input

  • 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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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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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fabertawe Apr 28, 2023
Just installed the Beta to try and it looks nicer. Was going through settings and thought I'd clear the cache for a little spruce up and Steam instantly rebooted but now I'm stuck with the new logo spinning and a "Waiting for network...".

The terminal shows...
[2023-04-28 12:18:05] Nothing to do

I've tried various command line parameters when starting but the same. Any ideas how to reset Steam so it'll boot?

EDIT: I don't have the patience for this so I overwrote two folders from backup, deleted the beta file in the package directory and started with "-clearbeta".


Last edited by fabertawe on 28 April 2023 at 12:40 pm UTC
mark348 Apr 28, 2023
Tested it a bit and the biggest feature for me is that Steam seems to work faster.
Xpander Apr 28, 2023
It looks nicer. Font sizes are nicely smaller also on the top row and its more consistent with its theme stuff now, but its extremely buggy. Smooth scrolling is super slow, its like they changed how fast it scrolls. Have to scroll like crazy to move it. It also seems to eat VRAM a lot more than stable and doesn't seem to release VRAM when theres no activity. So yeah. lot of work to do i guess but its a start.
Woodlandor Apr 28, 2023
Looks/works better.

I have Steam pinned to my task bar.

With this beta update Steam opens a process named “steamwebhelper” which adds a new icon to the taskbar, which is slightly annoying.
StalePopcorn Apr 28, 2023
Quoting: fabertaweEDIT: I don't have the patience for this so I overwrote two folders from backup, deleted the beta file in the package directory and started with "-clearbeta".

Did this resolve the issue?

Also, trying to play a video full screen only makes the video as large as Steam's window dimensions for me (Manjaro KDE Wayland)
slaapliedje Apr 28, 2023
Very nice! Valve is kicking some ass and chewing bubblegum!
Viesta2015 Apr 28, 2023
awesome update overall... obviously some kinks to work out but in the end i think this will be for the better. :)
rcrit Apr 28, 2023
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Quoting: XpanderIt looks nicer. Font sizes are nicely smaller also on the top row and its more consistent with its theme stuff now, but its extremely buggy. Smooth scrolling is super slow, its like they changed how fast it scrolls. Have to scroll like crazy to move it. It also seems to eat VRAM a lot more than stable and doesn't seem to release VRAM when theres no activity. So yeah. lot of work to do i guess but its a start.

It's the smaller fonts that is killing my aging eyes. There doesn't appear to be a font size setting, just toggle to scale to monitor size (whatever that means).

I also see the additional VRAM usage, and my GPU memory frequency maxed out at one point while flipping around.

It doesn't restore the Store screen when switching KDE desktops.

I'm generally slow to accept change in UI but this is similar enough I think I'll get used to it quickly and forget how it used to work.
rcrit Apr 28, 2023
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Quoting: GuestSeems that there's no option to start to Library. Valve, I'm poor, I'm not buying games every day. pls fix

Steam -> Settings -> Interface -> Start Up Location

Options are: Store, Library, News, Friend Activity, Community Home
fabertawe Apr 28, 2023
Quoting: StalePopcorn
Quoting: fabertaweEDIT: I don't have the patience for this so I overwrote two folders from backup, deleted the beta file in the package directory and started with "-clearbeta".

Did this resolve the issue?

Yes! Steam proceeded to download the stable and launched fine.
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