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The Steam Library overhaul is finally coming in Beta this month (updated)

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Valve have officially announced that the Beta for the overhaul of the Steam Library is coming on September 17th. Valve did a demo to some press outlets recently in a closed-doors session and now they've formally announced it.

This is something Valve have been working on for a long time and it is absolutely needed. The current Library feature of Steam is incredibly simplistic and when you've built up a bigger amount of games it's so a bit useless really.

Most of what's coming we already knew about, especially since you could actually try it out back in June thanks to a previous leak. From what I checked out personally, it was a huge improvement in just about every area of the Library system.

Image: Valve.

Seeing what games have been updated easier and the new events system should be interesting, giving developers a new big way to hook players back in. Valve said that today developers will have access to the tools required to make the events so they can be ready. More about the Events stuff here.

I'm most excited about the Collections feature, a much expanded version of the current and simplistic category system. Allowing you to do filters on features available and the genre, to have them pull in games that apply over time as you buy more, it is pretty sweet.

See the full announcement on a special page here. Valve said more info will come before the Beta starts.

There's also some new experiments coming to Steam Labs, like "Deep Dive" based on the Steam Diving Bell prototype from developer Lars Doucet (Tweet) which looks interesting. I just hope Valve actually get around to adding an Operating System platform filter to their experiments, as it's assuming everyone is on Windows right now for all of them. The Interactive Recommender for example, shows me tons of Windows games even though I only have Linux ticked in my Steam preferences.

Update: Also, it doesn't seem to have been announced anywhere I could see but it seems Valve are also doing some tweaks to store pages which seem to be live now. Here's a comparison:

Left: New, Right: Old.

The cover image on the news item gives it a bit more attention, it also seems it can be animated. You can hover over to get an excerpt too:

When you click on it it, you're given an overlay instead of a new page too like below:

However, if you're now directly linked to an update the whole layout has changed too. Here's how, click to enlarge the pictures:

Valve did say some of the new tools were rolling out for developers today, so this seems to be part of it. Since the new Steam Library design will show the "What's New" section (first image at the top), it's likely being shared here.

Update #2: Valve confirmed in an email to GamingOnLinux that the Steam Library Beta will be available through the usual opt-in Steam Client Beta and it will go live for all platforms (Linux included).

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Ehvis 5 September 2019 at 7:48 am UTC
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Seems things are not quite working for me with the "updates overlay" on the site. Nothing on there is clickable for. Neither the discuss button, nor the social media links do anything other than closing the overlay.
Liam Dawe 5 September 2019 at 10:00 am UTC
EhvisSeems things are not quite working for me with the "updates overlay" on the site. Nothing on there is clickable for. Neither the discuss button, nor the social media links do anything other than closing the overlay.
Yeah it seems they are still updating it. Yesterday it had a scrollbar of its own, today it shares the main page scrollbar and I also cannot click on anything...oof.
ageres 5 September 2019 at 10:49 am UTC
I don't like this new design I see on the images. It looks like Windows 10 Start menu. I don't like this motley collection of rectangles. I don't want to know "what's new", I either play these updated games already or don't intend to. I don't want to see my recent games, I can remember what I am playing. I don't want to see recent friend activity; if I do, there is a dedicated page for that. I can't stand annoying animation and tons of CPU-consuming javascripts.
What I do like is the current Steam client design. I choose a game, I see the 'install/play' button for it, I can see how much time I have spent on it and when did I launch it the last time. I can see achievements, visit discussions or read guides. That's what I need.

Don't also forget, it's Valve, their new software features are always incredibly glitchy. Since they updated Friends/Chat, every day I encounter bugs like pop-up friends list at launch with random position on my display and random size, tilted content of chat windows, errors when I upload images, frequent disconnections from Steam servers, time format ignoring my system settings and always showing as stupid mm/dd/yyyy, etc, etc. And that's only the chat, I'm afraid to imagine what to expect after the whole Steam client gets updated.
Nanobang 5 September 2019 at 1:02 pm UTC
I'm glad Valve is trying to improve the user experience, and I'm guessing that more than a little research went into what their users do and don't want from their Steam client.

Beyond being generally prettier---and therefore potentially slower---I don't see anything here that really ticks any of my personal boxes.

I'd like to see the same information available in my library as see in the little pop-up I get on the Store page: A picture, user rating, and the same user tags. I have just south of 400 games. I wish I could remember what even half of them were by name alone, but I can't. It would be so nice to have a little information on each one available on my Library page.

I'd like to have a decent sort and filter for my Library. I don't really feel there's a need for a "search" function for a list that's already alphabetized, but an ability to filter by a particular tag (side-scroller, RPG) or sort by "last played" or "purchase date" might be helpful.

While some of this could be done with the Library's "set category" feature, it's terribly inefficient. The category feature is great letting me personalize my library with custom groupings that Steam couldn't possibly foresee, but it's less than useless to for me to re-categorize all of my Open World RPG games if Steam's already done that. Just let me filter by tags and make use of the work that's already been done and is sitting in a data-base in Steam.

And for the love of humanity, I wish Steam would optimize their desktop client for viewing on 1080p screens. (Big Picture's great, but not when someone is viewing it with the kind of decades-old antique broadband shat out by American capitalism. Then it's worse than slow, it's torturous.) I shouldn't have to squint to see what my games are.

Oh my, I have gone on, haven't I. Sorry about that everyone. Still, I feel a bit better for it. I think I'll copy paste this into some Steam suggestion box somewhere.

And hey, that Steam Diving Bell is great!
vector 6 September 2019 at 1:00 am UTC
Well, I hope the new library turns out better than the publisher homepages did on Steam.


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