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Valve emailed in today to let us know about the new Steam Labs, a dedicated section on Steam for Valve to show off some experiments they're doing and for you to test and break them.

Behind the scenes at Steam, we create many experimental features with codenames like The Peabody Recommender and Organize Your Steam Library Using Morse Code. For the first time, we're giving these works-in-progress a home called Steam Labs, where you can interact with them, tell us whether you think they're worth pursuing further, and if so, share your thoughts on how they should evolve. 

The first three experiments Valve are showing off to the public are up now, which are:

All interesting ideas and I do appreciate Valve being a lot more open in the past year or two. This new recommendation stuff is interesting, since the last time they tweaked their algorithm some indie developers were hit hard by it (I see complaints on Twitter daily), so this time they're doing it entirely separate to get it right and co-exist with existing features.

Valve did say this new recommendation system cannot suggest new games that don't have players yet, since there's no data on it. However, once it has a few days of data it can. This time around, the recommendation system is based on what you play and seem to enjoy, rather than what developers can do on Steam like tags, reviews and so on.

See more on Steam Labs. You can give them feedback on it here.

Do let us know what you think in the comments.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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37 comments
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tonR 12 July 2019 at 1:30 am UTC
I gonna say I'm fall in love with "Automatic Show", it's have very huge potential. The best alternatives to watch the games' gameplay/trailers and at the same time avoid/evading some bias youtubers/streamers/news/shill-curator bullshit-ness.
eldaking 12 July 2019 at 2:47 am UTC
Duncthe original of which is definitely one of my top 5 360 games.

Wow, that's a lot of games.
TheSHEEEP 12 July 2019 at 6:12 am UTC
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You can't showcase a game in six seconds - or if you can, you have a super simplistic game on your hand.
On the other hand, micro-trailers are an improvement over just the title-screen or a screenshot.

I really don't like the automatic show, though. Not gonna watch a 20-minute video showing 4 videos at the same time with extreme cuts every six seconds. I tried for a minute and my brain hurts already. I'll take the discovery queue where I can go at my own speed, thank you very much.

Which leads me to the interactive recommender - which is nice. I find the discovery queue good enough already, tbh, but I'll always go with improvements.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 12 July 2019 at 6:13 am UTC
kuhpunkt 12 July 2019 at 7:04 am UTC
apocalyptechGive me a call when they try the "use humans to curate the store so it's not brimming with garbage constantly" experiment, that's the one that I'm still really pining for.

Which is completely unrealistic. It won't happen, because it won't help.


Last edited by kuhpunkt on 12 July 2019 at 7:04 am UTC
kuhpunkt 12 July 2019 at 7:07 am UTC
BrisseA problem with the recommendations presented by the ML feature "Interactive Recommender" is that some of my best gaming experiences have been from short and focused interactive experiences which didn't take as much time to go through as some of my top games by hours played. Seems these games are not treated fairly by this algorithm. The recommendations makes sense in comparison to my most played games, but most hours played does not always mean most compelling game, and some of those most played games I'm actually done with and I'm burned out on those genres.

I think a partial solution could be to look at the average playtime for the entire user-base for a game, and then see how my time compares to that of the average user. If I spent more time than average, then I probably found it compelling. Some games are intentionally short, others can be huge time sinks. By looking at a ratio compared to an average instead of absolute playtime we can ensure the former category isn't treated as unfairly as it currently seems to be.

The blog post:

"Why it works for short games
The recommender knows that there are great short-form games you can finish in an hour, and those you'll play for thousands. Your playtime data is normalized to reflect the distribution of playtime in each game, ensuring that all games are on an equal footing."
TheSHEEEP 12 July 2019 at 7:53 am UTC
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kuhpunkt
apocalyptechGive me a call when they try the "use humans to curate the store so it's not brimming with garbage constantly" experiment, that's the one that I'm still really pining for.

Which is completely unrealistic. It won't happen, because it won't help.
Well, there has to be some kind of middle ground between Valve's "every crap is welcome" and GOG's "we arbitrarily reject most good games that our users would actually like".
kuhpunkt 12 July 2019 at 8:49 am UTC
TheSHEEEP
kuhpunkt
apocalyptechGive me a call when they try the "use humans to curate the store so it's not brimming with garbage constantly" experiment, that's the one that I'm still really pining for.

Which is completely unrealistic. It won't happen, because it won't help.
Well, there has to be some kind of middle ground between Valve's "every crap is welcome" and GOG's "we arbitrarily reject most good games that our users would actually like".

I actually think that the people at Valve already do a good job. Scam gets deleted, trash isn't promoted. I've never been recommended actual crap. I'd actually have to go out of my way to search for this stuff. I think most people just overreact here.
pb 12 July 2019 at 10:31 am UTC
tonRI gonna say I'm fall in love with "Automatic Show", it's have very huge potential. The best alternatives to watch the games' gameplay/trailers and at the same time avoid/evading some bias youtubers/streamers/news/shill-curator bullshit-ness.

It's definitely my favourite project of the three. I hope it will become a monthly/weekly thing. Thought it would be cool to be able to enlarge the video without losing the clickable game banner.
MichaelDN 12 July 2019 at 10:35 am UTC
It's cool, I like it. One of the suggested games for me was 'Himno' a free to play platformer with native linux. It was a short but fun game with procedurally produced levels and very solid mechanics. Worth a play IMHO.
Philadelphus 12 July 2019 at 12:25 pm UTC
Interactive Recommender sounds interesting. Finally, putting machine learning towards something useful!
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