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The latest Steam Beta Client is out with Valve's revamped chat interface, along with some minor UI work as well.

Here's how the new interface and settings look, which is quite a lot cleaner and it does certainly look a lot more modern that's for sure. Steam's chat system was probably one of the oldest parts of Steam, so it's good to see a renewed focus on improving it.

The new favourites section is interesting, giving you a section to plonk people in you regularly chat with.

And here's how glorious the actual chat is, so I can send you all hilarious memes:

They updated the Group Chat feature as well, to be a lot more like Discord. You can add additional text and voice channels to them, including the rich image stuff like shown above. Group Chats can be given a name and avatar to save them as well, to pick it back up later.

Another benefit, is that it seems to finally keep some chat history too. I've closed and re-opened multiple chats, closed Steam itself and I still see what has been said.

There's additional handy features have been added too, like right clicking a game in your friends list and being able to go right to the store page:

However, it looks like this update has broken group chat for Steam Groups (like our Steam Group), as Steam will complain it can't find Steam running (as amusing as that is). In the shot below you will see that bug in action, plus the slightly different UI in the top right and bottom right.

To get around that issue, you can join the Group Chat from the Steam website, which then saves it into your Group Chat section of your friends list. I'm sure they will solve that weird issue soon. So the actual Group Chat interface now looks like this (very Discord-like):

You can join our very own GamingOnLinux Group Chat using this link, if you're bothered about it…

Another nice thing about the update, is that chats are finally tabbed together. You don't have many windows just for chat, all nicely under one roof now. To me, that's much nicer.

They've also completely rewritten voice chat from within Steam as well, with a WebRTC-based backend. It uses Opus encoding, encryption and the voice chat now goes through Steam directly, instead of being peer 2 peer. This should hopefully fix the issues where you couldn't connect to your friends to voice chat. It also now only requires a single click to voice chat with someone, although, that feature only works if your friend is also in the Steam Client Beta.

In addition, a feature I'm very happy about, is the new invisible mode. This allows you to show as offline, but still actually act is if you're online. For someone with as many people on their list as me from various tournaments and so in, it's a lot less hassle.

All of this works in the webstore too, not just the client. There's more I've likely missed, so do see the full details on their special update page here.

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razing32 13 June 2018 at 7:01 pm UTC
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I wonder if i can tear away my friends kicking and screaming from Discord
devnull 13 June 2018 at 8:59 pm UTC
Doc AngeloI see it like this: You have one Steam account. It is used for everything you do on Steam. If you are not using the "Offline Mode" of the Steam client, you are logged into your account anyway.

The only question is how they call the different chat statuses and how they work. I don't see a privacy problem here.

Steam friends and Steam DRM are entirely different things though. If I'm not logged into Friends / chat, it a conscious descsion. I don't care about "achievements" in games either, thus don't log in.
Doc Angelo 13 June 2018 at 9:51 pm UTC
devnullSteam friends and Steam DRM are entirely different things though. If I'm not logged into Friends / chat, it a conscious descsion. I don't care about "achievements" in games either, thus don't log in.

DRM, achievements and chat have indeed nothing in common, except the connection to the account. Anyway, as long as you are logged into your account with the Steam client, all those things are available to you. The chat status "offline" was really just badly worded until now. There is no reason to be online in Steam and being "offline" in the chat at the same time, so there is no reason to implement some kind of split status for different things.

As long as you are able to appear offline to others, all is fine. What would be nice however would be the option that the friends window doesn't open itself automatically, like it was before. For people who don't need it every time.
devnull 13 June 2018 at 11:40 pm UTC
Doc Angelo
devnullSteam friends and Steam DRM are entirely different things though. If I'm not logged into Friends / chat, it a conscious descsion. I don't care about "achievements" in games either, thus don't log in.

DRM, achievements and chat have indeed nothing in common, except the connection to the account. Anyway, as long as you are logged into your account with the Steam client, all those things are available to you. The chat status "offline" was really just badly worded until now. There is no reason to be online in Steam and being "offline" in the chat at the same time, so there is no reason to implement some kind of split status for different things.

As long as you are able to appear offline to others, all is fine. What would be nice however would be the option that the friends window doesn't open itself automatically, like it was before. For people who don't need it every time.

Completely disagree, there absolutely is reason to not be logged into chat while still running steam. I must have something firewalled because the behaviour you describe is not what I've yet experienced. Logging out of Steam Chat/Friends, that is to the point clicking on friends shows a button to Sign In, does not show new notifications or messages.

One of the reasons to stag logged out of friends, is security. There were exploits against trading for example where people could send an offer and even if you didn't click on it, they could get your IP. In effect it pings your client.

Valve has some serious questions to answer if any of that has changed (yeah I know, good luck with that).

Yet more reasons to avoid DRM.. *sigh*
Doc Angelo 13 June 2018 at 11:50 pm UTC
devnullOne of the reasons to stag logged out of friends, is security. There were exploits against trading for example where people could send an offer and even if you didn't click on it, they could get your IP. In effect it pings your client.

Do you have a source for that? I don't think this is possible.
devnull 14 June 2018 at 1:51 am UTC
Doc Angelo
devnullOne of the reasons to stag logged out of friends, is security. There were exploits against trading for example where people could send an offer and even if you didn't click on it, they could get your IP. In effect it pings your client.

Do you have a source for that? I don't think this is possible.

If you mean a source for the exploit, that would be illegal. Why you find it hard to believe though, it wouldn't be the first. There were (still are), exploits against voice chat too. If I had to guess they both are related to p2p.

Smart streamers don't have unknowns on their steam friends list, they use groups. They also don't trade directly with users rather go through an escrow (a mod for example). Somewhat related irony is Valve's attempt to control market fraud also affects legitimate users like streamers who would have someone else do the actual trade. fwiw despite what I've spent on steam, I don't do 2FA which means I can't trade. 99.9% of the time that is fine too... If only there was a way to turn off the god forsaken "is this still your email address" every fsckingtime I start scream.
MayeulC 14 June 2018 at 6:07 am UTC
devnullOne of the reasons to stag logged out of friends, is security. There were exploits against trading for example where people could send an offer and even if you didn't click on it, they could get your IP. In effect it pings your client.

Valve has some serious questions to answer if any of that has changed (yeah I know, good luck with that).
That's probably the reason they stated that chats were now relayed trough Steam servers and not p2p anymore.
devnull 15 June 2018 at 10:46 am UTC
MayeulC
devnullOne of the reasons to stag logged out of friends, is security. There were exploits against trading for example where people could send an offer and even if you didn't click on it, they could get your IP. In effect it pings your client.

Valve has some serious questions to answer if any of that has changed (yeah I know, good luck with that).
That's probably the reason they stated that chats were now relayed trough Steam servers and not p2p anymore.

Indeed. p2p should always be an option though. The issues with voice and trading are signaling, requiring an active connection to steam is silly.

fwiw the beta hit my steam client and it's a mess. Can't log out of friends, getting disconnected from steam now throws the entire client in a pissy fit, can't even view game list.. ARG.
Doc Angelo 15 June 2018 at 6:55 pm UTC
devnullIndeed. p2p should always be an option though. The issues with voice and trading are signaling, requiring an active connection to steam is silly.

You can't have p2p without giving away your IP to those chatting with you.
tuubi 15 June 2018 at 7:10 pm UTC
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Doc Angelo
devnullIndeed. p2p should always be an option though. The issues with voice and trading are signaling, requiring an active connection to steam is silly.

You can't have p2p without giving away your IP to those chatting with you.
That's okay though if you trust the people you chat with. So I guess it could work as an option.
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