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Valve Rep Confirms Why Some Games Have Their SteamOS Icon Removed

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Thanks to me getting in touch with the Starbound developers, it seems a Valve rep has taken to reddit to explain what's going on with games having their SteamOS icon removed.

You can see the conversation here, but for those who cannot access reddit it is copied below.

When asked about the SteamOS icon for Starbound on reddit, a Starbound developer said this:
QuoteTo my knowledge we've not yet had official communication with Valve about this, we've e-mailed them asking wtf, but we haven't gotten a response and probably won't until at least Monday. This is our best guess to the problem. Who knows, it might be the launcher. I just can't say it's necessarily the launcher yet.


Thankfully, a Valve rep has replied to it directly with this:
QuoteWe've been removing the store bit from games that cannot run against just the Steam Runtime, without additional dependencies on the host system. Games that fail this are impossible to support reliably across multiple distributions, and will not be publicly advertised on the Store as supporting Linux going forward.
All concerned games are still purchasable, installable and playable on Linux.
To my knowledge all developers have been made aware as we were doing this, let's chat on Monday.

This makes the situation much more clear, and should help both desktop Linux and SteamOS look better for everyone to play games.

The icing on the cake here for me in particular:
QuoteThanks for the clarification on exactly what is going on. Do you have a VM image or other test environment that we can use to determine if our game passes muster? (Also, Valve employee in the wild, how awesome is that?)
"To my knowledge all developers have been made aware as we were doing this, let's chat on Monday."
We found out due to someone from GamingOnLinux contacting our community manager about it. It kind of took us all by surprise. Though it is possible you contacted us at some point and we may have simply missed it?


Glad to see a Valve rep in the wild, and helping with developers and users concerns. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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ky0 18 October 2015 at 8:21 am UTC
Good guy Liam
Honestly, based on what I just read, Steam should re-introduce a penguin icon and a steamOS icon.
Penguin for the obvious gnu/linux and steamOS for saying, optimized for big picture/steam machine.
Maelrane 18 October 2015 at 8:23 am UTC
How is that - in any way - making things clearer? Many games obviously ran on good on Linux, some even great. Now they removed an icon because it has additional dependencies?

Guess what, a Java game (for example) has an additional dependency on Windows as well, namely Java.

So how does removing the icon help anybody? New customers will think that a game is only supported on Windows (or Windows and MacOS for that matter), while it is perfectly runnable natively under Linux...

How can one defend that stupid practice? It's like starting to act before you even thought about what you want to achieve.

They should have - from the very beginning - added a Linux and a SteamOS icon separately. Because, let's face it: Even though there are exceptions, most people that use Linux, know what they are doing, at least in non-developing countries where money is not a problem and every PC comes with a Windows-license anyway.

So, apart from the console-people that are used to things just working out of the box, a user on a desktop will be able to work around dependencies... doesn't matter if that's on Windows or Linux, or any other OS.

Of course, one difference is, that on Windows you could just tell the .exe that it needs to install that dependency, without having admin-rights or so... but that's the only difference I can think of spontaneously.

What I see by this attitude... if a game has a launcher (or any other "dependency" for that matter), on all platforms, why would they need to work around this to get a "Linux" (desktop, mind!) icon?

That way it just looks like many games are not available for Linux, although they are. This will cut share on sales even more -.- As if 1% was way too much -.-


Last edited by Maelrane on 18 October 2015 at 8:25 am UTC
Liam Dawe 18 October 2015 at 8:28 am UTC
MaelraneHow is that - in any way - making things clearer? Many games obviously ran on good on Linux, some even great. Now they removed an icon because it has additional dependencies?.

If it doesn't run against just the Steam Runtime, and needs you to hunt down extra's they won't allow the SteamOS icon. That's pretty crystal clear to me.

MaelraneGuess what, a Java game (for example) has an additional dependency on Windows as well, namely Java.

How would you install Java (or anything other outside lib) on SteamOS with a Steam Controller? You don't. It would require adding in a mouse and keyboard, going to desktop mode and generally not a good experience.

MaelraneSo how does removing the icon help anybody? New customers will think that a game is only supported on Windows (or Windows and MacOS for that matter), while it is perfectly runnable natively under Linux...

How can one defend that stupid practice? It's like starting to act before you even thought about what you want to achieve.

It stops complaints about games not working on SteamOS that claim they support them, and thus makes SteamOS and Linux gaming in general look better to everyone. It will be much nicer for everyone, even in desktop Linux land, since any game advertising SteamOS should work across all distributions without needing to hunt down anything.

MaelraneThey should have - from the very beginning - added a Linux and a SteamOS icon separately. Because, let's face it: Even though there are exceptions, most people that use Linux, know what they are doing, at least in non-developing countries where money is not a problem and every PC comes with a Windows-license anyway.

Yes, they should do something about the icons.


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 18 October 2015 at 8:29 am UTC
sigz 18 October 2015 at 8:35 am UTC
MaelraneHow can one defend that stupid practice?
Well, I think it's different between windows and linux. We are on a point where majority of incoming linux players are here to try games against windows, so everything must work perfectly without a single glitch, while under windows there's nothing more to learn (it's admited has the reference platform). It does not suprise me.


Last edited by sigz on 18 October 2015 at 8:36 am UTC
mirv 18 October 2015 at 8:42 am UTC
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Not sure how I feel about all this...on the one hand, Valve need to have something to standardise against (their collection of libs known as the steam runtime), but on the other hand I would prefer not to have Valve dictate what game developers must compile against in order to sell their games, and what my own system must run just so that I can buy some games.
I also find some situational irony in that the steam runtime itself actually has a lot of problems on my chosen distro. libgcc and libstdc++ I have to regularly remove just to run things.

I think, on the whole, I'd prefer a SteamOS icon (showing testing against their runtime), and a Tux icon (available for GNU/Linux). Guess we'll see where all this goes.
tuubi 18 October 2015 at 8:49 am UTC
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If Valve is indeed targeting console gamers with SteamOS, this makes perfect sense. Every game needs to work out of the box or -- for someone who just wants to enjoy their games without first learning the ins and outs of their new system -- the experience will be inferior. For those of us familiar with linux a clear "Needs additional software:" section on the store page would suffice, but to me this seems purely a marketing/business decision. After all, if Valve's gambit pays off, we will soon be a tiny minority compared to the Steam Machine gaming crowd. At least for a while.
Liam Dawe 18 October 2015 at 8:50 am UTC
mirvNot sure how I feel about all this...on the one hand, Valve need to have something to standardise against (their collection of libs known as the steam runtime), but on the other hand I would prefer not to have Valve dictate what game developers must compile against in order to sell their games, and what my own system must run just so that I can buy some games.
I also find some situational irony in that the steam runtime itself actually has a lot of problems on my chosen distro. libgcc and libstdc++ I have to regularly remove just to run things.

Valve have needed to standardise something for a while, I see this as a step in the right direction for anyone using Steam on Linux. Things were a mess before, and now a little less so.

Did you report all your bugs to their github?

mirvI think, on the whole, I'd prefer a SteamOS icon (showing testing against their runtime), and a Tux icon (available for GNU/Linux). Guess we'll see where all this goes.

I would also like to see this, but then it would further show that they are different. You might end up in a situation with people only then supporting SteamOS.
mao_dze_dun 18 October 2015 at 8:53 am UTC
That move makes sense. Can't say I blame Valve for it. Heck, I'd be happy with more out of the box games.
ripper 18 October 2015 at 9:04 am UTC
This is good news. Games should rely on Steam SDK and their bundled libraries, but nothing else. This does not stop Java or any other games from working, they just need to bundle Java or any other runtime with their game. That's not difficult to do and it makes the game work everywhere, and not randomly work on some systems a not work on others. There are of course certain concerns about bundling, but there's no better solution that would be universal and generally working, especially across distributions, so bundling it is. Games losing the SteamOS/Linux logo is a great motivation for developers to make things right.

The question is how developers can verify that their games don't rely on external dependencies. I'm no C expert, but I think using ldd on the binary and comparing with Steam SDK libs and bundled libs should be enough and quite easy. Alternatively developers could override LD_LIBRARY_PATH to point just to Steam SDK and their bundled libs (and avoid system libs directories) and try whether their game works. I'm sure Valve devs can supply an easy howto guide to game developers (and quite possibly already did somewhere in their guides collections).
tuubi 18 October 2015 at 9:15 am UTC
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ripperThe question is how developers can verify that their games don't rely on external dependencies.
Wouldn't simply testing on a fresh install of SteamOS do the job?
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