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shevek
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« on: April 20, 2023 @764.99 »

Thought I’d make a general, informative thread about the Steam Deck because I think it could fit right into the forum’s general interests, and it is one of mine. I would love to talk to you about it and see if others here own one. :)

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What is the Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck is a mix of handheld console and portable PC released by Valve (the company known for Steam, Dota, Team Fortress and CounterStrike) on February 25, 2022. It runs SteamOS (Arch-based Linux distro) to show the usual Steam interface, and it has a Desktop mode as well, which can be used to download things outside of the Steam Store and mod the console. It can be connected to the TV to be played as the average TV console, or connected to an external screen to be used as a computer. External controllers and keyboards as well as headphones (jack and Bluetooth) can be connected. It offers a microSD slot.

It comes in three varieties, differing in internal storage (64 GB eMMC, 256GB (SSD) and 512GB (SSD)), speed of the storage and additional perks like frosted glass, community profile goodies and a nicer carrying case. Many though have opted to buy the 64GB version and upgraded the Deck themselves (more to that soon!)

The reason a big chunk of the games work flawlessly despite the previously poor state of Linux gaming is Proton: a compatibility layer for Windows games, developed as a fork of Wine, to run on the Steam Deck. This has caused a wave of game developers on Steam looking to make their games run well on the Deck, or Linux in general.

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Big advantages of the Steam Deck are (in my opinion)

Built with Right-To-Repair in mind: Most things in it are easy to reach, replace and are clearly labeled. Valve also partnered with iFixIt to offer replacement parts directly to the customers together with comprehensive guides.

Easier to modify physically: For example, there are companies like JSAUX offering colored backplates and it will likely become more in the future, even entire shell replacements. You can finally take full control of how your device feels and looks in your hand, and not just with vinyl skins or cases. People have also spruced up their Deck with bigger internal storage, additional screens, external harddrives, additional fans, a custom stand and so on! Valve has released the official CAD files for the Steam Deck, so you are free to 3D print accessories for it.

Software modding: Thanks to Desktop mode, you can download all kinds of mods for the Deck to change boot and suspend videos (though that has been integrated natively now), custom system sounds, changes to the UI in the form of Themes, additional settings and so on!

Access to other launchers: This also permits you to download other game launchers, so you can have access to your Origin/EA Play, Uplay, Rockstar, Epic Games games, and not just Steam. GOG games can be accessed via the Heroic Games Launcher, and itch.io games can be played as well (itch.io has a guide). You can even install other OS. // Sadly, GamePass/Microsoft Store is not possible yet.

Emulation: Emulators and its games can be downloaded the same way (EmuDeck is popular), though Valve is planning to put some emulators officially on the Steam store; one of them is Dolphin, which is typically used to emulate GameCube and Wii games. They have “accidentally” released an ad for the Steam Deck in the past that featured Yuzu, a Switch emulator.

Archiving, keeping and reviving old games: With emulation this supported and practically encouraged, it helps keep old and obscure games accessible and playable, even when their e-shops close, the physical copies are sold out and not produced anymore, and the console they were intended for isn’t available anymore or super pricey.

No exclusivity: We are usually railroaded into a system in regards to games and software, but now we can kinda have it all on the Deck (with some limitations). Many of us are tired of being expected to have a PC for PC exclusives or games that just suck on console, then a PS or Xbox for console exclusive titles we like, and at least one, often two or three Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games (like Wii U, Switch, and 3DS, to play the usual Nintendo titles like Mario or Zelda, more obscure anime games, ACNH, Splatoon and so on). The backwards compatibility usually sucks or is downright unavailable. But this isn’t an issue with the Deck.

Great community: Brings people together who love hardware and software modding, emulation, old obscure games, and they work together on amazing stuff, like:
- the DeckyLoader which hosts many plugins made by all kinds of people
- the CSSLoader with custom UI options made by a small community
- the SteamdeckRepo, which gathers usermade boot and suspend videos
- the ProtonDB community where people share reports on how well a game works on the Deck and how to get it to work
- the effort behind sharing Button Mapping Layouts between players right in the Steam client (since some games are not optimized for the Deck’s controller layout, people can customize the mapping and choose to share it so other players can download the controls map for the same game and not have to map it themselves).

Ownership: With these design choices and options, buying a console doesn’t feel like you’re renting a device from a corporation that permits you to use it with a lot of limitations they imposed on you; instead, it lets you control almost everything and have a lot of freedom without ever having to hack or jailbreak the device.

Also, you can download 3D Pinball (remember, on WinXP?) directly from the Discover store on the Desktop mode ;D

/////////////

I personally have the 64GB model and love to mod it. In the following months, I want to learn how to make themes for it and hope to contribute them to the CSSLoader.

Edit: I swear I used the search function before I made a thread, but just now I found this old thread on the Steam Deck. So sorry aaaah. Weeeelll...
« Last Edit: May 11, 2023 @663.46 by shevek » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2023 @93.67 »

I don't own one myself but I had a friend bring it over so I can try it out and it is a wonderful system. I unfortunately don't PC game as much so I don't think I'll be purchasing one unless I buy it used later down the road.

I appreciate Valve being consumer friendly and allowing full customization of their product. They really don't have to but choose to anyway, so myself and many others give them our utmost respect for that. It feels weird actually being able to trust a large company in this era. I'm not saying they are perfect, but it seems like they are very transparent and understand what people want. It makes the Switch feel like a toy in comparison, given that the hardware is from 2017, and even in 2017 the Switch hardware was outdated. And don't even mention their horrendous controllers. What a joke they are.
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2023 @317.99 »

i have a growing distaste for valve as a whole due to their shady business practices but the steam deck is still a really neat device. i'm not sure if i'll get one due to my computer working fine as is for my needs, but all of the things you listed (repairability, support from Valve, large community, etc) make it really appealing. i also literally just like how it looks: it's big and chunky and cute! i feel like its also caused an uptick in the "handheld PC" type of market. asus announced a similar handheld, the ROG Ally, and i think it might have not gotten as much hype if the steam deck didn't exist.

also i didn't know that SteamOS was Arch-based! a lot more people could say they use Arch btw now  :ha:

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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2023 @531.69 »

It makes the Switch feel like a toy in comparison, given that the hardware is from 2017, and even in 2017 the Switch hardware was outdated. And don't even mention their horrendous controllers. What a joke they are.
So true! I own a Switch OLED myself, and will continue to for now because the movement-based stuff with the joycons and Nintendo Online Services is not something that the Deck offers and can emulate, but I did feel ridiculous having to pay so much money for it, just to play 2-3 games that are locked to it exclusively, and then it has been very difficult to mod it at all because it's so closed. I used to have a modded Wii with several emulators and a harddrive full of games, and even there it needed a specific firmware and harddrive for it to work, if I remember correctly. And look what they're doing to Gary Bowser now! I consider it highly questionable to do that to a person over him giving power over their devices to the customers who bought a gaming console. Prison and 30% of his income to Nintendo for the rest of his life over something that in my opinion, barely should be a crime, if at all.
I am glad to now own a handheld that encourages (and thanks to some Linux weirdness at times) demands tinkering and messing around with it. If anything goes wrong, restoring the firmware on it is much easier than trying to repair your bricked PS4, for example.


i have a growing distaste for valve as a whole due to their shady business practices but the steam deck is still a really neat device. i'm not sure if i'll get one due to my computer working fine as is for my needs, but all of the things you listed (repairability, support from Valve, large community, etc) make it really appealing. i also literally just like how it looks: it's big and chunky and cute! i feel like its also caused an uptick in the "handheld PC" type of market. asus announced a similar handheld, the ROG Ally, and i think it might have not gotten as much hype if the steam deck didn't exist.

Oh I didn't know about those, thanks for linking them! I hope they will do better in the future; at least it's a little reassuring most stuff seems to be from 2015/2016.
I agree in regards to the handheld market. It also makes me hope there will be viable competition against Nintendo a bit more. That market deserves more diversity and choice, and it would do Nintendo good to have a bit more pressure. I always get the feeling they know they can do whatever they want and still have sale bangers. I have the hope though that their shtick gets a bit stale now that other platforms might offer more for the same price, and have a variety of games that run better than on the Switch. There is only so many decades you can milk the same few IPs before it gets really boring and repetitive. I am especially disappointed in the latest Mario Party...

I also wonder if it will move Sony to reconsider what they've been doing to their handhelds. The PSP and Vita had potential that was unused.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2023 @534.42 by shevek » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2023 @672.37 »

And look what they're doing to Gary Bowser now! I consider it highly questionable to do that to a person over him giving power over their devices to the customers who bought a gaming console. Prison and 30% of his income to Nintendo for the rest of his life over something that in my opinion, barely should be a crime, if at all.

I don't want to bring this thread off-topic but the Gary Bowser stuff has been very interesting. While I agree that Nintendo's punishment is very very over the top, he isn't the best person in the world either because he was profiting off of his piracy software. The developers of atmosphere open-source their code and make it readily available, and are also very quick to respond to updates and bug fixes. He was also responsible for intentionally bricking many 3DS consoles back in the 2010's if his piracy software was detected to be pirated (pretty ironic). He was definitely not someone who was there to help the community but just wanted money.

i have a growing distaste for valve as a whole due to their shady business practices

I didn't know about these either! Though it doesn't surprise me that a large corporation would do shady stuff...  :ohdear:

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shevek
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2023 @767.66 »

I don't want to bring this thread off-topic but the Gary Bowser stuff has been very interesting. While I agree that Nintendo's punishment is very very over the top, he isn't the best person in the world either because he was profiting off of his piracy software. The developers of atmosphere open-source their code and make it readily available, and are also very quick to respond to updates and bug fixes. He was also responsible for intentionally bricking many 3DS consoles back in the 2010's if his piracy software was detected to be pirated (pretty ironic). He was definitely not someone who was there to help the community but just wanted money.

That's true! It's always nicer when it's open source and free. It's a complicated situation where Nintendo creates an environment that often forces people to look for piracy as a way to access games they'd otherwise buy or have bought in the past, and instead of fixing this environment, they do nothing aside from punishing people who also sometimes use this situation for their gain.

It's really important to recognize the risk of third-party solutions and jailbreaking/hacking etc.; the best advice really is to remember it voids your warranty, can brick your device and you should only do it if you are confident you can either repair it yourself or consider it a loss and replace it with a new one.:ohdear:

Fun sidenote: You can disable the boot video length restriction on Steam Deck, and someone wanted to check if that really means you can have a super long video as a boot video on it. And was stuck with the entire Shrek movie playing during boot up before they could change that :grin:
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2023 @293.80 »

I am glad to now own a handheld that encourages (and thanks to some Linux weirdness at times) demands tinkering and messing around with it. If anything goes wrong, restoring the firmware on it is much easier than trying to repair your bricked PS4, for example.

more points for the deck! nothing quite like a device with such open support from its creators. :grin:

I agree in regards to the handheld market. It also makes me hope there will be viable competition against Nintendo a bit more. That market deserves more diversity and choice, and it would do Nintendo good to have a bit more pressure. I always get the feeling they know they can do whatever they want and still have sale bangers.

i was more so referring to weird specialty handheld PCs (like GPD handhelds, the Aya Neo, etc). these devices are often much more expensive and targeted towards capital-G Gamers. (the switch, on the other hand, is marketed towards a much broader audience.) the base model of the steam deck is much, much cheaper than most of these.

the steam deck could be an attractive option if you're a Gamer who wants to emulate switch games and is willing to learn/already knows how to; for the average joe, they might not even know it exists. nintendo will only get really scared if the deck's (or deck 2's!) sales start to affect the switch's sales (or the next gen nintendo console's sales). that's Capitalism :sad:

Fun sidenote: You can disable the boot video length restriction on Steam Deck, and someone wanted to check if that really means you can have a super long video as a boot video on it. And was stuck with the entire Shrek movie playing during boot up before they could change that :grin:

the first time you make shrek your boot video, you get to watch a movie for an hour. if you forget to change it, then you have permanently cursed your steam deck  :ha:

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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2023 @813.01 »

Haven't found a better thread to put this in in the search and it is tangentially related to the Deck (ownership over games/devices, right to modify/deface...) and came up here as a topic of discussion, so I'm just gonna include it in here:

I've just seen the news about Nintendo going hard with DMCA takedowns yet again. After the Bowser thing and early leak of Tears Of The Kingdom, they're now going after emulation.
Several emulators are possibly affected by their latest move, because they're trying to take down the project Lockpick RCM. It's used to dump the keys of the games you own on your Switch so that you can play your games on other devices via emulators as well. So basically, this is software that gives you more freedom over the game that you have purchased already on the console you already own; giving you the ability to transfer your rights from the console to another device, like a PC, where it potentially runs better. What you then do with the key or how others use it if you share that is out of their hands.
The validity of the DMCA takedown is not clear yet, but I mean, Nintendo has never been one to shy away from abusing it. Their reasoning is that dumping keys from the Switch circumvents their copy protection (TPM) and therefore violates their copyright.

The Switch emulator Skyline for Android has already announced that they've given up continuing the project because of the legal situation. This could have major implications for other emulators such as Dolphin, Ryujinx or Yuzu.

I see this as a threat not only to archive games and make abandoned games accessible, but also the rights to your own consoles and games and to do with them as you please. Of course this may not apply to digitally purchased games, since with these you only purchase a license to use that can be revoked anytime and it is not a physical copy (though I also hate this); however, all this is a concerning development overall. People interested in modding their devices, modding their games, making their games more accessible or portable or backing them up, people against ever more encroaching restrictions and copyright abuses and so on should listen up.

Developments like that make me appreciate the Deck even more..
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2023 @657.03 »

Playing the hottest new game right now.

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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2023 @338.58 »

The Switch emulator Skyline for Android has already announced that they've given up continuing the project because of the legal situation. This could have major implications for other emulators such as Dolphin, Ryujinx or Yuzu.

https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/2023/05/27/dolphin-steam-indefinitely-postponed/

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It is with much disappointment that we have to announce that the Dolphin on Steam release has been indefinitely postponed. We were notified by Valve that Nintendo has issued a cease and desist citing the DMCA against Dolphin's Steam page, and have removed Dolphin from Steam until the matter is settled. We are currently investigating our options and will have a more in-depth response in the near future.

We appreciate your patience in the meantime.

Damn you, Nintendo! Then market the games yourself instead of closing shops down and taking games off the shops.
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2023 @910.00 »

I've recently been interested in using the Deck as another PC as well; together with official docks being available for it and its Desktop mode.
There are some people online who even went so far as to sell their laptops or tower PCs because they were only using their Deck now, which is fascinating to me. I won't go that far, but I also wanna try using the Deck as another desktop PC once I get the dock. I have 2 external screens anyway, with a third one at my girlfriend's place, and I am looking into putting EndeavorOS on an SD card to switch out with my game SD card. I don't wanna dualboot or wipe SteamOS, but I wanna try Endeavor and do some ricing :smile:

Some inspiring pictures of people using their Decks as PCs:

(by aaronjoi on Reddit)


(by derkeysersoze on Reddit)


(by HooLeaf on Reddit)



EDIT: 09/07/2023 got the Dock and have to say, the Deck is very good as a PC! Sadly, the ProtonVPN support is absolutely abysmal but that is for all Linux distros and sadly even adding via OpenVPN currently fails for me on the Deck and would have to be redone after each update, but it seems like other companies like Mullvad have a better support :smile:






I've always read some complaints online that you can't shut off the onboard display of the Deck while using external screens, but that's not true! You can go into the settings and uncheck "Enable" for the onboard screen and then select the external one and check "Pimary". Down below I also selected that this should be saved only for this constellation, as to not risk the Deck screen being turned off outside of being hooked up like this. Hope it helps!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2024 @686.61 by shevek » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2023 @810.23 »

I finally gave in an ordered the new OLED model yesterday  :tongue: I think in some other threads I was a bit sceptical about the Steam Deck, but having watched the work its community has done over the last year and seeing the updates in the new model; it really just seemed like a great thing to get into  :ozwomp:

Iv been watching a few tutorials about getting started and wow there's a lot of technical stuff to figure out to get the most out of it, but it all looks fun!

Will report back when I have further deets!
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2023 @860.31 »

Oh yeah, the OLED is amazing! Definitely a step in the right direction. Less heat, better colors and lighter weight is a definite improvement (it can get really heavy and hot, and usually it's smart to install vibrantDeck via Decky Loader for better colors), as is the decision to drop the 64GB size option.

64 GB is insanely small for many games, especially considering the Vulkan shaders that are preloaded for each game. They often take up a lot of space (for me it used to be 14GB until I deinstalled some games). Having 256GB as the smallest available space makes more sense because that works out of the box for a good while and you might not need much more; but for 64GB, a 250 or 500GB microSD is basically mandatory that you have to get on top of it all to really use it in the long term.

I will probably upgrade some time the next year, too. :smile:
I looked into integrating the new OLED screen into my "old" Deck, but for anyone who might be interested in the same: The OLED screen is larger, and there are some internal differences as well to support it, so it's not possible!

But those internal differences aren't just for weight and heat, it's also been improvements for repairability and customization! The screen can now be replaced more easily, there are some different screws etc.
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2023 @705.15 »

It has arrived! (And just when my week is about to get very busy  :drat: )

ANYWAY, it's very nice so far, I can finnnallly play Asteroids!


You can definitely tell Valave is a small company, its almost toylike in its build, but that's also kinda the charm; it makes you wanna play with it which is exactly what it should do.

I spent yesterday evening modding it with a custom backplate which was a massive pain because it didn't fit correctly at all (its made for the non-OLED model) it took about 2 hours of sculpting it with a craft knife and sandpaper (Finally art school pays off!) to get it to a point where it doesn't interfere with the triggers, but I think it looks nice! I also messed with the thermal pad under that metal plate so it has airflow for the new design, but it still seems to be about 5c cooler based on my VERY vague and short test and the metal plate is useful as a handwarmer.


I also got a screen protector for it whitch works well, JSAUX dock (but it turns out I have no HDMI cables!) annndd a 500GB SD card in the sales all for about 40 euro total (including the backplate).

So far I have already filled the entire SD card and the internal storage  :ohdear: The upgraded wifi is no joke! My 2021 gaming windows laptop which is supposed to have "Killer Extreme Intel Wifi Chipset" only downloads at a max of 45mbs but the deck downloads at 500mbs! (Also WOAH I had no idea the internet was so fast in this house! A man came to the door a few weeks ago and said he was installing a special go faster cable and I guess it worked!)

There's definitely a lot of tinkering you need to do once you start adding custom stuff, but it all seems to work out in the end.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2023 @714.49 by Melooon » Logged


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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2023 @822.85 »

i have a growing distaste for valve as a whole due to their shady business practices but the steam deck is still a really neat device.
I didn't know about these either! Though it doesn't surprise me that a large corporation would do shady stuff...  :ohdear:
Oh I didn't know about those, thanks for linking them! I hope they will do better in the future; at least it's a little reassuring most stuff seems to be from 2015/2016.
I also wonder if it will move Sony to reconsider what they've been doing to their handhelds. The PSP and Vita had potential that was unused.

Steam's general shady business practices are certainly a large concern but I'm kind of surprised that none of those links in teatime's post went over the single greatest reason that I personally refuse to purchase games on Steam, which is their habit of baking in DRM so that you can practically only indefinitely rent games you "purchase" on their platform. When you buy games on Steam, by default, Steam bakes into the executable DRM that makes it only possible to run when Steam is installed, open and usually when its up to date. It's kinda undocumented exactly how its done under the hood, but its clear that its technically possible to turn this "feature" off and a few (usually indie) developers have done this, but the problem is that its not possible from the storefront to tell before you buy if its on or off, and its on most of the time anyway. There are also ways around it sometimes as mentioned in the article I just linked, but they don't work properly on all systems, and in my opinion, it shouldn't be there in the first place if I'm paying for the damn game instead of streaming it. I totally understand not caring, but I'm just not willing to give money to companies that violate my ethical boundaries when there are alternatives that don't; its the same reason I refuse to buy monster energy. The obvious "intended purpose" here is to "prevent piracy" which is literally already going to happen anyway since people cracked the code for this ages ago, but what it MEANS is that when you buy the game, just like on the PlayStation store, you're merely indefinitely renting the games, and if Steam feels like banning your account, you are effectively powerless to do anything about your library of games that you 'own'. Fun fact; if you happened to receive/inherit your account from somebody else (much like me, it was originally my fathers account), that is a ban-warranting TOS violation. That means any game I buy on Steam could be taken away from me spontaneously and retroactively if a Steam employee happened to stumble upon this post.

Sorry for kinda going a little off the rails from the post's purpose, I just have a lot of feelings about Steam and they kinda naturally get imposed upon the Steam Deck. Using Steam even when I'm just doing it for the launcher, always puts a deep sour taste in my mouth, which is why I use Lutris for launching my games and GOG/Itch for buying them. My feelings are summed up pretty effectively by this quote I found on a random ass reddit post:
Quote
See I really like Steam as far as things like the workshop goes but I have grown tired of having to research every game I buy there to figure out what other launcher I need, what sort of Kernel level DRM or online requirements I need. I said fuck it towards the end of last year and just decided to only get games on GOG from here on out. If a company won't let me truly own a copy of their game then the game isn't worth my time or money.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2023 @834.81 by virtue » Logged

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