Store:Steam

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Steam
Steam cover
Developers
Valve Corporation
Release dates
Windows September 12, 2003
macOS (OS X) May 12, 2010
Linux February 14, 2013
Steam at Wikipedia
Stores

Key points

DRM: Digital distribution platform with accompanying client required for downloading and often playing games as well. Games can also be DRM-free or contain third party DRM.
Refund policy: 14 days or 2 hours of playtime; see Steam Refunds for more information. Pre-release titles are refundable through the Purchase History page.
Two-factor authentication: Steam Mobile app, or email
Some games sold through third parties activate on Steam; see Retail / Digital CD Keys.
Periodic free weekend and individual publisher-driven events provide temporary and permanent free access to select titles.
The Flatpak version of the client is available at the FlatHub database. [1] However, be aware that most games have issues with the Steam Cloud sync, more about this can be found here. For a better security, it is suggested to follow the Snap version progress.
For better integration with Linux, it is recommended to install Linux Steam Integration.

General information

Official Store
Official Support
Account Details
Steam Community Discussions
Steam Database

Installation[edit]

Download and run the latest installer from the About page of Steam.

Big Picture[edit]

Big Picture is a 10-foot user interface mode of the Steam client designed for readability and interaction on a TV with a game controller; although it supports keyboards and mice and is accessible on all computers and form factors as well. Most features and functionality of the desktop mode of the client is supported in Big Picture mode as well, although a few limitations might exist (such as the inability to configure Steam Cloud synchronization). Big Picture mode is also the UI that Steam will launch and make use of when streaming to the Steam Link streaming box.

See PC gaming on a TV and couch for general setup information.
Allows Steam to be used with a controller.
Open Big Picture mode from desktop mode:
  1. Launch Steam.
  2. Open Big Picture mode using one of these ways:
    • Click on the Big Picture Mode icon (a gamepad), usually located in the upper right corner of the Steam window.
    • Open the View menu and select Big Picture Mode.
    • Push Alt+ Enter while the Steam window have focus.
    • Push the home/guide button on a controller while the Steam window have focus.
  3. Big Picture should now have opened.
  4. If you need to return to desktop mode; on the start screen, open the Power menu and select Exit Big Picture.

Render the UI at resolutions above 1080p[edit]

For desktop resolutions above 1080p Big Picture Mode automatically renders the UI at 1080p and then upscales it to cover the full desktop resolution. This results in slightly blurry UI elements and text. Users can choose to always render Big Picture Mode in the full desktop resolution of Windows.
Some elements may not be made for high resolutions, and may appear blurry.
Use a custom shortcut to launch Steam
  1. Exit Steam.
  2. Add -fulldesktopres to a shortcut to Steam.
  3. Use the shortcut to launch Steam.

Family Sharing[edit]

Allows sharing games between accounts. Each account gets separate saves (if supported by the game), achievements, et al. except for DRM keys, which are shared.[2]
If the account's main owner is playing a game from their own account, or someone else is using family share on that account, you are presented with the "buy" option instead of install/play for the selected game.[3]
VAC bans can apply to the both the perpetrator and the owning account of a shared game, and the Family Share feature can be revoked entirely.[2]
Games with 3rd party DRM tied to account-locked keys (such as Uplay), have the feature specifically turned off by their publisher.[2]
Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Log into your Steam account and press Authorize this computer if shown in Settings->Family.
  2. Log out and into the account to want to share with, go to Settings->Family, press Authorize this computer if shown, and for each account in Eligible accounts you want to share with ensure the Share box is enabled.
  3. Log back into your main account, go to Library and select Games from the drop down, and you should see games categorized as MY GAMES for games belonging to your account and [USER]'s Games for each family shared account.

Offline Mode[edit]

Offline Mode is a mode of Steam where installed games can still be accessed and played without an online connection. It is mostly relevant when users have limited or no Internet access, and will automatically be engaged when the client detects that there's no Internet access available.

Requires the user to have signed in and launched downloaded games at least once with online connectivity in advance to properly configure both the account and the individual games for offline play.
Additional third-party DRM might prevent offline play. Certain use of the Steam Cloud and/or Steam API can also inadvertently prevent offline play.
Prepare Steam and games for offline mode[4]
  1. Open Steam while being connected to the internet.
  2. When logging in tick the Remember my password checkbox.
  3. Run downloaded games at least once to ensure they're properly configured for offline mode.
  4. On the top left, select Steam and Go Offline.
  5. Verify that Steam can sign into offline mode, and that downloaded games are accessible as well.

Notes

Start dialog box can be removed by setting SkipOfflineModeWarning to 1 in <Steam-folder>/config/loginusers.vdf

Steam Cloud[edit]

For a list of games, see games using Steam Cloud over on the Steam storefront. Some games might not be listed even though they use the feature.

Steam Cloud is a feature of the Steam client that allows game data to sync between players' computers by uploading it to the online Steam platform after a game have been played, and downloading/synchronizing the local data when the Steam client or the game is launched. The implementation of the feature is game-specific and up to the developers of the game. Some developers choose to only sync save game data, or both save game data and configuration files, yet others force users to choose only a single slot to be synced. Some games list Steam Cloud as a supported feature, but do not sync any data whatsoever. An examples of such a game is Capsized.

Free and built-in with the Steam client.
Automatically backs up saves/settings on supported games.
Not every game is supported; up to the developers to implement it and decide on to sync.
Can only be toggled through the desktop mode of the Steam client.

Game-specific setting[edit]

Disabling the feature system-wide takes precedence over the game-specific setting.
Toggle the feature for a specific game:
  1. Launch Steam in desktop mode.
  2. Open the Library, Right Click on the game and select Properties.
  3. On the Updates tab, change Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for <game-title> as desired.
  4. Click Close to save the changes.

System-wide setting[edit]

Toggle the feature system-wide:
  1. Launch Steam in desktop mode.
  2. Open the View menu and select Settings.
  3. On the Cloud page, change Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it as desired.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.

Delete files stored in the cloud[edit]

Upload empty files[5]
  1. Check if the Steam Cloud is enabled on the desired game, then close Steam.
  2. Navigate to <Steam-folder>\userdata\<user-id>\<game-id>\
  3. Erase the contents of every file present in the remote folder with a text editor.
  4. Navigate to <Steam-folder>\userdata\<user-id>\<game-id>\ and delete remotecache.vdf.
  5. Launch Steam, then start the desired game from the Library.
  6. When prompted with the Sync Conflict, delete the <game-id> folder.
  7. Select Upload to the Steam Cloud.

Notes

If the data is still being synced check any other possible locations in which the files may be stored, then erase them if they exist.

Steam Community Overlay[edit]

The Steam Community Overlay is an in-game overlay component of Steam that is available in all supported games launched through the Steam client. It enables users to access the Steam Community platform, list of achievements for the game, the Steam Chat, a general-purpose web browser, as well as a FPS counter OSD, all without leaving the confines of the game window. It also features in-game notifications for events such as achievement unlocked, invite received, new chat message, etc. Most common graphics APIs are supported, and compatibility with games are quite high.

Used by Steam Input, Steam Controller, and in-game features like DLC purchase, game invites, screenshots, etc. Disabling the overlay globally or game-specific will limit the functionality within affected games.
Add an external game to the Steam Library as a Non-Steam Game and launch it through Steam to allow the use of the Steam Overlay within the external game.
Toggle using Shift+Tab or the Home/Guide button on a controller.

Game-specific setting[edit]

Disabling the feature system-wide takes precedence over the game-specific setting.
Toggle the feature for a specific game:
  1. Launch Steam in desktop mode and open the Library.
  2. Right Click on the game and select Properties.
  3. Under the General tab, change Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game as desired.
  4. Click Close to save the changes.

System-wide setting[edit]

Toggle the feature system-wide:
  1. Launch Steam in desktop mode.
  2. Open the View menu and select Settings.
  3. On the In-Game page, change Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game as desired.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.

Steam Input[edit]

Steam Input is a feature of the Steam client and umbrella term referring to the entire collection of software, hardware, and configuration utilities that Steam uses to interface with games. It acts like a wrapper using the Steam Community Overlay to intercept and manipulate player input before passing it on along to the game. This allows it to bind certain game-specific actions to specific input that supports action-based input, or to add or extend the functionality of input devices in various ways, such as adding XInput, keyboard, or even mouse support to input devices that otherwise would not support them. The feature was previously known simply as Steam Controller as there was no distinction from the controller with the same name and its supporting environment and features, which eventually was renamed to Steam Input.

Disabling the Steam Community Overlay prevents Steam Input from being active as well.
Allows supported input devices that lacks native XInput support to function in XInput-based games.
Can interfere with the functionality of a controller in some games, based on Steam Input configuration and whether Steam Community Overlay is enabled for the game or not.
See the Steam Input section of the Steamworks documentation for much more in-depth information.

Steam Input API[edit]

For a list of games, see games with Steam Input API support.

Steam Input API (previously known as Steam Controller API or SCAPI) refers to the accompanied API that games can make use of to add support for action-based input, as opposed to button-based input. The main difference from other APIs like XInput and DirectInput is that when a game implements support for the Steam Input API the game itself does not need to add support for any particular input device or method. Instead the Steam Input layer and API acts as a hardware abstraction layer and converts the input received from a supported input device to the proper game-specific action the user have configured the input to. This means that when Steam adds more supported input devices or methods to the Steam Input layer, games will automatically support those new devices and methods without any additional development time required by the game developers.

Controller Configurator[edit]

The Controller Configurator in native mode using a Steam Controller.
The Controller Configurator in native mode using a Steam Controller.
The Controller Configurator in legacy mode using a Steam Controller.
The Controller Configurator in legacy mode using a Steam Controller.
How the game-specific controller configurator functions depends on the level of support the game have for Steam Input. Refer to supported games for details.
Community configurations and pre-built templates (from either Valve or the game developer) are available and can be adjust to one's liking.

Steam Controller Configurator is used to rebind actions (for games that natively support the Steam Input API) or buttons (for games that do not natively support the API). If a game does not support the Steam Input API natively, the Steam Controller Configurator will fall back to a "legacy mode" where the user can instead rebind buttons on their controllers (e.g. bind numpad 5 to X on the gamepad) as well as tweak various functionality of their controllers (e.g. rapid fire, deadzone, sensitivity etc).

Open controller configuration for compatible controllers:
  1. Verify that a compatible controller is connected and support enabled for it, see Supported input devices for details.
  2. Open Steam
  3. Access Controller Configuration depending on which configuration you want to customize:
  • Game-specific configurations:
    • In desktop mode: Library -> select game in details view -> click on Controller Configuration under Links
    • In desktop mode: Library -> right-click on the game -> Edit Steam Controller Configuration
    • In Big Picture mode: Library -> select game -> Manage Game -> Controller Configuration
  • Big Picture, Desktop, or Guide Button Chord configurations:
    • In desktop mode: View -> Settings -> Controller -> appropriate configuration
    • In Big Picture mode: Settings -> Base Configuration -> appropriate configuration

Notes

The Controller Configuration option will not show or be accessible if a compatible controller was not found attached to the system, or if support for the aforementioned controller type have not been enabled (not applicable for the Steam Controller).

Supported configurations[edit]

Steam Input supports four different configurations, three of which are known as "base" configurations while the one remaining is game-specific. What configuration is currently active depends on what environment Steam Input currently believes it is being used in, using the Steam Overlay to properly detect games. This can result in scenarios where the desktop configuration is applied for a game because the Steam Overlay is disabled or not functioning properly for the game.

Configuration Explanation
Game-specific Used when Steam Input detects the presence of a game. The actual configuration is game-specific.
Big Picture Used for Big Picture mode of Steam.
Desktop Used while outside of a game, on the desktop of the operating system.

Will be used if Steam Input fails to properly detect a game.

Guide Button Chord Global accessible override configuration by holding down the Guide/Home button of the controller.

Can result in unwanted input if accidentally triggered while turning off certain wireless controllers.

Supported games[edit]

Some games might not natively support Steam Input API but still provides button prompts for the Steam Controller, see Steam Controller article for more information.
Subreddit with list of games with native/official bindings support

All games the Steam Community Overlay is capable of hooking are supported; although the level of support varies based on the game-specific support for the Steam Input API.

Support Mode Rebind Explanation
Native support Native Actions The game supports Steam Input API and allows for full use of the controller configurator for all compatible devices. The game can include native button prompts, action sets, haptic feedback and official configurations with aliased text for games features.

For a list of games, see games with Steam Input API support.

No support; provides official bindings Legacy Buttons The game does not support Steam Input API, however it does provide one or more official controller config(s) for the configurator.

For a list of games, see games with Steam Input presets support.

Supported input devices will be limited to emulating XInput and/or mouse/keyboard input.

No support Legacy Buttons The game does not support Steam Input API nor provide any official config for the controller configurator . The user have to use a community-created config or create their own.

Supported input devices will be limited to emulating XInput and/or mouse/keyboard input.

Supported input devices[edit]

Supported style of input options differs based on the controller. Refer to the controller-specific page for more information.
Enabling controller support can cause double input or similar input issues in certain games, or while using certain configurations for the controller.
In some instances Steam Input will be enabled for a controller even without the user having explicitly enabled support for it. This is typically seen in external configuration tools or launcher where Steam Input automatically uses the desktop configuration to spoof mouse and keyboard input, even for controllers without enabled support. Disabling the Steam Community Overlay prevents this from happening.[6]

To make use of the Steam Input feature users must have a compatible Steam Input device, such as the Steam Controller, DualShock 4 controller, Xbox 360 controller, Xbox One controller, or any other generic XInput or DirectInput controller.[7] However only support for the Steam Controller is enabled by default; support for all other compatible controllers must be manually enabled within Steam before the controller can make use of the features.

Enable controller configuration support for compatible controllers:
  1. Turn off or disconnect the controller from the computer.
  2. Open Steam and navigate to the controller settings page:
    • In desktop mode: View -> Settings -> Controller -> General Controller Settings
    • In Big Picture mode: Settings -> Controller Settings
  3. Enable the proper configuration support based on the controller:
  4. Turn on or connect the controller to the computer again.
  5. Steam should now detect the controller and allow it to use Steam Input features.

Issues fixed[edit]

Steam Support Knowledgebase[edit]

Expansive official knowledge base covering everything from account issues, general client issues, and OS-specific issues, to name a few.
Troubleshoot the issue according to Steam Support's Knowledgebase

Steam fails to launch or log in[edit]

For network connectivity issues, see the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity support article or the Network/Connection Issues category.
General troubleshooting[4]
  1. Restart the computer.
  2. See this support article: Steam Client Troubleshooting

Game fails to launch or function properly[edit]

Launch the game after each individual step to see if the issue is resolved.
General troubleshooting[4]
  1. Restart Steam.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Consult the game-specific article to see if it's a known issue.
  4. See this support article: Verify Integrity of Game Files
  5. See this support article: Games do not run after 'Preparing to Launch'
  6. See this support article: Steam Client Troubleshooting

Unable to download any games[edit]

Follow this support article: Update & Installation Issues[4]

Other information[edit]

Change the language of a game[edit]

Instructions
  1. Right Click on the desired game in the Library.
  2. Select Properties, the Language tab, then select the desired language.

Notes

Changing a game's language might not be possible while the game is already open.

Playing without game updates[edit]

The Only update this game when I launch it option does not allow playing without updates, the only way to avoid updates is by playing in Offline Mode.[8]
Some developers make earlier versions available under the Betas tab in the game's properties in the Steam client. Once selected and downloaded, this alternate version can be played without further updates.
It is possible to download older game versions and play the older version indefinitely (unless external game-specific services prevents it) if it is stored in another location than the download or game folder.

Download older game versions[edit]

This requires a full download, and free space to allow it, of the older version of the game. The download does not overwrite existing game files.
The files are automatically downloaded to a subfolder of the install folder of Steam, regardless of what Steam Library Folder the latest version of the game might be installed in.
There's no way to monitor or throttle the download progress without using external third-party tools.
Locate and download the manifest of the older version[9]
  1. Search for the game on SteamDB.
  2. Switch to the Depots tab and open the depot(s) with the required files to downgrade.
  3. On the pages of the aforementioned depot(s), switch to the Manifests tab and take note of the manifest IDs of the desired version.
  4. Open the Steam Console by executing steam://nav/console in e.g. the browser/explorer address bar, Win+r, etc.
  5. Enter download_depot <app-id> <depot-id> <target-manifest-id> command (with corresponding information).
  6. If executed properly the console will say:
    Downloading depot <depotid> (<download-size> MB) ... 
  7. Wait for the download to complete. Do not close Steam or shut down the computer as this will terminate the download!
  8. When the download is finished the following line will be printed in the console:
    Depot download complete : "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\content\app_<app-id>\depot_<depot-id>" (<total-num-of-files> files, manifest <manifest-id>)
  9. Open indicated download folder. You can now move the contents of the folder to a more proper location.

Notes

Move the older version to a folder separate from the regular version to prevent Steam from removing the older version when a new update is released.
Some games might require a steam_appid.txt file containing the app id and nothing else before they can be launched from other folders.

Copying a game from a different computer[edit]

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Go to <Steam-folder>/SteamApps/common/ on the computer where the game is installed.
  2. Look for the folder that fits the game you want to copy and move it to the same location on the target computer.
  3. Go to steampowered.com in your browser and visit the game's store page
  4. in the Url bar of your browser you'll see store.steampowered.com/app/<appid>/, where <appid> is a number that uniquely identifies the game on Steam.
  5. Grab the <Steam-folder>/SteamApps/appmanifest_<appid>.acf file that fits the <appid> from the store page and copy it to the same location on the target computer.
  6. Close and restart Steam.
  7. The game should now show up in your Library and be ready to play.
  8. (Optional) If the game doesn't run or if it came from a different OS, right click on the game in your Library and choose Properties ; then go to the Local Files tab and click on Verify integrity of game cache… . This will trigger Steam to repair the installation.

Windows-specific[edit]

Add Microsoft Store games as non-Steam games[edit]

Use UWPHook[citation needed]

Speed up loading of web pages in Steam[edit]

Disable Steam's link filter[edit]

Use disablesteamlinkfilter[citation needed]

Linux-specific[edit]

Downloading game files with SteamGet[edit]

SteamGet is a script created by Ryan C. Gordon (aka Icculus) which requires SteamCMD to work. What it does is that it will download all the files from the selected game you own in your account without requiring you to rely Wine to do that or use the SteamCMD itself as this script makes its task more simple. This can be very useful if you wish to use the game files for the source port of the game or an open source engine.

Use Native Steam runtime mode[edit]

Improves the performance for both games and the software itself.
Basic[edit]
Install Linux Steam Integration and enable Use Native Runtime.
Advanced[edit]
On a 64-bit system you must install the 32-bit version of these libraries: openal, nss, gtk2, gtk3, libcanberra, gconf, dbus-glib, libnm-glib, libudev0-shim and libappindicator-gtk2 (so the tray icon would work).
Some games may still require some additional libraries to work. You can use this page to learn which ones are needed for the specific software regardless of the linux distribution you are using. Most of the Ubuntu-based distros may already include them.

While the current Steam package already includes required libraries to work, they are sadly outdated as they are from Ubuntu 12.04. However, Valve included an option to force Steam to use the libraries used in your system, also known as Steam Native mode. This can be done by adding STEAM_RUNTIME=0 before the command for launching Steam.

It's best to create a separate executable file for it in order to allow easily switch between the Runtime and Native.

Create a Steam Native executable script
  1. Open or go to /usr/bin in Terminal and type sudo nano steam-native
  2. Copy and paste this script:
#!/bin/sh
export STEAM_RUNTIME=0
# Workaround for dbus fatal termination related coredumps (SIGABRT)
# https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/4464
export DBUS_FATAL_WARNINGS=0
# Override some libraries as these are what games linked against.
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/usr/lib/steam:/usr/lib32/steam"
exec /usr/lib/steam/steam "$@"
  1. Exit while saving the file with Ctrl+X and accept while leaving the name intact.
  2. Type sudo chmod +x steam-native to mark the script as executable

Once done, you will be able to run Steam Native with the steam-native command on Terminal, you can add it to the Start/Program Menu if you wish, but it is also best to add it's .desktop file as well, so it'd be available and automatically added.

Create a Steam Native Desktop script
  1. Open or go to /usr/share/applications in Terminal and type sudo nano steam-native.desktop
  2. Copy and paste this script
  3. Exit while saving the file with Ctrl+X and accept while leaving the name intact.

ArchLinux based distributions only require installing steam-native-runtime package which will automatically install required repositories and automatically set everything for you, once you install Steam.

References