6 hidden Steam features I couldn’t live without


There are solely two apps that mechanically open after I activate my PC: Microsoft Groups and Steam. Steam, for a lot of, is only a gateway to play video games on PC, nevertheless it’s a chunk of software program dense with options that transcend monitoring playtime and achievements.

I needed to spotlight among the Steam options that I get probably the most mileage out of. Understand that there are a ton of choices in Steam, and this listing barely scratches the whole lot that the platform has to supply. These are simply the options I feel try to be profiting from as a result of they make Steam rather more than only a launcher to your video games.

File switch

Local file transfer option in Steam.

Among the best new options of Steam is native file switch, however you’d be forgiven if you happen to didn’t hear about it. Steam quietly rolled it out a number of months in the past, and it’s one thing it’s essential manually allow to make use of. The native file switch choice lets you switch sport recordsdata over your native community as an alternative of re-downloading them. For instance, when you’ve got Cyberpunk 2077 put in in your PC and need to additionally play it in your Steam Deck, you may simply copy the recordsdata out of your PC as an alternative of re-downloading them.

That is normally a lot sooner, particularly if you happen to don’t have an incredible web connection, and it might keep away from overage charges when you’ve got a bandwidth restrict. You possibly can even set it as much as enable Steam associates to switch video games, which is especially helpful if you wish to arrange a LAN celebration prefer it’s 1999.

To show it on, click on the Steam button within the high left and choose Settings. Scroll right down to the Downloads tab and tick the Sport file switch over native community choice on. You’ll have to have this on for the PC you’re transferring from and to. After that, choose if you wish to share your reference to others — you shouldn’t typically — and also you’re good to go.

After that, Steam will mechanically switch recordsdata it finds on the native community, so long as the PC you’re transferring from is turned on and Steam is operating. You possibly can cease the switch at any level from the downloads display, and if the native switch is simply too gradual, Steam will revert again to a traditional obtain.

Pin the overlay

The Steam Overlay running on top of Remnant 2.

Steam lately overhauled its overlay, and there are a ton of options in it now. You possibly can entry the Steam overlay at any time whereas enjoying a sport by hitting Shift Tab. There, you’ll have the ability to see your mates listing, your present and complete playtime, and even browse the shop by way of a built-in browser.

That’s all properly and good, however with the replace, now you can pin objects in order that they’ll present up even while you shut the overlay. That is tremendous helpful in a number of instances. First, you may pin your achievements so you may maintain monitor of your progress when you play. You may also browse neighborhood guides from the overlay and pin them to your display, which is nice if you happen to’re following a walkthrough with out a second monitor.

By far my favourite new characteristic, although, is the notepad. Like the opposite parts, you may pin the notepad to your display. There are a ton of makes use of for this, from writing down a door code to holding monitor of a puzzle answer to scratching down a reminder to backtrack to a sure location.

Manage your messy library

A Dynamic Collection in Steam.

For years, Steam has allowed you to arrange your library into collections. You’ll find them by choosing the Library tab and selecting Collections. You possibly can identify it no matter you need and drag the video games you need inside, however my most popular technique to do it’s to create a Dynamic Assortment.

Dynamic Collections will mechanically discover the video games in your library that meet the standards you set. You possibly can filter video games out by their style, in the event that they help single-player and/or multiplayer, and even their retailer tags. Steam goes additional by letting you choose controller help, Steam Deck verification, options like Steam Workshop and achievements, and even when a pal owns the identical sport.

For instance, I may immediately create a set of multiplayer video games which are Verified on Steam Deck that helps achievements and that one among my Steam associates additionally owns. It is a nice technique to shortly filter your library, particularly if you happen to’re on the lookout for a specific sort of sport to play. And, if there are video games you need to add or take away, you may nonetheless manually accomplish that in a Dynamic Assortment.

Make your video games run smoother

The Shader Pre-Caching option in Steam.

Steam features a characteristic referred to as Shader Pre-Caching, and I’d guess that the majority Steam customers aren’t even conscious of it. This characteristic permits Steam to search out shaders to your present {hardware} configuration from comparable configurations and mechanically retailer them within the cache, normally solely taking on a number of megabytes of house in your onerous drive.

Why would you need to do that? Everytime you begin a brand new sport, your CPU wants to arrange a bunch of shaders to your graphics card. These are principally tiny packages that inform your graphics card what to do. This solely occurs while you first begin a sport, although, which may result in stuttering and lengthy loading occasions as the entire shaders are gathered. The Shader Pre-Caching characteristic gathers them earlier than you begin the sport and shops them in a cache so you may keep away from the preliminary launch points.

To allow it, choose Steam and go to Settings. Scroll right down to the Downloads tab and tick the Allow Shader Pre-caching choice. After that, you’re good to go. Sadly, this characteristic solely works with video games that use Vulkan or OpenGL. DirectX shaders can’t be pre-compiled by way of Steam.

Launch in Massive Image

Steam's Big Picture mode showing Baldur's Gate 3.

After launching the Steam Deck, Valve gave its Steam Massive Image mode a much-needed replace. In case you’re unfamiliar, Massive Image is a controller-based interface for Steam, and now, it principally seems an identical to a Steam Deck. And if you happen to primarily play with a controller, you may launch Steam into Massive Image mode mechanically.

Choose the Steam button within the high left nook and navigate to Settings. From there, choose Interface and tick the field subsequent to Begin Steam in Massive Image mode. It is a nice choice to have, particularly when you’ve got your PC hooked as much as a TV and don’t need to fuss round with a keyboard and mouse.

On this identical menu, you may configure a bunch of different settings, as properly, such because the default location that Steam begins — it usually hundreds you into the shop — and the tabs you need to see on the high of the Steam interface.

Get disenchanted in your life

The Steam Calculator option in SteamDB.
Jacob Roach / Digital Tendencies

OK, this isn’t a characteristic of Steam itself, however it’s a cool characteristic that’s enabled by Steam. Steam has an open API, and there’s a ton of knowledge that Steam tracks that you simply’ll by no means see in the usual interface. Fortunately, you may entry virtually all of it by way of SteamDB.

SteamDB is the unofficial database for the whole lot on Steam. It exhibits you construct IDs, participant counts, worth historical past, updates — the listing goes on and on. It even tracks gross sales for video games, and if you happen to sign up, you may arrange filters and be notified when sure video games drop to a worth you set.

However, out of all of the options SteamDB presents, the very best is undoubtedly the Steam Calculator. Enter your Steam profile URL or Steam ID (the quantity yow will discover on the finish of your Steam profile URL), and click on the Get disenchanted in your life button to see the worth of your Steam library. It exhibits you the variety of video games in your library, how a lot they’re price at their lowest and highest costs, your common playtime per sport, and the amount of cash you’ve spent per hour of playtime, amongst a dozen different metrics.

There are sufficient options in SteamDB for its personal article. We solely scratched the floor, however if you happen to’re a staunch PC gamer that performs most of their video games on Steam, it’s positively an incredible useful resource to concentrate on.


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