A new update to Steam, has some pretty interesting implications for game streaming with a new set of features being rolled out. The changes are being tested in an experiment to see how the Steam userbase responds, they may be reverted or expanded depending on how this test goes.
It’s mostly a bug fix and crash prevention update, but there’s one set of changes that everyone who still uses Steam Link will be very interested in. Steam Link has now been renamed to Steam Remote Play, and its being expanded in terms of features and supported devices. Previously, gamers could stream Steam titles across their LAN to other Steam accounts on other PCs, that’s gotten a much larger range now. Steam Remote Play will now also allow PC gamers to stream games to any paired device from within a single account. Think of it as being able to share your Steam library with your sibling while they’re away at college, for example.
There are two big caveats involved though, one is that the network latency that could be introduced due to proximity to a Steam datacenter. The other is that both connections, the source Steam user and the destination, must have decent internet speed, classified by Valve as a “good network connection”. No information on bandwidth requirements though, so users are left to their own experimentation to figure out if they can use this whole feature set.
The patch also deals with some instability and crashing issues in specific circumstances. Network connections should be less prone to failure when downloading content, and the client as a whole should be a little more stable.
Here’s the full patch notes for the recent Steam client update:
- Fixed Windows cursor sometimes showing as the incorrect type, most often in system tray menu
- After workshop updates, ‘View News’ on the download panel will now navigate to the list of subscribed items, rather than to news for the base game.
- Fixed a bug causing Steam UI and some Steamworks games to have occasional performance hitches for users with large friends lists or large numbers of blocked friends
- Fixed a bug where the Big Picture in-game overlay could be abnormally pixelated for titles using the Vulkan graphics API
- Fixed mouse cursor intermittently disappearing while mousing over certain windows (e.g. full-screen videos) which caused mouse input to not work in the overlay until restarted
- Full-screen views in chat windows now render in the chat window rather than in a separate full-screen window on top of the game
- Fixed certain keyboard events being sent incorrectly when in a web browser window.
- Fixed dark rendering of windows in the overlay in titles that use the Vulkan graphics API.
In-Home Streaming (AKA Steam Remote Play)
- Steam In-Home Streaming is experimentally available outside the home, and is now known as Steam Remote Play. Your Steam clients can now stream games from each other wherever they are, as long as there is a good network connection on both sides and they are close to a Steam datacenter
- In-Home Streaming settings have been renamed Remote Play settings
- Paired Steam Link devices now show up in the Remote Play settings
- You can now remove all paired Steam Link devices
- Fixed the PC to PC streaming client hanging when you alt-tab away from it
- Added a network status icon to indicate that the network connection is slow.
- We will now download official Steam Input configurations during game installation for Steam Input users. This should fix the issue where Steam Input games would need to be run once before controllers worked in offline mode
- Joystick ranges are now saved for Switch controllers after performing controller calibration. This fixes joystick drift when first connecting the controller
- Reworked the Controller Options screen to better show device specific options
- Fixed a bug that could cause some game’s official configurations to not show up in the configuration browser
- Fixed a bug that could cause Steam to open Big Picture Mode immediately when connecting a Steam Controller via the wireless receiver
- Fixed some cases where Steam Input’s haptics or rumble could ignore the user’s enable/disable and intensity settings.
- Added support for the Astro C40 PS4 controller
- Improved rumble on Nintendo Switch controllers – there should now be a wider dynamic range of rumble values
- Fixed a case where glyphs shown through Steam Input API are incorrect when converting a configuration between controller types, ex: loading a Xbox controller configuration on a PS4 controller.
- Re-worked the shader system to enable downloading and pre-compiling of the whole collection of Vulkan pipelines for a given game. As a result, some shader data downloads will now show in the Steam download manager. Pre-compiling will be enabled in a future Steam update.
- Fixed some cases where shader depots could get downloaded even when the feature was disabled.
- Fix bug causing P2P connections to sometimes fail to migrate to another relay when the relay became unavailable or shut down to apply an update.
- Fix bug causing repeated connections to the same relay to fail.
- Fixed a random Steam client crash when launching games
- Fixed a bug where copying/moving files bigger than 2GB would fail with an I/O error
- Improved the client’s responsiveness to network changes
- Added support for rumble pass-through for virtual controllers. This fixes missing rumble support for any controllers opted into Steam Input, and rumble emulation support for the Steam controller.
- Fixed library ordering to prefer the Steam Runtime’s libcurl over the hosts’. Fixes “Risk of Rain” and other GameMaker titles
- Added support for removing old Proton versions by aliasing them to more recent ones
- Added support for developers and Valve testing specifying default Proton configuration options for games even if they’re not yet white-listed
- Fixed a random Steam client crash when launching games
- Fixed playback of streaming videos from library
This update has been re-released on June 13th with the following change
- Fixed crash reporting error at client start