I have always tried to keep my Steam games list in some resemblance of organised. I would try and add new games into the category they belonged, this was good as the games list would reflect the categories which made life a little easier.
However I now have over 260 games and what was originally a simple system becomes a little clunky as when the the tabs are expanded they expand beyond the screen and jump between them is more troublesome.
Focus on categories
Thankfully the the latest Steam client update I can now filter by category, which is kind of cool when I know which game type I’m in the mood to play.
Another nice point to mention is that games can be added to more than one category, which means that your FPS / RPG games can now appear in both lists.
The final feature around this is the ability to hide games from your games list.
YAY finally I can now hide that Left 4 Dead 2 Beta that has been on my list for the last god knows how long along with Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Beta.
Another feature that I have been keeping my eye on is the Music functionality. As I mentioned in my previous post the music functionality only seemed to be available in Big Picture mode, I can’t seem to find when this changed but it’s now available in the standard Steam client.
It’s worth mentioning that page loads on Steam are seemingly quicker in the applications browser based window after a Major update. Which is nice as in the last few years many of newer features like communities and badges have been a little laggy, while other parts of service seem to work just fine.
You maybe aware that last week Valve rolled out one of the Key elements of the SteamOS/Steam Box combo, the In-Home Streaming feature. This will allow you to run higher spec or windows only games on your PC but play and control from the comfort of your living room. This bypasses the age old problem of having Windows games running on other OS’s.
This got me thinking about how Valve could reuse this functionality. Given that recent news hints at a suspected 1 Billion pitch for the video broadcasting website Twitch by Google/YouTube, perhaps online Streaming is a direction that maybe explored.
What if Valve allowed streaming to external party sites such as Twitch?
It would cut out the middle-ware that can be a pain to configure, the popular X-Split incurs a subscription cost that isn’t ideal for gamers trying out streaming for the first time.
With the rise of E-Sports including Valves own DOTA 2, it may only be a matter of time until this comes to fruition as part of the Steam Interface, lifting restricts around games that allow streaming and have a Let’s Play Friendly stance to avoid that murky legal quagmire.
Perhaps it could move a step further, why not allow every Steam user to enable a stream for their profile?
That way a quick visit to http://steamcommunity.com/id/welshtroll/stream/ would allow anyone to watch my stream via the web, via the client or Steam authentication chat can be easily managed.
Currently only available via the Big Picture mode in Steam is the Steam Music feature, I got into the Beta recently so I thought I’d share some thoughts. As this looks to be the first element outside of the OS it could be an important element of the media center experience that Valve want your Steam Box to become. I for one enjoy game music, but often it’s nice to play something different, something your in the mood to listen to. Normally this involves having to juggle your game with media player or something similar. And having to Alt+Tab out to swap playlist or pick a different artist.
Happily I can say that the music player is rather straight forward to use, add a reference pointing at a folder containing your music and Steam will scan and import all items it finds. You can then access your the player by selecting play or bringing up the player in you Shift+Tab menu while in game. It’s not offering much new in the way of music players but then it’s no real shock. Additional thoughts:
Will they adapt the system to allow users to connect to online radio streams
The default folder for music already added is under the Steam folder structure, could this be a sign that Valve may start selling music online via the steam platform?
Connections to existing media centers to stream from already existing setups that users may have
I’m excited that Valves direction has a more focused direction, as I was typing this post Steam notified me that cross computer streaming is now available, more on that when I get chance to try it out.