The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.

Steam to receive ‘visual overhaul’

September 29th, 2005 :: Steam updates :: 2 Responses (Feed)

This article has been imported from The Steam Review’s previous host, and has had its original posting date retained.

Steam 3.0’s gradual approach continues, with news of a large visual update covering the Browse Games interface and more at some point before October the 12th. Erik Johnson had this to say on the hlcoders mailing list:

“We’re getting ready to release a fairly significant overhaul of the look and feel of Steam, ahead of the release of Rag Doll Kung Fu. Part of this release is going to give individual games more space for people to see screenshots and information about individual games, including MODs.

Currently if you go to the Third Party Games area of the Steam store you’ll see a listing of the most popular MODs currently being played, along with a text description and a couple of screenshots. You can also get to this web page directly by going here:

What would be really helpful would be for any MOD that is currently listed on this page to put together some of this material and send it on to me. What we need is:

  1. A short 50 words or less description of the game.
  2. 5 screenshots in .jpg format to include. The width of the screenshots can be no greater that 1024px, but the aspect ratio is up to you.

Once you have these together, .zip up all of the materials and e-mail them to me and we’ll make sure this gets into the update coming up.”

The update is ‘mostly a visual overhaul’ to ‘accommodate the release of more products’ and won’t contain many major code upgrades such as the new version of Friends. It’s not hard to come up with ways of improving the current system, though Valve requesting five images would suggest that each game now has its own unique page.

Don’t think the update is entirely a sideline to 3.0: it ‘falls under the umbrella of some of the next set of things [Valve] are working on for Steam’. Erik continues:

“Along those lines, we’re pretty actively thinking about/working on a distribution system that will work for free content. It’s not far enough along to give out too many details, but it’s something that should be pretty useful for MOD developers.”

This is of slightly more substance. Previously I would have guessed at a new heading in Play Games, ‘Community Games’ or similar, to hold mods distributed using the existing framework. This comment suggests things are going slightly further however, perhaps somewhere near Resource Packs. Alternatively it could be something as mundane as a P2P connection manager to download free content without bothering the main content servers – let’s hope not.

It’s also worth pointing out another feature suggestion that has caught Valve’s eye in the past. Even though there’s been no suggestion of its inclusion beyond ‘we’ll keep it in mind’, Lunchtimemama’s updated Play Games interface may well be introduced in part or in whole with the update.

More news as it arrives. Infodumps are available on the Steam Forums, or through the hlcoders mailing list.