All hands on Steam Deck - Valve's handheld PC

Got mine this evening, got it set up, and installed Wildermyth, and the old Kingdom Under Fire games. Kicked the latter around a bit- ran super smooth, but that’s expected, as they’re PC ports of games released on the OG Xbox 15+ years ago. Still, they rock, and graphically hold up decently, and it’s cool to have them on a handheld. Wonder how smooth they’ll stay on the later levels with hundreds of troops moving around the battlefield.

I’ll follow the instructions to install Edge and XBGPCG this weekend sometime.

Oh, and when is the next sale scheduled? Any idea?

Welcome to the club! Next is halloween iirc, but there’s deck stuff on sale all the time. Here is this weeks with the playable or verified status.

Fanatical has got some good bundles right now. They list if games have a verified status.

Has anyone tried the Steam deck as a mobile strategy game machine? Thinking without mouse + keyboard it will likely not be a great experience.

For something turn-based my main concern is usually readability of text. The Steam store page does a good job of indicating if that’s a problem, though, so you’ll know what you’re getting into beforehand.

In terms of mouse control, the trackpads work as a decent mouse replacement as long as speed isn’t a critical issue. I don’t think RTS works well because speed is important and part of that is often a lot of hotkey usage, both of which can work against the deck (depending on how many hotkeys we’re talking about).

I think a TBS game is a good fit for the device, honestly, as long as readability of the UI isn’t an issue. The mouse part I don’t have issues with.

RTS is a problem, I tried RA3 for example, and you can almost do it, you’ve got lots of ways to add commands to the controls, but then I’m not all that great with a controller, so it’s going to be an issue, all the games that expect you to be able to use shortcuts to do stuff quickly.

Turn based is easier, although, same deal, if the game expects you to use a whole bunch of different shortcuts it might not go too well, but if it works with mostly mouse, you can make the controls fit, and somebody might have done it for you even.

Readability might be a problem though, if you need to read loads of tiny text.

Yea, sounds like I’m not really the target audience for one. The Switch already does action well enough for me, and it sounds like I need to stick to laptops for strategy gaming.

Biggest advantage I can see this have over the Switch is, cheaper games, and a much bigger catalogue of them.

There’s a lot of stuff that can work as is, but a lot of other stuff that might require significant work to adapt to the controller.

Thanks for those. I saw Old World is on sale, verified. I’ve been curious about it. Anyone have any experience with it on the Deck?

And you already own like 500 of them. Who here’s got 500 Switch games? 100? 50?

I dread FedEx deliveries these days. Since the early days of COVID every single FedEx package for me has gotten stuck somewhere. There is always a place in Midwest, where the package stays for days with no information. My Steam Deck has been in Kansas, since Monday and it was supposed to be delivered today. Even this morning, it said the same when I am about 2000 miles from package location. I called FedEx and the package finally moved to some other city in MO and the expected delivery date now says ‘pending’.

I’ve tried Crusader Kings 3 and it was ok. I used a community config that mapped the left trackpad to a quick menu for all the key submenus. I’ve also used it for Golftopia and had no real issues.
The biggest issue is definitely the screen size. It’s tough to read smaller text, at least to my aging eyes. Something like XCOM with big icons would be better than the text heavy paradox games.

This looks interesting:

Just tried it. Pretty painless to set up, and it does look nice.

Since I can’t really play the Deck upstairs with my wife nearby I went back to the Switch and was immediately struck by how much richer and nicer the OLED screen is on that than the Deck. It’s also wild how much more battery I get on the Switch - the Deck would run down into the high teens on % remaining (I never actually ran out of juice, but it was close a few times when we’d have shows from 7pm to 11pm and I’d play on and off for those four hours) while I played two full nights (up to midnight last night) on the Switch without recharging it (I forgot to bring it down and dock it Saturday night) and it still has 19% left after around 6-8 hours of on/off gaming.

The Deck is amazing, though I find my wide “stance” when wielding it can leave me feeling a little sore in my wrists, but that’s probably just me, after an hour or so. Not a huge deal, but if I’m listing negatives that’s one of them. I haven’t decided to sell it though, I do like the library of games that work and play at 60fps on it, but I’m not in a bad spot or anything. I even found someone that wants to buy it for near MSRP, though I need to bring it into his office for him to play around with it so he can decide if he does. I suspect once he’s holding it, he’ll want it.

(I wish my phone was better at focusing in night shots - maybe if I get a new 14 I’ll retake this picture, but I could NOT get it to focus, sorry about that - it’s really the color/vibrancy I want to showcase the difference of here anyway - look in particular at the coloring on the background and the rich reds, greens, and the torch light glow - you just can’t beat OLED and when the Steam Deck drops an OLED screen refresh, I may get it just to have one all over again).

Did this last night - I didn’t like as extreme of a setting as this article, but 140-160 looks pretty good to my eyes.

NOTE: If you have EmuDeck setup, it installed a tool called PowerToys on my deck. This added an icon to the quick menu in the same place as vibrantCrankshaft was trying to, so I couldn’t get the vibrancy settings. Had to uninstall PowerToys, which was more annoying than I expected.

Unrelated: Something corrupted my Discovery “installed” apps list, and the program crashes every time I click Installed now. Any linux nerds know how to fix? Discovery comes up with an error about retrodeck_origin (and I don’t have retrodeck installed anymore) when it first launches.

To me the switch looks way over saturated, I prefer the direct screenshot you showed of the Steam deck. The off angle view is going to look bad on the steam deck no matter what because of the underlying technology of OLED vs LCD.

I don’t doubt the OLED is a better screen but I wonder how much is saturation or color profiles.

Don’t forget to bear in mind this is an off-camera picture - it doesn’t look that saturated in real life, I was just using the comparison to show how much of a difference there is more than an exact replica of your experience (I mean, I assume you aren’t seeing my picture on an OLED for example).

I’m sure the Switch is generally going to be better for battery, at least from the POV of games actually being optimized for it. The Deck, you can mess with it to try and get more life, lower TDP, screen brightness, even turn off the wifi and the like, but at the end of the day, a game optimized for the hardware is probably going to be better.

The OLED screen on the switch (and the above linked Ayaneo product) are effing gorgeous. Both of those systems come with huge trade-offs though. Switch has a walled garden of stuff, and doesn’t have a huge amount of power for AAA titles.

The Ayaneo runs windows etc great, but the battery life is very poor for the price.

The steam deck still just seems like the all-rounder when it comes to most people’s use cases. Which is probably what Valve hoped for when speccing it up.

I am tempted to wait to buy one until they announce an OLED model, or some sort of refresh in 2023. But damn, just looking at emulation alone, I want a steam deck. My super portable Anbernic RG300 series is nice, but can’t do much past PS1. (Though, it only cost me 150$) It runs my portable games library great, until I get my Analogue pocket I ordered a year ago).

Also, good on Steam for offering 5 dollar “pre-order” reservation. That 250+ bucks I dropped last fall on an Analogue pocket has been in their bank account for a year. I could have made like 10 bucks on interest!

I’m hoping that at some point I can just buy an OLED screen and replace it myself. Valve’s been very good about this whole thing being available with parts on iFixit.