Steam streamlined game distribution much like iTunes streamlined music and now Steam is one of the most popular platforms to get games on. I recently started using Steam to play games after work (and sometimes during work) and found there are a lot of hidden tricks that can help you enhance your gaming experience. Let’s begin.
Steam Tips and Tricks
1. In-game FPS
It’s always a nice option to have FPS displayed on the Screen. Steam has this option in the Settings, you can enable it and it shows FPS on the corner of the display. The info is small enough to not obstruct your gaming experience. I like it.
To turn on the FPS, navigate to Settings > In-Game > In-game FPS counter > Turn on.
2. Use a Console controller to play Games
While all steam games supports keyboard and mouse, I prefer to use the PS4 controller instead. The good news is that Steam supports PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and many more controllers natively. You can simply connect one to your computer using a USB cable or Bluetooth and start playing. However, you should always check if the game has controller support built-in to ensure that your game would work without much effort.
You can also customize the controller to work in the Steam Client app so that you can easily navigate the interface and even launch different games. To customize the controller settings, navigate to Settings > Controller > General Controller Configuration > Choose your Controller > OK.
3. Stream your Games to TV
I prefer comfort while gaming and you can take it to the next level by streaming your games directly to your living room TV with Steam. You can do that by installing the Steam Link app on your Smart TV and pair your controller to the TV and open a bag of Doritos. It’s game time. You would have to keep your PC turned on and logged in the entire time as the actual processing happens on the PC.
In case you can’t install apps on your TV directly, you can use a Raspberry Pi, Apple TV, or any other Android TV box to install the Steam Link app and then stream your games on TV using those devices.
4. Go Big Picture
Steam has a feature called Big Picture mode, which offers a custom UI for big screens aks TVs. So, instead of showing you a similar screen, it shows a controller friendly UI that would let you navigate all the Steam features and play games with just the controller. Think of it as the console-style navigation Steam.
You can enable the Big picture mode by clicking the View button on the menu bar and selecting Big Picture mode.
4. Broadcast your Games Live
Twitch and YouTube Gaming are one of the most popular streaming platforms that allow you to showcase your gaming skills to the world. Steam broadcast aims to be a worthy competitor to those services. You can start broadcasting your games without any additional hardware. Yes, Steam client does everything from recording, encoding and uploading the feed to the internet, the only thing you need to do is press the play button. You can watch other people’s broadcasts on the Steam community website. To enable the broadcasting, go to Settings> Broadcast> Drop Down> Anyone can watch my games> OK.
However, there is one catch with this feature. You will have to spend at least $5 on your Steam account to be able to start broadcasting your games.
5. Play your music during a game
I miss those days where you could simply upload your songs to GTA: Vice City game folder, play the game and listen to the music simultaneously. While you can still load up a music player and launch a game but that won’t give you the option to change tracks mid-game. Steam, however, has an inbuilt music player that can play all the songs stored locally on your computer. Simply add the folder and launch the music player in the game by pressing Shift+tab. Easy right?
6. Install your games on multiple drives
If you’re worried that you’d run out of storage while hoarding games during the Steam sale, you’d be right. However, Steam lets you download the games across multiple drives. Simply add all the drives location in the Settings and you’re good to go.
Navigate to Settings > Downloads > Content Libraries > Steam Library folders > Add Library folder> OK.
Now, whenever you install a new game, you can specify the location and steam would download the games to that location.
7. Skin your Steam Client
When it comes to cosmetics, there are plenty of third-party skins developed by the community that allows you to change the Steam interface. You can get different varieties of skins ranging from Anime to solid dark. SteamSkins.org is the most popular and trusted site to get your favorite Steam Skins from.
Installing the theme is also really easy. Simply download a skin from the website, extract the files from the archive and paste it in the Steam folder, and then restart Steam Client. You can find detailed steps for every theme on its respective page.
8. Keep an eye out for Steam Sales and deals
This is more of a courtesy tip as Steam games often go on sale and offer deep discounts, it is hard to keep track of which do and when. You can subscribe to the subreddit r/steamdeals or check out steamdb.info to get the latest deals on Steam game deals and any upcoming sales. While the subreddit is user generated, you can still find plenty of decent deals from there. In my opinion, however, steamdb.info is much better in terms of filtering deals based on your game interests.
Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to keep games in your wishlist so that whenever a game goes on sale, you won’t have to frantically search for it.
9. Return your Games
Steam has a pretty solid refund policy that applies to every single title on the Steam marketplace. You can buy any title, and ask for a refund if you have played the game for less than two hours in total, and initiated a refund within fourteen days of purchase. While it is a policy to protect users and game developers, it is often abused and Steam will definitely ban your account if you do it frequently. You can read more about their policy here.
These were some of my favorite Steam tips and tricks that make the game experience much better. You already have a streamlined client that does most of the work ranging from organizing your games to handling a live broadcast session. Knowing these tricks can come in handy when you want a more customized experience. What do you think? Do you have a secret tip that makes Steam better? Let me know in the comments below or join me on Twitter.