Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Steam Client Beta adds Steam Deck-friendly install size and cloud sync indicators

If you’ve signed up for Valve’s Steam client beta, you might have noticed a few small but potentially very helpful UI updates that have been rolled out over the past few hours. Changes that are available on desktop but I think could be even more helpful on the upcoming Steam deck.

The first appears on the library page of games you own but haven’t yet installed: a new “Storage Space Required” string that lists how much hard drive or SSD space is required. Since it’s on the main Steam client, you usually can’t see this info without hitting the install button, so a click is saved when trying to figure out if a new game (or nostalgic reinstall ) filled storage fits on it.

This is obviously a handy change for any PC or laptop, although I wonder if it was made with the Steam Deck in mind. Since even the most expensive Steam deck has a maximum SSD size of 512GB, the free space could fill up quickly unless you also shell out for an SD card with the latest specs. Or ignore Valve’s advice and upgrade the SSD yourself. In any case, the Steam Deck UI will share many elements with Steam’s desktop UI, so you can probably assume that the more readily available install size indicators will do the same help allocate memory on the handheld. Here’s a little before and after:

An enlarged view of the Steam library page for Dota 2.

The Steam UI “Storage Required” indicator in the client beta update.

The second change replaces this indicator once a game is installed, and it’s a new Steam Cloud icon that shows whether your save files are synced or not. Again, this is a minor change, but one that more conveniently conveys information that you would otherwise have to try launching the game to find out. A cloud with a tick means everything is fine, and if a game isn’t synced, you can click the icon to try syncing again. Clean!

A new Steam Cloud sync icon in the Steam Library as it appears in the latest client beta.

This feature (or something nearly identical) would also pair well with the Steam Deck given its portability and likely being pulled out of Wi-Fi range. And tracking sync status would be even more important in games that support Dynamic Cloud Sync, a new version of Valve’s cloud storage system that aims to streamline switching between the Steam Deck and a PC.

All in all, these two small UI tweaks are nice only for the desktop version of Steam. So if you can’t wait for them to get to the main client, you can sign up for the beta by opening Steam’s settings menu, clicking “Change” in the beta participation section and selecting “Steam Beta Update” from the List Select drop-down menu.

As for the Steam Deck, the official release date is February 25th, so those who got their reservations early could have their hands on the portable PC by the end of the month.

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