Punching Steam Deck

Let's share our experiences and some tips and tricks with the Steam Deck!

### For the uninitiated:

[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/PpmBpwH.png]

It's pretty much a hand held PS4 in terms of power (could be more but draws a max of 45 watts):
[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/U6z1Scm.png]
_NOTE: it does have a micro SD card slot. Use ext4 file system for best results. You can use NTFS, exFAT or FAT32 usb stick to copy games to it with top USB-C port and the Desktop mode (hold the power button to access)._

Not all games work due to nature of Proton interpreting Windows games, but the [verified list is growing](https://www.steamdeck.com/en/verified). And just because it's not on the list doesn't mean you shouldn't try. For instance 'Critter Crunch' is not verified but it works great!

It has a official docking station on the way, but I've been using this [little $20 dongle](https://www.amazon.com/Hiearcool-MacBook-Multiport-Compatible-Nintendo/dp/B07WPTG7NX?th=1):
[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/k9Isiyi.png]

**Here's some pros and cons I wrote for another thread to help those who are interested in getting one:**


**Steam Deck Pros & Cons**

  • - **Portable** (solid feeling in the hands, good build quality, lot's of buttons and ways to customize them)
  • - **Powerful** (basically a hand-held PS4 with a much better CPU. Can emulate old and new up to Wii pretty easily. Can store games on an sd card. PSP, Dreamcast, GCN and Wii works pretty well with standalone emulators you can get right from the desktop application downloader. Haven't tried PS2, PS3, Wii U, or 3DS. PS3 is probably too much)
  • - **Potentially ginormous library** (if you have the games. Emulator roms can be added to an ext4 formatted sd-card and managed in desktop mode)
  • - **Flexible** (can install most things you want but can get complicated. Hardware wise you can use keyboard and mouse, other controllers, and monitors with a power pass-thru usb-c adapter. There are kind of hacky ways to get stuff running on it too, but it's cool you can)
  • - **Simple basic usage** (sign in and go play your games that work on it. Anything beyond that will require research)
  • - **Cheap compared to similarly powerful laptops** (I got one instead of getting a gaming laptop)
  • - **Cool frame-rate features** (the frame rate settings for balancing performance and quality make you wonder why they aren't a PC standard. Being able to set a 40hz 40fps cap makes juddery games feel much better)
  • - **Low Power** (only uses 45 watts so a great way to play smaller titles without using a big PC)
  • - **Pushing Linux as a gaming platform** (It's basically providing momentum to get more development for an open platform and provide another means to play PC games. You can't just install anything you want like on Windows, but it's capabilities are pretty big and growing. Most basic things are there - just browse the application downloader in desktop mode)
  • _Cons_

  • - **hard to get one**
  • - **hardware can fail** (it's a handheld with it's own buttons susceptible to wear and tear - but at least you can pair external controllers)
  • - **screen is not the best** (fine for what is to keep costs down, but the Switch OLED looks way better. No VRR either)
  • - **can turn into a mess of hardware if want it to be multi purpose** (it can quickly turn into a wire pile if you want to use it like a desktop. Bluetooth and 2.4ghz usb dongles can mitigate it, but it's not as clean as a laptop)
  • - **requires Steam** (you must sign in and be regularly connected to internet to access your purchased games)
  • - **temper your expectations** (it's not as capable or compatible as a desktop - so you may not be able to do some things you want to, or they may perform poorly)
  • - **decent list of verified games, but it's relatively small** (more will be added and some just work if you try them, but many will flat out not work due to old systems or Proton's inability to handle them)
  • - **can be hard to get external windows games working** (I tried installing a couple GOG games since they are DRM free. Loophero worked great - Streets of Rage 4 never booted (EDIT: you can get the Linux version in GOG galaxy) . Also the process is complicated since you need a second program to install them like Wine or Proton. I used Steam's Add a Game, enabled Proton compatibility, installed, then added the installed .exe to my library. Yeah kind of messy...)
  • - **you might need to learn a little linux** (not really bad thing, but if you only know windows some things will throw you for a loop. The application downloader is really easy to use, but tracking down your directories may take some time. Haven't needed to use the terminal at least)
  • - **ok casual emulation** (it's pretty good but it ain't no MiSTer, but again you can play more stuff - seeing F-Zero GX on it was pretty amazing. You can run more arcade games, but they may be harder to run properly.)

  • -------------------------------------------------------

    **Hot tips:**

    Use the Desktop mode (hold the power button to access) and look through the application downloader "Discover" to easily find and install a ton of free apps. Check the "Games > Emulators" section for native emulators for Linux (they work much better than using RetroArch from Steam - or you can use the Linux version of RetroArch which has way more cores than the Steam version. Just don't use the Steam version of RetroArch on this thing okay?):
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/y75atSs.png]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/It5TjWf.png]

    With GOG Galaxy you sort for Linux games at the top of the 'Owned Games' section. Just click the game's Extras tab and then the easily missed OS version dropdown to download the Linux version if the game has one:
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/tNd1fOy.png]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/BcCSTxP.png]
    Just copy it on a flash drive (or over your network with a proper app), install, and use the "Add a game +" in the Desktop Steam interface.

    I'm super impressed by it and will post more later!

    First of all, thanks. I‘ve been wondering about buying a Steam Deck for the future precisely because I want to emulate old games, but I also get there’s going to be a ton of issues precisely because it‘s a PC and it will with due time build slowly, but yeah, Linux software solves a ton of shit. Sadly, the Internet issue is what worries me the most long term, but hey, it’s a lost cause at this point.

    My question here is: how does it fare as an emulator so far, in your opinion?

    @“xhekros”#p70530 Emulation was one of the main reasons I got it. I‘ll post some pics of what I can get running but here is what I’ve found so far:

    FYI I tend to run games at low or native resolution and try to make them look like the source, warts and all, which works well with the Steam Deck and it's small screen. You can use filters and pump up the internal resolution but it may degrade performance depending on the core


  • - 8, 16, and 32 bit consoles and handhelds work great. Just download the cores from the RA interface's dowloader. The interface just works with the Steam Deck controls, but you can also pair bluetooth controllers (I'm using an Xbox One controller and a little 8bitdo one).
  • - Very impressed by the Sega Saturn emulation and between the 3 cores for it, you should be able to run everything if your roms are good.
  • - The power hungry low-level N64 core "ParaLLEl" runs awesome. Using the Angrylion GFX plugin (unfiltered @ 320x240) and ParaLLEl RSP looks like a freaking true hand-held N64, warts and all. Chewed through simpler games like Mario 64 and Star Fox 64 no problem. You might need to use the hle RSP and ParaLLEl GFX plugin if the game is more complicated like Goldeneye. Mupen64Plus-Next works great too if you don't mind the inaccuracies of that emulator
  • - PS1 runs pretty much flawlessly. There is a RA Duckstation core, but there's also a standalone Linux version which may have more features. The RetroArch interface is easier to use though. The Beetle/Mednafen PS1 core runs great too.
  • - Dreamcast with Flycast core has no problems. You can also use the standalone Flycast core, but again the RetroArch interface is a little more friendly.
  • **PPSSPP**

  • - Runs great and the interface works with the Steam Deck controls. Feels great to play PSP games on a held held like they were meant to be
  • **Flycast**

  • - interface is not the best but it's easy to setup and runs great
  • **Duckstation**

  • - More for the power user but runs PS1 games like a dream with tons of options
  • **Dolphin**

  • - Interface is more desktop friendly but the touch screen will get you there. Requires a little tweaking (use the Vulkan Renderer and pre-compiled shaders) and basic graphics but works great considering you can play GCN and Wii games on the go. Can pair Wii remotes and plug in a 3rd party USB sensor bar (it's just a dummy powered IR bar) for the true Wii Sports experience.
  • You can add the external emulators as non-steam games so you can launch them from the Deck interface as well.

    Have not tried the 3DS, PS2, PS3 or Wii U emulators but they are on the Discover app downloader. Overall this thing is a beast for just emulation.

    Some action pics:

    RetroArch - Saturn Yabause core

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/WUBQ6bu.jpeg]

    RetroArch - N64 ParaLLEl core (AngryLion GFX and ParaLLEl RSP)

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/QAoFvXl.jpeg]

    RetroArch - Beetle PSX core

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/H1iSvvD.jpeg]

    RetroArch - Dreamcast Flycast core

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/9sFMzEL.jpeg]


    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/ksFXxS8.jpeg]

    Vit… I mean Dolphin…

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/aMwV35j.jpeg]

    Oh yeah you can play your Steam games too. Here is the currently unverified Ninja Gaiden Sigma from the Master Collection
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/88VWt0J.jpeg]

    I got one too! Like many here who would consider it I got a Steam Deck having high hopes for its emulation capabilities which I‘ve been finding to be mostly fantastic! So far I’ve tried:

    GBA: Flawless and looks great on the screen, especially with some of the Retroarch video shaders you can apply.

    PS1: Again, flawless. This was a big one for me because the Vita was previously my go to for PS1 but it's obviously missing a couple buttons which makes some games extremely hard to play. Steam Deck is perfect though! I'm running at 3x native with CRT-royale on top(very resource heavy) and it chews through games no issues.

    PSP: I think I still prefer the Vita as a closer approximation of how PSP games actually look but the Steam Deck has no problem running them.

    PS2: Inconsistent for me so far. I only ever got Outrun 2006 to run at half speed but Xenosaga Episode 1 seemed to run without any issues. PCSX2 is a bit fiddly even on Windows and on this hardware it seems every moreso. Will probably heavily depend on the game you're trying to play.

    As for the regular Steam game stuff, I've also been having a wonderful time with it! Just finished playing Ys VI on there and the gameplay experience was fantastic. It did have an issue playing some of the FMV cutscenes though. It's listed as "Unknown" on there which seems to mean that it could work perfectly, they just haven't given it whatever official checks Valve has. Have also been playing Yakuza 3 Remastered which is "Verified" and it runs perfectly with all the Steam Deck buttons present in game. Some other Verified games I have installed: killer7, Pathologic 2, and Tales of Arise.

    For the device more generally, I'm not especially impressed with the build quality. The thing is all plastic and a little bit wiggly, like the volume and power buttons feel like fischer price stuff and not what you'd expect from a very costly handheld computer. It's also absolutely massive. The controls work pretty well but I find the layout of the sticks, dpad, buttons to be just a little more weird than they need to be. The way they horizontally stretch puts stress on my hands and give me less finger leeway to easily switch between the RL1/RL2 buttons with my index fingers. It's kind of an awkward device! And for specific older games like Mega Man Legends where you're exclusively on the dpad and shoulder buttons for movement it caused some discomfort after a bit. Will say that it's nice that the thing is one solid piece and has grips! It feels a bit better to just hold in your hands than the regular size or OLED Switch does. One nice thing about the controls on this thing though is the controller profiles Valve uses for games that aren't verified. There are a few different wrappers it applies to games(and you can manually change these as well)to translate games to a gamepad that don't offer native support. It's neat!

    Another thing to keep in mind about the device is that expectations should be realistic. Especially if you want to play newer games you shouldn't be expecting this thing to be hitting a flawless 60fps with all settings cranked up. You're really aiming for a PS4 level of performance(30 to sub-30fps) at 720p resolution. And speaking of the resolution! The screen is 1280x800 which makes it a 16:10 device. I think there will be a decent amount of games that don't display at this resolution which means you'll have to step down to 720p, leaving horizontal black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. This isn't a huge deal but something to keep in mind.

    I think it's a cool device for sure! Fiddly in execution and very much a first draft. It's also just a weird sell I feel. I have a really hard time feeling connected to playing games on a PC/laptop and I have really limited TV time for consoles so it was a no brainer for me to get, it just fits my lifestyle and general handheld preferences really well. For a lot of people though? It's an interesting curiosity but I wonder how much interest there will be once the novelty runs out. I see myself getting a ton of use out of it though(and let's get a working FFXIV on here baby!!!(there are some ways to get it on there but they didn't work for me))

    I won‘t be getting mine until at least October but what’s been said so far is promising. Other than emulation and to play my Steam library lying flat-assed on my sofa I want to use it as a convenient vehicle for older / legacy local multiplayer games, and especially fighting games that I can take to friends‘ places without being limited to what’s on a specific (contemporary) console or having to mess about with different guest accounts, etc.

    Got mine this week and just finished QC testing it yesterday – satisfied that the buttons + screen + fan + battery seem to be in good shape.

    Have mostly tried older Steam-ported games in my little playtime, it'll definitely be an Ys/Trails playing device for me initially. The "not yet supported" Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim and Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky both seem to work flawlessly with a little configuration through their in-game configurators.

    Form factor is taking some getting used to for me. It's definitely both a little bigger and a little heavier than I anticipated, and the curve of the controller with the back paddles feels a little smaller than I would expect -- it's a little cramped back there. It feels less "natural" than the Switch, but the Switch always made my hands hurt after an hour or so whereas this has not yet, so there's a chance my "natural" has nothing to do with what's ergonomic.

    Thanks for posting your emulation findings @"sabertoothalex"#360 + @"copySave"#332, I'm excited to give it a go on basically every system that's not on MiSter -- so successful N64 + Dreamcast + Gamecube experience through RetroArch is appealing.

    Curious if you end up running into any of the issues I was with Ys VI FMVs not playing later in the game. I’ve seen issues around cutscenes not playing for quite a few games on ProtonDB so it seems like a Proton quirk?

    @“sabertoothalex”#p71112 Ahh, I had an existing save from when I rage quit at the lunging jump puzzles a few months ago, so I didn‘t check the opening FMV and haven’t hit the later ones yet. That seems like the exact type of thing I wouldn't have noticed that would make it “unsupported” though.

    ProtonDB [seems to think it's good to go](https://www.protondb.com/app/312540), so hopefully something they've fixed.

    @“ffg”#p71135 Hmm I was playing it as recently as last week and it was happening, hopefully it is fixed!

    On another note, I was playing Yakuza 3 Remastered last night and this thing can get extremely loud when the fans are really running! My girlfriend called to me from a few feet away asking what the extremely loud rumbling noise was and...it was the Steam Deck running an HD remaster LOL

    Been doing some more fiddling with external installers and here is what I've found:

    Install external linux game:

  • 1. Run the game's installer with Konsole (right click > open with Konsole)
  • 2. Ensure the game's start.sh file works (again with the Konsole)
  • 3. Add the start.sh file to Steam with "+ Add a Game"
  • 4. Rename the Steam library entry
  • 5. if GOG, the game's icon will be in it's install directory under "/home/deck/GOG Games/support/icon.png"
  • Install external win.exe game:

  • 1. Click Steam's "+ Add a Game" in the lower left hand corner of the library
  • 2. Click "Add a non-Steam game..."
  • 3. Add the game's installer (.exe) file by showing all file types - external drives will be at the bottom of the list
  • 4. Game's installer will be added to Steam library
  • 5. Select the installer in the library and click the gear icon
  • 6. On the left side, change the compatibility to the latest version of non-unstable Proton
  • 7. Close the settings window and click "Play"
  • 8. Game's installer will run - use the default settings
  • 9. Remove the installer from the Steam Library since it's no longer needed
  • 10. Add the installed game launcher by going to "/home/deck/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/compatdata/" and picking the newest folder created (add this folder to your "Places" for quick access - also /.local may been hidden, so turn on "Show Hidden Files" to get in there)
  • 11. Game's launcher .exe will be in "0000/pfx/drive_c/GOG Games/game_title" - remember to show all file types
  • 12. Rename the Steam library entry, force Proton (non experimental) compatibility and you're done
  • You can also install other DRM free games on another windows computer and copy the decompressed/installed directory onto the Steam Deck and add the game's .exe to the Steam Library with Proton compatibility turned on. I was able to run my EGS copy of Hades this way WITHOUT having the Epic Games Store installed on the Steam Deck (more EGS DRM-Free games games here: https://www.pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/List_of_DRM-free_games_on_Epic_Games_Store)

    This is everything I've put on it that works without issue from another PC (highlighted in red):
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/li3RZFw.png]

    **_Some issues I ran into with Ubuntu Linux versions:_**
    Most GOG linux games are configured to run on Ubuntu. The Steam Deck's version of Arch Linux may not have the correct library/configurations that the game is looking for. There are ways around this that require you to mess with the games start scripts and other people may have found to make it work (GOG forums were pretty informative) but overall it was a bit of a pain and decided not to worry about for the few games I could not get working. Running the script though the console will give you a print out of the error message at least. If you're having issues it might be best to try the windows version through proton TBH...

    **Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight** - could not get the game to run due to incorrect graphics libraries
    **Minit** - could not get the game to run due to incorrect graphics libraries
    **Loop Hero** - just made the run script point directly to the game and it runs fine. Commented out a config setting
    **CrossCode** - some issue regarding web browser libraries, would not start

    Most games setup without a hitch, but it might be good to get the windows and linux versions of your GOG stuff

    **Other Arch Linux Tips**

  • - If you're confused by the default text editor "Vim" just install Notepadqq with Discover
  • - https://itsfoss.com/pacman-command/ This site has a good beginners guide to use the Konsole to install packages (also useful if you are used to using Ubuntu)
  • - your Arch Linux admin password IS NOT your Steam password. You need to set it up to use the sudo command under _Settings > System Settings > Users_
  • @“sabertoothalex”#p71145 This should help with the noise:


    also the refresh rate options are official - use that 40hz mode folks!

    @“sabertoothalex”#p71145 Just hit my first Ys VI FMV and it played without a problem – double-checked it against a PS2 World of Longplays video just to confirm that there wasn‘t anything weird going on that I just hadn’t noticed, but seems good. Maybe they‘ve added support for this particular video codec in the last week or so? No idea where I’d even look to find out what file format it is, but I'm certainly curious.

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/6E9pxo3.png]

    Every day I open Steam and look forlornly at this page.

    In “strange updates on the strange Proton vs video codec wars I don't understand” news – Ys: The Oath in Felghana had its opening FMV play, but not the two ending FMVs. Probably about a week between start and finish, might‘ve been a SteamOS update in there? But I don’t think so.

    At this point, who knows?

    @“ffg”#p72585 This is exactly the thing that happened to me with VI, it was the last 3 FMVs in the game that didn’t play(and I think only the opening one played at all). Did you get a screen that had something like this on it:

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/mkWBZus.jpeg]

    @“sabertoothalex”#p73067 Yeah, a screen with that on it for a few seconds until it seemed to skip the FMV.

    So, I've only played a few games so far just to test it out. Some general thoughts:

  • - It's thinner (in the middle) than I expected, almost Switch thin. Somehow I was expecting a huge solid Game Gear-like lump. Even though the thing is pretty huge, it feels surprisingly reasonably sized.
  • - I'm very happy with the sturdy case that was provided
  • - The controls feel pretty good overall, though my fear that the d-pad and face buttons are too awkwardly placed (wayyy out on the corners) was well-founded. The natural resting place for my thumbs is on the two haptic touchy things and I _really_ wish that was where the d-pad and buttons were placed.
  • - The sticks feel ok, but the tops are a little too smooth/slippery and the stalks are a bit too tall for my tastes.
  • - The interface is pretty good, but has some of that Valve jank that I was expecting. One little annoyance is that it's pretty unintuitive how to navigate all of these EULAs that pop up when installing games...I just frantically press the joystick in every direction and hear it _bonk, bonk, bonk_ a bunch of times before it finally settles on the accept button.
  • - For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to take screenshots (it turns out you hold the STEAM button and press R1). I'm surprised there isn't a dedicated share button like pretty much every console has these days.
  • - The angle of the grips is just a hair too vertical for my tastes (not as bad as the DC and Saturn 3D controllers, but that's the general idea). The fact that your hands are so far apart lessens the strain, but I do wish they were angled outward just a bit more.
  • As for the games:

    ***Ys II Chronicles***
    I jumped right into my early game save from playing on the PC and it seemed to work great at default settings--I felt like I was playing a gigantic PSP! After hearing about the issues with Falcom FMVs I decided to check out what starting a new game is like and, sadly, I get the color bars instead of the opening cinematic. Would love to find a fix for this so I can play this and Trails in the Sky without issues.

    ***Chrono Trigger*** and ***FF1 Pixel Remaster***
    My first time playing these Steam ports and they both seem to work flawlessly. I'm not as bothered by the FF font as I was expecting to be, though I would still like to figure out how to mod a replacement in on the Steam Deck

    ***Elden Ring***
    I didn't have the FPS counter running, but this felt extremely playable, barring some occasional hitches (although even on an overspecced desktop I get these occasionally). I managed to defeat an Erdtree Avatar in my short play session, but I had a heck of a time timing dodges for some reason...hard to say if it's owing more to the performance or the somewhat awkward-feeling controls. Bottom line is that I would probably stick to more exploration and light combat in games like this and save scenarios that require more skill for playing on PC.

    @“kory”#p73314 I‘m also looking to start the Pixel Remasters. I’ve heard that swapping to the Japanese font is the preferred mod-free way to do it and that it should work just as well in Steam Deck Linux – just browse to the game directory in Desktop mode and re-name the files like in the guide.

    Full agreement on the EULA note, same goes for a lot of standalone launchers and configurators. I've taken to using the touch screen for them. It just feels a little more reliable as long as I don't mess up trying to drag down on a scroll page.

    @“ffg”#p73188 Yeah this seems like an across the board problem with these older Falcom games going by what @kory said about Ys Chronicles too. Sucks!