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Valve Launches Beta for New Version of Steam
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Valve Launches Beta for New Version of Steam

Valve has launched a beta for a new version of Steam with a complete UI overhaul.  This is the first major overhaul of the service since it launched almost 7 years ago.   Anyone can opt into the beta by simply checking a setting in your Steam client.  Restart Steam and voila!

There's quite a few new things to look at, and right from the get go I can tell you this bad boy is beautiful.  There's a lot more information available now to you, and it's become incredibly easy to find people on your friends lists that play and own the games you own.  You'll never be lonely in Left 4 Dead 2 again!

Other improvements is the ability to create custom lists of games to organize your growing collection, no doubt thanks to recent Steam sales.  Achievements are easier to read and discover, and the store and download manager has added features.  Ready for the complete list of changes?

Major features:

Complete overhaul of Steam client UI design to improve discoverability of features and to better expose all the information related to games in your library

Complete overhaul of in-game overlay UI design to create a richer in-game experience exposing context sensitive information related to the game you are currently playing

New game details view, presenting a detailed view of all the information for a single game in your library

New grid view, presenting a graphical view of your game library

New news page in the store/client/overlay which aggregates from Valve related news sites, official community groups, and third-party gaming news feeds

New downloads view in the client, making it easier to track your progress downloading new games or game updates

New Steam store design, including more integrated community features, improved recommendations, and improved video and screenshots viewing (and much more!)

Store details:

New Steam store/community integration — see what your friends have been buying and playing as you browse the store

Improved store layout, genre navigation, and genre pages, including more robust navigation per category

Improved game detail pages, including quick link to demos, inline display of higher resolution game trailers, improved screenshot browser, and improved game recommendations

New game-specific video page, containing all of a game's trailers in one place, now in higher resolution Flash format

Improved discoverability of sales and discounts, including prominent shortcuts and consistent store-wide visual presentation for price cuts

New quick-info tooltips on store home page and genre pages which allow users to read about games before navigating to detail pages

New search filtering options- search for packs or DLC, easier to use filters for searching by price and metascore, and sort by release date

Client feature details:

View of your most recently achieved achievements and likely next achievements in the client game details view and in the in-game overlay

View of friends currently playing a game as well as all friends who sometimes play a game in the per-game details view

View of related game news in the client game details view and in the in-game overlay

Clock in the in-game overlay (!)

User customizable categories assignable per-game, by which the various game library views can now be filtered

Tracking of last played time for games to show in the client library views

Sort your games by last date played

Library list view displays larger graphic, and a new column displaying a game's Steam Cloud state

New invites section in the friends list UI allowing you to accept or decline invites directly without going to your community control panel

Cloud support for many non-machine specific local settings such as favorite servers

Implemented new DirectWrite based font rendering for the client and in-game overlay on Windows 7 or Vista with both SP2 and the "Platform Update" installed. This offers improved pairwise kerning for text layout as well as better anti-aliasing of text on supported platforms.

Display of total played time in the client game details view and the in-game overlay

Type to jump support in the games list, grid, and game details views

Better Steam cloud conflict resolution support, with the ability for users to choose how to resolve conflicts between machines

Improved forward/backward navigation in the client UI, acting across various different view types (e.g., games list, to community, back to games list)

New style and layout system for Steam's VGUI UI toolkit, enabling much more complicated flowing layouts. Skins will need major overhauls to be compatible with the new client, but will also have much more power and flexibility available to them via the new .style and .layout files used in the new VGUI code.

Backup/restore wizard

Community: all official game avatars in one place, linked from your edit profile page

New outer glow effect supported when rendering text in VGUI

Support for alpha blending of gradients and text in VGUI

Support for many new layout and placement commands in VGUI

Support for native drop shadow effect on primary Steam windows on Vista and Windows 7

Bug fixes:

Improved reliability of auto-login to store and community when used in the Steam client

Improved truncation of long text strings in many places

Fixed the various UI states and settings to persist across client restart more reliably

Fixed being unable to reliably delete previously added non-Steam shortcuts from your games list

Fixed forward/backwards navigation on Community tab getting stuck on redirects

Many small performance and memory usage improvements

Improved sorting consistency between views

Fixed hit areas on friend panel down-arrow affordances to make clicking on them more reliable

You can now remove a blocked friend without having to unblock the friend first

General improvements:

Now using a WebKit based rendering engine for the client and in-game overlay web browsing components (replacing Internet Explorer)

Improved speed of in-game overlay web browser

Improved search functionality on the Steam news page