April 25, 2010

Steam Client Beta : It’s Just Better

Steam is work­ing on a new ver­sion of it’s steam client.  Beta par­tic­i­pa­tion is option­al and cur­rent­ly any­one can join in.  I had a chance to sit down and play with the new Steam Beta today and I have to say that I am pret­ty impressed.  There are sev­er­al new fea­tures or “rein­ven­tions of the wheel” that I am real­ly enjoy­ing.   Instead of telling you every­thing that has changed I’m going to give you the major high­lights of what I think makes this new steam release bet­ter.
The first thing that real­ly stood out to me in this beta is the chang­ing of the col­or schemes and over­all feel of the client.   Most of the greens that were in the pre­vi­ous ver­sion are gone.  The client it now pre­dom­i­nant­ly black and gray.   It looks sleek­er, it feels more mod­ern and it looks more appeal­ing.  The over­all feel of the client is just more futur­is­tic.
The Steam store has been re-done in the way it’s been laid out.  Now you can hove your mouse over any par­tic­u­lar game that you may be inter­est­ed in and it will give you some pre­lim­i­nary infor­ma­tion about the game.  This includes but is not lim­it­ed to which of your friends owns the game, details about the game, sup­port­ed play types and steam achieve­ments.
I love steam, but I have always had a prob­lem with the noti­fi­ca­tion nois­es.  You will be in the mid­dle of a zom­bie rush and out of nowhere steam’s patent­ed noise from hell rings through­out your speak­ers.  With the new beta release, the noise has been toned into a sim­ple yet mod­ern sonar bleep.
Final­ly the piece that I real­ly like the most is the new games list.  It lists out all your games on the left and then if you select one of them you can sell all the recent and old news for that game.  You can also tell if you have down­loaded the game by the game being high­light­ed.  I like this a lot more main­ly because I can tell if there has been an update and I can eas­i­ly see my games in alpha­bet­i­cal list and still know if they’ve been installed.  Unlike before, when it would make a unin­stalled and installed list, it lists them clean­ly now.
Steam has real­ly reached out to its users and found what we want.  I expect steam to keep grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty and intro­duce many new fea­tures that will rev­o­lu­tion­ize the way games are dis­trib­uted, as well as how gamers keep in touch with each oth­er.  I would strong­ly encour­age any of you steam users to give the beta a try and reap the ben­e­fits of a mod­ern, orga­nized, sim­ple, revamped client.
To access the new beta client sim­ply vis­it www.steampowered.com.  Cur­rent steam users can access the beta client by going to set­tings » Account » Beta Par­tic­i­pa­tion — Select the UI Update
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