February proved Steam Deck skeptics wrong

February proved Steam Deck skeptics wrong

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This week we saw just how much life is left in the Steam Deck. We'll discuss. Plus, a stable SteamOS upgrade hints at a bright future. And EmuDeck has to make hard decisions in the wake of the Yuzu scandal. All this and more today. Let's get right into the Linux gaming news.

OpenRCT2 adds new content

So, the free and open source OpenRCT2 engine has added a bunch of new stuff that I wanted to talk about because… well… it's freakin' neat.

  • There's now a Ukrainian translation of the game
  • You can now control hidden scenery in game
  • There are new colors for guests to choose from when they spawn
  • You can now build partly underground
  • And they've restored several pieced of RCT1 content including jet ski colors, beta terrains, ride and vehicle objects, scenery items, walls and more.
  • Along with a whole host of fixes!

The game is really easy to install. It you want to try it on Deck you can use the flatpak… but OpenRCT2 requires you own a legit copy of the game. Either through Steam or GOG. Otherwise you're out of luck.

FlatOut becomes Steam Deck Verified

The critically acclaimed "FlatOut"—a title released back in 2005—recently received an update that brought with it Deck Verified status. This update also removed the game's DRM. It's on sale right now, too… so why not pick it up and have some fun?

Top 20 Feb games

Valve detailed the most played game on Steam Deck this week and it's probably the biggest shakeup of this list that I've seen. These are the top 20 most-played games on Deck in February, ranked by hours played.

At number 1 we have Palworld. Then we have Baldur's Gate 3, Persona 3 Reload, Elden Ring, then a slew of newcomers. At number four Helldivers 2, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. Followed by Steam Deck staple Stardew Valley, then Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor, Cyberpunk 2077, Monster Hunter: World, Balatro, GTA V, Diablo 4, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, RDR2, Skyrim, Hogwarts Legacy, Person 5 Royal, and Hades.

The fact that we saw so many new titles added to this list gives me hope. I mean, you hear it all the time that Steam Deck isn't powerful enough to play new AAA games. Yet here are 5 highly anticipated titles, all of them 3D titles, all of them at least moderately demanding on modern hardware. And they're some of the most played games on Steam Deck.

Don't listen to the fomo and propaganda, my guys. Steam Deck is a platform and developers are targeting it.

Will Horizon: Forbidden West run on Steam Deck?

Will Horizon: Forbidden West run on Steam Deck? That's the question a lot of folks are asking after Sony released the minimum specs for the game. Now, the absolute minimum requirements to play the game at 720p 30 FPS will require an Intel Core i3 8100 or Ryzen 3 1300X, 16 GB of RAM, and a GTX 1650 4GB or Radeon RX 5500XT 4GB. The Steam Deck should easily meet or exceed all those requirements, though 30FPS? That's not going to be a huge win.

It's important to note that the Steam Event posting that revealed these specs mentions presets for handhelds. This ties in to what I was saying before. The Deck has firmly established itself as a platform and studios are targeting it. This is a not only a good thing for gamers, but it's good for PC gaming as a whole.

Games Done Quick

So GDQ is upon us and Humble is celebrating with a new bundle. This one has seven indie games. The only game I've played in this bundle is ABZU, but by itself the game costs $20 over on Steam. This bundle only costs $10. So I'd say it's worth it from that deal alone!

Again, I haven't tried the other games, but Dicey Dungeons, Gylt, and Abzu are Verified, while the others are Playable. Definitely seems like a good deal in my book. You can use my affiliate link below to support the devs, charity, and this channel!

EmuDeck removes Yuzu & Citra

In the wake of the Yuzu/Nintendo fiasco, EmuDeck has announced they're removing Yuzu and Citra from their app. This means that you'll no longer be able to use EmuDeck to install and preconfigure Yuzu and Citra games. Thankfully, Riyjinx is still available in EmuDeck, but as for a 3DS emulator, we're out of luck. At least for now.

EmuDeck's developers says that they're investigating Panda3DS to fill the gap, but we'll see when (or even if) that will happen.

Thankfully, if you've already got Yuzu and/or Citra installed through EmuDeck, upgrading to the new version won't remove these emulators (nor should it.) It's recommended to update

And speaking of Yuzu…

Speaking of Yuzu

More details have emerged in the Yuzu saga and I really wanted to touch on this. According to this YouTube Short, @ShroYT has detailed how Yuzu's developers were passing secretly hoarding Switch ROMs days before they were available to the public. How is this possible? It's not known. But in the suit brought against Yuzu's devs, Nintendo detailed how "day one access" for games was usually completed the day before the publication date.

If these allegations are true, then Yuzu devs were not behaving above board and put their profits ahead of the legitimacy of the entire emulation scene and I'm equally as upset with them as I am with Nintendo.

In Nintendos brief, they also claim that Yuzu collected telemetry about the games being played by users and that the devs allegedly privately discussed how they knew that the emulator was being used to play pirated software. This telemetry also included what hardware was being used to run Yuzu.

Allegedly, in their settlement, Yuzu has turned over this telemetry to Nintendo. We'll see what comes of it (if anything).

I'm curious if Nintendo will use this telemetry to attack the Steam Deck and other PC handhelds, since Yuzu was pretty popular on Deck and lord knows Nintendo doesn't care at all about what's ethical or reasonable when it comes to lawsuits or the limits of their control.

If any or all of these allegations are true, it still doesn't change the fact that I'm done with Nintendo. If they are true, though, I'm very disappointed in Yuzu.

Massive stable SteamOS update

So, late last Thursday Valve released a new, stable SteamOS update and it includes some new features and loads of improvements.

The brightness of the status LED on the top of the Deck can now be adjusted (thankfully). Under the Settings → Display section you'll find a slider that can adjust the brightness. This is a long-awaited feature since the status LED can illuminate a dark room all by itself.

They've also added a new frame timing plot in the level four performance overlay. This shows timings of when frames are flipped to the display rather than application-side rendering times. A useful metric which should help diagnose graphics pipeline issues.

They've improved performance in the compositor and reduced stuttering for FSR and NIS under high GPU load.

They've improved gamut mapping for HDR titles on the Deck OLED and made several improvements to Steam Input. This includes the Controller's "lizard mode" for scenarios where Steam isn't running including vertical and horizontal scrolling on the left trackpad.

They've also fixed a whole bunch of stuff, increasing the stability of the Deck. There were multiple game-specific fixes, they improved WiFi reliability and improved GPU crash handling, fixed HDR output via DisplayPort and incorrect color gamuts using In-home Streaming, as well as addressing several USB device compatibility issues.

Overall, this is was another evolutionary update for SteamOS and it seems like one aimed at long term reliability of the OS.