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Valve's Steam Ditches Internet Explorer for WebKit

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 43 comments

A new Steam is on the way. Try the beta today!

User interface overhauls isn't anything new. After all, Facebook users should be accustomed to a ridiculous amount of change. Now it's Valve's turn to give Steam a fresh coat of paint.

An opt-in beta today went live for all Steam users who wish to participate in checking out the new-look Steam.

"We made hundreds of changes to the Steam client as a result of customer feedback on the interface, performance, and functionality," said John Cook, Director of Steam Development at Valve.

The folks at Valve also saw fit to change the rendering engine for the UI, ditching Microsoft for an open source solution.

"We swapped out the Internet Explorer rendering engine with WebKit, which gives us a bunch of size, stability and performance benefits," explained Cook. "This release of Steam leaves us well prepared for another year of strong growth."

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!)

Click here for more details and to opt-in to the beta if you're a Steam user.

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  • 12 Hide
    kresso , February 24, 2010 9:00 PM
    WebKit is great. I am glad to see steam moving to an open source alternative, I just hope they don't make things more complicated. Added functionality doesn't always equal better functionality.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    the_krasno , February 24, 2010 8:51 PM
    I tried it, it crashed. Had to uninstall steam, lost all my games and now have to re download them.

    So fat I'm the only one that had that problem. Oh well, it teaches me this:

    BETA = NOT QUITE READY FOR RELEASE, PROCEED WITH CARE.
  • 7 Hide
    chrisjust98 , February 24, 2010 8:52 PM
    Yeah, I installed it and it runs fine. In fact, it runs faster then the old.
  • 12 Hide
    kresso , February 24, 2010 9:00 PM
    WebKit is great. I am glad to see steam moving to an open source alternative, I just hope they don't make things more complicated. Added functionality doesn't always equal better functionality.
  • 2 Hide
    theubersmurf , February 24, 2010 9:03 PM
    Effing finally, but my skins don't work :( . But webkit ftw, now I don't have to install that activex version of flash!!!!!
  • 5 Hide
    elel , February 24, 2010 9:21 PM
    Open source FTW!

    I'll bet Richard Stallman hates them saying open source, lol
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , February 24, 2010 9:33 PM
    Now I can surf the net while waiting for respawns twice as fast and without having to reload pages to get them to render properly (thanks to IE).
  • 2 Hide
    dheadley , February 24, 2010 9:45 PM
    I really like the new interface and love the much faster start up times and lack of lag in the screens compared to the old UI.
  • -4 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , February 24, 2010 10:13 PM
    Did someone say open source? That is an interesting turn of events. I wonder how many open source coders are going to play with it.
  • 3 Hide
    doc70 , February 24, 2010 10:42 PM
    the_krasnoI tried it, it crashed. Had to uninstall steam, lost all my games and now have to re download them.So fat I'm the only one that had that problem. Oh well, it teaches me this:BETA = NOT QUITE READY FOR RELEASE, PROCEED WITH CARE.

    Also, remember this: always do a hdd back-up of the game files; this way you don't have to re-download it all.
  • 2 Hide
    brother shrike , February 24, 2010 10:55 PM
    So far I love it. Looks great and there're loads of new features. Everything's really elegant, especially the detail view for games and the custom categories for games.

    Couple of things they need to work on, though:
    -seems a little laggy moving the window and scrolling
    -no way to delete categories for games
    -no more slim view for the games window
    -the artwork for games is great, but all of my mods are looking a little bare. Maybe some way for mod devs to add their own custom artwork or for me to do it myself?
  • 0 Hide
    Dirtman73 , February 24, 2010 10:58 PM
    It's about goshdurn time. Now maybe I can open links from the Steam window!
  • 2 Hide
    zerapio , February 24, 2010 11:07 PM
    Will be able to select which drive/directory a program gets installed? I find this more important than the rest. The HD where steam is installed is nearly full and I can't install apps on the other HD that's nearly empty. All the apps install in the steam directory :( 
  • 1 Hide
    4745454b , February 24, 2010 11:20 PM
    Hopefully this will also fix the problem of the white screen on all web steam pages. Not sure how many people have this problem other then me. I find it irritating when I'm trying to view the 3-5 pages of whats new stuff and all I can see is a white screen on each page.

    For those that don't know, under file there is a "backup games" program you can run to back up your games to your drive. This is useful for betas or moving your steam folder to a bigger drive.
  • 2 Hide
    brother shrike , February 24, 2010 11:48 PM
    zerapioWill be able to select which drive/directory a program gets installed? I find this more important than the rest. The HD where steam is installed is nearly full and I can't install apps on the other HD that's nearly empty. All the apps install in the steam directory


    drag the steamapps folder and your SourceMods folder onto the other drive. Uninstall steam, reinstall on the other drive, and put your steamapps and sourcemods folders back in the steam directory. Problem solved.
  • 1 Hide
    mindless728 , February 24, 2010 11:57 PM
    looks kind of good, haven't found any issues yet
  • 1 Hide
    skykaptain , February 25, 2010 12:08 AM
    I have yet to have issues. I really like it.
  • 4 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , February 25, 2010 12:21 AM
    The UI beta seems to be bricking Steam clients running Win7 x64. You don't have to uninstall and lose all your games, you can just redownload the Steam installer and choose the "repair" option. Some folks reported having to do this twice.
  • 2 Hide
    ominous prime , February 25, 2010 12:35 AM
    Tried it earlier on Win7 x64 no issues, except a noticeable difference in memory usage, more than double in almost every application that I used it for. Regardless it is a beta, I like the look of it a lot, but switched back because the text for steam friends I found to be rather difficult to read. Will be nice when the beta is finished, it has an immensely improved browser and a polished look.
  • 0 Hide
    theubersmurf , February 25, 2010 1:01 AM
    doc70Also, remember this: always do a hdd back-up of the game files; this way you don't have to re-download it all.


    This^^
  • 1 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , February 25, 2010 1:04 AM
    I just installed it and it seems to be running okay. Win7Pro64
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