The Steam Community

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How to take part in the beta

To take part in the Steam Community beta, you must first install Steam and create an account.

  • Launch Steam and open the Settings window.
  • Note the Beta Participation section, and click the Change. button.
  • In the Beta Participation dialog, click on the list of available betas, and choose the one called The Steam Community.
  • You will then be prompted to restart Steam.
  • When Steam restarts, the client will download the Beta to you automatically, and the next time you sign in to Steam you'll be experiencing The Steam Community.

We're glad you've chosen to get an early peek at these features. Please understand that by participating in the beta you've elected to use new functionality that is still being developed, and probably not everything will work exactly as it should. We hope that you'll want to help us iron out problems, and that you'll also want to contribute feedback and tell us what you think of the new features.


Beta News

Thursday, September 13th

  • Beta has been closed. Thanks for feedback!

Tuesday, September 11th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Updated localized files for supported languages

Thursday, September 6th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fix possible synchronization issue with the render stream between processes, in some unlikely circumstances this could result in FPS getting locked at the overlays rendering frame rate (25fps)
  • Fix it being possible for the resolution the game is running in to fail to report properly to the external overlay process
  • Improved Windows Vista support

Tuesday, September 4th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fix backups always having English targeted binaries instead of copying the per-language files over the top of the English when in a non-English Steam client
  • Fix the games page button show/hide logic to account for the tools tab properly and to show the properties/launch buttons on that tab again
  • Make the Receive Volume slider actually save its value in-between Steam restarts, and make it now default to .5 instead of 1.0
  • Fixed voice-chat being quiet when using certain microphones
  • Changed name collision handling to print "Name (instance)". Like "Taylor (1)"
  • Fixed 'Games' items in the systray context menu only opening the main dialog, now also opens the 'My Games' tab
  • Fixed modifications to non-Steam games (via the properties dialog) not being saved if steam was exited via windows shutdown

Wednesday, August 29th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fixed several issues with steam windows on multi-monitor setups
  • Various fixes for Recent/Current Players dialog
  • Increased compatibility with the game overlay and OpenGL games
  • Fixed voice chat to work across NATs
  • Fixed non-Steam games in games list not always saving their 'favorite' status
  • Fixed regression with desktop shortcuts to steam games not working if steam wasn't already running (or any other path that involves a delayed game launch)
  • Improved game overlay performance
  • Added game overlay support for apps in Vista when running Steam as a non-admin
  • Decreased background CPU usage with voice chat
  • Detect if there is a fullscreen window currently running as the active foreground window and suppress notification toasts of all kinds
  • Added 'Community' option to favorite windows selection in settings->interface
  • Fixed regression where the friends list wouldn't update when a friend stopped playing a non-Steam game (the game name would be cleared, but the status would stay)

Friday, August 24th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Changed link in friends list from 'View SteamID' to 'My control panel'
  • Resized recent-players dialog to better fit at 640x480 resolutions, for in the game overlay
  • Added in-game / in-chat / online counts to group section headers in friends list
  • Fixed crash bug with add-non-Steam-games scanner and users with way too many files on their desktop
  • Changed scanner to filter out files earlier based on having the "lnk" extension
  • Added a cap of 1000 .lnk files added to the list of potential shortcuts to scan
  • Fix duplicate "foo is now playing bla" notifications
  • Changed invite-posting to ensure that only one notification per user/group invite is posted as a dialog per session
  • Fixed announcements not showing as client notifications
  • Changed announcement notification click action to take the user to the profile page of the group, instead of the events page
  • Fixed case where friends list could get screwed up, with items drawn in the top left corner
  • Fixed +/- section collapser control not being removed along with the section header

Thursday, August 23th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fixed crash after launching certain games
  • Fixed odd input bug when double-clicking in 'Add non-Steam games' dialog
  • Removed 'administer this group' menu item
  • Added text to group panels in friends list to explain why members aren't being shown
  • Changed group panel link to be 'Show all members', linking to the members page for the group on the web
  • Fixed problems with microphone boost, recording levels, and microphone test
  • Improved 'Add non-Steam games'
  • Shortcuts data file is always saved after adding any new ones
  • Fixed crash re-adding the same item via the file browser
  • Changed re-adding a same exe file via the file browser to allow adding duplicate entries
  • Added context menu items to add/remove shortcuts from favorites

Tuesday, August 21th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Updated battery meter design (seen when running on a laptop)
  • Stop polling the microphone for audio input every client frame when there are no chat/voice dialogs of any kind active
  • Fixed recent-players dialog to correctly request any information missing from users in the co-play list, and update on any name or avatar changes
  • Fixed case where friends list wouldn't update if the friends' name wasn't known on initial draw
  • Fixed checkbox in column header of add-non-Steam-games dialog not being centered correctly
  • Fixed changing views from mini-games list to full view causing the games list to draw with the wrong scheme setting
  • Fixed 'Browse media...' button not working
  • Added 'Add non-Steam games...' button to the bottom of the games list
  • Fixed input lag in the overlay
  • Correctly display when a Friend is running a third-party mod
  • Added simple resize control to multi-user chat dialog, so the user list can be expanded horizontally, and user-menus can be accessed for users with really long names
  • Improved game overlay performance

Thursday, August 16th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Added battery meter in the overlay when running on battery power
  • Fix an overlay bug with dinput that could break x-axis mouse movement in certain games, like Quake3
  • Fix for bugs where new chat dialogs can steal focus from a game and/or paint over the game window (even though they may not steal focus)
  • Optimized overlay performance and compatibility
  • Reworked Friends invitations to behave better
  • Fixed bad stutter and flicker effects on AMD DualCore CPUs with the overlay fade and notification toasts slide up/down
  • Removed size limits on invite-only (private) groups
  • Fixed friends message notifications not showing in game if you left their chat window with focus before last closing the overlay
  • Made overlay compatibile with running multiple games/applications from steam at once (for instance running hlds, and a source engine game)

Monday, August 13th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Added new-and-improved 'add non-Steam game to My Games list' dialog
  • Improve performance when the overlay is inactive
  • Fix some overlay hooking failures under Vista due to not being able to get the process handle with all access rights
  • Fix overlay crash and BSOD in Warcraft 3 (and others most likely) on exit
  • Added more game support in the overlay
  • Fix ESC not working properly as the overlay hot-key

Friday, August 10th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fixed an overlay crash when certain games would exit
  • Added support for non-steam games name info to be sent between friends, and to the web
  • Fixed chat text colors for other users in chat being too dark in alternate skins
  • Fixed 'join game' friend context menu item never enabled if the local user wasn't in a game
  • Added a group panel under newly-created groups in the friends list, so your group still appears even if no one has joined
  • Fixed case where friends list wouldn't immediately refresh if user has joined/left group
  • Changed shortcuts file to be saved after each shortcut is added, instead of only on shutdown
  • Added a url bar to the community tab
  • Added "community" menu item to notify-tray context menu, and view menu
  • Added self to right-hand list in chats
  • Fixed the overlay in openGL games to display textures instead of white boxes

Thursday, August 9th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fixed an overlay crash when DEP is enabled
  • Fixed overlay mouse clicks not registering in some games
  • Fixed installing service on non-English Vista systems

Wednesday, August 8th

The Steam Community Update Notes:

  • Fixed an overlay bug using the filesize of a tga file in place of the size in bytes of the RGBA texture data
  • Changed refreshing of friends list / chat users list to be significantly faster
  • Changed shortcuts.dat to live in the config folder, along with the other user config files
  • Fixed tooltips being broken in file open dialog
  • Changed friends/chat lists to always rebuild on a relationship change
  • Changed chat user list to not rebuild on voice use start/stop
  • Changed removing a friend on the client to not force their persona state to offline, since the removed user may still be seen in a group
  • Added maximize functionality to all resizable windows, currently only accessed as double-clicking on the titlebar

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Added additional overlay support in games
  • Fixed chat names & avatars not always being displayed in clan avatars
  • Fixed taskbar entry flashing for chat dialogs increasing in speed the more messages they've missed
  • Fixed audio icons in multi-user chat not scrolling with the list of friends
  • Changed online/ingame notifications to only appear for immediate friends, not group peers, chat members, or users in game
  • Cleaned up spacing on multi-user chat title
  • Fixed crash exiting game when chat dialogs were open

Monday, August 6th

The Beta has been released on Steam. See the above instructions on how to activate the Beta.

Thursday, August 2nd

Well, we thought we would launch the beta today, but due to complications, we are postponing the beta until next week. Stay tuned for more info then.