So I finally got my Valve Steam Deck today, and the first thing I had to try was Decay. This is my cyberpunk real time music video, which I made in the Godot Engine. I’m happy to report that it runs perfectly at default Quality settings, 1280×800, with all the effects on (MSAA 2x, FXAA, SSR, SSAO, DOF, and more). Surprisingly, the dual analog sticks work great, even though the demo was made for mouse and keyboard on the PC and did not support gamepads. While, of course, this is 800p, it was still nice to see that everything looked great, no visual glitches, and a smooth 60 fps with all the effects. See the screenshot below for the settings used on the video.
In terms of the Steam Deck itself, I like it. Granted, it’s rather huge as a portable system, but the screen is the perfect size and looks totally HD. Text is small, but readable, and everything is fairly crisp. Performance is not on the PS5 level, this is a handheld console, but it plays well. I tried Cyberpunk 2077 and they have a graphics mode optimized for the Steam Deck. It appears there was some render scaling and certainly lower settings, but it still looked great. I would say it was hitting 60 fps in parts, and maybe down to around 45 or 50 fps in other areas. I’ll need to do more benchmarking to be sure, but it’s playable. That’s about as high end of a game as there is, so if it can play Cyberpunk 2077, we should be good.
Also, I tried Left4Dead and the results were mixed. Once I got it running, it looked amazing, even on the highest settings at 60 fps. However, there was a glitch when I first ran it and the controller wouldn’t work (because I had a custom Steam Controller config on my PC). I did not see a way to disable that on the Deck, so I had to go to my PC to turn it off. It may just be me being a noob, but I was shocked that one of Valve’s own most popular games did not work out of box. Plus, it also crashed when I tried to set MSAA to 4x. So not a perfect experience, but at least my game worked and Cyberpunk 2077 was no issue.
Due to the large size, however, I’m not sure how useful this will be to carry around. If I was still in NYC using public transport every day, I would certainly find a good use case. However, I am primarily working from home, and when I travel I drive my car. So being at home all the time, with several high end PCs, a PS5, and also Stadia on a 125″ 1080p projector, kind of limits when I would use something like this. Still wanted one, cause I love new technology, and I also wanted to support Valve and their efforts to bring Linux gaming into the mainstream. But, for me personally, it’s more of a toy to play with and not anything for serious gaming. As a developer, though, it could be a new market, and I’d like to see what happens so I will continue experimenting and see where it leads.