Valve has just shipped a huge UI overhaul to Steam’s In-Game Overlay in the Steam Beta, among other fresh coats of paint. It also comes with one particularly awesome idea: a traveling notepad.
Yes, you’ve probably already got a notepad app on your PC, but does yours automatically pop up the correct file that corresponds to each game you play? Can you overlay it on top of your game so it’s visible while you play? Does it automatically sync from PC to PC via the cloud? Valve says its new Notes app does all of that, and works offline too.
It’s not the only window you can newly pin atop a game: Valve says Guides, Discussions, and the Steam web browser can all be summoned into your game with adjustable opacity — you can even watch video while you’re playing a game using that browser, according to Valve.
You’ll also see a new Game Overview when you pull up the overlay, a toolbar for quick access to “anything you may need in the middle of a game,” a revamped notifications tab and screenshot manager. The patch also brings optional hardware acceleration for the Linux version of Steam, with Mac on the way, and minor UI tweaks to other parts of the interface. You can see Valve’s full update post here with more screenshots.
Valve says it’s starting to ship these sorts of changes across Steam Desktop, Big Picture Mode and Steam Deck simultaneously — but the Deck only has them in its Linux desktop mode as of today. Valve’s Lawrence Yang confirms that features like the Notes mode will be coming to the Deck gaming mode later too, though.
You’ll need to opt into a Steam Beta to see any of this for now, until Valve adds the changes to a stable release.