Steam beta gets integrated screenshots, better voice quality

By on February 1, 2011, 3:25 PM
Valve has released a beta version of its Steam client with several new features and bug fixes. To opt into the beta, launch your Steam client, open the File/Steam tab on the top left > Settings > Change > select Beta Update in the drop down box and restart your software.

Among the more noteworthy changes is a new screenshot feature that lets players take screenshots and upload them (automatically or manually) to the Steam cloud. You can take screenshots by pressing F12 in any DirectX 9 game or newer -- including non-Valve titles -- but DirectX 8 and earlier aren't supported yet. Pictures can be managed from the Steam community site and if there's something particularly awesome, you can share it through your Steam profile.

In our experience, the quality of Steam's voice communication has always been lackluster. Valve is attempting to address this by increasing microphone voice input from 11KHz to 16KHz and voice output has been boosted from 8KHz to 16KHz. The remaining changes:

* Moved game invites from friends outside of the chat stream, into their own panel in the chat dialog
* [Mac OSX] Fixed a problem where attempting to resume a paused/interrupted download could always report 'server unavailable'
* Fixed games not launching automatically after resolving a cloud conflict
* Fixed download rate sometimes erroneously reporting very high speeds
* Possible fix to crash on startup or when viewing Games page
* Added password strength meter when you change your password
* Added UI prompting you to choose a new password if you've had support change your password




User Comments: 15

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princeton princeton said:

When we do clan wars we never use the in game chat. Skype is crystal clear and for some reason games aren't able to match that quality.

Leeky Leeky said:

Wonders if he should "opt in" to Beta, and risk hell freezing over and my PC blowing up...

Mmm, Can we "opt back out" if we prefer?

Guest said:

Yes. You can opt out whenever you want

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Screen shots would be a lot of fun. I can upload a picture of me pounding Leeky with my Charger in L4D2 on TechSpot game night. Or vice versa. ;-)

Leeky Leeky said:

Agreed!

Would be nice to capture those sorts of moments..... So come saturday afternoon we'll be seeing pretty much everyone getting me with a Smoker, while the rest of my team runs away! :P

After saving you all, of course!

tacobfm said:

All they have to do now is allow for taking videos for their games.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"All they have to do now is allow for taking videos for their games."

That would definitely be cool. I've been in some epic battles in various games I'd love to have movies of.

DokkRokken said:

I hope the voice quality gains will be discernible. Steam is fantastic, but I always found it strange that their VOIP did not seem to have the same quality as the rest of the service.

IAMTHESTIG said:

I like the screenshot idea... are these full resolution screenshots?

I'll have to try it out. I like Steam more and more, my only beef with it is why pay $50 for a new game when I can get a box with manual and stuff at a store for the same price? I guess they probably have a pretty big bill paying their ISP for bandwidth. And the convenience of having the games available for download any time, so if you lose the data you can just download it again. Overall the service is getting better... maybe that beef isn't valid.

Anyone remember when Steam first came out? And it was so overloaded and everyone hated it? Hah... I do...

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

IAMTHESTIG said:

I'll have to try it out. I like Steam more and more, my only beef with it is why pay $50 for a new game when I can get a box with manual and stuff at a store for the same price? I guess they probably have a pretty big bill paying their ISP for bandwidth. And the convenience of having the games available for download any time, so if you lose the data you can just download it again. Overall the service is getting better... maybe that beef isn't valid.

Maybe it's the whole Steam Integration, not having to deal with physical material, etc... I agree though, If the digital version is as much as retail, I'd rather install from retail, it'll be much faster and I won't need an internet connection to do so...

Or so I thought when I bought Supreme Commander 2 for $15 at a retail store. They gave me a disc and everything, but it ended up requiring me to register it on steam, and then it made me download the bloody thing, rather than install from disc... *shrug*

Guest said:

Steam has cheap sales and is convenient. Now it's getting even better!

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

absolutely loving all the upcoming changes, just keep getting better :P

cheers!

gobbybobby said:

If they add Videosupport as well I can drop Xfire!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Nice to see them finally adding some desired features, and I do hope VOIP isn't a joke anymore and actually works properly.

gobbybobby said:

If they add Videosupport as well I can drop Xfire!

I wish they mimicked more features that Xfire has, but until I can track all my games Steam or not with ease I'll probably keep using them.

IAMTHESTIG said:

I like the screenshot idea... are these full resolution screenshots?

I'll have to try it out. I like Steam more and more, my only beef with it is why pay $50 for a new game when I can get a box with manual and stuff at a store for the same price? I guess they probably have a pretty big bill paying their ISP for bandwidth. And the convenience of having the games available for download any time, so if you lose the data you can just download it again. Overall the service is getting better... maybe that beef isn't valid.

Anyone remember when Steam first came out? And it was so overloaded and everyone hated it? Hah... I do...

They aren't alone in that, I remember when digital and DLC content was supposed to drive down prices, instead they've stayed stagnant or gone up. Steam still has its issue since it's DRM, but overall they've done a pretty acceptable job with few slip ups imo.

Leeky Leeky said:

I must admit every game I've got so far through Steam has been on offer, but I do understand why people would expect it to be cheaper if your ordering it through them.

At the end of the day there is no printed manual, and no DVD, and no box, so its cheaper to sell per item, and therefore the price should reflect this like it does with most software houses that give you a cheaper option for download without the box etc.

That said, I think it also depends on your internet connection. A 6-10GB game is going to take forever on a 2Mbps connection, and if I was in that situation I'd rather purchase from a shop and install it from DVD myself.

Going back to Steam's beta, did anyone have any issues with the update today? It took three attempts my end (kept freezing during the update) to finally get it to fully update. Just wondering if anyone else had that issue?

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