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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Got sick and tired of dealing with steam big picture issues. Figured the windows 8 start menu, as annoying as it might be for the desktop, might actually make a great game launcher....and I was right.

 



 

The great thing about it is that its extremely customizable, and it's not an app running in the background like steam big picture - which anyone who's used steam big picture any amount of time knows how much of a finicky PITA it can be. It doesnt always return properly to big picture after you're done with a game, it hangs and you're left out to dry, and it's way too slow when all you want is a quick and easy way to launch a game with a gamepad. The start screen is nice and simple - just enough to launch a game without getting in your way.

 

But you still need a little help to make Windows 8 what it needs to be for couch gaming.

 

For the game tiles, an app called "Pin Steam" in the Windows 8 store makes it super easy to make the tiles.  It'll pull the banner right from steam, basically takes just a few clicks.

 

To control it....an app called xbstart makes it work exactly how you think it would - the xbox home button launches the start screen, you navigate with the dpad, and launch with the A button.  

 

But there will always be those times when you need a mouse, or a little extra control....so I've been writing a little helper app that makes life much easier:

 

Edit: Took it down for the moment, seems like there's a memory leak I need to fix.

 

I havent gotten around to documenting anything yet, but here's a quick rundown:

 

Hold back + LB to enable mouse emulation - the left stick becomes a mouse, the right stick the mouse wheel, A button is left click, B button is right click.  The d-pad acts as the cursor keys, and you can hold the left or right triggers to speed or slow the mouse down.

Hold back + RB to disable mouse emulation - you'll usually want to do this whenever you launch a game or the start screen, since the mouse emulation can interfere with what you're doing.

 

You should hear a distinctive sound when enabling or disabling the mouse.

 

Back + X - launches the start menu (if you dont want to run XBStart)

RB - Sends the enter key, so you can launch an app from the start screen - can't use the A button, since that sends a click (might be solvable). 

Back + B - closes the current game (only works if alt+f4 would for a game)

Back + Y - sends the F12 key - useful for fraps or any other utility you want to toggle with that key.

Back + Start - Launches steam big picture/swaps big picture for the desktop steam

 

If anyone's got any ideas on how I can improve it, let me know, although I want to keep it simple. It's nothing you'll want to rely on 100% of the time, but it'll get you past any of those launchers that plague couch PC gamers....I've rarely had to pull out my keyboard since I set all of this up.
 

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That's very nice!


I like Steam Big Picture but it does have a ways to go before they will get the issues with it worked out like you mentioned.


Do you just use a 360 controller? You can now get some drivers that will allow you to use the X1 controller but they aren't supported by microsoft.


I personally am trying to figure out how I want to do a HTPC for gaming and movies because with Steam In-Home streaming coming out it might be worth waiting and building something a bit more minimal....we will see. I still need to get my computer under water and want to change to an i5 and higher end GPU
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimeran  /t/1524196/ive-finally-made-peace-w...ty-awesome-for-htpc-gaming/0_50#post_24527260


That's very nice!


I like Steam Big Picture but it does have a ways to go before they will get the issues with it worked out like you mentioned.


Do you just use a 360 controller? You can now get some drivers that will allow you to use the X1 controller but they aren't supported by microsoft.


I personally am trying to figure out how I want to do a HTPC for gaming and movies because with Steam In-Home streaming coming out it might be worth waiting and building something a bit more minimal....we will see. I still need to get my computer under water and want to change to an i5 and higher end GPU

Ya, I just use a 360 controller for now. I tried a dual shock 4 but the setup is too finicky and it doesn't mix and match well with regular 360 controllers. In either case I'm just waiting for official drivers.


I'm down to use the x1 controller when the drivers are officially available - I suspect the holdup is that they're going to relaunch their PC gaming initiative soon, and I bet a lot of this stuff I'm doing will be made obsolete by native support. Until then I'm just sticking with the reliable 360 pad.


As far as HTPC goes, I'm pretty sure XBMC natively works with a controller, but I'm hoping to find something more lightweight and less complicated than XBMC...it's complete overkill for my needs.


I bet steam home streaming might still work well with the start screen - if you have it set up correctly, the tile should just launch the stream via the desktop steam, so you wouldn't run into any of the big picture issues. I've tried the streaming and it's okay...but it's still buggy and there's image quality degradation and latency. I think it has a long way to go before it's at a place where it "just works". I've already wired everything to three rooms, so I don't really have much use for the feature anyway.
 

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I see.


I agree that XBMC is powerful but can be complicated as well. I know you can set it up to allow game access through it as well but I dont know if it goes back to XBMC when you exit a game....


I'm still on the fence about he Steam Controller as well. I think it shows promise but I dont know if it will work as well as many hope it will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimeran  /t/1524196/ive-finally-made-peace-w...ty-awesome-for-htpc-gaming/0_50#post_24527935


I see.


I agree that XBMC is powerful but can be complicated as well. I know you can set it up to allow game access through it as well but I dont know if it goes back to XBMC when you exit a game....


I'm still on the fence about he Steam Controller as well. I think it shows promise but I dont know if it will work as well as many hope it will.

I used to do that back in the day, had similar problems to steam big picture. Basically, anytime you launch one full screen app from another, you can never be sure things will be right when you quit.
 

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Is this integration with Windows 8 the near term opportunity for Windows PC gaming?

http://digiex.net/content/512-xbox-one-runs-windows-8-architecture-explained.html#comments_start


"The Xbox One games and apps actually run on Windows 8 according to an article by Wccf Tech


If you run a game or an app on the Xbox One, it will either run in the full Windows 8 or the stripped down version of Windows 8. The Xbox One essentially runs three operating systems, the Host OS, Shared Partition and the Exclusive Partition.


The first tier ‘Host OS’ and the ‘to-the-metal- operating system present in Xbox One dubbed the ‘Host OS’ is an RTOS (Real Time Operating System) has complete control over the entire Xbox One hardware and resources. In Frank Savage’s words “… owns where everything and how everything works…. owns CPU…GPU”. This is your basic Xbox One Operating System. However the thing is, this particular OS only handles tasking and the security layer. It does not run any game or application. It does however host (in a non – hyper-v form) the ‘OS’ and the ‘Exclusive OS’, which is Windows 8 and the stripped down Windows 8.


The second tier ‘Shared Partition’ is occupied by Windows 8. This Operating System is “virtually indistinguishable” from the Windows 8 we know code wise. This particular Windows 8 handles all the basic functions of the Xbox One including the shell. Shared Apps are run here. It handles some major features of games such as networking and some audio.


The third tier ‘Exclusive Partition’ is the Exclusive OS, which in Frank Savage’s words is a “Windows 8 that has gone on a massive massive diet…… lean and mean windows 8″. It has been hand tuned to remove any and all bottlenecks as well as bloatware. However this is the part which defines it as a ‘partition’ and not a virtual machine. All the Direct X draw calls go straight from the Exclusive OS down to the Host OS. It does not go through the full windows 8 ‘ shared partition’.


Basically the Xbox One is a true X86, X86-64 machine. Any game that runs well on the Xbox One would run equally well on Windows 8 (desktop pc). The porting capability this implies is very powerful, in fact port-lag is non existent, simply convince the devs, and you shall have the game on Windows."
 

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Excellent Work!

The first steam tiles are up & working, few other win8 things can be started as well.

 

now i got uplay (assassins creed): like in steam the Desktop Icons have an URL  uplay://launch/273 and can not be integrated to the win8 startmenu.

i haven't found a similar Thing for uplay as the steam tiles - have you?

 

/M.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There's another app called "pin more" that also links to steam, and it'll pick out the non-steam games you manually added to the steam library.
 
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