Steam Gaming Mode Overview (Handheld/HTPC)

General Information

For Handheld PC users only: View our Handheld Wiki for post-installation setup, workarounds, and known issues on handheld hardware.

What is Steam Gaming Mode?

Steam Deck UI Tour by Linux For Everyone

Bazzite utilizes Steam Gaming Mode by forking ChimeraOS’s gamescope-session and modifying it to fit the needs of our operating system. Steam Gaming Mode is also referred to as “gamepadUI” and “gamescope-session” but Bazzite documentation will usually refer to it as “Steam Gaming Mode” most of the time.

Steam Gaming Mode is what SteamOS on the Steam Deck is built around. A simple interface that is controller-friendly built around Steam’s “Big Picture Mode” UI/UX. The minimal session only runs the bare minimum in the background, so most of the hardware resources is going towards the game being played. Gamescope is the main ingredient in Steam Gaming Mode which gives users options to set a framerate cap, resolution scaling options, etc.

What are the HTPC/Handheld Images?

Note: The Steam beta client is not supported, please revert to the stable client before reporting issues.

Bazzite for Steam Deck hardware, Home Theater PC setups, and other Handheld PCs like the Lenovo Legion Go and Asus ROG Ally.

It is intended to be a controller-friendly environment and give users a “console-like” experience similar to SteamOS for the Steam Deck. It is intended for both handhelds and home theatre PC setups. Bazzite is similar to SteamOS by sharing many packages that SteamOS includes, so it is ready to game as soon the installation process is finished.

This documentation may not cover specific areas with the assumption that the user is already aware of SteamOS and how it works. If you are unfamiliar with something that cannot be found in our documentation, then research your specific question with “SteamOS” or “Steam Deck” as keywords in your search. Otherwise, ask your question on our forums or Discord.


Common Questions & Issues for Steam Gaming Mode

How do I open the on-screen keyboard?

Note: Steam must be running to access the keyboard.

  • By default it is bound to the Steam + X on the Steam Deck.
  • For other handhelds it may require turning on Desktop Controls and configuring it manually.
    • After that it is usually a combination of X (or equivalent) + one of the specific buttons your handheld has and it may also not be configured for your device out of the box.

Update and Changelog Inaccuracy

Steam Gaming Mode

The update indicator is not accurate and will most likely look it’s stuck at “99%” for a long time. This is due to the update component not containing a live progress indicator, so it cannot hook into Steam Gaming Mode properly. After a while, the update progress bar will appear done and ask for a reboot.

Desktop Mode

In Desktop Mode, run our System Update tool for an accurate update visual if you are unsure if your system has actually updated properly in Gaming Mode. When the update has finished, it will output what has completed successfully. Alternatively, open a host terminal and enter:

ujust update

Changelog

The changelog is specifically for SteamOS by Valve, so the upgrade for Bazzite may not apply. Check out our newsletters for major changes and features. If you want to see the patch notes in real time, check the newest commits on Github.

View a changelog to the next update in the terminal by entering:

ujust changelogs

How do I access GRUB?

GRUB is hidden by default.

Keep in mind, other handhelds and controllers may not be able to unhide GRUB without a physical keyboard connected, but a ujust command can be performed to unhide it permanently.

Enter this command in the terminal to have it appear every boot:

ujust configure-grub

Select “unhide” to have GRUB appear on boot.

View the Rollback guide for more information.

How do I open the Quick Access Menu (QAM) with a physical keyboard?

Ctrl+2

Change physical keyboard layout for Steam Gaming Mode

Why do specific Decky Loader plugins not function on Bazzite?

  • Bazzite does not provide the functionality.
    • PauseGames requires a swapfile while Bazzite utilizes zram for example.

How do I specify the correct monitor for Gaming Mode to use? (HTPC only)

Go into desktop mode and open ptyxis our terminal and run

mkdir ~/.config/environment.d
nano ~/.config/environment.d/10-gamescope-session.conf

add this to the file:
OUTPUT_CONNECTOR=DP-1
change DP-1 to the correct output.
You can find your display outputs on KDE using the command

kscreen-doctor -o

You can find your display outputs in GNOME using this command

gnome-randr

Save with CTRL + X then pressing Y followed by ENTER

How do I specify which GPU that Steam Gaming Mode should use?

  1. Open a TTY session with an external physical keyboard using this keyboard combination:
    Ctrl+Alt+F4
export-gpu

Alternatively, in Desktop Mode, enter in a host terminal:

/usr/bin/export-gpu
  1. Select the GPU to use for Steam Gaming Mode.

How do I use SteamDeckGyroDSU on hardware that isn’t the Steam Deck?

You cannot use SteamDeckGyroDSU outside of the Steam Deck, but you can try disabling Steam Input and it may work depending on your hardware and use case.

How do I disable certain “Steam Deck” features that conflict with my setup?

Scenarios:

  • Example 1: Keyboard and mouse is not working for this title.
  • Example 2: The game’s launcher for adjusting video settings or adding mods does not launch.
  • Example 3: Certain features/options are not available for Steam Deck.

Open the game’s properties on Steam and enter this launch option:

SteamDeck=0 %command%

Stuck at the Bazzite logo

Attention: Try rebooting your device first before proceeding with the next steps.

  1. Resolve this by opening a TTY session with an external physical keyboard using this keyboard combination and entering this command:
    Ctrl+Alt+F4 and mv ~/.local/share/Steam ~/.local/share/Steam1
  2. This command will rename the Steam directory to Steam1, and it will force Steam to reinitialize and create a new directory
  3. You can move your games from the renamed Steam1 directory to the new Steam directory if you had any installed previously on your internal storage
  4. Exit the TTY session by entering this keyboard combination: Ctrl + Alt + F2

“Something went wrong while displaying this content” Error

This is most likely due to a broken Decky Loader plugin you have installed. The easiest fix is to uninstall the broken plugin. CSS Loader themes can also cause this issue.

Audio output not working (Default Device)

This issue happens usually with HDMI TV audio.

Go into Desktop Mode and into the system settings to adjust the sound settings. Disable devices that do not match the sound output that you’re using. An example of this is disabling all the things that aren’t HDMI for your TV audio.

I lost my “Return to Gaming Mode” shortcut

You can restore this shortcut by creating a text file called Return.desktop and adding these specific lines to it:

KDE

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Return to Gaming Mode
Exec=qdbus org.kde.Shutdown /Shutdown org.kde.Shutdown.logout
Icon=steamdeck-gaming-return
Terminal=false
Type=Application
StartupNotify=false

GNOME

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Return to Gaming Mode
Exec=gnome-session-quit --logout --no-prompt
Icon=steamdeck-gaming-return
Terminal=false
Type=Application
StartupNotify=false

Save it and place it in the Desktop directory.


Valve’s Official SteamOS Guide

Note: Not all of the information will be accurate in regards to Bazzite.


See also: Gaming Guide

View all Bazzite documentation

Hi I was wondering how to get display link working?

Steam Deck images have it disabled due to causing issues with MangoHud. It will be added back when these issues are resolved. You will have to rebase to the Unstable branch. More information can be found here.

Wireless keyboard/mouse not detected!
Latest Fedora release changed the USB Mode to DRD instead of XHCI. Open the BIOS and change DRD to XHCI again. There is a fix in the works to correct this behavior soon.

This (DRD) also stops the Steam Controller w/ USB Dongle from working. It fails to connect to the Dongle. Works fine again after switching to XHCI.

1 Like

Hi,
I’m currently on a pc build to run bazzite as a couch console to replace my Xbox.

I saw that nvk is about to change things about Nvidia on linux, I’m not really enjoyed by buying an AMD GPU, when I see the power consumption and the heat.

Is there any chance in a close future that Steam gaming mode will be supported on Nvidia with bazzite?

I know that it’s recurrent question but I’m about to spend 800$ on a GPU, and I would like to make the right choice

This may take years before NVK is mature enough to run Steam Gaming Mode. I would look for an AMD GPU even with the power consumption and heat, or check back on the state of Nvidia for the Linux desktop in another year or so.

Was this removed in current versions? How do I get to gaming mode now?

I just installed the Nvidia HTPC image today (GTX 1070, i5-4570, 512gb ssd) and it just boots straight to KDE every time. There was no “return” shortcut, and when I created one using your instructions it just reboots back into KDE.

Steam BP mode has awful performance in desktop mode, I feel like this really needs a working gaming mode.

Edit: Rebased onto gnome and seeing the same behavior but now the performance is even worse and controller support is gone. Before this I had Steam on Ubuntu 20.04 and it was rock solid, how is a gaming-focused OS worse???

Nvidia drivers do not support Steam Gaming Mode. Steam Big Picture Mode having issues is also related to Nvidia’s drivers on Linux too. Also we do not advise rebasing between different DEs.