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Focusing on the Steam Deck with Godot

Embark on an exhilarating gaming journey with the proper pairing: Godot, the versatile and user-friendly open-source recreation engine, and the Steam Deck, an thrilling handheld gaming system by Valve. This dynamic duo opens up a world of prospects, empowering recreation builders and fanatics alike to unleash their creativity and expertise gaming on the transfer like by no means earlier than!

Observe: For those who’re new to Godot, I like to recommend testing my Getting Began information for a fast introduction.

On this tutorial, I’ll information you thru the method of getting ready a Godot challenge particularly for the Steam Deck, sharing precious suggestions alongside the way in which. The Steam Deck, developed by Valve, is a handheld gaming system that basically capabilities as a conveyable PC, enabling you to get pleasure from your Steam library whereas on the transfer. With handheld gaming units gaining immense recognition, creating for the Steam Deck can open doorways to thrilling alternatives. Godot, an open-source recreation engine, is gaining recognition for its user-friendly interface and highly effective options. This makes it a great alternative for creating each 2D and 3D video games.

Getting Began

You possibly can obtain the supplies for this tutorials by way of the Obtain Supplies hyperlink on the prime and backside of this web page.
To comply with alongside, you’ll want the next:

  • Godot put in in your pc
  • A Steam Deck to push the construct to
  • (non-compulsory) A gamepad to arrange and check the enter in Godot

After finishing this tutorial, you’ll be aware of:

  • Understanding the Steam Deck {hardware}
  • Organising your Godot challenge for the Steam Deck
  • Detecting the Steam Deck
  • Dealing with enter
  • Recreation efficiency issues and testing

Understanding the Steam Deck {Hardware}

Earlier than delving into Godot, it’s a good suggestion to take a more in-depth take a look at what makes the Steam Deck tick.


Right here’s an outline of the Steam Deck’s specs:

  • CPU: Customized Zen 2 AMD APU
  • GPU: AMD RDNA 2 “Van Gogh”
  • RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM
  • Display screen: 7-inch touchscreen with a 16:10 side ratio, 1280×800 decision
  • Enter Controls: Xbox controller buttons, bumpers, triggers and D-pad + trackpads and touchscreen
  • Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Battery: 40 watt-hour (2-8 hours of gameplay)
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC or 256-512 GB NVMe SSD
  • Working System: SteamOS (KDE Linux)
  • Worth: $399-$649

Concerns for Recreation Improvement

You is perhaps questioning what all of this implies within the context of recreation growth.

For a small system at an reasonably priced worth, the Steam Deck packs a punch. The Steam Deck is much more highly effective than the Nintendo Change, however not on par with fashionable desktops. If you wish to evaluate it to a gaming PC, it presents about the identical efficiency as a GTX 1050 or an AMD Radeon RX 560. This implies you’ll want to think about its limitations when creating for it. Easy video games will work advantageous, however extra complicated video games will have to be optimized so as to run easily.

The small display and low decision make it troublesome to learn advantageous textures and character animations. It is best to enlarge UI components like textual content to make them simpler to learn. This can be a good apply anyway when it comes to accessibility.

An important upside is the Steam Deck’s controller format. In case your recreation helps Xbox controller enter, it is going to be appropriate with the Steam Deck with none further work. Gamers also can customise the format to their liking utilizing the Steam Deck’s controller settings, which may map keyboard, gamepad and mouse enter to the system’s controls. Some folks have even made MMORPGs work with the Steam Deck this fashion, that are identified for his or her plentiful keyboard shortcuts.

As a result of the Steam Deck has a battery, you’ll need enable for shorter play classes and optimize your recreation for battery life. Ideally, the participant can tweak the settings between battery life and efficiency.

I gained’t be protecting learn how to deal with all of those issues on this tutorial, however be sure to maintain them in thoughts. It’s a good suggestion to check how nicely your recreation runs on the Steam Deck earlier than optimizing it. You is perhaps stunned by how nicely it runs with none changes.

Up subsequent is looking on the pattern challenge.

Exploring the Mission

This challenge is a small 3D automobile driving sandbox impressed by Micro Machines. There’s a monitor and some mountains to drive on.

Working the Mission

Begin by opening the starter challenge in Godot. It is best to see a 3D scene with a automobile.

3D car

Press F5 to run the challenge and drive the automobile round. Listed below are the controls:

  • A or Left: Steer left
  • D or Proper: Steer proper
  • W, Up or House: Speed up
  • S or Down: Brake
  • Ctrl/Cmd: Change the digital camera view

Driving car around

After testing the challenge, check out the Scene dock of the degree scene.

Level nodes

Right here’s a fast rundown:

  • CameraManager: A daily node with a script connected to change the energetic digital camera
  • WorldEnvironment: The lightning settings for the extent
  • DirectionalLight3D: A directional gentle that acts as a digital solar
  • BirdsEyeCamera: A digital camera that follows the automobile from above
  • LevelModel: The 3D mannequin and colliders that represents the extent
  • Automotive: The automobile scene
  • CanvasLayer: The canvas on which you’ll add Management nodes to make a person interface. There’s already a label right here with a clear background.

You’ll construct upon these nodes all through the tutorial.

Mission Settings

Out of the field, new Godot initiatives are able to be run on the Steam Deck. Nevertheless, there’s one setting I like to recommend altering throughout growth: the viewport dimension. The default worth is ready to 1152×648, which doesn’t match the 1280×800 decision of the Steam Deck. By setting the viewport dimension to match, it’s simpler to preview what the sport will appear like on the precise system.

To vary the viewport dimension, open the Mission Settings by deciding on Mission ▸ Mission Settings.

Project Settings

Now choose Window on the left.


Subsequent, set the Viewport Width to 1280 and Viewport Top to 800.

Viewport width 1280 height 800

Lastly, click on the Shut button to shut the window. Open the 2D display utilizing the tabs on the prime, and also you’ll see a blue define within the heart display in case you zoom out. These are the bounds of the display you’ll be working in.

Blue outline in viewport

With that out of the way in which, it’s time to get to the enjoyable elements!

Detecting the Steam Deck

Godot doesn’t have a built-in variable to find out if a tool is a Steam Deck. What it does have is a set of capabilities that may learn each the software program and {hardware} data from the system. From this data, you’ll be able to detect if the system is a Steam Deck if you recognize what to search for. To try this, you’ll be able to add a script to the information label on the prime left which can show the knowledge and detect in case your challenge is working on a Steam Deck.

First, choose CanvasLayer ▸ Data ▸ MarginContainer ▸ SystemInfoLabel within the Scene dock.


Now connect a brand new script to the label, title it and place it within the scripts folder.

Label path

This could routinely open the Script display and show the brand new script. To learn the system data and add it to the label, exchange the _ready perform with the next:

func _ready() -> void:
    self.textual content = "" # 1

    self.textual content += "OS: " + OS.get_name() + "n" # 2
    self.textual content += "Distro: " + OS.get_distribution_name() + "n" # 3
    self.textual content += "CPU: " + OS.get_processor_name() + "n" # 4
    self.textual content += "GPU: " + RenderingServer.get_rendering_device().get_device_name() + "n" # 5

Right here’s a abstract of what this does:

  1. Clear the textual content of the label
  2. Use OS.get_name() to return the title of the working system the construct targets. Confusingly, this gained’t at all times match the title of the particular OS. The n provides a brand new line on the finish.
  3. OS.get_distribution_name() returns the title of the distribution. On Home windows (and Proton), that is “Home windows”. On Linux, that is the title of the distribution, equivalent to “Ubuntu” or “SteamOS”.
  4. The OS.get_processor_name() perform returns the title of the CPU.
  5. RenderingServer.get_rendering_device().get_device_name() returns the title of the GPU.

Now press F5 to avoid wasting the script and run the challenge. It is best to now see the system data within the data label

Main pc System Specs

For those who would export and run this challenge in your Steam Deck at this level, you’ll see that the system data is stuffed in appropriately.
Right here’s the end result with a local Linux construct:

Steam Deck info on Linux

And right here’s the end result with a Home windows construct:

Steam Deck info on Windows

I’ll cowl learn how to export and run this challenge on the Steam Deck afterward on this tutorial. For now, a very powerful factor to remove is what the Steam Deck reviews as its CPU and GPU:

  • CPU: AMD Customized APU 0405
  • GPU: AMD Customized GPU 0405 (RADV VANGOGH)

Primarily based on this data, you’ll be able to detect in case your challenge is working on a Steam Deck. To take action, add the next perform to the script:

func _is_steam_deck() -> bool: # 1
    if RenderingServer.get_rendering_device().get_device_name().incorporates("RADV VANGOGH") 
    or OS.get_processor_name().incorporates("AMD CUSTOM APU 0405"): # 2
        return true
    else: # 3
        return false

This perform will return true if the Steam Deck is detected, and false in any other case:

  1. This can be a perform named _is_steam_deck which returns a boolean worth.
  2. If the title of the GPU incorporates the string “RADV VANGOGH” or the CPU title incorporates the string “AMD CUSTOM APU 0405”, it returns true.
  3. In any other case, it returns false.

Now add this line to the _ready perform:

    self.textual content += "Steam Deck: " + str(_is_steam_deck()) + "n"

This can present true or false relying on if the challenge is working on a Steam Deck. Run the challenge once more to see the end result.

Steam Deck false

On an precise Steam Deck, this shall be true after all!
Listed below are some strategies on what you are able to do with this data:

  • Allow gamepad help
  • Present button prompts and different graphics particular to the Steam Deck
  • Robotically regulate efficiency settings to run optimally
  • Transfer and resize UI components for higher readability
  • Collect analytics to enhance the challenge’s efficiency

Dealing with Enter

The Steam Deck has enter controls and a touchscreen. On this part you’ll learn to get the enter from the Steam Deck and use it in your challenge.

Enter Map Setup

The enter from the Steam Deck’s controller could be mapped in Godot as in case you have been utilizing an Xbox controller.
To begin off, check out the present actions within the enter map by deciding on Mission ▸ Mission Settings ▸ Enter Map.


The actions outlined within the enter map are:

  • speed up
  • brake
  • left
  • proper
  • switch_camera

For every of those actions, you’ll want so as to add a brand new gamepad occasion to help enter from a recreation controller. Listed below are the mappings I’ll be utilizing:

  • speed up : Proper set off
  • brake : Left set off
  • left : Left analog stick left
  • proper : Left analog stick proper
  • switch_camera : Y button

You possibly can change these mappings as you like, or add additional ones. To map a brand new occasion to an motion, click on the + button subsequent to the motion’s title.

Plus button next to accelerate

Subsequent, both press or transfer the enter you wish to bind to the motion in your gamepad. For those who don’t have a gamepad, you’ll be able to choose the occasion beneath Joypad Buttons or Joypad Axes. For the speed up motion for instance, you’d press the appropriate set off.

Pressing right trigger

Now click on the OK button on the backside left to verify including the occasion. You’ll now see that the occasion has been added to the enter map.

Added event

Now do the identical for the opposite actions till all of them have gamepad occasions.

All events

To check if the gamepad occasions are working, run the challenge once more whereas utilizing a gamepad.

Test drive

Nice! That’s all it’s worthwhile to do to help the Steam Deck’s controller. Subsequent up is utilizing the touchscreen.

Touchscreen Enter

Though the Steam Deck has a touchscreen, it shouldn’t be the first method to work together together with your recreation as a result of small display dimension its decrease sensitivity in comparison with a smartphone. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to add easy buttons or detect movement occasions as an non-compulsory characteristic.

For instance, you’ll be including a button to the nook of the display to change the digital camera view.

Camera button

So as to add the button, begin by including a Button node to CanvasLayer by right-clicking the CanvasLayer node and deciding on Add Baby Node. Subsequent, seek for “Button” within the search bar on the prime, choose Button and click on the Create button so as to add it.

Add button

This could’ve added a brand new Button node beneath the CanvasLayer node.


Choose this new button and rename it to CameraSwitchButton by right-clicking it and deciding on Rename or by urgent F2. Now change to the 2D mode to see choice field across the button on the prime left. You could have to zoom in to get a greater view.

Selected button

In the meanwhile, there’s not a lot to see. To vary that, drag the camera_switch.png picture from the sprites folder within the FileSystem dock onto the Icon area within the Inspector.

Drag button icon

The button will now be lots bigger, with an icon within the center.

Icon in button

To get the button to the highest proper as an alternative of the highest left, change its anchor preset to Prime Proper by way of the Anchor dropdown within the toolbar.

Top Right Anchor

This strikes the button to the highest proper as anticipated. To provide it a small offset from the perimeters of the display, maintain down Shift and press the left arrow key in your keyboard adopted by the down arrow key. This creates just a few pixels of house from the perimeters.

Move button away from edges

To forestall the button from being pressed by chance when urgent keyboard or gamepad button, it’s finest to disable the main focus mode of the button. You are able to do this by scrolling down within the Inspector, increasing Focus beneath the Management part and deciding on None from the Mode dropdown.

Change focus mode to none

Nice! All that’s left for this button is to hook up its pressed sign to the switch_camera perform of the CameraManager node. Change to the Node tab within the Inspector and double-click the pressed() sign.

Pressed signal

This opens a sign connection dialog window the place you’ll be able to select a perform to name when the button is pressed. Now choose the CameraManager node and click on the Choose button. This can open a listing of capabilities that may be referred to as.

CameraManager Pick

Subsequent, choose the switch_camera perform and click on the OK button.

switch camera function

Again within the sign connection dialog, click on the Join button on the backside to complete the connection.
Right here’s what the switch_camera perform appears to be like like:

func switch_camera() -> void:
    if birds_eye_camera.present:
        behind_car_camera.present = true
        behind_car_camera.present = false

This toggles the energetic digital camera between the behind the automobile digital camera and the birds eye digital camera. With the button all arrange, it’s time for an additional check drive!
Hearth up the challenge once more utilizing F5 and check if the button works as anticipated.

Toggle camera view

The challenge is now completed! Time to check it on an actual Steam Deck.

Exporting Builds

You’ll be creating each a Home windows and a Linux construct for the Steam Deck. This makes it straightforward to match what sort of construct will supply the very best efficiency.
First off, choose Mission ▸ Export… within the prime menu to open the Export Presets menu.

Select Export

Now click on the Add… button on the prime and add a Linux/X11 export preset.

Add linux preset

Observe: For those who get an error on the backside saying “No export template discovered”, click on the Handle Export Templates hyperlink and obtain the template by way of the Export Template Supervisor.

Now set the Export Path to any folder in your PC, ideally a folder that syncs to the Steam Deck.

Set export path

So as to add the Home windows export preset, click on the Add… button once more and choose Home windows Desktop this time. Subsequent, choose an Export Path simply as you probably did for the Linux preset.
Now click on the Export All… button on the backside proper to export the challenge utilizing each presets. For the export mode, select Debug. This can construct each a Home windows and a Linux construct within the folders you specified.

Export all and debug

With the challenge exported, now you can check them on the Steam Deck. For those who’re unsure learn how to switch and run your builds to the Steam Deck, check out the The way to Switch Recreation Builds to a Steam Deck article.

Recreation Efficiency

The Steam Deck comes with a nifty efficiency overlay built-in that exhibits you ways laborious the CPU and GPU are working. By inspecting the knowledge this overlay gives, you will get a greater understanding of how your recreation is performing.

Working the Linux Construct

To begin off, run the native Linux construct first and check if all the pieces is working appropriately. It is best to have the ability to management the automobile utilizing the built-in gamepad and clicking the digital camera button on the display switches the digital camera view. The system data ought to say you’re working the challenge on a Linux-based OS named SteamOS and the Steam Deck flag must be set to true.

Linux build info

Now allow the efficiency overlay by clicking the three dotted button on the backside proper of your Steam Deck and deciding on the battery icon within the Fast Entry menu. From right here, slide the Efficiency Overlay Stage to 4.

Set performance overlay

Subsequent, check out the left aspect of the display to see all of the efficiency data you might ever need.

Performance info

It is perhaps a bit laborious to see what’s happening due to the background, however right here’s a fast overview from prime to backside:

  • GPU: GPU utilization, temperature, clock pace and energy draw
  • CPU: CPU utilization, temperature, clock pace and energy draw
  • CPU cores: The utilization per CPU core, with its clock pace
  • VRAM: The quantity of VRAM utilized by the GPU to render the sport
  • RAM: Quantity of RAM utilized by the sport
  • BATT: The quantity of battery life left, the overall energy draw and the approximate time left earlier than the battery runs out
  • FAN: The fan pace in rotations per minute
  • FSR: Whether or not FSR (Constancy Tremendous Decision) is enabled or not
  • GAMESCOPE: The body time and body depend

A very powerful metric out of all of those is the body time. If the inexperienced line is flat on a regular basis, then your recreation will really feel easy because it’ll run at a secure 60 FPS. Nevertheless, if the inexperienced line is consistently leaping up and down, then your recreation will really feel uneven and laggy. There’s no method to completely keep away from some choppiness when instantiating new scenes and whereas the shaders are compiling, however throughout the primary recreation loop, the body price must be secure.

To get an concept of how graphically demanding your recreation is, check out the GPU clock pace. The upper the quantity, the extra demanding the sport is. The Steam Deck tends to attempt to use the least quantity of energy potential, so it clocks down its 1.6 GHz (1600MHz) GPU at any time when it might probably. Within the case of the automobile recreation, it tends to hover between 1050 and 1100 MHz.
To know the quantity of leeway you have got when it comes to graphical efficiency, you’ll be able to manually set the GPU clock pace by way of the efficiency settings. Press the three dotted button once more and scroll right down to Handbook GPU Clock Management within the Efficiency part. Now test the checkbox subsequent Handbook GPU Clock Management and slide GPU Clock Frequency to 1600. This can lock the GPU clock pace to its highest potential worth for optimum efficiency.

Set GPU clock 1600

For those who now exit the menu and take one other take a look at the GPU clock, you’ll discover it’s now set to 1600MHz.

GPU clock 1600

The share above the clock pace is now way more precious, as this means how a lot your recreation is utilizing the GPU in easy phrases. Because the automobile recreation isn’t optimized in any method, the GPU utilization is someplace between 58% and 70% more often than not, which is surprisingly excessive for such a easy recreation.

The CPU utilization is simpler to identify, as you simply want to take a look at the CPU utilization proportion. The upper the quantity, the extra demanding the sport is when it comes to CPU utilization.

CPU usage

Now exit the Linux construct of the sport because it’s time to maneuver over to the Home windows construct.

Working the Home windows Construct

Begin up the Home windows construct and check out the system data on the prime left. As an alternative displaying the precise OS, it says the sport is working inside Home windows. The Steam Deck flag is ready to true although as anticipated.

Windows build info

The rationale why it says Home windows right here as an alternative of Linux like with the opposite construct is as a result of Home windows executables are run inside a Proton compatibility layer. Video games working like this may “assume” they’re working on a Home windows machine. Some video games run higher beneath Proton than their native counterparts, whereas some gained’t work in any respect. It’s finest to check out your video games totally earlier than deciding what model you wish to advocate for the Steam Deck.

Now lock the GPU clock to 1600 once more and examine the efficiency of the Home windows construct.

Windows performance

The sport is working virtually equivalent to the Linux construct, so on this case the native Linux construct is perhaps the most suitable choice. It’s a good suggestion to maintain testing each kinds of builds as your recreation will increase in complexity.

The place to Go From Right here?

Congratulations! You’ve arrange a Godot challenge for the Steam Deck, exported it and did some fundamental efficiency testing. You possibly can obtain the ultimate challenge on the prime or backside of this tutorial.

For those who’re caught, don’t hesitate to hunt assist from the Godot neighborhood by means of their Discord, boards, or different platforms. You may as well attain out by way of the Kodeco Discord and by becoming a member of the dialogue beneath.
For those who create one thing cool for the Steam Deck utilizing Godot, don’t overlook to share it!



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