Experience the next level of gaming with the Steam Deck, a device that’s revolutionizing the handheld gaming world. While its built-in features are impressive, the real magic lies in its vast array of plugins. These plugins not only enhance the device’s capabilities but also offer a personalized touch, making your Steam Deck truly unique. Whether you’re looking to optimize performance, customize aesthetics, or simply make your gaming sessions more enjoyable, our guide unveils the best Steam Deck plugins that are absolute game-changers.
Why Plugins Matter for Steam Deck Users
Every gamer is unique, with their own preferences, play styles, and quirks. Plugins allow Steam Deck users to tailor their device to reflect their individuality. Whether it’s a visual tweak to match your aesthetic or a functional adjustment to suit your gameplay, plugins offer a world of possibilities. Your Steam Deck becomes not just another device but an extension of your gaming persona.
While the Steam Deck is already a formidable gaming machine, plugins can elevate your gaming sessions to new heights. Imagine having clearer graphics, improved audio quality, or even tools that provide in-game advantages. Plugins can optimize the device’s performance, ensuring smoother gameplay and richer visuals.
The Steam Deck isn’t just for gaming. Many users utilize it for multimedia, browsing, and other tasks. Plugins can enhance these non-gaming experiences, adding features like better video playback, streamlined browsing tools, or even productivity apps. With the right plugins, your Steam Deck can be transformed into a versatile powerhouse.
One of the beautiful aspects of plugins is that many are developed by passionate members of the gaming community. These are individuals who understand the needs and desires of fellow gamers. By embracing plugins, you’re not just getting a tool; you’re tapping into a collective pool of innovation and creativity.
13 Best Steam Deck Plugins And How To Install Them
Decky Loader stands as the cornerstone for enhancing the Steam Deck experience. Often referred to as the gateway to a plethora of plugins, it simplifies the process of downloading and managing them. In fact, many plugins, some of which have been discussed in this guide, hinge on Decky Loader for their installation, underscoring its pivotal role in the Steam Deck ecosystem.
But Decky Loader is more than just a plugin manager. It’s a versatile tool that offers a range of customization options. Whether you’re looking to revamp menus, modify system sounds, tweak screen saturation, adjust advanced system settings, or manage other plugins, Decky Loader is your go-to solution.
How To Install: Getting started with Decky Loader is a breeze. Users can download it directly from Github while in Desktop Mode on their Steam Deck. Once the installer is launched, authentication is required, which can be done using the admin password or a temporary alternative. From there, users have the choice to opt for the latest stable release or venture into the pre-release version. After the installation, simply switch back to Gaming Mode, and the world of Steam Deck customization awaits.
SteamGridDB is a unique plugin tailored for the Steam Deck, designed to elevate the aesthetics of your gaming library. It grants users the flexibility to personalize the artwork of every game in their Steam collection, eliminating the need to switch to Desktop Mode. While each game on Steam is pre-equipped with default images for icons, pictures, and banners, SteamGridDB introduces a “change artwork” feature. This allows gamers to effortlessly browse and select alternative images, ensuring each game’s visual representation aligns with their personal preferences.
How To Install: For those keen on integrating SteamGridDB into their Steam Deck, the installation process is straightforward. Begin by setting up Decky Loader, and then navigate to its store. Once inside, a simple search for SteamGridDB will lead you to the plugin. Click, install, and embark on a journey of customizing your game visuals to your heart’s content.
Controller Tools is an indispensable plugin for Steam Deck enthusiasts who value detailed insights about their gaming peripherals. This utility provides real-time information about the controllers paired with the Steam Deck, showcasing crucial data such as the connection method, precise battery levels, and the ongoing charging status. What sets Controller Tools apart is its extensive compatibility range, seamlessly supporting major controllers from gaming giants like PlayStation, Xbox, and even the Nintendo Switch Pro.
But Controller Tools isn’t just about monitoring; it’s gearing up to offer enhanced control features. In the pipeline are capabilities to modify LED settings on compatible controllers, remotely power off controllers, and even toggle the vibration function. This plugin promises to be a comprehensive toolset for gamers who desire both information and control over their gaming accessories.
How To Install: To install the Controller Tools Plugin on Steam Deck, boot in Desktop mode and head to the plugin’s Github download page. You can also use the Decky Loader’s store to download it.
For many gamers, GameFAQs holds a special place as a trusted repository of game guides and walkthroughs. Recognizing its enduring value, DeckFAQs emerges as a bridge between the Steam Deck and the vast knowledge base of GameFAQs. This plugin empowers users to effortlessly access game guides for both their Steam and non-Steam titles directly from the GameFAQs platform. Whether you prefer rich-text formats or the simplicity of plain-text, DeckFAQs has you covered. It’s an invaluable companion for those challenging moments in games, providing timely guidance when you’re grappling with a particularly tricky segment.
How To Install: To seamlessly integrate DeckFAQs into your Steam Deck experience, start by installing the Decky Loader. Once set up, navigate to its store through the Steam Deck menu. A quick search for DeckFAQs will lead you to the plugin, ready for installation. With DeckFAQs at your fingertips, you’re equipped to tackle any gaming challenge that comes your way.
For those with an eye for aesthetics and a desire to personalize their Steam Deck’s appearance, the CSS Loader plugin is a game-changer. This tool offers users the creative freedom to transform the Steam Deck’s UI to match their unique style. Whether you’re keen on experimenting with different fonts, playing with color palettes, or tweaking other visual elements, CSS Loader provides the canvas for your artistic expression.
How To Install: Installing CSS Loader is a breeze. While tech-savvy users might opt to download it directly from Github using the Desktop Mode, there’s a more straightforward approach for the rest. Begin by setting up the Decky Loader on your Steam Deck. Once inside its store, a simple search for CSS Loader will present the plugin, ready for installation. And the customization doesn’t stop there! Post-installation, users can further explore and apply various themes through the ‘Manage theme’ options found within the plugin’s menus. With CSS Loader, your Steam Deck’s UI is only limited by your imagination.
Navigating the vast expanse of the Steam store and determining which games will run seamlessly on your Steam Deck can be a daunting task. Enter ProtonDB Badges, a plugin designed to simplify this process. Integrated directly into the Steam store, this tool fetches compatibility ratings from the renowned ProtonDB website for each game listing. These ratings range from games that might pose significant challenges on the Steam Deck to those that meet the official Steam Deck compatibility standards.
But ProtonDB Badges offers more than just a rating. It delves deeper, providing insights into the reasons behind each game’s compatibility score. Whether it’s hardware requirements, software nuances, or other specific concerns, this plugin ensures you’re well-informed. It acts as a vigilant guard, alerting users about potential issues they might encounter if they decide to venture into a particular game on their Steam Deck.
How To Install: For those who want to install ProtonDB Badges into their Steam Deck, the installation is straightforward. Start with the Decky Loader setup. Once you’re in its store, a quick search for ProtonDB Badges will guide you to the plugin. Install, and let it be your compass in the vast sea of Steam games, ensuring you always make informed choices.
How Long To Beat
For gamers who meticulously plan their gaming sessions or those simply curious about the time investment a game demands, the “How Long to Beat” plugin is a treasure trove of information. Seamlessly integrated into your Steam Library, this tool provides a snapshot of the estimated game lengths right above the play button. But it doesn’t stop at just giving a singular time frame; it offers a nuanced breakdown based on different gaming objectives.
Whether you’re aiming to breeze through the main storyline, delve deeper by exploring side quests and extras, or are on a quest for absolute completion, “How Long to Beat” has got you covered. It categorizes game durations into ‘main story,’ ‘main story plus extras,’ and ‘completionist’ time frames. An added layer of intelligence is its ability to gauge and predict the remaining hours you’d need to conquer your current game. And for those who enjoy a bit of friendly competition, you can juxtapose your game completion times against other players.
How To Install: Installing “How Long to Beat” is a cinch. While the plugin can be directly downloaded from the How Long to Beat website, there’s a more user-friendly route available. Kickstart the process by accessing the Decky Loader on your Steam Deck. Dive into its store, search for “How Long to Beat,” and you’re just a click away from a world of insightful game duration statistics.
For those who believe that sound is an integral part of their gaming experience, Audio Loader is the perfect plugin to elevate the auditory ambiance of your Steam Deck. This tool is all about personalization, allowing users to swap out the default Steam UI sounds with their chosen audio files. Whether you’re aiming for a nostalgic touch, a futuristic vibe, or simply a dash of whimsy, Audio Loader empowers you to curate the soundscape of your Steam Deck’s interface.
The plugin’s functionality is designed for ease and flexibility. Users can introduce new sound options by placing music or sound pack.json files in the designated /home/deck/homebrew/themes directory. While Audio Loader offers a convenient Pack manager to streamline the process, there’s also the option to manually add sound packs to the folder. However, a word of caution: the developers advise against manual additions to ensure optimal performance and compatibility.
How To Install: Getting Audio Loader up and running on your Steam Deck is a straightforward affair. While the adventurous can opt to download it directly from Github using Desktop Mode, there’s a simpler route for the rest. Initiate the process by accessing Decky Loader. Once inside its store, a quick search for “Audio Loader” will lead you to the plugin. With a few clicks, you’re set to redefine the auditory experience of your Steam Deck.
For gamers who are always on the hunt to optimize their gameplay experience, Decksettings emerges as a must-have tool for the Steam Deck. This ingenious plugin acts as a guide, offering tailored settings recommendations to ensure games run at their peak performance on the Steam Deck. What’s more, it’s proactive – sending timely notifications when you launch a game that has curated settings available.
Decksettings is not just about games within your library. While it currently allows users to browse settings reports for any Steam game they own, future updates promise the ability to explore games beyond one’s collection. And the innovation doesn’t stop there. The developers are gearing up to introduce a feature where the app will intuitively auto-detect and apply the best settings for the games you play, ensuring a seamless and optimized gaming session every time.
How To Install: Integrating Decksettings into your Steam Deck is a hassle-free process. Start by installing the Decky Loader. Once you’re in its store interface, a simple search for “Decksettings” will present the plugin. Click, install, and let Decksettings be your personal game settings consultant, ensuring every game you play is at its visual and performance best.
For gaming enthusiasts who cherish reliving their epic moments or those who simply wish to document their gameplay, Decky Recorder stands out as a valuable addition to the Steam Deck. This plugin is designed to let players effortlessly initiate and conclude recording sessions, capturing both visuals and audio directly from the Steam Deck. Intriguingly, its foundation is built upon the Recapture-Plugin, which is a part of the Crankshaft plugin manager.
However, potential users should be aware of its current limitations. As a plugin still under development, Decky Recorder has its quirks. For instance, any recording that surpasses the 30-minute mark may not save accurately. Additionally, initiating a recording while the Steam Deck is docked and connected to a 4K monitor could lead to system crashes.
How To Install: Incorporating Decky Recorder into your Steam Deck toolkit is straightforward. While the direct route involves downloading the plugin from Github using Desktop Mode, there’s a more user-friendly alternative. By setting up Decky Loader, users can easily find Decky Recorder in its store.
For those who frequently capture in-game moments on their Steam Deck, Shotty emerges as an indispensable tool. This plugin streamlines the process of managing and transferring screenshots. Instead of navigating through multiple folders or interfaces, Shotty ensures all your captured moments are conveniently relocated to the pictures folder in Desktop Mode. This not only organizes your screenshots but also facilitates effortless transfers to USB drives or direct uploads to the internet.
How To Install: Begin by pressing the Quick Access button, which will lead you to the Decky store – identifiable by the shop icon. Within the store, a simple scroll will bring you to Shotty. Once installed, accessing your screenshots becomes even more intuitive. Head to the Shotty menu via Decky Loader and select the ‘Aggregate’ option. This action will seamlessly transfer all your screenshots to the designated pictures folder, ready for any subsequent actions you wish to take.
Game Theme Music
Drawing inspiration from the PlayStation 5 UI, the Game Theme Music plugin brings an immersive auditory experience to the Steam Deck. For those who appreciate the atmospheric touch of theme music playing when a game is highlighted, this plugin is a delightful addition. It not only enhances the browsing experience but also adds a personalized touch to your game library.
How To Install: Installing Game Theme Music is a seamless process, thanks to Decky Loader. To get started, simply access the Decky Loader through the Quick Access button and tap on the store icon, which will lead you to the Decky store. As you scroll through the available plugins, you’ll find the Game Theme Music option. Once installed, customizing the theme music for each game becomes a breeze.
To set or change the theme music for a particular game, navigate to the desired game in your library. Click on the settings cog located on the right side of the screen and hit the A button. This action unveils a fresh option titled ‘Change Theme Music.’ From here, you can either opt for a silent backdrop by selecting ‘no music’ or dive into a curated list of tracks to find the perfect theme for your game. With Game Theme Music, every game in your library gets an opportunity to make a melodious first impression.
Storage woes on the Steam Deck? The Storage Cleaner plugin might just be the solution you’re looking for. While uninstalling games might seem like a straightforward way to free up space, the Steam Deck often retains residual files like shader cache and compatibility data. These files, while essential during gameplay, can consume valuable storage space even after the associated game is removed.
The shader cache plays a pivotal role in enhancing game performance, especially for graphically demanding titles, by reducing lag. On the other hand, compatibility data ensures that games run smoothly on the Steam Deck. However, the good news is that once a game is uninstalled, these files can be safely deleted. If you ever decide to reinstall the game, rest assured, the cache and data will be regenerated upon gameplay.
How To Install: Installing the Storage Cleaner is a hassle-free process with Decky Loader. Simply access the Decky store by clicking on the store icon. As you browse through the available plugins, you’ll come across Storage Cleaner. Once installed, launching it via Decky will present you with a user-friendly interface. At the top, you’ll find the shader cache section, where you can either choose to clear cache files for specific games or opt for a complete cleanup. As you navigate further down, options to delete compatibility data become available. With Storage Cleaner, managing your Steam Deck’s storage becomes a streamlined and efficient process.
Tips for Managing and Organizing Your Plugins
The Steam Deck, with its vast array of plugins, offers an enriched gaming experience. However, as your collection of plugins grows, so does the need for effective management and organization. Here are some essential tips to help you keep your plugins in check and ensure a smooth gaming experience:
- Prioritize Essential Plugins: Not all plugins are created equal. Identify the ones you use frequently and ensure they’re always updated and easily accessible.
- Categorize by Function: Group similar plugins together. For instance, have all audio-related plugins in one folder and visual enhancement plugins in another.
- Regularly Update: Plugins, like all software, receive updates. Regularly check for updates to ensure compatibility and access to new features.
- Backup Settings: Some plugins allow customization. Ensure you backup your settings regularly to avoid reconfiguring them from scratch in case of any issues.
- Limit Redundancies: Avoid having multiple plugins that serve the same purpose. This not only saves storage space but also reduces potential conflicts.
- Use Descriptive Names: If a plugin allows you to rename it, use a descriptive name that clearly indicates its function. This makes identification easier, especially when you have a large collection.
- Regularly Audit Your Collection: Over time, some plugins may become obsolete or redundant. Periodically review and remove plugins you no longer use.