An Alternative UI for Steam’s Big Picture Mode

On the Steam Community Forums, I have just come across the work done by one Steam Community member on the Steam Big Picture mode UI. He proposed a whole redesign of the interface to make it look more modern and beautiful. And while I do like the current looks of the Big Picture mode, I have to admit his version is impressive and even a step further. Let’s have a quick look at what Cales Lares from Santiago (Chile), proposed.

This is the login screen. Simple. Very clean.


And here you go, the main menu… with a nice transparency effect between your wallpaper and your game library.


In the New Releases section, a large place is allocated for the games covers, and a game-related wallpaper is shown in the background, very much like in some XBMC themes. HL Episode 3, anyone ?


Here’s another example with Portal 2. I like the vertical covers, they look very classy, much more than the current 4:3 aspect ratio ones we have on Steam currently.


And this is what a group discussion may look like. I don’t find that one THAT good looking, but I guess it fits with the rest of his work on the UI.


And now, everything in a single video.

Very nice, indeed. Maybe Valve could steal some his ideas or design elements to build up on their current interface. And I feel they could fix the current Non-Big Picture Mode as well, which is cluttered with way too much information to my taste.

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  1. do whatever you want with the big picture.. but dont freaking change the desktop client. i like a lot of information on the screen, why on earth do i have big displays when every bit of information is hidden under several steps.

    • Just curious, but do you really read all information displayed in the Desktop client? And even if you wanted to keep everything, I still feel the info could be presented in a better way in the desktop client.

      • yes, i use the default layout where games list is on the left and latest news and community hub and other links are the bigger size of the window… i read all the info from there…and use the would be pain if it was hidden and you’d have to click on something before it comes up… theres also grid view and similar for those who dont want all that info..

        • I see. Thanks for clarifying, I know that for me, there’s lots of information for which I have no use. I know of the Grid view, but I’d like something in between – I’d like to be able to see the information I want, not just everything or nothing.

          • yeah i agree with thatone.. option to custmomize how your default view looks would be good.. cause people have different needs. ability to just move/resize sections how you want would be pretty neat i think.

    • Turning the desktop interface into something like that would defeat the purpose of the big picture mode.

      That said, the desktop version COULD use some usability improvements. (Hiding things behind many layers is actually a usability issue.)

      • Yeah, i think the overall navigation tree of the desktop client is just horrible. There’s structure trees vertically, horizontally, on the left, on the right, it’s just a whole mess. If you asked a first-time user to find something in particular they would give up pretty quickly. The Big Picture Mode is an improvement, but it’s still not “there” yet in terms of a console-like interface.

  2. I’d still prefer Valves interface, but the vertical covers really look nicer here.
    Maybe we get a theme switcher for SteamOS, that would be great 🙂

    • Yeah, and that would certainly be very consistent with their support for the Mod communities.

  3. That left/right display works pretty well. Navigation and detailed information shown all at once.

    Regarding the main menu:
    I’d rather have it show categories related to the categories I’ve given them (as well as last played, favourites, etc). Then again, what’s showcased is the store portion, not the games portion.

    Regarding the left (description) side:
    The game description text needs to be bigger, or it would defeat the purpose of having ten feet interface.
    The left side has plenty of space show a game-specific menu that is controlled with the D-pad. The game-specific menu would of course be the current Play / screenshots / etc.

    • Agree, the font needs to be bigger on the left side, and menus are indeed missing. But I like the overall balance of the page, and the fact it looks like there’s still space to breathe. It has focus.

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