Valve’s Discord-like chat overhaul for Steam is in open beta

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 21:43 GMT

Valve’s new chat system for Steam is in open beta.

An open beta for a completely overhauled suite of Steam Chat features is available now.

Steam’s updated chat system and friends list make it easier to group folks you chat up and play games with – and you can also annoy the hell out of them with GIFs.

According to the information provided, users will find friends, groups, and chats at the top of the Friends List on Steam. I In-game friends will now be grouped by the game they’re playing, making it easier to join them, or to see which games are popular among those on the user’s friend list.

The updated group chat system is persistent,  and users have the ability to save a group chat with a title and avatar, making it easier to pick up where they left off. They can also keep tabs on friends, and even drag and drop others from the Friends List to send an invite to the group.

Users will be able to show off their favorite GIF and paste an image directly into chat. This works inline for tweet, videos, and other multimedia as well.

Here’s more information on what users participating the open beta can expect:

RICH CHAT FORMATTING
  • Ability to share images by pasting images or uploading image files into chat
  • Embedding support for YouTube, Imgur, Giphy, Twitter, Twitch, and more
  • Rich link previews for URLs
  • /me command for emotes
  • /giphy for random gifs that may or may not say exactly what you want
  • /code command for styling blocks of code
GROUP CHATS
  • Group chats are now persistent, you don’t need to rejoin every time you start Steam
  • @mention support for group chat members (@here, @all, @member, etc)
  • Group chats are available on the web
  • Group chats now support multiple text and voice channels
  • Custom group chat invite links – shareable in and outside of Steam
  • Custom notification settings per group chats and channels
  • Saved groups have role-based permissions
VOICE CHAT
  • Voice chat updated to new WebRTC-based backend
  • Voice chat uses high quality Opus encoding
  • Voice chat traffic payloads are encrypted
  • Voice chat traffic is now relayed through Steam servers for low-latency connectivity and for privacy so your IP is never disclosed to those you chat with
  • Voice calls from blocked users are automatically blocked
  • Voice chat open mic support is improved with better noise filtering and volume detection
  • Voice channels include a special text sub-channel for voice members only
  • Friends in voice chats in mutual groups are displayed in the Friends List
  • Voice controls are displayed in the Friends List whenever a voice chat is active
  • Voice chat now supports individual volume for other voice chat members
  • When voice chatting in a group, users can create multiple channels without needing an admin to add additional channels.
  • Unless saved, voice channels are automatically removed when the last voice member leaves
USER INTERFACE
  • In-game friends are now sorted to the top of the Friends List
  • In-game friends playing the same game are grouped together in the Friends List
  • Setting to promote the display of nicknames
  • Expanding the Friends List window will dock chats in the window in a side-by-side view
  • Setting to preserve chat window state after restarting Steam Client
  • Steam Client now displays your Steam avatar and profile name together in the account dropdown
  • Notification of unread messages appears at the top of your friends list
  • Drag and drop friends: to invite to group chats, add to favorites, and add to friend categories
  • Easily add multiple friends to group chats or categories with new find-as-you-type friend selection tools
CHAT HISTORY
  • Can now scroll back to load up to two weeks of chat history
  • Group chats also keep up to two weeks of chat history
  • Improved display of timestamps, which are now always enabled
PERSONA STATE
  • New “Invisible” mode allows you to appear offline, but still view your Friends List and chat
  • Updated display of friends who are “Away”
  • Offline friend “Last online” time now more reliable
  • Offline friends can be sorted by name or last online
STEAMWORKS RICH PRESENCE API
  • Added key to allow localized rich presence information to be displayed in the Steam Client
  • In game friends can now show additional information such as level or match, in the Friends List and chats
  • Friends in a party together are shown in a group in the Friends List, for games which have integrated with the Steamworks Rich Presence API
FRIEND CATEGORY MANAGEMENT (FORMERLY “TAG AS…”)
  • Can rename existing friend categories
  • Added ability to add/remove multiple friends from a category at once
  • Drag and drop to add friends to categories
  • Friend categories (including built-in categories such as “Offline” or “In Game”) remember their open or collapsed state
  • Favorite friends and chats can be pinned to the top of the Friends List
ADDING FRIENDS
  • New friend management page makes it easier to manage friends, invites, groups, followed games, and more on the Steam Community
  • New custom friend-request links that can be sent outside of Steam to allow you to more easily add friends
TRADING
  • Added ability to view Inventory and send Trade Offers from right click menu
  • Incoming Trade Offers from friends or users you are chatting with will show a notification and an inline message in chat
  • Built-in option to easily share your Steam Trade URL in chat rooms
NEW ARCHITECTURE
  • New chat features can be delivered without the need to update the entire Steam client
  • Web chat now uses a websocket-based connection for much better reliability and speed
  • Nearly every feature available to Steam Client chat is also available from a web browser
MULTIPLE SESSION SUPPORT
  • Changing friend nicknames, categories, and other friends settings will now be synced between all your online sessions
  • Messages delivered to sessions that have been idle are treated as “unread”
RELIABILITY
  • Sending a chat message will now show an error if there was any problem delivering the message
  • When sending a URL or something that looks like a URL, they will become clickable but maintain their original text

Last week, a report surfaced stating Valve was working on a Discord-style chat overhaul for Steam. The report was right on the money.

If you are not already opted-in on Steam to be included in the betas, be sure to change things over in your settings. Once you opt-on, you can get in on the open beta.

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