Setting up Steam Link

I set up a Raspberry Pi to stream games to my TV.

You might recall my post a little while back about looking for an HDMI switch. While I did get sidetracked, I did eventually find it. The whole point of that exercise was to connect another HDMI input to my TV, which only has three ports, all of which were already in use.

I disconnected my PS3 from the third port, and instead connected the switch. (This is not to be confused with the Nintendo Switch, which is connected via the first port.) I then connected the PS3 to one port on the switch (not the Switch ).

Now the real point of this exercise: I connected a Raspberry Pi to the other port on the switch. Some RPi computers are only the actual computer; this one, a 400 model, has a built-in keyboard. It does have a mouse, but I wouldn’t need it.

I plugged the USB dongle to my Steam game controller into the RPi. This allowed me to use it as a mouse before I got the streaming gaming set up. (The right analog input moves the mouse cursor, and the right trigger acts as the mouse click.)

The next step was to pair my two game devices: the RPi to display the games and my computer to broadcast the signal. I opened the console and ran the following commands on the RPi to install the Steam Link app:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install steamlink

The installation put a shortcut on my desktop, which I can just double-click when I want to connect to a computer running Steam. I couldn’t do that, however, until I set up the connection between them. So on the source computer, I opened the Remote Play settings in Steam to pair it with the RPi.

It did involve a little bit of running back and forth down the hallway, since I had to see the verification number displayed on one machine and enter it on the other. Once that was done, I could run Steam Link on the RPi and connect to the computer to play (pretty much) any game from my Steam library.

I will mention a couple caveats to my “pretty much any game” statement. Steam (along with any other website that has directions on how to do this) recommends a wired connection, not wireless, because there can be some lag when connecting via the latter. Point-and-click type adventure games seem fine, like Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Turn-based games, too, pose no problem. I did test out Dark Souls 2 and Tomb Raider with mixed results. The former was a little slow for my liking; the latter was playable.

The other issue I ran into was controller support. Not every game on Steam has full controller support, but most do. (Namine’s favorite game of mine on Steam, Turbo Pug, unfortunately does not.) All games on Steam do indicate in their library thumbnail whether or not they have full support, so determining that involves no uncertainty.

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