Tech wizard develops game from scratch on a Steam Deck

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

The Steam Deck is a versatile bit of kit. So versatile, in fact, that only using it for something as basic as playing games seems a misuse of its potential. Luckily, tech YouTuber Tranasus is here to open up a whole new frontier in Steam Deck tinkering: game development.

In a video published last Saturday, Tranasus tried to find out if he could use Valve's miracle box as a full-fledged game dev machine. With the Steam Deck Docking Station still a twinkle in Gabe Newell's eye, Tranasus threw together a simple game in Unity entirely within the confines of the Steam Deck's 7-inch screen.

The results were surprisingly positive. Aided only by a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, Tranasus had his Deck-developed opus up and running in a mere 40 minutes. The Deck didn't break a sweat throughout a process that required installing various bits of development software and running the resulting game—at a flawless 60fps, mind you.

Tranasus' attempt even caught the eye of designers at Valve, who are treating it as a great showcase of the possibilities opened up by the Deck's flexible design. "This is one of the things we were really excited about enabling with Steam Deck," tweeted Lawrence Yang, a designer at Valve who works on the Steam Deck.

Naturally, Yang's tweet prompted replies from people using their Decks for everything from powering game demos to controlling robots. Pretty cool for a device I would definitely only use to never stop playing Vampire Survivors.

It's an impressive feat, and one that will doubtless be bettered as more people get their hands on Steam Decks and start plumbing the depths of what's possible with them. With Valve ramping up distribution, that's probably going to be sooner rather than later.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.