Steam's new library beta offers some great organizational options, like smart collections (opens in new tab), but its most obvious change is putting big, vertical game icons front and center. Steam has actually had a similar option for years: the grid view (opens in new tab), which artistic fans personalized with gorgeous custom box art. Those same fans have now discovered that the new Steam library supports animated .pngs, and they look coooool.
The Steam Grid subreddit (opens in new tab) seems to be the go-to place for sharing these new icons, though I first discovered they could be animated through a thread on Resetera (opens in new tab). The subreddit is also home to many non-animated game icons, which can come in handy. If you scroll trough your Steam library, you'll probably notice dozens of games that haven't gotten updated vertical art (and some likely never will).
But back to the point: animated icons. The easiest way to find them is to click this link (opens in new tab), which is a subreddit search for posts with the animated tag. People are still clearly working out their own styles for these moving images, and some are even 15 or 20 megabyte videos, basically, which seem like they would really bog down the Steam library and also be chaotic as hell once you lined up a few together. Others are more reserved, animating some small background elements like fire or looping some subtle motion. Here's a strong collection (opens in new tab), in one growing imgur post from u/paganrituals.
To add custom icons: Right-click a game's icon in your library > Manage > Set custom artwork. Note that the option isn't there if you right-click a game name in the left-hand column; it has to be the icon.
After spending some time customizing my library, it's peppered with animated icons. I don't want to make every game icon animated, because doing that manually would take a long time. And it would definitely be distracting. But just to show what that looks like, I created a collection of all the animated icons I've added so far.
It's funny how a little motion in some of these icons—especially that perfect one for MGS5—helps them say these are games in a way they didn't before. In its new library view, Steam has essentially adopted the same visual design of the Apple TV, and Plex, and many other modern streaming platforms dedicated to movies and television. With just a few frames of animation, though, these games can really come alive.
It's been less than a week since this animated .png option was discovered. Expect many, many more icons in the months to come.
Here's a list of some animated .pngs I really like:
- Dark Souls 3 (opens in new tab)
- Destiny 2: Shadowkeep (opens in new tab)
- Doom (2016) (opens in new tab)
- Downwell (opens in new tab)
- Fez (opens in new tab)
- Hyper Light Drifter (opens in new tab)
- Metal Gear Solid 5 (opens in new tab)
- Olli Olli 2 (opens in new tab)
- Opus Magnum (opens in new tab)
- System Shock & System Shock 2 (opens in new tab)
- The Surge 2 (opens in new tab)
- Transistor (opens in new tab)