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Thread: [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Sunny Southend-on-Sea
    Kubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

    Because of this bug, Steam no longer creates launchers for games installed through Steam. Here is a quick summary of how to create them manually.

    Launchers are desktop files. Essentially, this simply means that they are plain text files with the .desktop extension that contain the text [Desktop Entry]. There are a number of standardised fields that control things like the displayed names and the icon that is used.

    The easiest way to get your new launcher is to amend an existing one. Since it's just a text file, dragging-and-dropping from the menu to an open text editor window works well. Otherwise, they are kept in ~/.local/share/applications.

    As an example, here is my launcher for the Steam version of Guns of Icarus Online, ~/.local/share/applications/Guns of Icarus Online.desktop
    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Guns of Icarus Online
    Comment=Play this game on Steam
    Exec=steam steam://rungameid/209080
    The things you'll be interested in changing are the filename, the Name= entry, the Exec= path, the Icon= location and probably the Categories= field.

    You can call the filename anything you want, as long as there isn't another file with the same name, and as long as it ends with .desktop. I just call my files after the name of the game, with spaces but without other special characters. If you create it in ~/.local/share/applications it should be picked up by the menu system.

    The Name= entry will be what is displayed in the menu, and everywhere else. If you're feeling flash you can put different translations in for different locales. What's listed as Name= will be the default. If you make this very long, your menu may become very wide.

    The Exec= path is the command that will be executed. You can see that, in this case, the command is simply steam with the GameID passed as a parameter. You will need to replace the GameID with the right one for the game that you want to launch. There may well be a sensible way to extract that information from Steam, but I tend to just use SteamDB, since I'll be going there anyway.

    Icons should sensibly be placed in ~/.local/share/icons/hicolor. If you have icons of different sizes they can go in the appropriately named sub-folders. Steam puts them in ~/.local/share/icons/hicolor/<size>/apps/ which is perfectly fine. You don't need to specify the file extension, and you don't need to specify the full path if you put the icons within hicolor. If you have icons of different sizes, the theming system will automatically pick the icon of the most appropriate size to be displayed, so you'll get a larger icon with more detail on the Desktop, say, than in the menu. Steam names the icons as steam_icon_<GameID>, which is fine. You may find that Steam has already downloaded the icons for you and just not created the launcher. In which case, simply put the correct name in the Icon= location. Otherwise, and for games that have the default Steam icon, you can go to SteamDB and search for the game you're interested in. This will provide you with the GameID and allow you to download the icons for the game for different platforms. If the only icon available is in the .ico format, the Export Layers plugin for GIMP is useful for extracting individual images to use with your launcher.

    The Categories= field determines where in the menu the launcher will be displayed. The available sub-menus for the Games menu are
    Putting one of those categories after Categories=Game; should put it in the appropriate sub-menu of your Games menu.

    Once you've created and saved your .desktop file you may need to run
    to update the menus. If you've added new icons, you may need to run
    update-icon-caches ~/.local/share/icons/hicolor/
    to refresh the list of available icons.

    That's it: how to create or change launchers for Steam games. I hope that this is useful until the Steam bug gets fixed.
    Last edited by CatKiller; June 27th, 2017 at 12:40 AM.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Re: [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

    Thanks for this info on the Steam Exec commands CatKiller.
    I'll post my created Counter-Strike desktop and a script I use to load some game settings which can be adapted to suit
    different systems and may be helpful to others.
    The script is used as a toggle between desktop and game mode computer settings which I added as a quicklist launcher to the desktop file.
    Among other things it sets the desktop background to black so you know what mode you're in.
    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=Play this game on Steam
    Exec=steam steam://rungameid/730
    [Desktop Action GameSettingsToggle]
    Name=Game Settings Toggle
    #set -x
    # sets the colors when org.gnome.desktop.background picture-options 'none'
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background primary-color '#000000'
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background secondary-color '#000000'
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background color-shading-type 'solid'
    background=$(gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.background picture-options) # checks for 'none'
    if [ "$background" == "'none'" ] 
    	### desktop mode ###
    		killall steam &
    		megasync &
    		easystroke &
    		altyo --id=org.gtk.altyo &
    		kupfer --no-splash &
    		artha &
    		nvidia-settings --load-config-only &
    		buckle -f &
    		gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-options 'zoom' &
    		gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri 'file:///usr/share/backgrounds/adapta/tri-fadeno.jpg' &
    		dconf reset /org/gnome/desktop/session/idle-delay &
    		/home/glen/conky/toggleconky-Gnome &
    	### game mode ###
    		killall artha &
    		killall kupfer &
    		killall altyo & 
    		killall buckle &
    		killall easystroke &
    		killall conky &
    		killall megasync &
    		nvidia-settings --no-write-config --assign DigitalVibrance=1023 &
    		gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-options 'none' &
    		dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/session/idle-delay 'uint32 0' &
    exit 0
    Last edited by again?; June 30th, 2017 at 11:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Re: [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

    Something else I found recently is you can set launch options for your game in steam itself.
    If you right click on your game in the steam>library you can run a script before the game starts and when you exit.
    Running my script it looks like this in steam.
    /home/glen/scripts/; %command%; /home/glen/scripts/
    You could also just use 2 separate scripts of your own.
    Code:; %command%;
    So no need to manually run a script when starting and exiting a game.
    Just click the csgo launcher.
    Last edited by again?; July 31st, 2017 at 06:26 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Red face Re: [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

    For those who don't want to waste any time (me), I recommend installing an application called Alacarte. You'll find that it is included in many distros, renamed something like "Main Menu". It essentially does all this for you, in a modern UI where you can just type in info and select an image. It's included in the standard repositories, so just open up a terminal and type:
    sudo apt install alacarte
    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Denmark - Scandinavia
    Ubuntu Budgie Development Release

    Re: [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

    Another workaround

    Install Gnome Games app, it will pick up steam games even if there's no shortcut. It's in the repositories on for Ubuntu 17.04 and 17.10 I'm not sure if it's available on Ubuntu 16.04

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Shade of Z - icon theme:
    Shade of Z - GTK/Gnome-shell:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Re: [INFO] Create launchers for Steam games

    Quote Originally Posted by Artificial Intelligence View Post
    Another workaround

    Install Gnome Games app, it will pick up steam games even if there's no shortcut. It's in the repositories on for Ubuntu 17.04 and 17.10 I'm not sure if it's available on Ubuntu 16.04

    Oh this is great and easy way to do it! My preferable option


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