DIY Steam Box

Andhar

Console Gamerz Rulez
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
1,933
Has anyone here attempted to do this yet?

I've been curious about rebuilding my htpc for gaming instead of streaming media & utilizing Steam's big picture mode as the primary interface along with MAME & Hyperspin for old school games.
 

theNoid

Supreme [H]ardness
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Dec 23, 2003
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7,438
Too much work, and the added overhead of living room control and configuration isn't really worth the time trade off. Jumping between Steam (big picture mode or not) to MAME and Hyperspin/Hyperpin would be too tactile and silly. Its 2013 and there are better solutions, turn key solutions that will cost you the same as just a new CPU. You're not impressing anyone with a computer hooked up to a TV these days, I've been doing that with my phone for over 3 years.. even that isn't cool anymore. HTPCs are a thing of the past, dead, dust in the wind and a platform kept alive by a slim market of enthusiasts who in number might seem convincing but in reality are forgotten and only exist because there really is no real market for them. The average soccer mom can go to a store today and buy a better solution that trying to build a "steambox". That market has eclipsed, but you won't hear that here. Here, 5 people will quote me and tell you how wrong I am. Meanwhile, "Steambox" doesn't exist because I'm right and the average consumer just goes and buys a console because I'm right as well.

Right now 5 people are quoting me frothing at the mouth to tell me how wrong i am. I'm not wrong.

Buy a console for the living room, the real turn key solution. Keep a gaming PC at the desk where it belongs and enjoy the best of both worlds. ++
 
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CMadki4

Supreme [H]ardness
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Feb 3, 2011
Messages
4,438
I built a "steambox" quite easily. I use Big Picture mode to launch even my old nes and snes games. You can do the same with mame. Here's the worklog that follow the case build (obviously not necessary).

My steambox is setup to launch directly into Big Picture mode as the shell to windows. I use XPadder to configure the wireless Xbox 360 controller (I have 4 of them synced).

It's really fun to be able to fire up the machine (8 secs or so, gotta love SSDs) and browse through the games, each with their own banner. In the mood for L4D or Super Mario World or Bust A Move? It's all right there on one pretty/clean interface.

I'm sure there are other/better ways of setting up your own steambox, but this is how I did mine:
Launch Emulators From Steam
  1. Download Emulators:
  2. Get ROMs legally
  3. Download Banners:
  4. Create folder for each console with subfolders for emulators, roms and banners
  5. Copy emulator into each game subfolder and rename emulator to game title (may not work if Project64. If not, just keep original *.exe name.)
  6. Create shortcut of emulator in Steam library and rename to game title
  7. Add argument to open game file
    1. “/e gamepath”
    2. Example: "E:\Dolphin\Dolphin.exe" /e "F:\Gamecube\Double Dash.iso" /b
    3. Other emulators may not require “/e” or “/b”
  8. Close out of Steam (required between each shortcut addition or setting will be forgotten for some reason)
  9. Change icon/banner to downloaded image from Step 3
  10. Close out of Steam (required between each shortcut addition or setting will be forgotten for some reason)
  11. Repeat steps 8-9 for each game

Boot Directly Into Steam Big Picture Mode



  1. Steam > Settings > Interface
    1. uncheck ‘Run Steam when my computers starts’
    2. check ‘Start Steam in Big Picture Mode’
  2. Click OK
  3. Click Start Menu and type “regedit” and hit ENTER
  4. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
  5. Right click on the folder pane to the right and select NEW > String Value
  6. Name it “Shell”
  7. Right click on ‘Shell’ and select ‘Modify’
  8. Type in the path to Steam.exe (Should be C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Steam\\Steam.exe unless moved).

When you reboot you will launch directly into Steam Big Picture Mode as the Windows shell. This may not work with Windows 8. If you need get back into regular Windows shell, just Ctrl + Alt + Del and run regedit from there, then change the Shell to ShellOFF or delete it and reboot.
That's my input.

@theNoid, I can't say that you're wrong, but I can say with confidence that you're an ass.
 
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Andhar

Console Gamerz Rulez
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
1,933
Too much work, and the added overhead of living room control and configuration isn't really worth the time trade off. Jumping between Steam (big picture mode or not) to MAME and Hyperspin/Hyperpin would be too tactile and silly. Its 2013 and there are better solutions, turn key solutions that will cost you the same as just a new CPU. You're not impressing anyone with a computer hooked up to a TV these days, I've been doing that with my phone for over 3 years.. even that isn't cool anymore. HTPCs are a thing of the past, dead, dust in the wind and a platform kept alive by a slim market of enthusiasts who in number might seem convincing but in reality are forgotten and only exist because there really is no real market for them. The average soccer mom can go to a store today and buy a better solution that trying to build a "steambox". That market has eclipsed, but you won't hear that here. Here, 5 people will quote me and tell you how wrong I am. Meanwhile, "Steambox" doesn't exist because I'm right and the average consumer just goes and buys a console because I'm right as well.

Right now 5 people are quoting me frothing at the mouth to tell me how wrong i am. I'm not wrong.

Buy a console for the living room, the real turn key solution. Keep a gaming PC at the desk where it belongs and enjoy the best of both worlds. ++

Nice lil rant there. Now being that I'm not the average consumer and MANY people that are enthusiasts still use HTPC. Honestly I could give a damn if anyone is "impressed" by a computer hooked to a tv because it will be for me and no one else.

I built my first HTPC 13 years ago when I was young and I retired my most recent one 3 years ago because I decided to just use the xbox 360 to stream my stuff but I am not willing to buy another console due to the closed architecture.

I have 11 consoles and I will not be buying another one until I need to.
 

CMadki4

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
4,438
Do you have to have a different receiver to sync each controller?
Edit: Well there you go.

Something like XPadder is nice for exiting your emulators. Just have a button mapped to ALT and another to F4, unless the emulator has another means of exiting. It will also let you use the analog stick on the controller like a mouse and allow you to map the MS chat pad if you had reason to.
 

Andhar

Console Gamerz Rulez
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
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great thank you. I was actually wondering if the chat pad would work with it. I never tried it. are you using xbmc from within BP?
 

CMadki4

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
4,438
great thank you. I was actually wondering if the chat pad would work with it. I never tried it. are you using xbmc from within BP?
I don't use xmbc. But I believe you can launch nearly any shortcut from Steam by adding it as a non-steam game. Personally, I have no need for xmbc. Nothing against it of course, just don't use it.
 

RanceJustice

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Joined
Jun 9, 2003
Messages
5,871
I've created many HTPC/Gaming SteamBox style PCs over the years, mostly built on Linux, to great effect! These days, its relatively easy, and even moderately inexpensive to do so and still command significant power. Steam's Big Picture mode works well for those who prefer it, and so long as you have a X360-compatible controller etc... you're set on that front. I find this to in general be a better experience than buying consoles or purpose-built single function streamers because of its versatility. I abhor being locked in by DRM or single "app store" sources, favor open standards and APIs, and like the ability to run media from multiple sources. Netflix? Sure! BR-rips via VLC/Mplayer/XBMC? Sure! Emulators? Sure! Steam and Desura? Sure! HumbleBundles and individual games? Sure! Windows programs? Sure, with WINE/CrossOver/PlaysOnLinux!

Lots of options,all under my control.
 

bigdogchris

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Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
18,140
I think it depends on the size. If you want to go as small as possible, you're going to want to use integrated graphics. The newer AMD APU's are pretty decent up to like 720p.

If you want a bigger box, you can use a discrete GPU. Many HTPC cases/boards have 1 low profile PCI-E slot.
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
2,912
LOL I guess you were right.

Right now 5 people are quoting me frothing at the mouth to tell me how wrong i am. I'm not wrong.

Buy a console for the living room, the real turn key solution. Keep a gaming PC at the desk where it belongs and enjoy the best of both worlds. ++

@theNoid, I can't say that you're wrong, but I can say with confidence that you're an ass.
 
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