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Steam Overlay


Steam Overlay
« on: 04, May , 2018, 10:00 PM »
The Steam overlay is a piece of the Steam user interface that can be activated over the top of almost any game launched through Steam. It lets the user access the friends list, web browser, chat, and in-game DLC purchasing.

The default key for a user to access the overlay while in a game is SHIFT+TAB, but they can change it in their Steam->Settings dialog.

Your game does not need to do anything special for the overlay to work, it automatically hooks into any game launched from Steam! While in development and running your game in a debugger, the overlay is loaded when you call SteamAPI_Init. As such you'll need to make sure to call SteamAPI_Init prior to initializing the OpenGL/D3D device, otherwise it won't be able to hook the device creation.

The overlay supports games that use DirectX 7 - 12, OpenGL, Metal, and Vulkan. The overlay will not be active in software-rasterized games.

NOTE: The overlay is automatically disabled for 'Software' app types.

Activating the overlay from your app
There are a set of functions in the Steamworks API that give you direct access to triggering the game overlay.

  • ISteamFriends::ActivateGameOverlay
    This function can open the game overlay to the dialog specified.
  • ISteamFriends::ActivateGameOverlayToUser
    This function can open the game overlay to the dialog specified, with the user passed in as context.
  • ISteamFriends::ActivateGameOverlayToWebPage
    This function can open the game overlay to it's web browser, and loads the specified url. It needs to be a full url, e.g. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login[.
  • ISteamFriends::ActivateGameOverlayToStore
    This function can open the game overlay to the buy DLC for the current game (see You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login for more info.
  • ISteamUtils::SetOverlayNotificationPosition
    Sets which corner of the screen you want notifications ('toasts') to appear. Default is the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  • ISteamUtils::IsOverlayEnabled
    Returns true if the overlay is running & the user can access it. The overlay process could take a few seconds to start & hook the game process, so this function will initially return false while the overlay is loading.

Communication from the overlay to your game
The following signals (callbacks) are sent from Steam to your game, based on user action in the overlay:

  • GameOverlayActivated_t
    Posted when game overlay activates or deactivates. The game can use this to pause or resume single player games.
  • GameServerChangeRequested_t
    Posted when the user selects a friends game to join, contains details about the game server to join.
  • GameLobbyJoinRequested_t
    Posted when the user selects a friends game to join, contains details about the lobby to join.

Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: You may find additional answers on the customer facing support site such as this topic: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.

Q. Why is the Steam overlay crashing my app?
A. The Steam overlay is used in thousands of games and as such it has been very thoroughly tested and is rarely the cause of a crash. However, because of the way it injects itself into the game, it does often expose memory leaks or memory corruption in the usage of your rendering API that may not have impacted game play.To diagnose overlay crashes with DirectX for example, try to determine how D3D got into a bad state by using the d3d debug runtime with all (info/warning/error/notice) level spew turned on. It might give some hints to orphaned d3d resources. If you don’t find anything that way there may be a more general memory corruption issue. If these always occur on shutdown then it’s likely a shutdown ordering issue with the game not cleaning up as it shuts down.If after debugging the app is still crashing in the overlay, please notify us in the You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.

Q. Why isn't the Steam overlay showing up in my app?
A. First ensure that you meet the Requirements above. If you do meet the requirements and it's still not showing up, make sure you're launching the app through the Steam client, either directly from the lobby/quick launch list, or by calling You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.

#skidzGλMING™ CS 1.6  © since 2009


Re: Steam Overlay
« Reply #1 on: 04, May , 2018, 10:16 PM »
Don't use the in-game overlay web browser! YOU'RE GOING TO GET VIRUSES

Normally, I use Firefox with the NoScript add-on so that I'm safe while surfing the web, but just a little while ago I was playing Fallout New Vegas and, just for convenience sake, I decided to Shift+Tab and use Steam's overlay browser to look up some New Vegas information off of New Vegas Wikia page. I went back into the game and a few minutes later I started hearing audio on my computer about a security error and that I should call a phone number (an obvious scam). I closed out of New Vegas ASAP and saw this pop-up and X'd it out, but the audio was still going.

I quit out of Steam and the audio went away, it was coming from the Steam webbrowser. I'm never using Steam's overlay web-browser ever again. It's unsafe. I've ran full system scans of Windows Defender and Malwarebytes and my system seems clean, I think it was just a pop-up, but I haven't seen anything like this in probably ten years. It also befuddles me because I thought Wikia was a reputable website, but I guess I'm wrong and it is a malicious website when you aren't running NoScript protection.

TL;DR: Do not use the overlay browser in Steam and do not use the internet without being on Firefox with the NoScript add-on.

To add as well, I'm super safe about how I use my computer. I don't pirate anything, I don't download any weird software, and I certainly don't go to weird websites.
#skidzGλMING™ CS 1.6  © since 2009


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