Turning Your Steam Deck into a Mobile Art Studio
The steam deck is awesome for games, like really awesome, but I wonder, can you take this little portable computer and Dual Purpose it as a digital art tool? The answer is yes, otherwise this would be a really short video, Ive broken it into three chunks, a good better best. If you will okay thats, not right, maybe uh broken pretty good and oh hell, yeah category, so lets get to it. If youre not super familiar with the steam deck, there is one thing that you should know about it. It is fiddly that is the steam decks greatest strength and its greatest weakness rolled into one its great, because its basically a computer with a controller strapped to the sides. And you can do anything if youre willing to fiddle its a weakness. Because if youre used to say I dont know a Nintendo switch where you just turn it on you download your games and you can start playing thats, not really the case with the steam deck most of the time. Sometimes it is, if you open the steam Store. Download a game its not that different of an experience, but man are you missing out on a lot of of cool stuff? If thats all you do now, sometimes those other cool features are a little bit fiddly and sometimes they are a lot fiddly and today were going to be a lot fiddly, okay, tier one, the broken tier aka, the non fiddly tier.
This is a touch screen. So your finger or a cheap, dumb stylus will work and there are drawing apps in the steam store now youre not going to get pressure sensitivity with your finger or a dumb stylus or much accuracy. So dont expect a whole lot here. Now. What about that software? Here I was pretty excited krita, which is probably the best free drawing software in the universe is available on the steam store. There is one catch, though, when they place it in a store, whether its steam or the Microsoft store they do charge for it here. It is 14.99 also worth noting. It says that it is not supported on the steam deck, so we will see were right, not supported on the steam deck. Critter has a lot of problems here, but probably the biggest one is that when youre in the menus and youre trying to create a new file, it just kinda hangs half the time. I have to leave the app I have to force quit. It start again try again so maybe one out of every three times that actually works properly now for drawing its its, not that good. Now many of the features that you might expect to be here because its a touch screen like using it on Windows just arent, for example, you cant pinch and zoom. You cant use two fingers to pan around and, of course, drawing with your finger or a stylus. Is just its horrible? A lot of the interfaces also hit him because the screen is so small.
For example, I cant get to the slider that lets me change my brush size. I cant get to the tool that lets me zoom in and out, which means we are going to plan B nice thing about the steam deck theres, a single USB C portal on the top, so you can plug in a keyboard and a mouse or in my Case a dongle which will let me plug in a keyboard or a mouse. So with those connected I can now use keyboard shortcut, so I can rotate the screen I can zoom in and out. I can even resize my brushes that gets created dangerously close to usable thats, probably an exaggeration, its still wonky. Every time I resize my brush, it takes a few beats to actually catch up with my finger when I start to draw again, for all intents and purposes, this experience is kind of broken, so lets add more steam deck lets. You go to a Linux desktop mode by choosing the power from this theme, deck menu and then choosing desktop mode. It is entirely possible to use the desktop mode with the steam deck controllers, but good night. Is it easier to do this with a keyboard and mouse? I am keeping those plugged in so here we have the XP pen Deco MW. It is a tiny little drawing tablet. I chose this one because its green its hard to find a green tablet nowadays and because it works with Linux.
First, things first lets open up a web browser and download krita. This time were getting it from the web, so it is free. I should also point out I uninstalled the version from Steam. Before I did this. I found that the desktop version of krita Works far better than the steam version. I also went to XP Pens website grab some of the Linux drivers there. There are three different drivers for various flavors of Linux. The steam deck is based on a version of arch, so I am going to be using the tar gz file. They also have some PDFs on this page, with instructions on how to install this on Linux Im going to be following those as well. I should also say this is where things started to fall apart. For me, this is the first time in my life Ive ever used Linux. So to say I am inexperienced is an understatement. For example, oh man Im going to make myself look stupid here in the instructions it says, type sudo and then drag the installation file into the terminal. I didnt know I was supposed to hit the space bar after sudo before dragging the file in even once. I figured that out. I still was having a hard time getting the drivers installed, theres – probably going to be some guy in the comments like why didnt he just pseudobash the executable and j log to access the broccoli, sifter 3.7 G extension, while in proxy mode, because I dont know what That means update the pen is working.
I never got the drivers installed, but here we are. I dont know why, but its working, really beautiful pen pressure – I will not look gift – depend pressure in the mouth. We are plowing ahead, so Im calling this a smashing success from desktop mode with a drawing tablet. This is a hundred percent legit art tool. Now, once you familiarize yourself with krita youre, going to be able to make great stuff here, but I am not done. I took this XP pen artist, 10 pen, display tablet, which I reviewed a few weeks back and I plugged it in just to see what would happen and yeah this. This really needs drivers without drivers. It kind of crashes things. So I went to Google and Googled the errors that I was getting when I was trying to install the drivers, I had to turn off read only and then boom. I could install the drivers, no problem. When I was done. I turned read only back on again. So, after a quick reboot, I was Off to the Races kinda it works, but for some reason the mapping on the screen is really kind of quirky. The cursor is not lining up with the screen properly. So, as I move down the screen, the alignment gets more and more off. This makes drawing on the screen really really difficult. I tried fixing this in several different ways, just playing with the the drivers trying some different stuff, but I wasnt able to fix it for now Im going to take the loss and move on now before we get to the next option.
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So that way, I can dual boot between my steam Deck with Steam, OS and windows, which is going to be on that SD card. This was surprisingly easy to do. There are a lot of steps here. It did take me several hours to do. Most of that time was spent just waiting around for things to either download or install, but it wasnt hard. You will need another Windows computer to get started because you have to create a bootable drive and the only way to do that is with a Windows. Computer Im going to link down below the tutorial, I followed its on a channel called game Tech Planet. If he ever sees this. Thank you so much, but your tutorial was phenomenal and very easy to follow. Now getting windows up and running. I would call fiddly, but once its set up, this is just as easy to use as any other Windows computer and with Windows running on the steam deck. All options are on the table that little drawing tablet. That was a little funky on Linux. Yes, it runs perfectly here and any other drawing tablet. You may have youre going to be able to install it Im still using credit here, but you can install any of adobes apps. You can run Affinity designer any drawing app in the known universe. You can install on Windows, okay, fine, not procreate, I mean any Windows drawing app you can install, so it might seem that Windows is really the best option.
There are some pros and cons. Obviously the pros are you can do really anything here? The cons are, is that every time you want to play a game thats on your steam deck youre gon na have to like boot out of Windows, restart the whole device and boot back into Steam OS I didnt have any problems with speed. I didnt really notice anything when I was drawing, but your applications are going to be running faster if you install them natively on your steam deck than they are, if youre running everything off an SD card. Overall, I was really impressed with this whole thing, especially that second option you dont have to install Windows. You could just have a nice portable, drawing tablet that you could take with you, plug in with a USBC cord and youre good to go drawing in krita and Linux desktop mode, its its fantastic. So that was awesome. Is there anything else youd like to be to try with the steam deck related to drawing you know, let me know Down Below in the comments. Thank you all for watching and Ill talk to you.