Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Friday, December 28, 2018

How to build your very own Steam link
The Steam Link is no more. It was basically a streaming box, that allowed you to stream games from your PC to your TV in another room. It was powered by a SoC Marvell DE3005-A1 ARMv7 processor at 1.0 GHz. It was a great budget option for getting your PC games form the back room office PC to the living room HDTV, as long as you had a powerful host PC to run the games. Games could be streamed at 1080p and 60 FPS, and the device supported the Steam controller as well as third-party ones like the Xbox One, as long as you had the proper attachments for wireless controllers. In a statement, Valve said it "intends to continue supporting the existing Steam Link hardware as well as distribution of the "software versions" of Steam Link." Recently , Valveā€™s Sam Lantinga announced that the Steam Link app was now available in a beta form for the Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

Building my own home made Steam link:

I saw announcements about the new Raspberry Pi 3B+ and decided to buy one. I looked for kits to get started with and decided to get the CanaKit. I got the CanaKit because it included the basics to get started using the Pi. The Kit price was a little cheaper than buying the individual pieces, and made it easier to shop. I would recommend this kit to anyone getting started with the Pi.

What you get in the box:

  1. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (B Plus) with 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU (BCM2837B0) 1 GB LPDDR2 SDRAM On-board WiFi and Bluetooth Connectivity  
  2. 32 GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD Card (Class 10) pre-loaded with NOOBS 
  3. USB MicroSD Card Reader
  4. CanaKit 2.5A Micro USB Power Supply with Noise Filter (UL Listed) specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 3 (5-foot cable)
  5. Official Raspberry Pi 3 Case
  6. High Quality HDMI Cable with CEC support (6-foot cable)
  7. Set of 2 Aluminum Heat Sinks
  8. GPIO Quick Reference Card
  9. CanaKit Full Color Quick-Start Guide
NOTE: The 32 GB MicroSD card may appear as 1 GB when inserted into a PC as it is pre-partitioned. The remaining space can be expanded as desired.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Technical Specifications:

  • Broadcom BCM2837BO 64 bit ARMv8 QUAD Core A53 64bit Processor powered Single Board Computer run at 1.4GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  •  BCM43143 WiFi on board
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on board
  • 40 pin extended GPIO 
  • 4 x USB2 ports
  • 4 pole Stereo output and Composite video port
  • Full size HDMI
  • CSI camera port for connecting the Raspberry Pi camera
  • DSI display port for connecting the Raspberry
  • Pi touch screen display 
  • MicroSD port for loading your operating system and storing data
  • Upgraded switched Micro USB power source (now supports up to 2.5 Amps.
Once you have built your mini system:

Step 1 On host your PC.

Download the latest version of Raspbian Stretch and then the Etcher or UNetbootin, applications to easily write the image to a blank micro SD card of around 8GB in size. Writing the card will take a few minutes, but once created eject and insert it into your Raspberry Pi and power it up.

Step 2 Boot up system.

The Raspberry Pi will boot to the desktop, and from there we need to open a terminal.

Step 3  Install Steam Link app.

There is an icon in the top left of the screen, so click that to open the terminal. In the terminal we shall enter a command to update the list of available software downloads, and if that is successful it will then install the Steam Link app. In the terminal type:

Paste: sudo apt update && sudo apt install steamlink

Once installed we can close the terminal and then click on the Steam Link desktop icon to launch the application.

Step 4 Configure your controllers.

Steam Link officially supports only a few controllers. Chiefly Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710, Sony DualShock 4 pad, the Xbox 360 and Xbox One pads. Once you configure your pad, select Connect to Computer and it should auto-detect your Linux PC running Steam. Clicking on the PC link will trigger a pin code to appear on the Raspberry Pi. Remember this pin and enter it on the host PC.

NOTE: Many Linux distros have the firewall turned on by default.A firewall can be the single most important tool to manage the security of your Linux machine and network. You can write iptables rules yourself, or download something like Gufw to take some of the pain out of controlling your firewall.

Step 5 Perform a network test.

Next it will be time to do a network test. For the best experience Steam requires you use an Ethernet cable. With the Raspberry Pi 3B+  you can also use 5GHz Wi-Fi, but the best speeds and lowest latency is with Ethernet. If you are using a Raspberry Pi 3B you will need to use Ethernet as the WiFi on the 3B is not 5GHz and is quite slow in comparison. If your router is not too far away the Raspberry Pi, going wireless works well. However for best the experience, Valve recommend using a wired connection. For me the TP-Link TL-PA9020P powerline adapter kit worked very well. Click on 'Start Playing' to run Steam Link. In the step in the process you may be asked to install a driver on the host PC. This is a required step in order to continue.

Step 6 View your library.

You'll now see Big Picture Mode which allows you to play games from your library, surf the web, buy games in the store and take part in the Steam community. At this point you can pop the Raspberry Pi in the Official Raspberry Pi 3 Case , and connect it up round the back of a HDTV television.

Step 7 Adjust your streaming settings.

To reach the Steam Link screen you need to click on the Power icon in the top right, and select 'Stop Streaming'. From there we can access the 'Settings' option and then go to 'Streaming'. In 'Streaming' we can change the quality of the stream. The best option to start with is 'Balanced' but if you are experiencing lag then change this to 'Fast'.

Step 8 Advanced streaming settings.

Advanced users can access the 'Advanced Streaming Settings' and dial in their settings for the best experience. From this screen you can force the resolution to 720p,1080p, or even 2160p. If your router is not too far away the Raspberry Pi going wireless works well. However for best the experience, Valve recommend using a wired connection. For me the TP-Link TL-PA9020P powerline adapter kit worked very well.
  • Currently I am using a wired Hori fighting commander pad without any problems. I am playing The King of Fighters 14 Steam Edition ultimate pack.
  • My BlueFinger CM200 Computer Keyboard + Zelotes T90 USB Wired Mouse worked well with games like, No More Room in Hell.
NOTE: Your host PC needs to be running Steam in order for everything to work. 

NOTE: I play The King of Fighters 14 Steam Edition with the help of Steam Play Proton compatibility layer. Steam Play Proton (3.16-5)


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