While Valve has a solid track record for working on Steam, it’s still far from perfect, and community tool developer SteamDB just had to release a browser plugin that fixes the performance of one of the site’s pages. First launched in 2003, Steam has a lot of legacy code that is holding it back in some ways that Valve seems to be in no hurry to fix.
Pavel Jundik opened a new page on GitHub called “If Valve doesn’t want to do it, then I will”, where he posted information about an update to the SteamDB plugin for the browser, which should significantly increase the speed of loading the page with information about games in Steam user profiles. The creator of SteamDB was frustrated with how long this page took to load for users with large game libraries and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Jundika’s SteamDB is a very popular community resource and has been around for almost as long as Steam itself. The development of SteamDB means that Jundik has a good understanding of how Steam works in general, and he has been frustrated by the massively inflated load times, especially on the users’ Profile Games page, which displays information about their game time, achievements, and more. Jundik claims that this is a simple fix that significantly reduces the download of this information – for example, the owner of 20,000 games reported that now it takes only a few seconds to download, and before he had to wait about five minutes.
Valve recently added a number of significant updates to the Steam shopping functionality, which is good news, but Jundik’s statements suggest that there is still a lot of work to be done on Steam optimization in general. Users interested in implementing Jundik’s massive performance optimizations should look for SteamDB in their browser’s extension stores, though he did mention that it might be some time before version 3.6.0 is approved for download. At the time of writing, the version this extension in Google Chrome still 3.5.1
While the company may not be optimizing Steam as well as many hope, Valve has taken a proactive stance lately to make the service as user-friendly as possible.
It’s possible that a fix like the one Pavel Dzhundik developed will be officially launched in a Steam client update, but it’s not known when that will happen. Of course, the obvious downside to Jundik’s work is that his plugin will only work when using Steam through a browser, meaning that the official app itself will remain unoptimized until Valve decides to do something about it.