So, this started as a personal project. One of the projects you start during a rainy day. Actually, it did not rain at all, but I wanted to take a day off from my readings (just completed this btw).
You cannot really stop hobbyists from doing what they’re best at, after all. You cannot even stop enthusiasts from being enthusiasts when, eventually, somebody puts some love into the Linux ecosystem.
So, my question is, while we wait for the official SteamBox (and perhaps Half-Life 3…), why don’t we make our own? And this is what I did.
What is this?
Sabayon SteamBox Edition is a remastered 64bit only Sabayon live image that contains Steam. This image can be either run off USB storage or DVDs or installed, like any other Sabayon image. The difference is that, once booted, Steam is automatically started in Big Picture mode.
How does it work?
Well, as written above, Steam is automatically started in Big Picture mode at boot. However, you can exit Steam and logout through an application running in background called “Steam Manager” and then, log into GNOME and use the system as a normal Sabayon distro. This allows you to make changes to it, like for instance, setup a wireless connection, configure Steam the way you want or just update the system, and then dive back into the “SteamBox” mode.
This is pretty much the way I converted my Windows Steam (gaming) machine into a Sabayon SteamBox, and I’m sure that some of you may want to do the same.
What hardware, or better, what GPU?
Seriously, get a NVIDIA GPU. If you really want to play complex games that’s the easiest solution. However, I also managed to run Steam off open source radeon and even intel drivers, but I got the best experience when using the nvidia ones. Sabayon SteamBox also experimentally supports NVIDIA Optimus (it uses optirun, but I will migrate to primusrun soon) if you boot the system appending “optimus” to the kernel command line.
How to transform your current Sabayon into a SteamBox?
Simple, just “equo install sabayon-steambox“, enable the “steambox” service (with systemd: systemctl enable steambox), append “steambox” to the kernel command line and reboot.