It’s been some time since the last news. I was very busy last year and the situtation won’t change in near future which is a good thing. On the other hand I’m very sad about the situation of SteamCenter which is still in a buggy state. The app has been downloaded for over 166.000 times since release and the critics are going from bad to worse. Main reason for that was the change on the Steam API which made the chat to disappear.
I developed SteamCenter since I was in need of an app on my Windows Phone, so you will understand that I’m the most disappointed person on the complete situtation. I decided to finally spent some time to dive into the weak parts of the app and maybe to fix some bugs. While doing that I noticed that redesigning the app from scratch would be more efficient and maybe the best way to improve the app in a way which will satisfy both, the dev and the user. With that in mind I finally took the time now and started to design the app from ground up. It will take some time until the new SteamCenter will be published but I think it is worth the wait.
What can you expect?
You can expect a more polished version of SteamCenter with many minor and major bugs fixed resulting in an improved user experience. You will get an app which will include the same features as the current version just without the random crashes, with a more fluid usability and an improved resource handling for better loading performance and stuff like that.
What you should not expect!
Don’t expect new features like integrated store and stuff like that. SteamCenter is an unofficial Steam app and in no way affiliated with Valve or Steam. SteamCenter uses the free Steam API and therefore is only able to provide features which are able to be realized with the Steam API.
When can I expect the app to be published?
I’m still in planning and design stage of the new app. If everything goes well I hope the app will be in April in beta. There might be a open beta programm until then, I’m not sure about that. If there is enough response it might be the best way.
Some final notes on the Steam API
I’m working as a software developer for over 12 years now. I’m a freelancer for the last 7 years and worked on many different web projects like middleware application and even some enterprise applications. I think I can name myself a web service specialist. What I can say about the Steam API? Compared to other web services I worked in the past I think that the Steam API is in some way non-dev friendly. The architecture seems to be designed in a way to minimize the load on the database while still trying to include as many information as possible in the calls. Exactly this fact results in multiple calls on the same interfaces to achieve simple tasks like getting a list of friend profiles to a given profile for example. Before you get me wrong let me make clear that I don’t say Valve didn’t know what they are doing on their API but that they most probably tried to keep the API on low database load, something which is understandable considering the amount of registered users and the data which has to be handled by their database servers. So as a result I think the Steam API could need a redesign too. With todays technologies you can develop smart web services which provide any amount of data without affecting database/application performance. Maybe some day Valve will consider to either improve existing interfaces or simply provide new interfaces on their API which will also meet the needs of us indies