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Vintage Story on Steam Deck


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In this thread I explain how to install, configure, play, mod and update Vintage Story on Steam Deck.



Video game company Valve recently came up with an affordable PC Linux handheld device called Steam Deck. I received mine a while ago, and of course being a fan of the game I installed Vintage Story on it. Vintage Story is not on Steam, but it is a Linux game and it works nicely on Steam Deck as a non-steam game.

Just to be clear, I don't really intend to advertise anything here. I thought if you come here from the search engine, I'll show you how to install and use it on this particular form factor and share my experiences.



Demo clips

My apologies for poor quality, it's a 1080p webcam but struggling to focus from up close. However most details should be visible.

Clumsy but getting hang of it.


Performance overlay in multiplayer game.



Thanks to the Linux Flatpak package available for Vintage Story, installation and updating the game is very easy. The whole process should take no more than a few minutes.

  1. Press STEAM button, choose Power then choose Switch to Desktop.
    You will be in desktop mode. Use the right touchpad to move the mouse, and press it to left click. Alternatively you can use the touch screen.
  2. Click the Start Menu. From the System category, click Discover application.

  3. Click the search box in top left, and press STEAM + X to pull up the virtual keyboard. Type Vintage Story, press RT to Enter, then press B to hide the keyboard.
  4. From the list on the right, choose Vintage Story item. Press the Install button to download and install it. After a few moments, it should be complete.
  5. Click the Start Menu. From the Games category, right click (press left touchpad) Vintage Story entry and select Add to Steam. Steam Desktop UI dialog window should show up.
  6. Vintage Story item should be on the list, select it.
    If it's not on the list, click Browse and navigate to /var/lib/flatpak/exports/share/applications and open at.vintagestory.VintageStory.desktop. Press Add Selected Programs.

    1. (Optional) You can use SteamGrid utility to download and set a matching library thumbnail from SteamGridDB for the game. Refer to its instructions on how to use it, you'll need to generate a SteamGridDB API key.
  7. Logout or click Return to Gaming Mode from the desktop.

That's it! Vintage Story should be in your Non-Steam category in your Steam library now. Here's how it looks like on my Deck UI, with a nice graphic imported from SteamGridDB.



Configuring and Performance

Before you launch it, make sure to download a community layout named Vintage Story [Mark 1]. As of Vintage Story v1.16.5, it has an important workaround for mouse wheel registering two scrolls instead of one.

First, enable Fullscreen and V-Sync. Also don't use FPS limiter in game options - use the one built into Steam Deck performance options. Everything else is up to you.

For 60 FPS, my recommended quality preset for Multiplayer mode is Medium. It should use around 9-12 Watts of power, depending on your screen brightness. Battery should last for 4 hours of 60 FPS gameplay, even more so if you reduce the framerate to 30 FPS.

I recommend using Low preset for smooth gameplay in Single Player mode. In my experience Single Player mode is more resource intensive, probably due to a fact that in addition to the game client, it additionally hosts a server in the background that performs CPU intensive tasks such as chunk generation and so on.




Here are controls for the game as mapped in the community controller layout Vintage Story [Mark 1], working with the default control configuration inside the game.

  • Right touchpad or Right joystick - Mouse
  • R2 or press right touchpad, or press right joystick - Left mouse button
  • L2 - Right mouse button
  • Left touchpad vertical swipe - Mouse wheel
  • Left joystick - WASD (Walk)
  • A - Space (Jump)
  • B - Escape (Menu, closing windows)
  • Y - C (Character sheet)
  • X - E (Inventory)
  • R1, L2 - cycle though 0-9 keyboard keys (Change hotbar items)
  • L4 - Ctrl (Sprint)
  • R4 - Shift (Sneak)
  • L5 - Left Alt (Lock/Unlock mouse cursor)
  • View - M (Map)
  • View Long Press - F6 (Show/Hide Minimap)
  • Menu - H (Survival Guide)
  • Menu Long Press - J (Journal)
  • D-Pad Up - Q (Drop one item)
  • D-Pad Up Long Press - Ctrl+Q (Drop all items)
  • D-Pad Right - X (Flip left/right hand contents)
  • D-Pad Right Long Press - F (Select Tool Mode)
  • D-Pad Down - G (Sit)
  • D-Pad Down Long Press - F5 (Switch camera mode)
  • D-Pad Left - Tab (Show/Hide chat dialog)
  • D-Pad Left Long Press - T (Type in chat)

You can modify it to tailor it to your preferences. You can also enable gyroscope mouse aiming in Steam controller settings if you desire. Just remember that if you want to share your scheme, avoid changing default game controls.



In Desktop mode, open the Dolphin file manager, in the top right corner of the window press the hamburger menu icon and choose Show hidden files.

From your Home location, navigate to .var/app/at.vintagestory.VintageStory/config/VintagestoryData/Mods.

You shall place any mod files here.


Mods not working or crash when connecting to modded servers

Some mods work well with Windows and Linux, but not Linux Flatpak version of Vintage Story.  The common reason for that is mod developers reference libraries in a way that can't work on this rather exotic setup.

Thankfully, this particular problem is often easy to fix. You need to contact mod developers and make them sure they're referencing libraries in a compatible way. See links below for details.




If you experience any other problems, please let me know.


Updating and Downgrading

To update Vintage Story to the most recent stable version, you'll need to go back to Discover app in the Desktop Mode, go to the Updates section and click the Update button. That's it, nothing else is required.

Downgrading to older versions is a bit more complicated, but doable. You just need to set up an account password to be able to use "sudo" command and then type two first commands from the Downgrading section from Flatpak Tips and Tricks page, as such:

flatpak remote-info --log flathub at.vintagestory.VintageStory
sudo flatpak update --commit=<paste-commit-id-here> at.vintagestory.VintageStory


Known Issues for ≤ 1.16.5

  • Steam Input invokes mouse wheel up/down 2 times, resulting in scrolling by 2 items/lines, not by one.
  • Game sometimes hangs on exit, user needs to force exit a few times from Steam UI to terminate it.
  • Slight frametime jitter regardless of used video options.


Closing thoughts

Vintage Story works and plays nice on Steam Deck with no major issues, except for the mouse wheel issue for skipping inventory items on bottom bar, but it was already worked around with a controller mapping hack.

Smooth and stable gameplay, you can map all the essential controls you need. If you use Discord to voice chat, you can also install it the same way, run in Steam and switch between VS and Discord seamlessly. You can also map Push-To-Talk key if you need it.


That's it! Let me know what you think.

Also, my first post on this forum. Thanks Tyron et al for this amazing game.


Edited by mard
fix typos, add missing screenshots, add controls section, add modding section, add mod issues section
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  • 2 weeks later...
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7 hours ago, Lucy Demoon said:

1 question why flatpack and not from AUR? SteamOS3 is an Arch and without flatpak you can save much space than this flatpack monsters

It's easy and convenient!

SteamOS3 is Arch, but its rootfs is immutable + read-only by default. It can be written into, but everything done there is sooner or later wiped by system update images. AUR version of Vintage Story package installs in rootfs, so if my understanding is correct, I would need to repeat the process of installing it every time after the system gets updated. It would make more sense to install mono and then install the game manually in home directory. And then there are solutions like this one.... , but, eh, it's just too much hassle either way.

As for the size argument - if we don't count those beefy shared libraries used by other flatpaks, Vintage Story only comes with a mono runtime library that weights around 80 MB. Less than a native package. So it's not that drastic overhead really.

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I'm having an issue, I can't connect to modded servers. I tried installing the mods directly into the mod folder but that didn't work. When I try to connect l, it downloads the mods and when I join the game crashes. Any ideas what I can do to overcome this? 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 9/30/2022 at 10:53 PM, TJ Bartlett said:

I'm having an issue, I can't connect to modded servers. I tried installing the mods directly into the mod folder but that didn't work. When I try to connect l, it downloads the mods and when I join the game crashes. Any ideas what I can do to overcome this? 

It might be the technical problem with at least one of the mod. It's possible one or more of them were prepared in a way that is incompatible with Flatpak version of Vintage Story.

First things first - you should be able to see in crash logs which mod exactly is responsible for the crash. To be sure, you can try to reproduce the problem by hosting your own local server with this particular mod you have problem with and connecting to it with Steam Deck. If you experience any crash - gather any data you can find and contact the mod developer providing them all the details.

To give you some background, some time ago I had a similar problem with a mod installed on one of the popular servers - I couldn't join a server due to an error in one of the mods. I gathered all data I could find, reproduced this on a clean local server, and created an issue on mod's repository:

PetAI crashes and is incompatible with Flathub version of Vintage Story · Issue #24 · G3rste/petai · GitHub

Please, have a good read of this. Author quickly fixed the issue by reconfiguring mod's library references and issued an update. Server eventually installed the updated of the mod, I was able to join that server and play with no issues.

I have a feeling you experience exact same problem with some other mod. If that's the case, do the same as I did - gather all logs and create an issue. You can also link aforementioned PetAI issue and/or pull request as reference.

Sorry for late reply but I don't check the forum often. I hope you find that helpful, good luck!

Edit: I updated the original post to provide some information about issues with some mods.

Edited by mard
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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the guide.  I have one issue I cant solve no matter what input options I chose or via using the [Mark 1] community template.  How the heck do you use the right stick to turn the camera.  It does nothing so all I can do is WASD with the left stick.  Many thanks for any information :)

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