Status Of SDL2 On Valve's Steam Deck?


We are working on our SDL2 game to be released in May on Valve’s Steam for Windows(R) and Linux.

What is the status of SDL2 on Valve’s Steam Deck?
We unfortunately can’t afford to buy a Steam Deck but wish to support it.

Game to be released is below:

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!


SDL works great on the Steam Deck, and is part of the Steam Linux Runtime.


Does SDL2_Image, SDL2_Mixer, and SDL2_TTF work on Steam Deck?
Also is there a way to detect in code if game is running on Steam Deck?


Hi there.

Valve has some good videos on developing for the deck over at the Steamworks Development Youtube Channel.

This one has some tips on developing without a Dev-kit/Deck. It proposes a Linux Manjaro version and hardware that sort of matches the Steam Deck experience, so you can develop and be mostly sure it will run on a Deck.

This other video explains some of the Steamworks API related to the Deck, including detecting if running on Deck.

SDL2_Image, Mixer, TTF, etc, are all part of the Steam Runtime and thus will work on the Steam Deck.

The simplest way to think about it is if you have a working Linux build on Steam, it’ll work on the Steam Deck as well. The bigger question is whether a Windows only game will, since the Deck will use Proton (a Windows “emulator”). Often they will work. You can test your Windows-only game on a Linux desktop running Steam, as it can use Proton there too.

The bigger concern for the Steam Deck is not “will my game run?” (it probably will) but “is my game friendly to a handheld device?” and that’s a whole different topic which I’m sure Valve covers in depth. The Deck makes huge efforts to accommodate desktop-focused games, but there’s a lot you can do to make a game friendlier to a mobile device without leaving your desktop environment (add game controller support, etc).