When Valve set out to build its own operating system for its own breed of home gaming PCs, I was stoked. Not at the idea of buying a new machine – heavens no, I didn’t want that. I was stoked at being able to build a cheap one from spare parts, and use the streaming feature they’ve touted so highly.

And while that streaming feature wont’ be available for a few more weeks (or even days) as they’ve said, I did decide to start piecing a machine together when they released the SteamOS linux distro yesterday. And now, with just a few hours of work, patience, two trips to the store, three cups of coffee and a desire to play games on a TV again, I have one of the first homegrown Steam Machines.

Here’s a few of the highlights from my sharing of The Journey to Steam Box with Twitter.

[View the story “Building a Steam Machine” on Storify]

If you’ve seen the Storify above, here are some images throughout the installation process via Linux (Debian distro).

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Biscuit was really tired after a hard morning of PC buildin’ and Steam OS’in. Lettin’ her nap before we start the REAL WORK.

Known Issues

  • Awesomenauts comes up with its PC-style settings launcher, and it looks terrible on the big screen, and you have to plug in a mouse and use it to set the settings. Bummer, but understandable and will likely get resolved in an update.
  • Awesomenauts again, controller buttons seemed entirely mapped incorrectly. A and B buttons moved up and down, and LB was to select something.
  • Fixed Awesomenauts resolution issue. My old bigscreen’s resolution maxes at 720, so setting Awesomenauts start resolution to 720 fixed it. Fits perfectly on screen, looks great.
  • Related note: if a game has a launcher, Steam will let you run the launcher from the settings option when you choose to play a game. Launcher windows can still look like garbage (and require a mouse if you don’t have the Steam controller), but a good temp workaround.
  • Fixed Awesomenauts controller issue. By default, you can use controller, the game just misinterprets your inputs. You can awkwardly make your way to the settings menu and configure the buttons and sticks manually, but using a keyboard is easier. Forgiveable at this beta state, but not in final product with end consumer.
  • Home button on xbox 360 controller doesn’t go to Steam Home like it probably will in the long run, but can still be held down to force quite a game.
  • Menu moves quite well and animates beautifully, but does suffer from the occasional hiccup and stutter, as is normal for pre-launch software. Valve’s got plenty of time to smooth out the bumps, but it’s really good even in its current form.
  • Streaming in-home is not available in beta feature form yet, but Valve says it’ll be available before year’s end.

Going to play with this some more today.