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Online Subsystem Steam

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The Online Subsystem Steam API enables you to ship Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) applications to Valve's Steam platform. The main purpose of the Steam module is to help you distribute your application with a set of features (such as matchmaking and leaderboards) to Steam users. Additionally, the Steam module implements several of the interfaces being exposed by the Online Subsystem , supporting most of what is offered by the Steamworks Software Development Kit (SDK).

Some of the available Steam Interfaces include:

  • Matchmaking (Lobbies and GameServer APIs)

  • Leaderboards

  • Achievements

  • Voice

  • UserCloud

  • SharedCloud

  • External UI

Reference our Online Subsystem Steam API Reference for a more complete listing of currently available Steam Interfaces.

Meeting Valve's Requirements

The Steam Subsystem requires additional setup through Valve Steamworks . Please contact Valve and reference their Steamworks SDK Documentation to make sure that your application meets Valve's requirements before attempting to use Steam with UE4.

Downloading Steamworks

If your application meets Valve's requirements, go ahead and download the latest version of the Steamworks SDK . The SDK needs to be unzipped and copied to /YourUnrealEnginePath/Engine/Source/ThirdParty/Steamworks/Steam[Current Version]/sdk

If you're updating your project's Steamworks SDK, make sure to update the [Current Version] in your project's Steamworks path:
/YourUnrealEnginePath/Engine/Source/ThirdParty/Steamworks/Steam[Current Version]/sdk
You'll also need to update, which is located in the project directory. SteamworksCSFile.png
In this example, the [Current Version] is formatted as v139.

Compiling UE4

If you're compiling UE4 from source, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Open OnlineSubsystemSteamPrivatePCH.h (being located in ..\..\Plugins\Online\OnlineSubsystemSteam\Source\Private\), where you'll find the following line of code, defining the root location of the Steamworks SDK:

    #define STEAM_SDK_ROOT_PATH TEXT("Binaries/ThirdParty/Steamworks")
  2. You'll want to modify the line to read:

    #define STEAM_SDK_VER TEXT("Steam[Current Version]")

Setting up the Steamworks SDK

Using Steam against the precompiled version of the engine should only require copying some of the dynamically linked libraries (*.dll) from Valve's SDK into the appropriate folders. If you intend to recompile the engine against the source, putting the SDK in the right place is required as well. Now, copy the relevant redistributable files from the /redistributable_bin/ directory of the SDK to the following locations:

Choose Your Operating System


Mac OS


Some of the 64 bit libraries can be found in your Steam client directory (at the time of this writing, Valve didn't include all of the libraries in the SDK).

/YourUnrealEnginePath/Engine/Binaries/ThirdParty/Steamworks/Steam[Current Version]/Win64

  • steam_api64.dll

  • steamclient64.dll

  • tier0_s64.dll

  • vstdlib_s64.dll

/YourUnrealEnginePath/Engine/Binaries/ThirdParty/Steamworks/Steam[Current Version]/Win32

  • steam_api.dll

  • steamclient.dll

  • tier0_s.dll

  • vstdlib_s.dll


  • libsteam_api.dylib (from /redistributable_bin/osx32 - the dynamic library (*.dylib) has both 32 and 64 bit support)

Linux users must link and ship the following file alongside the executable.


Steam App ID

All games using the Steam Online Subsystem must have a valid application ID because the Steamworks API won't initialize if it doesn't know your application's Steam App ID. Before initializing Steam, UE4 will generate steam_appid.txt (during a graceful shutdown of the engine, UE4 deletes this file). It's important to note that steam_appid.txt must be located in the same directory as your application's executable file because Steam will look for the text file in the current working directory. Additionally, the file should not be included in any Steam images.

If you open steam_appid.txt, you'll see a SteamDevAppId entry, which is a field that hints your application's ID to Steam. This makes it unnecessary to launch the game using the Steam client (although it must be running).

If you want to test your application, you can use a SteamDevAppId of 480, which is a test App ID that is shared by all developers. Although you can test most Steam Interfaces with the aforementioned test App ID, your application will need a Steam App ID before being shipped.

Shipping Builds

In shipping builds, the engine will check to make sure that the logged-in user is properly subscribed to the game and will shutdown if the engine's test returns false (this is one way to help secure the game). Additionally, using Steam DRM (see the Steamworks SDK) should further protect the game from being tampered with.

Configuring your Application's Settings

If you're creating a new project using the Unreal Project Browser, Online Subsystem settings shouldn't exist in DefaultEngine.ini; however, if you're modifying one of our Sample Projects, the Online Subsystem settings might already exist.

Now that you've set up the Steamworks SDK for your application (along with setting up the Steam App ID), you're ready to configure your application's settings to use Online Subsystem Steam.


  1. Getting started, open you application's DefaultEngine.ini file.

  2. Add the following setting:


    NetDriverDefinitions describes the net drivers available to UE4 with the following properties being defined:

    • DefName is the unique name of this net driver definition.

    • DriverClassName is the class name of the primary net driver.

    • DriverClassNameFallBack is the class name of the fallback net driver if the primary net driver class fails to initialize.

  3. To tell UE4 to use Online Subsystem Steam, add the following setting:

  4. Now that you've told UE4 that you want your application to use the Steam Online Subsystem, you'll need to configure the OnlineSubsystemSteam module by adding the following settings:

  5. Finally, you'll want to specify the Steam class to the Net Driver for the application's connections:


End Result

At the end of this brief guide, your application's DefaultEngine.ini file should look like the following setting block. If you want to see how other projects set up and use the Online Subsystem, please refer to our library of Sample Projects.

Finished Settings






Additional Notes

Module Setup

Make sure to include the Unreal Engine Steam module as part of your project (see Unreal Build System Target Files for additional help). Specifically, adding the following line in the construtor for should be enough to make sure that the Steam module is built along with your game.


Steam Overlay on Mac

Steam Overlay on Mac requires game to be launched using Steam client. For this, you first need to add the game to your library using "Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library" option from Steam's Games menu.