Play without its Steam Steam games…

No need to present Steam, the content distribution platform from Valve dematerialized. It offers thousands of games / software in & rsquo; purchase and often offers promotions / sales. But one of the negatives of this platform is almost obliged to go through it in order to use its games (even in offline mode). The platform being, so, a sort of DRM.

In seeking a little, so I came across a “Emulator” Steam which propose to launch its games without installing it. And his name , c & rsquo; is SmartSteamEmu.


At & rsquo; origin, the program is not intended that & rsquo; manage a lobby in Age of Empires II HD bypassing Steam, but as with the development, it has become a true emulator. Here are its features (v1.3.6) :

  • Launch a Steam game without using it
  • Allows parties online or LAN without internet connection
  • Emulates the lobby, navigation server
  • Stats, success and backups
  • Managing DLC
  • Support de l’Avatar
  • Support de plugins
  • Support de l’overlay (DX9/11)
  • Support partiel Steam Workshop


The program offers 2 ways to market its games : either via a launcher (cf. capture), either by copying a few files in the game folder and configuring an INI file. In this case, just launch an executable to run the game directly.

Launch games via the launcher could not be simpler : Drag and drop the & rsquo; game executable in the launcher. This opens a configuration window (with some prefilled information, If Steam is installed and you have logged in at least once to your account). It allows to configure some settings of & rsquo; emulator, see directly create a shortcut on the desktop. And once validated, the game appear in the launcher. Suffice it & rsquo; double-click to launch, and this, while Steam n & rsquo; is not running.


The first configuration window allows d & rsquo; the name of the game, the path, its class, the version of the DLL steam_api and some other info. Note that for some older games that n & rsquo; not include DLL steam_api (eg. Titan Quest), it is necessary, in this case, select “Inject SmartSteamEmu”.

Other tabs allow you to manage assets DLC, overloading some global settings of & rsquo; to configure the emulator and game servers.


L & rsquo; emulator also has global settings, such as the user profile displayed in the game (avatar, pseudo, ID, …), management of game servers, banns d & rsquo; users, etc…

If you want to avoid going through the launcher, you have 2 options :

  • Either right-click on the game, in the launcher, and you select “Create Desktop Shortcut”. This will create a shortcut on your desktop to launch the game without displaying the launcher.
  • Either you copy the contents of SmartSteamEmu file in the game folder, SmartSteamEmu.ini you change the file according to the desired settings and you start the game via SmartSteamEmu.exe (and not the & rsquo; game executable). This way is more complex to set up, niveau configuration, but allows d & rsquo; avoid going through the launcher.

My opinion

For those wishing to spend Steam at the same time there can still buy games and keep a copy for use, This small software is a good solution (l & rsquo; n & rsquo alternative; another is that & rsquo; use of cracks).

For my part, j & rsquo; I download all my games. J & rsquo; have each game then compressed to store on a disk. And if I want to play, I don & rsquo; & rsquo have that; to decompress a game and add the in & rsquo; emulator to play (some games need some key records to start, we must think also save). No need d & rsquo; use Steam or download the game again.

Some will say that Steam also offers options for exporting the games then you can reinstall them directly, without downloading again, more, in that case, Steam is always required because the exported files are encrypted and only one (and some other programs) can decipher.