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This may sound stupid, but I really want to know if I can appear to be playing a game without necessarily having it installed, a bit similarly to something like Idle Master.

  • You can lead Steam to believe that it plays any other game by manipulation the app manifest file. However I believe that such sort of questions aren't wished here and it's likely that it will be closed since Steam doesn't allow this as far as I know. Anyway, people do this for farming trading cards without playing the particular game. – h0ch5tr4355 Sep 30 '15 at 11:00
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If you add a non-steam game, and go to its properties, you can set the name to be whatever you wish. Using this, you can find some lightweight program you aren't using, like notepad for example, add it to Steam, and then change the name to the game you're playing. I've used this to let my friends know I'm playing a console game before.

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  • 7
    I remember it was funny to set Notepad as the target application but change the name to something like "Half-Life 3: alpha v0.2" or "Left 4 Dead 3, beta", or something like that, and I'd get all these messages once I launched going 'yo where'd you get hl3????" – senpai Sep 30 '15 at 18:55
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One way you can do such a thing would be to use an existing game that has been installed. To appear as if you're playing a different game, you can modify the steam_appid.txt file for that installed game and change the game ID there to the ID of the game you wish to appear to be playing. If a game does not have one of these files by default, creating one yourself will still work.

Steam_appid.txt file in Super Hexagon folder

appid.txt file content

Simply replace the text in the file with the app ID of whatever game you wish to 'play'. To find out what app ID the game of your choice has, look at the URL for the game's store page and copy the number at the end of the URL (store.steampowered.com/app/[appid]/).

However, this will only work if you then run the game through the .exe file instead of opening it through Steam. If you open it through Steam, the app ID file will be reset back to its default.

If done correctly, you should see your in-game status as being the game you wanted to seem playing, even though you'd be playing a different game. Due to your in-game status corresponding to what you wanted to seem playing, this also means that you can use it to idle cards.

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  • Is that going to fool other people's Steam clients, or just your own? – user86571 Sep 30 '15 at 19:10
  • @RossRidge It'll show up across Steam itself as the in-game status, and can be seen as such by anyone. – nine Sep 30 '15 at 19:11

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