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ISteamNetworkingUtils Interface
Misc networking utilities for checking the local networking environment and estimating pings.

IN BETA We're working on shipping this to the Steam Client and making it available in the Steamworks SDK right now. If you want early access, we have a standalone version of the library you can link with. You can also try out the opensource version.

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Member functions for ISteamNetworkingUtils are called through the global accessor function SteamNetworkingUtils().

Ping Location Functions

We use the ping times to the valve relays deployed worldwide to generate a "marker" that describes the location of an Internet host. Given two such markers, we can estimate the network latency between two hosts, without sending any packets. The estimate is based on the optimal route that is found through the Valve network. If you are using the Valve network to carry the traffic, then this is precisely the ping you want. If you are not, then the ping time will probably still be a reasonable estimate.

This is extremely useful to select optional peers for matchmaking!

The markers can also be converted to a string, so they can be transmitted. We have a separate library you can use on your backend to manipulate these objects. (See steamdatagram_ticketgen.h)


int EstimatePingTimeBetweenTwoLocations( const SteamNetworkPingLocation_t &location1, const SteamNetworkPingLocation_t &location2 );

Return location info for the current host. Returns the approximate age of the data, in seconds, or -1 if no data is available. Note that this might return an age older than the age of your game's process, if the data was obtained before you game started.

This always return the most up-to-date information we have available right now, even if we are in the middle of re-calculating ping times.


float GetLocalPingLocation( SteamNetworkPingLocation_t &result );

Estimate the round-trip latency between two arbitrary locations, in milliseconds. This is a conservative estimate, based on routing through the relay network. For most basic relayed connections, this ping time will be pretty accurate, since it will be based on the route likely to be actually used.

If a direct IP route is used (perhaps via NAT traversal), then the route will be different, and the ping time might be better. Or it might actually be a bit worse! Standard IP routing is frequently suboptimal!

But even in this case, the estimate obtained using this method is a reasonable upper bound on the ping time. (Also it has the advantage of returning immediately and not sending any packets.)

In a few cases we might not able to estimate the route. In this case a negative value is returned. k_nSteamNetworkingPing_Failed means the reason was because of some networking difficulty. (Failure to ping, etc) k_nSteamNetworkingPing_Unknown is returned if we cannot currently answer the question for some other reason.

Do you need to be able to do this from a backend/matchmaking server? You are looking for the "ticketgen" library, see steamdatagram_ticketgen.h


int EstimatePingTimeFromLocalHost( const SteamNetworkPingLocation_t &remoteLocation );
Same as EstimatePingTime, but assumes that one location is the local host. This is a bit faster, especially if you need to calculate a bunch of these in a loop to find the fastest one.

In rare cases this might return a slightly different estimate than combining GetLocalPingLocation with EstimatePingTimeBetweenTwoLocations. That's because this function uses a slightly more complete set of information about what route would be taken.


void ConvertPingLocationToString( const SteamNetworkPingLocation_t &location, char *pszBuf, int cchBufSize );
Convert a ping location into a text format suitable for sending over the wire. The format is a compact and human readable. However, it is subject to change so please do not parse it yourself. Your buffer must be at least k_cchMaxSteamNetworkingPingLocationString bytes.


bool ParsePingLocationString( const char *pszString, SteamNetworkPingLocation_t &result );
Parse back SteamNetworkPingLocation_t string. Returns false if we couldn't understand the string.

Ping Measurement Status Functions

Using the relay network requires latency measurements be taken. Usually this will happen automatically and you should not have to worry about it. But these functions allow a bit more control over the process, if you need it for some reason.


bool CheckPingDataUpToDate( float flMaxAgeSeconds );
Check if the ping data of sufficient recency is available, and if it's too old, start refreshing it.

Initializing the client library automatically initiates ping measurement, and ping times tend to be relatively stable, so you probably will never need to call this. It's not called
automatically when you initialize a dedicated server. However, if you use any function that needs the data (such as listening for P2P connections or creating a relayed connection),
we will begin gathering the data at that time.

Here are two times when you might need to call it:
  • You really do need to force an immediate refresh of the data. (For example, in response to a specific user input to refresh this information.)
  • On a dedicated server, when you know that you will need P2P functionality. (Note that servers hosted in Valve data servers do not need to know where they are, so this does not apply.)

Don't call this function "just in case", before making a connection. The library will automatically refresh the information if it's too old as needed.

Returns true if sufficiently recent data is already available.

Returns false if sufficiently recent data is not available. In this case, ping measurement is initiated, if it is not already active. (You cannot restart a measurement already in progress.)


bool IsPingMeasurementInProgress();
Return true if we are taking ping measurements to update our ping location or select optimal routing. Ping measurement typically takes a few seconds, perhaps up to 10 seconds.

Valve Network Topology Functions

List of Valve points of presence ("POP"), and ping times to them. This might be useful to you if you are use our hosting, or just need to measure latency to a cloud data center where we are running relays.


int GetPingToDataCenter( SteamNetworkingPOPID popID, SteamNetworkingPOPID *pViaRelayPoP );
Fetch ping time of best available relayed route from this host to the specified data center.


int GetDirectPingToPOP( SteamNetworkingPOPID popID );
Get *direct* ping time to the relays at the point of presence.


int GetPOPCount();
Get number of network points of presence in the config


int GetPOPList( SteamNetworkingPOPID *list, int nListSz );
Get list of all POP IDs. Returns the number of entries that were filled into your list.

Config Functions

Control networking options. See ESteamNetworkingConfigValue for individual descriptions.


bool SetConfigValue( ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, ESteamNetworkingConfigScope eScopeType, intptr_t scopeObj, ESteamNetworkingConfigDataType eDataType, const void *pArg );

Set a configuration value.
  • eValue: which value is being set
  • eScope: Onto what type of object are you applying the setting?
  • scopeArg: Which object you want to change? (Ignored for global scope). E.g. connection handle, listen socket handle, interface pointer, etc.
  • eDataType: What type of data is in the buffer at pValue? This must match the type of the variable exactly!
  • pArg: Value to set it to.

    You can pass NULL to remove a non-global sett at this scope, causing the value for that object to use global defaults. Or at global scope, passing NULL will reset any custom value and restore it to the system default.

    NOTE: When setting callback functions, do not pass the function pointer directly. Your argument should be a pointer to a function pointer.


ESteamNetworkingGetConfigValueResult GetConfigValue( ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, ESteamNetworkingConfigScope eScopeType, intptr_t scopeObj, ESteamNetworkingConfigDataType *pOutDataType, void *pResult, size_t *cbResult );

Get a configuration value.
  • eValue: which value to fetch
  • eScopeType: query setting on what type of object
  • eScopeArg: the object to query the setting for
  • pOutDataType: If non-NULL, the data type of the value is returned.
  • pResult: Where to put the result. Pass NULL to query the required buffer size. (k_ESteamNetworkingGetConfigValue_BufferTooSmall will be returned.)
  • cbResult: IN: the size of your buffer. OUT: the number of bytes filled in or required.


bool GetConfigValueInfo( ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, const char **pOutName, ESteamNetworkingConfigDataType *pOutDataType, ESteamNetworkingConfigScope *pOutScope, ESteamNetworkingConfigValue *pOutNextValue );
Returns info about a configuration value.

Any of the output parameters can be NULL if you do not need that information.

pOutNextValue can be used to iterate through all of the known configuration values. (Use GetFirstConfigValue() to begin the iteration, will be k_ESteamNetworkingConfig_Invalid on the last value)

Returns false if the value does not exist.


ESteamNetworkingConfigValue GetFirstConfigValue();
Return the lowest numbered configuration value available in the current environment.

Use this to begin iteration through all of the configuration values.

Shortcuts for common cases

The following functions are handy shortcuts for common use cases.
bool SetGlobalConfigValueInt32( ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, int32 val ); bool SetGlobalConfigValueFloat( ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, float val ); bool SetGlobalConfigValueString( ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, const char *val ); bool SetConnectionConfigValueInt32( HSteamNetConnection hConn, ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, int32 val ); bool SetConnectionConfigValueFloat( HSteamNetConnection hConn, ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, float val ); bool SetConnectionConfigValueString( HSteamNetConnection hConn, ESteamNetworkingConfigValue eValue, const char *val );

Misc Functions


SteamNetworkingMicroseconds GetLocalTimestamp();

A general purpose high resolution local timer with the following properties:
  • Monotonicity is guaranteed.
  • The initial value will be at least 24*3600*30*1e6, i.e. about 30 days worth of microseconds. In this way, the timestamp value of 0 will always be at least "30 days ago". Also, negative numbers will never be returned.
  • Wraparound / overflow is not a practical concern.

SteamNetworkingMessage_t::m_usecTimeReceived contains a timestamp that is from the same timer.

If you are running under the debugger and stop the process, the clock might not advance the full wall clock time that has elapsed between calls. If the process is not blocked from normal operation, the timestamp values will track wall clock time, even if you don't call the function frequently.

The value is only meaningful for this run of the process. Don't compare it to values obtained on another computer, or other runs of the same process.


void SetDebugOutputFunction( ESteamNetworkingSocketsDebugOutputType eDetailLevel, FSteamNetworkingSocketsDebugOutput pfnFunc );

Set a function to receive network-related information that is useful for debugging.

This can be extremely useful during development, but it can also be useful for troubleshooting problems with tech savvy end users. If you have a console or other log that customers can examine, these log messages can often be helpful to troubleshoot network issues.(Especially any warning/error messages.)

The detail level indicates what message to invoke your callback on. Lower numeric value means more important, and the value you pass is the lowest priority (highest numeric value) you wish to receive callbacks for. Except when debugging, you should only use k_ESteamNetworkingSocketsDebugOutputType_Msg or k_ESteamNetworkingSocketsDebugOutputType_Warning. For best performance, do NOT request a high detail level and then filter out messages in your callback. Instead, call function function to adjust the desired level of detail.

IMPORTANT: This may be called from a service thread, while we own a mutex, etc. Your callback function must be threadsafe and fast! Do not make any other
Steamworks calls from within the handler.