Steam Idle Master Automatically Grabs Trading Cards For Games You Don’t Play

Steam Idle Master Automatically Grabs Trading Cards For Games You Don’t Play

A couple of years ago, “idling/” in Team Fortress 2 for hats and weapons was a thing. Now idling is back, but in a different form — a special app lets you collect Steam trading cards for games without playing said games.

If you’re not familiar with idling, it basically meant standing around in a TF2 server, waiting for item drops to appear in your inventory. Some smart fellows then figured out your could trick Steam into thinking you were playing, when in actual fact it was just a command-line program imitating a proper server connection.

Eventually, Valve caught on, shut down the practise and even rewarded those who didn’t engage in idling shenanigans with — you guessed it, a special hat.

However, idling is back, but in another guise. Thanks to a program called “Steam Idle Master“, it’s possible to collect Steam trading cards without playing the associated games. Cards are normally awarded by playing a game for a certain length of time — Idle Master effectively automates this.

The source code for the program is available on GitHub and going by the initial commit, has been around for about a year. So either Valve doesn’t mind, or it hasn’t seen enough widespread usage to warrant a crackdown. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of it, though this could be the start of increased interest.

Steam Idle Master [Official site, via gHacks]


  • are you sure you weren’t talking about achievement servers? you got given the cheaters lament halo if you didn’t join those. your link is broken to the hat

    • No, he means what he means. People used command line scripts to have steam servers think you were playing.

    • Yep, definitely idling item drops. And thanks for the heads-up about the link — looks like the apostrophe in the URL did it in.

  • Or you can just start up a load of games at once and leave them in the menu and the cards will drop

    • Devs are getting smarter these days. I’ve played a few games now that require you to get to certain stages in the game before you’re rewards any cards. It’s quite smart, actually.

    • This is more useful for people who dont want to download the games to get the cards

    • Yeah, I’ve always done it the manual way of downloading the game and leaving it running.

      I’ve actually played a few games that I hadn’t got around to and wasn’t particularly passionate about or interested in, only to be pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. Like Sniper Elite V2, Call of Juarez, and Card City Nights.

    • There is a program for that too, steam achievement manager. unlocks any achievement. That is why sites like astats exists, it can tell if you got it achievements legit or not.

      The image PC gaming gets because of this type of stuff. It takes everything that makes this platform the best (IMO) such as its mods and freedom and gives developers every reason not to support it, the worst being pirating.

  • Some guys at work do this.
    Steam will crack down on it cause they run the program all day to get the cards then sell them on the market (for only 1 or 2 cents at best) but one of the guys has earnt about 120 bucks from this in his steam wallet and bought other games with this “free money”

    • I don’t think Valve will really care. At the end of the day, someone is putting money into Steam in order to buy the cards (& if the card seller buys games with that credit, that’s 30% of that going to Valve as well).

    • Same here, 1600 or so. Tried to leave it running all day but so far only 4 cards. Seems to get stuck on a couple of games that must tie the cards to milestones.

        • Well worth the time. After one whole day I got a Foil for Sniper Elite and handful of other cards. I’ve “earned” about $6 so far.

        • yeah i was actually just thinking that… even if i sold em all for 5c each thats a nice amount of money haha

  • Thid isnt all that new.
    Iv seen people run multiple games hence get multiple hours at once, eg 2000 hours play time in the past 2 weeks.
    The risk out weights the reward.

  • Not a good idea…

    When Valve catches onto this, they will ban people. And rightly so. Don’t cheat, Folks. get the cards the legitimate way.

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