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Custom Steam Tools: The TF2 Trading Toolkit

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About a year ago, a friend of mine asked me if there were any good soldier hats under 3 ref. At the time, this meant looking through the TF2 wiki and looking up the price of each item that seemed interesting. After doing a bit of research, I found that backpack.tf and Steam both had JSON web API's, and so I started writing a program that could automate this research. I added more and more useful tools to the application so I could do almost everything except make a trade offer through the program. Originally it was a command-based console application, but eventually I moved all the functionality to a class library and created a WPF app for a more user-friendly frontend. While since then I've become disinterested in for-profit trading, I'm really glad with how this project turned out.


After a long time spent polishing this up and fixing some bugs (and updating to the most recent backpack.tf API format), I present to you my Custom Steam Tools, and the TF2 Trading Toolkit.


All the main functionality lives in a class library called CustomSteamTools.dll. Without it, the other apps can't do anything. I will upload it to NuGet if people are interested in using it for their own stuff.



  • Instant item price lookup from backpack.tf or the Steam Community market if no backpack.tf price exists.
  • Item price calculator for finding out how much your wishlist will cost.
  • Backpack checker with price previewing and shortcuts to friends' backpacks.
  • Backpack.tf classifieds listing checker with shortcuts to the trade offer URL.
  • Advanced "deals" researcher, scouring classifieds listings for profitable trades.
  • Item range finder, looking up all items within a price range with filters.
  • Built-in console for advanced users.
  • Simple timer application to remind you to bump those TF2Outpost trades.
  • Open-Source!


Screenshots and How-To:



The main application you'll be using is the TF2 Trading Toolkit, a WPF-based app to make working with the class library much easier. It's split into four separate pages: Items, Backpack, Classifieds, and Range.


Items Page



The items page allows you to quickly check the price on something. Simply start typing the name and select it in the results below. Select the quality, killstreak tier, craftability, tradability, and unusual effect if needed, and the price will show at the bottom in ref/keys and USD. Right-click the displayed price and you can quickly search the classifieds for the item or add it to the calculator.


The calculator, on the right side of the items section, allows you to check the total price of several items. To add an item to the calculator, search for and select it in the left side, and click the "Add Selected" button on the upper right. The "Edit" button will make the items pane go into "Edit Mode", meaning anything you search for or adjust on the left side will automatically be applied to the item you have selected until you click "Done Editing".


Backpack Page



The backpack page will display the backpack of a given user, either by 64-bit SteamID or by selecting someone on your friends list (or theirs!). The first time you open the backpack tab after starting the application, the program may lag a bit as it creates the backpack UI. This also happens when opening particularly large or full backpacks. By default this page shows your backpack. You can right-click an item to show classifieds listings for it, see its wiki page, or statistics on stats.tf.


Classifieds Page



The classifieds page is where you can quickly check the classifieds listings for an item. Just start typing the name, select the item, specify quality, craftability, tradability, and australium-ness, then hit "Search bp.tf Classifieds" to see what's available. The cheapest sell offer and the highest buy offer will be listed at the bottom. On each offer is an "Offer" button, linking directly to the trade offer URL.


On the right side is the "Deals" functionality. What this does is scour backpack.tf listings for various items, limited by the options on the right and the total pure you have in your inventory, and looks for items that appear to be sold below what the established price is. It excludes anything that doesn't meet the minimum profit specified and anything that appears to be dropping in price (several listings that are notably lower than the backpack.tf price). This process can take some time, so a progress bar is shown at the bottom. Once started, avoid using the built-in console until the deals search is complete. The Deals functionality is quite complex; the full algorithm can be found here in the source code.


Range Page



The range page allows you to easily sift through items based on filters, be it slot, class, quality, price, and more. Items that fit the set filters will show on the right side, from cheapest to most expensive. No more than 500 results will be shown, to prevent lag. You can right-click on a result to show it on the classifieds page, its wiki page, or its statistics on stats.tf.


Loading Window



This window appears when starting the application and whenever you manually refresh with the Refresh button on the title bar. Log information shows in the bottom, and the most recent message is shown at the top, along with a progress bar. While the application is loading and refreshing, you can't do anything, so wait for it to finish.


If you have not run the application before, make sure that the Steam API is up and running. If it's down when you first run it, the application will repeatedly try to get data from Steam until it succeeds. If the app has run before, it will simply retrieve the data last downloaded. Steam is regularly down every Tuesday afternoon, but is often down at other times during the week. Check here to see if the Steam API is up before running the application. Occasionally the backpack.tf API will be down, but this is very rare, much rarer than the Steam API being down.


The app also won't try to refresh if it has recently downloaded the data ("recent" = about 15 mins), to avoid over-requesting from the backpack.tf and Steam servers. In this case, it will simply re-parse the data stored from last time.


Settings Window



This window appears the first time you run the application, and whenever you open it with the Settings button on the title bar. It contains data required by the application to run. Only your Steam Name is optional; if it is left blank, the application will use your Steam ID in its place. If any other field is missing or invalid, the textbox will gain a red border and a tooltip showing what's wrong. You will need to generate backpack.tf and Steam API keys, which is relatively simple; the links open the page to get the data needed in your browser.


The "Deals Price Drop Threshold" is a way of tweaking with how the Deals functionality eliminates items that appear to be dropping in price. If X listings are selling for Y% of the backpack.tf listed price, where X is "Max Listings" and Y is "Price Threshold Value" x 100, the item is considered to be falling in price and thus eliminated as too difficult to sell for a profit. To fully understand the mechanics of Deals, click here for the corresponding source code.


Console (Built-In)



This window allows you to run the command-line tools from within the main app. Anything available within the main app can be done here, just slower. Because the main app works by simply running the commands internally, you can use this window as a sort of ongoing log while the main app is doing something. Keep in mind that the act of printing a line to the pseudo-console can cause the main functionality to lag a little bit. You can't close this window or run another command while some other command is running, even internally, so try to avoid opening this window while Deals is running. Enter "help" or "?" for a list of commands and their description. Entering "exit" will close the console window, but not close the toolkit.


Stand-Alone Console Application



This application is the command-line version of the app, able to run all the commands within the main class library without the UI. It will probably be fairly easy to port to Mac and Linux off of Mono. The stand-alone console application is labeled "Backpack.tf Console.exe" in the download. It tends to run slightly faster than the main app, as it has no need to update a complex UI. Its only dependency is on the class library ("CustomSteamTools.dll") and its dependencies ("Newtonsoft.Json.dll", "UltimateUtil.dll", and "HtmlAgilityPack.dll").


Bump Timer



This is just a very simple timer that beeps after a set time and flashes orange in the taskbar. It's useful as a regular reminder to bump TF2Outpost and Backpack.tf trades. It can be reset with the taskbar preview button, or by opening the window. The progress bar indicates how much of the total time is left. The slider lets you set how long to wait; it goes from one minute to two hours. I thought to include it as a generally useful tool for trading. It has no dependencies whatsoever, so you can put "Bump Timer.exe" wherever you want. In the source code, the Bump Timer is its own solution alongside CustomSteamTools, so keep that in mind when forking.







Where's my high-tier unusual trading tools?

Frankly, I don't know what you need. When I was a for-profit trader, the most expensive stuff I ever sold was only worth about a key. These tools are designed for lower-tier traders, especially those interested in stranges, taunts, and unique cosmetics. If you have a suggestion for what high-tier traders want, feel free to post it below.


I found a bug!

Feel free to submit it as an issue on the GitHub repository. Try to include a link to a pastebin with the application's log file; it might come in handy. The log can be found at %TEMP%\CUSTOM-STEAM-TOOLS\logs\log-DATE_AND_TIME.txt.


Why didn't you make this a Tampermonkey script?

In all honesty, I have no interest in JS programming. The dynamic typing and the fact that it's interpreted rather than compiled just doesn't appeal to me. I'm sure almost all of this could be done with a script, but I wanted to practice my MVVM skills and learn how to work with JSON-based web APIs. Additionally, this has the added advantage of no internet-caused lag during a quick price check, since all the data is updated in one complete group, instead of each time the item is searched. For people with less-than-ideal internet connections, this can be a bit faster than opening something in the browser.


I can't see my friends backpacks in the app but I can view them on Steam just fine!

This is because I can't access backpacks with "friends-only" privacy level from the API, even if you are friends with them. If you go into incognito/private browsing mode, and try to view your friend's inventory on the Steam website (while not logged in), you'll find you don't have access to it.


Does this work on Mac? Linux? Windows RT? iOS? Android?

No. I may port the stand-alone console app to Mac and Linux, but that's all.


How did you make the UI so fancy?

MahApps.Metro, and a little practice. Seriously, MahApps.Metro is amazing. I highly recommend their toolkit for this kind of UI look.


What did you use to program this?

I used Visual Studio 2015 and wrote all the code in C# 6, using the .NET 4.6 platform. I tried to follow MVVM design for the main app as much as possible.


Where can I find the data the programs store?

The cached download data can be found in the %TEMP%\CUSTOM-STEAM-TOOLS\ folder. Be warned, deleting these files will force the application to redownload them, and trying to doing so when Steam is down can be really frustrating. The settings are stored in %APPDATA%\CustomSteamTools\settings.json. Deleting this file will force you to re-enter all your info again.


Why did you make all these tools when 90% of them already exist on most trading sites?

For practice, and for fun. I'm posting them here because I really like how they turned out. Plus, I find them faster to use while trading, and there are a few features truly unique to this toolkit.




Downloads (Most Recent Version: 2.1.1)


Source Code (GitHub)



  1. Click the download link above and download the ZIP file at the top of the available files with the release.
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP wherever you want, preferably in their own separate folder.
  3. Run one of the EXE files ("TF2 Trading Toolkit.exe" in the case of the main app)
  4. Right-click them and add them to your start menu/screen (optional)
  5. Profit!


Special Thanks:


While this software is all completely Open-Source, it's licensed under a GPL v3 license. You're free to redistrubte and modify, without attribution, all you want. However, you can't sell it, and you can't redistribute this app (modified or not) without linking to the source code of whatever you're redistributing. So if you're redistributing your fork, just link to your fork on GitHub. You'll still need to follow the licenses of all the resources and dependencies used by this app (see above). The full license is reproduced below.




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This project makes use of UltimateUtil, a class library I made for general stuff that I find comes in handy a lot. I use it in almost all my projects, and extensively in this one. If you're interested, it's available on NuGet, and it's 100% open-source, so you can check out the source code here.

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It looks fancy, but I don't really see much advantage in using this toolkit.

Other than that, your friend's problem could have been solved faster by developing a browser extension or a script that runs with stuff like Tampermonkey, to add bp.tf prices directly into the wiki pages.



PS. *checks the FAQ*

Oh wow, Iso I wasn't the only one thinking the UI was fancy and cool xD

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sealed interface

Why does this not have more replies? Wow, you did a good job!


Probably because people would rather see a script for Tampermonkey than install a separate application, which is quite understandable. I made this because I wanted to practice my skills at WPF and MVVM while learning to use JSON-based web APIs, and the fact that my not-so-great internet quality makes it faster to run one big update from a separate application than to constantly have to wait on a webpage to load each time I want to check something. Also, dynamically-typed languages (like JS) don't appeal to me, so I prefer to use C#.

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