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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.

 

Features:

  • 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

naDPaDA.png

 

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

R2UCGi4.png

 

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

OKKGA3r.png

 

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

z2MD8Re.png

 

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

h5VqHdV.png

 

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

pLErD7S.png

 

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)

XJDQneK.png

 

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

XTTuB2G.png

 

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

QwDicIk.png

 

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.

 

 

 

FAQ:

 

 

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)

 

Installing:

  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:

License

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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A contributor's “essential patent claims†are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of the contributor version. For purposes of this definition, “control†includes the right to grant patent sublicenses in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License.

Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version.

In the following three paragraphs, a “patent license†is any express agreement or commitment, however denominated, not to enforce a patent (such as an express permission to practice a patent or covenant not to sue for patent infringement). To “grant†such a patent license to a party means to make such an agreement or commitment not to enforce a patent against the party.

If you convey a covered work, knowingly relying on a patent license, and the Corresponding Source of the work is not available for anyone to copy, free of charge and under the terms of this License, through a publicly available network server or other readily accessible means, then you must either (1) cause the Corresponding Source to be so available, or (2) arrange to deprive yourself of the benefit of the patent license for this particular work, or (3) arrange, in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License, to extend the patent license to downstream recipients. “Knowingly relying†means you have actual knowledge that, but for the patent license, your conveying the covered work in a country, or your recipient's use of the covered work in a country, would infringe one or more identifiable patents in that country that you have reason to believe are valid.

If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.

A patent license is “discriminatory†if it does not include within the scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically granted under this License. You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a discriminatory patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you (or copies made from those copies), or ( B) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007.

Nothing in this License shall be construed as excluding or limiting any implied license or other defenses to infringement that may otherwise be available to you under applicable patent law.

12. No Surrender of Others' Freedom.

If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot convey a covered work so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not convey it at all. For example, if you agree to terms that obligate you to collect a royalty for further conveying from those to whom you convey the Program, the only way you could satisfy both those terms and this License would be to refrain entirely from conveying the Program.

13. Use with the GNU Affero General Public License.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have permission to link or combine any covered work with a work licensed under version 3 of the GNU Affero General Public License into a single combined work, and to convey the resulting work. The terms of this License will continue to apply to the part which is the covered work, but the special requirements of the GNU Affero General Public License, section 13, concerning interaction through a network will apply to the combination as such.

14. Revised Versions of this License.

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END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs

If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.

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<one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.>
Copyright © <year> <name of author>

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

If the program does terminal interaction, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:

<program> Copyright © <year> <name of author>
This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.

The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, your program's commands might be different; for a GUI interface, you would use an “about boxâ€.

You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or school, if any, to sign a “copyright disclaimer†for the program, if necessary. For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License. But first, please read <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-not-lgpl.html>.

 

 

 

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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-҉҉҉҉҉o҉҉҉҉҉-

I have no idea what the fuck any of this means but it looks cool good job

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sealed interface

damm daneil 

 

Thanks for the dank memes, I appreciate it!

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J U K I E

Seems cool. Im not skilled enough to vet it though. Ill await someone else who is. Thanks for the heads up on a potentially cool project!

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Spooky.

Nice project, I've never been so confused and amazed at the same time for a while

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sealed interface

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about this, but I'm not sure what I need to explain. If you have a question, feel free to ask.

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CapoFantasma97

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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