Review: Wallpaper Engine
Developer: Kristjan Skutta
Publisher: Kristjan Skutta
Price: 3.99$ USD
Release Date: October 10th, 2016
I am very much into customizing my computer. It was while searching for new cosmetic upgrades that I first learned of this neat little software called Wallpaper Engine. It’s a software distributed within Steam which replaces standard wallpaper functionalities on Windows systems. Although it’s technically still on Early Access, it works flawlessly on most systems.
There are four types of Wallpapers: Scene, Web, Video and Application.
Scene papers are usually static images with effects layered on top. Bubbles, rain, sunbeams, falling petals and other such things. They’re the lightest Wallpapers while still being some of the prettiest.
Web papers draw information from the internet, but otherwise are the same as Scene except with more options. Desktop clocks, audio-waves and clicking effects are common among these.
Video papers are for looping footage on the desktop. These are usually the largest and most resource-intensive types but unsurprisingly the most popular as well. Standard Windows desktops can play .gif files on loop, but Wallpaper Engine lets you run video of any resolution, including multi-monitor resolutions and 4K video.
Finally, Application papers run software and apps on your background. There’s no limit to what these can do, although most of them are just cosmetic. Can be heavy resource-intensive, depending on what they do. Animated 3D models, interactive character, and even games can be used as desktop backgrounds.
Although I haven’t tried making any Wallpapers myself, I have downloaded several dozens from Steam’s Workshop. I was surprised to find out that this software was so popular, with over 170.000 uploaded Wallpapers and growing. Wallpaper Engine itself stays open on the system tray, and includes additional options for customizing how each paper works. Anti-aliasing, Resolution, FPS limits, Post-processing and Reflections can be toggled on/off. The user can also create preset lists of Wallpapers to be cycled through automatically.
I brought up the topic of resource-consumption quite a few times in this review, and for a good reason. Cranking up all settings to max and leaving an intensive Wallpaper running will make a noticeable dent on your system’s performance, specially if you have a lower-end rig. However, setting Paper to pause/halt while other applications are running and/or bringing down the quality settings slightly will keep things manageable.
Overall, I am more than satisfied. Browsing new Wallpapers on the Workshop is tons of fun and there’s always new stuff to find every few days. Highly recommended if you, like me, enjoy having nice and fresh backgrounds.
- 170k+ presets on Workshop
- Extremely cheap
- Easy to use
- Tons of options and customization
- Resource-intensive on max settings