Live wallpapers aren't a new invention, but they're not exactly common on Windows 10. But, there's always someone out there that can make these things happen, as is the case with Wallpaper Engine.
This inexpensive application delivered through Steam (yes, you get more than games on Steam) will help you add some life to your desktop with ease.
Some of you may groan at the thought of using Steam, but there's one very good reason why it's an excellent distribution tool for this app: Steam Workshop. Folks can make their own contributions to Wallpaper Engine and submit them through Steam Workshop so the whole world can benefit. For a small developer, it's a pretty nifty way of getting new content into the app.
The basic selection alone is pretty good, though. And the effects are impressive. Selecting a wallpaper is as easy as clicking on it.
You've also got options to alter the playback speed, volume (if it also includes sound), and in some cases the theme colors of the wallpaper. Diving deeper into the settings you can tell Wallpaper Engine to change your Windows accent color with the wallpaper automatically and even change the frame rate. It'll go up to 60FPS, but you'll need better graphics hardware to make that happen without impacting performance.
You may also be wary of an app like this using too many resources in the background, and the developer has covered off the sort of requirements you'll need to keep things going smoothly and without impacting on your PC performance. The good news is those requirements are fairly low:
- OS: Windows 7 (with Aero), 8.1, 10
- Processor: 1.66 GHz Intel i5 or equivalent
- Memory: 1024 MB RAM
- Graphics: HD Graphics 4000 or above
- DirectX: Version 10
- Storage: 512 MB available space
So, it all sounds great, right? Mostly, yes, but there are a couple of things to note. Wallpaper Engine is still a Steam Early Access application, so it's still in active development. The most recent patch was delivered on May 26, and they're fairly regular.
If you're clever, you can make your own submissions and distribute them through Steam Workshop. Or you can just browse the huge collection, but be warned. There is a lot of anime. Some of it less "safe for work" than others, and there doesn't seem to be an easy way to browse without specifically searching for something.
But if you wade through the fluff there are a ton of amazing wallpapers in there. I've found an Everspace themed wallpaper that's running at the native 1440p resolution of my display with moving ships that shoot lasers and things. It's terrific.
Not all the wallpapers are as good, and some act like a movie and just abruptly end leaving you with nothing on the screen until they loop back round and start again. But for 4 bucks there's a lot of great stuff to choose from, and it's well worth a look to spice up your desktop.