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Valve fixes PC gaming on Linux with Proton support for non-Steam Windows games

Helios

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https://www.pcgamesn.com/non-steam-windows-games-linux-valve-update
Valve has been busy updating Steam’s Linux client and if, as a gamer, the merest mention of ‘the other OS’ triggers your Ubuntu-based post traumatic stress disorder then it might have just created the cure to your terminal psychological woes. The built-in Windows compatibility layer, Proton, can now be used on any Windows game via Steam whether purchased through Valve’s all-pervasive digital platform or not.
The latest beta client update allows any executable added to your Steam account, using the ‘add non-Steam game’ dialog, to be started using the Wine compatibility layer and run from within a Linux environment. If only Valve had done this when the Steam Machine was struggling to be ‘a thing’ it might have saved the whole doomed initiative from the scrapheap of history.
Valve has also added the option for users to force the use of the Proton feature even on games that have native Linux versions. Why? Because if you’ve ever played a Linux port of a Windows-based game you’ll know that sometimes the developers make an absolute mess of it, and often drop support quicker than the crusty end of a poo-covered stick. With Proton enabled the Windows version has been shown to fare better than the native Linux client.

Valve’s Proton feature is a simple tool that allows Linux users to have full access to Window-based games that don’t run natively under that set of operating systems.
It’s super-easy to use and for the completely stable titles that Valve has already whitelisted it’s enabled automatically. For others which either have slight issues, or haven’t been fully tested, you can enable Proton yourself with a simple check box. And with the potential to add non-Steam games to the list of Linux-compatible titles the gaming world is getting stronger away from Windows.

The Boiling Steam report talks about the GoG version of The Witcher 3 working almost perfectly through the Proton platform, though they are still experiencing some issues getting controllers to work through this method.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Excellent news. Games are the only reason I have windows on my pc, I far prefer Linux for everything else.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
I'm guessing proton is an enhanced version of Wine? I've not kept up with wine tbh as most of what I use day to day outside of games has a decent Linux native version.
 

Caayn

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I'm guessing proton is an enhanced version of Wine? I've not kept up with wine tbh as most of what I use day to day outside of games has a decent Linux native version.
Proton is Valve's flavor of Wine. Last time I checked, last year, the performance wasn't guaranteed to be better than with Wine. Wine 4.0 released just this month with many performance improvements. So who knows, haven't read any benchmarks yet.

But I doubt that they've matched Windows performance.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Proton is Valve's flavor of Wine. Last time I checked, last year, the performance wasn't guaranteed to be better than with Wine. Wine 4.0 released just this month with many performance improvements. So who knows, haven't read any benchmarks yet.

But I doubt that they've matched Windows performance.

Tbh it's possible they could, especially if using the lightweight window managers. I'm have to go and do some research. I'd imagine drivers are the limiting factor, as always.
 
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petran79

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What about Denuvo games though? Arent they tied to hardware instead of WINE virtualized OS?
 

CRON

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I played through the entirety of DOOM (2016) on Ubuntu 18.10, and the performance was just as good as on Windows.

For any Linux gamers here. it's not as simple as just updating to the beta client and installing a game.
 

dirthead

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My real question is about latency. I've read that audio latency SUCKS in WINE. If that's true, it's a deal breaker for me, because I'm already not too happy about native Windows latency.

It's going to be hilarious if Microsoft eventually breaks win32 compatibility and Linux ends up being more compatible with Windows games than Windows.
 

ethomaz

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They will only fix gaming on Linux when the games are made to run natively on that platform.

Run using 3rd tools to simulate an windows environment on Linux is not a fix... it is an workaround.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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This sounds more like a workaround, but it's a step in the right direction. If I could play Steam games on a Linux box, I'd probably get back into PC gaming, if I'm being honest.

Cool to see this is progressing. With the failure of the Steam Machines, I figured this initiative was dead in the water.
 

dirthead

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This sounds more like a workaround, but it's a step in the right direction. If I could play Steam games on a Linux box, I'd probably get back into PC gaming, if I'm being honest.

Cool to see this is progressing. With the failure of the Steam Machines, I figured this initiative was dead in the water.

I think they're overselling it a bit, though. It's just WINE, right? How has anything really changed?
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
My real question is about latency. I've read that audio latency SUCKS in WINE. If that's true, it's a deal breaker for me, because I'm already not too happy about native Windows latency.

It's going to be hilarious if Microsoft eventually breaks win32 compatibility and Linux ends up being more compatible with Windows games than Windows.

Actually, for games from the win 9x - xp era Linux is often more compatible than W10, in my experience at least.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
I think they're overselling it a bit, though. It's just WINE, right? How has anything really changed?

Wine + extra proprietary bits I believe, plus they do the config for you where for a newbie setting wine up is probably a bit tricky still.
 
Dec 14, 2008
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Even if WINE offered 100% binary compatibility, the other problem is the graphics cards drivers for Linux on both the Nvidia and AMD sides are vastly inferior in their performance to their Windows drivers. Unless that is ever resolved, and that is very unlikely as neither Nvidia nor AMD make a dime from producing drivers for Linux, you will never be able to get full performance from a native Windows game unless you run it with Windows.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Even if WINE offered 100% binary compatibility, the other problem is the graphics cards drivers for Linux on both the Nvidia and AMD sides are vastly inferior in their performance to their Windows drivers. Unless that is ever resolved, and that is very unlikely as neither Nvidia nor AMD make a dime from producing drivers for Linux, you will never be able to get full performance from a native Windows game unless you run it with Windows.

Indeed this is the big problem. To be fair to AMD, they've given some pretty good help to the developers of the open-source AMD drivers where NVidia have been somewhat lacking, but the NVidia closed drivers are still better than the AMD closed drivers. For general desktop use my work machine uses an AMD card so that I can use the AMD open drivers as closed drivers are just not as reliable, plus for the nature of what I work with I need to know that the software I'm working with is safe.

You're correct about financial incentives, or the lack thereof, I imagine if Valve were sufficiently motivated to get their linux boxes out there they could change that situation, but of course Valve are.. well they're suffering for their overly flat structure. Sometimes you need someone telling people to get that horrible job done that nobody wants to do, and sometimes they have to not be nice about it.

I will just add that NVidia drivers on a decent machine will do just fine if you're playing games that aren't AAA for the majority of cases - how many of your games do you really use all the power of your GPU? I'd guess very few. For a lot of people it may now be viable to dual-boot, with Windows as game mode given a partition for the hardcore AAA stuff and linux as everything-else mode with all the retro games, emulators, and all their serious software.

I'll add that when dealing with old people, giving them linux mint saves on a lot of tech support calls - no more viruses and it generally does what they want to do.
 
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dirthead

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Even if WINE offered 100% binary compatibility, the other problem is the graphics cards drivers for Linux on both the Nvidia and AMD sides are vastly inferior in their performance to their Windows drivers. Unless that is ever resolved, and that is very unlikely as neither Nvidia nor AMD make a dime from producing drivers for Linux, you will never be able to get full performance from a native Windows game unless you run it with Windows.

It's not just that. Look at the threads on Reddit. WINE has worse audio and input latency. How can anyone even halfway serious about having a good experience tolerate that when even native latency is borderline unacceptable? No, there are too many Linux zealots trying to push a narrative and paint a way prettier picture than reality there.

The truth is that there is absolutely zero reason for the average PC gamer to use Linux. It's objectively worse in every way. You gain nothing by using Linux and lose a lot. The ONLY way Linux can ever really make some headway is if it legitimately provides some kind of superior service that isn't available on Windows. This means higher performance, lower latency, exclusive software, ANYTHING. Right now, it has none of those things. It's useless from a gaming perspective.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
D dirthead I wouldn't say useless - there's a lot of the older Windows catalog that works better in Wine on linux than natively on a modern Windows OS. I would agree though that for AAA gaming it's not there, and that Linux is primarily useful for serious work rather than gaming.