Valve just released an update that allows Linux users to play windows games on their machine with Steam. Let's talk about it!
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i am actually doing testing of a bunch of games in linux on my channel to show what is working and some of the games might suprise some people.i never thought games from even a year ago would of even be running but they are.
At last, I won't have to install dual-boot Windows anymore!
Anyway, I wouldn't suggest developers to make only a Windows build that would be playable on Linux with Steam's compatibility layer; and don't care about porting a native Linux build. For games those are already built for Windows, it's fine – reworking an established codebase to make the game run on Linux might be a Hell. But it isn't such difficult if you build your game with a cross-platform mindset from the ground up. If you account for making a cross-platform game at the beginning, it's less of a hassle than making the game as Windows-dependent as it can be and only then trying to port it.
Not mentioning many game engines today allow you to export your game on Linux, e.g. Unity and RPG Maker. I was being mad at RPG Maker for a long time, because RPG Maker games were typically hard to run on Linux, even with WINE (the Windows compatibility layer). RPG Maker was one of the most notoriously platform-dependent engines, even running a modern AAA FPS game on Linux like Portal 2, was easier than setting up a proper WINE prefix for an RPG Maker game. But in the past years they changed course and now many RPG Maker games have native Linux ports, and the latest RPG Maker engine itself allows you to export for Linux.
I think the best outcome of Steam allowing Windows games to run on Linux is video game preservation. I'm annoyed by the fact that many old games I've known from my childhood is not available to me anymore because I switched to a superior operating system. Some games work with WINE out of the box, but some require some tweaking of the WINEPREFIX and some just won't run even then. If @Jason Kennedy (other commenter around) is right, even Steam uses WINE to make Windows games run. Note that the practice is not entirely new: Worms Armageddon 2, for example, detects if it runs under WINE and activates compatibility tweaks those allow it to run more flawlessly. The System Shock 2 Linux „port” is actually the Windows release wrapped in WINE – but still, I can see it in my Library on Steam Linux and just launch it right away. Well, this is what I hope from this move. That Steam sets up the right WINEPREFIX for me that is best optimized for the game instead me needing to figure it out and searching for „how to run on WINE” tutorials for the specific game.
But I still don't recommend developers to account for this compatibility layer when making games – although WINE is really awesome, it still introduces some performance loss (though not too much, given that I could play Portal 2 flawlessly with WINE), and the dev has less access to the underlying operating system because your application is wrapped up in a compatibility layer. (Most of the times it may not matter, but in case your game should be able to save files to anywhere, because e.g. it's a world editor / sandbox game, the application will only see a confined part of the file system where the „fake Windows” reside. Unless you mount your Unix root as Z: inside WINE, but meh, it still makes the user's work harder.) Other times you may just need to call some OS libraries to optimize your game better or to get better access to a pheripheral (maybe a controller or VR equipment).
Pretty cool, if it works. I tried dual booting Linux for 8 months in 2007, 11 years ago. One of the main reasons I stopped using it was because I couldn't play my games. The only game that I had was a physical copy of Soldier of Fortune Gold Edition which was a pretty awesome game back then.
Sure, but i also use Origin and other games that are neither in steam or origin. At some point i still need windows. No doubt is a step in the right direction but if i went with it i'm sure i would encounter some issues with it.
On my end, I know a few people who use Linux to manage their TES3MP servers (TES3MP being a Multiplayer feature for the original Morrowind). The update to me is huge given the stance Microsoft is taken with their OS; for developers I can imagine the kind of freedom they'll have in the future once Microsoft starts charging everyone to use their OS monthly (UGH.)
It's certainly a big technical achievement on Valve's part, no doubt about that.
As for game developers, I dunno, Linux users tiny user base plus their long running shtick of "everything needs to be free" probably won't make them a significant target audience imho.
I am the user of linux, that keeps windows for dual boot with the only purpose: to play games. It has steam client and a couple of games... But I can't say if using wine is better, because dual boot holds my productivity: I had to decide if my desire to play is hard enough and worth closing all the stuff, shutting down all containers and etc and rebooting into windows... I don't know how many of my projects had been completed because I was too lazy to reboot :)
They did not make anything, wine makes it playable. Steam just enabled it so that they can run using wine.
Most of the indie games are natively on Linux, as they are mostly developed on Unity.
This is good for AAA titles.
How will games that use DirectX features run on a native Linux system? Wine is a good way to run office programs, but a better PC is needed to run games on it. Do you either have to optimize your game for OpenGL or software rendering? Or is Wine fine with the games as they are?
The main big thing that this will provide is a way to ACTUALLY know how many linux gamers are out there. As you said it looks like there are not a big users base, but how do we know that if most of the games out there are Windows only?
With this, and is confirmed by Steam, if you buy a Windows game, but play using Proton compatibility layer, it will count as a Linux sale. This means that people will now be able to know if they shall support linux natively because now the actual count of users will be more (but not 100%) accurate.
It is not that great just yet, and even with Wine most of the games are way less enjoyable to play, and specifically games with DRM which consider compatibility layers as hacks or something. For instance, Far Cry and most of UPlay games will probably not be available using this. At least Smite wasn't, it considered that I was using somekind of hack.
So, it is not the first step into making a single build and supporting a single build for a game, it is the first step into actually knowing the Linux gaming market and hopefully supporting this market with native builds.
"Well, actually" lol sorry I had to point it out. The nice thing is if you filter the steam store preferences to ONLY show linux titles and add a non-linux game in your wish list, it'll send a notification to the dev of said game. Also up until now any linux user running via wine or any manager like Lutris or PlayOnLinux would count as a windows user. As you point out at the moment the biggest problem is DRM and anticheat middleware. I'm combing my newly expanded library and most of the non-working games are due to Easy AntiCheat and BattlEye. It's nice to have them all in one place now instead of running 2 steam clients at the same time!
Regarding the "stopgap" nature of this; yes it would be a lot better to get proper native games, but even then a huge portion of players won't switch because their favorite game doesn't have a port, and devs don't port because they don't see a critical mass of players to make the investment and effort. With this it'll be easier to switch, and as a bonus all old games that don't have any kind of support or are stuck in legal limbo will run.
your not completely correct... If you can target Linux that is still going to be better then this... else your taking a performance hit and possible other issues... it is a compatibility layer. They are basically bundling in WINE inside the Linux Steam client and setting up the configurations for it automatically. If you take some time to research it, you will see that almost every game has some minor issues running via WINE if only a performance hit.
Someone else actually pointed out that this might be Steam's way of getting developers to see that there are people playing games not on Windows (right now people on Linux spin up the Windows version of steam inside WINE to play games, so they look like windows purchases/players)... this gives steam the ability to correctly track the OS usage.
Yes, but maybe you should wait a bit to see if their system is really interesting. It should make the linux gaming community grow a bit and allows steam to have a more accurate data about who uses which OS. I think it will work pretty well with small games, but sadly don't expect to be able to play the latest games (average games will surely have minor/major glitches, and cutting edges AAA will just be unplayable). But it's definitely something we should keep an eye on.
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