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As we speculated previously, Valve have now officially announced their new version of 'Steam Play' for Linux gaming using a modified distribution of Wine called Proton, which is available on GitHub.

What does it do? In short: it allows you to play Windows games on Linux, directly through the Steam client as if they were a Linux game.

What many people suspected turned out to be true, DXVK development was actually funded by Valve. They actually employed the DXVK developer since February 2018. On top of that, they also helped to fund: vkd3d (Direct3D 12 implementation based on Vulkan), OpenVR and Steamworks native API bridges, wined3d performance and functionality fixes for Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 11 and more.

The amount of work that has gone into this—it's ridiculous.

Here's what they say it improves:

  • Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.
  • DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.
  • Fullscreen support has been improved: fullscreen games will be seamlessly stretched to the desired display without interfering with the native monitor resolution or requiring the use of a virtual desktop.
  • Improved game controller support: games will automatically recognize all controllers supported by Steam. Expect more out-of-the-box controller compatibility than even the original version of the game.
  • Performance for multi-threaded games has been greatly improved compared to vanilla Wine.

It currently has a limited set of games that are supported, but even so it's quite an impressive list that they're putting out there. Which includes DOOM, FINAL FANTASY VI, Into The Breach, NieR: Automata, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and more. They will enable many more titles as progress on it all continues.

To be clear, this is available right now. To get it, you need to be in the Steam Client Beta.

There will be drawbacks, like possible performance issues and games that rely on some DRM might likely never be supported, but even so the amount of possibilities this opens up has literally split my head open with Thor's mighty hammer.

Read more here.

Holy shit. Please excuse the language, but honestly, I'm physically shaking right now I don't quite know how to process this.

Update #1: I spoke to Valve earlier, about how buying Windows games to play with this system counts, they said this:

Hey Liam, the normal algorithm is in effect, so if at the end of the two weeks you have more playtime on Linux, it'll be a Linux sale. Proton counts as Linux.

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adolson 22 Aug, 2018
Considering how many Linux users still dual boot or buy Windows games, this seemed like a very unfortunate, but necessary, step for Valve if they want to make any kind of headway with the whole Linux situation.
kalin 22 Aug, 2018
Quoting: mirooh well, I am really not that happy as most people.

from now on I'm really afraid that too many publishers will use this as an excuse not to provide native linux builds in case it runs "well enough" with proton/wine.

since this is now to be built-in, most people will not have to understand what wine even is, they will take the running binary for granted. hence what is to expect is less performance and continuous direct x instead of opengl or vulkan

this would totally be acceptable for older/legacy titles, but I really think too many will jump on that train that it runs with proton and that there is no need to compile it for linux.
we'll see.

You are not serious right ? While there is less then 1% linux gamers self respecting publisher never will put money and effort to do anything for linux. Especially when the community is full with outraged retards and haters that constantly make death threats, I still remember witcher 2. The issue with linux gaming is not the porting but the support. It doesn't make sense. For that reason just be thankful to Valve for supporting us even when it doesn't make sense, even when people preferred gog for some reason.
Yaumeister 22 Aug, 2018
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Oddly satisfying to launch SimCity 4 directly from Steam Linux after force whitelisting. I know it's been gold status in Wine for ages, but just click and play without any messing about is great.

Now if I can just get the A-train games to work I'm golden :D
Dunc 22 Aug, 2018
Quoting: DedaleI thought about Skyrim but even if i heard it worked with proton i still wouldn't buy it. I will support those who bring Linux native games.
That's my feeling too. My “five-year rule” stays. It's still Wine, just more convenient.

I think that's (more or less) Valve's attitude as well. Yes, maybe this will lead some developers to think Linux support isn't worth it, but it's important to note that they can't advertise it as SteamOS compatibility. And as far as I can make out, publishers themselves can't even advertise Steam Play support - i.e., being on the whitelist - itself; that's Valve's perogative. So actually, I'm not sure it changes much except making life a bit easier for us Linux users.

As an aside, I'm quite gratified to see that this seems to be almost exactly what I said they should do a few months back when we were all discussing whether Wine should be integrated into Steam: i.e., rather than blanket integration, make it an option for devs who genuinely can't support Linux for whatever reason, with Valve overseeing some kind of quality control so that people can't just dump stuff on Steam expecting it to work. Yes, in reality they've given us the “unverified” option, but it's made pretty clear that it's not the default.

QuoteBut i have a few win games from bundles i will try...
Same here.

Pro tip: my WINEARCH defaults to win32. Putting “WINEARCH=win64 %command%” in the launch options helps. D'oh! Don't have any sound for some reason. I'll have to look into that, but it's getting late now...
Spud13y 22 Aug, 2018
So I guess this is how gaming on Linux will die.
InverseTelecine 22 Aug, 2018
I'm really, really happy about this! Please hear me out

For the past year or so the future of Linux gaming has looked very bleak. After Steam Machines failed to take off, then the Nintendo Switch started to be "the place" for indy games, and finally Linux seemed to be bottoming out in the Steam user surveys (just because of new Chinese windows users, but still it was not a good sign). After all that, I was honestly surprised about how many game releases we still got, but still, the "onward and upward" momentum was lost. We were holding steady at best, but were not gaining ground anymore. I thought a decline was inevitable. This could turn that around. This could be some hope for us.

It is true that this may discourage native development to some extent, so it might not be perfect, but let's be honest; we should be more worried about the future of Linux gaming, not the future of "perfect" Linux gaming. This could be what gives Linux gaming a future, and I will be happy for any future for Linux gaming.
Salvatos 22 Aug, 2018
Hot damn that is both unexpected and very welcome. I feel like all the work put into WINE by the community over the years will now really pay off and provide even more value for Linux as a whole thanks to Valve's participation. And if Valve does the tinkering for me, all the better. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. If they get good, continued support going for enough high-profile games, they may very well drive Linux adoption up in the coming months. It might make some devs lazy in the short term, but a bigger market share in the long term could well turn that around.

I do hope porters can continue to thrive in this new context. Fewer games may be suitable for native ports if they already work well via Proton, but they will likely have a bigger audience to sell to for the games that can still benefit from a proper port, especially if they can convince publishers of doing simultaneous releases thanks to Linux being a more valuable demographic.
1xok 22 Aug, 2018
Absolutely incredible news. I just got back from Gamescom. Valve has a booth there where there is literally nothing to see but the Steam logo. But still the news of the day clearly comes from Valve. That's Valve.

I just switched to the BETA version. I can now install all my games on Linux! Just like that.

The last days I just spent playing GTA V (over DXVK/Lutris) and wondering what was suddenly going on. How was this progress possible so quickly?

It is clear that not everything will work magically now. But it is an incredibly huge step forward. This changes everything. I didn't expect it. In addition to Valve, we should not forget all the volunteers who have contributed to Wine over many years and have created a stable basis.

Last edited by 1xok on 22 August 2018 at 12:23 am UTC
14 22 Aug, 2018
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Quoting: Spud13ySo I guess this is how gaming on Linux will die.
Whatever. If the one or two games I have installed in Windows works with this Steam Play system, then I can nuke my Windows drive a year and a half earlier than I was planning.
Shmerl 22 Aug, 2018
I'm going to test Esync Wine shortly.
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