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Frozenbyte being the developer behind titles like the Trine series, Shadwen, Has-Been Heroes and the upcoming Starbase talks a little about Proton and future native Linux support. If you're not clear on what Proton and Steam Play are, be sure to check out our constantly updated dedicated page. It's a special compatibility layer for running Windows games and apps from Steam on Linux.

If you're not aware, Frozenbyte did previously have their games ported over to Linux but they eventually stopped after the release of Shadwen in 2016. The latest Trine 4 and their other titles don't have Linux version. With Starbase that's due to release tomorrow (July 29, 2021), there's a post on the Steam forum from a user asking about Linux support and Frozenbyte developer Jukka Larja (JLarja) replied on July 27 to explain it's not a priority:

With Proton being as good as it is, native support is not very high on our list. In fact (without actually trying the native versions on modern Linux distro) I would recommend Proton emulation over native versions for all the previous games we've released. Changes are you'll get better graphics quality, likely less trouble getting the game running and input working, and possible better performance too. For low-on-resources port Proton is simply superior.

If Linux gaming takes off (for example, because Steam Deck becomes a huge success), then we'll have a reason to consider not-so-low-on-resources port, which may (and probably does) change the picture somewhat. At the moment we have Xbox Series X/S higher on our porting targets list though (not for Starbase currently, but for other future projects).

I imagine there will be plenty more of this, especially for older ports where performance wasn't top and some that might have other issues. Proton isn't just something that's good to ensure Linux gamers and Steam Deck users get to play the latest games, it's also (as even porter Ethan Lee has pointed out), good for being an "essential preservation project" for older Windows games to keep them working nicely.

What is interesting to see is a mention of it being possibility if the Steam Deck is a success. People will argue on one side about there not being a point if Proton gets to the stage where Windows games can just run out of the box on Linux with Proton, but there is the other side that a native Linux build gives developers more control and flexibility on their games compared with handing it all over to Valve. Either way, that and more depends on how the Steam Deck goes.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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97 comments
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KohlyKohl 28 Jul
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They were hesitant to port over Trine 3 and didn't bother with Trine 4. This is not a surprise by any means.
Mohandevir 28 Jul
I'm no specialist, but from what I read, there is also the possibility of optimizing the code for the Steam Deck to get that extra performance, in a native build, that you can't get with Proton. Am I wrong to think so?


Last edited by Mohandevir on 28 July 2021 at 1:09 pm UTC
mirv 28 Jul
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Actually their statement is worse in my opinion: native or not, no support at all for running their games on GNU/Linux by any means. I doubt anyone can take a platform seriously if there's no support for it.
A depressing statement. Not that Trine3 ever ran (at all) for me, but Trine and Trine2 were great.

What makes this even worse is that Trine 4 is on Stadia.
Corben 28 Jul
That statement gives me hope for the future. Given Steam Deck is a success... native versions will become more relevant again. It will be a tough time to get there though. Fingers crossed!
Zlopez 28 Jul
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Let's see how this goes, if the Steam Deck will really change the OS composition for gaming market (Linux will not be less than 1.0%), it could mean that more and more developers will target Linux as one of the main platforms. And with the Linux Runtime containers provided by Valve, they even have an environment that will make sure that their game will run in it even years after release. Which is unfortunately not a case today, when old game titles couldn't be played anymore because the required libraries are no longer available :-(.

Let's face it the games are usually not a kind of software that targets for continuous delivery and after it's not profitable anymore it's left to rot. In this case Proton and Linux Runtime Containers could really help.
elmapul 28 Jul
LOL
elmapul 28 Jul
omg, i read it wrong, its frozenbyte not frost byte...
i was wondering why the artcile used the name of the engine instead of the company, never mind...
kuhpunkt 28 Jul
I mean Trine 4 didn't even get a native release, so there's no reason to complain. It could't have gotten worse.
KuJo 28 Jul
Quoting: kuhpunktI mean Trine 4 didn't even get a native release, so there's no reason to complain. It could't have gotten worse.
Actually, they shouldn't be that far away from a native Linux version ... because the game was released for/on Stadia in March:
-> https://www.frozenbyte.com/2021/03/trine-4-the-nightmare-prince-now-out-on-stadia/

And Stadia runs with Linux ... apart from the framework adaptations that are required for Stadia. But well ... there is probably already a bigger gaming market under Stadia than for Linux ... or Google added a few bucks for the port ...
QuoteIn fact (without actually trying the native versions on modern Linux distro) I would recommend Proton emulation

That part in the quotes tells you everything you need to know.

They're not recommending Proton because they think it's better than anything they could do. They're recommending Proton because they don't care. Proton is the solution for game developers who don't care about whether or not their games run on Linux.

As the article said earlier:

QuoteIf you're not aware, Frozenbyte did previously have their games ported over to Linux but they eventually stopped after the release of Shadwen in 2016.

They stopped porting their games to Linux 5 years ago, well before Proton existed, let alone 'got good'.
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