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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.

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Shmerl 28 Jul
Quoting: 1xokI think Ethan Lee and others are looking for new jobs. Just saying.

I don't think they should look at Frozenbyte then. I suppose making their own games is an option too if they want to stay in the gaming industry that is.

Last edited by Shmerl on 28 July 2021 at 5:02 pm UTC
vector 28 Jul
I'm guessing that the majority of developers currently don't support Linux gamers who use Wine/Proton, but most haven't been been asked or haven't responded when asked. I assume the general attitude is that if their games work flawlessly with Proton, great (and some will even recommend Proton even though they don't actually support its use, just like Frozenbyte); if there are issues, customers are entitled to refunds so long as they meet the terms and conditions, and if customers are outside the refund window, well, the company never advertised Linux support in the first place. Perhaps Valve is more lenient with refund requests for games with Proton issues.

Proton is a net gain for gaming on Linux, but I don't think it is a stretch to say that in most cases Proton currently remains off-label use for games (that is to say, in most cases its use isn't currently officially supported), and that porters have been impacted to some degree (to be clear, I'm not suggesting Proton disincentivized Frozenbyte from providing Linux ports of their last few games, it's clear that is not the case). With Valve supporting the games it whitelists instead of the IP owners who oversee the source code (unless something has changed in that regard), and many, if not most, gamers willing to buy games irrespective of whether the developers support Linux, I'm not sure I see enough incentive for change to the support status quo in an industry where "underdeliver" often seems to be the mantra.
Quoting: ElectricPrismAll the AAA simping and white knighting of why AAA games can't support Linux cuz "tem not has enough li nuks mons 4 coleg" is completely dashed to pieces by what we saw at Activision+Blizzard. No wonder their catalog has been absolute trash for the last few years.
Holy Bacon! I went and looked this up--what a bunch of complete vicious incompetent assholes.
sarmad 28 Jul
As I mentioned in a previous post, successful Steam Deck means developers will start doing native ports, because that will simply be easier for them with more guaranteed results than going through Proton. The issue is just about deciding to properly support Linux rather than an issue of how difficult it is to do native ports. Native ports are definitely easier than using Proton if you are using an engine that supports Linux (like Unity or UnrealEngine)
WJMazepas 28 Jul
Quoting: MohandevirI'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?

No, that is true. If we look at the Shadow of Tomb Raider port, the native version is more performant than the Proton version.

Just by removing the wine overhead, you should see a performance increase, but then again it varies by game, since there were games that saw a performance boost on Linux with Proton
tonyrh 28 Jul
I don't understand why you guys are bashing frozenbyte for not bothering to "support" proton. That's exactly the same situation of every other game on the steamdeck, no support at all from developers and publishers. Valve specifically said that developers do not need to bother, "it just works". Of course, 3k open issues on proton github say otherwise...
Quoting: tonyrh3k open issues on proton github say otherwise...

They don't typically close issues, even when the issue is fixed, to keep discussion open.
tonyrh 28 Jul
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: tonyrh3k open issues on proton github say otherwise...

They don't typically close issues, even when the issue is fixed, to keep discussion open.

sub 28 Jul
It will be a maintenance and catch-up hell for Valve. No doubt.
CatKiller 28 Jul
Quoting: tonyrhOf course, 3k open issues on proton github say otherwise...
You know there's a compatibility report for every single game that someone's tested in Proton, right? A new issue, every one.
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