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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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BielFPs 28 Jul
I said this before and I will say it again: Before ask developers to support Linux we need to ask them to support Vulkan first, in order to make them create better games with the api.

Every game made with Directx in mind is a potential "Proton only" game, which will result in cases like Trine where even if they have a native version it's different/worse than their windows counterpart, but more games made with Vulkan in mind means better performance, which means more chances to have a (good) linux native version.

Quoting: STiATOn other games (Valheim in example), the Linux port is so bad performance whise (OGL and Vulkan) that it's actually better to play using Proton,

Exactly, my last refunded game had a native port too (Last Epoch) where the game wouldn't even start in my machine, so what was the point of a native version for me in this case?

In case of Valheim I notice this too, and the cause is not Vulkan being worse than Directx, but probably because the developers are more comfortable at working with dx, because dx has more support (easier to work with) than Vulkan right now, hence why it's important to encourage more developers to work with Vulkan even if their games will be Windows only.
Leopard 28 Jul
Quoting: BielFPsI said this before and I will say it again: Before ask developers to support Linux we need to ask them to support Vulkan first, in order to make them create better games with the api.

Every game made with Directx in mind is a potential "Proton only" game, which will result in cases like Trine where even if they have a native version it's different/worse than their windows counterpart, but more games made with Vulkan in mind means better performance, which means more chances to have a (good) linux native version.

Quoting: STiATOn other games (Valheim in example), the Linux port is so bad performance whise (OGL and Vulkan) that it's actually better to play using Proton,

Exactly, my last refunded game had a native port too (Last Epoch) where the game wouldn't even start in my machine, so what was the point of a native version for me in this case?

In case of Valheim I notice this too, and the cause is not Vulkan being worse than Directx, but probably because the developers are more comfortable at working with dx, because dx has more support (easier to work with) than Vulkan right now, hence why it's important to encourage more developers to work with Vulkan even if their games will be Windows only.

Valheim is a Unity title.

For Unity; GL is basically deprecated ( even if they don't call it that way) and Vulkan is there for mobile purposes.

Same goes for Unreal Engine too. Nearly all dev time+money goes into D3D side.

It is not the fault of game devs; those popular engines has second class citizen support for anything that is a non MS graphics api.

So Metal also shares the same fate.


Last edited by Leopard on 28 July 2021 at 10:12 pm UTC
BielFPs 28 Jul
Quoting: LeopardIt is not the fault of game devs; those popular engines has second class citizen support for anything that is a non MS graphics api.

Hence the point of my post: first ask for Vulkan then latter for a native version.
Leopard 28 Jul
Quoting: BielFPs
Quoting: LeopardIt is not the fault of game devs; those popular engines has second class citizen support for anything that is a non MS graphics api.

Hence the point of my post: first ask for Vulkan then latter for a native version.

Yes, a Vulkan backend that got all dev time on a PC build is vastly better than having a port that translates from D3D code.

With source code access that is also ok ( for example like it happened with SoTR port of Feral) but usually that is not the case.

With having first class citizen Vulkan backends on PC ( Windows ) Proton should be much more viable.

It takes time and money to port an engine to another platform, so Proton can take care of this part.
twinsonian 28 Jul
Proton is the electron for games. Though I do not want to insult Proton as I think it is actually fantastic.

What I am curious about is if projects like unity and godot will drop native build support and focus on Proton compatibility for the windows builds.
Lofty 28 Jul
Quoting: CatKillerWell, that's the dilemma, isn't it? Can you squeeze £6 worth of value out of a £60 game before they break it? On the bright side, by the time a game gets to 90% off they've often stopped making breaking changes.

This is EXACTLY how i have been using proton since it's inception. I buy games i intend to play on proton on heavy Discount and usually a year or so after they have come out and the fundamental game/engine updates have been completed and all that might be left is DLC. there is a higher chance of it working out of the gate.
const 28 Jul
I think Frozenbyte is one of many developers that got a totally wrong idea of Linux port rentability because of the Humble Indy Bundles. I have like 3 licenses for all of their games ported to Linux and I guess that's true for all of us who were gaming on Linux before Steam on Linux really got a thing. Now sure we didn't buy their games on Steam any more, we already had them. Then they looked at sales statistics and we got irrelevant. No surprise, really.
Anyway, they were among the first to jump the Humble Linux train that got everything started and I'll never forget that. Linux gaming today only exists because of some critical events and the HIBs were a key part of this.


Last edited by const on 28 July 2021 at 11:32 pm UTC
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
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.

Yeah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIhLpyORlis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNhMWJsQ7QM

Apparently the Blizzard women employees who are victims have had their spotlight & thunder now hijacked by Activists and Con-artists seeking to profit from Virtue-Shilling their services, products and trying to funnel donation money into their own organizations seeking their own unaligned agendas.

So sad for the women and employees who were actually getting noticed, now Forign Activist Virtue-Shilling will cause the public to loose solidarity with the actual victims and they will be drowned out by the moronic actions of a few activists who don't even work at Blizzard. RIP Women's Rights. Sad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JuJXDG5S3s


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 29 July 2021 at 6:10 am UTC
Termy 29 Jul
TBH, better official Proton support than a bad Port - that much i agree with.
But dropping native without committing to keep the game running well in default proton is just bad...
Liam Dawe 29 Jul
Please keep it on topic, let's not drag the Blizzard situation into something totally unrelated.
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