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Half-Life 2 and the episodes get a Beta with Vulkan (DXVK) and more

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Valve has put up a Beta for Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two as they prepare more of their own games ready for the Steam Deck.

We don't know yet all the exact details, as this update hasn't even been announced by Valve yet but the Betas are up and you can try them out right now. However, we do know for sure they now have DXVK Native which is the port of DXVK to Linux which allows it to be used natively without Wine. This changes the game to use Vulkan, instead of OpenGL, if you launch it with "-vulkan" in the launch options.

Half-Life 2: Episode One with 110 FOV

Other improvements noticed include some big bug fixes to a few scenes, UI improvements with resolution scaling with the HUD now having its own scaling option - which has resulted in the UI being a much better fit, ultrawide support, FOV now goes up to 110 instead of 90 and likely more we've missed.

To try it out all you need to do is opt into the Beta branch for the games on Steam. Right click -> Properties -> Betas (on the left) and then select it from the dropdown box. When they do put up full patch notes we'll let you know.

Hopefully at some point they will upgrade Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive too.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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ridge 19 Oct
So, wait, they're changing the game to use DirectX over Vulkan instead of native OpenGL? Is it really faster to do it that way? I mean hey if it works it works, just odd!

Edit: Had to install EP2 because I got curious, but wow is the current beta stuttery on my machine! I can't even play the game like this. After the first boot of the beta, it doesn't even render the game, just completely black with sound. Steam overlay works tho :P


Last edited by ridge on 19 October 2021 at 10:55 am UTC
Flabb 19 Oct
Quoting: ridgeSo, wait, they're changing the game to use DirectX over Vulkan instead of native OpenGL? Is it really faster to do it that way? I mean hey if it works it works, just odd!
OpenGL in Source-based games wasn't native too - these games use ToGL layer, which translates Direct3D calls to OpenGL calls. DXVK Native isn't any different in that way - it translates D3D to Vulkan at compile time similarly to ToGL.
ridge 19 Oct
Quoting: Flabb
Quoting: ridgeSo, wait, they're changing the game to use DirectX over Vulkan instead of native OpenGL? Is it really faster to do it that way? I mean hey if it works it works, just odd!
OpenGL in Source-based games wasn't native too - these games use ToGL layer, which translates Direct3D calls to OpenGL calls. DXVK Native isn't any different in that way - it translates D3D to Vulkan at compile time similarly to ToGL.

Then that makes heck of a lot more sense to me, thanks for clearing that up!
mphuZ 19 Oct
There were also changes for Half-life 2: Lost Coast and Half-life: Source
mirv 19 Oct
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I just hope they don't get rid of the OpenGL backend....ever. Mostly because unmodified DXVK will crash out on my system (this is a quirk of my setup). It's nice to see such things gaining continued support, always a good thing, but of course I'm thinking how to backup and play these games very soon, lest I no longer be able to play them.

So for me it's a good/bad situation. Can't please everyone!
mphuZ 19 Oct
Apparently, the DXVK port is also being prepared for Firewatch
https://steamdb.info/app/383870/history/
mphuZ 19 Oct
After adding DXVK (L4D2, P2), the developers did not switch the render in the game itself? Only in the startup parameters? It's so stupid..
Ehvis 19 Oct
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Quoting: mphuZApparently, the DXVK port is also being prepared for Firewatch
https://steamdb.info/app/383870/history/

Firewatch is native. And Unity. How is that supposed to work?
Liam Dawe 19 Oct
Quoting: Ehvis
Quoting: mphuZApparently, the DXVK port is also being prepared for Firewatch
https://steamdb.info/app/383870/history/

Firewatch is native. And Unity. How is that supposed to work?
If true, it's likely much easier to use DXVK Native than it is to upgrade Unity for improved Vulkan support in-engine.
Ehvis 19 Oct
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: Ehvis
Quoting: mphuZApparently, the DXVK port is also being prepared for Firewatch
https://steamdb.info/app/383870/history/

Firewatch is native. And Unity. How is that supposed to work?
If true, it's likely much easier to use DXVK Native than it is to upgrade Unity for improved Vulkan support in-engine.

I'm no Unity expert, but I don't think it's any easier to modify unity to run with dxvk native. Sounds more like a very dirty hack job. In that case Proton would be far easier to manage.
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