Steam Play allows Linux gamers to use many different compatibility layers like Proton for running Windows games but Luxtorpeda instead makes games use an available native Linux game engine. It's a thoroughly clever and awesome project, as there's a number of games that just run better (regardless of the platform) on an up to date native game engine.
Quite a few games are supported with it including: Arx Fatalis, Caesar 3, Chris Sawyer's Locomotion, multiple Doom games, Descent 1 / 2, Freespace 2, Ocean's Heart, PowerSlave, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Warzone 2100 and the list goes on.
The new version 40 that's out now moves over to a more modern Steam Runtime (Soldier). The developer mentions that this "leads to better tooling with the newer starting point, less extra dependencies, and will be much more future proof".
Some of the changes over the last few versions includes:
- Adds support for running games in Steam Runtime Soldier. Engines have been re-built for the new runtime. See https://luxtorpeda-dev.github.io/packages.html for the package list
- Support using rust-gtk, which gives greater control over the UI shown. Progress still uses zenity.
- Support Automatic Detection of Game Folders For Dependent Games - Detect game folders based on VDF files, for things like the source sdk games, so that manual picking is not required. Will fallback to original picking if not found.
- Log Client Version At Launch
- Remove legacy support for original packages, so that runtime is now the default.
For all the game engines used by Luxtorpeda, they've been upgraded (where possible) to the latest code "especially in cases where normal tagged releases aren't done in upstream and relying on new development commits".
How do you actually use it? It's easy enough to download and install too with a few quick steps:
- Download the tar archive file from the GitHub releases page.
- If this folder does not exist, create it:
- Extract the archive downloaded in Step 1, and place the contents into the above directory.
- Restart Steam if it's open which refreshes the Steam Play list for Luxtorpeda to show up.
- Right click on your game, go to Properties, Compatibility and ensure the box is ticked named "Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool" then select Luxtorpeda from the dropdown box that appears.
The next time you launch that game it will use whatever native game engine Luxtorpeda supports for it. Sometimes there's multiple so it gives you a choice and it sets it all up for you.