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With the Steamworks Virtual Conference: Steam Deck over, we now have quite a few details that have come out on what to expect from the Steam Deck, Proton, Linux, SteamOS 3 and more.

Soon we'll go over some of the main points in another article, but something interesting caught our attention in one of the Q&A sessions. A hot topic that has come up time and time again since Proton was revealed back in 2018, has been whether developers will just drop native support and always go with Proton (or however it has been phrased).

We've seen a lot of articles across the web on it, and plenty of users from both camps argue it to death. So what do Valve really think about it?

We now have an actual answer.

Read out from developers in the session by Valve's Kaci Aitchison, the question was: "Would you prefer a game to use Proton or to have native Linux support, what's the stance on that?", answering Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais said "We have no strong preference. Really, it comes down to whatever is the best experience. So if it's easier for the developer to get to a point where the best experience is achieved through Proton we think that's great. But if they have the know-how or the resources to work on a native Linux build, that has a great experience and has all the functionality and they're able to maintain it, we think that's even better."

You can listen back yourself on YouTube in the full event video, with the question around 3:02:35.

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scaine Nov 13, 2021
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Quoting: GuestValve's representative didn't actually give a preference or official stance.

I'm not arguing it was a political answer, but it was a clear preference. He stated that native support is "even better". And he's a valve rep, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't think it's an official stance.

I don't agree with just about anything you've said on this thread Mirv (sorry! ), but that's the main point that matters I think!
notmrflibble Nov 13, 2021
Quoting: GuestValve's representative didn't actually give a preference or official stance. Just punted the question off to the side. I'm not saying that's bad of them, but many people are going to read into something that's designed to be essentially a non-answer.
Er… Pierre-Loup Griffais == plagman. You can find him on IRC quite easily (he's in and OFTC/#radeon that I know of), and the answer given seems clear enough to me: game devs should do native builds if they can and rely on Proton otherwise.
berarma Nov 13, 2021
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: GuestValve's representative didn't actually give a preference or official stance.

I'm not arguing it was a political answer, but it was a clear preference. He stated that native support is "even better". And he's a valve rep, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't think it's an official stance.

I read it as "native is better but we don't have a strong preference for better".

Last edited by berarma on 15 November 2021 at 2:07 pm UTC
Tchey Nov 13, 2021
Well, it’s better to have minor pain than major pain, but if you can have no pain, it’s even better.
Anza Nov 13, 2021
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: berarmaMaybe Valve doesn't care but users should. Proton games come without support, that means the user doesn't have any rights regarding their purchase. In case of issues the developer can answer with "no Linux, play it on Windows" and they're right. Native games are supported, you're entitled to have the game working on Linux as the developer promised and they shouldn't do anything to prevent it.

To date, no Proton game is supported. What does Valve have to say about this?

I guess that's why Valve have the "verified" thing they are now working on.

If they verify it...

It's possible that it's supported even without official Valves blessing. Finding that out depends with on word of mouth as in the store game will show up as Windows only game, even when developer is ready to fix compatibility issues with Proton. I think No Mans Sky was like that at least.

Valve is also willing to help out with Proton related issues.

In general situation is still bit murky, but let's see what Valve does with store. They are clearly planning to do something with the verified thing, but lets see if it affects desktop Linux side at all.
TheBard Nov 13, 2021
Looking at reports on ProtonDB, and having experienced it too, Proton often offer better performance and stability than native versions. But, games with a native port tend to be better supported by Proton. I imagine games with a native port must use cross platform middleware with improve Proton compatibility.
R3BiRtH Nov 13, 2021
I think their answer was a good one. One thing not considered is that, even with native ports, there's no guarantee a developer would continue to provide support to it, especially if the native port involves a separate porting team (where that depends on the team's focus on that codebase), or if it involves another simultaneous codebase, where the support'll be split anyways.

Native will always be better from the standpoint of efficiency when running, no doubting that, however there's little assurance on the nature of developer focus. Proton in a way can address that (primarily on the basis of the codebases quite literally being shared, since it's the same release), and the only other way to push that to apply for native would be if Linux support becomes more of a primary target, or if portable development practices take hold. Those come in time however, so the stance is reasonable.
BielFPs Nov 13, 2021
Between Proton vs Native I will always opt for the supported one

It doesn't really matter for me which tech the game is using to work, as long as the developers can patch it to works if it's necessary.

Also it's good to remind that some games may probably use the "embedded" version of proton (compiled together with the game files), that's not so different from some "native" builds that are only the original windows files with some other non-proton wrapper.
peta77 Nov 13, 2021
there's examples where the linux port is better and there's others where the linux port sucks but the proton version performes better than running it on windows... regarding support a native linux version is better if the developers really support it; there's been experiences where devs throw out a linux but with the attitude: use it if you're feeling lucky, because we won't help you if it doesn't work...

hopefully, instead of porting stuff, people will finally start to do real multi-platform development from the start; that will eventually save time and all gamers will be running the same version no matter which platform they're on; there's enough toolkits for that nowadays that run quite fine (interestingly already in use by quite a few devs - also big studios - that are actually only releasing on windows)
Liam Dawe Nov 13, 2021
Quoting: GuestIt's quite a non-committal answer, the sort you get from politicians.
I didn't really hear it that way at all. After all, Valve are not the developers of all the games, they're just providing the main platform - it would be overstepping somewhat if they then forced developers into a specific way to develop their games. I took it as-is, developers are free to choose and as long as it works, Valve are happy.

Last edited by Liam Dawe on 15 November 2021 at 8:10 pm UTC
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