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God of War is now on Steam and runs out of the box on Linux with Proton

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Something that still doesn't quite feel right somehow is seeing the likes of a PlayStation logo on Linux. Anyway, the smash hit God of War is now on Steam and works right away on Linux. You can thank Steam Play Proton for that.

It's hard to believe the changing face of gaming sometimes. Previously console exclusive games now coming to PC more often. A trend I hope to see continue for years to come. Of course the new release comes with the kinds of things you would expect like enhanced graphics, ultra-wide support, NVIDIA DLSS, AMD FSR and so on.

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Enter the Norse realm
His vengeance against the Gods of Olympus years behind him, Kratos now lives as a man in the realm of Norse Gods and monsters. It is in this harsh, unforgiving world that he must fight to survive… and teach his son to do the same.

Grasp a second chance
Kratos is a father again. As mentor and protector to Atreus, a son determined to earn his respect, he is forced to deal with and control the rage that has long defined him while out in a very dangerous world with his son.

Journey to a dark, elemental world of fearsome creatures
From the marble and columns of ornate Olympus to the gritty forests, mountains and caves of pre-Viking Norse lore, this is a distinctly new realm with its own pantheon of creatures, monsters and gods.

Engage in visceral, physical combat
With an over the shoulder camera that brings the player closer to the action than ever before, fights in God of War™ mirror the pantheon of Norse creatures Kratos will face: grand, gritty and grueling. A new main weapon and new abilities retain the defining spirit of the God of War series while presenting a vision of conflict that forges new ground in the genre.

There's some really heavy stuttering though with an NVIDIA GPU. As always with more graphically intense games built for Windows and run through Proton, they need time to build up a shader cache. Once that is done, eventually Steam will have it to give out while the game downloads for your machine to sort it ahead of time. So, if you want a smooth experience, it usually pays to wait a week or so. That said, if you want to put up with the stuttering for a bit, don't let us stop you as outside of that, it seems to play quite brilliantly.

Like me, you might find that the lip-syncing voice audio is completely off though. It's possible you can fix that by adding this as a Steam launch option:

PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 %command%
In my own testing, that made it match up much better but not always.

One possible way to improve day-1 performance in this and other single-player games is to use the community built  Proton-GE, which you can get easily with ProtonUp-Qt. Proton-GE has DXVK_ASYNC, which can help reduce stutter but is not recommended for multiplayer titles as it can trip up anti-cheat. In my own testing, it made God of War massively smoother. If you choose to try that out it's this launch option: DXVK_ASYNC=1 %command%

Since I'm not much of a console gamer, even though I do own multiple consoles, I completely missed this and had no idea that Christopher Judge was the voice actor for Kratos so if you'll excuse me I have some fanboying to do.

You can buy it on Humble Store and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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52 comments
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F.Ultra 16 Jan
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Quoting: BlackBloodRum
Quoting: F.UltraDo note that there are plenty of bug reports of VLC stuttering with ALSA as well so there is no guarantee that those specific problems are down to Pulse. Pipewire is better yes, but that does still not mean that it will magically solve problems that wasn't due to Pulse, it's just that the bad state of ALSA (yes ALSA) when Pulse became widespread gave Pulse a bad reputation and now everyone blames every single problem on Pulse which leads to the real source of those issues not being fixed.
One advantage of pipewire as well is that it replaces ALSA/JACK as well - providing an interface that applications can understand while at the same time using a much needed overhaul of the codebase.

Previously with pulse it simply had ALSA/Jack running through it - instead of replacing the interface. This is often what caused the latency in the first place as it added an additional step of using multiple audio systems which got in the way.

Meanwhile with pipewire it simply replaces pulse, alsa and jack all at once with it's own interfaces, while they are still technically alsa and jack they are much more refined (think of it like only getting the bits you need, instead of everything). This is why the latency issues are mostly resolved because you are no longer having to run multiple audio systems to get sound, it's just the one (a system with pipewire properly installed doesn't need to have alsa/jack installed, pipewire handles this directly).

This also makes the codebase far easier to maintain - application has broken sound? Well we've only got to check pipewire's code for the problem, instead of trying to determine if it's in alsa, pulse or jack and then trying to contact those developers etc.

I'm not claiming it will magically solve everything, I'm simply saying it may be worth trying it on pipewire as it may (or may not) fix the issue - as whether you like pulseaudio or not you cannot deny all the issues it caused over the years and pipewire has solved many of them.

Give it a try, you might be surprised at just how well it works. No need to argue over this though, you're welcome to stay with pulseaudio and never install pipewire if you prefer and I will use pipewire as it meets my requirements better than pulse - that's the beauty of FOSS, we can set our systems as we need them.

Well a problem here is that this is only half true, yes Pipe replaces pulse and jack but no it does not change anything in regards to ALSA. Note that the solution in WINE to reduce the stutters is to use PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60, the default is 5.5ms so what WINE has to do is to increase the buffer size and hence increase the latency in order to keep up.

Pulse never had "ALSO/Jack running through it", Pulse uses ALSA for the output just like Pipe does, there is zero changes here. The main difference between the two is that Pipe doesn't use the rewind feature in ALSA while Pulse is built around it and rewind is apparently rewind is still semibroken in most ALSA drivers.

So you still have to check both the client, Pipewire and ALSA when problems occur just like you would with Pulse, zero differences in that regard. Pipe just replaces Pulse on a 1:1 regard for 99% of all setups (aka the ones that don't also run jack).

The introduced latency is due to pulse giving clients a buffered interface so that they don't have to worry about realtime scheduling in order to keep up with feeding the audio system data, pipe changes nothing in this regard either.

There is no denying that Pipe is better than Pulse in many regards, but it's not a panacea. The problems with sound dropouts and latency in games lies often elsewhere, switching between Pipe and Pulse will simply stir in the pot of random that will solve it for game X but create new problems with game Y. Or if we are lucky then the WINE driver for Pipe will simply be better written than the driver for Pulse and Pipe will take the credit, such is life sometimes.
mirv 16 Jan
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Quoting: WorMzy
Quoting: poiuz
Quoting: WorMzyOh boy, another developer that can't be arsed to support Linux, but will still benefit financially from open source software picking up their slack. Whoopee.
Where did they ask you to buy the game?

Oh, whoops, I thought making the game available for purchase on a digital game store meant they meant they wanted people to purchase it. My bad, I clearly misinterpreted their actions. They put the game up on Steam because they wanted people to.. uhhh.. re-evaluate their understanding of renaissance art, or something.

Quoting: poiuzYou're throwing your money into their pockets like you've got no choice. Clearly you don't care about a Linux port so why should the developers?

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I'm throwing money into this developer's pockets, but I can assure you that I'm not. No Tux, no bux; as the saying goes. I want developers to support Linux gamers, not just profit from them.

No the developer doesn't support GNU/Linux, and in no way intends to. Nor do they intend to sell to GNU/Linux gamers, and are not themselves taking advantage of open source software to sell the game to GNU/Linux gamers. Might they profit regardless? Yes. However it's not the developer or publisher here even trying to do that.

It's Valve.

Valve are the ones making this game available, via that wine + dxvk combo known as "Proton", to GNU/Linux gamers and enabling both themselves and the developer (or publisher) to make money from what is to them essentially a Windows sale (they made it into a Windows title, they're selling a Windows version of the game, they only support Windows on desktop computers, and have never pretended otherwise).

Would I like the developer to make a fully supported proper GNU/Linux version? Absolutely. Are they using open source software so profit from GNU/Linux gamers and not giving anything back? No.
14 16 Jan
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Really great news.

As far as the game itself goes, I stopped playing it a month or more ago (came with PS Plus). I'd say it was pretty much a good game, and I am sure a lot of people will love it, but I wasn't into it. The game is half walking around, looking at scenery, and listening to annoying dialogue. The back-and-forth of the main dude and his son is filled will long silences and single-word answers. It is just annoying to be a witness. And that's what I felt like more than anything: someone tagging along and watching (as opposed to playing). While the scenery is incredible at times, there wasn't enough actual action and gameplay for me. I also couldn't get past the idea of who he used to be based on older games in the series, and now dealing with this character who does not make you feel cool to be at all. I put it down deciding that if I wanted a story, I wanted a different one -- an actual RPG or, really, a good book. God of War didn't have enough game for me.
Alm888 17 Jan
Quoting: WorMzyOh, whoops, I thought making the game available for purchase on a digital game store meant they meant they wanted people to purchase it. My bad, I clearly misinterpreted their actions. They put the game up on Steam because they wanted people to.. uhhh.. re-evaluate their understanding of renaissance art, or something.
Well, yes. They are selling their game on Steam™ (a store) for Windows® (an operating system). And they are quite open about it. It is literary (well, more like graphically) depicted on the store page. And they never made any attempts to enforce their Windows-game onto Linux users.
Quoting: poiuzYou're throwing your money into their pockets like you've got no choice. Clearly you don't care about a Linux port so why should the developers?
Quoting: WorMzyI'm not sure where you got the idea that I'm throwing money into this developer's pockets, but I can assure you that I'm not. No Tux, no bux; as the saying goes. I want developers to support Linux gamers, not just profit from them.
You both are right in a way. I don't know why are you arguing.
The developers never intended to sell their game to Linus users. And yes, they will benefit financially from both "Linux gamers" and Open Source technologies. Thanks to Valve propagating Proton™ technology (taking advantage from WINE project), "Linux gamers'" willfulness to pay for a Windows game and one Linux gaming news site author/admin giving the game a spotlight; please note however, he wrote one can buy the game on Steam and Humble Store, not one ought to do so.

P.S. In order to sweeten the medicine I want to remind everyone that a game is not all about code or OS'es. A game is a multimedia product composed of: sound, script, voice acting, level design, visual assets and so on. And most of those have nothing to do with code or Win32 API, so most of the price paid for a Windows game actually goes for artists' work, not OS compatibility.

P.P.S. I personally will never purchase this game. Not even if it goes Linux-native-freeware. Not my cup of vodka.

P.P.P.S. I also do not drink vodka. :)
damarrin 17 Jan
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Quoting: 14While the scenery is incredible at times, there wasn't enough actual action and gameplay for me.

Huh. That's a very interesting take, if anything, the game is overflowing with action, the only times of peace are when you're
Spoiler, click me
rowing around the lake for a bit.
einherjar 17 Jan
Quoting: etoven
Quoting: einherjar
Quoting: d10sfanRuns pretty bad with nvidia 1070, so refunded it for now.

Oh, sad, I am on a 1070TI@1440p - that may be not enough for good gameplay :-(

Give it a go.. I am running perfect on my GTX 1060. No issues at all. Got many settings to ultra proton experimental.

@1440p?
Leopard 17 Jan
Quoting: GuestIt would be nice if someone put up a performance test on youtube so we can see how well it's running right now. How good is the performance with the DXVK_ASYNC=1 option? And how does the performance currently compare to the performance in windows10.

There are currently a lot of people on windows10 who have severe fluctuations from 39 fps to over 80 fps. Is this problem also present on Linux?

I use DXVK async patch on top of DXVK master ( i've built it myself as dxvk-async repro only provides builds for releases, which GoW fixes of DXVK are not in a release, just in master )

It is just night and day difference compared to normal DXVK master.

My system is i7 7700HQ,GTX 1050.

Zero stutters with DXVK async on top of master. Lots of stutters with DXVK master.
sarmad 17 Jan
Thanks, Liam, for the tip. That `PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60` completely saved the game for me.
gabber 18 Jan
Quoting: WorMzyOh boy, another developer that can't be arsed to support Linux, but will still benefit financially from open source software picking up their slack. Whoopee.

It's a bit more complicated than that:

1.) If you buy it on Steam, Valve gets a cut. And Valve is investing in open source software.
2.) AFAIK it will be registered as a Linux purchase
3.) Your steam friends on windows see you playing God of War, makes them think again about "you need windows for AAA-gaming"

Sure it would be great if Sony made a Linux version, but perfect is also the enemy of good.

I think waiting for pure linux ports is not helping:
1.) At some point valve will look at what the sales due to Proton were.
2.) The people around us will see us only play very few / niche games, cementing the "you need windows for AAA-gaming".
lukas333 18 Jan
Can't wait to play it when it will be at a reasonable price.
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