Check out our Monthly Survey Page to see what our users are running.

Valve clarifies how they test Native Linux or Proton for Steam Deck

By - | Views: 54,540

For people who watch SteamDB updates, there's been a little bit of confusion on how Valve has been testing titles ready for the release of the Steam Deck on February 25. They've now fully clarified.

The issue surrounds what version they will pick for Deck Verified when games have a Native Linux build. There were a number that appeared on SteamDB, noting Steam Play Proton as the runtime picked instead (meaning the Windows build was used). As example, an update for Portal 2 on SteamDB (their own game) shows the recommended runtime being Proton. Turns out, this was not intended.

Valve shared via email (making clear this was not embargoed info): "early on, there were a limited number of titles that were tested via Proton before Linux before we made some policy changes. Since then all of those titles are already back in the queue for re-testing using their Linux builds".

Additionally, the developer documentation has been updated (right at the bottom) to state:

If my game has a native Linux version and is selected for review heuristically, will the compatibility review take place on the Linux build or under Proton?
By default, we will test a Linux build if one is available. If the Linux build fails compatibility tests or otherwise experiences significant issues, we'll then test the Windows build of your game running under Proton. Our goal is for customers to have the smoothest experience possible on Deck, so we'll submit whichever set of test results is more favorable.

Your compatibility test results will specify what runtime they were generated on. You can see details in the "Details" section of your report under the "Recommended Runtime" field.

If you believe we tested the wrong version of your product, you can always submit for a re-review and specify the platform you'd like us to test.

Something to remember: nothing is final, and even after the Steam Deck releases the Deck Verified program will be an ongoing thing. No doubt there will be changes to how it's run after release too as they continue to try and give players the best experience.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
47 Likes
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG and Humble Store. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
49 comments
Page: 1/5»
  Go to:

Jpxe 17 Feb
I feel bad for Feral, I'm guessing Proton will be selected for all their games.
BielFPs 17 Feb
QuoteIf the Linux build fails compatibility tests or otherwise experiences significant issues, we'll then test the Windows build of your game running under Proton.
Judging by this message, I bet Dying Light will be one of those games who will be opted to run on Proton by default despise having a "native" version.

But I wonder how they'll handle cases like Borderlands 2 that, while having a "performant" native build, the last DLC can only be played through Proton.
Liam Dawe 17 Feb
Quoting: BielFPsBut I wonder how they'll handle cases like Borderlands 2 that, while having a "performant" native build, the last DLC can only be played through Proton.
IMO, if you can't play DLC because it's no longer updated or supported like that, it should just run through Proton - otherwise it's not the full content experience.
CFWhitman 17 Feb
Quoting: JpxsonI feel bad for Feral, I'm guessing Proton will be selected for all their games.

I wouldn't count on it. The Steam Deck has an AMD GPU.
BielFPs 17 Feb
Quoting: Liam DaweIMO, if you can't play DLC because it's no longer updated or supported like that, it should just run through Proton - otherwise it's not the full content experience.
Yes, my point is if their test will be able to detect those use cases.
I hope that at some point they will remove the "launchers" from Feral games, such as Rise of TR or dirt games, where it can become annoying.
pete910 17 Feb
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: JpxsonI feel bad for Feral, I'm guessing Proton will be selected for all their games.
Particular reason why ?


Quoting: BielFPsJudging by this message, I bet Dying Light will be one of those games who will be opted to run on Proton by default despise having a "native" version.

The native build apparently has controller support so don't se why they would. It certainly runs well on AMD hardware in Linux so no reason why it won't on the deck !

Quoting: BielFPsBut I wonder how they'll handle cases like Borderlands 2 that, while having a "performant" native build, the last DLC can only be played through Proton.

BL2's situation is embarrassing to be frank. The port from Asprey runs really well but basically it's abandoned from the looks of it. Whether thats due to Gearbox or whomever I don't know. Could be the deal/license has run out as in the case with some of feral's ports.
Shmerl 17 Feb
Quoting: pete910Particular reason why ?
Can't say specifially about Feral, but some older Linux games are OpenGL only, and perform worse than their Windows versions going through DX → Vulkan path.

Not sure if this testing takes performance into account.

This should be better for modern native Linux games that are supposed to all use Vulkan these days.


Last edited by Shmerl on 17 February 2022 at 10:26 pm UTC
denyasis 17 Feb
Quoting: pete910
Quoting: JpxsonI feel bad for Feral, I'm guessing Proton will be selected for all their games.
Particular reason why?

The assumption is that the older ports that still remain use older opengl and wrapping technology that is less efficient than modern Wine/Proton with DXVK.
Ehvis 17 Feb
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: pete910
Quoting: BielFPsBut I wonder how they'll handle cases like Borderlands 2 that, while having a "performant" native build, the last DLC can only be played through Proton.

BL2's situation is embarrassing to be frank. The port from Asprey runs really well but basically it's abandoned from the looks of it. Whether thats due to Gearbox or whomever I don't know. Could be the deal/license has run out as in the case with some of feral's ports.

BL2 default must be native. Because installing it with proton will install the HD texture pack which will cause out of memory crashes. You need to manually untick that DLC for it to be stable(ish). Default experience has fewer issues although proton can run double the fps.
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Reward Tiers: Patreon. Plain Donations: Liberapay or PayPal.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone with no article paywalls. We also don't have tons of adverts, there's also no tracking and we respect your privacy. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
Login / Register

Or login with...
Sign in with Steam Sign in with Twitter Sign in with Google
Social logins require cookies to stay logged in.