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

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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.
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48 comments
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Eike Feb 18, 2022
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Quoting: melkemind
Quoting: headless_cyborgI'm curious about Rise/Shadow of the TR because their Feral native ports are IMO perfect so they should be the way to go.

They're good ports but not perfect. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is still receiving updates that Feral hasn't added. They could go back and update all their games, but it's probably not profitable at this point.

Wine/Proton is an open source solution, while Feral's wrapper was not. Dare I say this is a better solution?

Dare whatever you feel like.

But Wine/Proton is an open source solution... using a proprietary API to run closed source .EXE and .DLL files on Linux.
Which does not sound too great in my ears.

IMHO, it's a "better than mostly nothing", but not a "Wow, FLOSS!"


Last edited by Eike on 18 February 2022 at 5:56 pm UTC
dubigrasu Feb 18, 2022
Quoting: melkemind
Quoting: headless_cyborgI'm curious about Rise/Shadow of the TR because their Feral native ports are IMO perfect so they should be the way to go.

They're good ports but not perfect. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is still receiving updates that Feral hasn't added. They could go back and update all their games, but it's probably not profitable at this point.

Wine/Proton is an open source solution, while Feral's wrapper was not. Dare I say this is a better solution?
Regardless of the open-source vs proprietary argument, certain game ports will run better compared with Proton. And in this case, the ports of both ROTTR and SOTTR run better than the Proton counterparts.
Purple Library Guy Feb 18, 2022
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: melkemind
Quoting: headless_cyborgI'm curious about Rise/Shadow of the TR because their Feral native ports are IMO perfect so they should be the way to go.

They're good ports but not perfect. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is still receiving updates that Feral hasn't added. They could go back and update all their games, but it's probably not profitable at this point.

Wine/Proton is an open source solution, while Feral's wrapper was not. Dare I say this is a better solution?

Dare whatever you feel like.

But Wine/Proton is an open source solution... using a proprietary API to run closed source .EXE and .DLL files on Linux.
Which does not sound too great in my ears.

IMHO, it's a "better than mostly nothing", but not a "Wow, FLOSS!"
Given that the context is "Best way to play commercial closed source games", I don't think noting that the open source way to do it . . . plays commercial closed source games . . . is a serious criticism.
BielFPs Feb 18, 2022
Quoting: slaapliedjeUsing OpenGL doesn't instantly make something perform worse. nVidia has always had fantastic OpenGL support.
OpenGL doesn't work well with multithreading, which was one of the reasons DirectX dominated the market. It's a limitation of OpenGL itself. Also @Frawo already quoted you with benchmarks here so I won't extend myself on the topic.

Quoting: slaapliedjeFound this; https://github.com/MakaVeliYo/DLVK so maybe not a native thing.
No ideia what this project does, but seems to rely on DXVK anyway
pete910 Feb 18, 2022
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Quoting: Frawo
Quoting: slaapliedjeHuh, Dying Light ran awesome natively for me. Granted I don't know if running under Proton makes it run better, as I had no reason to test it.
It definitely does run better in Proton, see Liams and Xpanders videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11dZ0iuzH-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKdT3RuL9jQ

Even if the game runs "good enough" with the native version, I think they still will prefer Proton as it seems to be more efficient and should draw less power from the battery.

It could also be because of the controller support. I don't know about Dying Light, but controller support in the native version of Trine is pretty much broken, while in Proton it works as expected.

IIRC liam has a 2080ti in the first vid ?

Here is a rx5700 non xt running dying light on a AMD R3 3300 CPU compared to windows .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j7LXbD0IN8

As you can see on AMD windows is only slightly better and this was 2 years ago, Mesa has improved a great deal since then!

If that is Liams rig in the first vid it is looking a bit pants compared to a lowly 5700 GPU. How much was a 2080ti, 1200ish?


Last edited by pete910 on 18 February 2022 at 10:24 pm UTC
scratchi Feb 19, 2022
Whoa...GoL got mentioned as a source and linked in PC Gamer article. Maybe it happened before but it's the first time I noticed it. Will probably drive some traffic here. Way to go!

Here is the PCG article: https://www.pcgamer.com/valve-is-testing-native-linux-ports-for-the-steam-deck-in-addition-to-proton/
slaapliedje Feb 19, 2022
Quoting: BielFPs
Quoting: slaapliedjeUsing OpenGL doesn't instantly make something perform worse. nVidia has always had fantastic OpenGL support.
OpenGL doesn't work well with multithreading, which was one of the reasons DirectX dominated the market. It's a limitation of OpenGL itself. Also @Frawo already quoted you with benchmarks here so I won't extend myself on the topic.

Quoting: slaapliedjeFound this; https://github.com/MakaVeliYo/DLVK so maybe not a native thing.
No ideia what this project does, but seems to rely on DXVK anyway

But literally some engines work better single threaded. Most of the id software games for sure. Granted they also mostly have used OpenGL historically instead of DirectX. So again, assuming automatically that OpenGL performs worse for every single use case is an incorrect one. Just as Vulkan is not always a better performance than DirectX (I can't recall which, but I'm sure there was a case where OpenGL pipeline was faster than some of the earlier versions of games that had both Vulkan and OpenGL support as well.

That project appears to be a wrapper for DirectX to Vulkan for Dying Light.... so makes sense why it would use DXVK... not sure how that works with the Linux Native version though...
slaapliedje Feb 19, 2022
Quoting: Frawo
Quoting: slaapliedjeHuh, Dying Light ran awesome natively for me. Granted I don't know if running under Proton makes it run better, as I had no reason to test it.
It definitely does run better in Proton, see Liams and Xpanders videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11dZ0iuzH-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKdT3RuL9jQ

Even if the game runs "good enough" with the native version, I think they still will prefer Proton as it seems to be more efficient and should draw less power from the battery.

It could also be because of the controller support. I don't know about Dying Light, but controller support in the native version of Trine is pretty much broken, while in Proton it works as expected.
Weird, my brother and I played through the entirety of Trine 1-2 (I want to say 3 as well) on Linux using Gamepads... so it worked at some point.

Not sure why running through Proton would improve battery... Now while on the Deck, I'm sure every little bit of performance to squeeze out of a game is important, I played through the entire game of Dying Light on my desktop system, and there was never any time where I felt I needed more performance... then again that was with an RTX2080.

But yeah we're talking about one single game. There is never a 100% 'this is always faster' measurement that we have. Some are faster with Proton, some are faster as native, and some are faster with OpenGL vs Vulkan. Just all depends on the engine / game.

Controller support I've found is... interesting. Like some games absolutely need to be in BPM for the gamepad to work, others will stop or have weird issues in BPM, but work fine outside of it. Steam Controller mostly needs BPM to work right, etc. Then you have games like Dead Cells, where controller support has worked then not over the time of it's release (native, I don't know about via Proton).
denyasis Feb 19, 2022
Quoting: pete910
Quoting: Frawo
Quoting: slaapliedjeHuh, Dying Light ran awesome natively for me. Granted I don't know if running under Proton makes it run better, as I had no reason to test it.
It definitely does run better in Proton, see Liams and Xpanders videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11dZ0iuzH-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKdT3RuL9jQ

Even if the game runs "good enough" with the native version, I think they still will prefer Proton as it seems to be more efficient and should draw less power from the battery.

It could also be because of the controller support. I don't know about Dying Light, but controller support in the native version of Trine is pretty much broken, while in Proton it works as expected.

IIRC liam has a 2080ti in the first vid ?

Here is a rx5700 non xt running dying light on a AMD R3 3300 CPU compared to windows .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j7LXbD0IN8

As you can see on AMD windows is only slightly better and this was 2 years ago, Mesa has improved a great deal since then!

If that is Liams rig in the first vid it is looking a bit pants compared to a lowly 5700 GPU. How much was a 2080ti, 1200ish?

Coincidentally, I tried Dying Light for the first time tonight. Native. Didn't work, got screen distortion and the splash screen videos would only do audio (codec issue?). Switched to proton and it worked just fine.

I'm sure the solution to make native run was probably something simple that I could research. Or I could spend the 15 min and let it redownload for proton...

I can't speak for all of us, but sometimes I just want to play instead of tinkering.


Last edited by denyasis on 19 February 2022 at 6:17 am UTC
pete910 Feb 19, 2022
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: denyasis
Quoting: pete910
Quoting: Frawo
Quoting: slaapliedjeHuh, Dying Light ran awesome natively for me. Granted I don't know if running under Proton makes it run better, as I had no reason to test it.
It definitely does run better in Proton, see Liams and Xpanders videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11dZ0iuzH-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKdT3RuL9jQ

Even if the game runs "good enough" with the native version, I think they still will prefer Proton as it seems to be more efficient and should draw less power from the battery.

It could also be because of the controller support. I don't know about Dying Light, but controller support in the native version of Trine is pretty much broken, while in Proton it works as expected.

IIRC liam has a 2080ti in the first vid ?

Here is a rx5700 non xt running dying light on a AMD R3 3300 CPU compared to windows .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j7LXbD0IN8

As you can see on AMD windows is only slightly better and this was 2 years ago, Mesa has improved a great deal since then!

If that is Liams rig in the first vid it is looking a bit pants compared to a lowly 5700 GPU. How much was a 2080ti, 1200ish?

Coincidentally, I tried Dying Light for the first time tonight. Native. Didn't work, got screen distortion and the splash screen videos would only do audio (codec issue?). Switched to proton and it worked just fine.

I'm sure the solution to make native run was probably something simple that I could research. Or I could spend the 15 min and let it redownload for proton...

I can't speak for all of us, but sometimes I just want to play instead of tinkering.

Whilst most of us just want to game, some things on a particulars computer can mess up at times which is annoying for the individual.

It may well have been a simple fix unfortunately you wont know.
It may have been a missing lib from a package of your distro of choice for example, Easily rectified via a bug report thus helping the rest of users on that distro. This is how Linux works, No?

Not saying that is the issue it's just an example.

Yet on the other hand I bet you've hunted for fixes on other games in the past that had issues in wine, Witcher 3 for example ?

If you did, Why not install windows and just game rather than tinker ?
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