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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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denyasis Feb 20, 2022
Quoting: pete910
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 ?

I'm implying several things in my post, that upon reading, are likely not very clear. I'm commenting on the advantage Proton can offer, especially with aging native games, using Dying Light as a personal example. Obviously it's not a blanket advantage or that it is superior to all native ports, just that it has a very useful place in the Linux game ecosystem.

I'm also implying that we are not always in the mood to debug our system at any given time. Sometimes I may not be in the mood to debug or tinker. I'm also implying this "mood", if you will, may be more common with a typical Deck user that is expecting a more console-like experience. Obviously, that's not universal among all users or any user all the time. But either way, Proton can help.

You are correct that my example was a simple fix and I know what it is: Use Proton. There's more than one way to fix things. That's how Linux works.

You are also correct, I have tested, tinkered, even filled bug reports while trying to get games to work in Wine (and native). I don't recall if Witcher 3 was one having only played it for the first time several months ago and I don't recall having any issues at all, but I can definitely say so for others.

I'm simply trying to point out there is difference between sitting down at your PC and saying "I wonder if can get this game to run?" and sitting down at your PC and trying to play a game that you believe should run fine, both in terms of expectations and level of frustration when things don't work I'm also trying to point out that Proton can help in both cases (but especially the second in terms of easing frustration).

If you want to know why I use Linux instead of Windows, I recall there being a thread or two on this site about that. If you are keen on some simple research, I'm sure my response would be easy
to find. If you can't, feel free to post, but I fear that might be veering a little off topic. (Or at least more than we already are).
slaapliedje Mar 1, 2022
Quoting: denyasisI can't speak for all of us, but sometimes I just want to play instead of tinkering.
Tinkering is the best part! Ha, as I get older my attention span for gaming has decreased. Maybe it's because I realize I could be doing something more useful (like quoting random bits on forums). But I find myself installing a game, tinkering to get it working in Linux, finally getting it to work... then ignoring the game after I play it for an hour or two.

Then eventually (because games take so much damn space these days) uninstalling the game. Usually this is based on what takes the most disk space, or which was the hardest to get working right. Like I'm stuck on The Witcher 2. But seeing as how I had to hex edit a file to get the resolution right, I still have that one installed...
Eike Mar 1, 2022
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Quoting: slaapliedjeBut seeing as how I had to hex edit a file to get the resolution right, I still have that one installed...

Doesn't Steam preserve edited files? I think so...
slaapliedje Mar 1, 2022
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: slaapliedjeBut seeing as how I had to hex edit a file to get the resolution right, I still have that one installed...

Doesn't Steam preserve edited files? I think so...
Nah, you can mod the files all you want. There is a 'validate files' thing you can do. I'm sure there are some games that are multiplayer where file checks are a thing. But a single player game like the Witcher? Why?
whizse Mar 1, 2022
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Quoting: slaapliedjeTinkering is the best part! Ha, as I get older my attention span for gaming has decreased. Maybe it's because I realize I could be doing something more useful (like quoting random bits on forums). But I find myself installing a game, tinkering to get it working in Linux, finally getting it to work... then ignoring the game after I play it for an hour or two.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one with this particular affliction!

I actually do play quite a bit of games (11 completed so for this year) but it's so much more fun to hack on Wine and Proton!
Eike Mar 2, 2022
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Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: slaapliedjeBut seeing as how I had to hex edit a file to get the resolution right, I still have that one installed...

Doesn't Steam preserve edited files? I think so...
Nah, you can mod the files all you want. There is a 'validate files' thing you can do. I'm sure there are some games that are multiplayer where file checks are a thing. But a single player game like the Witcher? Why?

I was thinking the opposite: You edit the file, Steam does not rechange it, and when you remove the game, Steam keeps what you've edited. I'm not sure though if it only keeps files added by you or also those changed.
slaapliedje Mar 3, 2022
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: slaapliedjeBut seeing as how I had to hex edit a file to get the resolution right, I still have that one installed...

Doesn't Steam preserve edited files? I think so...
Nah, you can mod the files all you want. There is a 'validate files' thing you can do. I'm sure there are some games that are multiplayer where file checks are a thing. But a single player game like the Witcher? Why?

I was thinking the opposite: You edit the file, Steam does not rechange it, and when you remove the game, Steam keeps what you've edited. I'm not sure though if it only keeps files added by you or also those changed.
Pretty sure if the file is listed in the install, it will nuke it. It will leave behind save games and mods not installed via workshop.
slaapliedje May 4, 2022
Found an interesting fluke! Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance has a native build, which is what is installed on my desktop setup.

The Deck installed the Windows version, which broke cloud saves!
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