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The new Dead Space is sadly a great big mess on Steam Deck

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Dead Space got a remake that was released today and I was incredibly excited by it but sadly it's just a mess. Not the game story, graphics or anything like that but specifically the performance on Steam Deck.

The publisher and developer haven't said it's supported, and Valve haven't given it a Deck Verified rating but many were no doubt like me and very keen to play it. There's numerous problems with it that I'm going to explain and some of them will no doubt get fixed up over the next couple of weeks through performance patches to the game, and with Proton updates I expect to come as well.

Trying with both Proton Experimental and Proton Hotfix (that's the default set by Valve for it), it's no different between them. This is also installed on the Steam Deck's SSD, just to rule out any SD Card issues as I wanted to be sure on that too. The game does warn you it's designed for SSDs and it even claims users on plain HDDs may see errors.

From massive loading spikes, that will often completely freeze the Steam Deck, to issues causing the Steam Deck to reboot, it's full of problems. Some will be improved when it has a full shader cache, while others will need a Proton update. Trying to look at the map, for example, will hard-crash the game and lose your progress every time. Even if you struggle a bit through the great many massive performance drops to get it to perform better later on thanks to some shaders being built up, the map crash and Steam Deck reboots (same happens in God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Breakpoint) just make it unplayable. Even when some shaders are built, plenty of areas will also still just drop performance hard with stutters to load it all.

See a video below highlighting just how bad the first couple runs are:

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Update 28/01/23: I've provided Valve with multiple crash-log files on the issues. 

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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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.
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23 comments
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Liam Dawe Jan 28, 2023
Valve said they've now released an "initial" shader cache for it, but I loaded up my Steam Deck and it's not asking me to update anything. Would be nice if this system was clearer...Edit: it downloaded it only after I loaded it up, helpful.

I do have to wonder what Dead Space is doing with its rendering. Just sitting on the main menu on Steam Deck shows it going wild all over the place below 30 and up to 40 and constantly changing. How can a main menu perform so bad? 🫠


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 28 January 2023 at 10:42 am UTC
dpanter Jan 28, 2023
Quoting: Liam DaweHow can a main menu perform so bad? 🫠
Not mentioning any names... but there was that unspecified Amazon MMO crap game not so long ago which popped RTX 3090's like an overzealous teenager working his first shift in the local cinema popcorn booth. This also in the main menu of the game which basically meant if you started the game, RIP your GPU. So it could be worse.
Liam Dawe Jan 28, 2023
I've provided Valve multiple crash log files for it now, here's to hoping they find the issues.

As for the main menu performance, it's because it loads and readies a full save to jump right in, clever.
MBrein79 Jan 28, 2023
I’ve been playing on Proton Hotfix and I have some initial freezing while loading a new area I walk into but it’s only for a few seconds and the game is quite stable and smooth whilst in the area. I’m getting a mostly stable 30fps with medium and a couple high settings for lighting and shadows. I’m sure this can be figured out for opening the map crashing the game and also the loading issues.
rustybroomhandle Jan 28, 2023
https://twitter.com/Plagman2/status/1619377996615528448

QuoteA Proton Hotfix update has just been pushed with a fix for the Dead Space map issue. It also addresses a minor performance issue where the game's usage of Variable-Rate Shading was being ignored.
Grogan Jan 28, 2023
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I got this working (PC, custom Manjaroo) last night. I got it through my EA subscription.

However, it's pretty awful even considering my old hardware. I can run it at High(ish) settings with a few things cut down to Medium, shadows, volumetric particles etc. Shader compiles are brutal and its worse with "RADV_PERFTEST=gpl" (I turned it off and was able to get the game to settle down on next run). Looks good though, and the gore and splatter have more realism. The creatures look more fleshy too.

I have the EA App installed in Lutris, using my system wine-tkg built with wine-staging 8.0-rc5 (with current vkd3d-proton). Note that I have to use what Lutris calls "D3D Extras", those alternate directx dlls, like d3dcompiler47.dll etc. I think they are extracted from Microsoft redists, I viewed string data and they look like Microsoft dlls. If I don't use those dlls, the EA app is just a defunct grey screen with no window titlebars or anything. I think those are the same dlls that winetricks will install but I'm not 100% sure about this stuff.

P.S. I didn't even know Dead Space had a map, is that new? I've played the original multiple times and only used my direction indicator lol

So I can't say if it would crash :-)

P.S. Indeed, it froze and crashed when I pressed "M". It was doing so well too, smooth(ish) game play, fluid splatter but I just had to try it lol


Last edited by Grogan on 29 January 2023 at 3:15 am UTC
DarkVantage Jan 28, 2023
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Hi Liam,

As a Steam Deck owner and GOL Supporter, I really appreciate all your hard work! This is the first news source I visit every morning. I've noticed lately, though, some articles like this one talk only about the Steam Deck and ignore desktop Linux entirely. Please don't forget to spare a few sentences for the desktop/laptop experience. Thanks!
Botonoski Jan 28, 2023
Quoting: AvikarrIn my opinion:
Dead Space Remake uses totally new tech, considering graphics. I think, we need to wait for Steam Deck 2, with newer hardware to perform at least reasonable frame rates and so on. Personally, considering Steam Deck itself, I thought to myself:
"Okay, I'll wait for Steam Deck 2, and then I'll buy this toy for grow ups!".
It is first iteration, technical demo, or something - in my opinion. Next generation of Steam Deck will definitely kick arse! And to be honest - all of us know, that Steam Deck 2 (or whatever they will name it), will be A THING!
The Steam Deck is already an iteration past technical demo in a sense, as it has roots that date back to Valve's earliest hardware releases. While the second Deck will probably be even better, this first iteration is so damn good and the improvements will probably be rather minor honestly.
Liam Dawe Jan 28, 2023
Quoting: DarkVantageHi Liam,

As a Steam Deck owner and GOL Supporter, I really appreciate all your hard work! This is the first news source I visit every morning. I've noticed lately, though, some articles like this one talk only about the Steam Deck and ignore desktop Linux entirely. Please don't forget to spare a few sentences for the desktop/laptop experience. Thanks!
Hi, thanks for the support. It's a mixture of things: Steam Deck is what I personally use for like 99% of my gaming, and my focus on GOL has always followed what I do. That said, I'll do my best to test more on desktop too but for YouTube specifically - there's basically no views for plain desktop Linux gaming so the focus there is obviously the Deck directly. But for articles, I'll see how I can make it better.
StalePopcorn Jan 28, 2023
Posted yesterday, this (YT link) guy seemed to have the game running pretty smoothly on his Steam Deck…does a walthrough of his settings in the beginning. Maybe it's one of the post-processing settings killing performance?


Last edited by StalePopcorn on 28 January 2023 at 11:25 pm UTC
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