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Valve developers have done a lot of work over the years to improve AMD GPUs on Linux, and continue to do so with the Steam Deck using AMD and it seems like they're now getting stuck into NVIDIA too.

Specifically for NVK, the open source Vulkan NVIDIA driver in Mesa which has seen a lot of focus recently on bringing up performance. Now though it's getting improved so that Gamescope can properly run on it too, which will be really useful.

Posting on X (formerly Twitter) Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais mentioned:

Thanks to Mohamed's work (as part of our graphics team), gamescope now works on NVK with explicit sync!

The two patches noted from developer Mohamed Ahmed are a Mesa Merge Request for get the Vulkan extensions VK_EXT_image_drm_format_modifier support hooked up. And then a change for Nouveau that notes it "Allows PTE kind and tile mode on BO create with VM_BIND, as well as adds a GETPARAM to indicate this change. This is needed to support modifiers in NVK and ensure correctness when dealing with the nouveau GL driver."

Bigger version of the attached image from the post above:

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WMan22 May 7
Quoting: NathanaelKStottlemyerWait. Why? Is valve...? Why are they doing this? Is something with nvidia in the works or is it steamos?

I've been strongly suspecting the reason SteamOS 3 has not seen a general release is that you can't exactly have a consistent and reliable gamescope session on Nvidia cards yet so they're playing it safe and trying to get this kind of stuff sorted first so that 3 doesn't come out, have dealbreaker problems, and have a bunch of new people who've never used linux before go "SEE? I KNEW LINUX WAS BAD!"

This could also be copium I'm huffing however and valve isn't gonna release SteamOS 3 except to hardware devs, as in people who make handheld PCs that aren't Steam Deck.

Would roll my eyes if the real reason is that they were trying to update SteamOS 3 enough that the one that releases is 4, cause, you know, valve and that number 3.


Last edited by WMan22 on 7 May 2024 at 7:08 am UTC
Brokatt May 7
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Quoting: WMan22
Quoting: NathanaelKStottlemyerWait. Why? Is valve...? Why are they doing this? Is something with nvidia in the works or is it steamos?

I've been strongly suspecting the reason SteamOS 3 has not seen a general release is that you can't exactly have a consistent and reliable gamescope session on Nvidia cards yet so they're playing it safe and trying to get this kind of stuff sorted first so that 3 doesn't come out, have dealbreaker problems, and have a bunch of new people who've never used linux before go "SEE? I KNEW LINUX WAS BAD!"

This could also be copium I'm huffing however and valve isn't gonna release SteamOS 3 except to hardware devs, as in people who make handheld PCs that aren't Steam Deck.

Would roll my eyes if the real reason is that they were trying to update SteamOS 3 enough that the one that releases is 4, cause, you know, valve and that number 3.

This makes perfect sense to me. Releasing a gaming focused OS without anything but stellar support for the GPU brand that 80% of gaming PC's use would be a colossal mistake. I actually think SteamOS is nowhere near ready for a general release. It needs more driver support for a lot of different devices, better support for screen sharing (with sound), recording and streaming etc. I myself switched to Linux on my gaming PC earlier this year and from my point of view I would say that the experience, the quality and the features are not there for a large gaming audience. Remember that most PC gamers are not that tech savvy. They think they are because they (some of them) download drivers from the internet, install some monitor software and actually look at the settings in the graphics panel. They have a better understanding of their computer than "the average user" but not enough to switch to Linux today without a lot of friction.

I think Valve is serious about Steam OS but have the failure of SteamOS 2.0 and Steam Machines in the back of their heads. I imagine they will want to do better this time. Wild guess; we won't see a general release of SteamOS until 4.0 which probably won't be until 2026 judging by the frequency of updates. 3.5 took 9 months and 3.6 looks to be the same if it lands in June. Which means we get 1-2 big updates per year. In 2025 we could get 3.7 in March and 3.8 in December. Hopefully by then SteamOS will be in shape for a PC's release later in 2026. I would be surprised if we don't get SteamOS for other handheld devices earlier, sometime next year.

Of course this is just speculation. I'm just trying to predict future behavior based on past behavior which is always difficult when it comes to Valve :)


Last edited by Brokatt on 7 May 2024 at 9:35 am UTC
CatKiller May 7
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Quoting: BrokattRemember that most PC gamers are not that tech savvy.
This still seems weird to me. I can accept that it's true, but it's weird.

I was around for the start of PC gaming, and learning what you could configure, what it did, experimenting, personalising, tweaking, overclocking, and all of that... was PC gaming. When I switched to Linux 20 years ago, nothing particular changed; I carried on gaming, I carried on learning, and I carried on personalising - I just had a broader palette to work with.

That there are generations of PC gamers since that do gaming like cubicle work, with none of that knowledge or variety, always strikes me as a bit odd... and a little bit sad.
Mega props, I'm not a user but I'm sure many people will benefit from this work.

Diversity and options are strength, it's great to see techies reach new milestones no matter which banner it's under.
WMan22 May 7
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: BrokattRemember that most PC gamers are not that tech savvy.
This still seems weird to me. I can accept that it's true, but it's weird.

I blame the crypto mining boom making prebuilt PCs a cheaper way to upgrade than building your own stuff for a while, the lack of dedicated server options for a lot of games meaning that you don't need to learn how to port forward anymore, how much is automated in Windows (often against your will), and the lack of manual modding support for games (most stuff is automated through things like R2Modman, Steam Workshop, Mod Organizer 2, and Mod.io nowadays) and search bars like the one in the taskbar on windows and even stuff on Linux like Rofi/Pop Launcher meaning you don't have to really understand filesystems as much as you used to, either.

To be clear, I think having a mod manager is a good thing, things SHOULD work that way instead of manually replacing files in my opinion, though that leads to lost skills obviously, plus I have strong disdain for matchmaking based multiplayer cause it removes the social "town square" element of servers that specialized in specific kinds of gameplay with specific regulars of people you could meet and become fast friends with.

When a skill is no longer needed, it atrophies in people.


Last edited by WMan22 on 7 May 2024 at 8:26 pm UTC
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