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Here's how Starfield runs on Steam Deck and desktop Linux

By - | Views: 50,918

Want to know how Starfield runs on Steam Deck? Or desktop Linux? Well, I've given it a run to see what I think of it and here's some early info for you.

For Steam Deck, Valve released two Steam Deck OS upgrades to solve some issues, so you'll want to make sure you check for system updates first to get Steam Deck OS 3.4.10 to fix a GPU driver crash and a black screen problem. Once you update, Starfield will run on Steam Deck with Proton Experimental but the performance is an issue. Additionally, weirdly, the Start / Select buttons on Steam Deck with Proton Experimental are swapped - but you can change them over in Steam Input (noted in video 2 below).

On the lowest possible details with FSR set ON, some sections are fine but when things heat up, and just being in certain areas, the performance will repeatedly drop hard below 30FPS. So right now, it's far less than properly playable.

Here's two Steam Deck videos of the early game:

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The next video showcases the performance issues you can see quite well, in the city of New Atlantis:

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If Bethesda manage to do some performance patches, where we can get it to a stable 30FPS then it would be pretty great because the gameplay would hold up quite well on Steam Deck at a static 30. Or perhaps Valve have some boosts waiting in Proton and SteamOS upgrades to come, we can hope anyway. This screenshot sums up the experience when running around a city on Steam Deck:

There's already a number of performance mods out there, including one noted to be for Steam Deck, but in my own testing they don't work particularly well on Steam Deck and one in particular doing the rounds really breaks the lighting.

As for desktop Linux the situation is a little more complicated. As per what the developer of VKD3D-Proton (the Direct3D to Vulkan translation in Proton) posted on GitHub there's big issues for NVIDIA and slightly less so for AMD:

NV 535 stable is clearly bugged here. 525.47.35 at least seems to work though ...

Performance on NV currently is known to be extremely poor due to being completely CPU bound. This is caused by lack of us enabling NV_device_generated_compute on NV due to a driver bug. #1639 for details. When the beta driver updates, it should start running much better.

On Mesa desktop, please ensure that:

  • You're running kernels 5.15.121+, 6.1.40+ or 6.4.5+ to fix a kernel regression that affected Starfield. Without it, GPU will hang randomly.
  • You're running mesa from git to get VK_NV_device_generated_commands_compute for optimal performance.
  • Proton Experimental

I've been unable to use Mesa-git on Kubuntu in my testing, because the current build from Oibaf seems to break Vulkan. So sticking with Kisak's fresh Mesa PPA for 23.1.6 here's how it ran for me:

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Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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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. Find me on Mastodon.
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22 comments
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Kimyrielle Sep 4, 2023
Starfield brings even my desktop to its knees. I couldn't imagine for a second that's actually playable on the Deck. oO
grigi Sep 4, 2023
I've been running it happily on my RX 5600m PRIME setup and it's been pretty solid on medium on my external 4k monitor. getting >30fps pretty much all the time.

Turns out I'm running on Mesa 23.2.0_rc2, which might explain why it just seemed to work fine for me.

I'll try mesa git out to see if that helps in any way.
Zelox Sep 4, 2023
I would just lock my frames to 30. Smoother experience and less battery draw.
But overall this seems playable. I also think performance will be better over time cause valve and Bethesda are working on steam deck performance.
drlamb Sep 4, 2023
Sections of New Atlantis are the only areas I've seen sub 60FPS @ 1440P maxed out (no FSR) on my system.

Edit: Kernel 6.5 + mesa-git

It honestly has me eying an AM5/DDR5 + 7800X3D upgrade but I think I'll wait for the inevitable performance fixes as the 5800X3D should be able to hold me over until I upgrade my rig for Fable (self-imposed goal).


Last edited by drlamb on 4 September 2023 at 10:31 pm UTC
grigi Sep 4, 2023
Ok, feedback on running it on Mesa git.
Yes, it's definitely more performant.

BUT

I'm having glitches all over the place, so I'm downgrading to mesa 23.2rc2 again.
rustigsmed Sep 5, 2023
No issues on 23.1.6 mesa - mix of mostly high and some medium settings 1440p 60-85fps native no fsr (6900xt/5950x)
based Sep 5, 2023
Whew, I'll wait for Nvidia improvements & at least 1 game patch before buying. Let's hope the game gets more post release attention by devs & publisher than Hogwarts Legacy


Last edited by based on 5 September 2023 at 4:50 am UTC
Helmet Sep 5, 2023
Hopefully soon those tireless members of the community will have it running. May we never forget their service to our entertainment. 🫡
Mangojuicedrinker Sep 5, 2023
Quoting: drlambSections of New Atlantis are the only areas I've seen sub 60FPS @ 1440P maxed out (no FSR) on my system.

Edit: Kernel 6.5 + mesa-git

It honestly has me eying an AM5/DDR5 + 7800X3D upgrade but I think I'll wait for the inevitable performance fixes as the 5800X3D should be able to hold me over until I upgrade my rig for Fable (self-imposed goal).
I'm on AM5 7900X3D (and 6900 xt) believe me it is not very good at all (New Atlantic 1440p Ultra with optimization mods from nexuxmods, falls to 50 fps constantly and struggles to maintain 60 with 99% GPU load with occasional 70-90 fps in close quarters.. though gpu is under-volted and power-limited and cpu is not overclocked either.. turning on FSR gives me a mighty [up to] 6 fps more lol). This game is absolutely not optimized and is a disaster (so a normal 2023 AAA release). AMD get your money back lol!
grigi Sep 5, 2023
Quoting: Mangojuicedrinker
Quoting: drlambSections of New Atlantis are the only areas I've seen sub 60FPS @ 1440P maxed out (no FSR) on my system.

Edit: Kernel 6.5 + mesa-git

It honestly has me eying an AM5/DDR5 + 7800X3D upgrade but I think I'll wait for the inevitable performance fixes as the 5800X3D should be able to hold me over until I upgrade my rig for Fable (self-imposed goal).
I'm on AM5 7900X3D (and 6900 xt) believe me it is not very good at all (New Atlantic 1440p Ultra with optimization mods from nexuxmods, falls to 50 fps constantly and struggles to maintain 60 with 99% GPU load with occasional 70-90 fps in close quarters.. though gpu is under-volted and power-limited and cpu is not overclocked either.. turning on FSR gives me a mighty [up to] 6 fps more lol). This game is absolutely not optimized and is a disaster (so a normal 2023 AAA release). AMD get your money back lol!

I think your expectations are just plain weird. Don't play on Ultra. Look at the Hardware Unboxed tuning guide, you can get quite a bit of extra performance by tuning some of the settings and it will look nearly identical.

I am actually impressed at how well the game runs considering the hardware I have.
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