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Another Steam Client Beta is out, adds the ability to force Steam Play

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Valve are working fast to improve the Steam client this year, with another beta now available including an option that was highly requested.

Firstly, Steam Input gained support for the HORI Battle Pad and HORI Wireless Switch Pad. Additionally, Big Picture mode had two bugs fixed. The usual stuff there and nothing major, that is until you get to the Linux section of the beta changelog.

Users have been asking Valve pretty much since Steam Play arrived, to add a method to force a native game to use Steam Play instead. So now, if you've opted into the Steam beta client you will see this on the properties of a game (the bottom option):

Why is that so interesting and important? Well, honestly, some Linux ports get left behind for months and years and some really just aren't good. Additionally, some Linux games have multiplayer that's not cross-platform, this could also help with that. Not to downplay the effort a lot of developers put in, it's just how it is. The ability for users to control between the version from the developer and running it through Steam Play is a nice to have option.

Linux changes:

  • Added the ability to force-enable Steam Play in per-title properties, including for native games
  • Fixed incorrect scroll offset in the in-game overlay
  • Reworked global Steam Play enable settings to only override the Proton version used by unsupported games
  • Fixed a bug where the global Steam Play enable setting wouldn't prompt for a Steam client restart

See the announcement here.

While not noted, the Steam client now actually shows what version of Proton is used for each title. Here's Into the Breach for example:

I would have played more but fullscreen is broken for me and it's a whitelisted title…

One of the next big stages for Steam Play, will be actually showing it for whitelisted titles on store pages. I'm still very curious to see how Valve will be handling that. Valve might also want to update the Steam support page too, it's rather outdated.

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NeptNutz 18 January 2019 at 3:50 pm UTC
Eike(*) It's a shame that the English language doesn't have a decent word for the German "Feierabend". "Feierabend" ("Feier" being celebration/party and "Abend" the evening time) has a connotation of finally, work is done and we can do what we want. (Probably the opposite of what we Germans are know for. )

Happy Hour?

Doesn't that have a heavy connotation of booze?
Yes it does. And at a lower price for early adopters!

Well, I tried. You probably have a better grasp of English than most native speakers, but if that idiom comes to me, you will be the first to know.

Last edited by NeptNutz at 18 January 2019 at 3:50 pm UTC
mylka 18 January 2019 at 3:52 pm UTC
tonyrhProton is gonna be the end of native ports and companies like Feral. It will also confirm Windows as the only "true" gaming os on personal computers. Really sad.

even if its true, whats the problem with that?

do you want less native games, or more proton?
what do you think is best for linux market share? much more games with proton, or less native?

6 years steam client and only 0,8% linux users

linux needs MARKET SHARE! we wont get the gamers, if there are no/less games on linux

valve tried to make developers port games to steamOS... it failed, because of <0,8% market share

now they try a different way and proton is just the beginning
lets wait a few years. maybe developers make proton games, maybe more and more gamers switch to linux, because they can play 90% of the games with ONE CLICK om linux

after linux has enough market share developers will make native ports again. i am pretty sure about that, but you have to start somewhere and proton is a very good start

feral can still make ports of online games with anti cheat and games with nice graphics like tomb raider, because perfomance will be way better (as long as not everyone switches to vulkan and we have the same perfomance on linux)
raneon 18 January 2019 at 3:59 pm UTC
This is such a great change :-) The option to change to another proton build per game is welcome too! Thank you, Valve.

Now for the first time I can play Dying Light. The Linux version never worked for me even with workarounds. And there are enough other examples where the Linux version is broken/not updated. A one click switch to Steam Play is perfect! I'm sure we will see a lot side by side comparisons now.

And the best is that I can run now so many additional games on Vulkan via DXVK!
jardon 18 January 2019 at 4:02 pm UTC
mirvI guess I can understand that, but equally that very statement makes me sad. It's most certainly not right, but it is perhaps necessary to have running games via wine more accepted.
At least Valve are contributing (financially if nothing else, and financials are not to be sneezed at) back upstream.

Theres no reason to be sad about it. People are just different. Thats one of the reasons why I dont necessarily think peoples opinions (whether i agree with them or not) are wrong. Cause for everyone that has a specific opinion on something, theres probably many more that have the same opinion just like you do with wine. And although I may not agree, trying to understand their point of view will help me understand them. I think thats really important for community spaces and even commercially for understanding customers.

Do what works for you. I'll always encourage you to use proton instead since it counts for the statistics, but if youre happy with your setup then game on.
legluondunet 18 January 2019 at 4:12 pm UTC
For my point of view it doesn't matter if game is native, Winised, Protonised. And soon we could play cloud gaming too, playing game without to install it whatever the platform. The only thing matter: play game you want without to tweak it during hours.

Last edited by legluondunet at 18 January 2019 at 9:46 pm UTC
NeptNutz 18 January 2019 at 4:20 pm UTC
All this Proton stuff makes perfect sense as the end of Windows 7 looms large on the horizon and Windows 10 (now the majority version worldwide) will soon be under the grip of the "Microsoft Managed Desktop" not-yet-a-subscription service. Unless they have a full-retail Windows product key, most enthusiast-level PC users are quickly going to migrate to Linux once the ransom notices (or slowed-down updates) start popping up on their Windows desktops. Steam Play makes it easy to migrate, at will.

This is no different than making the original DOS version of DOOM compatible with Windows 95 all over again, only bigger! Not many cared how DOOM ran on Windows 95. It only just mattered that it did. Eventually, even the DOS faithful (bare-metal developers included) moved to the new center of gravity (Proton?) for desktops.

Last edited by NeptNutz at 18 January 2019 at 11:42 pm UTC
somebody1121 18 January 2019 at 4:24 pm UTC
somebody1121I also tried Deus Ex MKD but doesn't start.

Could it be trying to start in dx12 mode?

I set to be windows 7 with winetricks so i don't think it's the case. Maybe a bug with dxvk, wine or radv...
kokoko3k 18 January 2019 at 4:26 pm UTC
somebody1121I also tried Deus Ex MKD but doesn't start.

Could it be trying to start in dx12 mode?

I set to be windows 7 with winetricks so i don't think it's the case. Maybe a bug with dxvk, wine or radv...

Doesn't work for me, and i'm using nvidia blob; didn't do anything special to wine/proton configuration
somebody1121 18 January 2019 at 4:34 pm UTC
somebody1121I tried tomb raider 2013 and it's much faster than native. In the mountain village a get now 60 fps with vsync enable, on native it's 22-24 fps because of one core with 100% utilization. I also tried Deus Ex MKD but doesn't start.

BAH you beat me to it! Currently still downloading the Windows version myself to compare (backed up the native). The mountain village/shanty town area seems to be massively CPU bound. To the point that increasing my CPU from 3.8GHz to 3.85GHz gained me an extra 3-6 frames in that area keeping just above 30. I've tested the same system with a R9 285, R9 390 and now a RX 580 and all perform identical in that particular area. Clearly hitting some translation bottle neck that requires raw CPU performance to get over the hump which is why my friends i7 6700K greatly outperforms my Ryzen in that specific use case. In the past I ended up playing the game on an old laptop i7-3520K with an external R9 270X running the Windows which ran maxed settings at a solid 60fps. Not hateing on Feral here as it was one of their earliest ports and I think it used Openg GL 3.3 rather than 4 which probably made getting a good DX11 translation even harder. I really wish they would go back and apply some of there obviously improved techniques to the game. I'd happily pay them another few quid for an updated port. I wouldn't be surprised if that bottleneck at the shanty town was not even challenging for them now.

Anyway I'll report back to confirm if the Proton running version works out better.

The OpenGL version of tomb raider should be at least 4.3 since that's the version with compute shaders required for tressFX. I think that the most limiting factor is that is a 32 bit application, and maybe it's needed a optimization for ryzen on mesa...
Purple Library Guy 18 January 2019 at 5:34 pm UTC
sbolokanovBy the way I don't want to be that guy, but you do realize that there is a fix for all gaming problems right? ... Windows!

All gaming problems solved in an instant, on top of that you get basicly all games out there (if we don't count console exclusives ofcourse).
Heh. Unfortunately it's also a cause for all non-gaming problems . . .
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