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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 Valve might also want to update the Steam support page too, it's rather outdated.

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Tags: Beta, Steam, Valve
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jens 19 January 2019 at 1:06 pm UTC
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EikeGerman computer magazine c't ran a test lately. People having been told they were playing at a GaaS system complained - people they didn't tell it didn't even realize it. That probably won't be true for hardcore gamers, but for the majority (as long as their internet connection is good enough) won't see or at least won't care for the difference. (I heart there's people playing at 30 fps out there...!)

Interesting, do you have a link for that?
(Or do you refer to the printed magazine?)

I just read a test in a printed magazine of late 2018 (I'm lagging myself... X) ), but here is a even better new test online:

For the records: Parsec was the only of the tested cloud services that had a working Linux client.

Thanks, very interesting. What I took from the video: quite similar with Netflix Gaas wont be the solution for the high-end gamer/consumer, but could be a very attractive alternative for the casual player.

Last edited by jens on 19 January 2019 at 1:06 pm UTC
tonyrh 19 January 2019 at 3:44 pm UTC
mylkamaybe it wasnt the time for another OS back then. very few ppl had a PC and they were happy with what they had, software was hard to get, a lack of information about new software

today everyone has internet, everyone can download linux in no time, PCs are very cheap and everybody has one or more, even mainstream talks about linux

Linux and OS/2 are basically contemporary, check the dates if you don't believe me. The personal computer market is actually shrinking since at least 2010 (apart from a very small growth during 2017 holiday season). And the mainstream media can't just ignore Linux, because it is everywhere: servers, smartphones, IoT... just not the desktop: ~2% of the market is not fake news, sorry :/

mylkai just dont think, that linux ports will die, because some developers have passion and they want to improve themselves
just look at DOOM2016. ID software ported the game to linux for fun (who knows why it wasnt released)

Oh, I have the answer for that: RoI, return on investment. Plain and simple, it was just not profitable for Bethesda to release the Linux version.

mylkaafter 6 years valve tries another strategy and i think it is a good one. and again: you cant compare it with something decades ago

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
mylka 19 January 2019 at 4:35 pm UTC
tonyrhThose who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

but they also talk about linux desktop. yes, PC market is shrinking (but still much much bigger than 30yrs ago), because everyone has a PC at home and/or have other devices

the last quote is also not correct. who said, that nobody learned from history?
the concept of challenging windows isnt a bad idea and again the circumstances TODAY are totally different, so you cant just compare it

if you wanna quote something then it better be: “If you try, you might fail,
But if you don't try, you'll never succeed.”
mylka 19 January 2019 at 7:02 pm UTC
Guesti bet tomb raider 2013 and rise of the tomb raider will run even better now gonna have to test this

rise of the tr has VULKAN and runs pretty good. i dont think, that it runs better with an extra DXVK layer. but maybe someone give it a shot and makes a NATIVE / PROTON comparison video. same with HITMAN

i definitely try METRO. the linux ports rly suck and have less options, than on windows
since there is no WAR THUNDER VULKAN update i think the Win version also could run better now (depends on anti cheat)

and i may can finally play DEAD ISLAND on linux
i complained a few days ago and hoped for forcing steamplay on native ports
and for some reasons 12 is better than 6 and iron snout wont work for me

but first i have to finish some games and make free space

yea ill be doing hitman i have that and rise of the tomb raider

no need for rise of the tomb raider

feral port is better
Salvatos 19 January 2019 at 9:03 pm UTC
EikeThat probably won't be true for hardcore gamers, but for the majority (as long as their internet connection is good enough) won't see or at least won't care for the difference. (I heart there's people playing at 30 fps out there...!)
That's me! ... But it'll take a lot to convince me to switch to streaming as my main means of gaming.
obscurenforeign 20 January 2019 at 8:47 pm UTC
obscurenforeignI don't really feel like messing with a beta right now, can anyone tell me if Saints Row: the Third works on Steam Play? I tried on Wine before but it wouldn't start, apparently because of problems with the DRM. (I didn't feel like trying to crack it.)

Nope, I just tried it with Steam Play (Proton 3.16-6 and 3.7-8) and it didn't launch. I was able to pick the D3D version but after that it just refuses to launch.

Dang, that's what it does in Wine too. (Sorry for the late reply.)

Well, if I select DX9 I can see some logos. Then it crashes.
Dunc 21 January 2019 at 2:50 am UTC
Comandante ÑoñardoEventually Microsoft will close their garden and will force developers to join The Windows Store: If your game or software is not there, suddenly it will not work on windows 10 or the next windows...
I don't see big publishers like EA and Ubisoft closing their respective clients for to join the Windows Store....
I don't see Indie devs joining the Windows Store.

Quick history lesson (for those who don't already know about PS/2 and ISA):
Spoiler, click me
After the likes of Compaq created the “IBM clone” market in the mid '80s, IBM decided that they needed to gain their exclusivity back and devised a new PC architecture, PS/2, which, in a fit of magnanimity, they'd licence to the clone makers for a nice juicy fee. By the time this was ready for market, it was the late '80s, and the clone manufacturers, having a decent business going by this point and not wanting to see all their profitability disappear down a big blue hole, got together and drew up a standard for future development based on what they already had: the Industry Standard Architecture, or ISA (and that's where your ISA slots came from).

No prizes for guessing which one won out in the end.

If MS continue on the path they're on with Win10, I can imagine a consortium of game developers coalescing around Proton as a sort of “Industry Standard API”. I think that's Valve's whole plan, really.

It's true that an API is a different beast to a hardware architecture and things in the software world move much faster. And DX11 is already “out of date”. But then, so was ISA: PS/2 was more advanced. However, ISA was simply a common platform that future developments could be based on. There's not much of it left in a modern PC. The point was wresting control of the platform from a single player and moving towards a more open, consensus-based, industry-wide model without restrictive licenses.

The same could happen with Proton. If DX11 proves inadequate, they can move towards using Vulkan directly. If the basic Win32/64 and DirectX APIs become outdated, well, everything written specifically for Proton's “ISAPI” works on Linux anyway, so...

(Edit: Heh. That's what I get for reading the thread backwards. I didn't see tonyrh's comment until I'd posted mine. Great minds think alike. I think one difference is that I don't see it as a bad thing. ISA didn't strengthen IBM's hand; quite the opposite. Although they eventually gave in and continued to make ISA PCs, they had to recognise that it was no longer “their” system. I don't see Microsoft losing control of the pre-DX12 Windows API as anything other than a win.)

Last edited by Dunc on 21 January 2019 at 2:56 am UTC
dpanter 21 January 2019 at 9:16 am UTC
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Dunca new PC architecture, PS/2
Did you mean: MCA bus?

The PS/2 port is a connector named after the IBM PS/2 models where it was introduced. It was quickly adopted and replaced DE-9 RS-232 (mice) and 5-pin DIN (keyboard) connectors. They have all essentially been superceded by USB nowadays, but the PS/2 hangs on due to some specific attributes that makes it desirable even today.

Dunc 21 January 2019 at 3:58 pm UTC
Dunca new PC architecture, PS/2
Did you mean: MCA bus?
Heh. I knew someone would pick up on that. I was trying to keep it simple.
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