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 Valve might also want to update the Steam support page too, it's rather outdated.

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151 comments
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Thetargos 18 January 2019 at 11:36 pm UTC
Sadly, though, current trend is to make the client irrelevant. Sure, consumers are stubborn, but just look at how much "simple things" have changed over the last decade (60% of that time Steam has been available on our beloved platform, mind you), in terms of people preferences simply due to the "easier" and more 'convenient' offers from music streaming services, to a myriad of video streaming services with fully fledged multimillion dollar productions, to 'storage'... computing and soon gaming. The good thing, though, is that many prefer to have physical evidence, and hence some clinge to physical copies of movies, music, books and even their data, alas the great majority prefer the more convenient solutions on their flaming new thin clients.

I would LOVE for things not to be that way, but that's where the whole IT and entertainment industries are heading, gaming included, and while on the other side of the pipe Linux is the 800 pund Gorilla ruling over the server OSes, as the client is rendered meaningless, as is the host OS... I'm not sure what can we expect in the next 5 years.
Comandante Ñoñardo 18 January 2019 at 11:43 pm UTC
tonyrhIn the short run Proton is getting us more games, but in the long run it is encouraging developers to not even recognize Linux as a platform: they will keep writing software for Windows, they will still not support Linux, and they will have one less reason to even consider developing their games with a multiplatform focus from the start.

Eventually 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.

Remember that this was the reason why Valve decided to make the Linux incursion... and it will happen, maybe after the EOL of Windows 7, in a year.
Sil_el_mot 18 January 2019 at 11:56 pm UTC
Sil_el_motGreat! Now i can try payday2 in vr!
After trying it now for an hour i can tell you, it works great in vr now(the same as in windows).
Purple Library Guy 19 January 2019 at 12:27 am UTC
Thetargos
mylka
Thetargos
mylkawhat do you think? what would be the alternative?
WaaS*, that's what... plus soon-ish gaming will move to the cloud, so you will only rent access, and own nothing... though that could be said is true already with digital distribution and always on-line DRM (not only digital distribution), albeit without a periodic fee. So your "client" device won't matter if it's a PC, Chromebook, phone, tablet, Switch, XBOX or PSX.

*Windows as a Service. Plus, as ironic as it sounds, there are already projects and efforts to implement past MS APIs on top of modern Windows (Wine for Windows, if you will) in order to run older software... so...

thats not an alternative. if you think streaming is the future, it makes everything else unimportant and it doesnt matter if we have native or proton or anything
That's the direction the industry is going anyway. See what are doing MS with the XBox and Google and nVidia, even.
The industry can try to go wherever it wants, but unless they're willing to step up and build the internet of tomorrow, the reality of infrastructure is gonna block games-as-a-streamed-service. Lots of streamed things work fine, but note how streamed music and video take a bit of time to get started, and sometimes pause in the middle. Would this kind of thing fly for games?
The problem is there's lots of money in things that exploit a really robust internet infrastructure (many of them hostile to the interests of consumers)--but there's pretty much no money in building that infrastructure, so nobody wants to. Which would mean government would do it, except current economic orthodoxy says governments aren't supposed to do anything constructive, they're supposed to cut taxes (on the rich). So: Until there's a big time political change in the world, the infrastructure for this stuff will come slowly. Maybe faster wireless will make a difference.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 19 January 2019 at 12:30 am UTC
Salvatos 19 January 2019 at 12:47 am UTC
Comandante ÑoñardoI don't see big publishers like EA and Ubisoft closing their respective clients for to join the Windows Store....
I could imagine something like Origin itself being on WS and Microsoft taking a cut on "in-app purchases" i.e. games bought from within Origin. Not that the AAAs would like that, but what are they gonna do if Microsoft forces their hand? (Of course it would be a dangerous move to make for Microsoft since the AAAs could turn to consoles exclusively and kill PC gaming, but 1) I'm not sure Microsoft cares at this point since they have the XBOX and have been buying studios and 2) it's not unlike them to shoot themselves in the foot like that.)

Comandante ÑoñardoI don't see Indie devs joining the Windows Store.
They will if it's the only way to get decent sales besides consoles.
Thetargos 19 January 2019 at 12:47 am UTC
Yes, there many (not only one) bottlenecks before GaaS is a thing, however, at the rate things are moving, the next 5 years seem rather blurry. I hope things stay pretty similar and the games streaming bubble bursts, alas, I cannot say. Network speed is but one piece of the puzzle, input latency is more critical, plus framerate will be an issue. So my hope is that demanding PC gamers will demand local games rather than streaming. The whole adoption for our platform lies in a conundrum. At least tangibly I've seen people flee W10, sadly, to OSX for the most part and the less for Linux, but still there is a seemingly constant stream of new users, to our overall benefit.


Last edited by Thetargos at 19 January 2019 at 1:11 am UTC
TheDaftRick 19 January 2019 at 6:47 am UTC
mirv
TheDaftRick
mirv
kuhpunkt
mirv
kuhpunkt
mirv
kuhpunkt
mirvStill not sure how this is any better than just firing up Steam itself through wine. I could already "force" a game to use wine that way. And choose various wine settings. And use an up-to-date wine. And it's not limited to Steam games.

But it's annoying to set up. One click solution is the key word. That's the way to attract people that have no idea how to setup Wine and whatnot.

mirvSo is this all still just a convenience thing for some people? I don't see that personally. I'm otherwise confused by the sudden excitement and "now game xyz can be played" when it was already possible for quite some time.

Maybe it's just me seeing things a little differently.

If you can't see the convenience factor, you might want to get your eyes checked out

And there is a lot of sudden excitement, because things now just work, not just because of Proton, but because of all the building blocks that Valve encouraged, DXVK, FAudio etc, networking issues fixed etc...

Wow, that wasn't condescending at all. Maybe you need to learn how to use your computer better?

How is any of what I said/wrote condescending?

mirvI don't find needing a beta version and manually going through options in Steam for each game to use an outdated wine. Against just logging in from one shortcut or another.

That's because at the moment it's just a beta - that doesn't even need you to go through options and all that stuff.

A) re-read your own words. About getting eyes checked. Then consider how you might be coming across.
B) game options must be accessed. See the article for that information.

A) There's a - meaning I'm teasing/joking.

B) Only for specific cases, WHICH IS STILL IN BETA

Then for future reference: teasing, joking, or poking a bit of fun, are not taken the same way by everyone. Obviously in this case. Let's agree to just forget about that all now?

Ok, still beta, but that doesn't change my original confusion: why the excitement over something that could already be done, and could be done for some time already? If I'm not clear, I honestly don't understand. By similar comparison, it's like people being excited that phone X can do something that all other phones could already do. I don't see what makes it so much more special now.
I suspect this is something that, like the craze of selfies, I'm not destined to understand.

1. Convience:
-Don't need to restart Steam constantly to play different games.
-Less Steam directories (all your games in the same steamapps folder)
-Steam chat won't be interrupted while restarting Steam.
-Able to view all your installed games without switching.
-Much easier to setup(just select Proton with the biggest number) especially when considering Staging, tkg, DXVK, esync, PBA, 32/64bit, and Proton's other patches
2. Stability - Running the Steam client through Wine can sometimes have stability issues (crashes and dropdown menus freezing)
3. Steam Overlay - Doesn't work while running the Steam client through Wine
4. Steam Controller Configuration - Doesn't work while running the Steam client through Wine
5. Steam Big Picture - Doesn't work while running the Steam client through Wine

1. Ok, but I didn't see that as an issue (restart). Didn't think it would be done often enough - but, I presume you do. That's actually quite informative to me.
Viewing installed games, same deal. I hadn't thought of that - choose what to remove to free some space perhaps?
I don't personally have setup issues, so I can't relate to that point.
2. Ok, again, never had that as a problem. Can't relate. Which version of wine, or all versions?
3. Huh. I'll check that in just over a week when back at my main system.
4. Another point I didn't think on. Cheers.
5. Ah. Big picture. Never worked properly outside of wine either, so never bothered via wine and forgot about it. Now this is a really good point, and does indeed make a difference where it's used. Cheers.

I do think you are right that most of this was already possible.
The main excitement here is the easy accessibility.

Not all of these are issues I personally have, just issues in general.

The restarting is one for me. Sometimes my friends and I will hop between 5-10 games in a single night. Restarting can be an annoyance with time wasted, chat interrupted, and game invites not working until I restart to the correct Steam client.

Viewing installed games is more about thinking of what do I feel like playing tonight and not having a complete list to look at.

I also don't have setup issues, but many people are new and/or don't feel like trying different versions of Wine and different settings to get their games to work. That's the main reason consoles are so popular - no hassle, just game.

I've had crashing issues and the drop down menus freeze on me on pretty much all versions of Wine and Wine-Staging in the past 1-3 years.


Last edited by TheDaftRick at 19 January 2019 at 6:53 am UTC
Eike 19 January 2019 at 11:35 am UTC
ThetargosYes, there many (not only one) bottlenecks before GaaS is a thing, however, at the rate things are moving, the next 5 years seem rather blurry. I hope things stay pretty similar and the games streaming bubble bursts, alas, I cannot say. Network speed is but one piece of the puzzle, input latency is more critical, plus framerate will be an issue. So my hope is that demanding PC gamers will demand local games rather than streaming. The whole adoption for our platform lies in a conundrum. At least tangibly I've seen people flee W10, sadly, to OSX for the most part and the less for Linux, but still there is a seemingly constant stream of new users, to our overall benefit.

German 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...!)
jens 19 January 2019 at 11:50 am UTC
Eike
ThetargosYes, there many (not only one) bottlenecks before GaaS is a thing, however, at the rate things are moving, the next 5 years seem rather blurry. I hope things stay pretty similar and the games streaming bubble bursts, alas, I cannot say. Network speed is but one piece of the puzzle, input latency is more critical, plus framerate will be an issue. So my hope is that demanding PC gamers will demand local games rather than streaming. The whole adoption for our platform lies in a conundrum. At least tangibly I've seen people flee W10, sadly, to OSX for the most part and the less for Linux, but still there is a seemingly constant stream of new users, to our overall benefit.

German 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?)
Eike 19 January 2019 at 12:18 pm UTC
jens
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:
https://www.heise.de/select/ct/2019/1/1546333965757789

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