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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 Valve might also want to update the Steam support page too, it's rather outdated.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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Faalagorn 18 January 2019 at 1:45 am UTC
Port quality aside, keep in mind that there were some game license that had the Linux button, even if they contained no files, so it's great they fixed it: for example BEAT.TRIP RUNNER activated from Humble Indie Bundle 4 (it had a native version on Humble, but it was never uploaded to Steam for some reason) or TRAUMA from "Krystian Majewski Comp" from some CD-keys. Or some extreme cases when game technically lauches, but due to Linux-exclusive bugs is not even playable, for example for the owners of a removed game Jerry McPartlin - Rebel with a Cause (there's a few more obscure games in my library that didn't even want to launch too).

gustavoyaraujoThat's pretty cool. But hey, are anyone here missing Proton updates?
Maybe they are waiting for 4.0 to release? Or planning something bigger, such as more performance tweaks especially for DX9 titles (PBA? Gallium 9? VK9 eventually?) ?
mylka 18 January 2019 at 1:49 am UTC
Cr1ogenif they want to force Linux games to work with Steamplay because they do not use windows directly? I think it's a step backwards in the fight that Valve has been doing for Linux users

do you think?
there are games with OLD linux ports.
BLACK THE FALL https://store.steampowered.com/app/308060/Black_The_Fall/
this game has a linux port, but it is very old and the newer windows version looks complete different. the developers wont answer to any questions and they dont delete the linux version

so what you gonna do? now you can install the win version and maybe it works as it should

linux needs market share and for that you need games you can play with ONE CLICK
Comandante Ñoñardo 18 January 2019 at 4:31 am UTC
I'm gonna try this with Tomb Raider 2013 and both Metro Redux.

For the next update, it will be useful to have a ProtonCFG button just below "Force the use of an specific Steam play compatibility tool".. Sometimes you need a 32bit prefix.. sometimes you need to install an specific library or codec
massatt212 18 January 2019 at 4:59 am UTC
tested rise of the tomb raider and deus ex MKD

they did good but native won in ROTR deus performed almost the same as windows with DXVK
Smoke39 18 January 2019 at 5:26 am UTC
The Turok remaster has a pretty solid Linux port, but it doesn't include the editor. I can use the GoG version in Wine easily enough for mapping, but any time I want to upload to the Steam Workshop I have to boot into Windows to use the Steam version of the editor so it can hook up with my Steam account (I've tried running the Windows version of Steam itself in Wine before, but didn't have much luck). This one little edge case is pretty much the only reason I ever boot into Windows anymore, so it'll be really fantastic if I can just use Steam Play for this now.
Munk 18 January 2019 at 6:10 am UTC
There are plenty of games with broken linux ports. Usually they can be fixed by linking libraries or something like that, but there a tons of obscure indie linux games out there that just plain don't work.

The more interesting part of this update, I think, is the ability to easily set what version of proton is being used individually. Regressions do happen and it's nice to be able to override easily.
Phlebiac 18 January 2019 at 6:13 am UTC
PhlebiacI still wish they would change it so that you can have the officially supported games in the "STEAMOS + LINUX" view, but be able to launch unsupported games via Steam Play from the "GAMES" view. Right now, you have to globally enable Steam Play, and then the Linux view has both supported and unsupported games in it. Plus switching between modes requires a client restart - annoying.

It's slightly less annoying with the current beta; you can leave the globally enabled Steam Play option off, and force Proton to be used for specific Windows games. But that still makes them show up under the STEAMOS + LINUX view.
Phlebiac 18 January 2019 at 6:20 am UTC
The "0 byte downloads" aren't completely gone! Here's one easy way to trigger it:

1) Open the properties of a native game
2) Check the "Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool" checkbox
3) Immediately, there is an update queued
4) Uncheck the box and close the dialog

You will now get a 0 byte download. At least in this scenario, it makes sense how you get that result.
kokoko3k 18 January 2019 at 6:58 am UTC
With beta client, i can't download anything, it throws the error "Content servers unreachable".
I'm on archlinux...


massatt212tested rise of the tomb raider and deus ex MKD

they did good but native won in ROTR deus performed almost the same as windows with DXVK

So dxmd runs via proton? Last time i tried it did not.
And am i understood? Performance with poroton is the same as on windows? that would be a huge improvement over the slow feral port.
X6205 18 January 2019 at 7:35 am UTC
I love these QOL improvements. Gaming on linux really becomes a thing.. When Windows 7 reaches EOL next year i will propably stop dual-booting. Also Wine will be at v5.0 and who knows how will DXVK mature.. Exciting times. Hopefully Feral will still port AAA games which are ofc a better option.
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