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Nightdive are having issues with the Wine-bundled Linux build of System Shock 2

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Nightdive have responded to reports of users being unable to play their Wine-bundled Linux build of System Shock 2.

The SteamOS icon to indicate Linux support has been removed from the store page, which hopefully will be temporary. This isn't the usual situation of a developer removing support, since Nightdive have supported Linux quite well with ports. In this case, the game was never actually ported to Linux since Nightdive said themselves they "didn't have the source code for the game".

Speaking about it, they said how they've been aware of the issue for some time now, having spent a lot of time trying to solve it and nothing they've tried has worked. They think it was an update to Steam itself that has caused it, as they've tried older versions and none now seem to work.

At this point, I'm at a loss on what to do. This version of the game was created by a third-party, well known (at the time, we were told) for their excellent WINE ports. We didn't have the source code for the game, so this was the only route we could go in.

A few months ago, we were able to get in contact with somebody who is VERY well versed in porting games to Linux (15+ year experience at this point). I asked them to take a look at the game, and they couldn't work out what the problem was. That also soured things.

They might look into a portable version of Proton and put that up if it's possible. The obvious problem with relying on Steam Play, is they don't get to advertise any Linux support until Valve eventually add Steam Play somehow on store pages.

They said they will try to fix it and they have a few options to explore. It's nice to see them really put effort into it. On that note, user dubigrasu already mentioned a fix they tried still works so perhaps they will look into that too.

See their full post here.

Hat tip to mphuZ.

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21 comments
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Userwithaname 2 November 2018 at 10:08 am UTC
Is it really worth using a version of Proton that's frozen in time just to get the store to claim that it's built for Linux? It just makes it seem like the game has Linux support when it really doesn't. It's odd that the developers now have to choose between better Proton support and a Linux/SteamOS logo on their store page.
liamdawe 2 November 2018 at 10:12 am UTC
UserwithanameIs it really worth using a version of Proton that's frozen in time just to get the store to claim that it's built for Linux? It just makes it seem like the game has Linux support when it really doesn't. It's odd that the developers now have to choose between better Proton support and a Linux/SteamOS logo on their store page.
Well, it's also about control isn't it and stability. If they get a version that works and works well, then ideally you want that to stick don't you. You don't want random updates to Steam Play to come along and break it a couple times a year.
Userwithaname 2 November 2018 at 10:18 am UTC
liamdawe
UserwithanameIs it really worth using a version of Proton that's frozen in time just to get the store to claim that it's built for Linux? It just makes it seem like the game has Linux support when it really doesn't. It's odd that the developers now have to choose between better Proton support and a Linux/SteamOS logo on their store page.
Well, it's also about control isn't it and stability. If they get a version that works and works well, then ideally you want that to stick don't you. You don't want random updates to Steam Play to come along and break it a couple times a year.
Yes, but on the other hand, what if the version of Proton they use becomes incompatible with Steam in the future? Then they will be in the exact same situation.
KayKay91 2 November 2018 at 10:26 am UTC
I wonder if they have a source code of the game. Perhaps Icculus would make a native Linux port of it .
mirv 2 November 2018 at 10:27 am UTC
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Steam for myself appears broken when using an updated wine as well - not sure if this is wine itself, or Steam, because both updated. So yes, there is a definite problem with updates breaking things, and if you can get a snapshot of a known working configuration and stick to it...then it's worth it. Especially when it comes to wine.

"Proton" will suffer the same fate, because it is just wine anyway (with custom patches).
liamdawe 2 November 2018 at 10:46 am UTC
Yeah, I guess I was being optimistic about using a stable Proton version and sticking to that. If they find the issue though with Steam though, what I said still applies.
Samsai 2 November 2018 at 10:49 am UTC
KayKay91I wonder if they have a source code of the game. Perhaps Icculus would make a native Linux port of it .
For System Shock 2 the source code specifically doesn't exist and that's why the Wine port was made. And I think it's a case of _nobody_ having the SS2 source code, nobody apparently kept tabs on it.
mirv 2 November 2018 at 11:08 am UTC
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liamdaweYeah, I guess I was being optimistic about using a stable Proton version and sticking to that. If they find the issue though with Steam though, what I said still applies.

Absolutely. I think "Proton" (I _still_ can't not use quotes for that name!) is probably a good target to test against, even for GOG releases, because it is something that Valve will theoretically support, and has less chance of updates and/or changes breaking things. Plus, it is open source, so there's no reason particular release tags can't be downloaded, compiled, and used. Or official wine releases. Or both.

Another catch that's rarely considered is that libc, libstdc++, and a few other bits & pieces might update along the way and render binaries unusable in the future. GNU/Linux has been pretty good with this so far, but there is the odd change that, even from self-contained binaries from GOG, may not work (or not work easily) on a fully up to date system.

Various container formats might help with that, but it's not going to last in perpetuity.

Which is all a very long winded way of saying; I agree!
Also agree on Nightdive putting the effort into looking into the matter and trying to resolve it. They really don't have to, but it builds a lot of good will with the community, and helps decide on future purchases. So even if they can't fix it, well done Nightdive!
adamhm 2 November 2018 at 12:34 pm UTC
The Wine wrapper I made for it still works fine though :p
adamhm 2 November 2018 at 12:55 pm UTC
mirvAbsolutely. I think "Proton" (I _still_ can't not use quotes for that name!) is probably a good target to test against, even for GOG releases, because it is something that Valve will theoretically support, and has less chance of updates and/or changes breaking things. Plus, it is open source, so there's no reason particular release tags can't be downloaded, compiled, and used. Or official wine releases. Or both.

I just quickly tested System Shock 2 with Proton 3.16-3 using my wrapper. It looks like it works but I wouldn't recommend it as it doesn't seem to perform any differently from regular Wine except that you can't change the display gamma if it's too dark/too bright (it does this by changing the system's display gamma settings, but this is not allowed by Proton).

It's good that Proton doesn't allow the display resolution to be changed since that can be a huge PITA but it would be nice if there was some way of configuring it to still allow display gamma changes, as there are a lot of games that need to do this - even some newer games.
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