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Path of Exile to get Vulkan support, they would "like" to add Linux support

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Here's something interesting, the Path of Exile team have put out a news post giving some answers to questions from the community and it has some interesting bits in it for us.

What is Path of Exile? It's a pretty popular online Action RPG, set in a dark fantasy world. Going by the numbers on Steam, it regularly sees a player count well above sixteen thousand people playing at once.

In the post they said this about Linux support:

Do you have any plans on implementing Ubuntu support? Currently it's too hard to run PoE on it.

I would like to add Linux support for the game client (the game servers actually already run on Linux, as it's what we use for our online infrastructure). It's a difficult project to prioritise because such a small slice of our playerbase runs Linux on their desktop. I switched from Linux to Windows in 2006 to work on PoE, so I appreciate how important this would be for those players.

As for the question about implementing Vulkan, they simply said a very clear "Yes.". You can see more in the official post.

One thing that does bug me, is the reasoning of their own playerbase only having a "small slice" that run Linux. It's kind of a 'well duh' moment, since the game isn't actually on Linux they can't realistically expect to see many. I'm well aware of course that our market share isn't huge but what do they expect?

At least if/when it does gain Vulkan support, those running it with Steam Play or Wine should see a better performance. If you want to see it on Linux officially though, now might be the time to let them know.

Hat tip to "PoELinuxFan".

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mirv 10 May 2019 at 8:27 am UTC
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mirvIs Path of Exile only on Steam? Because otherwise I might nudge those talking about "Proton" that it would be better for it to run well under vanilla wine more than anything else (because that should be available from any distro package manager). I mean, it probably does (I don't play this game), just wanted to be more specific (it's a small detail perhaps, but in my view an important one).

Yes, it's on Steam! Won't show up in your library listing since it's free to play, but just search for it in the store, it's there.

It's a game running on DX9 and DX11, and for nearly all of us that means we're using DXVK and Esync to run it, both being enabled by default in Proton. I used to run it through their own launcher, but now it's working right out of the box in Proton, so I'm just going with that.

Still setting a few command line options to pre-cache things and collect garbage more often when running it though, since the micro stutter on linux is downright horrendous at times, and any little switch to improve it is a good one. This stutter comes from how DXVK handles shader compilation I understand, and unlike on Windows, DXVK has to wait for the shader to be compiled before doing anything else, so the stutter is worse here. We do have a cache, but until things are cached up - or right after a DXVK upgrade - you can get lagspikes that definitely will get your char killed. Which we all know sucks in PoE. Minus 10 percent XP. Yay. I think the stutter might be worse on AMD cards than NVIDIA, but don't quote me on that.

This is where the game running on Vulkan would probably be a life saver. Using a graphics API we have native support for would probably solve that "graphic APIs waiting in turn" stutter problem.

Oh, sorry, I wasn't clear enough: I simply meant that if the game was available without Steam, then for some users at least, "Proton" probably isn't available. For more generic desktop release, some users might also not want to mess about with DXVK (i.e they might not be as familiar without how to install and get it running). I would imagine it's not an issue for most readers of this site, but from the game developer's perspective it might be better ensure it runs with vanilla wine in order to reach a wider audience.
If, on the other hand, PoE is only distributed via Steam (my understanding is that it's not), then yeah they could more easily rely on "Proton", as it's pretty much guaranteed all their customers would have easy access to it.

(note that I'm not really caring about what is "better" here, just trying to think in terms of what would give the game the widest GNU/Linux audience reach)
crt0mega 13 May 2019 at 8:14 am UTC
mirvPoE is only distributed via Steam (my understanding is that it's not)
It is not, you are free to choose between Steam and their own launcher. I'd not be surprised if they'd decide to port the launcher only and ship Proton with it.

Last edited by crt0mega on 13 May 2019 at 8:15 am UTC
Goldpaw 14 May 2019 at 8:42 am UTC
mirvOh, sorry, I wasn't clear enough: I simply meant that if the game was available without Steam, then for some users at least, "Proton" probably isn't available.

Ah, I see. Well I think the problems that stopped it from running in DX11 mode was fixed upstream in wine some versions back, so if we disregard performance and just go for "works out of the box" I think their own launcher does work in vanilla wine now. I might be wrong about that, though, as it might require wine-staging(?).

Totally with you on this mindset, though. Upstream is where all compatibility fixes that make things run should end up. Or at the very minimum in wine-staging as fast as possible. Having to resort to additional tweaks and patches from multiple places might be second nature to some of us, but certainly doesn't help the game devs or new users just looking to get their games running.
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