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This is quite a surprise! Early yesterday we were notified that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which Feral Interactive ported to Linux in 2015 has gained a Vulkan Beta.

Since companies rarely make much money from older ports like this, it's quite fantastic to see it being given some love. Especially like this, giving it a big boost with a much newer graphics API. This is not long after Feral Interactive confirmed the Linux release date for Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition and also announced Total War Saga: TROY for Linux too.

Without any further rambling, let's take a look at what kind of difference it makes for Shadow of Mordor. Tested on Manjaro Linux with an Intel i7-5960X and an NVIDIA 2080 Ti with the 430.40 driver. All these tests were done at 1080p and the Steam Play Proton version was 4.11-7:

Now let's take a look and see what happens when you do the same tests, with the resolution set to to 200% (4K):

That just goes to show how Linux really can perform well for gaming. The performance difference is absolutely insane when compared with their original OpenGL port. Even next to Steam Play, it seems to show that an optimised Linux release can be highly competitive and worth doing. Absolutely fantastic work from Feral Interactive.

Update: Since it was pointed out in our comments that the Linux version's Ambient Occlusion seems to be lower quality/resolution (apparently it shouldn't be noticeable) than the Windows version, here's some additional 1080p/4K testing with AO off to see what difference it makes between them:

As an additional quick look, here's the same test as done above with AO off with Windows 10 thrown into the mix:

< Min FPS, > Max FPS

If you wish to try it out, it's available without a password in the "linux_vulkan_beta" branch on Steam. To access it, right click on the game in Steam, go to Properties and the Beta tab and then select it from the dropdown box. As shown below:

Keep in mind this is a Beta and issues are to be expected. It may even gain more improvements over time, we will just have to wait and see on that.

Nowadays, all Feral Interactive ports to Linux are done with Vulkan. They seem to be doing the same as they did previously with Mad Max, giving it a Vulkan beta and gathering some feedback while not promoting it to the main supported release. Fair enough, this is a good way to do it to see how it goes.

A couple of their older titles using OpenGL could certainly use this upgrade too. The one that really needs it is the Linux port of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I would love to play through that one fully again with a Vulkanized performance boost.

You can pick up a copy of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor from the Feral Store, Humble Store and Steam.

Hat tip to dubigrasu.

Article taken from
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Mountain Man 17 October 2019 at 9:21 pm UTC
This literally doubled my average framerate according to the benchmark!

Now why can't more Linux games run this well?

Last edited by Mountain Man on 17 October 2019 at 11:07 pm UTC
14 17 October 2019 at 9:41 pm UTC
Very nice. I already beat this game long ago, but I do remember it feeling sluggish at points. Not sure I'd replay it, but maybe one of my kids will a few years down the road.

Last edited by 14 on 17 October 2019 at 9:41 pm UTC
The_Aquabat 18 October 2019 at 2:10 am UTC
BrisseNice. I agree with others here though in that DE:MD is the one that really needs this sort of enhancement.

yeah and Dirt Rally is another port I would like to see vulkan-enhanced, it runs smoothly mostly but vulkan is much much better in terms of performance and as it stands Dirt 4 runs much faster than Dirt Rally, DR being older and with less graphics features.
Well sure, but if we go this way we can hope for all old GL ports to get the Vulkan treatment, like Hitman, which already has or had at one point an incomplete Vulkan build, or even better COH2, which really runs slow.
To be fair though to other GL ports, some of them run pretty good, Alien Isolation for example.
What I'm trying to say is that the Vulkan treatment comes with a cost for Feral (time/money/personnel), and I don't think is justified for all of their ports.

yeah I don't know if it is profitable for all ports, imho Shadow of Mordor it's maybe the best game there's for linux still in 2019, maybe that's the reason why they are doing the vulkan beta, I'm sure the game is still having a significant number of sales. Dirt Rally otoh has gone free recently on humble bundle and on steam so I guess it's not profitable anymore.

But on these days we are also seeing a lot of old DOS games, Amiga, SCUMM games and whatnot ported to Linux, so why not?

Last edited by The_Aquabat on 18 October 2019 at 2:14 am UTC
Comandante Ñoñardo 18 October 2019 at 3:53 am UTC
Updating an old game with a new technology is not about monetary profit; is for to gain development expertise and, at the same time, bringing the legacy users and new users a better gaming experience..

Feral, Aspyr, VP.... and Valve must update their Linux ports to Vulkan...

By the way, with Stadia around the corner, there will a lot of job for Linux porting companies.
Thetargos 18 October 2019 at 4:01 am UTC
I am truly amazed of the achievement . One thing is to see the Benchmark and see the FPS soar, and another is to feel the buttery smooth gameplay, WOW!!
raneon 18 October 2019 at 6:05 am UTC
I really appreciate Feral's work to provide Vulkan support now for Shadow of Mordor! Besides some graphical glitches (character models) it runs great with RADV and ACO from Mesa-git. I'm sure this will be sorted soon.
Some days ago I found out that Hitman runs as well with Vulkan, only the water rendering was broken. Mad Max worked perfectly fine with Vulkan so I wonder why the beta is still password protected.
I do agree with others here that Deus Ex should see a Vulkan port, performance is quite bad on OpenGL!

Last edited by raneon on 18 October 2019 at 6:06 am UTC
aejsmith 18 October 2019 at 9:05 am UTC
raneonI really appreciate Feral's work to provide Vulkan support now for Shadow of Mordor! Besides some graphical glitches (character models) it runs great with RADV and ACO from Mesa-git. I'm sure this will be sorted soon.

This should fix the character issues:
kokoko3k 18 October 2019 at 11:19 am UTC
1xokYou can't blame Feral for not doing product care.
At the same time I wonder why Feral is working on an old game.
Promoting SOTTR, maybe.

Reinstalled to try, 55-60fps with everything on ultra on a gtx 1050ti.
...but boring as hell, as usual.

Last edited by kokoko3k on 18 October 2019 at 12:10 pm UTC
appetrosyan 18 October 2019 at 11:30 am UTC
TheRiddickIs windows 10 using DX11 or DX12?

Both AFAIK. In DXMD you could choose the API from the options.
YoRHa-2B 18 October 2019 at 11:51 am UTC
TheRiddickIs windows 10 using DX11 or DX12?

Both AFAIK. In DXMD you could choose the API from the options.
Shaodw of Mordor doesn't support D3D12, only 11.
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