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Total War: WARHAMMER released for Linux, port report and video

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Total War: WARHAMMER [Steam, Feral Store] is the latest big Linux port from Feral Interactive. As someone who has only recently become a fan of Warhammer, it was fun to see this game arrive on Linux.

Note: My copy was provided by Feral Interactive.

The multiplayer is sadly only Linux to Linux. It is not cross-platform with Windows. This is a bit of a sore spot, but thankfully the single-player seems to be great. Feral confirmed to me that they are aiming to get Linux vs Mac like Empire and Med II in time for the Mac launch. You can see the reasoning why in Ellie's previous post about CoH2 here on Steam, which gives some small insight.

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Gameplay video
Here’s a preview of a random battle I did, I realise how badly I was doing everything but in my defence this was one of my first battles.
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System requirements
Minimum requirements
3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130
3.5GHz AMD FX6300 processor
4GB RAM
1GB Nvidia 650ti/2GB AMD R9 270 graphics card* or better.

Recommended requirements
3.4 GHz Intel Core i7-4770 processor
8GB RAM
4GB Nvidia 970/4GB AMD RX 480 graphics card* or better.

*Nvidia cards require 367.28 drivers or newer. AMD cards require Mesa 13.0.1 drivers compiled using LLVM 3.9 or newer. AMD graphics cards are not supported when running SteamOS.

This is another of Feral Interactive's games to fully support Mesa, thanks to the hard work of the Mesa developers.

Benchmarks
All benchmarks done with the built-in benchmarking tool on my test/benchmark PC. Due to the way the benchmark is done in TW, I will only be giving the average FPS.

Specifications: Ubuntu 16.04 64bit, Intel i5 4670K, 16GB DDR3 RAM, Standard Hard Drive, 1920x1080 resolution. Using the Nvidia 367.70 driver.

Note: All setting seem to leave Textures on Ultra (even when on Low). The only preset that uses Anti-aliasing is Ultra, which sets it to FXAA, all others have it turned off.

All benchmarks done using the presets as-is on Linux. I made sure the Windows comparisons had the exact same settings as Linux.

image

Windows vs Linux benchmarks
image
image

Nvidia 980ti Windows vs Linux raw details
Spoiler, click me
Ultra
Windows: 98.6
Linux: 76.4
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 77.48%

High
Windows: 113.9
Linux: 88.7
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 77.88%

Medium
Windows: 148.2
Linux: 109
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 73.55%

Low
Windows: 203
Linux: 150.4
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 74.09%
Nvidia 970 Windows vs Linux raw details
Spoiler, click me
Ultra
Windows: 74.3
Linux: 59.5
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 80.08%

High
Windows:100
Linux: 78.2
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 78.20%

Medium
Windows:115.5
Linux: 88.5
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 76.62%

Low
Windows:135.3
Linux: 111.8
Linux performance compared with Windows 10: 82.63%

Considering that an Nvidia 970 can get practically 60FPS on Ultra settings, I would say the port is pretty well optimised.

The Linux scores are between 73% and 82% of Windows FPS, so pretty standard stuff when it comes to performance loss on OpenGL Linux ports.

I haven’t witnessed any large drops in performance during the campaign map or during larger battles, it’s been a real pleasure to play in terms of performance.

General thoughts
The game seems to be extremely stable, in my many hours of testing I haven’t encountered a single crash. It’s pleasing to see that Feral have kept putting out games that, at least for me, are very stable.

Like with XCOM 2, the Feral Launcher has a built-in Mod Manager, which uses the Steam Workshop. It’s also themed for the game once again:
image

As expected from a Warhammer title, the intro video is very well done and is graphically quite impressive. Would have been nice to have the intro at 60FPS, as the video is locked to 30FPS which does make it seem a bit sluggish. Still, it certainly got me interested in it right away so it did the job.

For those that don’t know, Total War: WARHAMMER is a mix of both a turn-based strategy and real-time strategy. The strategic board of the world is turn-based where you manage your empire, while the battles are intense real-time ordeals.

While there is a simple in-game tutorial when you play as The Empire, you can also access an overview which brings up a Youtube instruction video. I recommend watching it if you’re not familiar with Total War at all or, if like me, it’s been a long time since you last played one. It was very useful just to get a quick idea of what to expect.

Armies are each commanded by a Lord—who can level up, equip special items and banners, and gain skills. Each army can also have powerful hero units, which are interesting, as they can serve two functions: wander alone on the campaign map providing benefits to provinces they are in, or as a powerful unit within an army. Heroes also gain experience points from fighting and performing other actions, which can be used to upgrade them as well. These special units can be very useful in actual battles and they can sway the battle with their power.

It’s all rather familiar to anyone who has played any Total War, Civilization or other grand strategy type games. You will be dealing with research and diplomacy, rebellions and so on..The variety in gameplay comes from all the differences between the in-game factions. For example, Dwarfs will need to keep an eye on their grudges and act accordingly. Whereas the Vampire Counts spread corruption and things like that. It makes each faction a unique experience to play as, which is spices things up across multiple playthroughs.

What I really like about the game that helps me be genuinely interested in it is that it’s not bound by history. We have plenty of historical games, so it feels rather fresh. The variation in the different types of units is fantastic; seeing soldiers run at big lumbering monstrosities while massive artillery fire comes bearing down sure is a sight to see. The battles themselves are certainly brutally beautiful.

What I like about the battle system is that you don’t actually have to command the battles yourself. You can have them auto-resolve and the AI will just do it and present the outcome to you. This is particularly useful if you have an army that will quite obviously stomp all over an enemy easily. It saves you time when you might not want to even bother going directly into the battle yourself.

The battles are immensely fun, especially when you manage to hide entire legions of your troops inside a section of forest to flank your enemy. Using charging horses to break through enemy lines while archers and artillery strike, to thin them out, is glorious.

There is a bit of a controversy surrounding the DLC in the game. I won’t go on about it too long, but I feel the need to point it out. Warhammer as a universe is pretty violent, and this game is largely about destructive battles. To see any blood or gore you need to buy a cheap DLC and enable it. I admit it’s a complex issue due to ratings boards and if it was included by default, or as a free DLC the game would likely have a much higher rating. I don’t agree with it personally, but it is what it is. It’s a really minor feature that doesn’t actually add anything substantial to the gameplay, but I needed to mention it for clarity.

There’s also the fact that one extra playable race costs over a third of the price of the entire game, I’m certainly not a fan of the DLC model here.

Feral Interactive don't control the DLC or pricing though of course, so it's down to the original developer and publisher.

Still, even without the extra DLC on offer, there’s likely tens of hours you could put into it without needing any of it. The Total War games usually have a rather active modding community too, with Total War: WARHAMMER already having over 2,000 mods.

The problem I find is still the same as it is with all Total War games: I am horrific as a tactician when it comes to actually participating in battles. Not even my newly-found enthusiasm for Warhammer helped me learn to not lose all my soldiers repeatedly. Even though I’m really not very good at it, I found it to be the most interesting Total War game I’ve ever played. Likely because it doesn’t have a huge amount of depth to it (so it’s easy to get to grips with) and because it’s rather good-looking.

If you like Total War or Warhammer, this is probably a no-brainer purchase for you. If you’ve not played Total War before, this is probably a fantastic entry to get you into it as it’s quite easy to understand.

You can find Total War: WARHAMMER on Steam and the Feral Store. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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The comments on this article are closed.
57 comments
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cRaZy-bisCuiT 22 November 2016 at 4:19 pm UTC
grenadecx"It is not cross-platform with Windows." And here we go again.

I already know why, same reason as with the others. But seriously this is really frustrating. I'm sad that this will be another port I will not support.
+1 !!! They should stop those bullshit ports. It's really worth nothing if you port a multiplayer game and split the community. Thanks feral! Get your MP fixed and I'm happy to support you even more again. I'd like to buy your games and gift them to my friends: But do you know what? If they play on Windows, why should I? Seriously, that's getting annoyed. I'll feel like I should sent out requests to all publishers asking them to state in contracts with you guys to have a working cross-platform-multiplayer. So if you do wonder why not so many Linux sales happen: I think you know the answer in advance!
cRaZy-bisCuiT 22 November 2016 at 4:20 pm UTC
gojulI now hope Feral will release TW Rome 2, Shogun 2, Napoleon for Linux (and possibly Rome 1, but not essential)
Without cross-platform-support? Thanks, but NO thanks! They should fix the linux and the windows client alike to make it work.
m2mg2 22 November 2016 at 4:31 pm UTC
cRaZy-bisCuiT
gojulI now hope Feral will release TW Rome 2, Shogun 2, Napoleon for Linux (and possibly Rome 1, but not essential)
Without cross-platform-support? Thanks, but NO thanks! They should fix the linux and the windows client alike to make it work.

I've wondered about this and tried to ask a couple of times if it were possible for them update the multiplayer code in the Windows versions with what they use for the MAC/Linux versions but got no response. They may not have the Windows talent for it, or they may not be permitted by the content owners. Seems like something should try to make arrangements for though.
liamdawe 22 November 2016 at 4:32 pm UTC
Guys, it doesn't matter what libs you suggest Feral use, they aren't in charge of getting the Windows version changed to be compatible.

What we can hope for is for either Feral to be able to work alongside devs like for XCOM2 or for in-house Linux versions.
edddeduck_feral 22 November 2016 at 4:37 pm UTC
Thanks for the suggestions regarding MP, however any changes need to be merged into Windows (and Linux and Mac) easily and without effecting Windows (and Linux and Mac) performance and stability in any major way. It's not really the network layer but the maths used throughout the game engine which is then used to keep games in sync. We've tried many maths library replacements (which is how we got Linux/Mac working on many titles) however we're yet to find a solution that works on all three platforms, is easily implemented and has no performance or stability impact on all platforms.

We won't give up looking into solutions but this isn't easy, between all the games we've investigated these problems on we've easily spent months heading towards a full year of investigation on the problem. It's disarmingly complex and a single byte out of alignment and the entire house of cards fall down.

This post (linked to previously in this discussion) has a good overview of the problem.

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/maclinux/discussions/0/528398719787800607/
rustybroomhandle 22 November 2016 at 4:42 pm UTC
And we're down to just "Spacious Skies" on the Feral radar. The depth charge one vanished... either because this was it, or because it's another troubled Windows release like Dishonoured 2 that would have made a poor or too much effort Linux port.
Xpander 22 November 2016 at 5:10 pm UTC
Finally a Strategy game that doesnt perform badly with AMD CPU
Last one was XCOM 2 that was performing good.


High settings @1080p 63FPS average (without recording)
Ultra settings @1080p 52FPS average (Without recording)

AMD FX-8320@4,4ghz, GTX 1070, 375.20 drivers

View video on youtube.com
Jahimself 22 November 2016 at 5:36 pm UTC
Thanks a lot Feral for another great game ported to Linux, and thanks Liam for the report.


Quote60 fps would be a dream. I often not have this in the campaign card, if I use max. settings. And it stutters all the time even with 60 fps.

I thought this would be normal. But maybe I've set something wrong?

Have you tried vsync on or off?
Purple Library Guy 22 November 2016 at 5:37 pm UTC
edddeduckferalThanks for the suggestions regarding MP, however any changes need to be merged into Windows (and Linux and Mac) easily and without effecting Windows (and Linux and Mac) performance and stability in any major way. It's not really the network layer but the maths used throughout the game engine which is then used to keep games in sync. We've tried many maths library replacements (which is how we got Linux/Mac working on many titles) however we're yet to find a solution that works on all three platforms, is easily implemented and has no performance or stability impact on all platforms.

We won't give up looking into solutions but this isn't easy, between all the games we've investigated these problems on we've easily spent months heading towards a full year of investigation on the problem. It's disarmingly complex and a single byte out of alignment and the entire house of cards fall down.

This post (linked to previously in this discussion) has a good overview of the problem.

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/maclinux/discussions/0/528398719787800607/

Note: I am ignorant. But it seems like a weirdly fragile way to do things even on a "single" platform such as Windows 7,8,8.1,10 . . . I know computers are supposed to be deterministic in how they work, but I've had too many occasions of performing the exact same action and getting different results to believe that holds reliably at current levels of complexity. Depending on things staying precisely the same (as opposed to say expecting they will occasionally diverge in some way and having mechanisms to re-synch) seems lacking in robustness.

Obviously this isn't you guys' fault, you just have to deal with what you find. I'm just wondering why this would be the way developers would do this stuff. Is it always like that, is that really the only way?
Purple Library Guy 22 November 2016 at 5:39 pm UTC
cRaZy-bisCuiT
gojulI now hope Feral will release TW Rome 2, Shogun 2, Napoleon for Linux (and possibly Rome 1, but not essential)
Without cross-platform-support? Thanks, but NO thanks! They should fix the linux and the windows client alike to make it work.
Au contraire, should such things happen I would be saying thanks and thanks. Not everyone is into multiplayer. I'm not, for instance.
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