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Reddit seems to be buzzing with information from SteamDB (full credit to them for finding it) showing indications that Valve might be adding support for compatibility tools to enable you to play games on operating systems they weren't designed for, like Wine.

I won't copy all of it, but a few interesting bits do certainly stick out like the string named "Steam_Settings_Compat_Info" where the description reads "Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems.".

There's also "Steam_Settings_Compat_Advanced_Info" which reads as "You may select a compatibility tool to use with games that have not been tested or verified to work on this platform. This may not work as expected, and can cause issues with your games, including crashes and breaking save games."

Valve do also have a Valve Compatibility Manifests and Valve Compatibility Manifests for Beta Testing set of packages that show up on SteamDB.

That certainly sounds like something Wine related, perhaps with a sprinkle of something like DXVK, don't you think? However, it could even just be DOSBox, a Valve-sponsored tool or anything—we simply don't know enough at this point.

Having the ability to use tools like Wine from within the native Linux Steam client, is actually something that has been requested for a long time by quite a number of people. It could certainly make using Wine less of a hassle for Steam games. If so, it might even give developers a better idea of how many people are on different operating systems if it showed up in their statistics when someone's using such a feature.

It might even be quite a smart business move for Valve, as it might push more people to buy games that have a decent enough rating through one of these compatibility tools.

It could all end up being nothing, so take it with your usual pinch of salt. Even if it does end up being a real feature, it could be quite a long way off too. I'm only posting it because I personally found it quite interesting, I'm pretty sceptical about it for a number of reasons, but doesn't stop it being somewhat exciting too.

What are your thoughts?

56 Likes, Who?
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87 comments
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Samsai 15 August 2018 at 8:29 am UTC
Heresy, I tell you.

QuoteIf few people buy the game, it's expensive - they will not port it.
If many people buy the game, it's profitable - they will port it.

If many people buy the game, they already got your money. No further action required. The only good thing that can come from this is more people switching to Linux, but even then if they are perfectly happy with the compatibility layer (they won't be) it does not encourage any further porting efforts.
0aTT 15 August 2018 at 8:58 am UTC
Finally I wonder if the DXVK human doesn't get paid by someone after all. The workload is impressive for a free project without payment. If Valve hasn't already hired the person, they should think about it. And Lutris?
kazriko 15 August 2018 at 9:03 am UTC
It seems like a short term benefit, with a potential long term downside. If you make it easy to just run the games in compatibility mode, most devs might just consider that good enough and not bother with a native port.

OS/2's windows 3.x and Win32S support was believed to be part of why fewer apps were ported to OS/2, and at the same time, the fact that MS kept intentionally breaking Win32S support on OS/2 made it a poor experience for a lot of the users, which drove users away from the platform.

We'll see though how it turns out.
liamdawe 15 August 2018 at 9:15 am UTC
https://twitter.com/thexpaw/status/1029627718344888321?s=19

Looks like it's for Mac, according to the SteamDB guy it was from an OSX binary.
Ehvis 15 August 2018 at 9:30 am UTC
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liamdawehttps://twitter.com/thexpaw/status/1029627718344888321?s=19

Looks like it's for Mac, according to the SteamDB guy it was from an OSX binary.

Makes sense if they are preparing for the deprecation of OpenGL.
liamdawe 15 August 2018 at 9:35 am UTC
Ehvis
liamdawehttps://twitter.com/thexpaw/status/1029627718344888321?s=19

Looks like it's for Mac, according to the SteamDB guy it was from an OSX binary.

Makes sense if they are preparing for the deprecation of OpenGL.
Think about it though, if they're going to have some kind of compat layer support...why be Mac only
Ehvis 15 August 2018 at 9:44 am UTC
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liamdawe
Ehvis
liamdawehttps://twitter.com/thexpaw/status/1029627718344888321?s=19

Looks like it's for Mac, according to the SteamDB guy it was from an OSX binary.

Makes sense if they are preparing for the deprecation of OpenGL.
Think about it though, if they're going to have some kind of compat layer support...why be Mac only

It's a start. And Valve has always supported Mac, so it makes sense for them to try and fix an upcoming problem for a lot of games in their store. If it is this, then they're probably looking at including something for OpenGL -> Metal, which should be a lot easier than to try and support Windows on Mac/Linux. As you have found out yourself, things are a lot more erratic in that department and it would currently be a support nightmare.

But who knows. They may have much bigger plans indeed.
liamdawe 15 August 2018 at 9:46 am UTC
Ehvis
liamdawe
Ehvis
liamdawehttps://twitter.com/thexpaw/status/1029627718344888321?s=19

Looks like it's for Mac, according to the SteamDB guy it was from an OSX binary.

Makes sense if they are preparing for the deprecation of OpenGL.
Think about it though, if they're going to have some kind of compat layer support...why be Mac only

It's a start. And Valve has always supported Mac, so it makes sense for them to try and fix an upcoming problem for a lot of games in their store. If it is this, then they're probably looking at including something for OpenGL -> Metal, which should be a lot easier than to try and support Windows on Mac/Linux. As you have found out yourself, things are a lot more erratic in that department and it would currently be a support nightmare.

But who knows. They may have much bigger plans indeed.
Think about what you're saying though. If they are going that route, they can't just hook up a tool to convert OpenGL to Metal, it would still need something like Wine to handle literally everything else the game would be doing ;)
rkfg 15 August 2018 at 10:02 am UTC
I'm late to the party due to the timezones but it's funny to see this is really a thing now. I predicted it twice right here, on GoL! Not exactly a super-insightful prediction as it's pretty obvious and who knows what that compat tool really does. Might really be a Windows-only thing as already pointed out.

My another idea is that Valve could start their own porting division using Wine+DXVK, like Virtual Programming do with their library. They might even do it "for free" because they already get their share from each sale, so they only need a developer's permission. The main point is these ports would be supported, i.e. tested and QA'd. Not just a button to install Wine and overrides automatically. This might be a good way to bring Bethesda and Ubisoft's games to Linux among others. For now those comments suggest the compat tool is a not reviewed feature and may or may not work for the particular user. I think this is going to change in, say, 2019.
Ehvis 15 August 2018 at 10:03 am UTC
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liamdawe
EhvisIt's a start. And Valve has always supported Mac, so it makes sense for them to try and fix an upcoming problem for a lot of games in their store. If it is this, then they're probably looking at including something for OpenGL -> Metal, which should be a lot easier than to try and support Windows on Mac/Linux. As you have found out yourself, things are a lot more erratic in that department and it would currently be a support nightmare.

But who knows. They may have much bigger plans indeed.
Think about what you're saying though. If they are going that route, they can't just hook up a tool to convert OpenGL to Metal, it would still need something like Wine to handle literally everything else the game would be doing ;)

Why? Only OpenGL will be deprecated. The rest of the MacOS API will remain in tact. It would be just like dropping DXVK into Windows to make games run over Vulkan while the rest remains native.
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