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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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Scoopta 19 August 2018 at 10:08 am UTC
jarhead_h
ScooptaI personally hope this isn't true. Maybe it's just me but I personally think it'll be a dark day in the Linux world when devs target Windows and just expect wine or some other compatibility layer to be used.

You mean right now? Because that's what we have. Right now. This world you're worried about where Linux is an afterthought if it's thought about at all is the world we have right now.

We've hit the chicken-egg problem head on. Valve isn't going to force devs to cater to us. They won't even force devs to use Vulkan which would make the WINE experience a whole lot nicer. But what they will do is spend their own resources to make their catalog available to us. It's very likely that DXVK is actually a Valve project, and it's open nature is Valve using us to beta for them. Happy to do it. More than happy if this eventually makes Steam's Windows catalog easily accessible to new users, and frankly, to me because WINE is a hassle.

I know it's not FOSS, but without any hyperbole, Valve doing this could be the most important computer news story of the entire decade because if Valve really does kick over this domino it means the eventual end of Microsoft's dominance because it means for the first time normies will have a real alternative to Windows. GAMERS will have an alternative to Windows. Do you look out and see a lot of love for Microsoft? I don't. I see a lot of people that want Windows without Microsoft there to ruin it. In other words, there are a lot of people that would be okay switching to Mint Cinnamon if they had easy access to the all the stuff they care about on Windows. Eye on the prize.

We can worry about Saint Stallman's blessings after we're free of Redmond.
Right now my Linux system doesn't have to emulate a Windows one to play games(except AAA ports). That's the future that scares me. I didn't leave Windows just to emulate it on Linux. Although maybe you do have a point. Maybe emulating windows is just an easy way to bootstrap Linux gaming. Maybe after it becomes reasonably popular the emulation will go away and we'll get real Linux natives. Being an after thought doesn't scare me, being an after thought where wine is the solution does.


Last edited by Scoopta at 19 August 2018 at 10:12 am UTC
Ne0 20 August 2018 at 12:09 pm UTC
DamonLinuxPLI have been disappointed with such things many times. Worst of all if it will be a compatible profile for running games from xp/vista/7 in Windows 10
Here's the Official Documentation for Steam Play,
And here are the logos...
image
image
...AWESOME !!!


Last edited by Ne0 at 20 August 2018 at 12:29 pm UTC. Edited 3 times.
Comandante Ñoñardo 20 August 2018 at 2:07 pm UTC
Ne0
DamonLinuxPLI have been disappointed with such things many times. Worst of all if it will be a compatible profile for running games from xp/vista/7 in Windows 10
Here's the Official Documentation for Steam Play,
And here are the logos...
image
image
...AWESOME !!!

That is the old Steamplay feature, available for years...

The new steamplay feature is different:

"Steam_Settings_Compat" "Steam Play" "Steam_Settings_Compat_Title" "Steam Play Settings" "Steam_Settings_Compat_Info" "Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems." "Steam_Settings_Compat_Enable" "Enable Steam Play for supported titles" "Steam_Settings_Compat_Advanced_Title" "Advanced" "Steam_Settings_Compat_Forced_Info" "You can use Steam Play to test games in your library that have not been verified with a supported compatibility tool." "Steam_Settings_Compat_Forced_Enable" "Enable Steam Play for all titles" "Steam_Settings_Compat_Advanced_Info" "You may select a compatibility tool to use with games that have not been tested or verified to work on this platform.\n\nThis may not work as expected, and can cause issues with your games, including crashes and breaking save games." "Steam_Settings_Compat_Default_Tool" "Compatibility tool:" "Steam_Settings_Compat_Info_Link" "SteamPlay FAQ" "Steam_Settings_Compat_No_Default" "None selected"

"Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems."

Maybe this Compatibility tool is SteamOS exclusive.
Ne0 21 August 2018 at 5:35 am UTC
Comandante ÑoñardoThat is the old Steamplay feature, available for years...

The new steamplay feature is different:
...
"Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems."

Maybe this Compatibility tool is SteamOS exclusive.

QuoteSteam Play allows you to purchase your games once and play anywhere. Whether you have purchased your Steam Play enabled game on a Mac or PC (both Windows and Linux), you will be able to play on the other platform free of charge.
...
What do I do when I get "Unsupported Platform" when attempting to play a game on Linux or my Mac?

A common reason for this error is that the game simply has not yet been released on the platform that you are attempting to play on. Additionally, please ensure there is not both a PC and a Mac listing for the title in the Library list.

I guess Valve is expanding Steamplay to patch unsupported platforms, and give a 100% "play anywhere" experience similar to Google play on Android.
...possibly by integrating DXVK into steam application for Linux, and maybe even Mac.


Last edited by Ne0 at 21 August 2018 at 6:01 am UTC. Edited 4 times.
jarhead_h 22 August 2018 at 1:59 am UTC
ScooptaRight now my Linux system doesn't have to emulate a Windows one to play games(except AAA ports). That's the future that scares me. I didn't leave Windows just to emulate it on Linux. Although maybe you do have a point. Maybe emulating windows is just an easy way to bootstrap Linux gaming. Maybe after it becomes reasonably popular the emulation will go away and we'll get real Linux natives. Being an after thought doesn't scare me, being an after thought where wine is the solution does.

Valve launched it today in the Steam Beta client. It's seamless, you check a box in the Steam Play settings and your entire Windows library is theoretically playable on Linux. It hasn't worked on a single game that I've tried it on yet. I bought Half Life 2 on release day in 2004 along with Vampire the Masquerade:Bloodlines. I was one of the people who couldn't play HL2 for weeks on release do to a bug. I ended up finding the RAZOR1911 version and playing that. Didn't bother with steam again until The Black Box promo for buying an ATI 1950XT. Not a single issue, not one, and haven't bothered pirating since. This will mirror that I imagine. In a few months time most of the big titles will just work.

There are two outcomes possible from this since Valve has already sunk two years of funding into it and doesn't look likely to stop anytime soon:

1) Valve is clearly pushing Vulkan and even mentioned specifically in the new faq on Steam Play that a developer looking to support this can add a Vulkan rendering option to maximize the chances of smooth compatibility. This will lead to more Vulkan titles. If the PS5 ends up using Vulkan we're set. That's the end of DirectX's dominance on anything other than the Xbox, and the end of WINE slowing down framerates because it can offload the entire graphics workload to the Linux Vulkan drivers without needing to do anything itself. We just keep running new Windows games seamlessly via WINE+PROTON+DXVK without even having to bother to configure any of it getting basically native performance with Vulkan titles. This is the WORST CASE SCENARIO, and it doesn't exactly suck.

2)This cascades. As soon as the current hotness games land with day one Steam Play support Linux starts siphoning off gamers that don't want to have anything to do with Microsoft. And Valve has stated that the two week rule is in effect for this - ie, Steam counts it as a Linux sale if you play the game in Linux for two weeks. Our user base climbs to about what Apple has(maybe ten percent), and then we start getting the same native ports that Apple does. That's when the snowballing really starts. This is dream scenario.

This NEEDED to happen. We NEED to build the user base and this is the only way to do it. Valve is going against Microsoft massively by doing this, fyi. Valve is quite literally funding an escape route from Microsoft to an OS that Valve doesn't even control and I don't see how we can thank them enough for that.


Last edited by jarhead_h at 22 August 2018 at 2:06 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
mrdeathjr 22 August 2018 at 2:09 am UTC
For now senran kagura shinovi versus works ok

image

Scoopta 22 August 2018 at 2:17 am UTC
jarhead_h
ScooptaRight now my Linux system doesn't have to emulate a Windows one to play games(except AAA ports). That's the future that scares me. I didn't leave Windows just to emulate it on Linux. Although maybe you do have a point. Maybe emulating windows is just an easy way to bootstrap Linux gaming. Maybe after it becomes reasonably popular the emulation will go away and we'll get real Linux natives. Being an after thought doesn't scare me, being an after thought where wine is the solution does.

Valve launched it today in the Steam Beta client. It's seamless, you check a box in the Steam Play settings and your entire Windows library is theoretically playable on Linux. It hasn't worked on a single game that I've tried it on yet. I bought Half Life 2 on release day in 2004 along with Vampire the Masquerade:Bloodlines. I was one of the people who couldn't play HL2 for weeks on release do to a bug. I ended up finding the RAZOR1911 version and playing that. Didn't bother with steam again until The Black Box promo for buying an ATI 1950XT. Not a single issue, not one, and haven't bothered pirating since. This will mirror that I imagine. In a few months time most of the big titles will just work.

There are two outcomes possible from this since Valve has already sunk two years of funding into it and doesn't look likely to stop anytime soon:

1) Valve is clearly pushing Vulkan and even mentioned specifically in the new faq on Steam Play that a developer looking to support this can add a Vulkan rendering option to maximize the chances of smooth compatibility. This will lead to more Vulkan titles. If the PS5 ends up using Vulkan we're set. That's the end of DirectX's dominance on anything other than the Xbox, and the end of WINE slowing down framerates because it can offload the entire graphics workload to the Linux Vulkan drivers without needing to do anything itself. We just keep running new Windows games seamlessly via WINE+PROTON+DXVK without even having to bother to configure any of it getting basically native performance with Vulkan titles. This is the WORST CASE SCENARIO, and it doesn't exactly suck.

2)This cascades. As soon as the current hotness games land with day one Steam Play support Linux starts siphoning off gamers that don't want to have anything to do with Microsoft. And Valve has stated that the two week rule is in effect for this - ie, Steam counts it as a Linux sale if you play the game in Linux for two weeks. Our user base climbs to about what Apple has(maybe ten percent), and then we start getting the same native ports that Apple does. That's when the snowballing really starts. This is dream scenario.

This NEEDED to happen. We NEED to build the user base and this is the only way to do it. Valve is going against Microsoft massively by doing this, fyi. Valve is quite literally funding an escape route from Microsoft to an OS that Valve doesn't even control and I don't see how we can thank them enough for that.
Oh believe me I understand they're going against MS with this. I've always rated it as Linux > Wine > Windows. Wine has always been my preferred option compared to Windows but for me personally I just stayed away from it because I'll always prefer Linux natives. I know the worst case scenario is living in a world of wine but I don't exactly like it. It's better than being forced to use Windows for games but IMO Linux already has enough games being ported to it for me so I don't feel forced to use Windows. Hopefully the number of Linux ports increases along side this. I care about two things, Getting a decentish amount of native Linux titles in the short term, which I would say we are currently, and not relying on wine for anything long term. I basically never want to have to rely on wine for gaming on Linux. As long as that never happens I really can't complain and the fact that proton/Steam play counts as a Linux sale makes me feel better about it. Still not as good as a native port would but it's definitely a hell of a lot better than wine on it's own.
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