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As we speculated previously, Valve have now officially announced their new version of 'Steam Play' for Linux gaming using a modified distribution of Wine called Proton, which is available on GitHub.

What does it do? In short: it allows you to play Windows games on Linux, directly through the Steam client as if they were a Linux game.

What many people suspected turned out to be true, DXVK development was actually funded by Valve. They actually employed the DXVK developer since February 2018. On top of that, they also helped to fund: vkd3d (Direct3D 12 implementation based on Vulkan), OpenVR and Steamworks native API bridges, wined3d performance and functionality fixes for Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 11 and more.

The amount of work that has gone into this—it's ridiculous.

Here's what they say it improves:

  • Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.
  • DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.
  • Fullscreen support has been improved: fullscreen games will be seamlessly stretched to the desired display without interfering with the native monitor resolution or requiring the use of a virtual desktop.
  • Improved game controller support: games will automatically recognize all controllers supported by Steam. Expect more out-of-the-box controller compatibility than even the original version of the game.
  • Performance for multi-threaded games has been greatly improved compared to vanilla Wine.

It currently has a limited set of games that are supported, but even so it's quite an impressive list that they're putting out there. Which includes DOOM, FINAL FANTASY VI, Into The Breach, NieR: Automata, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and more. They will enable many more titles as progress on it all continues.

To be clear, this is available right now. To get it, you need to be in the Steam Client Beta.

There will be drawbacks, like possible performance issues and games that rely on some DRM might likely never be supported, but even so the amount of possibilities this opens up has literally split my head open with Thor's mighty hammer.

Read more here.

Holy shit. Please excuse the language, but honestly, I'm physically shaking right now I don't quite know how to process this.

Update #1: I spoke to Valve earlier, about how buying Windows games to play with this system counts, they said this:

Hey Liam, the normal algorithm is in effect, so if at the end of the two weeks you have more playtime on Linux, it'll be a Linux sale. Proton counts as Linux.

158 Likes, Who?
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606 comments
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seven 21 August 2018 at 10:02 pm UTC
all hail Gabe...
J 21 August 2018 at 10:04 pm UTC
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Bother you guys beat me to it... small list so far but moving up
tim241 21 August 2018 at 10:05 pm UTC
YAY
minidou 21 August 2018 at 10:06 pm UTC
No wonder Wine and DXVK are doing great recently.

QuoteThey will enable many more titles as progress on it all continues.

It is possible to try other games too :

Quoteenthusiast users are also able to try playing non-whitelisted games using an override switch in the Steam client

There's also a much welcomed GRAPHICS DRIVERS QUICKSTART to help setup vulkan and DXVK on other distros.


Last edited by minidou at 21 August 2018 at 10:33 pm UTC. Edited 3 times.
miro 21 August 2018 at 10:06 pm UTC
oh well, I am really not that happy as most people.

from now on I'm really afraid that too many publishers will use this as an excuse not to provide native linux builds in case it runs "well enough" with proton/wine.

since this is now to be built-in, most people will not have to understand what wine even is, they will take the running binary for granted. hence what is to expect is less performance and continuous direct x instead of opengl or vulkan

this would totally be acceptable for older/legacy titles, but I really think too many will jump on that train that it runs with proton and that there is no need to compile it for linux.
we'll see.
scaine 21 August 2018 at 10:09 pm UTC
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mirothis would totally be acceptable for older/legacy titles, but I really think too many will jump on that train that it runs with proton and that there is no need to compile it for linux.
we'll see.

Definitely a concern. But then "native" builds didn't always get great performance either. I'm most concerned that this encourages devs to simply do DX again and is the death of Vulkan.

Too early to see how it goes. Let's wait for performance and reliability reports first, eh?
mirv 21 August 2018 at 10:12 pm UTC
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So before everyone gets too worked up, note that this doesn't mean a game is supported officially under GNU/Linux. It just basically means Valve is tying in wine to the Steam client. Their "custom" version of wine (which is just upstream with some nice patches around the place applied by the looks of it).

Also, it might (maybe, I have to check) suffer the same problems that some people have with the steam-runtime because it's built against library versions in the steam runtime. Couldn't see any word if system wine could be used instead - but then, just use wine & steam in that case I guess.

So while this is great news in general, it's still not going to solve problems overnight, and it's no replacement for a "native" (supported) title such as from Feral, Aspyr, VP, etc. Even games that are supported via their own packaged version of wine mean supported, and a steam update won't suddenly make them stop working (which might happen here, depending on how often Valve will update things).

Exciting news, but a few gotchas to keep the excitement in check.
liamdawe 21 August 2018 at 10:12 pm UTC
Doesn't currently work for me. Purchased Doom like a good reporter to test the feature out, needs you to enable it for all titles and...Steam Client crashes. Update: For those that missed it, it works now.


Last edited by liamdawe at 22 August 2018 at 11:45 am UTC
Snowdrake 21 August 2018 at 10:13 pm UTC
Wow, I'll turn beta client on my steammachine and have a look at this ! Omg this is so big.
I wasn't prepared for that!

Now I understand why dxvk development was so fast !
Whitewolfe80 21 August 2018 at 10:16 pm UTC
Awesome the rumours are true that is an odd mix of games to kick things off but Doom(technically) on linux cant be mad about that
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