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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.

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namiko 22 August 2018 at 6:58 pm UTC
Shoot, this is huge (so late to the article! ). I was in a daze for a while after this, just shouting randomly and saying "holy shit" over and over.

Sure hope that once I can afford a proper AMD GPU that I can play the first two Mass Effects again with it. (Screw EA otherwise, no more money for them, I'm never using Origin to only play ME3, even though I downloaded the demo years ago with my old dual-boot. )

At least it'll take away the problem of additional overhead running Windows Steam client through Wine to play Windows Steam games, which is definitely a good thing if your machine's specs aren't top-notch.
Linuxpunk 22 August 2018 at 6:58 pm UTC
Well, I have one of the games in Steam's proton list, M&B With Fire and Sword. Installed it, it runs great (it already did in Wine, but I feel the lights are better now).

Let's hope this will bring more ppl to Linux, and lets keep supporting the developers that release or port games natively for our OS.
x_wing 22 August 2018 at 7:03 pm UTC
TcheyIt's a great new for players, but i'm concerned about NATIVE Linux games. Too many, i think today, will use this instead of going the road to a proper Linux build.

Basically, it's a WINE inside Steam, so it's still not Linux.

From my point of view, a proper support is QA and fix issues on the platform you release your software. If they do it by using this wrapper or by doing a Linux binary, from users perspective will be the same.

Anyway, If I pay a Windows only game (one that the publisher don't care about Linux), I would like that some part of the money I pay goes for the people behind this big wrapper (and when I say "some part" I mean a part that the publisher would receive if the sale was from a Windows user).
warky89 22 August 2018 at 7:14 pm UTC
This is convenient. I can confirm that DOOM is working great on Arch Linux with steam play.
Setting the in-game renderer to Vulkan is giving me 40-70FPS on a GTX970 at 2560x1440.
Tchey 22 August 2018 at 7:17 pm UTC
In a positive world, where good things could happen, what may happen is all dual-booters may stay on Linux for gaming now, so more game will be registered as Linux buyers, so more games will come to Linux.
jarhead_h 22 August 2018 at 7:24 pm UTC
For people still moaning about native ports, WE'RE NOT THERE YET.

For anything that's already up on Steam and GoG for Windows-only, you can write it off, >99% chance it will never be ported. Hell, some Linux ports get delisted after their release like Banner Saga and the Penny Arcade 1&2 games. WINE is the only way we get access to those games short of a dual boot heresy, and this sure looks like it's going to be the best version of WINE for gaming. And don't expect that situation to change for at least five years.

Five years plus? I would put money on the PS5 using Vulkan, and we're going to benefit from that tremendously. Vulkan streamlines the whitelisting for Steam Play. That leads to more Windows titles that just work with Steam Play on launch day. GoG can get in on this, too, as Valve is open sourcing it all. Linux user base expands as Microsoft continues to push the smarter ones our way. We build our user base to first rival Apple, and then exceed Apple.

Ten years on AAA titles are natively ported to Windows and Linux with Apple support waning as it's userbase has finally grown tired of paying the Apple tax on hardware that they can't upgrade and so stop buying Apple computers altogether. And yes, I said TEN YEARS because that's how long this is going to take.

As someone that had a NiB Commodore 64 as a first PC, let me assure you kids, this sort of shift takes time. It's a marathon kids, and that loud bang you just heard was a STARTER pistol.

Last edited by jarhead_h at 22 August 2018 at 7:27 pm UTC
melkemind 22 August 2018 at 7:26 pm UTC
melkemindI have NieR Automata, but this game was broken on Windows [..] and not really playable without the third-party FAR mod
The fullscreen bug doesn't even happen on wine, and the game has been fully playable on wine for over a year now (and for over half a year with dxvk).

I'm sure we just have different ideas of what "playable" means. I used the FAR mod to improve performance and unlock the framerate, not just fix ultrawide screen problems. I just tried it with Proton, and it was locking to 30 fps. There's probably a way to get it to work. I just don't know what it is.
Finalizer 22 August 2018 at 7:29 pm UTC
These news are great!But it's a bit worrying what happens to the native games. Still I'm glad that Valve made this move. It could be harder to walk only native games path if you know what I mean. And hey don't lead me into temptation, I sure can find it by myself: I must try this steamplay system soon....
Imnotarobot 22 August 2018 at 7:59 pm UTC
7870. All games crash with amdgpu.
No Vulkan for me then.
wvstolzing 22 August 2018 at 8:07 pm UTC
GuestOh and while it's nice and all to have DOOM II, Ultimate DOOM and Quake on that list, some great source ports already natively support linux, presumably to use a source port this way would involve using a windows version of said source port.. But what would be the point in that? :p

To be honest, it seems to me that including those titles in the list has no point other than making it look a little longer.
I'd like to think that a Linux user interested in playing DOOM (or Quake) would probably know that there's 'stuff' (chocolate-doom, the shareware levels for both DOOM & Quake 2, freedoom) in the core repos of pretty much every distro.
Though, then again, I might be overestimating the extent to which 'the average buyer' has a clue as to why it's better to play on source ports as opposed to dosbox.
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