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Hey you humies! Time to die! Feral Interactive have done it once again! We now have a native Linux port of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III [Steam, Feral Store] and here’s my port report. Waaagh!

To get the elephant in the room out of the way first, the online multiplayer is not cross-platform with Windows. However, Linux & Mac gamers can play together. I know, it sucks, but hopefully in future we will see a patch to enable it.

Also, be aware that NVIDIA supports both OpenGL and Vulkan with a driver version of at least 381.22. AMD only works with Vulkan and Mesa 17.1 and Intel also only works with Vulkan with Mesa 17.2-devel. The Vulkan renderer is still considered experimental.

As for the rest of the specifications, you will need at a minimum:
  • 3.4GHz Intel i3-4130
  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • 8GB RAM
  • Nvidia 650Ti with 1GB of VRAM

Feral recommend:
  • 3.4GHz Intel i7-4770
  • Ubuntu 16.10
  • 8GB RAM
  • Nvidia 980Ti with 4GB of VRAM

The game is able to make use of both OpenGL and Vulkan, with OpenGL being the default option. To enable Vulkan, you just need to head to the "Advanced" settings tab of the launcher and tick the Vulkan box. So it works much like the Mad Max Vulkan beta, which is also from Feral Interactive. The checkbox won’t even show up if you don’t have new enough drivers, so make sure you’re up to date.

The launcher now asks for your permission to send some anonymous statistics to them:
I've been told it sends your hardware details like "CPU, GPU, RAM, monitor resolution and refresh" and also software details like "Drivers, distro, GL support level".

Also, the launcher will tell you if your processor is not in high performance mode. Just like the article I wrote about advising you to put your CPU into high performance mode, Feral’s FAQ now tells you to do the same.

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Benchmarks & Graphical Options
I will start with a note about the benchmark itself. Unlike the actual gameplay, the benchmark runs in a letterbox with black bars above and below, meaning it’s not actually rendering as much as it would in a normal game.

As far as graphical options goes it’s quite limited with: Resolution, Image Quality, Texture Detail, Gameplay Resolution, Unit Occlusion, Anti-Aliasing and Physics.

Also, there are no predefined “Ultra, High, Medium” settings, the only option is to adjust each one manually. So for these benchmarks I noted the exact settings used in the spoiler below (click to open). I also made sure to set my CPU into high performance mode.

Spoiler, click me
Max Image Quality: Maximum, Texture Detail: Higher, Unit Occlusion: Enabled, Anti-Aliasing: High, Physics: High.

Higher Image Quality: Higher, Texture Detail: High, Unit Occlusion: Enabled, Anti-Aliasing: Medium, Physics: Medium.

High Image Quality: High, Texture Detail: Medium, Unit Occlusion: Enabled, Anti-Aliasing: Low, Physics: Low.

Medium Image Quality: Medium, Texture Detail: Low, Unit Occlusion: Enabled, Anti-Aliasing: Low, Physics: Low.

Low Image Quality: Low, Texture Detail: Low, Unit Occlusion: Off, Anti-Aliasing: Off, Physics: Low
I don’t do too many benchmarks because honestly, benchmarks are often quite useless. Unless you have the exact same system specifications (hardware and software), you will see different results.

Sidenote: Something that was requested was for us to show Min/Max FPS from our benchmarks. So I upgraded our charts system to show it (if games provide them!). I think it looks pretty slick, quite proud of my work on our SVG charts. Yes, I’m literally giving myself a pat on the back in a review, go me.

To find the output of the benchmarks, look in here:
.local/share/feral-interactive/Dawn of War III/VFS/User/AppData/Roaming/My Games/Dawn of War III/LogFiles

Without further ramblings of a madman, here’s the benchmarks:
OpenGL Vulkan Dawn of War III, OpenGL vs VulkanUbuntu + KDE, 1080p, i7 5960x, 980ti MaxHigherHighMediumLow Vulkan 53.19Min: 42 | Max: 74.26OpenGL 48.6Min: 36.59 | Max: 69.51Vulkan 73.5Min: 54.67 | Max: 113.1OpenGL 67.77Min: 49.65 | Max: 102.9Vulkan 83.32Min: 58 | Max: 138.72OpenGL 83.57Min: 55 | Max: 135.46Vulkan 90.03Min: 51.69 | Max: 170.49OpenGL 89.48Min: 55.89 | Max: 140.3Vulkan 90.01Min: 52.89 | Max: 164.67OpenGL 90.02Min: 57.6 | Max: 156.37 53.1948.673.567.7783.3283.5790.0389.4890.0190.02 01938577695 Average FPS

So Vulkan does better at the higher end, likely where OpenGL is hitting a wall with the CPU that Vulkan avoids. As mentioned previously, the Vulkan renderer is still a work in progress for Dawn of War III, so it's possible we may see performance patches for it like Mad Max had.

Oddly, the game doesn’t let you change certain things in-game, like the mouse scroll speed. You can find the actual settings file here:
.local/share/feral-interactive/Dawn of War III/VFS/User/AppData/Roaming/My Games/Dawn of War III/configuration_user.lua
There you can change all the settings, like “mousescroll”. Adjust things in that file at your own risk though.

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My thoughts
This is the third time Relic has basically re-invented Dawn of War. The first game offered up a traditional styled RTS game complete with base building, which sadly we're unlikely to ever get on Linux. Feral then graced us with Dawn of War II where Relic gutted the base-building and favoured smaller unit counts with their abilities, but they still managed to keep it really fun and here we are ready to go to war again, with a different approach. It's a bold game, where Relic are clearly not afraid to try out some fresh ideas.

This is a very different game to Dawn of War II, in the previous game the battles would be intense, but Dawn of War III has a much bigger scale when it comes to army sizes. Dawn of War III does bring the game a little bit back to the roots, with less of a focus on smaller unit counts and their abilities and more about bigger army sizes with a little base-building thrown in. However, Elite units and their abilities still play a massive role like they did in Dawn of War II. Think of them like MOBA heroes and you get the idea.

They’ve also done away with the finicky cover system that never really worked quite right. I’m pleased about that, because it was a damn nuisance to work with. The suppression system has also gone the way of the dodo, making it really that much more like a traditional RTS.

Thanks to the removal of a few of those features, the pacing is quicker and it’s a much more aggressive game overall. In fact, it’s almost exactly the type of strategy title I’ve been longing for on Linux since Planetary Annihilation never really took off all that well (and that game still has some massive issues).

Graphically, it's incredible. The level of detail is quite amazing, while I initially had some reservations about the new style which is more colourful and cartoony than the previous games, I've been completely won over by it. The units and building are well detailed, the animations are fantastic and it's as bloody as ever. Units will get thrown around, squashed and cut up — it really gives you a sense of the brutal nature found in Warhammer 40K.
The cutscenes this time around are completely different. Instead of being greeted with 3D action scenes, they've created some incredibly stylish animated picture boards to tell the story. They look absolutely amazing and I really wanted to see more of them. It goes back to how Relic's decisions to do something different really worked in parts, as they are all fantastic.

The campaign sees you play as all three races this time, instead of picking a specific race. You might be the Space Marines in one mission, Ork the next and then it will move swiftly into Eldar. It makes the campaign feel a little weird, rushed even.

As usual for a Warhammer game, it starts off with completely over the top action as a bunch of Orks are storming a fortress. You are Gabriel Angelos, Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens and you’ve arrived to assist them against orders not to. He’s a very fun character to play, a giant among men wielding a massive hammer, who can leap into the air and deliver a punishing blow to those below him. An exciting start for sure and the first mission is non-stop action and it served as an excellent introduction to the game. The problem is, it feels like the introductions never really go away. As a result, it doesn’t really feel like a proper campaign.

I was quite surprised that so quickly the second mission moved me over to the Orks. With a brief video talking about some massive Ork, it suddenly thrust me into a mission with him, leaving me itching for details on what the Space Marines are doing. This mission also throws in a little MOBA tactics, with you being able to sneak through bushes. It continues the tutorials with basic base building here too, but even so, like the first mission it’s still damn fun.

The Orks seem like a pretty fun side to play as, with their hilarious dialogue and their ability to build a “Waaagh Tower” which brings down scrap to upgrade units, and also increase your overall Waaagh level. This level changes which units are unlocked for use. These towers also hype up your Orks for battle, as I’ve shown in this amusing little video for you:
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A bit of Heavy Metal before a fight? Why not.

I have to say, I think the Orks are really fun to play as, they love a good fight and the big cannon at the end of the second mission is amusing, as it’s essentially trolling you the first few times. It feels like the developers had real fun working on all aspects of the Orks from each animation, to each hilarious bit of dialogue, they really make the game interesting.

The game actually ends up feeling quite a lot like Starcraft II, the Eldar especially end up feeling a lot like the Protoss, complete with warping buildings around and permanent upgrades from a specific building. That's a good thing, since I consider Starcraft II one of the best RTS games around.

What really got me about Dawn of War III is that I don't actually favour one faction over another. They all have comparable units, but they still play rather differently. Combine that with the Elite units and you can really customize the experience to your liking. That's a major strength for the game, to be able to craft an experience where I actually like playing as all sides. In the previous game I didn't really like the Orks, but now I absolutely love them.

After each mission you level up, which allows you to pick unlocks, which come in the form of abilities, a “Skulls” currency to purchase Elites, Doctrines and Portraits. The Doctrines can be equipped to an elite during certain missions, which can give certain units special abilities.

What has seriously impressed me, much like with Dawn of War II, are the voice overs. The actors are brilliant, the Orks are especially funny and everything is said with real feeling. It easily has some of the best voice acting in a strategy series. It's not just the voice acting though, the sound design in general is fantastic. Big booming explosions, every tiny laser and bullet, it's just an awesome experience for the ears. Especially so in the larger battles with some of the bigger units, it really helps it feel intense.

Multiplayer, wait, is this suddenly a MOBA?

The multiplayer this time is an entirely different beast again. No longer are we battling for control of specific victory points to build up a score. Instead, you’re now going through stages of the map like you would in Dota 2. You go through taking out a shield generator, then a turret and then into the enemy base to take out their power core. It’s a bizarre experience, as it ends up feeling like a MOBA and less like a proper real time strategy game. I’m really unsure what to think of the multiplayer overall.

The multiplayer ends up being a great big tug of war and even against the AI i’ve had single games last quite some time. That’s not a bad thing, as this isn’t meant to be a quick pick up and play experience, Dawn of War III battles are supposed to be a test of your tactical thinking.

There is a small amount of base building this time and I do mean small. You have a very basic set of buildings, it’s very much like the Company of Heroes 2 building system. You build your Barracks and whatever else whenever you can afford them.

Honestly, the multiplayer mode is like they gathered a list of features from a bunch of games, threw them up in the air and put in whatever landed face-up, it’s such an odd mix. It’s not that it doesn’t work or it’s not fun, it’s just odd. It’s surprisingly limited with that single mode too, which is quite a shame. Fun, but just not enough variety. If they added in a traditional mode of base building and pure annihilation without the need to take out specific structures, I would probably love it more.

Final thoughts

After reading all this, you might walk away thinking it doesn't really sound like a proper traditional RTS at all, but don't let that deter you from picking it up. I've had an incredible amount of fun with it. The Elite units really do make the game interesting. The Blood Raven's Gabriel Angelos for example, jumping him into the middle of an Ork army, then smashing them to bits never gets old.

The limited sides do become an issue. While there's a decent amount of variety with them, for me it's just not enough. Considering the previous game had way more options, it's a little disappointing. I really hope they do a full expansion to expand on the sides, the campaign, the multiplayer modes and so on. It just feels like it needs more of everything.

Overall, I think if you’re a fan of real time strategy games or MOBAs it should be an interesting game to play. It offers up something very different, with absolute chaos when it comes to the battles. It looks gorgeous and I think it’s great Relic tried something different yet again instead of clinging to safety.

As far as the port is concerned, I've had zero issues. The game hasn't crashed on me once and it seems to perform pretty well. An absolutely solid release from Feral, they should be proud of their work on this one.

I will be livestreaming it tonight at 19:30 UTC (20:30 BST) on our Twitch channel. You’re all welcome to join in, otherwise I will be taking on the AI. I can stretch the starting time a little later if needed to allow a few people a bit of extra time to download it. As always I will be in the IRC, Telegram and Discord rooms if you want to discuss it.

I will also be hosting weekly games every Thursday night for at least the next month at 19:30 UTC, which will be open for everyone to join in.

On top of that, every Tuesday at 12PM UTC I will be facing off against Samy from Feral Interactive, this will also be livestreamed and open for anyone to join!

Dawn of War III is available on Steam and the Feral Store. Article taken from
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Ehvis 14 June 2017 at 9:05 pm UTC
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Ok, I figured out my performance issues. As soon as I change my gfx settings, the FPS tanks. Regardless of what I choose. But if I set maximum settings, then restart the game, I actually get a decent 25-30 fps at 3440x1440. Anybody else have problems like that?
cRaZy-bisCuiT 16 June 2017 at 3:06 pm UTC
Sure I want to buy the game and spent money! But please do the Windows-Linux-Multiplayer Update first. Otherwise I feel I couldn't. ;)
Jahimself 27 June 2017 at 12:37 am UTC
I bought it to support Feral. The reviews and comments in steam forum were not engaging. And my first moment in the game was not so engaging either. I started the campaign after tutorial, and I better understand the mechanics, I also forget about some of small missing options (like solo skirmish, mouse sensitivity, key remap). It is a lot more enjoyable, especially as the games looks nice and plays pretty well with Vulkan on my side. GTX970 + 381.22. Same average fps, but better overall experience.

I think the multiplayer has big potential. Also I haven't tried it yet, it seems there are a few games available (not many :p), it would be really great if windows mp was working.
Otherwise great port as usual.

Last edited by Jahimself on 27 June 2017 at 12:50 am UTC
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