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./play.it, an easy way to install commercial games on GNU/Linux
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vv221 12 Apr

Hello fellow Linux gamers!

Some of you probably already know about ./play.it, as it has been around in its current form since 2015, and can now be found in the repositories of a couple Linux distributions. But most of you never heard of it, because communication actually takes time in addition to the actual development of the software, and the support provided to our users.

So here I am, trying to mitigate a bit this lack of awareness by sharing the existence of this software with you ;)

./play.it is a libre software that automates the build of native packages for multiple distributions from DRM-free installers for commercial games. The generated packages are then installed using the standard tools provided by the distribution.

Native Linux games are supported, as well as games developed for other systems thanks to tools like WINE, DOSBox and ScummVM.

More detailed descriptions, including installation and usage instructions, are available in the documentation of the main distributions we support:
Debian
Gentoo
Ubuntu (French only article)

Other distributions like Arch Linux are supported, as well as derivatives of these distributions like Manjaro or Linux Mint.

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Contact informations

IRC channel

Some ./play.it developers can be reached on IRC, channel is #play.it on server chat.freenode.net

E-mail

A contact e-mail for feedback can usually be found in each ./play.it script, as well as the library. Open one of these files with any text editor to see the contact e-mail.

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Links

Official website
Git repositories
Bugs tracker

Last edited by vv221 on 30 April 2020 at 1:08 pm UTC

Liam Dawe 12 Apr

The post and official site are missing one of the most important things: a screenshot.

vv221 12 Apr

Quoting: Liam DaweThe post and official site are missing one of the most important things: a screenshot.

I actually have a good excuse for that: ./play.it is a command-line software ;)

It does not provide any kind of launcher, and instead creates standard desktop entries so any menu should pick up the games installed with ./play.it as if they were coming from the distribution repositories.

Here is a screenshot of XFCE4 applications launcher, as you can see there is no visible difference between games installed with ./play.it like Diablo and Opus Magnum, and games installed from my distribution repositories like 0 A.D. and Warzone 2100:



There is already quite a lot of full-featured games client out there, so with ./play.it we are focusing on something much smaller: we only handle the conversion from the games installers to the package format used by major Linux distributions.

Doing only one thing, and doing it well, that’s the KISS principle, and it has been one of the pillars of our development since the beginning of this project ;)

Liam Dawe 12 Apr

Then my next obvious point, it should mention it's command-line software ;)

omicron-b 12 Apr

Installing closed source software on my open source system is not what I like doing, I usually keep such software in a flatpak or at least somewhere in /opt/ or ~/.wine
But this is purely my thing, and I would like to acknowledge the effort you guys are doing in bringing the light of Linux to Windows users.
Great project!

vv221 12 Apr

Quoting: Liam DaweThen my next obvious point, it should mention it's command-line software ;)

And for that I have no excuse ;P

I did not anticipate how hard it would be to describe in simple words something that I have developed and used for so long that everything in it seems "natural" to me…

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Quoting: omicron-bInstalling closed source software on my open source system is not what I like doing, I usually keep such software in a flatpak or at least somewhere in /opt/ or ~/.wine

Good news, we got you covered for custom installation path if you want to keep these nasty non-free games in /opt:

--prefix=$path
--prefix $path
        Game installation path setting
        This option accepts an absolute path only.

(default is /usr/local)

Quoting: omicron-bBut this is purely my thing, and I would like to acknowledge the effort you guys are doing in bringing the light of Linux to Windows users.
Great project!

Thanks ;)

vv221 12 Apr

Link to Arch Linux wiki has been removed, as the article it pointed to does not exist any longer.

vv221 16 Apr

A link to Ubuntu documentation has been added, for now the Ubuntu article is available in French only.

eldaking 17 Apr

OK, so if I understand this right you use this command line program and a game-specific script, that takes a random installer (downloaded from GOG for example) and makes the package manager "recognize" the software - so now you can remove it using apt purge, for example. I assume the package manager would then install everything in its usual folders (instead of just using the home folder...) and create all shortcuts and stuff. Would these packages do anything about dependencies?

Also, it seems to work together with wine, which I don't quite get as system packages don't normally use it. Does it create a prefix? Does it just put the files somewhere and you use wine on your own?

vv221 17 Apr

Quoting: eldakingOK, so if I understand this right you use this command line program and a game-specific script, that takes a random installer (downloaded from GOG for example) and makes the package manager "recognize" the software - so now you can remove it using apt purge, for example. I assume the package manager would then install everything in its usual folders (instead of just using the home folder...) and create all shortcuts and stuff.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Quoting: eldakingWould these packages do anything about dependencies?

Sure, we generate dependencies list for each supported game, so they are automatically handled by the package manager. Including 32-bit dependencies on 64-bit systems. It also means that when uninstalling your game the dependencies that are no longer in use can be uninstalled automatically, without the need to track them.

When a game is linked against a library that is no longer provided by the system, like libssl.so.1.0.0 on current Debian, we provide these libraries from our website so they can be included in the game package. This way you don’t have to mess with your system libraries to re-introduce obsolete unmaintained libraries.

When a game comes with shipped libraries, we try to use system ones instead as much as possible.
And we go even farther in some cases: next feature release will allow the use of system-provided Mono runtime when playing Mono games, instead of the runtime that is usually shipped with the game.

Quoting: eldakingAlso, it seems to work together with wine, which I don't quite get as system packages don't normally use it. Does it create a prefix? Does it just put the files somewhere and you use wine on your own?

Some of our packages use WINE (a bit more than 20% of our supported games run thanks to WINE). For these, here are the specifics:
• The system-provided WINE version is always used. Asking the user to install multiple versions of WINE (especially older ones) is not an option we went with.
• Each game uses its own WINE prefix.
• WINE prefixes are not shared between multiple users of a same system, each user has her own prefixes.
• WINE prefixes are "volatile": persistent data like saved games and configuration is stored outside of the prefix, so they can be reset easily without losing any game progress or customization.

Most importantly, all of this is automated an transparent. To an untrained user, it is not obvious that WINE is used.
We aim for a "native-like" experience even with WINE games.

eldaking 17 Apr

Thanks for the answer, that is a more impressive scope than I assumed and pretty sweet overall.

I always wished more games could just use the package manager. I'll definitely be giving it a try later with some GOG games I have that are on the list.

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