Steam Play brings more Win­dows games to Linux

Mod­i­fied Wine and new DirectX layer prom­ises great Linux gam­ing

Linux User & Developer - - Open Source -

Just months af­ter it seemed Valve might have given up on Linux gam­ing, a new beta ver­sion of steam Play has been re­leased, bring­ing com­pat­i­bil­ity to a big se­lec­tion of pre­vi­ously Win­dows-only games. As well as giv­ing Linux Steam users ac­cess to a larger cat­a­logue of games, Valve hopes that de­vel­op­ers will be able to more eas­ily port projects from other plat­forms.

Whether you use the Steam client on your Linux PC or you’re run­ning Valve’s own Lin­uxbased SteamOS, this de­vel­op­ment means that a num­ber of top games, such as Star Wars: Bat­tle­front 2, Tekken 7, Fall­out Shel­ter and most of the Doom ti­tles (in­clud­ing the 2016 VR ver­sion) can now run on Linux.

Steam Play sup­ports Win­dows games which don’t have a na­tive Linux ver­sion to be in­stalled and run within the Linux Steam client. This is made pos­si­ble thanks to a twotier ap­proach.

First is the work Valve has done with Codeweavers in de­vel­op­ing Pro­ton, a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Wine com­pat­i­bil­ity layer. Valve’s an­nounce­ment post ex­plains that “mod­i­fi­ca­tions to Wine are sub­mit­ted up­stream if they’re com­pat­i­ble with the goals and re­quire­ments of the larger Wine project; as a re­sult, Wine users have been ben­e­fit­ting from parts of this work for over a year now.”

Sec­ond is com­pat­i­bil­ity with Direc­t3D graph­ics, thanks to vkd3d. This im­ple­men­ta­tion of Direc­t3D 12 uses Vulkan for high-per­for­mance graph­ics. DXVK is also in­cluded – an­other Vulkan im­ple­men­ta­tion, this time for Direc­t3D 11. This has in­volved “di­rect sup­port from our open-source graph­ics group to fix Mesa driver is­sues af­fect­ing DXVK,” and col­lab­o­ra­tion with “Khronos, NVIDIA, In­tel and AMD to co­or­di­nate Vulkan fea­ture and driver sup­port.”

Mean­while, to im­prove the over­all gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, full-screen graph­ics and mul­ti­thread­ing have all been en­hanced. Full-screen games will now be “seam­lessly stretched to the de­sired dis­play with­out in­ter­fer­ing with the na­tive mon­i­tor res­o­lu­tion or re­quir­ing the use of a vir­tual desk­top.” Ad­di­tion­ally, all Steam-sup­ported con­trollers should now be au­to­mat­i­cally recog­nised by sup­ported games.

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