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With Proton and Steam Play, many Windows games now work on Linux (protondb.com)
932 points by bdefore 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 311 comments

So does anyone have a good recommendation for a gaming laptop that is good with linux?

Consider getting a laptop with TB3 and using an eGPU. I don't know how eGPUs work with linux though.

Any Mac love on this?


Q: Any plans for macOS support?

While Wine and Proton work on macOS, there are no plans to support the new Steam Play functionality on macOS at the moment.




So...WINE with 'fancy' UI design?

Isn't this just WineHQ but for games?

Can you install and run this without Steam?

I already use wine-d3d9 which is very good for WoW but as its name says it doesn't run DX11/12 games.

You don't need Proton without Steam (since it has various Steam specific stuff), but yes, you can.

See here for example: https://www.gog.com/forum/general/adamhms_linux_wine_wrapper...

However, you can simply use upstream Wine with add-ons like dxvk[1] (which is used in Proton).

Using esync[2] (also utilized by Proton) requires special branch of Wine, since it's not going to be upstreamed and it's not as simple as installing dll overrides.

1. https://github.com/doitsujin/dxvk

2. https://github.com/zfigura/wine/blob/esync-rebased/README.es...

Do yourself a favor and check out https://lutris.net/games/world-of-warcraft/

Lutris is excellent for getting many games up and running, and WoW runs much better with dx11+dxvk than wine-d3d9.

So it's just wine under the hood, so "working" is not exactly true?

Wine is a big part of it, but there's a bit more to it.


That is, um, incredibly not clear, based on the link you shared.

'Proton is a tool for use with the Steam client which allows games which are exclusive to Windows to run on the Linux operating system. It uses Wine to facilitate this.'

Even reading down the article to look for more details provides information about building the product, but as far as I can see no other significant details about it's underlying technology.

There may be other articles or posts that go over this more, but your link provided no useful or helpful information that I could see in two brief read-overs.

The Github Readme says to consult the blog post for more info: https://steamcommunity.com/games/221410/announcements/detail...

For your question, look under "Q: What is Proton exactly? How does it differ from normal Wine? Who worked on it?"

Okay, so, in the future, it may be nice to post a link to the blog post, instead of trying to back up your point with something that requires digging to get to.

I appreciate the attempt to clarify, but it's nice to make sure the clarification actually makes things make more sense.

Yikes, that is some ridiculous condescension I think we can do without in the future as well, if the wishlist is still open.

Also, if you're factually wrong about something, nobody owes you research even though it would be nice. You're still wrong even if you can't be bothered to click a few links, so it's a weird complaint. They didn't just have a "point"; they were right.

Finally, lighten up. It's just gaming-related chit chat. Nobody here is paid to use their free time to write comments on HN or to give you better links.

Kinda disappointed this seems to be yet another WINE wrapper with some extra stuff piled on, though I'm not sure what else I could've expected it to be.

I long ago lost interest in PC gaming, both from the lack of cross-platform compatibility, and due to the fact that a great graphics card alone easily costs as much as a console these days.

I've never played a WINE-wrapped video game or application that did not feel like a half-baked version of it's native application. It's usually things like fonts and strange aliasing that are a complete and dead giveaway. Small aesthetic issues like that completely ruin an otherwise immersive experience for me.

I'm glad WINE exists, but I honestly sort of wish they'd just stick to supporting applications more, and pretty much just forget the gaming side. It's never going to get to an equivalent level, because Windows' gaming technology keeps moving forward.

Two people start running a race. One of them starts when the gun fires. The other one sits and waits, decides it wants to follow the first runner every step of the way, and starts several minutes (or years, in this metaphor) behind the first.

Even if this second runner (WINE) could run as fast as the first (Windows), it would never catch up. And that's assuming it could run as fast as a multi-billion-dollar company.

WINE can, simply, never reach a point of compatibility that even most major console emulators have. Because, unlike consoles, Windows keeps on moving.

Let's face it. None of us are running *nix or MacOS for the sake of gaming. If you want to run a desktop OS for gaming, there is one. Yes, it's not free, but neither are games. Windows is, at this point, just part of the initial cost of PC gaming, just like a couple extra controllers might be for a console.

AFAIK the main value-add for Proton is DXVK, which gives DirectX games incredibly low-overhead access to the linux Vulkan driver. Dramatically improved performance is more than just "another WINE wrapper with some extra stuff piled on".

And Proton's not the end-game: it's a solution to the chicken-and-egg problem. Most people (like yourself) don't see Linux as a viable gaming platform largely because of the lack of games available, and therefore developers don't invest in Linux support, and thus there continue to be few games available for the platform. The promise of Proton is to make Linux good-enough for some gamers, thus increasing the Linux player-base, making Linux a viable target for 1st party titles.

> It's never going to get to an equivalent level, because Windows' gaming technology keeps moving forward.

That's not really accurate, and hasn't been for some time. For years OpenGL has been on-par with DX in terms of what it can do for some time and the story has only gotten better with Vulkan. Just look at Doom 2016: it was a high-profile AAA game built entirely on an open-source graphics stack (OpenGL and Vulkan) and it was one of the best-looking, best-optimized titles of the year. The main "edge" Microsoft has in terms of being able to bring the best games to its platform has nothing to do with a technical advantage: it has everything to do with industry momentum and incentivizing studios and industry professionals to use their proprietary technologies.

Thank you for being explicit about what exactly they've done to significantly improve this.

I had not understood that there was access to Vulkan, that does obviously significantly affect performance.

There was another poster here who attempted to elaborate and ended up posting something that absolutely did not.

Vulkan is good, but it doesn't affect compatibility, just performance. I just don't care about the performance if compatibility is not even at least close to 90%. I need to run all of my applications and games, not a select few of them that run great.

> I just don't care about the performance if compatibility is not even at least close to 90%. I need to run all of my applications and games, not a select few of them that run great.

On Linux, I can now successfully (i.e. with decent performance and no critical bugs) run about two thirds of the "active" (played at least once in the past two years) games in my library. I originally had the same opinion as you—that this doesn't matter if I still have to dual-boot Windows—but what I've found in practice is that I haven't booted into Windows in months, and have simply stopped playing games that don't run on Linux. YMMV, but I would bet that a lot of Linux users would be perfectly happy with even half their games running well on Linux, so I don't think compatibility is all-or-nothing like you're implying.

> Vulkan is good, but it doesn't affect compatibility

That's exactly what it does. DXVK is a compatibility layer that lets DirectX games run on top of vulkan with near-native performance with no work required of developers. It's about making Windows games run like native Linux games.

The DirectX -> Vulkan translation layer does in fact help compatibility quite a bit actually.

> thus increasing the Linux player-base, making Linux a viable target for 1st party titles

Do you think the studios will know? Seems like these would come in as windows sales.

Pretty sure it counts as a linux sale if the buyer spends more time playing on Linux than Windows within a time window (I think 2 weeks).

> Seems like these would come in as windows sales.

No, they count as Linux sales, that was said explicitly by Valve. Even GOG counts Linux downloads of Windows games (they rely on user agent). Not sure how they share that info with developers though.

> None of us are running *nix or MacOS for the sake of gaming

This is true, but also irrelevant.

A lot of people are using Linux as their daily driver, and dual boot is not convenient. So wine is very welcome, and I think proton is amazing, you should try it again (i didn't encounter any strange fonts or aliasing like you're describing on games ran with proton via steam). I've been gaming on Linux for the past year and i'm impressed by steam's work here.

Hey, I mean, let me say, I'm happy to hear this, but again, I feel like it's irrelevant to myself personally that this even exists.

Without 100% compatibility, I'm not really interested in something that may run half, or even 75% of my games. I play games to relax. I make games for a living.

So all I want, personally, is to pop any disc in my console or hit a shortcut on my desktop and just have it work, every time, out of the box.

I know this isn't everyone, but it does hopefully explain a little better why WINE will always be 'irrelevant' to myself.

Personally, I think it's the graphics card cost that really prevents me from considering it at all, especially as if I was bothered with PC gaming again, I'd be getting a Vive, also for development's sake.

So all I want, personally, is to pop any disc in my console or hit a shortcut on my desktop and just have it work, every time, out of the box.

Me too, I game on windows, and that isn't exactly what I'd call my experience ;)

A gtx 1050 costs 130 USD.

If I recall some of the HardOCP vr reviews, a 1070 is the minimum for a decent experience without many dropped frames.

>> dual boot is not convenient.

Dual booting isn't just inconvenient. It is buggy and randomly unreliable. It is an ILoveLucy farce where a line has been drawn down the middle of the apartment and each side is supposed to share the TV. I really get angry when I see sob stories about linux from people whose only experience is a failed attempt to dual boot a dell laptop.

If you want to use both go with a VM, preferably a windows VM running within a linux box.

Having a menu to choose which OS to boot into is less reliable than faking all the hardware in the world?

Ya. Unsupported hardware is unsupported. If it doesn't work then it doesn't, but consistently works or doesn't over time. Dual booting is randomly inconsistent. One of the OS's gets an update, or does something to a drive partition, and suddenly all the other OSs on the drive stop working.

I setup dual boot for my PC in 2009 and haven't had any issues. Granted, it's pre-UEFI, the Linux side is Gentoo (with grub 1.x on the /boot partition) and the Windows side on 7. No updates from either of those in the last decade have stepped on the other.

That said, at work we have to use Ubuntu, and my god the kernel update for that is a nightmare. I can totally see how it would wreck a dual setup when it's successful at wrecking single OS setups.

Another upside to running VMs, is when really old games just do not work reliably anymore... run them in a VM for the OS they were released on. (You might have to get some old drivers from unsavory sources though and pray.)

That is a specific limitation due to MBR, and only because windows fails to recognize that there are other OSes in the world. If you use uefi, none of that happens.

> Let's face it. None of us are running unix or MacOS for the sake of gaming. If you want to run a desktop OS for gaming, there is one.

True, not primarily for gaming. But there's more than Windows, and Linux is becoming increasingly viable for exactly the target of people who are tech savvy and play games but are not primarily gamers, a group which includes me. I seldom play AAA games -- but when I do, many of those work on Linux without emulators, such as Shadow of Mordor or Mad Max -- and many others work on Wine (e.g. Space Marine), but the bulk of what I play are indie games, which either run natively on Linux or are very easy to get working on an emulator. I understand if they are not your thing, but to me indie games is where it's at -- the latest and greatest 3D games bore me to tears, while something refreshing like Return of the Obra Dinn makes me renew my love of games.

So yes, Linux is a valid gaming OS for a non-gamer like me, who actually plays many non-AAA games :)

And I'll never buy Windows just for gaming, if I can help it.

I think you're more of a gamer than those who would call themselves one. I'm in a similar boat- bored to tears with most new games. I thought arcades and consoles were fantastic in the 80s, with PC gaming being just good, but the 90's brought on an era of creativity in the PC space and it took the lead at that point. Today it seems like we're rehashing those old 80's arcade/console and 90's PC game mechanics over and over. There's some exceptions to that rule, but if you're playing AAA games, you'd probably be playing a game with very little in terms of gameplay innovation from those two decades. I do still enjoy a good 2-4 player brawler.

There may be two tiers of gamers, those who haven't seen much and are impressed with old mechanics, but with the latest graphical developments. And those who have seem more and are more difficult to impress.

I would add that buying my Nintendo Switch, my first new console since my Sega Genesis (I did buy some consoles after that point but they were last-gen by that point and second-hand), has proven to me they are the premier AAA game developer in the world. The polish and mechanics of most 1st party Nintendo titles are unmatched in my experience. If you're a real gamer, which you sound like to me, I would definitely recommend at least considering adding a Switch to pair with desktop/laptop PC gaming.

I will be looking into Return of the Obra Dinn based off your comment, and I can tell you already those graphics don't dissuade me at all. We're always in a creative crisis and technical overload. Whether it's 4K screens, $1,200 GPUs or bad shows and games. I'm ready for artistry to take hold and we already have more than enough technology to convey most creative visions. Gameplay, character development and story first.

> I will be looking into Return of the Obra Dinn based off your comment

I haven’t played it yet, but the developer’s previous game, Paper, Please[1], is phenomenal.

[1]: http://www.papersplea.se/

> So yes, Linux is a valid gaming OS for a non-gamer like me, who actually plays many non-AAA games :)

If I could get the handful of Windows-only games in my Steam library working on Linux, I'd dump Windows 10 in a second.

But they tend to be the old/AA/AAA and/or graphically heavy ones that are unlikely to port/Proton across well.

>Let's face it. None of us are running *nix or MacOS for the sake of gaming.

I'll be honest, my main OS for gaming is macOS. Is it the best choice? No, but it works well for me. If there's ever a windows exclusive game then I just resort to GeForce Now[1]. It's definitely not the best option, but I find it to be the most convenient for me.

[1] https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/products/geforce-now/

> my main OS for gaming is macOS.

My only OS for gaming is macOS. I don’t even play on iOS. If a game doesn’t exist for macOS, it doesn’t matter how much I’d want to play it — I don’t buy it. If a humble bundle[1] has games that are not on macOS, I make sure to give those developers zero euros of my contribution.

But I don’t run macOS for gaming — and it seems that neither do you — and that was GP’s point.

[1]: https://www.humblebundle.com/

Ah I see, thank you!

Ironically, Proton/Wine play many older games better than Windows 7/10. Has the first runner fallen down?

i think it is more like the first runner is in another race now.

Windows keeps on moving. For me, this means that the software or game I have bought will stop working. Thanks to wine or virtualbox, I can still use what I own or old games bought on GOG. I do not play much, but recently, I wanted to show flight simulator to my children. I have booted on windows 10 and it was impossible to use my game that is less than 10 years old.

WINE let me enjoy dozens of hours of replaying fallout new vegas on my linux laptop 3 years ago. steam did not work perfectly but the game ran just as well as it did natively.

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