How to buy Windows games to run on Linux with Steam Play

steam-play

Proton , the compatibility layer served through the feature Steam Play , has been the spur that GNU / Linux needed to establish itself as a true operating system gaming . The road is not being short or easy, but luckily its development has met the expectation of constantly improving.

In the my other blog recent post i was surprised by some comments, especially because they were cases of people who had lost their money buying Windows games and found months later that they did not work on Linux. In order to help improve satisfaction with using Steam Play / Proton, today I am going to post a more consumer-centric guide than technical concepts . No, there will be nothing advanced here unless the user decides to complicate his life voluntarily.

What’s more, what I am going to expose in this post is the policy that I apply when I buy Windows games to run on Linux (all the ones I have bought since 2018), but before starting with the sections I would like to make a couple of things clear :

  • First, for years I have been quite a lazy user when it comes to making advanced settings, something that has been influenced by the fact of using more and more automated systems. Furthermore, I confess that I am a GNU / Linux user who does not like to use the console, which may sound contradictory.
  • Second, Steam’s lax returns policy is a huge plus for the user. However, this should be an incentive to be even more selective about games instead of buying indiscriminately, as the platform can end up penalizing those who carry out too many returns processes.

Be clear about what genres or types of game you like

In order to minimize the amount of disappointment when it comes to running Windows games on Linux, the first thing to do is narrow down the scope, so it is important to consider what genres or types of games you like and focus on them to avoid indiscriminate purchases. The fewer options on the table, the easier it will be to be clear about the games you are going to buy and to know the chances that they will work for you.

Look at the rating of the games on ProtonDB

Once you are clear about the games you want to buy, your thing is to look at their corresponding pages in ProtonDB , a website where users rate the experience they have with Windows games run on Linux with Proton.

protondb

From my personal experience with an 8GB AMD Radeon RX 580 as a dedicated graphics, all the games rated gold or platinum have worked for me first time or by adding a few launch parameters in the worst case, so yours now. to buy would be to prioritize the titles with those ratings . It is also advisable to look at what solutions are applied before buying.

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The last “powerful” Windows game to which I have dedicated many hours is The Evil Within 2 , whose port for the Microsoft system does not seem very attractive, although in my personal case, despite not supporting 60fps, it is more than playable on Ubuntu 21.04 by staying above 50 frames per second for the vast majority of the time.

The Evil Within 2 en ProtonDB
The Evil Within 2 en ProtonDB

Try the game as soon as possible after purchasing it

This is the most important point in this series of tips for enjoying Windows games on Linux. Although a selection process is assumed to have been followed, there is always the possibility that the purchase has gone frog for the hardware configuration used by the buyer.

Testing the game as soon as possible maximizes the chances of returning it , which is influenced by Steam policy. But as we’ve already said, Steam’s good return policy isn’t an incentive to indiscriminately buy Windows games and then ask for a refund, but rather a good reason to focus on the titles you see that you might like best.

Many users amass games in the discount campaigns to see months later that they do not work on Linux, which leaves them with a bad taste in their mouths because, despite having paid little, they see that they have thrown the money away. So keep that in mind: have you bought the AAA you most wanted to play on Linux? Try it as soon as possible so that the return deadlines are not met!

What if the game does not work or does not work correctly?

In case the game does not work or there is something that does not work correctly, what you have to do is go to its page in ProtonDB and see what solutions the users who have published about their experience have applied.

In many cases, all you have to do is copy and paste launch parameters or apply patches or processes from Windows (the original Crysis is a case in that sense). For example, if I want to fix the sound problem with video scenes in Alan Wake I have to apply the following launch parameter:

WINEDLLOVERRIDES="xaudio2_7=b,n" %command% 

While Doom 2016 I start it directly from Vulkan to avoid problems:

+r_renderapi 1 

What if the launch parameters don’t fix the problem?

If the game you want to run does not start or does not work correctly after adding the launch parameters, my recommendation is to start the return process . If you want, you can investigate more in ProtonDB and see if the solutions involve the use of the console, Protontricks, Winetricks or using GloriousEggroll , an alternative Proton developed in a community way and not linked to Valve.

I have never exceeded the launch parameters because at that point I do not see sense to continue using energy, so seeing the situation, I prefer to get the money back.

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