Valve is making it a little easier to be a gamer with a Linux computer. A few years ago the company started encouraging game developers to port their titles to run on Linux… but the vast majority of PC games are still Windows-only.
So last year Valve introduce Proton, a new tool for Steam Play, a tool that lets Linux users use a custom fork of WINE to run Windows software on a non-Windows device. In this case, Proton is optimized to let users run Windows games on a machine running a GNU/Linux operating system, even if the developers don’t officially support that OS.
Technically you could already run some Windows games using WINE, but Proton added support for many games that don’t normally work with WINE.
Now Valve has rolled out an update to Proton/Steam Play that makes it possible to run even more games — including games that aren’t event distributed via Valve’s Steam client.
There are two significant changes in the latest Steam Beta client for Linux:
- You can force Steam to use Proton even for Steam games that have a native Linux version (in other words, you’ll run the Windows version of the game instead of the Linux port).
- You can add shortcuts to Steam for Windows games downloaded from other sources… and then use Proton to run those Windows games on Linux.
The first update is helpful because some Linux ports aren’t very good or aren’t actively supported by their developers. Users are already reporting that the Windows versions of some games run better on Linux than the Linux ports.
The second update has a few benefits. First, if you’ve already paid for a Windows game in an alternate store like GOG you may now be able to use Steam Play to run it on Linux without buying the game again from Steam. And while Steam is one of the most popular game clients/stores around, there are still plenty of games that aren’t distributed through Steam. This update means you might be able to play more of those games on a Linux computer.
So far it looks like Proton allows at least 3,500 Windows PC games to work on Linux… but there are still thousands of games that aren’t supported. Still, Proton seems to be the best option to date for running Windows games on Linux computers, and it’s encouraging to see that Valve continues to add new features to make it even more useful.
via Hacker News