Installing Games on Linux



James Parker

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I wanted to make this post to try and help other folks with their gaming setup as it seems like this is still somewhat challenging for new users. I guess you can also say that this post is kind of inspired by the recent Linus Tech Tips Linux challenge, specifically around gaming.

This post is not intended to be an exact instruction set on how to set everything up. Many folks use different distributions, different hardware, etc so there might some differences in the way that some of the packages are installed and/or configured.

But for the most part, these steps are pretty universal and should work on most Linux distributions if done correctly


Prerequisites:

Nvidia Drivers (GPU) - Install through Package Manager, this is quite important for nvidia GPUs, you'd need to install proprietary drivers.

AMD Drivers (GPU) - If you're using an AMD GPU, the drivers (mesa) should be integrated in the kernel so you don't need to install anything. Although really old AMD GPUs, might need drivers (I believe it is for GPUs 7+ years old)

Linux Updates - Make sure to always have the latest up to date OS before installing any apps.


Gaming Clients and Apps:

ProtonDB - Before even starting the install process, I highly recommend to go to protondb.com and look to see if the game you're trying to play is actually supported with Proton on Linux. Usually you will get folks on that website to give feedback on how well the game runs as well as their respective PC setup to give you an idea of what they're running.

Wine (staging - Install through Package Manger) - Wine is a big part of the gaming setups on Linux, specifically for games like Wow, FF14, etc all rely on Wine to work properly. For those that dont know, Wine is just a way of running Windows games in Linux. Wine is not an emulation layer, it just translates API calls. I highly recommend to install Wine staging to get the latest updates.

ProtonGE - This next app is VERY helpful in getting games to work smoothly. You can download a custom version of Proton that is tweaked and optimised for various games. I suggest using a combination of ProtonDB + ProtonGE to check and use Proton specific version depending on the game you're running. It could happen that one version of Proton runs better for a specific game, while another version of Proton, runs other games better. The trick is to use ProtonDB site to see what other users are using for the game, and then you can try yourself to see if that works for you. From my experience, this has always been very helpful and cuts down on the time of trial and error. Installation Instructions (https://github.com/GloriousEggroll/proton-ge-custom)

Lutris (Install through Package Manger) - This is an app that I use on my Linux install, it is used to aggregate all your games into one location as well as using the Lutris site, you can run scripts that will automate the install of your games and then integrate with Wine/Proton so that you can tweak and launch games. I use Lutris myself and highly recommend it if you plan on playing games outside of Steam. If you're only using Steam, it is not needed.

Steam - is one of the main gaming clients you can install on Linux today. Steam runs out of the box and it is very easy to install. You will need to configure Steam for Steam Play in order to use Proton to play Steam games. Most of the Steam games work with Proton, but might need some tweaks to get it to work. Make sure to Enable Steam Play for all other titles and Steam play for supported titles and then reboot Steam.

Heroic Game Launcher - This is the open source version of the Epic Game Launcher but not built by epic, but by the community. If you play games on the Epic Launcher, you can use this Launcher to play your games. This Launcher supports both Wine and Proton.

Origin Client - Through Lutris, you are able to download the Origin game client If you have some EA games that do not require EAC, this is a good way to play EA Games.

Ubisoft Client - Through Lutris, you are able to download the Ubisoft game client. If you have some Uplay games that do not require EAC, this is a good way to play Ubisoft Games.

Battle.net Client - Through Lutris, you are able to download the Battle.net game client. If you have some Battle.net games that do not require EAC, this is a good way to play Battl.net Games.

PlayOnLinux: I personally did not try PoL, but from what I can see, it is similar to Lutris, basically a front end to Wine, and like Lutris, it supposed to simplify the process of installing games in Linux.


Troubleshooting game install:

It could happen that from time to time, when you install a game, it just does not run well for you. Most of the time, this is not because of Linux, but because you are either missing some packages or maybe you need to tweak your game setup.

Missing Packages, games don't run - This is a common one I find, because in Linux, even though we think we installed everything, there might be a scenario where we're missing some packages, for example, you can install Wine, but then you might also need some of the other dependencies, such as wine-gecko and wine-mono where some games might require these packages to function correctly. Always make sure you're following the steps outlined in the documentation, such as in this article here for Arch Linux (https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/wine)

Games run sluggish and stuttering - if the games themselves are slow and/or stuttering, from my experience, this was mostly related to the Proton version that I am using, so most of the time, going on ProtonDB and looking at the comments for a game can give you an indication on which version of Proton to use. Of course, this is not the only thing that can cause sluggish game performance. Another example could be related to the Desktop Environment that you're using. For example, when I was using KDE, I had to tweak the compositor and opengl settings to make things work better, but this is something that does not happen often. Most of the time, you can fix this by using a different Proton version or sticking with the Wine staging version.

Another issue with sluggish games could be that you have older and outdated drivers which is why it is important to keep your OS up to date with the latest drivers.

Games have Low FPS - I ran into this issue most of the time and it is usually related to things like v-sync where if it is enabled, your games will run at an FPS that is supported by your GPU/Monitor and so in a lot of cases, you might see games running at 60 FPS even though you know you can run these games at 100+ FPS. To fix this, you can disable vsync, but if you start getting tearing in your games, you might have to enable it. I use a GSync monitor so I dont really on vsync for my games.


NOTE: Please note that at the moment, most games that require some Anti-Cheat software do not work well in Linux. Recently there has been some announcements made around providing support for Anti-Cheat software in Proton, but until the game developers enable support for Linux, at the moment, EAC games don't work under Linux. Some of these games are New World, Call of Duty, BF, etc.


Here's a screenshot of the Lutris app installed on my machine with some of the games I play. After following the instructions above, all my games run pretty smooth with 100+ FPS and graphics are either high / very high / ultra.

My Linux distribution is EndeavourOS which is an Arch Linux derivative. But this should also work in Fedora, Manjaro, Ubuntu, Debian, Garuda, MX, Mint, etc.

View attachment 11079

I wanted to make this post to try and help other folks with their gaming setup as it seems like this is still somewhat challenging for new users. I guess you can also say that this post is kind of inspired by the recent Linus Tech Tips Linux challenge, specifically around gaming.

This post is not intended to be an exact instruction set on how to set everything up. Many folks use different distributions, different hardware, etc so there might some differences in the way that some of the packages are installed and/or configured.

But for the most part, these steps are pretty universal and should work on most Linux distributions if done correctly


Prerequisites:

Nvidia Drivers (GPU) - Install through Package Manager, this is quite important for nvidia GPUs, you'd need to install proprietary drivers.

AMD Drivers (GPU) - If you're using an AMD GPU, the drivers (mesa) should be integrated in the kernel so you don't need to install anything. Although really old AMD GPUs, might need drivers (I believe it is for GPUs 7+ years old)

Linux Updates - Make sure to always have the latest up to date OS before installing any apps.


Gaming Clients and Apps:

ProtonDB - Before even starting the install process, I highly recommend to go to protondb.com and look to see if the game you're trying to play is actually supported with Proton on Linux. Usually you will get folks on that website to give feedback on how well the game runs as well as their respective PC setup to give you an idea of what they're running.

Wine (staging - Install through Package Manger) - Wine is a big part of the gaming setups on Linux, specifically for games like Wow, FF14, etc all rely on Wine to work properly. For those that dont know, Wine is just a way of running Windows games in Linux. Wine is not an emulation layer, it just translates API calls. I highly recommend to install Wine staging to get the latest updates.

ProtonGE - This next app is VERY helpful in getting games to work smoothly. You can download a custom version of Proton that is tweaked and optimised for various games. I suggest using a combination of ProtonDB + ProtonGE to check and use Proton specific version depending on the game you're running. It could happen that one version of Proton runs better for a specific game, while another version of Proton, runs other games better. The trick is to use ProtonDB site to see what other users are using for the game, and then you can try yourself to see if that works for you. From my experience, this has always been very helpful and cuts down on the time of trial and error. Installation Instructions (https://github.com/GloriousEggroll/proton-ge-custom)

Lutris (Install through Package Manger) - This is an app that I use on my Linux install, it is used to aggregate all your games into one location as well as using the Lutris site, you can run scripts that will automate the install of your games and then integrate with Wine/Proton so that you can tweak and launch games. I use Lutris myself and highly recommend it if you plan on playing games outside of Steam. If you're only using Steam, it is not needed.

Steam - is one of the main gaming clients you can install on Linux today. Steam runs out of the box and it is very easy to install. You will need to configure Steam for Steam Play in order to use Proton to play Steam games. Most of the Steam games work with Proton, but might need some tweaks to get it to work. Make sure to Enable Steam Play for all other titles and Steam play for supported titles and then reboot Steam.

Heroic Game Launcher - This is the open source version of the Epic Game Launcher but not built by epic, but by the community. If you play games on the Epic Launcher, you can use this Launcher to play your games. This Launcher supports both Wine and Proton.

Origin Client - Through Lutris, you are able to download the Origin game client If you have some EA games that do not require EAC, this is a good way to play EA Games.

Ubisoft Client - Through Lutris, you are able to download the Ubisoft game client. If you have some Uplay games that do not require EAC, this is a good way to play Ubisoft Games.

Battle.net Client - Through Lutris, you are able to download the Battle.net game client. If you have some Battle.net games that do not require EAC, this is a good way to play Battl.net Games.

PlayOnLinux: I personally did not try PoL, but from what I can see, it is similar to Lutris, basically a front end to Wine, and like Lutris, it supposed to simplify the process of installing games in Linux.


Troubleshooting game install:

It could happen that from time to time, when you install a game, it just does not run well for you. Most of the time, this is not because of Linux, but because you are either missing some packages or maybe you need to tweak your game setup.

Missing Packages, games don't run - This is a common one I find, because in Linux, even though we think we installed everything, there might be a scenario where we're missing some packages, for example, you can install Wine, but then you might also need some of the other dependencies, such as wine-gecko and wine-mono where some games might require these packages to function correctly. Always make sure you're following the steps outlined in the documentation, such as in this article here for Arch Linux (https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/wine)

Games run sluggish and stuttering - if the games themselves are slow and/or stuttering, from my experience, this was mostly related to the Proton version that I am using, so most of the time, going on ProtonDB and looking at the comments for a game can give you an indication on which version of Proton to use. Of course, this is not the only thing that can cause sluggish game performance. Another example could be related to the Desktop Environment that you're using. For example, when I was using KDE, I had to tweak the compositor and opengl settings to make things work better, but this is something that does not happen often. Most of the time, you can fix this by using a different Proton version or sticking with the Wine staging version.

Another issue with sluggish games could be that you have older and outdated drivers which is why it is important to keep your OS up to date with the latest drivers.

Games have Low FPS - I ran into this issue most of the time and it is usually related to things like v-sync where if it is enabled, your games will run at an FPS that is supported by your GPU/Monitor and so in a lot of cases, you might see games running at 60 FPS even though you know you can run these games at 100+ FPS. To fix this, you can disable vsync, but if you start getting tearing in your games, you might have to enable it. I use a GSync monitor so I dont really on vsync for my games.


NOTE: Please note that at the moment, most games that require some Anti-Cheat software do not work well in Linux. Recently there has been some announcements made around providing support for Anti-Cheat software in Proton, but until the game developers enable support for Linux, at the moment, EAC games don't work under Linux. Some of these games are New World, Call of Duty, BF, etc.


Here's a screenshot of the Lutris app installed on my machine with some of the games I play. After following the instructions above, all my games run pretty smooth with 100+ FPS and graphics are either high / very high / ultra.

My Linux distribution is EndeavourOS which is an Arch Linux derivative. But this should also work in Fedora, Manjaro, Ubuntu, Debian, Garuda, MX, Mint, etc.

View attachment 11079
First of all, thank you for your valuable information.

Hey everyone,

Installing games on Linux is a straightforward process, and here's a short guide to get you started:

  1. Update your package manager:
    • Debian/Ubuntu: sudo apt update
    • Fedora: sudo dnf update
  2. Install graphics drivers:
    • Check your distribution's documentation for instructions.
  3. Get Steam:
    • Download the official installer from the Steam website.
    • Follow the installation instructions.
  4. Look for native Linux games:
    • Explore Steam's Linux section, GOG.com, or the Humble Store.
    • Install games directly or through Steam.
  5. Consider Wine and Proton:
    • Wine allows running Windows games on Linux.
    • Proton, included with Steam, simplifies the process.
    • Check game compatibility on ProtonDB.
  6. Try Lutris:
    • Lutris is a game management tool that handles native and Windows games.
    • Visit the Lutris website for installation instructions.
  7. Wine Tricks and PlayOnLinux:
    • Use these tools for Windows games not working well with Proton or Lutris.
    • Install via your package manager.
 
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TheProf

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First of all, thank you for your valuable information.

Hey everyone,

Installing games on Linux is a straightforward process, and here's a short guide to get you started:

  1. Update your package manager:
    • Debian/Ubuntu: sudo apt update
    • Fedora: sudo dnf update
  2. Install graphics drivers:
    • Check your distribution's documentation for instructions.
  3. Get Steam:
    • Download the official installer from the Steam website.
    • Follow the installation instructions.
  4. Look for native Linux games:
    • Explore Steam's Linux section, GOG.com, or the Humble Store.
    • Install games directly or through Steam.
  5. Consider Wine and Proton:
    • Wine allows running Windows games on Linux.
    • Proton, included with Steam, simplifies the process.
    • Check game compatibility on ProtonDB.
  6. Try Lutris:
    • Lutris is a game management tool that handles native and Windows games.
    • Visit the Lutris website for installation instructions.
  7. Wine Tricks and PlayOnLinux:
    • Use these tools for Windows games not working well with Proton or Lutris.
    • Install via your package manager.
Thanks for posting, I would just mention a few points here:

1. Installing the latest driver is important, but usually for AMD systems, the driver is already included in the kernel so nothing to install. With the exception of the GPU being nvidia or if you need pro desktop graphics which would require a different set of drivers. But most people with nvidia GPUs will need to install their driver, if you are an AMD user, you dont have to.

2. Looking for native linux games is not the best way to go about it, as there are not many native linux games and the ones that exist, dont necessarily run better than using proton. In fact, most of the game will be done through Proton as there just isnt enough games that are native to linux, so there is a good chance you wont find many Native linux games, but it doesnt mean you can't play a game on linux if it is not native

3. To me, Wine and Proton, are not considerations, but a must if you are playing games on Linux, as most games are not native and so having some type of an API translation take place, will greatly improves gaming experience. I myself play none native games and they work really well.
 

Danbor

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Asking a few questions here just to help me establish a good path to follow while I try to figure out how to get a game up and running on my Mint system. ( Not talking about games I can install from software manager )
1. I have to install Steam.
2. I have to install Wine.
3. I have to install Proton.
4. I have to install Lutris.
5 I should install Wine tricks and Playonlinux.
6. I may or may not need a combination of these programs to get different games to run.
7. Each of these programs will need to be adjusted in some way for my system and for each separate game installed
Questions,..
Should all of these programs be installed in separate folders or all in one "game folder"?
The game I want to run is called Criminal Case. There is a windoze version and android version. I tried the android version using android-x86 in a Virtual Box. I got it to install from the playstore but no joy getting it to run. I can download the windoze version but I can't find anything about it being on Steam or any of these other sites listed above.
So, how in the world do I determine which combination of the above programs I need to plod through to get the thing running? Is trial and error truly the only way to figure this out?
 
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TheProf

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1. I have to install Steam.
A: Yes, for any steam game, you need steam.

2. I have to install Wine.
A: Wine is basically like proton, can be used with games you typically install outside of steam, like world of warcraft for example.

3. I have to install Proton.
A: Will be used with Steam mainly

4. I have to install Lutris.
A: A client that helps with installing games using various scripts so you dont have to manually set anything up.

5 I should install Wine tricks and Playonlinux.
A: Winetricks is a way of installing Windows apps and Playonlinux is basically a front end, for Wine.

6. I may or may not need a combination of these programs to get different games to run.
A: Depends on the games you are playing, if you are playing steam games, you dont need wine, winetricks, playonlinux, or lutris.

In Linux, if you are not using Steam or Lutris, you will most likely have to find a way to install the game yourself using wine or winetricks for example. Usually, I will check protondb.com to see if the game is listed there, and if so, check to see what other people are saying and how they got it to work.

Unfortunately, not all games that work in Widows, work in Linux, and for games like the one you mentioned, I dont see much info on protondb, so I assume you will have to manually figure out a way to get it installed (if it is even possible). Its hard for me to tell you what steps to follow as I never had to do it myself for this type of game, but also everyone's system is different and so its hard to gauge what you would need.
 

Danbor

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In Linux, if you are not using Steam or Lutris, you will most likely have to find a way to install the game yourself using wine or winetricks for example. Usually, I will check protondb.com to see if the game is listed there, and if so, check to see what other people are saying and how they got it to work.

Unfortunately, not all games that work in Widows, work in Linux, and for games like the one you mentioned, I dont see much info on protondb, so I assume you will have to manually figure out a way to get it installed (if it is even possible). Its hard for me to tell you what steps to follow as I never had to do it myself for this type of game, but also everyone's system is different and so its hard to gauge what you would need.
Thanks for the reply, I do appreciate it.
I installed pretty much all of the above, assuming pretty much what you stated. Then when I started trying to get everything configured, I got cold feet, decided to uninstall and purge everything before restoring a timeshift snapshot.
That led to not having wifi access. Fixing that took a lot of hours and drama resulting in rolling back the kernel THEN updating again to kernel 6.2.
I had just installed Ubuntu on a second SSD. Being the genius I am, I thought I would dump that and install Mint on that drive also. Planning on doing all my experiments there and leaving my daily use needs safe on a totally separate drive. Dual booting between them.
Now, I have to shelve this project and try to fix what I just hosed up. I've gotten the second OS up and running, but now I can't boot into my daily use OS. Best I can get is a grub terminal.
Soooo, as soon as I finish this post, I'll be looking around to trying to find some threads on how to fix my self made dual boot debacle. I've tried everything I can think of, but since I have no real clue what I'm doing, I hope someone else has had the same issue and was kind enough to post a fix I can adopt, or at least adapt to fix my folly. ;)
Wish me good luck and good hunting!
 
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TheProf

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Thanks for the reply, I do appreciate it.
I installed pretty much all of the above, assuming pretty much what you stated. Then when I started trying to get everything configured, I got cold feet, decided to uninstall and purge everything before restoring a timeshift snapshot.
That led to not having wifi access. Fixing that took a lot of hours and drama resulting in rolling back the kernel THEN updating again to kernel 6.2.
I had just installed Ubuntu on a second SSD. Being the genius I am, I thought I would dump that and install Mint on that drive also. Planning on doing all my experiments there and leaving my daily use needs safe on a totally separate drive. Dual booting between them.
Now, I have to shelve this project and try to fix what I just hosed up. I've gotten the second OS up and running, but now I can't boot into my daily use OS. Best I can get is a grub terminal.
Soooo, as soon as I finish this post, I'll be looking around to trying to find some threads on how to fix my self made dual boot debacle. I've tried everything I can think of, but since I have no real clue what I'm doing, I hope someone else has had the same issue and was kind enough to post a fix I can adopt, or at least adapt to fix my folly. ;)
Wish me good luck and good hunting!

No worries! feel free to start a thread on the boot issues you're experiencing, I am sure someone can assist :)
 
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TheProf

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Is there any solution to run Dark Omen on Linux, like with Playonlinux?
Not sure, I never tried. I usually go to https://www.protondb.com/ and if the game is not listed there, there is a good chance, it probably wont work, or at least would require a lot of effort to make it work.

However, it doesn't hurt to try yourself and see how far you get, maybe you can find a way to make it work.
 

BigBadBeef

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Not sure, I never tried. I usually go to https://www.protondb.com/ and if the game is not listed there, there is a good chance, it probably wont work, or at least would require a lot of effort to make it work.
Uh... no?!?
If it is not in ProtonDB, it only means its not a steam game, that it hardly an indication that it would require a lot of effort to make it work

As just an example - you've got Lutris install scripts that make installation of games and their prerequisites a one-click solution, not to mention native Linux games; You will find a lot of suprising AA and AAA titles on that list!

Remember - Gaming on Linux has been around LONG before Proton was a thing.

All it requires is an ability to follow step by step instructions without deviating. There is a lot of Linux enthusiasts out there that get a kick from figuring this stuff out and making a guide out of it.
 
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