Wow, Linux gaming has really improved!

JasKinasis

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This weekend, I was tasked with fixing my girlfriends, nephews mid-level gaming PC that had died when a power cut hit, during an update. When restarted, it went into a boot loop, where it would go through the POST and attempted to boot to C:/, it could see that the C:/ was damaged and would attempt to repair it for a few seconds, before rebooting again and starting a loop that went on forever.

Booting my Kali USB on it, to do some diagnostics on it, I could see that his original C:/ with his windows 7 install was basically completely screwed. No data was salvageable from it - I'm guessing the heads had smashed into the surface of the disk when the power cut happened. But he had a secondary data-drive on it, which appeared undamaged.

It originally had Windows 7 on it, but the hardware specs support running Windows 10 AND 11. The nephew said he would like windows on there, if possible. The PC didn’t have a DVD drive, so against my personal preferences and ethics, I downloaded a windows 10 installation .iso. Burnt it to USB.
I checked it booted on my laptop, which it did. Ok great.
I called the nephew, to see if he had anything he wanted to backup on his data drive, he said "No", so I went ahead to install Windows 10 on the PC.

But when I tried to boot the gaming PC from the windows installation media - it completely failed to boot. It appeared in the boot options screen. But when I tried to boot to it, I just got a black screen and a flashing cursor. I went back into the UEFI/BIOS settings, ensured everything was set up correctly, to allow the windows 10 installer to boot. It still wouldn’t boot and run the Windows 10 installer. Bizarre! So I called him and explained the situation and asked if he’d like me to install Linux on there instead.

Initially he was concerned about being able to play his games in Steam. But I explained that Steam was available for Linux and that even though not all of the Games will run natively in Linux, many Windows games will run via steam-play.
So I said I’d try installing a Linux distribution on there and if it works, I’ll install steam and he can come over to log in and try it out. If it works and he likes it, great! If not, I'll spend more time trying to work out why Windows wasn't installing.

Naturally, he said he'd come over right away.

So after checking the graphics card, I decided to download and install from a PopOS .iso, with the Nvidia drivers pre-installed. Less than 20 minutes later, I had POP fully installed and updated on his old data drive. And I had Steam, Spotify and Discord installed, ready for him to log-in to.

Whilst waiting for him, I also installed Alien-arena - just to ensure that the graphics card was working properly with the drivers - it turns out it worked perfectly. AA is not the most graphically intensive game in the world, but as far as the ones in the default repos go, it's probably one of the slightly more GPU intensive ones.

About 10 minutes later, my girlfriends nephew walked in and was immediately blown away by how PopOS looked compared to Windows. After giving him a 20 minute tutorial and tour of the the PopOS system, he was completely hooked. He also loved how much more responsive Pop was, compared to his old Windows install.

So I got him to reboot the PC and log-in to his new OS.
Then I got him to sign into his Steam, Spotify and Discord accounts and we loaded up his Steam library to see what games would actually run natively in Linux. It turned out that almost exactly half of them were available natively for Linux. Which he was initially disappointed about, because some of his favourite games were listed as Windows only.

But then I enabled Steam play and suddenly ALL of his games were listed as playable on Linux. Which surpassed even my expectations. So we tried a few of the smaller Windows-only games in his library. "Among us" and "Five Nights at Freddy's" were two of them. I forgot the other two he tried. We deliberately chose smaller games, because we didn't want to wait all afternoon for huge 100Gb+ games to download and install!

And all of them worked flawlessly. The frame-rates were great, the animation was smooth and the gameplay was equally smooth, which he was absolutely overjoyed about. And I was pretty amazed at myself, to be fair.

I explained that some of his bigger, AAA games might not work perfectly out of the box and showed him the section where he could enter steam-play settings for games, if they misbehaved. I showed him how to search for those settings too. Then we searched up some of his bigger games, to see if there were any compatibility-related issues and for the most part, most of them worked OOTB, with no modifications required! So yes, this weekend was certainly very eye-opening.

After all of that, I gave him a lift home, with his newly fixed PC. And hopefully, we have another happy, new Linux user.

And as mentioned in the title - Wow, gaming on Linux has really improved! It's come a really long way in the last few years.
The last time I tried Steam on Linux, Valve had only just released the Linux client and ported some of their own games (Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike Source, Half Life, Half Life 2, Portal etc) to run natively in Linux. They hadn't actually released Proton, or Steam-Play, to enable windows only games to be played. Colour me extremely impressed!
 
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I've been gaming on Linux since around 2010 or so, it was a pain back then and only had a few games I could play. Now days I can play almost any game that doesn't have a form of invasive kernel level Anti-Cheat. See my currently installed Steam games and which I also play. I can even Stream my games from my pc to my pc in my living room using SteamLink and then use a controller to play. Also the topic I created: Post screenshots of the games you play on GNU/Linux.
 

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Be sure to checkout ProtonUp and application allowing you to download different Proton versions through a gui applications and drops them in the right spot that Steam will pick it up after you restart Steam. The Most popular being ProtonGE.
If you want to view performance stats of games you can install mangohud and add it to a games launch options.
 
I don't consider myself a 'gamer'. Not really.

On the odd occasions I feel like messing around - usually with FPS 'shooter's'- I'm happy with indie stuff. Urban Terror. Xonotic. Red Eclipse. Assault Cube, etc, etc.....stuff like that.

I do have a copy of Half-Life 2 which runs well under WINE. Had it for some years, though I couldn't tell you where I got it from. Don't remember.

For my personal use-case, the state of Linux gaming is fine. But I have heard a lot of good things about the current state of Steam; let's face it, we've all come across enough folks in recent years who really want to make a break with Windows - for whatever reason - but it's always their games that have held them back.

Maybe the tide IS turning at long last....

Mike. ;)
 
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I run Hogwarts Legacy, GTA V, World of Warcraft, the Southpark games and X4:Foundations without any real Problems. I agree, Linuxgaming came a long way since wine-staging, Lutris and Proton!
 
About 10 minutes later, my girlfriends nephew walked in and was immediately blown away by how PopOS looked compared to Windows. After giving him a 20 minute tutorial and tour of the the PopOS system, he was completely hooked. He also loved how much more responsive Pop was, compared to his old Windows install.
And did you tell him he can pimp his OS? Maybe give him some time first to acclimate to it and for his hands to stop shaking from excitement or he might he might blow an aneurysm. Better safe than sorry! ;)
But then I enabled Steam play and suddenly ALL of his games were listed as playable on Linux. Which surpassed even my expectations. So we tried a few of the smaller Windows-only games in his library. "Among us" and "Five Nights at Freddy's" were two of them. I forgot the other two he tried. We deliberately chose smaller games, because we didn't want to wait all afternoon for huge 100Gb+ games to download and install!

And all of them worked flawlessly. The frame-rates were great, the animation was smooth and the gameplay was equally smooth, which he was absolutely overjoyed about. And I was pretty amazed at myself, to be fair.
And just like that it bloody works - no hassle, no intermediate steps required. Did you know that system76 crew curates the GPU drivers and only submits those drivers to the pop_shop that they've proven to be the most stable?

And here we are, with people moaning that its an OS that is meant only for system76 devices and there might be compatiblity issues, and then you, some random guy (no offense), just skims it off the net, installs it on just some multiple random PC's, and everything just works, and works well. *** are these people talking about?
 
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Oh my... I haven't played games on a Linux box since the '90s. I do have a fairly humorous story regarding one of those days... We'd hired a new guy to help out with the daily I.T. chores. He didn't have much Linux experience, but had a pretty good attitude. Since we took care of some high end CAD Unix boxes, we had work to do. He was situated in the cubicle in front of mine. The cubical walls were high enough that you had to stand up to see over them.
One day it got awful quiet up there... I stood up and glanced over the partition. He was playing a game called worms. The jist of the game was, to keep your worm going as long as you can with out hitting a wall our yourself. It kinda miffed me a bit as there was much work to do. So... I ssh'd into his computer and killed the game. In less than a second I heard a LOUD THUD. It scared him so much his knees hit the underside of the desktop. Needless to say, 1) he wasn't happy 2) he never played worms again. :D :D :D
 
And its pretty obvious that free linux distros are now just better than windows, it was bound to happen and microsoft has made some incredibly cringey decisions over the past 6 years.

It used to be a solid argument that linux was only meant for hobbyists and professionals, and you should just pay for windows if you want to bypass headaches. Howevet, it seems like the effort put into making linux available has really payed off for computer users.
 
And its pretty obvious that free linux distros are now just better than windows, it was bound to happen and microsoft has made some incredibly cringey decisions over the past 6 years.
And they're not going to stop which is good for us I suppose.
 
Microsoft was doing pretty good until... The first version of Windows was released on November 20, 1985. It was for the most part a nightmere trying to keep the ealier versions running properly. The first version that Impressed me was XP. It seems to me that's the first time they mixed in some some of the nuts & bolts from, or what might be going into NT. What ever it was, made it work. After that, they took quite a few tumbles. It seems to be the routine for Microsoft. Get a little better, get a bit worse, repeat. All that aside, it's a shame that the big dogs in the Unix world priced themselves into oblivion. Had they been a little more in tune with the market, who knows... Would there even be Windows???
Just my 2¢
 
I think it is a wonderful feel good story.

Jas wins (by updating his games capability knowledge) his lady's nephew wins, both in getting access to his fave games and expanding his horizons learning about GNU/Linux - Win-Win all around.

Ta for sharing, Jas. :)

Wiz
 
Jas wins (by updating his games capability knowledge) his lady's nephew wins, both in getting access to his fave games and expanding his horizons learning about GNU/Linux - Win-Win all around.
Indeed. And it goes to show that MS is trying really hard to keep people living under a rock, and its not working anymore. Their products have become so objectively bad, that people are looking for new solutions, but I digress...
 
Okay... I'm going to have to ignore this thread. :rolleyes:
As I'm reading it, I'm getting the itch to start gaming again.. The last game I played was F117 Stealth fighter on a DOS box with a 17" CRT monitor that weighed more than I did! Well... it felt like it when I had to move it.
Y'all are killin' me!!! ...Keep it coming. :D
 
From what I can see, lately, there has been a lot of improvements in Linux gaming... I only started using Linux a few years back, but over the course of those few years, gaming has improved a lot.

Now with the Steam Deck, valve is making more and more games work on Linux, a huge win for Linux.
 

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