Gaming on Linux!

Yeah, that’s right. Linux. Gaming. The operating system that rules the interwebs, powers all major supercomputers, light bulbs, and hobby Raspberry Pis, actually plays games! And of course it does it VERY well!

So, to be clear most games written currently are written with Windows10 as their main audience. But many are written for Sony’s Playstation, which runs a variant of Linux. Also some are written to target Google Stadia, the online games channel for Google and these are also running Linux, and a very mainstream version of Linux.

If you wanted to have all the security and stability features of running Linux. But you want to get your gaming on too, what would you do? You would utilize Steam primarily, which supports gaming on Linux as a default, even with Windows games utilizing a ‘shim’ called PROTON that they developed to interface between the Windows game and the underlying Linux infrastructure.

But you can also use a shim called WINE to enable Windows-only games to run on your Linux computer! The easiest of these is called: PlayOnLinux and Winetricks. Both of which are available for direct and secure installation via the command-line or graphically in the Ap store of your distribution.

Wine is an acronym for Wine Is Not An Emulator. This is both a legal sticking point an important thing to understand about the technology used. An emulator would need to be licensed since it actually runs some sort of version of the operating system being emulated. Even if it is ‘pretending’ to be the operating system that is enough for American Intellectual Property laws to get involved in the technology.

But WINE doesn’t actually intercepts operating system called intended for the Windows operating system and instead reroutes them to the correct Linux subsystems. There is an additional overhead involved in this kind of technology of course. But because the underlying Linux system runs so much more cleanly this overhead often disappears, and many games run better under WINE than they do under Windows. Especially MMOs and any other games that need lots of network communication.

I used to play a game called City of Heroes that required people to log off and back on after one of the bigger boss events due to the way the event and all the heroes gathered in one place hit the network stack. But I, on Linux, never needed to log. My network stack held up fine. My super low latency also came in handy for PvP events.

I don’t do that much gaming outside of Steam these days. And most of the Steam games I purchase support Linux natively. I vote with my money and throw dollars at the games that support Linux, sometimes even if I don’t intend to play them much. I do some gaming however, and I appreciate the struggle to game outside of Window. So I’ve been asked to help out getting a fellow gamer set up on Linux so they can get their game on.

If you are reading this, post any questions you may have in the comment section and I will do my level best to answer them as best I can.


Leave a Reply