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    I’d like to know why DosBox-based games are on this list, since DosBox on Linux doesn’t need things like Wine and would function the same on Linux as on Windows.

    Separately, there are tons of Steam games I have that have Linux ports but the Linux port isn’t natively on Steam (eg. Quake, Unreal, etc.) I’ve never understood why this is. I end up using a custom compiled ioquake engine with assets from Steam, which works great.

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      With older games that were ported to Linux, the distribution rights are often (but not always) with a different publisher.

      Since Steam requires a game to have ports for different platforms of the same title under the same product ID (and thus publisher), there is no way to set up a proper revenue sharing system for the owners of the Linux ports (or Mac ports, old Mac games are in the same boat)

      Steam initially required a single title to be a single product ID because they don’t want publishers to make people re-buy old titles that were newly ported, in order to boost SteamOS adoption - this way, many players would have a half-decent Steam library from the get-go on the new platform.

      Many of the old porting shops for Linux and Mac have gone under, or the ports haven’t been maintained since before Linux 2.6 or even 2.4, meaning that many of the ports can no longer be trivially made to work on modern day distributions. Many games from before say 2003 used SVGA lib to render directly to the framebuffer, for example, without going through X11.

      So, sadly, many of these ports are lost to the sands of time and the murky status of IP limbo.

      This does not explain why DosBox titles are run through Wine, but I guess that’s just a matter of the publisher not being interested in making and testing a Linux build, given the limited revenue that comes from the platform. These re-releases are probably a very low budget and low income affair, more for the sake of IP owners being able to point to them and say “see, we still provide these products! Preservationists which are distributing our old games are plain pirates, they are not serving a higher purpose!”. But maybe that’s just me being cynical.

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        I’m sure in a lot of cases you’re exactly right. I’m just frustrated because the games I’m referring to are largely exceptions. Take Quake 3 - the engine is released under the GPL, has a community maintained fork, targets OpenGL rather than Svgalib and Valve have the same distribution rights to it as to Wine or Dosbox. It’s possible this is still publisher related, for example if Valve are expecting the publisher to compile/support it and the publisher doesn’t do so. In the end it seems like a lack of economic incentive to package and distribute a thing that already exists.

        Most id engine games are in this situation and a couple of those were included in the current beta. They really do use Win32 dosbox on Wine to run a DOS game (so a 500Mb download for a 10Mb game.) 430Mb of that is a Wine/Proton tarball which is then extracted (but left on disk) so Proton on disk is 1.6Gb to run a 10Mb game.

        PS. I had great fun with SvgaLib on Linux for games before Steam came along. At one point I was using an a.out version of Doom on a much newer system, and it worked great because a.out had a parallel set of usermode libraries so everything was period except for the kernel, which was the only thing that needed to be compatible.

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        This has annoyed me before. I got a dos game from gog a while ago and I thought it would be trivial to run on linux but it turns out gog bundles the game and dosbox together in a way you can’t split apart. I tried to get the dosbox version to run in wine but it wasn’t working so I had to find a torrent of the original dos copy

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          GOG gives you a single installer that includes DosBox and the game itself; once you’ve gotten the files out you can ignore the DosBox-related ones in favour of running the original binary in your own copy of DosBox or open-source re-implementation or whatever.

          To get the files out, you can run the installer in Wine, or use a tool like innoextract.

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            the worst ones are when GOG.com is delivering a butchered Win32 game and you can’t get the original copy out of it

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        This is really good news!

        It might be that fewer studios or distributors care less about Linux if this becomes A Thing(tm), but it might also grow the SteamOS and Linux user bases. Which may push them to native support if this provides something like winelib and such.

        Most engines do Linux builds anyway, which is nice for indies, but this will surely help Linux users who want AAA games from studios that have their own engines and no interest in Linux.

        Big +1s for collaborating with CodeWeavers and making it open source!

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          If non-native, Wine based support becomes good enough (no constant mouse gitching, and some QA by Valve) I don’t mind if there are not that many proper Linux ports. I use Linux for a lot of things, and I would just be happy if most games can run on my system without having to:

          1. dedicate part of my disk to another operating system for games
          2. reboot to play games
          3. mess around with tweaks and custom configurations for every single game

          Having Vavle provide a “sactioned” Wine with per-game configurations is fine by me, if it means I can just click install & play in Steam!

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            The younger me would have been adamant about this, but now I buy the occasional drm-free Linux version off gog and play in the steam machine’s desktop mode or maybe something on CrossOver. But as the years pile on, it’s a happy moment to get to play at all.

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          I’d be curious to read more about the actual changes and improvements they made to WINE. I’m curious if Proton has some sort of fundamental architectural differences from WINE, or if it’s just that they’ve poured a lot of blood sweat and tears into fixing small issues and it adds up over time.

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            Taken from https://steamcommunity.com/games/221410/announcements/detail/1696055855739350561

            Q: What is Proton exactly? How does it differ from normal Wine? Who worked on it?

            Proton is a tool distribution based on a modified version of Wine. The included improvements to Wine have been designed and funded by Valve, in a joint development effort with CodeWeavers. Here are some examples of what we’ve been working on together since 2016:

            • vkd3d[source.winehq.org], the Direct3D 12 implementation based on Vulkan
            • The OpenVR and Steamworks native API bridges
            • Many wined3d performance and functionality fixes for Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 11
            • Overhauled fullscreen and gamepad support
            • The “esync[github.com]” patchset, for multi-threaded performance improvements

            Modifications to Wine are submitted upstream if they’re compatible with the goals and requirements of the larger Wine project; as a result, Wine users have been benefiting from parts of this work for over a year now. The rest is available as part of our source code repository for Proton and its modules.

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            I’m so glad they decided to make this open source. I wonder why a custom version of wine was needed or is this just a configuration wrapper on wine to make it work easier?

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              Both, it seems. Proton (https://github.com/ValveSoftware/Proton) seems to be a configuration wrapper + wine, but the wine version is their own (https://github.com/ValveSoftware/wine).

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              Really excited to see this, I’ve been running games through wine using flatpak, and I found they run quite well. It would be awesome to see the full steam catalog available on Linux.

              Really stoked that it’s open source, I look forward to seeing their improvements pushed upstream, hopefully this will benefit all users of wine.

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                I think indie humble bundle really made a huge difference in Linux gaming. They were able to show in concrete numbers that Linux users were perfectly willing to spend money on games. Every since the first few FOSS bundles more and more developers have been going out of their way to make ports.

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                  This is quite awesome. I have to start planning my Steambox again.

                  If somebody makes a decent Steambox (AtariVCS is promising, but the hardware is probably too weak), Sony and Microsoft are gonna be in trouble. Not right away, but this will definitely slowly chip away chunks of their markets. Who wants a console whose software goes totally obsolete in 5 years, when you can have Steam? The first game I ever had on Steam, Half-Life, is still playable on my modern Linux!

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                    Just used this to start up Sonic Mania. Looks like it runs really well!! Super slick.

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                      Both Payday 1 and Slime Rancher kinda work with this, with some entertaining visual artifacts.