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Valve seems to be working on tools to get Windows games running on Linux


Jason
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As Ars points out in that article and in their previous one linked, games suffered a 20-60% performance hit playing natively under SteamOS. It's likely a matter of driver optimization, but even still, that's a big hit. Adding in a bunch of wine style emulation layers is only going to make that worse. The end goal is admirable, but I just can't see how this would end up working well enough to recommend.

 

I also just can't see them figuring this out to any reasonable degree before streaming services get good enough to make this kind of product pointless anyway. 

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1 minute ago, TwinIon said:

As Ars points out in that article and in their previous one linked, games suffered a 20-60% performance hit playing natively under SteamOS. It's likely a matter of driver optimization, but even still, that's a big hit. Adding in a bunch of wine style emulation layers is only going to make that worse. The end goal is admirable, but I just can't see how this would end up working well enough to recommend.

 

I also just can't see them figuring this out to any reasonable degree before streaming services get good enough to make this kind of product pointless anyway. 

 

Streaming services are never going to overcome input lag unless they can get really fancy with figuring out how to sync things.

 

As for the performance hit, I imagine there's got to be plenty of games that only run on Windows but aren't exact demanding to run, right? If the recommended specs aren't that high then the performance hit from the emulation layers shouldn't matter that much.

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1 minute ago, Jason said:

Streaming services are never going to overcome input lag unless they can get really fancy with figuring out how to sync things.

 

As for the performance hit, I imagine there's got to be plenty of games that only run on Windows but aren't exact demanding to run, right? If the recommended specs aren't that high then the performance hit from the emulation layers shouldn't matter that much.

Rumor is that Microsoft is prepping a streaming only console, so I guess we'll see.

 

Sure, there are a lot of simple games that this kind of emulation could help, but then, what is the point? This is an OS designed to run on $500-$1000 devices. Who could possibly recommend to anyone that you spend that much to get something that can play a few modern games poorly and a bunch of old or simple games just fine? The answer of course, is either buy a Windows machine, which isn't really much more expensive, but at which point it's no longer console like, or just buy a freaking console.

 

The use case here is horribly small even if it worked perfectly. The technical realities effectively guarantee that it never will. As long as games and hardware drivers are built first (and largely only) for Windows, the marginal cost of a Windows licence will remain a very small price to pay for getting 100% compatibility and 100% of the performance out of your expensive game playing machine. Or again, you could just buy a console for half the price.

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

 

Streaming services are never going to overcome input lag unless they can get really fancy with figuring out how to sync things.

Last year I would have agreed with this statement.

But with how amazing recent streaming services like Parsec seem to perform, I think input lag is now a non-issue.

 

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Streaming simply can't overcome the physical limitations of the internet without some sort of significant breakthrough, I think. It becomes bearable when you're close enough to a data center to minimize input lag, but you'd need a LOT of data centers all over the world to make it viable. Even just something like "West Coast, Midwest and East Coast" for the US alone would not suffice.

 

But I guess it also depends on how much your average gamer notices input lag. You folks who like to go "Man I can't even tell the difference between 22 and 180 FPS!" are going to be tasting your own medicine when Jimmy Fugma brags about not being able to tell the difference between local play and a 200ms delay with artifacting from compression!

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4 hours ago, misfit410 said:

They are still so fixated on making Linux happen, it's just not going to happen.

I'm glad it exists and I'm glad I know how to use it, but it's not a pleasure to use.

I agree with this.

I kinda feel like Linux needs a complete usability overhaul.

Make it dead simple for the average joe to use.

If at any point I have to type in a command to do something, it's still not simple enough.

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4 hours ago, misfit410 said:

They are still so fixated on making Linux happen, it's just not going to happen.

I'm glad it exists and I'm glad I know how to use it, but it's not a pleasure to use.

 

Plenty of things "just aren't going to happen"...until they do. I see no downside to them continuing to throw money at trying to make it feasible to decouple PC gaming from Windows.

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12 hours ago, Jason said:

 

Plenty of things "just aren't going to happen"...until they do. I see no downside to them continuing to throw money at trying to make it feasible to decouple PC gaming from Windows.

It's a downside if their manpower could be used on something useful, like a game....

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