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  1. #1
    Linux Enthusiast Steven_G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Western US

    First impressions of Steam on *nix

    I think it's still a little too hackalicious for the general user. But, once you get it configured WOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It took me an 8 hour marathon session last night to get it setup.

    My situation is probably worse than most as I am on both a 64bit and an Optimus machine. I had to do a lot of troubleshooting, testing, configuring and increase my skill set in the process.

    One thing that really impresses me: This is the *only* piece of sotware that I have seen so far that has direct support for Bumble Bee.

    But on the down side, to get that support I had to install the latest nvidia experimental driver and then configure Bumble Bee and Primus to work with it. That's the part where I had to increase my skill level as this is the deepest I've been in to the video drivers yet. I found many, many pointers on the web. But nothing where your hand was held all the way through the process and I had to make some deductions. Six months ago I would have blown up my X-server.

    (BTW, the new experimental 310 driver is friggin SWEEEET!!!! Nvidia claims it will double overall performance. I haven't run any benchmarks yet. But I can see a big difference in how my system runs and responds.)

    Another negative point: There are only six free demos that will work on *nix and it took a lot of digging (too much really) to find them. I wanted to try at least one free game before I paid for anything to make sure the whole thing actually worked.

    Also, all the pointers say you need Primus as well and Steam should be run with primusrun. That configuration randomly crashed on me about every 5 minutes. But, extensive testing under optirun worked like a charm.

    I also had to extract some flash libraries from the adobe installer and drop them in to a directory that I had to create.

    The "Big Picture" (full screen mode) is visually spectacular. If you had told me 6 months ago that a *nix gaming client could look like that I would have asked you what you were smoking. And the graphics quality on the free demo game is amazing!

    The windowed mode is OK. The biggest problem with it is that there is no way to adjust the fonts. So it's unreadable on my TV because it's so small.

    I found a skin manager on webupd8 that is supposed to fix all of that. But the installer did not work. So I extracted the style sheets and figured out where to drop them so the built in skin manager could use them. That helped a little. But the font is still hard on my eyes.

    Right now a lot of the games still can't be installed to a *nix system and are doze or mac only.

    But, overall, I'm impressed as hell. This is a huge step forward in *nix gaming and I plan to support the project by purchasing games and beta testing.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    So, you came out of this with a couple of real pluses: one is that you know a lot more about the internals of your Linux system and video drivers than you ever did before - "Six months ago I would have blown up my X-server"... Another is that you can see Linux as a viable gaming platform. And the last is that you have posted a great account of your impressions and experience in your venture "over the cliff". Thanks for your efforts!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    I'm not a gamer. My gaming consists of Aisle Riot, Sauerbraten (occasionally), Torcs (occasionally), Dungeon Crawl (a complete obsession) and I'm thinking of checking out Pioneer when it hits beta as it's Frontier! This means that I am definitely not their target audience but there are people I know who would use Linux if it had more tier one games as they call them.

    In reality, the process you went through will become smoother and slicker over time and given the speed of change in the open source world I wouldn't expect it to take too long. This can only be good news for the open source world and particularly Canonical as the Steam client is Ubuntu only at the moment.

    Thanks for an entertaining read with my morning coffee.
    Should you be sitting wondering,
    Which Batman is the best,
    There's only one true answer my friend,
    It's Adam Bloody West!

    The Fifth Continent

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Linux Enthusiast Steven_G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Western US
    Well I'm not a heavy gamer. I pick up maybe one or two new ones a year. Mostly D&D based. I was a D&D nerd back in jr high and I don't know anybody who plays any more. Nor do I really have a lot of time to devote to it any more. But, it's nice every once in a while to pick up the newest sword and sorcery and get away from it all for a little while. For me it's not so much that I wouldn't switch to *nix because it wasn't a top notch gaming platform. It's just that I want one box that I can plug in to the TV or take with me and it does *everything*. I've already got this puppy set up for skype and netflix. I'm playing with crossover right now to get the old games I already own working. I'll be checking out a PS2 emulator for those games I own. It play DVDs. Soon I'll be setting up virtual networks to study on. I have several specific use VMs, etc, etc.

    One box to rule them all!!!

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