This is one of the most regularly questioned topics by new users who are considering switching to Linux. After all, Linux Gaming is usually termed as a far-off possibility. At least, by some hardcore gamers using another platform to play games.
This guide goes over setting up your Linux system for gaming. I will add multiple setup guidance for many Linux distributions.
This guide is intended as a summary of Linux newbies – I’m going to be simplifying and leaping a lot of the complexities that aren’t important. One of the greatest things about Linux is that it lets you customize everything, down to the very fundamentals of the operating system.
Linux Gaming Guide
What Kind of games you can play on Linux?
There are so many ways to play games on Linux but how many types of games you can play on Linux.
- Native Linux games
- Windows games
- Terminal Games
In the Linux world, choosing the correct hardware is one of the most important and tense parts of Linux gaming.
If you are an old Linux gamer then you probably know that NVIDIA doesn’t provide an open-source driver.
One more thing: things are somewhat different depending on whether you have an AMD or Nvidia GPU. If you have an AMD card, great news! The driver is built right into the Linux kernel, so there’s nothing to download and nothing to install.
- CPU: AMD/INTEL
- GPU: AMD
Pop OS is probably my best choice for the best gaming distro because of the driver availability and it’s based on ubuntu that means it has more software game availability than other Linux distros.
The great news is that if you do want to install a proprietary NVIDIA driver, it’s normally pretty simple. Different distributions manage it differently—Pop! OS puts it right into the ISO.
Other Honorable mentions
- Steam OS
AMD Mesa Driver Install
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kisak/kisak-mesa -y sudo apt update sudo apt install libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 mesa-vulkan-drivers mesa-vulkan-drivers:i386 -y
Nvidia Proprietary Driver
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa -y sudo apt update sudo apt install nvidia-driver-450 libnvidia-gl-450 libnvidia-gl-450:i386 libvulkan1 libvulkan1:i386 -y
Arch Based Distros
Enable Multilib for 32- bit support
[multilib] Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
sudo pacman -S lib32-mesa vulkan-radeon lib32-vulkan-radeon vulkan-icd-loader lib32-vulkan-icd-loader -y
You’ve got Linux up and working – now it’s time to get your games. For most gamers these days, that means Steam.
If you got chunk games of your library on Steam, you’ll be comforted to hear that there’s not only a native Steam client but thousands of native Linux ports of your popular titles.
There’s no need to re-purchase anything, either – Steam will automatically recognize you’re running Linux and install the right version.
Linux works a little differently than Windows. Instead of downloading programs from their websites, you’ll use the distro’s repositories.
Think of it like App Store – a primary hub where you can download and update all your applications. Pop! OS calls their repositories Pop! Shop.
Many games, though, don’t have Linux ports. Join Proton, Valve’s set of tools meant to get Windows games working on Linux.
While it’s only been around for a year, Proton has been a blessing for Linux gaming. Tons of games run flawlessly, and even more work with a few fast tweaks.
Lutris is an Open Source gaming program for Linux. It helps installs and launch games so you can start playing without the trouble of setting up your games.
Get your games from GOG, Steam, Battle.net, Origin, Uplay, and many other sources working on any Linux gaming machine.
Lutris uses community-contributed installation scripts to produce optimal experience and setup. Once installed, games are launched with programs called runners. Those runners combine RetroArch, Dosbox, customized Wine versions, and many more!
GameHub is a desktop application for Linux distributions that lets you maintain “All your games in one place”.
It supports Steam, GOG, and Humble Bundle account integration. You can sign in to your account to see the manager of your library from inside GameHub.
It supports multiple compatibility layers for non-native games:
- Wine / Proton
sudo apt install com.github.tkashkin.gamehub
Debian, Ubuntu, elementary OS, Pop!_OS, Linux Mint, …
sudo apt install --no-install-recommends software-properties-common sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tkashkin/gamehub sudo apt update sudo apt install com.github.tkashkin.gamehub
Although Linux becomes a much more powerful and capable gaming platform there are a lot of problems that you might face on a daily base like easy anti-cheat and some performance issues.
Some games have a problem playing games on Linux, like games which include lack of easy anti-cheat compatibility, but not for too long because Epic games clarify that easy anti-cheat still working on Linux compatibility.
So in the future, you might have the option to play games with easy anti-cheat like Fortnite and apex legends but for now, this is the only problem you can face right now.
I think that’s pretty much what you need to know to get started with gaming on Linux. There are plenty of Linux games that you can try at the moment.
Doing these tweaks or just some of them will make a severe difference when it comes to gaming on Linux.
Here, we have a very decent combination of Steam, official repositories, and some manual downloads. As a second-order, you get WINE, DOS games, as well as virtualization, although these may not be as popular or effective as you would expect. For recent, modern, relevant content, Steam appears to be the killer feature for Linux.
For now, Linux still lacks behind in many areas in comparison to windows like game availability and compatibility, but you can still run almost 70- 90% of all pc games in your Linux machine.