HOWTO: Gaming and games on Linux

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HOWTO: Gaming and games on Linux

Post by Refalm » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:53 am

1. Hardware
Choosing the right videocard is pretty important. The quality of drivers for videocards differ dramatically.

Here's a short comparison:
NVIDIA GeForce [Nice]
Great non-free driver that gets updated regularly, everything that is supported on Windows and Mac OS X is in this driver.
However, if you're on a laptop, make sure you use Bumblebee, since Optimus support is poor.

AMD Radeon [Good]
Decent non-free driver. They're increasingly getting better.
Make sure you get the fglrx-experimental-X driver though, especially on a laptop.

Intel HD Graphics [Bwah]
Decent open source driver. However, this videocard is made for thin clients and netbooks, not so great for gaming.

Matrox Graphics [Bwah]
Decent non-free driver. 3D acceleration is supported, but it may be incompatible with a lot of games.

SiS [Junk]
Worst GPU on the market. SiS used to be the best company alongside 3dfx back in the day, but they obviously made a few very bad decisions. Pretty sad actually.

The best way to install the driver for your videocard is to look how to in your own distribution documentation.

Because installing non-free applications on Linux defeats the whole purpose of open source, the open source driver is installed. The open source driver works great with the desktop, but not with gaming, so obviously you want the non-free driver.

Some distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora have a point and click interface to install it, on others like Gentoo and Slackware, you need to recompile the kernel to include the driver. Use Google, or ask in the appropriate forum.

2. Linux native games
Now that you installed a non-free driver, you got to check out some games for Linux.

This website has a great list, with reviews:
There are really great games there, and most of them open source.

Also check out Steam,, or
They offer a lot of commercial titles. You'll be surprised that games like Left 4 Dead 2, Don't Starve, Amnesia, Natural Selection 2, Killing Floor, Serious Sam 3, etc. are Linux native.

3. Getting Wine
The best platform for PC gaming is Windows. But that doesn't mean that you'll have to run Windows. Just a small part of it, that's enough to run games and some applications.

To do exactly that, get Wine.
You can download it here:

Find your distribution in the list, and there will be instructions on how to install it.

4. Windows games
Hold on there! Before you start clicking on Setup.exe to install Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, first look at this website:

Some games don't work right away, and you need to look on AppDB first if there is anything you need to do to make it work.
Click on "Browse app" and search for your game.

Here's an example of Racedriver GRID: ... &iId=18526

Without these instructions, you would have gotten shitty sound and lag.

5. Mounting ISO's
You may not believe this, but some people actually copy their legally bought DVD to an ISO file, and then virtually mount it, so it looks like they inserted the original DVD.
Those people are probably in dire need of shiny beer coasters.

If this is you, you can install "Furius ISO Mount".

6. Steam
I mentioned Steam before. Because a lot of games are unfortunately for Windows, here's how you run the Windows version of Steam: ... &iId=19444

I also implore you to turn off the in-game community. It can lag games (especially in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2).

7. Compiz
If you're running MATE, XFCE, or KDE, sometimes, you don't want Compiz (also called "Effects") to run while you're gaming.
When you use Gnome 3, Unity, or Cinnamon, you'll be fine.

Create a shortcut on your desktop named "Compiz off".

If you're on KDE:
kde4-window-decorator --replace

If you're on MATE:
metacity --replace

If you're on XFCE:
xfwm4 --replace

Now make another shortcut named "Compiz on".
Use this:
compiz --replace

8. Ownage
Now go make some headshots :P
Last edited by Refalm on Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:42 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Post by piratepenguin » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:51 pm

Sound stuff.

However, I thought that a lot of Intel and AMD cards had decent free drivers. This has been my experience with all of my cards (good acceleration out of the box in Ubuntu), however my cards would be all aging.

Do you know how AMDs commitment to supporting a free driver is working?

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Post by Refalm » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:26 am

Intel indeed has an open source driver, so I edited the topic.

ATI has a non-free driver, and as far as I can tell, there are no plans to make them open source.

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