Payday: The Heist (2011) - Good Linux Performance

I have been trying newly available games individually since the big patch which enabled a lot of games to be played on Linux. This one runs pretty well!

With a 2GB GTX 960 Amp! and a Haswell Xeon 4-core (8-thread), I have the details maxed out and enhanced FXAA on top of the game settings, yet it still maintains 120+ fps without any major dips.

I have only tested single player with bots so far. This is on Ubuntu 18.04LTS (minimal installation).

I’m satisfied with those numbers considering it’s not a Valve Source or Unreal Engine game. The future for the Linux desktop looks better every day.

About a year ago I was running Skyrim via Wine on my Intel HD chip - had to set pretty much everything to the lowest imaginable and in terribly screwed 640x480 resolution iirc.

Now things have gotten so much better with Wine, that I can play it smooth in 720p on Medium settings on Steam with Proton. I imagine if I were to recompile Mesa on Slackware to include Gallium Nine so it didn’t have to wrap D3D to OpenGL it’d be even faster!

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It looks a lot like a game running from a Wine installation now. I’m still surprised at how well it runs even when the frames dip under 120. It’s not the newest or most optimized game by any means.

I can’t upload a screenshot because I guess 2.7mb is too big? I have no idea what the problem with the forum has been since it split. It’s using about 3 of the 8 available virtual cores (probably optimized for dual core). It also only uses a few hundred megabytes of RAM on top of what the GUI needs – RAM use isn’t even at 3 GB and uses a little bit more than 2.25 GB without anything running from a cold boot. My screenshot is showing my frame rate and GPU not even going above 58c, also htop running with process directories and the game with a lot happening at once (smoke grenades, etc).

Anyways, the newly available games, which used to be only on Windows, have a Z:\ root directory (like Wine’s default). I’m guessing Valve made their own layer to handle the stuff Windows .dll files usually do like Crossover and Cedega used to. I have no idea if those are still around because I only play the native stuff, but this is really cool now and opens up a lot of possibility.

The main point I wanted to make with the numbers in the screenshot is that the Linux desktop has P L E N T Y of power to do stuff like stream to Twitch while simultaneously listening to music or even watching videos, and this is on Ubuntu which is nowhere near high performance by comparison to other distributions.

I’m also noticing loads of error messages on the forum side whenever I try to do things. Not sure what’s up with that.

Anyway, generally the performance on games is amazingly close to native under the following conditions:

  1. Gallium Nine supported driver (Mesa (nouveau, radeon, intel, only, NVIDIAs own will probably never adopt it)
  2. Game uses OpenGL generally, so no wrapping required
  3. DXVK, this mostly applies to newer titles using DX11 and whatnot which will end up running faster on both Windows and Linux as a result of Vulkan being generally much faster

On a Radeon rig here with an HD 7770 I saw massive improvements running GTA IV on the open-source drivers using Gallium Nine. The game ran between 30-40 fps with occasional hiccups doing the normal D3D9 > OpenGL conversion but seems to run easily above a constant 60 fps with Gallium Nine. I should benchmark those in detail soon. There will be games that benefit from this more than others - but it is generally pleasing to see games as complex as GTA IV work with very minor adjustments. I only had to apply the XLiveLess patch to get that up and running for example.

Anyway, on AMD the open-source, from my experience the kernel-side radeon driver seems to run pretty much most things under OpenGL 4.x standards perfectly - I heard some native Feral games do not support AMD cards well (OpenGL 4.2-4.5 games) - but that may have changed over the past couple of months with mesa updates. I should give that a try sometime soon.

Intel HD chipsets (those with a number attached to them, at least) will generally support 4.6 GL and even Vulkan 1.0 fully with shader caching and all that. Most games will therefore run (even Elite!..)
The i965 driver is quite impressive and blows the Windows one out of the water. No contest.

Because NVIDIA doesn’t want to give out the re-clocking code, nouveau is still stuck at using the standard clock the card gets at boot-time. This means that if you want the most speed out of a Wine/Proton setup, you’ll probably get them with a radeon card using the open-source driver (which performs amazing nowadays) that supports Gallium Nine or try your luck with the proprietary NVIDIA one - although that will most likely never see a performance improvement outside of DXVK which only applies to a certain set of games.

Considering the state of Linux drivers for GPUs ~5 years ago, quite a bit has changed! On the NVIDIA side, we still got the fastest GPUs when it comes to native games but the competition is fierce and outperforms on Wine easily with the help of Gallium Nine. Intel chips seem to feature complete the fastest spec wise however.

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