Linux gaming barrier destroyed

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It’s been a while since I’ve been on Linux, so forgive me if I sound like Captain Obvious to Linux users who already knew this. My Ubuntu Linux plays my Windows Steam games just fine, if not better than Steam on Windows 10 did. To understand this issue, let me take you back a few years.

I had been a fan of Windows games in the early 2000’s; one game in particular that really appealed to me was Dungeon Siege. Dungeons and Dragons was a favourite RPG of mine when I was a kid in the 80’s, and I felt Dungeon Siege really brought this genre to life with a great story line and without over-complicating the gameplay. I never actually got to finish this massive game, as one of my CD’s had an irrepairable scratch that caused the game to crash, so when I saw it for a great price in a Steam bundle a couple of years ago, I bought it, and in my spare time, managed to get further along than ever before.

The magic option

The idea that one has invested in a game or library of games on a particular platform can keep a person stuck on that platform even after they’ve become dissatisfied with it. When Steam came out in 2003 as a gaming platform, it offered the promise of being operating system agnostic, though popular games like Half Life had to be rewritten to run on Linux. Meanwhile, WINE, a Windows compatibility layer, has been around since 1993. I knew that extensive work has been done to have WINE run Windows games, as is illustrated with the availability of Command and Conquer: Red Alert in the Ubuntu Software Center, so that got me to thinking, why couldn’t Steam also use WINE to run classic Windows games? After doing a bit of research, I soon discovered that Steam on Linux offers this option, known as Steam Play. Given that Dungeon Siege was not as hugely popular as some other titles and came out in 2002, it wasn’t considered a “Supported title” and would not play as it was not verified. Under the Steam menu, I selected “Settings,” and from there selected “Steam Play,” where I had to check the option of “Enable Steam play for all other titles.” This uses the Proton compatibility tool. Having done that, I was able to download and play my old Windows-only games!

Starting where I left off

The only other barrier was in copying over my saved game files, as I’m actually more interested in finishing this game rather than playing it all over again. Normally, the saved game files for this game reside in “My Documents,” but Steam does something a little different. I discovered the saved game files live in ~/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/compatdata/39190/pfx/drive_c/users/steamuser/My Documents/Dungeon Siege. As it turns out, the people working on Steam, Proton, and WINE are more concerned with backwards compatibility than Microsoft is, and so I found this game to play much better than it did in Windows 10. With this, there is no reason for me to boot into Windows.

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