There are subtle signs emerging that Valve’s Proton — a compatibility solution that lets you play Windows-exclusive games on Steam for Linux — is making a difference (or at the very least sparking conversations). One of those signs is the latest update to No Man’s Sky Beyond, which finds Hello Games quietly patching its ambitious Windows-only game to run better on Linux.
Yep, it’s right there in the notes for Beyond Patch 2.08a: “Fixed Steam VR in Linux.”
The game was recently treated to a massive update which makes it almost resemble an MMO. There are new social hubs, 16-32 player multiplayer, the addition of virtual reality, Vulkan API support and quite a bit more of everything.
As you probably know, Hello Games is a fairly small indie game studio, and it never developed a native Linux version of No Man’s Sky. But that’s OK, because the game proudly bears a “Gold” rating on ProtonDB, a website that tracks Steam Play compatibility with Windows games.
Because Proton translates Windows-exclusive game APIs like DirectX to Vulkan (an API that Linux understands), this allows thousands of games that never appeared on Linux to work anyway, simply by installing it on the Steam for Linux client. Proton also has support for SteamVR, meaning many VR titles also run well.
The fact that this developer took the time to work on fixing an issue for a platform it hasn’t officially released its game on? A VR problem at that? Admirable. While I’m a big Linux advocate, that’s basically Hello Games devoting resources to solving a problem for a niche of a niche audience.
And that kind of move commands a lot of respect from me.
Suggestion: If you’re running Linux and rocking an Nvidia card, Gaming On Linux has a tip to dramatically improve performance.
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