Jump to content

Search Results

There were 8 results tagged with Linux port report

By content type

By section

Sort by                Order  
  1. PC Report: GRID Autosport on Linux

    System requirements


    Windows

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon X2 5400
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: Intel HD3000, AMD HD2000, NVIDIA Geforce 8000
    • OS: Vista, 7, 8

    Linux

    • CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA 640, 1 GB of VRAM
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04.2 64-bit, Steam OS 2.0
    From the above we can see rather heightened requirements with the Linux release. While not at all unexpected at this point, it is still a disappointment just how much further up are the minimum requirements for many high-profile ports of Linux games - of course, what we need to keep in mind is that they are often based on the minimum requirements for SteamOS. Added to this is, as usual, a disclaimer promising no support for AMD or Intel GPUs. Feral have released an official statement detailing the reasons, with plans to extend it to said GPUs in the future, once stable driver releases with required features are available.

    Given the game's and series long support of Intel iGPUs, even going as far as boasting Intel-exclusive graphical features, a minimum of a high-end and seldom available Iris Pro 5200 is a bit of a disappointment.

    The following report is based on experience of playing the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 12 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM, on Window 7 SP1 64-bit (driver version 359.06) and Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit (driver version 358.16).

    The additional Intel results were gathered on a laptop with an Intel i5-4258U with an Intel Iris 5100 and 8 GB of RAM, on Windows 8.1 64-bit and Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit (using Mesa 11.2 built on 2015-12-14).

    A copy of the game was purchased using personal funds.

    Graphical features


    The game can boast almost full graphical parity with the Windows version. Lightning, reflections, and shadows, as well as every other effect are featured in the Linux version. However, Intel users on Windows get an exclusive feature called advanced blending, an implementation of order-independent transparency. This is the second port to lose this feature in the process, the first being Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

    settings


    With Nvidia cards on Windows, the game also provides the Nvidia-specific implementation of multisample anti-aliasing known as coverage sampling anti-aliasing. Nvidia claims this allows for the same level of quality at a lower hit to performance. Of course, this feature is being phased out in newer GPUs, starting with Maxwell-based cards.

    ingame


    A quite interesting feature that is not present in the Linux version is native second-screen support. This isn't normal multi-monitor support, which is usually just assured by making the system appear as a single desktop, but rather a secondary view into the game, showing the current standings in the race as well as a cinematic view - a nice addition if you're planning any local tournaments.

    secondscreen


    Performance


    It is always interesting to see how does a port stack up against the original Windows version in terms of performance. It has become somewhat of a given that we will see a drop to a certain degree, given previous experiences, but there's always the hope the next port may provide a degree of improvement in this area. The results are based on the default benchmark provided. Error bars represent the minimum frame rate.

    nvidiapresets.svg


    As expected, we can see a fairly steady loss of about 40% regardless of settings. This of course isn't ideal, as a system the could still easily hit a stable 60 on Windows on higher settings may struggle in the same circumstances on Linux.

    nvidiaAA.svg


    We can see a similar story when using the various anti-aliasing settings. The drop remains consistent throughout the available settings. Additionally, it is possible to use higher quality settings on Windows.

    Benchmarks for additional settings like advanced lightning and global illumination were omitted, as the results produced on Linux were mediocre at best, occasionally rendering the game wholly unplayable due to extremely low performance - at best, they only resulted to a drop to around 30fps, but also introduced stuttering and inconsistent frame rates. By comparison, the game remained playable on Windows, still leaving the game at 60fps.

    Frame rate is not the only measure important in rating performance. Thankfully, when using a setting which keeps you above 60 at all times, the game's frame times do not often exceed 16.7ms often. The situation is not as perfect as on Windows - where none of all frames rendered went above 16.7ms, as opposed to a few slower frames always happening on Linux, resulting in an ever so occasional stutter.

    What is a pleasant surprise, is the fact the game is currently fully playable on Intel chipsets, in contrast to many other titles released recently.

    intel720p.svg

    intel1080p.svg


    The performance drop in this case remains at only around 20% on all settings. The game remains playable on Windows slightly higher settings than on Linux, but more importantly, the game is playable on Linux at all. If you'd prefer a higher frame rate at the cost to the image quality you can drop the resolution, though unfortunately, no graphical settings remain to reduce for further gains at that point.

    While playing, the game remained equally stable on the Intel and Nvidia systems, which is after all the most important part. This is also the first of the AAA ports we've seen release so far (with the exception of Civilization V) that was at all playable on my laptop.

    Experience


    The area of user experience is where the port really shines. Feral have put in extra effort to make sure you don't have to spend time to get to enjoy the game.

    Controller support works exactly as expected, thanks to the use of SDL2. But in case you're having any trouble getting the game to recognise your controller, make sure to bind it in Steam Big Picture. More importantly, when it comes to wheel support, the game is quite the opposite of what DiRT Showdown brought. With built-in support for most of the popular wheels available, including force feedback and 900 degrees range, the game leaves very little to complain about.

    Of course, it'd be nice if the in-game icons matched the prompts present on these wheels - and those are usually the same as DualShock's. Interestingly, the game does provide such overrides when on OS X, so hopefully this feature may still come in a future patch, or in the least in upcoming ports.

    On the other hand, the game loses some features as well. With the rise of hybrid laptops and touchscreens, the Windows version also features a touch based UI and input, but these are not present on Linux. Of course, given the fact that there are practically no readily available Linux laptops, and with SteamOS being the bigger concern, this is not a major loss.

    For those inclined to mod their game, you'll be happy to find out mods work great and without issues - among the first things I did after downloading the game was finding a mod that removed the unnecessary blur from the cabin and added working reflections to the mirrors.

    And most importantly, if you use more than one OS, the save files are fully cross-platform and will synchronize across systems as they should. Unfortunately, in a rather random fashion the save file I was using occasionally became unreadable for the Windows version of the game, though this was sometimes resolved by just playing another race and letting the game create a new file. And as one might expect, with this also comes cross-platform multiplayer, so you do not have to worry about playing the game with your OS X or Windows using friends.

    With this port, we also get a nice addition that OS X users had the chance to enjoy for some time now - a launcher. Right now only providing support information and a resolution choice, Feral have confirmed to me that future ports will see the featureset come closer to the OS X version, with additional options being available directly in the launcher.

    Conclusion


    While the performance of the port is a bit of a let-down, especially taking in light the fact the other game on the same engine (albeit older version) is even able to run at a higher frame rate than on Windows, the port is really good over all. With emphasis put on the user experience, you don't have to spend a lot of time fiddling with settings to enjoy the game.

    Hopefully in future releases Feral Interactive will not only be able to provide a superb user experience, but also matching performance. Considering they have quite a few more ports announced as coming, we'll see soon enough.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of GRID Autosport fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this and want to us write more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:

    • Dec 22 2015 04:16 PM
    • by Soeb
  2. PC Report: DiRT Showdown on Linux

    System requirements


    Windows

    • CPU: Intel Pentium D 3.2 GHz, AMD Athlon 64 X2
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8000 Series, ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series, Intel HD Graphics 2500
    • OS: Vista, 7

    Linux

    • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 x2, 3.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia, AMD, 1 GB of VRAM, OpenGL 4.1 compatible
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.10, Mint 17.1
    Rather unusually, the game mentions no specific GPU requirements on Linux. Asking only for OpenGL 4.1 compatibility, one could expect a broader range of support, for once not relying on higher-end equipment - though still bumping the Linux version ahead by several generations of GPUs. Unfortunately, this is followed up by the usual disclaimer that Intel cards are not supported at the moment - though this is stated as purely a drivers limitation, and something that will be resolved in the future. Additionally, you'll need a slightly better processor, and double the RAM too.

    The following report is based on experience of playing the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 12 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM, on Window 7 SP1 64-bit (driver version 359.06) and Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit (driver version 358.16).

    A copy of the game was purchased using my own funds.

    Graphical features


    Dirt Showdown supports every graphical feature present on Windows, without exception.

    video


    Of course, the same can't be said for all additional features. Once again, additional forms of anti-aliasing besides MSAA are unavailable. Furthermore, the game's native support for Nvidia 3D Vision is not present on Linux, due to lack of driver support.



    Performance


    I'm always curious to see how well a port does in comparison with Windows. While the usual expectation is a general loss, on some level, there's always the hope a port may end up differenty - and in this case, I was very surprised with the results. The following charts are based on the default benchmark provided. Error bars represent the minimum frame rate.

    presets.svg


    From the various AAA ports we've received over the past 2 years, this is the first time the Linux version gets better performance at any point, to the best of my knowledge - with a 50% performance gain over Windows on the lowest settings, and always maintaining some sort of a lead until the highest settings, where the game suffers a drop of about 13%. This can be alleviated by disabling advanced lightning and global illumination, bringing the port close to perfect parity in performance.

    aa.svg


    Interestingly enough with anti-aliasing, picking higher quality AA results in a smaller performance loss compared to Windows. Going to 8x multisampling AA costs you about 20% on Windows and only 12% on Linux - or closing the gap to just 5% between the systems. This speaks volumes of the progress done since the first Linux releases, and shows there's still a lot of potential for other ports.

    More importantly, the frame time seldom strayed above 16.7ms even on highest settings - helping to avoid visible stutter and tearing. However, the game is still prone to occasionally - if very infrequently - fail to hit that target regardless of graphical settings. This situation is of course not ideal, as this means the game is more prone to stuttering. With that said, during the time I spent playing, I have not experienced any noticable stutter.

    Experience


    Of course, there's a lot more to look for in a port than just performance. Especially in a racing game, peripheral support is important.

    Thanks to the use of SDL2, the game's controller support is superb. Unfortunately, this doesn't extend to wheel support. The game does not include built-in support for even the most popular of wheels. For some hardware the wheel needs to be bound to a standard controller layout using Steam Big Picture to work at all, but in many cases even this doesn't solve the issue and the game remains unable to use your wheel. One can hope this may still be resolved in future patches, and better wheel support could be added at some point.

    When it comes to save games, the files are not cross-platform, and you cannot expect to reuse them when playing on another system. If you've already played the game previously on Windows, or if you're looking to continue your progress on a different system, this is not a possibility. On top of this, the save files are still going to be synced to all platforms, which means you will have to wait for cloud synchronization, without any benefits. However, at least in multiplayer full compatiblity is present, and you are able to play together with Windows and OS X users.

    Conclusion


    What can be said without a doubt is that for most players, the port provides a superb experience. While there are miles to go in many areas - wheel support absolutely should be present in a racing game, and in a much more approachable fashion than what's available here - in the least it makes up for it with well above average performance.

    The port is not quite perfect, but still well ahead of other releases. Given the massive strides Virtual Programming have made since their first Linux port - after this, I'm looking forward to what they can bring next.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of DiRT Showdown fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.




    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this and want to us write more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Dec 22 2015 04:07 PM
    • by Soeb
  3. PC Report: Civilization: Beyond Earth on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: Intel Core i3
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 260
    • OS: SteamOS, Ubuntu 14.04

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT, ATi Radeon HD 3650, Intel HD 3000
    • OS: Vista SP2, 7
    From the above it is immediately obvious there's still a bit of a discrepancy in system requirements, but there are marked improvements over Aspyr's previous Linux ports. Most importantly, this Aspyr release does not carry a warning about being unsupported on non-Nvidia GPUs - though there are still reports of AMD GPUs having a severely worsened performance.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM, and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, both fully updated. The GPU driver version used on Windows is 344.75 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    This time around, the Linux version largely matches the graphical capabilities of the Windows release. With every setting being present, including anti-aliasing, it seems like one could say there's 100% parity - however, taking a closer look, there are still some differences in place.

    We've reached out for comment, but with it being the holidays, it seems unlikely we will receive an answer any time soon.



    Water quality


    The most noticeable difference is in water quality. While graphics are never a priority in strategy games, they are nonetheless something to enjoy while waiting for others to finish their turn.



    As demonstrated above, the impact is huge. The drop in quality is immediately apparent, with worsened lightning and effects. However, the "lower" quality water not only does not change the game's enjoyment one bit, and it may even be preferable to some - as the water seems to grow clearer and allows you to see the depths of the foreign oceans.

    Terrain detail


    The difference in terrain detail seems to be the least visible. While on Linux, users will only get to see what's called Medium, and to the untrained eye the loss is negligible.



    After spending a fair bit of time pouring over a fairly large number of images, I can only conclude with one opinion - this is of absolutely no loss to us. Most of your time will not be spent zoomed in looking at the unimportant details - and you'd have to spend quite a bit of time to find the differences here.

    Anti-aliasing


    Unlike Civilization V before it, Beyond Earth features anti-aliasing on Linux. But just as we finally get a more fully-featured product, the game gets updated. Though the original release only featured EQAA on supported AMD cards, the latest patch brought in Nvidia's equivalent: CSAA. Linux and Intel users are limited to using only MSAA.

    AA comp



    (click to view full sized)

    At a closer look, there are visible differences between MSAA and the higher quality CSAA. The game is left with less aliased edges and an overall softer tone. Looking at a scene from afar however will show that there are very few benefits to going over 2x MSAA in the game, and even without anti-aliasing the game still looks good.

    Performance


    In the past couple of days lots of reports about the game's performance appeared, complaining about poor and unacceptable performance. None have simultaneously compared to Windows however, so let's take a look at that - though our sample size is a lot smaller since I do have just that one card.

    The benchmarks are based on the framerate over a 60 second period at "Ultra" settings while moving the camera, zooming in and out, and performing basic unit commands. The load times are based on performing multiple same start ups, starting games with the same settings, and loading the same late-game save file (map on massive, quick, turn 250) and averaging the results.

    Framerate


    Let's start by taking a look at the game's performance on Windows compared to that of Linux. I omitted benchmarks for threaded optimizations as they resulted in severely worsened results, the game rarely reaching 60 frames per second.

    Framechart


    From looking at the image I would say it isn't as bad as made out to be. While we're losing some performance and are unable to retain a stable 60 fps, the game's performance doesn't differ as wildly from Windows. There are a few notable differences, though: for example, zooming in/out looks a lot uglier on Linux than on Windows because of huge stuttering issues. Another problem - present on both systems - is the visibility of "black tiles" whilst the game loads textures. The performance hit is essentially identical between systems, but the game does recover and load textures on Windows faster than on Linux.

    Looking at frametime, on Linux about 15% of frames took more than 16.7ms to render, whereas on Windows only under 2% did. This of course means that some visible stutters are present, and the experience isn't as great as it could be, but the game is far from unplayable. As seen from the framerates, neither version really hits it for 120Hz or better screens.

    Load times


    A big discrepancy in Civilization V's release were load times, with the game taking significantly less on Windows to start-up or load a game. This time around however, it is a lot better.

    Loadchart


    Linux performs as good or better than Windows in all cases. With only 15s spent on start-up, and almost 10s less when loading a game, the load times can only be described as great.

    We should note that to even out the score we disabled intro videos - as the game doesn't start loading until after they finished playing, and the Linux version has a significant disadvantage in the additional 10s Aspyr video.

    Linux perspective


    The biggest worry for Linux users are delayed patches. Any delays in this region lead to Linux users being unable to play with their Windows using friends. Though so far there's nothing we can speak about for this game, Aspyr's speed at delivering patches for Civilization V hopefully points to us not having to suffer delays.

    Similarly, Steam Cloud is also not cross-platform. Though save games are fully compatible, to avoid any potential mistakes caused by version mismatch, Linux, OS X and Windows saves are all named differently and require manually moving if playing on multiple systems.

    However, the biggest and most exciting change here is mod compatibility! This time, the Linux version features mod compatibility from the start, together with workshop support. For those that enjoy modding the game, or just seeing the creations of others, this is great news!

    As a side note, unlike Civilization V's original release, the Linux port features support for all officially available languages.

    Conclusion


    Far from what a lot of people are saying, I would confidently state this is a solid port. While we should hope to see some improvements to performance still, as well as hopefully catching up in graphical fidelity, the game already works beautifully.

    We hope to see more ports from Aspyr soon, as their Linux work is improving with each release.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Civilization: Beyond Earth fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.



    Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this report and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:


    • Dec 24 2014 02:28 PM
    • by Soeb
  4. PC Report: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Phenom II X4
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 260
    • OS: SteamOS, Ubuntu 14.04

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8500, ATi Radeon HD 2600, DirectX 9 compatible
    • OS: XP SP3
    With the Pre-Sequel release, we can once again see a small discrepancy in the minimum requirements. As the game relies on the same engine and technology fully, it should not come as much of a surprise the requirements are shared with the game's predecessor.

    One thing to note, is that the requirements on OS X are much closer to Windows. This can only suggest that with time, as Aspyr become more comfortable with Linux and have more experience working on this platform, we should see the situation improving for the better. Unfortunately, Aspyr are currently still unable to provide support for non-Nvidia graphics cards, as with Borderlands 2. This doesn't mean the game won't work if you have an AMD or Intel GPU, but just that you're not guaranteed to receive help from the developer - the current driver situation for non-Nvidia cards may lead to degraded performance.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, both fully updated. The GPU driver version used on Windows is 344.11 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    As the Pre-Sequel is very similar to Borderlands 2, especially in terms of graphical fidelity, just as its predecessor, it has all graphics options available on all systems.



    The only notable omission is the lack of higher levels of PhysX. At the time of release, hardware acceleration from PhysX on Linux was only available for a few days. Because of this, the situation might be addressed in the future, but just the availability of the feature is in no way a guarantee. Due to the version difference between PhysX used, and the new SDK release, it's far more likely this won't happen, as issues from the transition might have risen. Hopefully, Aspyr will be able to go the extra steps towards an even better Linux experience, but it's not a major issue.



    The game looks at its best on all systems, and that's by far more important than the lack of one tiny feature.

    Performance


    While the experience is generally stutter-free, by default it will not be close to a fluid 60 fps. Though the style of the game lends to the poor framerate being forgivable, the difference is hugely noticeable.

    Chart 1


    The above results were based on benchmarking a 90 second period of the game multiple times, and then averaging the result for each system. Because of the lack of higher PhysX effects on Linux, we set the option to low on Windows as well.

    Performance is quite a repeat of Borderlands 2 - which is not entirely unexpected. With the games sharing quite a lot between each other, so do the ports. With Nvidia's threaded OpenGL optimizations enabled, the game was a lot more playable, with there barely being any falls to below 60, and roughly only 2.7% of frames taking more than 16.7ms to render - a swell improvement over the 53% without threaded optimizations. On Windows, the number of frames is practically insignificant.

    I decided to look into how Linux users may be able to get the same or similar performance to Windows, without sacrificing graphics too much. The simplest way proved to match Aspyr's approach to using unsupported hardware. The biggest hits in performance were caused by bloom, lens flares and dynamic lights. Disabling these in the configuration files lead to comparable performance, with Linux and Windows barely having a noticeable difference, though at a small cost in the graphics department.

    Chart 2




    Aspyr have already stated they are planning on improving the port's performance in the future, meaning that hopefully, we may be able to achieve similar performance without having to disable some of the graphical options. Only time will tell how much further can the port be pushed.

    Linux perspective


    The Linux version of the game brings with it a few enjoyable differences. The first thing you'll notice when playing on Linux, is the complete lack of a launcher. The developer's have once again opted to remove the launcher completely from the Linux version, as all its features are provided already in-game.

    A major improvement that makes all controller using players happy, is the vastly improved controller support. Thanks to the use of SDL2, every controller that works under Linux will work with the Pre-Sequel - which in practice means almost every controller. In certain cases, you may need to configure your controller at least once in Steam Big Picture, but from that moment forward, the controller will be usable in all SDL2 titles.

    On the compatibility front, it's all good. You can play in any combination of the three systems, meaning that Linux, OS X and Windows users can enjoy each other's company in the game without any hassle. At times, this may be impossible, as patches to the game will be released on Windows first, and other platforms later, leading to a few days where users attempting to play together will get version mismatch errors.

    For similar reasons, cross-platform save synchronization is disabled. While save data can be moved between systems without a worry, you will have to do so manually for the time being. Hopefully at some point in the future this will be addressed in some way, but in the meantime, you can find the correct save paths in our wiki article

    Conclusion


    As a first in a long time Linux release, this is without a doubt, a brilliant port. The lack of performance and some missing features, like PhysX, are still a tad disappointing, but the compatibility and general quality of the port still remains great. When taking future plans into consideration, it may become one of the better ports so far.

    We're excited to see how Aspyr's next big release fares. While we already know that they're working on brining Civilization: Beyond Earth during the holiday season, they may still surprise us with something else between now and then.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Oct 22 2014 05:34 PM
    • by Soeb
  5. PC Report: Borderlands 2 on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Phenom II X4
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: NVidia GeForce 260, 1 GB of VRAM
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04, SteamOS

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2.4 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 13 GB
    • GPU: ATI Radeon HD 2600, NVIDIA GeForce 8500, 256 MB of VRAM
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    Though the current system requirements may appear to be a little inflated, the store page for the game notes that these are just the weakest tested configurations, and if you have a weaker or older system you may still be able to run the game. Currently, non-Nvidia chipsets aren't officially supported on Linux - this does not mean the game won't work on an Intel iGPU or a recent AMD card, just that the porter isn't able to provide support for them at the moment if you experience any issues, though they already announced they are working on supporting a broader range of configurations.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, nVidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, both fully updated. The GPU driver version used on Windows is 344.11 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    One word describes the situation perfectly: parity. Every feature present in the Windows release is present on Linux, thusly you will still be able to experience the game at its best. This isn't that surprising, as we already knew that the situation was the same on OS X, as the engine used only a Direct3D 9 renderer.



    It may be worth noting that there is a single feature missing - availability of higher PhysX effects. In this case, I would point the finger towards Nvidia, as to date hardware accelerated PhysX on Linux is not available, despite being announced two years ago. This of course means that games utilising PhysX suffer a bigger performance hit on Linux than on Windows. Hopefully, in the case that Nvidia do address the situation, the Linux version of the game will have this addressed in an update.



    Thankfully, this is the only feature missing from the Linux version of the game, and it does not affect one's enjoyment to any degree. Many users opt to keep PhysX features set to low on Windows already, purely because of how much it degrades their performance. Having the option still be there would be nice, permitting the user to choose whether they'd like higher quality physics at the price of potential hit.

    Performance


    I've found the game able to run without stuttering regardless of the situation. Though the framerate was not consistent at all times, the lack of rapid fluctuation led to this not being at all noticeable, meaning a generally pleasant experience for Linux users.

    Chart


    The above benchmarks were performed by repeating a 90 second section in the Three Horns - Valley map, where we found it possible to experience the largest drops in framerate. Because of the lack of availability of high PhysX effects on Linux, we set the option to low on all systems.

    As visible in the chart, the game's framerate wasn't always stably above 60, with more than 40% of frames taking longer than 16.7ms to render. This however does not prevent the game from being fluid, and even if you're used to higher framerates, there is no stuttering that would cause problems. When enabling Nvidia's threaded OpenGL optimizations on Linux, a major increase can be noted and a stable rate over 60 is close to guaranteed for the majority of the game. During the benchmark, we found only about 3% of frames taking longer than 16.7ms to render, granting us a much improved experience. In most other areas of the game, this would be even less visible.

    Of course this means that one still wouldn't be able to play with a framerate high enough to comfortably work on a 120Hz monitor. Using Windows for this is still unfortunately necessary, so some improvements to performance could be desired, but for the broader audience, the game is pretty good already.

    Linux perspective


    The first major difference you may notice upon launch is the complete lack of a launcher. The developers have opted to remove it entirely, and only rely on the in-game menus for the available settings. This leads to a more console-like experience, but thanks to the well-executed Linux release, it never leads to any problems.

    Everything in the game is fully compatible between all systems, so you need not worry about playing with your friends, whether it's from the living room on your Steam Machine, on the go on a Macbook or at your desktop. At times, there's a possibility of the game versions going out of sync due to patch delays, but at this point in the game's life it's unlikely to still happen.

    The saves can be transferred between systems, and Steam cloud works completely. For potential compatibility issues, cross-platform synchronization is disabled - delays in patch releases can cause issues, so at the moment, you will need to copy them yourself. You can find the locations in our wiki article.

    Conclusion


    It can be said with confidence, that this is a really well-made port. Though still not the perfect port in the performance department, the improvements in this area will require effort from both game and driver developers. The lack of discrepancies and the overall stability of the port do more than enough to make playing on Linux as comfortable as on Windows.

    We hope that the soon to be released Pre-Sequel, the first in a long-time day one AAA game release on Linux, will be just as good on Linux, and we're eagerly awaiting what else Aspyr Media will bring to Linux soon.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Borderlands 2 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Oct 11 2014 02:43 PM
    • by Soeb
  6. PC Report: Tropico 5 on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 400, AMD Radeon HD 4000, Intel HD 4000
    • OS: Ubuntu, SteamOS

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 400, AMD Radeon HD 4000, Intel HD 4000
    • OS: Vista SP2, 7, 8
    The system requirements between Windows and Linux are comparable. The expectation from this should be that the game runs equally well on all supported systems. We look into whether that's the case further in the report.

    An interesting thing to note is that the Linux version requires only OpenGL 3.3. While the Windows release requires full hardware support for Direct3D 10.1, which only became available in some 200 series and later Nvidia graphics cards, the Linux release could theoretically work on cards from the 8 series onwards. Whether it's practical to run the game on such ancient GPUs, and whether the game will be playable in other terms is a different issue, but the possibility remains.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, an nVidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit. The driver version used on Windows is 344.11 and on Linux 343.22. At the time of writing, these were the latest stable drivers available.

    Graphical comparison


    The game matches the Windows version in its graphics featureset, not omitting anything. This is a pleasant surprise, though not entirely unexpected.



    While the game may not be the one of the prettiest out there, there's still a lot of enjoyment that can be taken away from what was achieved. Looking at your island from afar shows the island in the best light, but zooming in makes the low resolution textures painfully obvious. Thankfully, the looks aren't downgraded just for Linux, but equal across all three systems.



    On Linux, the game does seem to occasionally experience some problems still. From time to time, texture load times may prove themselves an annoyance and flickering shadows during movement may become a distraction when playing for longer times. These are however minor issues, and rather infrequent, thus not being a major detractor from enjoyment of the game.

    Performance


    In many areas, the game is on par with Windows. Starting the game, loading, and saving all perform equally well or with nearly indistinguishable differences.

    The Linux version seems to degrade in performance far more over time - while initially, you'll not notice much of a difference between systems, with Windows easily getting a stable rate over 120 frames per second, and Linux close behind at about 90-100, as you progress through the game, you will find a much more noticeable drop leading to very visible stuttering. This is a major cause for worry, as if you intend to keep your tropical paradise working throughout the times, the experience towards the end may lose some enjoyment.

    Chart - moving


    The above averages are based on a 60 second period of camera movement, following a road around the island and having the game run at normal speed. As noted above, on Windows, during the whole period the framerate stayed above 60, with less than 0.1% of frames taking more than 16.7ms to render. No perceptible drops could be experienced while observing the lives and construction going on around the place. On Linux, this situation was not so ideal. While the average framerate was close to 60, more than 50% of frames took more than 16.7ms to render, leading to frequent stuttering.

    Chart - static


    For this measurement, the camera was focused for 60 seconds on a single busy part of the island, with building and fighting going on around the place. While not that much time in the game is spent observing those events, it's likely you're going to follow the fights, in case the rebels, or maybe the Nobel committee, are starting to overwhelm your forces.

    As noted in the chart, Windows still stayed with an average over 60, though this time a lot lower, only achieving 78 frames per second and occasionally dipping below 60. 3% of frames took more than 16.7ms to render, meaning that the player would be more likely to notice some minor freezes this time. Unfortunately on Linux, the situation was a lot worse. With the average only being 45 frames per second, less than 5% of frames were rendered in under 16.7ms. As expected from a low framerate with high fluctuations, the stutter is persistent and hard to ignore.

    Linux perspective


    One of the most satisfying features of this port, is the lack of a "Windows-exclusive" bonus. In this, I do mean the Kalypso launcher. Before running the game on Linux, you never have to register a second account, log into any secondary services, or do any extra work. You can just download the game, press play, and start oppressing your trusting Tropicans, with no additional fuss!

    Along with the Linux port, came great controller support. This feature is not exclusive to the Linux version, as the improvements have made their way back to the Windows release. In addition to this, the SteamOS release also brought a default configuration for the Steam Controller.

    The save games are already compatible between all three systems, as is online multiplayer. While Steam Cloud support is missing at present, the developers have stated that they're working on adding support for the Linux and OS X versions of the game soon.

    Conclusion


    Despite the lower over-all performance, I think it's safe to say this is a very solid port. With graphical parity, improved experience in places, and what is after-all the first foray into Linux and OpenGL development by the developer, the game still behaves very well.

    Hopefully with time, we may see some improvements to the rendering performance. Optimistically, the response to Tropico 5's Linux release will prove the support worthwhile, and lead the developers to give higher priority to Linux performance and support in future titles.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Tropico 5 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Oct 05 2014 03:43 PM
    • by Soeb
  7. PC Report: XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: 2 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 16 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia 600 series, AMD 6000 series, Intel Iris Pro, with 512 MB of VRAM
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: 2 GHz Dual core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 20 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT
    • OS: Windows Vista
    The current system requirements on Linux are a few notches higher than the Windows and OS X versions. The reasoning for listing them so high might be quite similar to Aspyr's for Civilization V - they just didn't have the time to test it on different configurations.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, nVidia GTX 770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit.

    Graphical comparison


    The Linux version happily and fully matches the Windows version in the graphical area. All features available on Windows are also available on Linux, leading to a high quality experience for all players - precisely what should always be expected!



    As we can see on the screenshots, there are no differences when the game is running at high settings. If you'd like to inspect the screenshots more closely, all images from this article are available here.

    Performance


    While the game may not be very demanding by appearance, verifying it performs just as well is always important. While at a quick glance, I assumed the game was running just as well on Linux, doing some benchmarks revealed slightly poorer performance compared to the original. These results are based on same 60 second mission segments being run on each system at the same settings.

    Chart v2


    As can be seen, there's a significant degradation in performance on the Linux version. While the game is able to smoothly hit 60 frames per second most of the time, playing on a monitor with a higher refresh rate would not be optimal.

    When doing a more in detail analysis of the frame time for each frame, I ran into a worrying result - almost 15% of all frames took longer than 16.7ms to render on Linux, explaining many noticeable hangs during play. By comparison, less than 0.1% of frames was above 16.7ms on Windows.

    Compatibility


    On the compatibility front, the game happily matches the Windows version. With multiplayer being compatible between any systems, saves fully working, together with Steam cloud synchronizing them across all your machines, there's little to be dissatisfied with.

    Unfortunately, as the game features no official modding support, the modding scene on Linux looks very similar to OS X - that is to say, there isn't one. If you enjoy mods like Long War (which, keep in mind, requires significant changes on Windows to make work), then you're out of luck. This is not to say that modding isn't possible on Linux or OS X at all, but so far, there have been no significant attempts at remaking these mods for the other systems.

    SteamOS


    The game works fully with a controller from start to finish (this includes the launcher) on SteamOS, as well when just using Steam in Big Picture mode. If desired, you never have to touch a mouse - although the game did not select the controller input mode when launching using one, requiring you to make use of a mouse for a moment longer. For the few who do have a Steam Controller - unfortunately native support for it does not appear to be included just yet.

    Conclusion


    While one can still run into some minor bugs in places, most of these are unrelated to the port and present on all platforms the game was released on. The game satisfies expectations by being fully compatible with other versions and supporting the full graphical capabilities of the original release. The rather decreased performance is a major worry, as presumably the gap can manifest itself even further on weaker systems. Thankfully, an update that may address these issues to a degree is already being worked on.

    We do not know what ports Feral Interactive is working on now, but we're all looking forward to what else will they bring to the system.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of XCOM: Enemy Unknown fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Sep 26 2014 09:10 PM
    • by Soeb
  8. PC Report: Sid Meier's Civilization V on Linux

    System requirements


    Minimum - Linux

    • CPU: Intel Core i3, AMD A10
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 10 GB
    • GPU: Radeon HD 6450, GeForce 640M, Iris Pro
    • OS: SteamOS

    Minimum - Windows

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz, AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0 GHz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 8 GB
    • GPU: 256 MB ATI HD2600 XT, 256 MB nVidia 7900 GS, Core i3 integrated graphics
    • OS: Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, 7
    The current system requirements are not final, as the game has so far received limited testing. This accounts, to a degree, for the difference between the Windows and Linux minimum requirements. There are reports of people being able to run the game on cards like the Intel HD4000 and even on such devices as the Acer Chromebook C720, but these are only verified by the community.

    The following report is based on the performance of the game on a machine with an Intel Xeon E3-1241v3, 8 GB of RAM, nVidia GTX770 with 2 GB of VRAM and a Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB SSD. The game was running on Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit.

    Settings comparison


    The Linux and OS X releases of the game only match the features of the Direct3D 9 Windows version. This means that certain graphical features are not at all available on Linux or OS X. Not all of those are included in the settings, as some are enabled automatically when playing the Direct3D 11 version. Most notably, features excluded from the Linux and OS X versions are anti-aliasing and higher quality leader scenes. The Linux version additionally lacks GPU texture decoding.



    GPU texture decoding was recently added to the OS X release of the game, which gives hope that this may also be ported to the Linux release.

    The lack of anti-aliasing is the most visible missing feature of the game. Jagged edges are visible at all zoom levels with no anti-aliasing.




    Besides this having a very clear effect on tile improvements, aliasing can also be observed on the various units present in the game.



    With the setting only going up to Medium, the quality of leader scenes' background and lighting is heavily degraded, and to a lesser degree, both the scenes and the leaders are affected by aliasing.



    While graphics are not the priority in a strategy game, the omission of these features is noticeable, and sure to annoy those already used to the higher fidelity of the Windows version.

    The lack of GPU texture decoding can be felt at all times. Just rolling over the game area, or zooming in/out, one can feel sudden and huge frame rate drops, and the game over-all stutters. However when managing a single area with relatively little movement from the player, the game plays just perfectly fine.

    What appears to be the most probable explanation of the lack of these features, is the trip the port took. Originally, the Direct3D 9 version was ported to OS X, because at the time, only OpenGL 3.3 could be targeted on this platform. This meant the omission of a lot of the features, that were only kept for the Direct3D 11 version.

    If you'd like to inspect the situation more closely, you can compare all of the above images personally here.

    Load times


    Besides the performance hit taken from the lack of GPU texture decoding, the game is considerably slower to start-up, start a game, or load an old one than on Windows. The difference between the systems, with data gathered from multiple tries of same and comparable late game savegames, start-up in same conditions and generation of the game using the play now button with the same presets can be seen on the chart below.

    Loading times


    Initially, I assumed these increases in time could be accounted to the game not being designed for a case-sensitive file system, as neither the Windows or OS X versions had to deal with it. A quick glance at a trace however showed, that the game did not attempt to access files under different names, making this theory unlikely.

    We were unable to include performance benchmarks/comparisons, due to the lack of a FRAPS-like tool on Linux.

    Compatibility


    Due to the nature of being a 3rd-party port, outsourced to an external studio, patches are often only released after the Windows version. During last year, Aspyr has put additional effort into putting out same day patches for OS X, with a personal goal of being no later than 2 weeks. Since the release of the Linux version, no patches were released on any systems, so we cannot speak about the situation here.

    When a patch was released on Windows, but not on OS X/Linux, there is a period of time in which users cannot play multiplayer games between their OSes. As savegames are not backwards compatible, attempting to use one saved by a newer version on an older version might result in data corruption and a loss of said savegame.

    For these reasons, Steam Cloud is separate for each system, meaning you can't easily pick up a game from the desktop and continue on your MacBook on the go, or the Steam Machine in your living room. Thankfully, when no further patches are going to be released, it's likely cross-platform Steam cloud support will be enabled, as this will not be a problem any longer.

    If you love playing the game with mods, and often make use of the Workshop, you won't be very happy to hear this. Steam Workshop and mods are not currently officially supported, but this is reportedly in the works. In the mean time, you can follow our guide on using mods on Linux and OS X. But remember, not all mods are guaranteed to work with this method!

    Currently many of the various game translations are present on OS X and Linux. You will be able to play the game in the EFIGS languages, but the Russian, Japanese, Korean, Polish and Chinese translations are not yet available.

    SteamOS


    If you're one of the lucky few who have received a Steam Machine, a Steam Controller, or you've just built your own living room set-up, the game is fully compatible with SteamOS. There are no additional differences when playing on SteamOS, rather than on other Linux distributions, however windowed mode is disabled entirely, as there's no need for it. It appears the game doesn't have native Steam controller support.

    Conclusion


    Even through the various minor issues, this is a very good port. While the exclusion of some features may be slightly disappointing, we can hope that this first venture into Linux land by Aspyr will cause more ports to be made, and as time goes by, games might have the same features on all systems.

    If you're experiencing any issues with the game on either Linux or OS X, it is advised you report the bugs directly to the developer.

    The developer of the Linux and OS X ports is also working on making the next Civilization game, Civilization: Beyond Earth, available for those who do not use Windows.

    PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor Soeb. For an up to date account of Civilization V fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Dec 22 2014 07:48 PM
    • by Soeb