Playing Popular Windows Games in Linux Becomes Easier

May 18, 2010

One of the reasons why Linux can never catch up to Windows is its inability to play mainstream, popular games. Linux is powerful, safe, and secure. But Windows PCs are preferred specially by the gaming crowd. I’ve been a user of Linux, and I know that Linux has plenty of games. What these people usually mean is that it doesn’t have their favorite Windows games - but now, that’s changing.

For years now, it has been possible to play selected popular Windows games on Linux via Wine. But one can never run these games natively, unless a proper port to Linux is available.

Two recent developments have made it even easier to run Windows games on Linux though. The first, as reported by Phoronix, is that Valve, makers of the Steam gaming system and content delivery platform, will be releasing a Steam client to Linux later this summer. While you could run Steam on Linux before, it was both slow and difficult to set up properly.

The Steam Linux client is already available in a closed beta. And 3D graphical card support on Linux has improved, which will help give players a good game experience. Linux users can look forward to playing native versions of such popular games as Quake Wars, Doom 3. Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and Team Fortress 2.

The other development is that CodeWeavers has released a new and significantly improved version of Crossover Games. CrossOver Games is based on the open-source project Wine, an implementation of the Windows API that runs on top of the Unix/Linux operating system family.

You can run Windows games on Linux, including Steam-based ones, with Wine alone, but you’ll need to be an expert Linux user and have a good idea of what each game demands from its environment to pull those tricks off. The new version 9.0 features an easier-to-user game installation routine, thousands of minor improvements, and a feature that lets gamers share ‘Compatibility Profiles,’ or ‘c4p’ files. These enable users to create and share custom set-up recipes for officially unsupported games, so that others can install them without having to get their hands dirty with finicky customized set-up.

The net result, CodeWeavers promises, is that you can now play a good deal many more Windows games on Linux and the ones you could play before are now more responsive.


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