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Valve Beginning to List Linux System Requirements for Select Titles on Steam

Posted on December 7, 2012 10:00 AM by Rob Williams
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Perhaps hinting at the fact that the official Steam for Linux launch isn’t too far off, Valve has begun updating some game pages to include Linux system requirements. While a system requirements listing is rarely interesting, things are different here based on the simple fact that we’re talking about a major gaming service becoming available for an OS that has been craving it for years. Plus, there are other factors that increase the intrigue, which I’ll get to in a moment.

The Linux system requirements for Serious Sam 3: BFE:

Based on the current list of titles that are available through the Linux Steam client, Serious Sam 3: BFE is likely to become the flagship title where graphics are concerned. Under Windows and fully maxed-out, the game runs like a dog even on a high-end modern system. Not too much should change on the Linux side, as its requirements are fairly beefy, with a quad-core and mid-range GPU recommended.

The stand-out requirement is of course Ubuntu 12.04. We’ve known all along that Valve has been focusing on supporting Ubuntu due to its massive userbase, but that doesn’t mean that all games will be supporting it exclusively. This is proven with a look at another game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent:

Here, Linux Mint is supported along with Fedora – the latter being the more impressive mention as it’s not Debian-based like Ubuntu and Linux Mint are. Not all games will require the use of the latest version of these OSes, but it’s generally recommended that you keep up-to-date for the best experience. One game is mentioned as requiring Ubuntu 10.10, but most point out the fact that it requires a “fully updated” OS, such as the one above.

What I’m really interested in seeing is how the client will run on distros Valve doesn’t specifically support, such as Arch and my personal favorite, Gentoo. In my experience, Desura has run well in every distro I’ve run it in, so hopefully the experience with Steam won’t be too different.


  • http://guideme.blogspot.com/ Mike Frett

    No disrespect, but why wouldn’t it be faster? Linux is generally more responsive and less difficult on system resources. Not to mention in Valves own tests, Linux was generally faster for gaming.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      When I said “Not too much should change”, I meant that the game should look great under the OS and become a showpiece of sorts for what’s possible.

      Regarding Valve’s tests, I’m holding off on assuming that all gaming under Linux is going to perform better than in Windows just because. Linux has an efficient kernel, but more important are the GPU drivers. So far, the only performance information Valve/NVIDIA has released has been for Left 4 Dead 2, which is outdated in terms of graphics technology. SS3: BFE is in a much different league.

      If SS3: BFE does happen to run better under Linux, I just hope it’s not because the OpenGL API didn’t allow some of the graphics options to remain. I didn’t play the game too much under Windows, but I recall there being an unbelievable number of graphics options to tweak.

      I’ll install Ubuntu to our GPU test rig this weekend and see if I can’t run some simple tests to see where things stand (though I have to make sure I can even share performance results).

    • mewo

      Yes it is much faster, at least for me playing Killing floor. Its amazing how smooth the game runs compared to windows.

      • http://kougeru.tumblr.com/ Kou

        The only part of this that is factually “True” for me, is that it’s smoother on games that haven’t been updated on windows in awhile. Games like Killing Floor were basically the same. Also the drivers for the Linux versions are far more up to date..not really a fair comparison. My system isn’t super high but most the games run about the same on it…It seems to me there’s a rather low point physically where there difference becomes negligible.

    • Trygve Vea

      There are several challenges with accelerating 2d graphics in Linux. Resulting in having to reimplement 2d renderers in OpenGL to get a decent result – which is fune, but not optional when you just need to blit things fast.

      Chrome doesn’t have a hardware accelerated html5 canvas, for example. And SDL’s hardware accelerated surfaces doesn’t work in X11. So even though Linux wins on several points, there’s still a lot of things that can be severely improved.

  • http://profiles.google.com/joeflambe Joe Flambe

    I have to see Linux ported games to believe it. And hopefully the games won’t be 60 bucks a throw.

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