There are times when one feels a bit of envy towards those that stick to console games. Always the same hardware, the only thing you choose is the game you want to play. Unfortunately, not all games are available on console. Not only that, but console games tend to be ridiculously expensive. So I am a PC gamer by necessity.
To make matters worse, my operating system is Linux, because it is simply better, and also it’s free. But my current laptop came pre-installed with Windows and the first thing I did was remove the hostile environment and install Ubuntu server with a KDE Plasma desktop. Most games dislike Linux, perhaps because Linux is the choice OS for programmers and programmers are good at analyzing game files and creating cheats, but more likely because they are getting paid by Microsoft to stay away from a better product.
Fortunately, there are ways to run games that are made for Windows even if you’re on Linux. Again, proof that Linux is just the better choice, because I don’t think the opposite is possible.
When you install Steam, they have a system called Proton that kind of works like a Windows emulator. You download a Windows installer for your game, in the Games menu choose Add a non-Steam game to my Library, and run the installer that way. Then you have to remove the installer from your library and add the actual game there in a similar fashion. Proton sometimes works better than the other options, so this might be the first thing to try.
WINE Is Not an Emulator. It does listen to requests that would be made on Windows and translates that request to something Linux can understand. It does not have a complete understanding of all the possible requests that Windows software might make, so it doesn’t always work. But you can try to just download an installer and run it with wine and see what happens. It might just work.
The main benefit of Lutris is that they have some scripts prepared so you can do some particular settings of Wine that might be necessary to make things work. Lutris is a game collector, similar to Steam, but you go to their web page to find a script and run it to install whatever game you want to play. There is also a wiki on how to make sure you have drivers installed for your graphics card &c.
An example: World of Warcraft
GB is getting old enough to start playing some games, and I thought World of Warcraft might be a good place to start. A quick search told me that everyone who replied to people who had problems said “Just use Lutris”, so I used this as my first attempt. First time it didn’t work, but second go it just somehow installed despite no real changes made.
After letting GB level up a character, and doing some leveling myself, WoW dropped a new update. Or rather, some kind of pre-expansion of draconic or whatever. After the update, we could log in to look at our characters, but starting the game didn’t work. When I looked through the game settings, I saw that the options were all reset. One of the things that changed was that Direct3D 12 was used, and people seem to recommend using 11 so I changed that. Still didn’t work. So I tried various other things, but nothing worked.
After uninstalling the game as well as Battle.net I set about to reinstall, but nope that didn’t work. The battle.net installer just refused to run. At all. So after some tinkering I gave up and switched to Proton. That did work. For unexplained reasons.
Then I decided to try and get WoW on a second computer to see if we can play together. That is the whole point of an MMO anyway, isn’t it. So for the next computer I started with Proton; didn’t work. Lutris; didn’t work. Running wine Battle.net.setup.exe did however work. For unexplained reasons.
Installing WoW on two computers at the same time, with shared and limited bandwidth, takes 5 hours. So now we wait. I still don’t know if it will work. And starting to feel a bit annoyed about all the loops I have to jump through just because Blizzard is a shit company that don’t know how to support a good operating system. But there really isn’t much support for PC gaming, even among the games that are only available for PC. Weird business model, if you ask me.