Tag Archives: opengl

Steam for Linux and OpenGL advantage over Windows 10 – Rich Geldreich

steam for linux and opengl advantage over windows rich geldreich

So recently we posted news about the Windows 10 market share according to #Steam. Since then, ex Valveemployee  Rich Geldreich is back in the news regarding Steam and Linux. Geldreich worked on games such as Portal 2 and Linux versions of other Valve titles. While these titles are based on the original Source Engine, the developer issued a blog post. The post shows Valve’s efforts with Linux and OpenGL on the industry. Particularly in getting Microsoft to support PC gaming better.

Unity renderers comparison DX12 and Vulkan

With credit to YouTuber “airspeedmph” a Unity #renderers comparison running the #Courtyarddemo between Windows using various versions of DirectX, Vulkan and OpenGL, plus SteamOS using Vulkan and OpenGL. The results are eye opening, but spoiler, it looks like DirectX 12 and Vulkan keep relatively close to the same frame rate.

Check it out. The Green labels are Windows and Blue are SteamOS respectively.

The video synopsis from airspeedmph:

Don’t look too much into it, the demo isn’t a DX12/Vulkan showcase. It was just my curiosity to see how this very GPU/CPU intensive demo will perform using current (some still experimental) Unity renderers. Some details below (press SHOW MORE)

You probably (like me) expected some interesting results, but as it stands there’s barely any difference between them, but since I already made it, here it is.
I’ll likely try later with other demos.

This is a modified version of the Courtyard demo that can be found here: https://blogs.unity3d.com/2015/11/05/…
It is modified because some shaders that the demo is using are now incompatible with the current version of Unity. Is something that can be probably fixed by experimented Unity users, but since I’m not that I just preferred to replace them with standard shaders.

Videos recorded at 1680×1050 windowed since the DX12 build refuse to let go of Vsync in fullscreen mode.

Nothing interesting about GPU/CPU usage data, since it was 100% for all of them.

The demo has a 122 fps limit that I was unable to overcome.


  • i7 4790K
  • Nvidia GTX 780
  • 16 GB RAM

SteamOS Brewmaster
Windows 10

Linux Nvidia driver 367.57
Windows Nvidia driver 373.06

As the results speak for themselves, so does Vulkan and OpenGL running on SteamOS. Needless to say there seems to be varying results on Windows running three different versions of DirectX. Where things get interesting, at different points during the test, DX12 pulls only slightly ahead of Vulkan, while OpenGL on SteamOS still gets a higher frame rate.

With all the talk about SteamVR and Vulkan support, it’s going to be interesting to see test results for the Vive and other headsets used for actual gaming on Linux. If this test is any indication of the work that needs to be done in order to improve Vulkan or even expand the use of OpenGL, VR performance will definitely need some tweaking. Let alone necessary changes and such for the Unity game engine running Vulkan, which is still experimental.


Tomb Raider 2013 1.1.1 Patch greatly improves gameplay for Linux and SteamOS


#Released at the end of April 2016 for Linux, Tomb Raider is a great game that proves itself yet again, and now with even #better gameplay with the #adventurer Lara Croft.

The recent Tomb Raider 2013 1.1.1 Patch went live now for all existing owners of the game, getting rid of several annoying issues. So the gameplay is a great deal more responsive no longer crashes when using a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Some game menu glitches reported by users has been resolved thanks to support for the GL_ARB_stencil_texturing OpenGL 4.3 extension, the occasional hangs that occurred due to thread size were fixed as well, plus support for the GCC 5.3 compiler, offering CPU improvements (particularly for AMD users).

The 1.1.1 patch for Tomb Raider 2013 addresses audio issues reported with the ALSA sound driver, as well as that occur when playing in different languages. To top things off, there are multiple OpenGL 4.2 and OpenGL 4.3 improvements and general performance fixes.

The patch will automatically download and install. Then just relaunch the game after installation, but you still experience issues, don’t hesitate to report them to Feral Support.


Linux gaming gets ready to tower DirectX competitor Vulkan


#Linux-based Steam machines and mobile devices should #improve #gaming significantly with the soon-to-be-released Vulkan API (application programming interface).

Vulkan, as many already know, is designed to be used for many applications, but is most relevant for games, similar to DirectX in Windows. A whole new API that is a much-needed upgrade from the aging OpenGL, which was introduced back in 1991 by Silicon Graphics.

Khronos, the consortium behind the development of Vulkan, has yet to issue a formal release date. But interest for the new API has grown significantly since Intel and Qualcomm first highlighted it.

Now Khronos has since scheduled an introductory Vulkan webinar for February 18th. Since the consortium delayed the release of Vulkan 1.0 in December, explaining that the API is in its “final stretch.”

Designed to improve the visual functionality of games on Linux, Mac and mobile devices. Along with using fewer system resources, preserving battery life in laptops and mobile devices.
In addition to gaming, the API could be used for further applications. Vehicles, virtual reality headsets, robots and drones that rely on visual computing. All written using the new API.

Vulkan is actually a low-level API that uses a closer interaction with hardware than OpenGL, which in-turn renders games faster. To top it off, there are fewer steps involved in drawing up images as Vulkan is designed to keep up to modern hardware, such as multi-core processors and high-performance GPU’s.
OpenGL was created to provide an abstraction layer, which work for older hardware. While newer low-level APIs reduce the level of abstraction and overhead for programs needed to interact with the hardware. So games will be able to exploit the full power of GPU’s now using Vulkan. Developers can also define how graphics are rendered, a huge change from OpenGL, which kept most of the hardware rendered graphics hidden.

“Modern games today are developed in DirectX, but Vulkan also makes porting games to other platforms more efficient,” said Jason Ekstrand. A developer at Intel that outlined the details in a talk at the FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) forum in late January.

“Up to now, graphics quality would actually degrade when trying to port from Windows to Linux or Mac. But with Vulkan, quality remains largely intact when porting from DirectX,” Ekstrand said. “Writing games becomes easier, and supporters hope that this will draw developers to Vulkan.”

Tech vendors have recently started pushing to develop low-level APIs such as Apple’s Metal, DirectX 12 and AMD’s new GPUOpen. See Vulkan is designed to work across multiple hardware platforms, which also shares some characteristics with OpenCL, mostly hardware agnostic, used for high-performance computing.

Companies supporting Vulkan, including AMD and Intel, have already committed to releasing open-source drivers. Other graphics chip makers are backing Vulkan. Imagination Technologies — which makes GPUs for Apple devices — will demonstrate Vulkan at the upcoming Mobile World Congress show. Nvidia is holding sessions to discuss Vulkan at its GPU Technology conference in April.

Vulkan SDKs will be available for Linux, Android and Windows, according to the Khronos’ official website. So stay tuned.


SteamOS gaming benchmarks perform worse than Windows

Ars Technica just published a benchmark post with a big heads up to SteamOS #developers. These tests were done using the same PC with a dual-boot setup with Windows 10, and when put to the test, the very same titles performed worse, across the board under #Linux. Where #framerates across a variety of titles, including Valve’s own Team Fortress 2, Portal and Dota 2, suffered a significant penalty.

SteamOS gaming benchmarks perform worse than Windows

Some of the titles being highlighted such as Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Metro Last Light Redux are not full out native titles. Which should be outlined for developers looking to release their game on Steam for Linux, particularly for those hoping to address the market generated by the recent commercial release of Linux-based SteamOS powered PC’s.

Also, these tests were carried out on a single PC with a small handful of games and a lot of variables at play; which could dismay some developers from porting titles to Linux. But again, these are not necessarily full out native ports. The tests do not show any Unity titles, which way heavily on Mono and keep a light weight and more feasible performance, and power over 70% of the Steam for Linux catalogue.

SteamOS gaming benchmarks perform worse than Windows

While all of these statistics, graphs, and media hype highlighting the frames per second on various titles, do note that OpenGL still uses a great deal of older features that do not necessarily apply to modern hardware and multi-threaded applications. While the upcoming Vulkan API (which Arstechnica also wrote about), has been a strong contender for Valve and SteamOS, set to be a more of a game changer, expected to arrive in the NVIDIA GeForce 358.66 Driver.

And to be fair, all of this comes in the wake of Valve removing Linux versions of games from Steam last month, due to titles not playing well on SteamOS. So there are known issues still at play that are not being mentioned.

In the mean time, try using this Thread Optimization setting in the Launch Options of Steam. This may or may not make a difference in the overall FPS and/or performance, but it’s worth checking out:

LD_PRELOAD=”libpthread.so.0 libGL.so.1″ __GL_THREADED_OPTIMIZATIONS=1

In the mean time, here is a video from Intel to re-affirm some expectations of the Vulkan API:



%d bloggers like this: