Difference between revisions of "Gaming"

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{{Article summary text|Provides information about running games and related system configuration tips.}}
{{Article summary text|Provides information about running games and related system configuration tips.}}

Revision as of 12:20, 13 June 2012

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This page only contains information about running games and related system configuration tips. For lists of popular games for GNU/Linux see Common Applications/Games and Netbook Games.

Game Environments

Different environments exist to play games in Linux:

  • Native – Games written for Linux (usually Free & Open Source).
  • Browser – you need only browser and Internet connection to play this games.
    • Plugin-based – you need to install plugin to play.
      • Java Webstart – to install cross-platform games very easily.
      • Flash games are very common on the Web.
      • Unity – specialized plugin for browser, currently works only in Google Chrome. Most games are commercial.
    • HTML 5 games use brand new canvas and WebGL technologies and work in all modern browsers but can be very slow on weak machines.
  • Specialized environments (software emulators) – you should first install emulator, then find games yourself (most are protected by Copyright!)
    • Wine – allows running of some Windows games.
    • Crossover Games - members of the Codeweavers team are prime supporters of Wine. Using Crossover Games makes the installation & setting up of some games easier, more reliable & even possible, when compared to using other methods. Crossover is an inexpensive commercial product, which also provides a forum where the developers are very much involved in the community.
    • Cedega – game-oriented Wine derivative. Its packaged version is not free of charge unlike its CVS version.
    • DosBox – DOS games
    • scummvm – lots of old adventure games
  • Hardware emulators – emulate the whole device instead of software environment. The same thing about Copyright here.

Getting games


A good number are available in the Official repositories or in the AUR. Loki provides installers for several games. Desura can be considered good source of games (if you don't care about security and bugs too much).


  • Centralized source of information about running games (and other applications) in Wine is Wine AppDB.
  • See also Category:Wine.


Several huge flash games portals exists, among them are:


Running games in Arch

Certain games or game types may need special configuration to run or to run as expected. For the most part, games will work right out of the box in Arch Linux with possibly better performance than on other distributions due to compile time optimizations. However, some special setups may require a bit of configuration or scripting to make games run as smoothly as desired.

Multi-screen setups

Running a multi-screen setup may lead to problems with fullscreen games. In such a case, running a second X server is one possible solution. Another solution may be found in the NVIDIA article (may also apply to non-NVIDIA users).

Keyboard Grabbing

Some games grab the keyboard, noticeably preventing you from switching windows (also known as alt-tabbing). Download sdl-nokeyboardgrabAUR to gain the ability to use keyboard commands while in SDL games. If you wish to turn it up to 11, you can disable keyboard grabbing at X11 level using libx11-nokeyboardgrabAUR.

Note: SDL is known to sometimes not be able to grab the input system. In such a case, it may succeed in grabbing it after a few seconds of waiting.

Starting games in a separate X server

In some cases like those mentioned above, it may be necessary or desired to run a second X server. Running a second X server has multiple advantages such as better performance, the ability to "tab" out of your game by using CTRL-ALT-F7 / CTRL-ALT-F8, no crashing your primary X session (which may have open work on) in case a game conflicts with the graphics driver. To start a second X server (using Nexuiz as an example) you can simply do:

xinit /usr/bin/nexuiz-glx -- :1

This can further be spiced up by using a seperate X configuration file:

xinit /usr/bin/nexuiz-glx -- :1 -xf86config xorg-game.conf 

A good reason to provide an alternative xorg.conf here may be that your primary configuration makes use of NVIDIA's Twinview which would render your 3D games like Nexuiz in the middle of your multiscreen setup, spanned across all screens. This is undesirable, thus starting a second X with an alternative config where the second screen is disabled is advised.

A game starting script making use of Openbox for your home directory or /usr/local/bin may look like this:

$ cat ~/game.sh
if [ $# -ge 1 ]; then
  game="`which $1`"
  openbox="`which openbox`"
  echo -e "${openbox} &\n${game}" > ${tmpgame}
  echo "starting ${game}"
  xinit ${tmpgame} -- :1 -xf86config xorg-game.conf || exit 1
  echo "not a valid argument"

So after a chmod +x you would be able to use this script like:

$ ~/game.sh nexuiz-glx

Adjusting mouse detections

For games that require exceptional amount of mouse skill, adjusting the response rate can help improve accuracy. Read more here.

Performance on netbooks

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Talk:Netbook Games (Discuss in Talk:Gaming#)

Most games will benefit from a RAM upgrade, especially to 2GB (the max supported in most current netbooks). They will often also benefit from overclocking the Intel Atom processor, especially a 24% overclock, that is possible with a bios upgrade in the MSI Wind U100, and possibly others.

See also