Difference between revisions of "Steam"

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(Killing standalone compositors when launching games)
(Bad advice: doesn't work - it'll set the login's status as inactive and by by hardware acceleration (also setting DISPLAY is unnecessay))
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* If you still have trouble starting games, use {{ic|# mount --bind /path/to/SteamApps ~/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps -ouser=your-user-name }}, this is the only thing that worked for me with {{ic|TF2}}.
* If you still have trouble starting games, use {{ic|# mount --bind /path/to/SteamApps ~/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps -ouser=your-user-name }}, this is the only thing that worked for me with {{ic|TF2}}.
==== Running Steam in a second X server ====
Assuming you are using the script above to start Steam, make a new script, called {{ic|x.steam.sh}}. You should run this when you want to start Steam in a new X server, and {{ic|steam.sh}} if you want Steam to start in the current X server.
If due to misconfiguration a black screen is shown, you could always close down the second X server by pressing {{Keypress|Ctrl+Alt+Backspace}}.
xinit $HOME/steam.sh $* -- :1
Now you can use {{Keypress|Ctrl+Alt+F7}} to get to your first X server with your normal desktop, and {{Keypress|Ctrl+Alt+F8}} to go back to your game.
Because the second X server is ''only'' running the game and the first X server with all your programs is backgrounded, performance should increase. In addition, it is much more convenient to switch X servers while in game to access other resources, rather than having to exit the game completely or {{Keypress|Alt+Tab}} out. Finally, it is useful for when Steam or WINE goes haywire and leaves a bunch of processes in memory after Steam crashes. Simply {{Keypress|Ctrl+Alt+Backspace}} on the second X server to kill that X and all processes on that desktop will terminate as well.
'''If you get errors that look like "Xlib: connection to ":1.0" refused by server" when starting the second X''': You will need to adjust your X permissions.
'''If you lose the ability to use the keyboard while using Steam''': This is an odd bug that does not happen with other games. A solution is to use a WM in the second X as well. Thankfully, you do not need to run a large WM. Openbox and icewm have been confirmed to fix this bug (evilwm, pekwm, lwm ''do not'' work), but the icewm taskbar shows up on the bottom of the game, thus it's recommended to use [[Openbox]]. Install {{Pkg|openbox}} from the [[official repositories]], then add {{ic|openbox &}} to the top of your {{ic|steam.sh}} file. Note you can run other programs (ex. Teamspeak &) or set X settings (ex. xset, xmodmap) before the WINE call as well.
==== Steam links in Firefox, Chrome, etc ====
==== Steam links in Firefox, Chrome, etc ====

Revision as of 20:06, 26 June 2013

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From Wikipedia:

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses.

Native Steam on Linux

  • Arch Linux is not officially supported.
  • Because the Steam client is a 32-bit application, you will need to enable the multilib repository if you have a 64-bit system. It may also make sense to install multilib-devel to provide some important multilib libraries. You also most likely need to install the 32-bit version of your graphics driver to run Steam.

Steam can be installed with the package steam, available in the official repositories. If you have a 64-bit system, enable the multilib repository first.

Steam is not supported on this distribution. As such some fixes are needed on the users part to get things functioning properly:

  • Several games have dependencies which may be missing from your system. If a game fails to launch (often without error messages) then make sure all of the libraries listed in Steam/Game-specific troubleshooting are installed.


  • In addition to being documented here, any bug/fix/error should be, if not already, reported on Valve's bug tracker on their GitHub page.
  • Connection problems may occur when using DD-WRT with peer-to-peer traffic filtering.

GUI problems with KDE

Valve GitHub issue 594

If you are using KDE and you have problems with the GUI (such as lag or random crashes), in KDE system settings, go to Workspace Appearance and Behaviour > Desktop Effects > Advanced. Change "Compositing type" from "XRender" to "OpenGL".

The close button only minimizes the window

Valve GitHub issue 1025

To close the Steam window (and remove it from the taskbar) when you press x, but keep Steam running in the tray, set the environment variable STEAM_FRAME_FORCE_CLOSE to 1. You can do this by launching Steam using the following command.


Flash not working on 64-bit systems

Steam Support article

First ensure lib32-flashplugin is installed. It should be working at this point, if not create a local Steam Flash plugin folder:

$ mkdir ~/.steam/bin32/plugins/

and set a symbolic link to the global lib32 flash plugin file in your upper new folder

$ ln -s /usr/lib32/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so ~/.steam/bin32/plugins/

Text is corrupt or missing

The Steam Support instructions for Windows seem to work on Linux also: Simply download SteamFonts.zip and install them (copying to ~/.fonts/ works at least).

Error on some games: black textures/S3TC support is missing

Install the following dependencies:

Black screen on (Valve?) games (but audio works)

Check the Steam stdout/stderr for Error lines, some quick dependencies for reference:

Run Steam from console via primusrun steam

If using KDE, disable all desktop effects (Alt+Shift+F12) before starting Steam.

SetLocale('en_US.UTF-8') fails at game startup

Edit /etc/locale.gen in your favourite editor and uncomment the line en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8. Then run # locale-gen.

Steam complains about direct rendering not available on 64bit systems with NVIDIA driver

Make sure you have [multilib] enabled in /etc/pacman.conf.

Install the following dependencies:

Steam, being a 32-bit application, requires 32-bit nvidia GL libraries to run. This packages will install the proper 32-bit libGl libraries and symlinks in /usr/lib32 and will replace any existing mesa equivalent symlinks.

Launching games with custom commands, such as Bumblebee/Primus

Steam has fortunately added support for launching games using your own custom command. To do so, navigate to the Library page, right click on the selected game, click Properties, and Set Launch Options. Steam replaces the tag %command% with the command it actually wishes to run. For example, to launch Team Fortress 2 with primusrun and at resolution 1920x1080, you would enter:

primusrun %command% -w 1920 -h 1080

If you are running the Linux-ck kernel, you may have some success in reducing overall latencies and improving performance by launching the game in SCHED_ISO (low latency, avoid choking CPU) via schedtool

# schedtool -I -e %command% other arguments

Killing standalone compositors when launching games

Further to this, utilising the %command% switch, you can kill standalone compositors (such as Xcompmgr or Compton) - which can cause lag and tearing in some games on some systems - and relaunch them after the game ends by adding the following to your game's launch options.

 killall compton && %command% && nohup compton &

Replace compton in the above command with whatever your compositor is. You can also add -options to %command% or compton, of course.

Steam will latch on to any processes launched after %command% and your Steam status will show as in game. So in this example, we run the compositor through nohup so it is not attached to Steam (it will keep running if you close Steam) and follow it with an ampersand so that the line of commands ends, clearing your Steam status.

Skins for Steam

The Steam interface can be fully customized by copying its various interface files in its skins directory and modifying them.

Steam skin manager

The process of applying a skin to Steam can be greatly simplified using steam-skin-managerAUR from the AUR. The package also comes with a hacked version of the Steam launcher which allows the window manager to draw its borders on the Steam window.

As a result, skins for Steam will come in two flavors, one with and one without window buttons. The skin manager will prompt you whether you use the hacked version or not, and will automatically apply the theme corresponding to your GTK+ theme if it is found. You can of course still apply another skin if you want.

The package ships with two themes for the default Ubuntu themes, Ambiance and Radiance. A Faience theme is under development and already has its own package on the AUR steam-skin-faience-gitAUR.

Steam on Wine

Install wine from the multilib and follow the instructions provided in the article.

Install the required Microsoft fonts ttf-microsoft-tahomaAUR and ttf-ms-fontsAUR from the AUR or through winetricks-svnAUR.

Note: If you have access to Windows discs, you may want to install ttf-ms-win8AUR or ttf-win7-fontsAUR instead.

If you have an old Wine prefix (~/.wine), you should remove it and let Wine create a new one to avoid problems (you can transfer over anything you want to keep to the new Wine prefix).


Download and run the Steam installer from steampowered.com. It is no longer an .exe file so you have to start it with msiexec:

$ msiexec /i SteamInstall.msi

Starting Steam

On x86:

$ wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam/Steam.exe

On x86_64 (with steam installed to a clean wine prefix):

$ wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe

Alternatively, you may use this method:

$ wine "C:\\Program Files\\Steam\\steam.exe" 

You should consider making an alias to easily start steam (and put it in your shell's rc file), example:

alias steam='wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe >/dev/null 2>&1 &'
Note: If you are using an nvidia card through Bumblebee, you should prefix those commands with optirun.



Consider disabling wine debugging output by adding this to your shell rc file:

export WINEDEBUG=-all

or, just add it to your steam alias to only disable it for steam:

alias steam='WINEDEBUG=-all wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe >/dev/null 2>&1 &'

Additionally, Source games rely on a paged pool memory size specification for audio, and WINE by default does not have this set. To set it:

$ wine reg add "HKLM\\System\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Session Manager\\Memory Management\\" /v PagedPoolSize /t REG_DWORD /d 402653184 /f

Application launch options

Go to Properties > Set Launch Options, e.g.:

-console -dxlevel 90 -width 1280 -height 1024
  • console
Activate the console in the application to change detailed applications settings.
  • dxlevel
Set the application's DirectX level, e.g. 90 for DirectX Version 9.0. It is recommended to use the video card's DirectX version to prevent crashes. See the official Valve Software wiki http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/DirectX_Versions for details.
  • width and height
Set the screen resolution. In some cases the graphic settings are not saved in the application and the applications always starts in the default resolution.

Please refer to http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Launch_options for a complete list of launch options.

Using a pre-existing Steam install

If you have a shared drive with Windows, or already have a Steam installation somewhere else, you can simply symlink the Steam directory to ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Steam/ . However, be sure to do all the previous steps in this wiki. Confirm Steam launches and logs into your account, then do this:

$ cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/ 
$ mv Steam/ Steam.backup/   (or you can just delete the directory)
$ ln -s /mnt/windows_partition/Program\ Files/Steam/
  • If you have trouble starting Steam after symlinking the entire Steam folder, try linking only the steamapps subdirectory in your existing wine steam folder instead.
  • If you still have trouble starting games, use # mount --bind /path/to/SteamApps ~/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps -ouser=your-user-name , this is the only thing that worked for me with TF2.

Steam links in Firefox, Chrome, etc

To make steam:// urls in your browser connect with Steam in Wine, there are several things you can do. One involves making steam url-handler keys in gconf, another involves making protocol files for KDE, others involve tinkering with desktop files or the Local State file for chromium. These seem to only work in firefox or under certain desktop configurations. One way to do it that works more globally is using mimeo, a tool made by Xyne (an Arch TU) which follows. For another working and less invasive (but firefox-only) way, see the first post here .

  • Make /usr/bin/steam with your favorite editor and paste:
# Steam wrapper script
exec wine "c:\\program files\\steam\\steam.exe" "$@"
  • Make it executable:
# chmod +x /usr/bin/steam
  • Create ~/.config/mimeo.conf with your favorite editor and paste:
/usr/bin/steam %u
  • Lastly, open /usr/bin/xdg-open in your favorite editor. Go to the detectDE() section and change it to look as follows:
    #if [ x"$KDE_FULL_SESSION" = x"true" ]; then DE=kde;
    #elif [ x"$GNOME_DESKTOP_SESSION_ID" != x"" ]; then DE=gnome;
    #elif $(dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.DBus /org/freedesktop/DBus org.freedesktop.DBus.GetNameOwner string:org.gnome.SessionManager > /dev/null 2>&1) ; then DE=gnome;
    #elif xprop -root _DT_SAVE_MODE 2> /dev/null | grep ' = \"xfce4\"$' >/dev/null 2>&1; then DE=xfce;
    #elif [ x"$DESKTOP_SESSION" == x"LXDE" ]; then DE=lxde;
    #else DE=""
  • Restart the browser and you should be good to go. In Chromium, you cannot enter a steam:// link in the url box like you can with Firefox. The forum link above has a steam://open/friends link to try if needed.
  • If you have any problems with file associations after doing this, simply revert to regular xdg-utils and undo your changes to /usr/bin/xdg-open.
  • Those on other distributions that stumble upon this page, see the link above for firefox specific instructions. No easy way to get it working on Chromium on other distros exists.

No text rendered problem

If there is no text/font rendered when starting steam you should try to start steam with the parameter -no-dwrite. Read more in the forum thread about it.

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/Steam.exe -no-dwrite

See also