Valve's Steam Deck is fast approaching its release date of February 25th. With its launch in sight, Valve has launched Proton version 7.0 with support for Easy Anti-Cheat, allowing several additional titles to run on Linux, according to Phoronix.
Valve has also finalized Variable Rate Shading for Linux's RDNA2 open-source graphics driver, which should arrive on the Steam Deck later this year.
Proton 7.0 represents a significant update for Valve's Linux compatibility API ProtonDB, with support for more titles, updates to APIs within ProtonDB and more.
Most notably, Wine in Proton 7.0 has been updated to version 7.0 as well, and DXVK (Vulkan-based translation layer for Direct3D) shifted to version 1.9.4. These updates include numerous bug fixes and improvements, most notably for Wine.
For the uninitiated, ProtonDB still relies on other compatibility layers like DXVK and Wine for full compatibility with Windows games on the Steam Library. Proton's job is to automate these compatibility layers' configuration processes to allow a smooth gaming experience under Linux operating systems.
One of the most exciting features to be added to Proton 7.0 is full support for Easy Anti-Cheat services from Epic. This is a big deal, with many titles right now using the service to fight cheaters. There's only one caveat with this added support; Proton will only support games with the Linux module of EAC enabled. This means game developers still need to configure their games to support Linux if the game is going to work.
There are several other improvements and fixes within Proton 7.0, including support for locally decoding H264 videos and improved Steam controller support for Origin games. For all the patch notes, check out Proton's GitHub page here.
Here's the complete list of games that are now compatible with Proton thanks to the new update:
- Anno 1404
- Call of Juarez
- DCS World Steam Edition
- Disgaea 4 Complete+
- Dungeon Fighter Online
- Epic Roller Coasters XR
- Eternal Return
- Forza Horizon 5
- Gravity Sketch VR
- Monster Hunter Rise
- Nights of Azure
- Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas
- Order of War
- Persona 4 Golden
- Resident Evil 0
- Resident Evil Revelations 2
- Rocksmith 2014 Edition
- SCP: Secret Laboratory
- Yakuza 4 Remastered
Valve's Specialized Variable Rate Shading Update
Valve is working on a new version of Variable Rate Shading for the Steam Deck that will arrive sometime in May or June of this year.
The feature builds upon Vulkan's current Variable Rate Shading extension by allowing Valve to manipulate VRS's behavior on the fly with a new control file. This feature is designed for the Steam Deck to improve the console's battery life.
Variable Rate Shading is a performance-enhancing technique that reduces resolution in certain areas where quality isn't needed. A good example of this is in large city areas of video games where roads, sidewalks, and building walls all look the same and don't have much detail in them. VRS can detect these very bland details and reduce the resolution to reduce GPU load.
Since VRS is typically a feature you turn on and off. It lacks any sort of detail adjustment sliders, but Valve has solved this problem with its special control file.
This feature was made specifically for the Steam Deck to aggressively turn up VRS's capabilities to improve battery life or turn it down to enhance image quality.
It's worth noting that VRS's effectiveness differs significantly between games and between game environments. For example, if there's a lot of unique detail within a scene -- like grass -- then VRS's capabilities will be reduced significantly compared to scenes with more generic details.
So we should see similar effects with the Steam Deck, where certain games are more power-hungry from VRS not being as effective as in other games. But Valve could offset this problem a lot with its variable VRS implementation. We'll have to wait for reviews to see how much of a difference this makes.
Thankfully, this feature won't be limited to the Steam Deck thanks to the open-source nature of Vulkan. So technically, any AMD RDNA2 GPU should support this feature when running a Linux-based operating system.