Valve, the company behind the highly-anticipated Steam Deck handheld console, has posted an update (via Phoronix) for both the standard and experimental Proton compatibility layers that allow Windows games to run on Linux. The experimental version supports Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) in DirectX 12 games, while the regular version broadens support to more game titles.
Valve's Steam Deck console runs Arch Linux. It uses the Proton compatibility layer to translate Windows-specific API calls to Linux API calls, thus allowing Windows games to work in Linux. This latest experimental update will benefit Linux gamers in general, but it will also benefit the Steam Deck tremendously.
Valve also pushed changes to the Proton Experimental branch that supports Nvidia's DLSS technology in DirectX 12 games. Previously, Valve only used the DLSS function in games that ran on the Vulkan API. However, Valve's experimental support now allows DirectX 12 games to run DLSS without a problem, and it will arrive in the stable Proton branch after further testing.
To get this to run, you'll need to compile the latest version of the Proton Experimental branch, install the latest Nvidia drivers, and set the "PROTON_ENABLE_NVAPI=1" environment variable.
Valve updated the DXVK part of Proton's stable branch to version 1.9.2. Game support has also expanded to additional titles like Life is Strange: True Colors, Quake Champions and eFootball 2022, to name a few.
All of this work hints at better Proton compatibility and a smooth user experience when Valve starts shipping its Steam Deck gaming console to the masses in December. Updated Proton software will allow both the Steam Deck and Steam on Linux to support many more games.
What is good here - DLSS and similar technology support for Proton in general. Which give DLSS support for DLSS capable games in Linux without extra crutches for developers.
On the other hand, it could be a sign Valve might release an Nvidia-based Steamdeck in the near, perhaps?
More likely, this is something for third party hardware developers who want to make steam decks with Nvidia discrete graphics, like a low wattage 3050/ti mobile gpu.
Not to mention the fact that an AMD GPU trying to run DLSS would have to run it on the stream processors (cuda core equivalents) which would incur a massive performance penalty, and that would be completely pointless especially considering the fact that, you know, FSR can be used for any game run in Wine/Proton. So why would you translate DLSS into FSR instead of just using FSR, even if it were possible?
But yes, whoever wrote the article seems to have had a massive derp moment when they said this would benefit Steam Deck users. I'm honestly kind of shocked that this got all the way through the writing process without anyone realizing how ridiculous a statement that was.
What is possible, however, is translating calls to DLSS into calls to FSR. In other words, instead of sending the rendered frame to a DLSS API that doesn't exist, it would instead be forwarded to FSR for upscaling.
It's not impossible at all. It's been shown that only versions after 2.0 use tensor cores, an Nvidia specific feature. 2.0 and earlier versions are running on cuda cores (which have been successfully emulated on amd shader/compute units before, and there's various existing libraries to run cuda code on amd) However the cost of running it on amd, especially in a low wattage chip like the steam deck, doesn't seem worth it. Any latency lost via dlss would be gained back and potentially even increased. While you could just swap out dlss for fsr, I doubt that's why this is being added. Numerous third party OEMs have shown interest in making their own steam deck hardware. Supporting dedicated rtx 3050/3050 ti feature sets makes sense as with a bit more weight/bulk and a lot less battery, you could put a dedicated low wattage rtx entry mobile gpu in this device.