A performance boost is coming for Linux gamers using Valve’s Proton compatibility tool to play Windows games: Nvidia is working with Valve to offer FPS boosts using its DLSS technology found on its RTX cards. I’m almost tempted to start gaming on Linux again after seeing this.
Game players can gain a competitive edge by using Deep Learning Super Sampling, or DLSS.
The game is rendered at a resolution that is lower than your monitor’s native resolution (such as 1080p instead of 4K), but the image is then upscaled to native resolution using some really impressive algorithms.
Technology like this will be exciting for people who own Linux gaming computers, but it’s also interesting in light of rumors that Valve is developing a handheld gaming device.
A handheld with minimal graphics horsepower, likely running Linux, could accomplish similar things with DLSS, and the same is true for a next-gen Switch with DLSS.
There is actually a surprising number of Proton-powered games that could support DLSS, though Nvidia has not released a list.
Through a simple test using ProtonDB, a site that lets users report how well their gaming experience is when using Proton, it’s evident that Linux users can already enjoy the benefits of DLSS. About 30 of the more than 50 games are like that.
Nvidia‘s DLSS list does raise an interesting question – some of the games there have native Linux ports, but it doesn’t seem that they are getting support for the new technology just yet.
According to an Nvidia spokesperson, the announcement only pertains to games running on Windows with Proton, so gamers may get better performance by using an emulation layer rather than the native Windows version. Once the feature launches, we’ll know for sure if that is indeed the case.
Proton doesn’t have DLSS support yet (though Nvidia said Vulkan and DirectX support is coming this month), but it’s encouraging to know that it’s still working to bring Linux gaming on par with Windows.
Since I used vanilla Wine and CrossOver to try to be a Linux gamer many years ago, the work Nvidia and Valve are doing with Proton has encouraged me to look again at setting up a Linux gaming system. It would be great to have a graphics card.