Gaming with TUXEDO OS - TUXEDO Computers

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Gaming with TUXEDO OS

TUXEDO equips its PCs and laptops with powerful graphics cards on request. The drivers for these cards are integrated into the basic TUXEDO OS installation by default and is used automatically if an Nvidia graphics card is detected. This makes our computers suitable not only for productive work, but also as a gaming platform for ambitious gamers. In our store you can find suitably configured Gamer PCs with graphics cards from Nvidia or AMD as well as fast gaming notebooks with dedicated Nvidia graphics.

In the past, Linux was not considered the ideal operating system for gamers. Only a few developer studios published their games in a Linux variant and open source games often offered only limited gaming fun. Many users therefore switched to Windows games, which were made executable under Linux with the Windows runtime environment Wine - sometimes with more, sometimes with less success.

With the release of the Linux version of the Internet distribution platform Steam, the situation changed abruptly. In the meantime, numerous top hits and many classic games are also available for Linux. In this article we will explain to you the easiest way to find games in the TUXEDO OS app store and how to get commercial games from the major developer studios from the Steam online store onto your computer.

Optimize Nvidia graphics

TUXEDO notebooks are either equipped with graphics chips from Intel or, depending on the model, also use powerful GPUs from Nvidia. If you are not sure what kind of graphics card is installed in your computer, then look in the application menu under Settings for the NVIDIA X Server Settings program. If this program is present, then TUXEDO OS has detected a Nvidia graphics card and activated the appropriate driver. Alternatively check with inxi -G in the command line for the presence of a dGPU.

inxi -G ### On a device with only an Intel graphics card:
  Device-1: Intel TigerLake-LP GT2 [Iris Xe Graphics] driver: i915 v: kernel
  Device-2: Chicony USB2.0 Camera type: USB driver: uvcvideo
inxi -G ### On a device with additional dedicated GPU:
  Device-1: Intel Alder Lake-P Integrated Graphics driver: i915 v: kernel
  Device-2: NVIDIA GA103M [GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Mobile] driver: nvidia v: 510.85.02
  Device-3: Chicony FHD Webcam type: USB driver: uvcvideo

To optimize the battery life as good as possible, TUXEDO OS offers three modes for notebooks with Nvidia graphics chip: Built-in, NVIDIA On-Demand and Nvidia (Performance Mode). The first mode completely disables the Nvidia graphics. This maximizes battery life, but reduces graphics performance, which would be necessary for 3D games. To use the full potential of your TUXEDO computer, we therefore activate the performance mode of the Nvidia chip by default. This routes the complete graphics output via the Nvidia graphics card. The setting drains your notebook's battery a bit faster, but you don't have to pay attention to anything when starting games.

Note that Nvidia graphics cards installed in notebooks only work with full performance when the device is connected to the power supply. In mobile use, depending on the chipset installed in the computer, it can therefore be that the internal Intel graphics provides more performance than the throttled Nvidia graphics card. In the following table, we compare the gaming performance of a TUXEDO Stellaris 15 Gen4. We recommend connecting the device to a power outlet for gaming.

Stellaris 15 Gen4 Superposition (1080P Medium) Basemark GPU
Intel (With) power supply) 1736 805
Intel (Without power supply) 1603 763
Nvidia (With power supply) 17786 10909
Nvidia (without power supply) 1567 475

Games on-demand on Nvidia

A compromise between battery life and graphics performance is offered by the NVIDIA On-Demand mode, which you activate via the Nvidia Settings. It uses the efficient Intel graphics for drawing the desktop and simple applications like Firefox or LibreOffice, but can also upgrade to the Nvidia graphics card for performance-hungry applications like 3D graphics programs, video editing tools or games when needed.

The desktop environment KDE used by TUXEDO OS does not yet offer a simplified startup function for this, programs must be called manually. To do this, first check with prime-select query whether the system really works in on-demand mode. The command should output on-demand. With the command nvidia-smi you can see which programs run on the Nvidia graphics card. Right after starting your computer this is usually only the X.Org server.

prime-select query
Thu Aug 18 11:08:43 2022       
| NVIDIA-SMI 510.85.02    Driver Version: 510.85.02    CUDA Version: 11.6     |
| GPU  Name        Persistence-M| Bus-Id        Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan  Temp  Perf  Pwr:Usage/Cap|         Memory-Usage | GPU-Util  Compute M. |
|                               |                      |               MIG M. |
|   0  NVIDIA GeForce ...  Off  | 00000000:01:00.0 Off |                  N/A |
| N/A   41C    P0    N/A /  N/A |      5MiB / 16384MiB |      0%      Default |
|                               |                      |                  N/A |
| Processes:                                                                  |
|  GPU   GI   CI        PID   Type   Process name                  GPU Memory |
|        ID   ID                                                   Usage      |
|    0   N/A  N/A      1082      G   /usr/lib/xorg/Xorg                  4MiB |

For testing, you can run the Glxgears program on the Nvidia graphics card. It draws a simple animation on the screen. The options preceding the glxgears command set the environment variables needed for this. The output of nvidia-smi then shows you that Glxgears is indeed running over the dedicated graphics card. Just like calling the test program, starting applications like Steam also works. Here, too, the prefixed options push the store program and all games started via it to the Nvidia graphics card.

| Processes:                                                                  |
|  GPU   GI   CI        PID   Type   Process name                  GPU Memory |
|        ID   ID                                                   Usage      |
|    0   N/A  N/A      1082      G   /usr/lib/xorg/Xorg                  6MiB |
|    0   N/A  N/A      3389      G   glxgears                            3MiB |
| Processes:                                                                  |
|  GPU   GI   CI        PID   Type   Process name                  GPU Memory |
|        ID   ID                                                   Usage      |
|    0   N/A  N/A      1082      G   /usr/lib/xorg/Xorg                 53MiB |
|    0   N/A  N/A      5014      G   ...llation/ubuntu12_32/steam       53MiB |
|    0   N/A  N/A      5076      G   ...ef_log.txt --shared-files      139MiB |
|    0   N/A  N/A      5261      G   ...e experience/Decay.x86_64     1810MiB |

We are currently working on a solution for TUXEDO OS that will let you launch applications and games directly from the application menu on the dedicated graphics card with a mouse click.

Native Linux games

The package management of TUXEDO OS provides many games, in addition to applications such as the image editor Gimp, the office program LibreOffice and the system components. To install, start Discover and from the sidebar open the section Applications | Games. There you will find open source games like the ambitious project 0 A.D. or the two classics SuperTux and SuperTuxKart.

Since the open source games were developed like native programs directly for the Linux operating system, they are optimally adapted to TUXEDO OS. They can be installed and deleted from the system like conventional applications. They are completely free, there are no in-app purchases. After installation, you can find the game in the application menu within the category games.

Steam or GoG

Many commercial games use Steam or GoG (formerly Good old Games) as their distribution platform. Both services can also be used well under TUXEDO OS. To install Steam, use the Discover package manager to download the Steam installer to your computer. Alternatively, use the command line, there the command is sudo apt install steam. No matter which way you choose, after the installation you will find the program in the application menu under games.

Steam not only integrates native Linux games, but also allows titles developed for Windows to run on Linux. For this, Valve, the company behind Steam, uses an optimized variant of the Windows runtime environment Wine, which Valve calls Proton. The background for this initiative is the game console Steam Deck developed by Valve, which is itself based on a Linux system.

As a result, over 1000 games are now available for Linux users by a single mouse click. Among them are current top titles such as Civilization VI or Total War: Warhammer III. Experimental users activate the option Enable Steam Play for all other titles from the menu Steam | Settings | Steam Play. It allows to run many other games, even if they have not been officially tested yet. You can check how well this works for the individual titles on the ProtonDB website. There you will find not only reports about the linux compatibility, but also tips from users, such as individual startup parameters.

Besides Steam, there are other distribution platforms such as Gog. The company does not yet offer the necessary client program GoG Galaxy for Linux, but there are alternative clients that install and manage titles purchased from GoG under Linux. One of these is the open source program Lutris, which can be found in the software administration of TUXEDO OS. In addition to GoG, Lutris also integrates other portals like Steam, Origin or Humble Bundle as well as games installed manually.

Eventually needed compatibility tools like Wine or ScummVM as well as emulators like DOSBox (for MS-DOS games) or Vice (C64, C128) or FS-UAE (Amiga) Lutris pulls automatically or if needed also manually from the net when installing a corresponding game. Via the settings you then configure the programs individually to your needs. Lutris organizes all auxiliary programs thereby under the term Starter.

Bottles for Wine

If you want to run Windows games without a game store like Steam or Lutris, you can install Wine directly via the package management of TUXEDO OS. However, we recommend Bottles as an intermediate layer. The open-source program interposes itself between the system and Wine, so you don't have to configure the Windows runtime environment any further. Thus Bottles optimizes Wine individually for the respective application purpose, which saves you a lot of time and frustation.

You install Bottles in TUXEDO OS in the form of a flatpak via the Discover package management. This way you always get the latest version of the program and also Wine is installed on your computer in the current version, independent of the package management - this is important, because the developers of both projects provide new versions in fast cycles, so that current game titles (as far as technically possible) work optimal.

Within Bottles, you then create a separate bottle for each use case. This means optimized configurations that save you a lot of work and trial and error. Bottles for games and applications are already predefined, and you can define your own profiles as required using the user-defined option. Within the bottle you then start the desired Windows program (usually a setup.exe) via the blue button Run program file. After the installation the game appears under programs. Then use the play button to start the game.

How well a Windows game works with Wine under TUXEDO OS can be checked with the Wine Application Database or AppDB for short. Wine awards the Platinum rating to games and programs that work perfectly with Wine. Gold-rated titles may have some inconsistencies, but on the whole the game should run under Wine well. Eve Online, shown in our example, was awarded with Gold, we were able to install and play it under TUXEDO OS without any difficulties.