What Is Proton for Steam, and How Does It Affect Gaming on Linux?
Remember when playing Linux was hard to imagine? Linux gaming has improved significantly over the last few years with the Proton Compatibility Layer and Linux-focused companies. But exactly what is Proton and why is it so important for Linux games?
What Is Proton Compatibility Layer?
First, to understand what Proton is, we need to understand two technologies, DirectX and Vulkan.
Consider them a driver of games. They’re APIs to communicate with graphic cards on your computer. They are applications for programming.
Whereas DirectX is a Microsoft and Windows-developed closed-source API, Linux is using the Open-Source Vulcan API. There are many other APIs, such as OpenGL, but let us focus only on Vulkan and DirectX.
As DirectX is one of the world’s best-known Windows-only APIs and Windows, game developers are focused on developing DirectX games. Proton steps into here, since Linux does not play Windows games.
The Valve-made Proton is a new fork for DirectX translations into Volcano, via libraries such as DXVK (DirectX over Volcano). Think like that. Think like this. Your DirectX graphics card is the subject of Games. DirectX collects and allocates gaming resources. DirectX contains Direct3D (which is responsible for rendering 3D graphics in apps). To convert these Direct3D calls into comprehensible volcanic calls, Proton uses libraries.
What Can You Play with Proton?
The launch of Proton in 2018 saw only 27 games. However, in three years, the list of supported games grew to about 16,000.
Proton, however, is limited because games with integrated anti-cheat mechanisms can not be played. The players cannot, as its name implies, cheat mechanisms. Spiel companies have partnered with anti-cheat mechanisms to enhance the spawning experience. Some of the popular anti-cheat providers are BattlEye and easy through Epic Games.
To find out what games are currently being supported, please go to the official ProtonDB website. Out of the top 1.000 games, more than 77% of Proton can be played with more than 21% of Native (not Proton), 21% of Platinum (out of the box), 56% of Gold (running after tweak), 66% of Silver and 71% of Bronze (run but crash frequently).