Experiments with Wine Gaming

While I was working last month (and last year), I had the need and opportunity to setup Linux properly on my laptop.  Windows simply did not cut it for remote development.  After a bit of fighting with some graphics issues (yes, I got bitten by the switching between the Intel and Nvidia GPUs) I managed to setup my Linux system fairly well.  Yes, I am missing out on some of the nice, new hardware features on my laptop like the fingerprint reader.  Nor can I get a nice boot experience due to the combination of a strange widescreen resolution, using the proprietary Nvidia drivers and the plymouth splash screen.  Running full-blast with the Nvidia graphics card does not help my battery much.  But I can live with that.

The experience with using modern Linux and KDE can not be understated.  Not having to fight with your system when setting up development environments helps too.  The icing on the cake, was my most recent experimentation with Wine.  Back in the day when I started using Linux, getting any Windows program running nicely under Wine was a minor miracle.  An update could change that in a hurry.  Getting a 3D game running smoothly under Wine… just did not happen.

Now imagine my surprise when I tried to use Wine on my most current install.  After using winetricks a few times, and a tiny bit of experimenting I managed to run nearly all my Windows games under Linux without too much difficulty.  Nearly all my Steam powered games worked, including Deus Ex, Half Life, and Myst.  Even Microsoft games like Freelancer and Halo ran with very little work.  So did Risk and the original Homeworld with very little effort.  And yes Uru Online which is my favourite of the Myst series runs really well as well.  What makes this great–beside not having to reboot to play a game–is that old games will run with little extra effort without keeping some ancient version of Windows lying around.  Also important to note is that none of the games lagged under Wine, just some minor sound stuttering and weird cursor grabbing.  So one can enjoy most of one’s Windows games under Linux without needed to reboot necessarily.