Sunday, November 4

Setting up Steam (HL2/CS:S/DOD:S) under Linux

Day of Defeat Source in game shot

Installing Steam can be a pain in the ass (Mainly because it was built for Windows and running games via Wine are never perfect). However, once the game is setup it does work pretty well. In order to install Steam, the first thing I grabbed from the repositories was Wine (You may need to add the wine repository to your sources.list. Goto to check it out). I commanded:

>sudo apt-get install wine

Now I had to set some options in Wine so that Steam would run. To get to this configuration, I typed:


Immediately I changed the default settings to Windows 2000 (I have tried both XP and 98. XP tends to be slow while 98 wont allow steam to work because Valve dropped support for anything less than Windows 2k). I also went into the Graphics section and checked the box "Allow Pixel Shader" (Without a Pixel Shader, changing any of the advanced video settings in Steam will make it crash). Next I needed to fix my binary nVidia drivers so I could use steam (I ran into issues where steam could not download games citing: glx driver not found). To do this, I figured the easiest way would be to grab nvidia-xconfig from the repository to rebuild my xorg.conf. So to rebuild it I ran:

>sudo apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

>sudo nvidia-xconfig --allow-glx-with-composite

By adding the --allow-glx-with-composite, the video driver allows glx to work with Steam. Unfortunately, after doing this I ran into some resolution issues. I fixed them by running nvidia-settings as a sudoer and writing the configuration with the resolution I wanted to the newly configured xorg.conf. To do this I commanded:

>sudo nvidia-settings

First I selected “X server display configuration”. Next, I changed the resolution to “1280x800”, hit Apply and selected “Save to X configuration file”. Now I have a fixed xorg.conf file that supports glx with Steam and keeps my crispy 1280x800 resolution.

For the actual installation of steam, I went to and downloaded Steam. While I would love to give an in depth analysis of my exact steps after this, this page here does it far better than I ever could.

Some suggestions I have are running the installation as a normal user and NOT as a sudo user. I ran into some permission problems when I installed Steam as a sudoer. Also, when I was using launch options, Steam kept erroring when I used “-width 1280 -height 800”. After some research, I found that using “-w 1280 -h 800” works just fine as an alternative. I personally disabled the intro video to Steam with "-novid" because it ran extremely slow. Even though the nVidia 8600M GT is DirectX 10 capable, I had to use DirectX 8.1 (Using DirectX 9.0 would not work and it would default to DirectX 7.0). To enable DirectX 8.1, I used the launch option "-dxlevel 81". Finally, I tried to play around with the options "-gl" and "-d3d" (For OpenGL and Direct3D, respectively). There seemed to be an increased frame rate with OpenGL while playing DOD:S, but a decreased frame rate while playing CS:S. I'm not quite sure why...

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