Linux gamers who use Valve’s Proton compatibility tool to run Windows games will get a performance upgrade in the future: Nvidia announced it is working with Valve to bring FPS boosts using the DLSS technology on its RTX cards. It’s almost enough to make me want to revisit Linux gaming again.
DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, is a technology that gives gamers more performance without sacrificing too much image quality. It does this by running the game at a lower than native resolution (e.g. rendering the game at 1080p when your monitor is 4K), but then upscaling the image to native resolution using some very impressive algorithms.
The technology will, of course, be exciting for those with Linux gaming consoles, but it’s also interesting given the rumors that Valve would make a handheld gaming device. We argued that DLSS could push the next-gen Switch way above its weight class, and the same could be true for a handheld PC without a ton of graphics horsepower, which would likely run Linux.
While Nvidia hasn’t released a list of which Proton-powered games will get DLSS, there are actually a surprising number of candidates. Running Nvidia’s list of games that support DLSS ProtonDB, a site that lets users report how well games run when using Proton, shows that a large proportion of DLSS games already run on Linux. That’s about 30 games out of just over 50.
However, there’s an interesting question posed by Nvidia’s DLSS listing – a few of the games on it actually have native Linux ports, and it’s unclear if they’ll get the upsampling tech, or if it’ll be exclusive to running games. via Proton. Gamers may get better performance by running the Windows version through an emulation layer, rather than the native version, would be a bit of an odd quirk, but whether that will be the case in the end remains to be seen. Nvidia did not immediately respond to a request for clarification about the issue.
Nvidia also didn’t mention a time frame for DLSS support coming to Proton (although it did mention that Vulkan support would come this month and DirectX support would come in the fall), but it’s nice to see it’s still there. pushes to align Linux gaming with the Windows experience. As someone who tried to be a Linux gamer long ago, using vanilla wine and later, CrossOver, the work Nvidia and Valve are doing with Proton has made me consider setting up a Linux gaming rig again. If only I could get a graphics card right now.