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Release: Fedora 14, testing
ATI Radeon 5770 w/ current proprietary ATI drivers
Phenom X4 955
I've been screwing around with Wine for a couple of days now trying to get at least most of my Windows games (the only reason I was clinging to it as my desktop of choice) working under Linux, honestly, without much success. Since Steam is presently broken, at least with the distro I'm using for other reasons, I can't even get most of my games to install ... much less play.
This leads me to virtualization, and that leads me to a question: Of the three virtualization methods that I have readily available to me, which one is going to provide the best hardware emulation for playing games under Windows? Xen? KVM? VirtualBox?
Admittedly, and almost worthy of a second post, I"m thoroughly confused about the relationship (if any?) between Xen and KVM/Qemu... When I install Xen, it installs virtlib and some other stuff as dependencies, including a Virtual Machine Manager. When I go to run Virtual Machine Manager it throws up errors if I don't have KVM packages installed... when I install those KVM packages it loads kernel modules even when I don't start (consciously) KVM... Is this just Fedora related nonsense and I should consider acquiring Xen source and building it or is there some funkiness going on here where one is really dependant on the other?
Using virtualization is currently a no-go for gamers, simply because the lack of fast 3D drivers for the VMs.
Wine is really the way to go, I have hardly any problems with that. It may be better to open threads with your Wine issues, so that we can help you with that.
But be aware that I've played some games better than with Windows (Homeworld, Pharaoh, Call Of Duty 2, ...), some with limitations / bugs (STALKER series) and that some lasts just don't want to run on Wine =
Or, an easy way for you is, if you don't like to try and to test, to keep a dual boot with Windows, just to play...
VirtualBox has 3d acceleration. Remember that any VM will have to make do with whatever is left over after your host loads, including CPU cycles. If you run many services on your host (ftp, samba, etc.), then your guest OS's performance will be proportionally compromised. VM is not really meant for gaming, unless the hardware has very high-end specs. You may want to consider dual-boot, with the Micro$oft OS bare of anything not needed for games. XP (small footprint) may do for that purpose.
Just a side note:
as said before, keeping a small - light configured XP for gaming is the simplest solution, but if you want to enjoy recent games using DirectX10 / DX11, you need then to consider that they only work on Vista or 7, as theses technologies will never be "backported" to XP...
For now, I've never achieved to get a DX10 game to work (in that mode) with Wine (only DX9)), but I haven't a lot of theme anyway!
I too would love to run games on Linux and drop windows altogether, but I have had little luck getting games to run on wine. I have had some success, and I know it can be done with a lot of games but honestly it is too much work for me. Once in awhile I get itchy to try it again, but always end up giving up on it.
I also run Vm's in VBox and although it does have 3D acceleration it is not going to allow you to play games. I run on a Q9550, 8GB ram, and 2x 4870's 1GB in CrossfireX and it isn't going to happen. The most video ram you can allocate is 128MB. That simply isn't enough to play any modern 3D game. Not to mention the guest OS gets presented with a generic video card, so it isn't like you can install real drivers.
The best answer in my opinion is, as already stated, to run a dual boot with windows to play games. That's what I do. Boot into to windows to play games, most everything else in Linux. It is a hassle at times, but it is the best solution in my opinion.
Please game developers, please, start supporting Linux on a regular basis! I would be willing to pay more for a game if it ran natively on Linux.
I would not hold out hope for running games rated as "garbage" on the appdb (or bronze). I know for sure that platinum, gold, and silver games run great or ok, so if you have games that you want to play that are rated at these levels, then they will run. Make sure you use the right version of wine tho, support for a particular game may have been dropped in favor of others.
Yeah there are definitely games that run, just not enough, or the right ones, for me to go through the trouble of different versions and all that mess. Not to mention in windows I can run 99% of my games without disks, something that is very important for me. Maybe you can do that in wine now, I don't know, but not since I last messed with it. But that's just me, some people will do it and do it well.