Finally the wait is over, and since yesterday, despite the lack of an official announcement, it was possible to download and play Bioshock Infinite on Linux. And the port was done by Virtual Programming, using their proprietary eON wrapper. The same wrapper was used before for Witcher 2, and despite the poor performance at release, it has significantly improved over time and Witcher 2 now runs very, very well with very little impact on performance versus the Windows version.
Now, for Bioshock Infinite, we did not really know what to expect. It’s a DirectX10/11 game, so the eON wrapper had to take care of the additional requirements of that API - and therefore it requires an OpenGL 4.x compatible card (and drivers) to run it. You can forget Mesa for now, but if Mesa decides to implement 4.x (it’s been 18 months or so they are talking about it with no clear release date in sight), it remains a possibility in the future.
So, how does it run ? Well, actually very well. I had Bioshock Infinite running on Windows a couple of years back on the same hardware I am running now, and what’s really impressive is that the Linux version actually seems to perform better overall. The Windows drivers may have improved in the meantime, so it’s not a completely fair comparison, but in Full HD on my GTX460 I get a very decent framerate in high details.
Our friend Xpander did a very nice video of the game running on Linux right after release:
As a game it may not be the best Shooter ever, but artistically it’s clearly one of the best looking games ever made until now. The attention to details, the architecture, the colors used are just splendid and it’s a pure joy to see this running on a Linux box.
There are still a couple of minor issues that I could notice from my first run yesterday:
- I got a crash to desktop right after the intro session. Only happened once, after it went through the same point fine.
- The framerate tends to drop a little when you enter new areas. It has to do with the loading of new environments I guess.
- Shadows: sometimes when you are too close to people having shadows cast on them, you see these shadows blinking instead of being properly displayed. This may be a driver issue… or a wrapper issue.
Nothing too critical, though, and that hardly damages the overall look and feel of the game.
There’s a certain number of folks who are uncomfortable with the idea of wrappers, but this is very convincing in terms of performance. If native versions can do better, then for sure, native versions are the way to go, but recently native versions have been so poor (Dying Light, Cities:Skylines come to mind) that it makes you wonder if devs should really do native implementations when they have no experience with Linux in the first place. At least Aspyr and Feral get it right.
So, well done VP/eON, that’s some seriously impressive work to make this game run so well on Linux. Just like for Witcher 2, I am going to sink hours into this again.