Proton 8 is out! The wait has been fairly long, since Proton 7 was released more than a year ago. This follows the release of Wine 8.0 on January 23rd 2023 (first stable release of the branch 8).
So this means there’s potentially a good 3 months of work between the time a major Wine version is released, and the time it makes it into Proton. This seems to be getting longer than before - at the time, Wine 7 was released in January 2022, and Proton 7 appeared just a month later. I have heard that rolling out a major new version of Wine could mean retesting many games for regressions - if that’s the case, the bigger the list of Verified and Playable titles grow, the longer the span between major versions of Proton releases. Let’s see if that’s the case next time too.
What’s New and why Vulkan 1.3 is Needed
Let’s start with the obvious, it’s rebased on Wine 8. At the time same, they moved to newer versions of many other libraries, such as DXVK and VKD3D. DXVK is bumped to 2.1 which is the first time for Proton stable, as far as I know (the previous Proton stable used the 1.x branch) and this is probably why the Vulkan driver requirements are now bumped to drivers that support 1.3 and above only.
- Updated wine to 8.0.
- Updated dxvk to v2.1-4-gcaf31033.
- Updated vkd3d-proton to v2.8-84-g08909d98.
- Updated dxvk-nvapi to v0.6.2.
- Updated wine-mono to 7.4.1.
As to why the newer Vulkan 1.3 driver version is needed, here’s a reminder from the 2.0 DXVK release notes:
Many features in this release, especially the shader compilation changes detailed below, require the use of modern Vulkan features, such as Dynamic Rendering, Extended Dynamic State, and Null Descriptors. Due to the significant changes required to make use of them, it was no longer practical to maintain and test code paths for older drivers which do not support these features.
For Nvidia users, the Vulkan 1.3 is supported for anything after the Maxwell 1 GPU series - so if you have a GTX 750Ti or anything more recent, you should be good to go to keep running Proton for now.
New Steam Runtime: Sniper
One of the less advertised features of this new release, is the fact that the Steam Runtime is now updated to a Debian 11 based, while previous Proton versions used the Debian 10 base, which means that all of these libraries in the runtime are now moving to versions that are 2 years newer.
Note that apart from this change, the design is similar as the Soldier (pressure vessel) design introduce in Proton 5.13, where containers are now used instead of library paths.
instead of forming a LD_LIBRARY_PATH that merges the host OS’s shared libraries with the shared libraries provided by Valve, it uses Linux namespace (container) technology to build a more predictable environment.
The Steam runtime is going to keep being updated regularly, so you should expect that base to be a moving target over time - maybe for each 2 new major Proton versions or something like that.
There’s a long lost of fixes, as you can see below. One of the most critical ones is the first one, where they mentioned having fixed the 2K launcher.
- Fixed 2K launcher failure caused by launcher update.
- Fixed Arabic fonts in FIFA 21 and 22.
- Fixed native scrollbar being always visible in Final Fantasy XIV Online launcher.
- Fixed A Plague Tale: Innocence and A Plague Tale: Requiem showing on-screen keyboard when starting the game on the Steam Deck.
- Fixed rendering issues during cutscenes in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.
- Fixed Japanese keyboard input in Final Fantasy XIV Online.
- Fixed Football manager 2023 crashing when trying to return from a player profile.
- Fixed experimental regression: Fall in Labyrinth started crashing on some setups.
- Fixed Life is Strange Remastered crashing at the end of chapter 2.
- Fixed Alt+Tab not working on Gnome 43.
- Fixed regression with Mortal Kombat X performance.
- Fixed OpenGL launch option for Youropa.
- Fixed raytracing in Crysis Remastered.
- Fixed regression: Minecraft Dungeons was hanging when disconnecting from multiplayer game.
- Fixed Story Mode not working in Dead or Alive 6.
Some various improvements, some of them related to the Steam Deck, and a few specific to asian language support (including Japanese) which is a good sign as the Steam Deck is getting more use in Japan as well.
- Improved sleep/resume functionality on Steam Deck for Tiny Tina’s Wonderland.
- Improved multi-touch support.
- Improved force feedback compatibility for BeamNG and Forza Horizon 5.
- Improved multiplayer support in Company of Heroes III.
- Improved fullscreen support for The Last Blade 2.
- Improved CJK font support in many games including NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Souzou with Power Up Kit, Stardom 3 and Sword and Fairy 3.
- Improved CJK characters rendering in many games including NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Souzou with Power Up Kit.
New Games Supported and Playable
Quite a few more games will now make it to a playable status following the Proton 8 release, and there’s quite a few big ones like Forspoken and Dead Space 2023, but also quite a few episodes from the famous Atelier series which is an otaku favorite.
- Samurai Maiden
- Dead Space (2023)
- Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition
- One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4
- Atelier Meruru
- Atelier Lydie & Suelle
The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings
- Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX
- Blue Reflection
- Atelier Rorona
The Alchemist of ArlandDX
- Disney Dreamlight Valley
- ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS XIV
- WARRIORS OROCHI 3 Ultimate Definitive Edition
- Exceed - Gun Bullet Children
- Gungrave G.O.R.E.
- Chex Quest HD
Expect it to make it to the Steam Deck soon as well, while it will probably take a few days to spread to every owner out there.