Here Is What Happens When Trying To Use Non-NVIDIA Drivers To Play XCOM 2 On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 4 February 2016. Page 1 of 1. 35 Comments

For those eager to play the XCOM 2 strategy game on Linux but curious about using non-NVIDIA graphics, here is the rundown! I just finished some very cursory XCOM 2 Linux tests with different graphics drivers and hardware. Do the Mesa / Gallium3D drivers yet handle XCOM 2?

As covered already, for launch Feral Interactive is only supporting NVIDIA graphics on Linux using their proprietary driver for launch day -- but, of course, that could change as new drivers are released in the future. AMD and Intel graphics (regardless of Catalyst or open-source for the Radeon hardware) are not supported for launch. Sadly there isn't any benchmark mode in the Linux version of XCOM 2, but given the hype around this game on Linux, I was curious to see what the graphics driver situation is really like... So no performance tests in this article, but just some initial impressions when trying different drivers and graphics processors.

The box used for testing was running Ubuntu 15.10 x86_64. For the bulk of the open-source driver tests, Mesa 11.2-devel with LLVM 3.9 (via the Padoka PPA) and the Linux 4.5-rc2 kernel (with AMDGPU PowerPlay enabled) was used for this testing... I don't plan on doing any older Mesa tests, since Mesa Git offers the best OpenGL 4 extension coverage as well as the best performance. So if you want to risk playing this game on the open-source drivers, you definitely should be using Mesa 11.2-devel Git and depending upon your hardware the latest kernel code for the best DRM driver state.

Intel tests I did were from an ASUS ultrabook with Core i7 4558U Haswell processor sporting Haswell Iris Graphics 5100 ULT.

Tests were done on Steam for Linux using the latest XCOM 2 updates as of today. On the following page are the qualitative launch-day XCOM 2 Linux GPU/driver tests. Again, no benchmarks since the Linux version of this game doesn't have such capability (no idea about the Windows version). Until finding that out, was planning for a comparison of two dozen graphics cards on XCOM 2 for Linux. If you'd like to support all of the Linux hardware testing done daily on Phoronix.com, please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium.

Update: After further launch day testing, see this follow up article for information on getting XCOM 2 working on at least RadeonSI.


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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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