Saints Row on Linux and Intel

linux, games, trick

This week the memory arrived for my new (second hand) Core i5 4440. Since it has Intel HD Graphics and I not a hardcore gamer anymore, I though I’d see what that chip can actually do. The HD4600 surprises me! Cities Skylines is very playable, as good as with the NVS 5200M in my work laptop. For Saints Row 4 I had to apply an interesting trick, after which is also perform similar to the NVidia chip (which is above my expectations, but perhaps I just didn’t keep up with Intels graphics).

Saints Row complains that integrated Intel graphics do not support OpenGL 4.1, which is correct. My first attempt to solve it was to install the famous graphics-driver PPA by Oibaf. This turned out to be not necessary (and result in bugs elsewhere), because the support required has not yet been added to newer versions of Mesa/Intel drivers either. If you look at those extensions that aren’t yet supported, they deal with (I think) double precision operations, something I doubt a game uses. So next I thought of fooling the game by setting some environment variables. For some reason, Steam did not want to start after setting MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=4.1. I found the trick that did it over on the Steam forums. Simply change the Launch Options for the game, and it was necessary to also set MESA_GLSL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=410. Tada, works without any graphical issues, other than that the framerate is on the low end of playable (in action scenes it really collapses, but driving around is acceptable).

tldr: Add to Launch Options in Steam: MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=4.1 MESA_GLSL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=410 %command%. Change version to whatever you need and hope it works! In this case probably because everything except something unlikely to be used is implemented, so you can check with your Mesa version and graphics chip if you lack something essential.