Steam in VM

steam, virtualisation

A while back I came up with a possible solution to my desire to run Linux as my desktop environment, but still being able to run the many Windows games on that same machine. The solution would be to have Windows+Steam as a host, and then to run VMware or Virtualbox with Linux+Steam full-time. Steam streaming would make any game run from within the Linux environment, without you having to ever leave it. Today I managed to get the setup working. Turns out Steam for Linux keeps it’s own libstdc++*.sos around, and as everybody knows, shared libraries are invented by the devil (i.e.: old people with internalized constraints from another age). Simply deleting Steams .sos solved the issue and allowed Steam to run. The ‘machines’ discover each other successfully, but actually streaming kinda fails. It appear the games take focus full-screen on Windows, which causes Steam to somehow believe it should stream the VMware windows, so I can game while game… Not sure what causes this, but the end result is that it does not work. Through Hackernews I came across jsmpeg-vnc, which unfortunately doesn’t pass on inputs for me (though that seems to be implemented). Would be a fun alternative for my cunning plans… Ah well, native Linux games will have to suffice.

Update: it turns out all my troubles of running Steam on Linux were related to Steams libstdc++*.so. The thing is Steam always craps out with some statements about first being unable to find the driver for your videochip, and then failing to load swrast (software rasterizer, i.e. fallback). Not only did Steam in VMware show this, but also on the decade old laptop I have laying about. I assumed somehow it didn’t have a graphics driver installed, but it turns out they did and that’s not the problem at all. Just remove any libstdc++* anywhere in Steam subfolders, and delete them whenever there’s a problem showing swrast. Turns out the open source Radeon-driver, for the Ati X2300 chip, works beautifully accelerating video. However, not every game could be streamed succesfully, Need for Speed worked but Talos Principle did not. Not sure why.