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I was wondering if it is possible to install and play Steam games like Skyrim off a Linux or Unix-base Operating System (OS), such as FreeBSD or OpenSUSE?

Update: Apart from installing through Wine, which is an emulator and would hence defeat the purpose, because it would cancel out any performance increase you might get over running through Windows. In short (as far as I am aware), running through Wine would give even less performance than running through Windows.

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Wine is not an emulator. (In fact, that's its full name.) Wine is a compatibility shim, and you'll get close to full performance. – Broam Feb 6 '12 at 13:00
My point exactly. "close-to" full performance. In other words, Less Than full performance. Which means, using Wine will give Less performance than using Windows. Defeating the purpose of using Linux. – gameaddict Feb 6 '12 at 23:42
@gameaddict, the purpose of using Linux for most of us has really more to do with freedom and avoiding cancer by not using microsoft software. So it wouldn't still be "defeating the purpose of using Linux". Back to the issue, wine translates the windows API into POSIX API. That means an extra function call per system function call. That is a negligible overhead to pay. A lot of the graphical stuff happens in the GPU anyway, where wine doesn't interfere, so rendering actually suffers next to nothing. – Shahbaz Jul 30 at 13:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Not usually. The byte code which is the game will not normally run on other platforms (which is why a Mac program won't run on Linux or Windows, and vice versa).

If you have a fast enough computer, you can run some Windows programs via Wine, which emulates Windows (makes it like you're running the program on a Windows computer).

A lot of games are compatible with Wine, including Final Fantasy, Starcraft, BioShock, Team Fortress, Fallout, Left 4 Dead and lots more. Here is a list of applications that can run under Wine.

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Thanks! I think the answer is no, like you said. – gameaddict Feb 6 '12 at 23:42
@gameaddict it does depend on the game, but there's about a 50% chance it won't work (for example, DOOM Legacy won't work right because of rendering issues) and if you would be using Linux only for a performance increase, running through an emulator kinda cancels that out – Nate Koppenhaver Feb 7 '12 at 3:31
@-Nate-Koppenhaver exactly! . . . . – gameaddict Feb 7 '12 at 3:57
Wine doesn't emulate windows. It translates function calls. The performance decrease if existent is really not because of wine itself. Probably the biggest performance problem is running directx-only applications, which means the commands may not perfectly translate to opengl. If the game has an opengl engine, and you try running it with opengl in windows, or under wine on the same computer, you really should be getting the same performance out of it. – Shahbaz Jul 30 at 14:05

You can through PlayOnLinux which is a free downloadable software utilizing scripts in conjunction with Wine to make games as playable as they can be.

Something like Skyrim that uses DirectX9 would have better luck:

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