Selasa, 25 Mei 2010

Starcraft 2 and a bit of Wine - Linux Performance

EDIT: If you stumbled upon this page looking for a HOWTO for getting Starcraft 2 working under Wine check here.

I mentioned earlier this month that I was enjoying the Starcraft 2 beta on Ubuntu 10.04 thanks to Wine software. In my previous posting I had simply stated that SC2 was "playable" under Wine. I have a fairly powerful gaming laptop that sports an nVidia 260m GTX and a 1680x1050 resolution panel. SC2 defaulted itself under Wine to "ultra" settings on my system - after playing one game at these settings (well it was really more like playing a slide-show). I promptly lowered the details and textures to low (while leaving the resolution the same).

With these settings I average around 40 FPS at the main menu and in game. At the high end I see just over 50 FPS while playing and at the low end it bottoms out around 20 FPS in combat. (For those wondering how I obtained these numbers press control+alt+f to put an FPS counter in the upper left hand corner of the screen while in SC2). These numbers come from the latest SC2 patch as of today (05/25/10).

Now for a bit of an ironic story regarding SC2. Late last night I dual booted my system with Windows 7 Ultimate again due to the need for an embedded youtube video to work in an Office 2007 power point presentation (it failed to work under Crossover and youtube plays poorly in VMs, thus native install was my only option left). Back on topic - since I had Windows installed anyways I figured I would copy over my SC2 files (god bless Blizzard and their portable installs) and see how comparable the performance was on the native operating system.

Needless to say it performs better, in fact the FPS I see under low settings on Wine is about equal to the same FPS I was seeing under high settings on Windows. That is about where the things that worked better under Windows ended for SC2 on my computer.

I would like to prefix my following statement with the fact that my network drivers are installed, working, and I had used several other applications online just fine.

When I joined my first SC2 game on Windows I had just selected my workers to start mining when the lag started, around two minutes later I was dropped from the game and it counted as a loss in my ladder league. I figured it was just something funky with my internet line, even though I had not had any issues in SC2 under Wine in the last three weeks, as such I promptly selected "find match" to start another game. Two minutes later I had "lost" another ladder game due to "connection" issues.


Just out of curiosity I decided to boot in Linux to see if the issue existed there as well (I'm hoping the irony of rebooting into Linux to play a game isn't lost on anyone). Needless to say the problem was not present there, after sweeping two ladder games without any connection issues on Ubuntu I can indeed confirm that it was a "connection" issue with the SC2 was only happening under Windows.

Yes: I know this game is still in beta.
Yes: I know odds are this issue is limited to my system.

Is it still annoying? Yep. It is ridiculously ironic? You bet.

Anyone else have fun story they would like to share about an application working better under Wine than it does on Windows itself?

~Jeff Hoogland

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