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PlayOnLinux Tutorial
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Written by Booman   
Monday, 17 September 2012 14:41
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If you have tried to play a PC game in Linux then you are probably familiar with Wine.  PlayOnLinux is a layer on top of Wine to make installing, configuring and optimizing games easier. There are a lot of supported games including many titles on Great Old Games (GOG.com).

In this tutorial you will learn to download, install and configure PlayOnLinux to make game like Titan Quest playable in Linux Mint 13.

 


 

Playonlinux and Libraries:

Use the software manager to search for "playonlinux"

Doubleclick "playonlinux"

Click install

Wait for a minute

Click back to search results

Double-click "playonlinux" again

Now it should say "remove"
(I wish there was a better indication that it installed, but thats all you get with software manager)

 

Navigate to Menu/Games/Playonlinux

Launch Playonlinux

At first launch it will create a default folder:  /home/username/.Playonlinux/wineprefix/default

Note:  username is where you put your Mint 13 login

Go ahead and navigate to the default directory and you will see the Windows files like registries and drive_c where your Program Files reside.
I recommend making a shortcut to your desktop because you will be navigating here often to copy/paste game folders and mods.

 


 

Configure Explained:

The way Playonlinux works is it creates a default directory for your windows games, programs and libraries.  Everything is updated to this default directory or you can create another one for each game or program.  It can become confusing because you will have to navigate to different Playonlinux "Virtual Drive" for each game.  The only benefit to this control is that you can mess up an installation and it won't affect your other game "Virtual Drives". Every time you install a game Playonlinux will automatically create a new Virtual Drive for that game.

 

General Tab:

You can create a new "Virtual Drive" that will house a unique directory of the Windows installation and your games/libraries. I recommend using a new Virtual Drive if you know a certain game or program is known to be buggy or have problems.  Then you can always remove the Virtual Drive without it affecting your working games.

Also, PlayOnLinux will sometimes automatically install different versions of Wine depending on the game.  The General tab is where you can change the version of Wine you want to use.

 

Wine Tab:

The Wine tab give you control over some Windows functionality like the Registry, Rebooting, Task manager, etc.  These are useful if you know how to use them in Windows.  Obviously I'm not going to tell you how to use Windows, but I may mention these during a game or library installation. Several times I've had to go into the Registry or Configure Wine to get a game working. The Task Manager is a great way to kill a game that is locked up or last resort is the Kill processes button.

 

Install Packages Tab:

You can install the Windows DLL's & components like different versions of Direct X, NET.Framework and compatibility libraries to run your games.  Many Windows games require these libraries and will try to install them during the game installation.  A lot of the available packages work with PC games but not all of them are optimized and ready.  This will require some trial-n-error and research to see which ones will help the game you are installing.

I've even created a Step-by-Step tutorial about Windows Packages in Winetricks and PlayOnLinux

 

Display Tab:

The Display tab allows some extra control of how games & programs are rendered.  Depending on the game, you will have to enable or select options here in order for your game to run properly.  An example is the Direct Draw Renderer... most games will require the "fbo" setting otherwise they will crash.

 

Miscellaneous Tab:

You probably won't be using these features but if you wanted to find the Virtual Drives directory or run a Windows exe you can do it from here. When I use it is to install a mod or patch for an already working game.  The "Mouse warp override" helps with mouse functionality within game menu's.

 


 

Install Libraries:

Check our my Windows Packages Step-by-Step Tutorial for more information:  Windows Packages Winetricks and PlayOnLinux.

I reccomend installing all the standard game libraries because most Windows games will require them.  I know that some games install Direct X and NET.Framework themselves, but I've had many issues with locking up or not installing correctly.  Also, hopefully the Playonlinux Libraries have been modified for Linux compatability.

Note:  Steam Requires Tahoma.ttf and won't work with Wine 1.5.13

Note:  I don't fully understand why certain Direct X and fonts are separated, but it doesn't hurt to just download them all.  I usually check Direct X 9 because most pre 2007 games use it.  If its a newer game, then install the Direct X 10 libraries.  Some games require XNA and NET Framework like Magicka or Borderlands.  You won't know until you install the game an it starts automatically installing the different libraries itsself.  Take note of each one and if it locks up, try installing them with Playonlinux.

Note:  Downloading can take some time depending on how many libraries you check and the speed of your internet.

 


 

Updating PlayOnLinux

Sometimes PlayOnLinux will notify you that there is a newer version.  Sadly there is no way to automatically update within PlayOnLinux its-self.
You can also update with the Terminal.  PlayOnLinux list the commands for you right on the downloads page.

Download the newest version from their website:  PlayOnLinux.deb

Click Ubuntu

Click PlayOnLinux_#.#.#.deb to download

Note:  the #.#.# represent the current version

Save it in your downloads folder

Then right-click and run with Debian Package Manager.
PlayOnLinux should install for you.  When its done, you can launch the new version from the Menu as you always have.

Updating Wine

Wine has to be updated with the Terminal.  Its the easiest way to get it updated quickly.

Open the Terminal (the icon should be next to the Menu)

Type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa

Press Enter
Enter your password

Type:

sudo apt-get update

Press Enter

Type:

sudo apt-get install wine1.5

Press Enter
You will have to type "Y" and press Enter to confirm the download and installation.

Its done when you are left with a cursor

Now launch Wine configuration and click about to see if the new version is installed.

 


Installing a Game

 

Lets try installing our first game.

Before you even put a CD/DVD in the drive or run a Windows exe... check the list of games and programs first.
If you can't find your game on the list, click Install a non-listed program at the bottom left.

 

The Welcome Screen

Next

 

Create a new Virtual Drive

Next

 

Type the name of your Virtual Drive (no spaces)

Next

 

Manual installation

check "Install some libraries"

Note:  If you already installed the libraries in the default Virtual Drive, then this part is quick.

Select the Fonts, Direct X & NET Framework libraries.

 

Click Browse to select the game exe.  I was installing Titan Quest so I inserted the CD and then clicked browse.  I selected the Setup.exe file and clicked open.

A warning popped up saying the "system does not meet the specifications" so I selected "yes" to continue anyways.

 

follow the standard Windows installation steps

 


 

Shortcuts and Configure Virtual Drive

Playonlinux will ask if you want any shortcuts to the libraries or setup.exe you just installed.

 

Select your game.exe (mine was Titan Quest.exe)

Next

Name your Shortcut

Next

I don't want to make another shortcut

Next

 

Before you run the game there is one more thing...

Select Titan Quest Virtual Drive

Click Configure

 

Select the Display Tab

Direct Draw Renderer: gdi

Offscreen Rendering Mode: fbo

Video Memory Size: The amount of memory for your video card

Render Target Mode Lock: readdraw

 

Select the Wine Tab

Click Windows Reboot

 


 

Intro movies, errors and running the game

Navigate to /home/username/.playonlinux/wineprefix/titanquest/drive_c/Program Files/THQ/Titan Quest

Note:  Username is where you put your Mint 13 login

Rename Video folder to skip intro video

 

Now double-click the shortcut on your desktop

 

Note:  If you have problems with missing graphics (missing character or models) try adjusting the Display settings, rebooting Windows and trying the game again. My missing graphics was due to the Direct Draw Renderer and Offscreen Rendering Mode settings in Configure/Display

Examples:

 


 

 

Add shortcut to Games Menu

Right-click the desktop shortcut for Titan Quest

Properties

Copy Command: /usr/share/playonlinux/playonlinux --run "Titan Quest"

 

Right-Click Menu

Edit Menu

New Item

 

Name:  Titan Quest

Command:  paste

Comments:  Titan Quest in Playonlinux

Ok

 

Now drag-n-drop it into the Games Menu

 

Click on the default icon (looks like an electrical tower)

 

Navigate to:  /home/username/.thumbnails/normal

Note:  Username is where you put your Mint 13 login.

I found one for Titan Quest, but couldn't find the "actual" icon for Windows.

You could also create your own in GIMP and save it as a PNG.

Close

Close

 

Note:  When you uninstall Titan Quest with Playonlinux you will need to go back and remove the Menu Item from the Menu.

 

Now You can launch Titan Quest or any new game from the Games Menu

 

 
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