Another Route for Windows-to-Linux Gaming

So, I was attempting with all my energy to get PlayOnLinux along with wine working to the point where I could comfortably run Windows games on my Linux machine.  While this met with (very) limited success in that I got Civilization V to run on Steam with PlayOnLinux (albeit without sound, though that may be reparable), it met with more shortcomings than successes in that Borderlands 2 and Sniper Elite V2:  Nazi Zombie Army (also the second one…my very awesome friend keeps gifting me these things; they’re like the Sharknados of the video game world) will not work.  It appears that any game requiring DirectX 10 or DirectX 11 will fail to run with wine.

Huge bummer, but understandable.  I’m amazed they have developed that software to the point where DirectX 9 works, or where anything works at all!  Impressive achievement, wine team, but it’s just not sufficient for my needs.

So, in my endeavor to avoid a dual-boot scenario, I discovered that Kernel-Based Virtual Machines theoretically support interrupt remapping which allows one to perform hardware pass through from host machines to guest machines.  If all goes according to my theoretical plan, I should be able to virtualize a Windows 7 machine, pass my A10-6800k GPU to the guest, install the AMD Catalyst drivers for Windows, and play Windows games that way!  No annoying dual-boot required.

Of course, a couple of problems emerge immediately:

  1. A nice little set of error messages which appear at boot that I had previously ignored ironically report, upon further investigation (I paid more attention when I saw the word “AMD-Vi” after having done my virtualization research for the day) reads:

[Firmware Bug]:  AMD-Vi:  IOAPIC[0] not in IVRS table

[Firmware Bug]:  AMD-Vi:  No southbridge IOAPIC found

[Firmware Bug]:  AMD-Vi:  Disabling interrupt remapping

And that is, of course, announcing that the hardware pass through possibilities which I just discussed are out of the question until that is resolved.  Fortunately, there’s some communication online regarding this problem and it appears a BIOS update for my motherboard may resolve the issue, so I’ll have to check on that.

  1. My sweet AMD APU (the A10-6800k) is going to be difficult to pass to the virtual machine, it appears.  While it is relatively straightforward to perform this action with a PCI card, it may be significantly more difficult to perform with an integrated GPU.  We will see, assuming I get my firmware bug listed above worked out.

So that’s where I am in my Linux gaming saga.  Steam on Linux works great, and games made for Linux work flawlessly.  The APU I have does a fantastic job for the price point of this system, and all is well there.  This is the final frontier which, if conquered, will have me playing Titanfall on my Linux machine (kinda) soon enough.  I realize I’m lucky to have access to a Windows 7 installation image (being a part of a university community has great perks), so it might not be the solution for everyone, but I’m afraid I’ve exhausted the alternatives.

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