mannerov Nov 23, 2012 @ 1:45pm
[Suggestion]: Add an option to play games on a second X server
Hello,

I'm not part of the beta, so I can't test steam on linux, but I think it could be a good idea to add an option to steam to play games on a second X server.

Why?

.Using a second X server allows to stop playing for a moment, return to the first X server, do an other thing (read mails, ...) and then return to the game.
.It is said to improve performance of games on wine (Because there is no window manager on the second X server).
.When I use wine with a game that uses a low resolution, my computer freeze when leaving the game. If I use wine on a second X server, I have no bug.

If steam doesn't include this option, we could launch steam on a second X server, but it would be less convenient: we can't access windows easily since there is no window manager. Moreover using a second X server can be difficult: Users can have some issues. For example there will be no sound if we don't add the right line in the right configuration file to enable pulseaudio to work on the second X server. Steam would help the user to add the correct thing by a script.

EDIT: I'm now part of the Beta. Maybe an admin could move this topic to Features Requests
Last edited by mannerov; Dec 9, 2012 @ 9:18am
Showing 1-15 of 27 comments
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Revelis Dec 9, 2012 @ 6:36am 
I second this. I'm in the beta, and I run all of my games on a separate X server. You're entirely correct about it improving performance, but it's not just for games in Wine. Having a slimline PC with a 2.2 GHz processor, I'm no stranger to the woes of poor performance. Gaming on a second X server allows me to play, for example, Serious Sam 3 at a good framerate.

I would love to be able to keep Steam on my main X server and run games from it on another.
Last edited by Revelis; Dec 9, 2012 @ 6:37am
e633 Dec 9, 2012 @ 6:38am 
That would be "insanely great" like Steve Jobs would put it. Cursed be his ♥♥♥...
Last edited by e633; Dec 9, 2012 @ 6:38am
Dobby Dec 9, 2012 @ 6:53am 
You can just alt tab without an issue at present on the beta if you wish to do other things. I understand that's not the same. Just push CTRL+ALT+F2 and use CTRL+ALT+F1 to navigate back. This entirely depends on what system you're using, if you're using FreeBSD x server can be used in all nine virtual consoles. On Linux I think you can only run it once, is that correct?
mikeym Dec 9, 2012 @ 6:55am 
Xeno Dec 9, 2012 @ 7:43am 
There is nothing stopping you going into another virtual console (like Ctrl+Alt+F2) and logging in, then running startx :1. This starts another X server for you, and you can get back to the first with Ctrl+Alt+F7 to get back to the first one.
e633 Dec 9, 2012 @ 7:45am 
BTW you should have posted this in the feature request section...
Revelis Dec 9, 2012 @ 8:20am 
Xenopathic: You're exactly right, but having it as an option in Steam itself would be a nice convenience. It would also keep the actual Steam client on the main X server. I don't have any complaints if I have to do it manually.
pierinz Dec 9, 2012 @ 8:29am 
I can switch to another virtual desktop with alt+ctrl+arrow keys when playing, so using another X server seems a bit overkill to me. But if you get better performances it makes sense.

I proposed some changes to the hl2.sh script to run games with primusrun, but it would work with xgamer as well: http://steamcommunity.com/app/221410/discussions/0/846939071296653048/
mannerov Dec 11, 2012 @ 3:51am 
I've tested the use of a second X server to play the demo of The book of unwritten tales: The critter chronicles.
.If I launch steam on a second X server, the steam window can't move but works.
When launching the game, it's display is not well centered: I don't have access to the bottom of the display and the up of the screen is useless.
.If I change the launcher of the game to launch on a second X server and that I launch steam normally, the display of the game is good.

I think steam should either allow to add a prefix to start the game (then we'll add what is needed to launch on a second X server) either enable an option to launch on a second X server.

Last edited by mannerov; Dec 11, 2012 @ 3:52am
Zerwan' Feb 20, 2013 @ 7:40am 
If steam could manage to handle fullscreen games this way, that would be amazing indeed.
-ARF- Feb 20, 2013 @ 8:00am 
If they changed the start options from just supporting flags to instead let you edit the whole command line used to start the game, you could prepend DISPLAY=:x.y to start it on whatever X Display or Screen you want...
Just a thought :)
SUSEd Feb 20, 2013 @ 8:04am 
Is this possible from user?
Psychojau Mar 1, 2013 @ 1:18pm 
you can startx from your user..
just press CTRL+ALT+F1, log in, then write "startx" and press enter.
Press CTRL+ALT+F8
If you want to try using steam, on gnome (or unity of course), you can press CTRL+ALT+T and write "steam" . Enter.

I'm playing book of unwritten tales : nice, no problem.

Of course, apply right parameters and if it crashes in the menu, change the libs : here are the right ones, just overwrite the ones in the game directory[www.jau-informatique.com].
Last edited by Psychojau; Mar 1, 2013 @ 2:32pm
さくら Mar 1, 2013 @ 9:53pm 
Originally posted by shished.tux.sus:
Is this possible from user?

Not only is it possible, but it's how I've dealt with things that tend to lose focus under wine. (I personally use "xinit -bg black -fg white -- :1 &" when starting the second xserver.

& makes the whole command run in the background (leaving the terminal interactive while the program runs)
:1 tells it to use the second display,
-- tells it there are no more - commands after that,
-fg sets the foreground colour of the xterm, and
-bg sets the background colour of the xterm.

One thing I've noticed though, with wine at least, sometimes you lose the ability to type anything to the xterm, in which case you need some way to get control back -- I find the easiest is to name a script with something that's frequently spewed... and what does the script do? Start my WM. I then just ctrl-c the WM, and I've got control of the terminal back.
[Linux] jiveaxe Mar 3, 2013 @ 4:05pm 
Nice trick, but i encounter a problem: I lose second X server after switching to first; when I return back with ctrl+alt+f8 I got a black screen with blinking cursor at top left; steam (and game) still running. I have to kill it from default server. Any Idea?

I'm using Chakra 64bit with proprietary nvidia 313.18
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Date Posted: Nov 23, 2012 @ 1:45pm
Posts: 27