How to change Proton version on Steam Deck
Proton, Valve’s translation layer for Linux, helps play Windows games on the Steam Deck. Here’s how to tweak it for your particular game of choice.
Getting games to run on Linux is a hassle. Or at least, it was. In Valve’s continuing crusade to get us to see the light of Linux, the developers building SteamOS have created Proton. It’s not new to create a translation layer between Windows and Linux, with Wine already incredibly popular.
Proton is Valve’s custom version of Wine, a compatibility layer between Linux and the software, where it’ll emulate a Windows environment for it to run in. Playing games on the Steam Deck took Valve a lot of work to get right. Even now, it’s a work in progress, with games getting verified every day.
However, even as easy as it is to get some games running on Steam, sometimes they just need that extra push to get going. Updates to Proton happen almost weekly, and games are constantly changing. In this case, sometimes the game will break, as we saw with EA’s updates.
The intrepid developers at Valve are constantly on the case, making sure Proton is working as advertised. Before an update goes out, it’ll live in ‘experimental’. After this, it’ll be codified into existence as an official update.
Change Proton version on Steam Deck
In SteamOS’ gaming mode, you want to choose a game. Then press either the three lines, or head into the full splash page, where you can press play. Choose the settings cog and in the menu that pops up, press manage.
Choose compatibility, and then you can choose your Proton version. It should support them from Experimental, to the very first available. Just remember to keep a backup of your saves, just in case something does go wrong in your tinkering.
If your games aren’t working, you can always change the version of Proton you’re on. It’s super easy to do, but there are a few caveats.
Will game saves be deleted when changing Proton version?
While we’re on Version 7 right now, moving from version 5 to version 6 required a complete deletion of saves. We’re unsure if the eventual upgrade to version 8 will need this, as Valve probably doesn’t want to upset customers.
Essentially, any game that doesn’t support Steam Cloud saves, like Dark Souls 3, might delete your saves when changing reasons. Be sure to keep a backup in another location. The reason for this is that Proton keeps the saves in a particular location on the Steam Deck, and deletes this to make way for the new version.
If the game supports cloud saving, you don’t have anything to worry about.