Setting Up FAF Linux

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This wiki article details the installation of the Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance game and the Forged Alliance Forever (FAF) clients on Linux.

Contact

If you have questions please contact the community:

FAF forum Linux support thread
The official FAF Discord Channel: #technical-help - Discord invite

About the game

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance game runs under Linux using wine.

You only need the Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance game and the #Java Downlord's Client to be able to play in the FAF community. The game is available on Steam


About the clients

There are two FAF clients available but only the Downlords client compatible with the current FAF server. The client can handle the communication between players (IRC), launching team and 1v1 lobbies/games, downloading community mods and maps, patching the game, etc.

The new Java Downlord's client
This client was introduced as the official client in 2018 replacing the Python client. The client is built upon Java.
The legacy Python client
This client doesn't work anymore. Its development has stopped and it has become incompatible with the current FAF server. The client is built upon Python.

Both of the clients run on Linux. Please refer to the clients' own section in this article for more information.

#Java Downlord's Client

#Legacy Python Client

Install Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

You can install the game with the following methods:

Using Linux Steam (RECOMMENDED For the Java client) #Install using native Steam
Native Linux Steam can install the game and the necessary Windows DLLs, libraries for running it.
Steam's compatibility tool (Proton/Wine) will be able to run the game.
Using Windows Steam via Wine
Windows Steam can install the game and the necessary Windows DLLs, libraries for running it.
The disadvantage of this method is that you have to deal with Windows Steam that has certain known bugs with Wine (logging in, downloading games). You can manage to do it but it's a hassle.
Using Linux SteamCMD
It's basically the same as the first one but you have to install SteamCMD and know SteamCMD commands.
Not recommended since native Linux Steam is much more convenient.
Using Windows SteamCMD via Wine
It's basically the same as the second one but you have to install SteamCMD and know SteamCMD commands.
It can be less a hassle but certain Windows Steam bugs might still appear.
Using Lutris
Lutris has a UI and uses SteamCMD (and your Steam account) to install Steam games in a Wine environment.
Using retail copy of the game ISO, DVD via Wine
Just launch the install of the DVD in a Wine environment. You will have to add the necessary Windows DLLs and libraries manually in Wine.
NOTE: When using the FAF clients, the clients will prompt you to link your Steam account to FAF to prevent duplicated accounts and malicious users joining the FAF community.
You will have to register the serial number of your game in Steam. This means that illegal copies of the ISO will not work, in this case buy the game on Steam, it's cheap.

Install using native Steam

Set your Steam client

Steam -> Settings -> Steam Play -> under Advanced -> "Enable Steam Play for all other titles"

Install the game, set launch options

Set the following launch options, then start the game from Steam

Properties -> Set Launch Options -> set this:

PROTON_NO_ESYNC=1 PROTON_DUMP_DEBUG_COMMANDS=1 %command%

PROTON_NO_ESYNC will solve slow video playback problems in the main menu and other places.
PROTON_DUMP_DEBUG_COMMANDS will generate a RUN script for your game that you will be able to use later.


Properties -> Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool:

Proton 4.11-2 or
Proton 3.16-9 or
Proton 3.7-8

Proton 4.2-3 causes desync issues during playing the game.


Proceed with the installation of the Java Client after this. #Java Downlord's Client

File Locations

Game directory:

~/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/Supreme Commander Forged Alliance/

Game perf file:

~/.steam/steam/steamapps/compatdata/9420/pfx/drive_c/users/steamuser/Local Settings/Application Data/Gas Powered Games/Supreme Commander Forged Alliance/Game.prefs

WINEPREFIX:

~/.steam/steam/steamapps/compatdata/9420/pfx

Install using SteamCMD

You can download FA using a steam installation in wine. The following steps describe how to download FA using steamcmd on Arch Linux:

Install steamcmd:

yaourt -S steamcmd

Now you need to run steamcmd once as root to let it install its updates:

sudo steamcmd

now run steamcmd as your normal user to download your copy of FA and run the following commands in its shell:

login [my_steam_username]
@sSteamCmdForcePlatformType windows
force_install_dir [my/desired/installlocation]
app_update 9420 validate

Install using the retail ISO

Just launch the setup from the CD (ISO).

After installation

Run

winecfg

and enable "emulate virtual screen" option in graphics tab and enter you display resolution.


After installation run the game without the client, setup graphics and make sure everything works like sound etc. The bloom renderer graphics setting may not work. If the game does not start again, delete the #Game.prefs

If the game crashs with the following error:

CD3DDeviceResources::DevResInitResources: Unable to load effect file /effects/cartographic.fx

install d3dx9 using winetricks:

winetricks dlls d3dx9

If you have no sound install xact audio:

winetricks dlls xact


File Locations

Game.prefs

Your game.prefs contains all game settings, like graphics settings, keybindings and active UI mods. It is located at

~/.wine/drive_c/users/USER/Local Settings/Application Data/Gas Powered Games/Supreme Commander Forged Alliance/Game.prefs

but this path depends on your WINEPREFIX and probably on the Windows version you set up in wine.




Java Downlord's Client

Please #Contact the community for more information.

Script Installation

Currently there is a bash script for installing everything you need (including the game itself). It works on Ubuntu and other distributions as well: atsujb/installFAFscript

This is the fastest way to start playing but please note that this script upgrades your Ubuntu distribution (ex: 18.10 -> 19.04). This you may not want.


Manual Installation

The followings are a step by step example installation on Ubuntu 18.xx, it's built upon a native Steam installation of the game.


Download the Java FAF client

Download the latest Java FAF client (currently it is v0.10.0-beta)
URL: https://github.com/FAForever/downlords-faf-client/releases
File name: _dfc_unix_0_10_0-beta.tar.gz

Extract it to ~/Games/javaFafClient/


Download openJDK 10

URL: https://jdk.java.net/archive/
File name: openjdk-10.0.2_linux-x64_bin.tar.gz

Extract it to ~/Games/javaFafClient/

Note: Ubuntu repositories don't have Java 10 so you have to use this. There is no need to install it from unofficial PPAs etc...
Note: Recommended directory for jdk is /usr/lib/jvm/, but we are not using that for simplicity.

If the archive site doesn't work, your other options are:
http://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4507&p=174037#p174037


Set execute flags

Open a terminal and set execute flags for the following files

cd ~/Games/javaFafClient/downlords-faf-client-0.10.0-beta/
sudo chmod +x downlords-faf-client
sudo chmod +x ./lib/faf-uid


Set INSTALL4J_JAVA_HOME

In the same terminal, set the INSTALL4J_JAVA_HOME environment variable

export INSTALL4J_JAVA_HOME=~/Games/javaFafClient/jdk-10.0.2

At this point you should be able to run the FAF client. Please test this:

./downlords-faf-client

Note: You will need to set the INSTALL4J_JAVA_HOME environment variable every time you open a new terminal. Alternatively, it is possible to create your own bash script for starting the client or to append the export command to your .bashrc file.


Copy the Steam RUN script

If you ran the game from Steam you should have a file called "run" in /tmp/proton_your_linux_username. The tmp directory is only temporary so copy this file to somewhere nice.

cp /tmp/proton_test1/run ~/Games/javaFafClient/downlords-faf-client-0.10.0-beta/

If you cannot find the run file, please check your Steam settings again. #Install the game, set launch options

Note: This file contains the environment variables for Proton that are necessary to launch the game in a Proton/Wine environment. It also contains the version of Proton that you have selected previously in Steam. The FAF client will use this file to launch the game after we set it.


Client Setup

Launch the FAF client

./downlords-faf-client

Settings

Set File Locations

Client: Settings / Forged Alliance Forever /

Game location:

/home/your_linux_username/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/Supreme Commander Forged Alliance


Advanced, Command line format for executable:

/home/your_linux_username/Games/javaFafClient/downlords-faf-client-0.10.0-beta/run "%s"

Note: The run file mentioned here is the run file you copied earlier from the Steam temporary directory.


Execution directory:

Leave this empty


Use fallback vault location

Set "Use fallback vault location" in the client settings.

Without it, your custom downloaded maps and mods won't show up in the client and the game.

General / Use Fallback vault location


Create a game

Try to create a game and wait for the client to patch the FAF executable. At this point everything should work.


File Locations

Configuration directory for the client
It contains logs, client.prefs the configuration file of the client, etc...

~/.faforever

Note: The client.prefs file contains your username and password.


Location of mods and maps downloaded by the client
Use #Use fallback vault location!

~/.faforever/user/My Games/Gas Powered Games/Supreme Commander Forged Alliance


The script that launches the client: downlords-faf-client

~/Games/javaFafClient/downlords-faf-client-0.10.4-beta/downlords-faf-client

Legacy Python Client

The community client (the client) is written in Python3/PyQt5, which means that the client runs straight away on Linux.

Installation

Arch Linux

You need AUR access, so install something like yaourt. Then install my package with

yaourt -S python-fafclient

This should install wine as a dependency. Now you can install the game using wine. You can use your default wine prefix or create a new one. A nice UI tool for handling wine prefixes is PlayOnLinux.

Debian/Ubuntu family

There's no .deb package yet, please create one. Some discussion about that is in http://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4507&p=141217&hilit=linux#p141217

Client 0.18.0 runs on Ubuntu 17.04(very likely newest) using system packages only. Install instructions follow:

  • Install required packages:
 sudo apt-get install python3-idna python3-semantic-version python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qtwebengine python3-pyqt5.qtmultimedia python3-jsonschema python3-jinja2
  • Download the latest client source tar.gz (for example from here)
  • Download and install the faf-uid smurf protection executable:

But firts check actual version here

sudo wget https://github.com/FAForever/uid/releases/download/v4.0.5/faf-uid -O /usr/local/bin/faf-uid

Then:

 sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/faf-uid
 (Note that faf-uid runs xrandr, lspci, lsblk and uname. You need an lspci version that supports the --json switch, which is util-linux-2.27 or greater.)
  • Create a version file:
 echo "ver.si.on" > res/RELEASE-VERSION 

Note: version of client,not fafuid

For example:

 echo "0.18.4" > res/RELEASE-VERSION 
  • Run the client (from source root directory):
 python3 src/__main__.py

Gentoo

There is an experimental overlay available at https://github.com/Wesmania/faforever, along with installation instructions. You will need layman to set it up. Note that wine is not a dependency of these packages, you will have to install it on your own.

Run from source

See basic instructions at https://github.com/faforever/client#running-on-linux

Client Setup

First thing is to point your client to your game directory using Options -> Settings -> Game Path... If you install FA using the Retail ISO, your game path probably is

~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/THQ/Gas Powered Games/Supreme Commander - Forged Alliance

When using the steam download, your game path probably is

~/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/ForgedAlliance

I created some client settings so you can adjust how the client starts the game using wine. The are only accessible through the #FA Lobby.ini file while the client is not running (because it overwrites the file on close).

[wine]
exe=/usr/bin/wine                                         <- points to your wine binary, defaults to 'wine'
prefix=/home/linuxmasterrace/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/faf  <- points to your WINEPREFIX path, defaults to '~/.wine'
cmd_prefix=primusrun                                      <- prefix the program start for something like switchable graphics

File Locations

FA Lobby.ini

The settings file of the client is located at

~/.config/ForgedAllianceForever/FA Lobby.ini

It contains all settings of the client.

Logs

~/FAForever/logs

Look here if something goes wrong.

Maps

Your maps are located at

~/Documents/My Games/Gas Powered Games/Supreme Commander Forged Alliance/Maps

but this path may be altered by the documents directory set up in wine and localization of your system.


Issues with the game

Ladder 1v1 doesn't start, init_faf.lua

Ladder 1v1 doesn't start, the game crashes with a "cannot read init_faf.lua" exception.

Solution
There is no real fix for this yet but you can run this script:

https://github.com/FAForever/downlords-faf-client/issues/1095#issuecomment-490646613


No sound when the game is minimized

No sound when the game is minimized or running in the background.

Solution
Run winecfg and configure your Proton/wine or vanilla Wine.
export WINEPREFIX="/home/your_linux_user_name/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/compatdata/9420/pfx/"
winecfg
Graphics -> "Emulate a virtual desktop" -> Desktop Size: your native resolution


Mouse cursor flickering

The mouse cursor flickers/disappears.

Solution
  • Try the previous one
  • Enable vertical sync (on/off) in the game's settings
  • Run the game, open the game's console and issue command: d3d_WindowsCursor

You don't have to do every of these, just try, see what is working for you.


Certain effects are not rendered

The game doesn't render certain effects.

Solution 1
Use Gallium nine enabled Proton/wine or vanilla Wine
Proton wine is the easiest to install: https://github.com/popsUlfr/Proton/releases
Proton 3.16-6 Gallium Nine Extras 0.3.0 is tested and it works.


Note: You will need to have opensource Mesa drivers for AMD cards that support Gallium Nine (the recent ones in Ubuntu for example) or the opensource Nouveau driver for Nvidia cards

Using Gallium nine is not a must, many users are just fine with the basic setup and directx9 to opengl translation by Wine.


Solution 2 (thanks iczero on the forum)
Use the D9VK (Directx9 to Vulkan) translation layer for Wine or Proton/Wine
Joshua-Ashton github repository: https://github.com/Joshua-Ashton/d9vk/releases
On how to use it: https://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4507&start=840#p176596


Note: Your Linux graphics drivers need to have Vulkan support for this one. This link will help you to install and test it: https://linuxconfig.org/install-and-test-vulkan-on-linux

Your RUN file generated by Steam can help you to find the appropriate values of the WINEPREFIX and PATH variables.


Solution+
Also, enable the bloom renderer in the game's settings.


The game crashes at ~45min in game time

The game crashes at ~45min in game time

Solution
  • Turn off the minimap and don't use split view.
  • Use Gallium nine enabled Proton/Wine or vanilla Wine (see the previous one).
  • Use the D9VK (Directx9 to Vulkan) translation layer for Proton/Wine or vanilla Wine (see the previous one).


Desync issues

The desync window appears during gameplay.

Solution
Turn off mods and use appropriate Proton/Wine and vanilla Wine versions. See:

#Install the game, set launch options

Note: Don't forget to create and copy your Steam RUN file again if you change the version of Proton.


Game starts but the screen is black

The game starts, sound ok, but the screen is black.

Solution
Use appropriate Proton/Wine and vanilla Wine versions. See:

#Install the game, set launch options


Reported with using AMD Vega cards and Proton 4.2: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/Proton/issues/688#issuecomment-491610215