Gaming on virtual machines

I still keep Windows dual-booting along openSUSE for all that stuff that openSUSE cannot handle very well or nothing at all; for example, those games or applications that don’t have native Linux versions or have a low rating on Wine.

But I’d like to change the scheme: leaving openSUSE 13.1 as single base OS (i.e., host) and Windows 8.1 Pro as virtualized OS by using VirtualBox or other virtualization software. Both 64 bit OS. This is, replacing dual-boot with virtualization.

But I also seek to also be able to do gaming on the virtual OS. Previously I did some search and found that VirtualBox only has experimental 3D acceleration and up to Direct3D 8/9, but may not work on Windows 8. So seemingly it wouldn’t go very well. Then I looked about VMWare Player, which has better 3D acceleration, seemingly also up to Direct3D 9. Both VirtualBox and VMWare require their respective tools to be installed.

But in general I read that virtual machines don’t use the GPU card directly, normally they kind of emulate a graphic device, so it wouldn’t be good for what I seek. Until I found this:
But seems far more complicated (and perhaps a bit unpractical) than the standard installing of a Linux host, a virtualization software, and a guest OS. There are also some terms/concepts I’m not familiarized with, such as pass-through, KVM, VFIO. Also read that there’s still not much luck with Nvidia cards…

Anyway, I wanted to ask your opinion. Do you think gaming on a virtual Windows is possible? Would VMWare be enough, or would I need to try the hardcore stuff of the tutorials above? Could those ones work on openSUSE? If possible I seek to be able to run all the games and emulators that run correctly on the Windows installation.


What about codeweavers cxgames?

I don’t know what cxgames exactly is, but if you mean CodeWeavers’ CrossOver, I can’t afford it at least right now. I know it’s better to test things out, but I personally prefer to stick with free stuff. Also, does CrossOver makes a big difference from Wine?

Yes crossover games (cxganes) from codeweavers. They have a free trial at least it’s something to evaluate…

CrossOver is a commercialized version of Wine, so it has more features than wine.

Ok, thanks.

But what about all the first post stuff?

Of all probably Xen or vmware ESXi will give you the best hardware access, but IMHO just dual boot or get a second machine (or an Xbox etc).

This thread was interesting to me in that I hadn’t reviewed the current state of virtualized GPU performance in a long time.

Prior posts in this thread only touch momentarily on the base virtualization platform before considering common OS level graphics technology, but IMO the base virtualization needs to be analyzed before you can even attempt to deploy a technology at a higher level.

A quick read of several search engine results indicates although there are substantial efforts, I haven’t identified any proven and stable implementations today. Of course, my read may be highly unreliable due to

  • I didn’t find much new information dated Aug 2013 to today (approx. last 9 mths)
  • There isn’t too much information since 2011, period and of course there have been many improvements since then, not all software (Hardware has improved greatly in that time).
  • Practically no benchmarks exist. There are anecdotal statements like “The remote desktop was faster using… instead of …” but unless there is a formal description and comparison of <what> virt technology, <how> it was configured, <what> the hostOS and guestOS are, the exact hardware, and more… You won’t know if that anecdote applies to your setup.

But, there are a few things that are likely true…

  • There are 3-4 types of GPU implementations,
    Passthrough - Self-explanatory, not always available. I suppose in theory this is equivalent to bare metal access, but not always available in any given virt technology. If GPU passthrough is similar to typical I/O Device passthrough, then this option may also have limitations.
  • Paravirtual driver - Not always available, I’ve found typically enhanced by installing a version using “Guest” additions/extensions. Personally, I’ve found implementations I’ve used improve performance but are far inadequate for 3D Gaming.
  • Proxy - Usually by implementing an application like VNC. I’ve found this to provide only common “adequate” performance at best. No 3D gaming.
  • Bare metal - Using something like Linux Containers (LXC). I haven’t tested using a Desktop or Display Manager but in theory should provide best theoretical performance.

So, at least at this time based on the sparse announcements and listed features of current virtualizations, in almost all cases I would not recommend trying to setup 3D gaming in a virtualized environment if performance is important.


On Fri 20 Jun 2014 04:56:01 PM CDT, tsu2 wrote:

So, at least at this time based on the sparse announcements and listed
features of current virtualizations, in almost all cases I would not
recommend trying to setup 3D gaming in a virtualized environment if
performance is important.

I would concur, go to the local pawn shop and see what machines they
have available (that’s where I get my laptops :wink: ) as in laptops,
desktops and/or game consoles…

Cheers Malcolm °¿° SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 13.1 (Bottle) (x86_64) GNOME 3.10.1 Kernel 3.11.10-11-desktop
If you find this post helpful and are logged into the web interface,
please show your appreciation and click on the star below… Thanks!

Running a VirtualBox instance on my basement server.
I was testing back in 2010-11. Simpler games started there(on WM Win XP) and pick up by rdp (have sound) session on a local machine and was ok. When I to try to start a heavier 3D game (in this case Sims 3) the problems started.

I gave up. Maybe it was beacouse my simple GPU on the server (integrated AMD Radeon 3200).

God luck anyway :).


IMHO virtualization is a lot of things but games/3D is not one of them (at least not yet) ;).