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Linux

Info

These instructions are only for Linux systems.

Kernel

Try a desktop-oriented kernel like XanMod or linux-tkg.

cpupower

Use either the performance, schedutil, or ondemand governors when playing TF2 by using cpupower frequency-set -g performance, for example. You can see available governors for your CPU with cpupower frequency-info.

GameMode

GameMode is a handy utility released by Feral Interactive, which changes the CPU Governor from the default CPU governor to performance. Recent updates allow it to change a game’s “nice priority”, giving the game more resources to work with.

To run TF2 using GameMode through Steam launch options, open Steam, then:

  1. Navigate to Library -> right-click Team Fortress 2 -> Properties -> General -> Launch Options.
  2. Enter gamemoderun %command% -your -tf2 -launch -options -go -here

If launching TF2 from Lutris, “Enable Feral GameMode” is likely enabled by default, hence the Launch Options additions aren’t used. You can check in Lutris via:

  • Games -> right-click Team Fortress 2 -> Configure -> System options

irqbalance

Balance IRQ interrupts across multiple cores by installing the irqbalance package on your distro and then enabling the irqbalance.service, likely by sudo systemctl enable --now irqbalance.service. This package is installed on most Debian-based OS by default, like Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

Ananicy Cpp

You can install schedtool and Ananicy Cpp, then enable ananicy-cpp.service to automatically apply rule-based process priority balancing, improving resources allocated to TF2.

This, however, requires a profile for TF2. Follow Ananicy Cpp’s profile import instructions to use community profiles from the original Ananicy software, which can be downloaded here or by installing the original Ananicy.

Networking optimization

See the Arch Linux wiki for information about improving networking parameters for performance.

I/O Schedulers

The Linux kernel supports multiple I/O scheduler algorithms for storage devices such as mq-deadline, bfq, and kyber. Depending on the type and speed of your storage device, some of these algorithms may increase or decrease the latency of read requests, as well as overall throughput. See the Arch Linux wiki for more information.

Virtual memory optimization

See the Arch Linux wiki for information about improving virtual memory parameters.

Fixing bugs with newer SDL2

Using a newer version of libSDL2 can help fix issues in things such as mouse sensitivity, rendering, and support for newer display servers. The automatic Steam runtime host library pinning is not enough to use native libraries on TF2 as the game’s launcher script shades in some libraries by itself. In order to force TF2 to use the newer library, the built-in library must be deleted and the system library has to be manually pinned to the runtime.

To do this, go to TF2_FOLDER/bin and delete libSDL2-2.0.so.0 (this will cause TF2 to fall back to the Steam Linux Runtime). Then, install a 32-bit version of SDL2 and pin the library to the runtime using one of these commands, depending on your distribution:

Note

If you encounter any rendering issues or crashing when running under Wayland, prepending SDL_VIDEODRIVER=x11 %command% to your launch options may help

Note

Users of the Flatpak version of Steam will not have to install a 32-bit version of SDL2 as the runtime already has a sufficient version pinned. Only removing the built-in version of SDL2 is required.

Ubuntu/Debian-based distributions:

sudo apt install libsdl2-2.0-0:i386
ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libSDL2-2.0.so.0 "$HOME/.steam/root/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/pinned_libs_32/"

Arch-based distributions:

sudo pacman -S lib32-sdl2
ln -s /usr/lib32/libSDL2-2.0.so.0 "$HOME/.steam/root/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/pinned_libs_32/"

Fedora:

sudo dnf install SDL2.i686
ln -s /usr/lib/libSDL2-2.0.so.0 "$HOME/.steam/root/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/pinned_libs_32/"

Game crashes when using a NVIDIA card

There have been issues reported by users with NVIDIA driver versions between 525.60.11 and 525.89.02-1 that cause the game to crash on startup. This was the result of a bug in NVIDIA’s driver, which was fixed in 530.41.03. If unable to upgrade to this version, downgrading to 520.56.60 or lower is also an option.