(Remote) Gaming on Librem 5

Hi all,

there are already posts regarding games on the Librem 5

I decided to create a new topic to discuss with you the different possibilities to play on the librem 5.

There are two different types of games:

  • Less complex and less engergy consuming games like those you would expect in mobile stores like f-droid - from now on called “mobile games”
  • Games which are meant for pcs or laptops, which usually require some kind of controller and have mostly nice graphics and stuff - from now on called “pc games”

I think the mobile games will emerge in some kind of way in the pureos store as they do on fdroid, google play and so on. These are not too complex (some candy crush, board games, 2048, html5 games).
What I am interested in to discuss is the pc game category. Why? Because of the convergence feature of the librem 5:

In regard of pc games - why would I even bother to play them on my phone? Because it’s mobile! I can go to a different place with my wife and just connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse and start playing - I could not do this with a gaming pc. Or think about connecting it with something as a nexdock or project linda (a laptop shell using your phone as computer and the case as monitor / keyboard) while you are travelling:

But what would be needed to play pc games on the librem 5? There are two possibilities:

  1. Have a native app / program or emulated program running directly on the device
  2. Using a separate computer to actually run the program and stream the game to your device

I think there will be some native apps and programs which can run directly on your device. Mainly open source programs which already exist - like maybe SuperTuxCart [1], ReGoth [2], Unknown Horizons [3] and FreeCiv [4]. In case we want to play AAA titles we would need a store which is not Open Source and they would not only have a client for linux, but even for arm! This is afaik currently not availible. There is an open issue for steam [5] and a forum post for the paradox launcher [6] but it doesn’t seem that there will be anything any time near.

The second possibility to stream games to the device may be more interesting as it has some advantages. As you connect the device to a monitor with convergence, you would only need to have a stable (Internet/LAN) connection to your computer and a graphics card which is able to display the game stream on your monitor. This is not a new concept. Steam e.g. has in-home streaming [7] which I am using when I am playing on my weak pc on my sofa using my high end pc in the buro. There was also the nvidia shield tablet, which could also stream games from the nvidia servers [8]. And lastly you might also have heard about Google Stadia [9]. To use such a thing on our librems we would however need some streaming software.

All of the above streaming clients would not work as we are on an arm linux setup. So are there alternatives? As you might know it’s possible to ssh -x to a client and forward the sound via pulseaudio. I think this will not work as the phone will use wayland and anyhow I am not sure if the performance will work here as I am not sure if the rendering will not be on the client side. Another thing would be vnc which allows to remote desktop - the problem with vnc is that there will be not sound transmitted.
If you look at the wikipage on remote desktop applications [10] there seems to be no GPL remote desktop client which transmits also audio.

Did I miss something? How do you do remote desktop on linux? Do you have sound?

Which means in short that for gaming on the librem 5 we will have the following possibilites:

  • Games will be ported or implemented as mobile games -> will work for some open source games
  • A major game developer ports its store with maybe even a streaming technology - unlikely at the moment
  • We find some kind of streaming technology with a client on our phone and a server on a regular pc

[1] https://supertuxkart.net/Main_Page
[2] https://github.com/REGoth-project/REGoth/
[3] http://unknown-horizons.org/
[4] http://freeciv.org/
[5] https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/4061
[6] https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/feature-request-paradox-launcher-paradox-games-on-arm-arm64.1180599/
[7] https://store.steampowered.com/streaming/
[8] https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/shield/games/
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Stadia
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_remote_desktop_software


@maximilian - I did a quick search and found Moonlight that reports to have a Linux client for an NVIDIA GameStream server although I have no idea if the Librem 5 hardware would be able to support it

Having a polished game on Librem 5 would be nice, even could gather people. I remember playing Need For Speed on Nokia N9. With only 1GB Ram and 1Ghz CPU this device could run this game smoothly. Another game on the Nokia N9 was Angry Birds. I would like to know What performance is better between
Nokia N9 vs Librem 5 CPU/GPU

Anyone heard about phonegap to make html5 based apps? Do you think it is possible use it for design Librem 5 apps?

From this link :
The IMX8 Quad is ~2000 on Antutu at 3D and for the current top Android
devices :
If those numbers are correct we are light years away from current phones

So it should be okay for simple 2D games, but for more resource intensive game it
won’t be powerful enough. But there still many fun 2D / simple 3D game, if we look
at the most popular game on mobile they are often very simple ones.

When playing Age of Empires II in wine the other day I thought - this game is so old it should also be possible to have it on our Librems. Then I had a look into wine if it’s possible to have it on arm. The good thing is, it is - the bad thing that the game would not yet be arm but still x86.


So in the end - I think we should aim for a streaming variant for any higher class / more computational intensive game. I could e.g. imagine myself having a vpn to my home network to stream my home pcs screen to my mobile somewhere else or to connect the mobile with some monitor. This way we could even think of putting the whole workstation / pc in our basement and just use the mobile when around the house also for non-gaming stuff and stream the rest if you need something (or just SSH into the pc - that should be possible right now too).

The steam link was also arm based - I wonder if it would be possible to have some steam streaming only arm application…

I found that there is a raspberry pi build of the steam link which can stream games from your PC with steam to the raspberry pi. It’s a regular deb file, maybe we could also install this on the librem 5? In this case we could play ANYTHING remotely as steam also allows you to add whatever process to it’s library to stream.

EDIT: Problem seems to be that the librem 5 is not armhf but arm64 - let’s hope there will be a arm64 build sometime.