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Install Star Trek Online (and other games) on Linux

Play Star Trek Online on Linux using Steam or Arc Launcher

By Pedigo Sun 15 Aug, 2021 11:19 AM - Last Updated: Tue 24 Aug, 2021 11:56 AM
I’ll be honest. When I pitched this article, I expected to spend a few days getting Linux set up, finding the best drivers for my Nvidia GPU, trying to pinpoint the best version of Wine (Windows Emulator), tweaking game settings, and finally settling in for a subpar Star Trek Online experience on Linux. But I was quite wrong.

Gaming on Linux has never been easier. But if the Linux gaming experience has always been crap, that’s not saying much. What I should say is, “Gaming on Linux is pretty easy now!” Believe it or not, it’s now possible to get a lot of popular game titles running on Linux. For this community, I thought it appropriate to try out Star Trek Online.ondemandpatching3

I tried a few different methods on two different Linux distributions on two different computers. I’ll walk through the better performing and easier approach first. For those who hate Steam for whatever reason, I’ll also go through getting STO to work through the Arc Launcher. The Steam method gave me an easier path to installation and better game performance (especially at higher resolution) so I encourage you to use that route if possible.

I am using the Manjaro distribution of Linux for this guide but I also tested on Opensuse Tumbleweed. My thinking is that if STO worked on two rolling-release distros, it should work on any of the mainstream flavors of Linux out there. This guide isn’t a how-to for getting Linux up and running. I do encourage you to have a good understanding of installing applications and be comfortable using the console although you won’t have to do much with it.

Steam Method

You’ll need to get Steam working on your distro. I found that Manjaro came bundled with a Steam installer so that was super easy for me. For those without the bloatware preloaded, I recommend Googling “install steam <your distro here>.” You’ll usually find some easy to follow console commands. For example, if I were using Ubuntu, I’d do something like:
$ sudo add-apt-repository multiverse
$ sudo apt install steam[
And that’s it. I’m adding the multiverse library so Ubuntu knows where to find the Steam software and then I’m installing it.

I’ll assume you’ve already added Star Trek Online to your Steam library. We need to make a quick change to Steam settings so we can install it on Linux. So open Steam settings, then click on Steam Play. Check “Enable Steam Play on supported devices” and then check “Enable Steam Play for all other titles.” You can change “Run other titles with” to another version of Proton but I left mine on experimental.steamplaysettings2

Save those settings, restart Steam, and you should now be able to install Star Trek Online to that machine. Once installed, click Play and it will open the patching dialogue. Depending on your computer and internet connection, this may take a while. So watch “First Contact” for the hundredth time while you wait. Another thing you can do in the meantime is turn off on-demand patching.

This is actually really important. When I tried to play with “On-demand patching” turned on, its default setting, I had incredibly long waits in between maps. Transferring from ground to space would take minutes, sometimes over five minutes. So before you start, click “Options” in the STO launcher and uncheck “On-demand patching.”

You’ve finished “First Contact” and STO has fully patched so it should be ready to play, right? Not quite. I found that there is more patching the needs to be done. Close the launcher and reopen. It’ll do another much quicker round of patching.

Once that finishes, you’re now ready to play. Let the game load and you’ll probably see a dialogue about updating your graphics settings, another one for brightness settings, and one for the Cryptic login code. If you find you can’t click anything, press enter or esc a few times and you should be able to enter your login code.

And that’s it! You’re now playing Star Trek Online on Linux. You’ve reached a higher level of Nerd. But what if you don’t want to use Steam? No worries, you can use the Arc Launcher. When I tested, it didn’t perform quite as well as the Steam method but it did work well enough for me.

Arc Launcher Method

Again, I’m assuming you have Linux installed. For this method, we won’t be installing Steam obviously. But we’ll need to install an emulation layer. The popular app for that is called Wine (WINdows Emulator). If you don’t know how to on your distro, remember to Google “install wine <your distro here>.” For me, I ran this in the console:
$ sudo pacman -Syu
$ sudo pacman -S wine winetricks wine-mono wine_gecko
I’m updating everything first. This is a good practice in Linux before installing anything. Then I’m installing Wine, Winetricks, Wine-mono, and Wine_gecko. Wine is the emulator. Winetricks is used to automatically install dependencies that certain Windows programs may rely on, wine-mono is for applications that rely on .NET, and wine-gecko is for applications that rely on Internet Explorer. I’m installing those extra packages because I plan on using this machine to run other Windows applications. You may only need Wine and maybe Winetricks.installwine2

That’s really the hard part. With Wine installed, many Windows applications will just run in Linux. Head to the Arc website and download the launcher ( Once downloaded, I was able to just open the launcher exe and things started going. I opened the installed launcher and clicked to install Star Trek. Everything else following is identical to Steam.

Open the STO launcher, let it patch, make sure to uncheck “On-demand patching,” close the launcher once the first patching is done, reopen and let patch once again, and you’re done.

There you have it! Two ways to install and play Star Trek Online on Linux. I was impressed with how well the game played on my Manjaro machine. I used the Nvidia proprietary drivers which may rub some Linux enthusiasts the wrong way but I like that I saw similar performance with STO on Linux as I get with Windows. Once I’m able to get my parsing software installed, I’ll happily be playing Star Trek Online full-time on Linux.

Do games on Linux offer more flexibility? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below?

Sun 15 Aug, 2021 6:08 PM
Nice article Pedigo!
Sun 15 Aug, 2021 6:17 PM
Linux always for the win!! Cool
Sun 15 Aug, 2021 6:24 PM
Nice article Pedigo!
Thank you sir!

Linux always for the win!! Cool
I feel like gaming is one of the last hurdles for Linux. If you group Chromebooks with the rest of Linux, we can safely say Linux is already mainstream. Personally, video and photo editing is the only thing I’m missing from going Linux full time.
Sun 15 Aug, 2021 7:28 PM
Personally, video and photo editing is the only thing I’m missing from going Linux full time.
I don't know much about video editing, but what about GIMP?
Sun 15 Aug, 2021 9:10 PM
I don't know much about video editing, but what about GIMP?
I'm slowly getting better at GIMP. I've used Photoshop for a very long time so my challenge is mostly relearning how to do things in a new system that is VERY different from what I'm used to. Believe it or not, most video editing software operates much the same way. And I edited on about everything under the sun professionally so as long as I can find Linux software that handles the codex and formats I shoot, I can figure it out. I've been meaning to try Davinci Resolve.
Sat 21 Aug, 2021 9:03 AM
@Pedigo Davinci Resolve is a great video editor, but can get expensive if you want to take it pro...
Sun 22 Aug, 2021 8:51 PM
The times that there were many reasons not to use Linux for gaming were over long ago. The remaining reasons are few and mostly deal with niche games and rare situations. Both the graphics card manufacturers have a decent driver for their cards and with proton the user experience is so easy that a child can literally get gaming in little time.
The benefits of using Linux are numerous for the home consumer and the only thing that is keeping Linux from annihilating Windows on the Desktop is that companies are still not switching to Linux, due to ignorance of the higher management levels and the issue of liability. Not only is Linux open source, with no company behind it to hold responsible, but the employees working with it need to be certified and so on. Add to that that "the competion is also still on Windows" and the branche specific software might not be available on linux and you'll understand that there is sill a hurdle in commercial situations that holds linux back. And if you work daily with windows at work, you're likely to choose it at home as well.
Tue 24 Aug, 2021 11:57 AM
Fantastic article. I feel smarter having read it.