TL; DR: We’ve established that Doom can run on potatoes, but how about something a little more complex? Someone recently tried to run Half-Life 2 natively on a Raspberry Pi 4. Initial results seem rough but show the theoretical expansion potential of Valve’s platform support.
Videos posted on Reddit this week show sections of Half-Life 2 he ran Originally on Raspberry Pi 4 and Apple M2 Macbook Air. Redditor zbios said the primary goal of the demo was not to test a Raspberry but to see if the Valve Source Engine could run on Arm platforms.
Before you get too excited, know that the microcomputer doesn’t do well in Valve’s 2004 first-person shooter. The game runs around 15 to 20 frames per second, with graphics set to a mix of low and high settings at 720p.
At 1080p, the frame rate can drop to 10fps. The game may look barely playable, but it’s stable enough to prove that a Source Engine game can run on an arm-based Linux system, which was the Redditor’s primary goal.
The project was made possible by a leak of 2018’s Team Fortress 2 source code, which made a copy of the Valve engine available for free at github. Support for this code for every Arm based system except for Windows on Arm allowed the zbios to port Half-Life 2 to a Raspberry Pi 4 running Linux.
The modder later used the RP build to mod the game for Apple’s M2 Silicon, which unsurprisingly handles the game much better. The beginning of the Revenholm division managed 300-400fps, proving the potential of porting the Source engine games to Arm. According to zbios, Portal conversion should also be possible, but comments on the GitHub page suggest that Garry’s Mod is out of reach due to its modifications to the engine.
These successful demos raise the question of whether Valve can offer Arm-original versions of all Source engine games on Steam, such as DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (which might Receive sequel or major update soon), and Portal 2. Maybe they can join the already wide range Games list on Steam natively running on Apple Silicon. In addition, Nvidia Lightspeed Studios released Android versions of Half-Life 2 and Portal for Nvidia Shield in 2018, prove That the basis of the arm support is in place.