Guide to rFactor 2 on GNU/Linux

Discussion in 'Technical & Support' started by Bernat, Jun 25, 2021.

  1. Bernat

    Bernat Registered

    Jun 15, 2020
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    Disclaimer: Running rFactor 2 on GNU/Linux isn't supported nor endorsed by Studio 397. It can be run using Steam Play but there's no support either from Valve or any other party except the possible help from other users. You'll be using this combination at your own risk and accepting the lack of official support.

    In this little guide I intend to compile all the scattered info for anyone that might want to try rFactor 2 on GNU/Linux.

    I hope Studio 397 appreciate the options that this brings to rFactor 2 users in terms of running the software on their preferred OS or the one that works best on their hardware. Sometimes Windows can be very unstable while GNU/Linux is well-known because of its reliability and stability on a wide variety of hardware and software configurations.

    rFactor 2 is a superb simracing experience like no other and we're very glad we can experience it on the OS we have choosen for our computers.

    What works

    Everything in the game works perfectly well, but there are some caveats:

    - Some hardware might not be fully supported or at all.
    - Server and third-party tools.

    The Youtube channel from Leillo1975 has a lot of videos that show rFactor 2 running on GNU/Linux.

    How to install

    Proton is the compatibility tool to run Windows games on GNU/Linux used by Valve in their Steam Play for Linux service.

    It can be used on any game bought on Steam.

    Enable Steam Play by going to Steam->Parameters->Steam Play, then enable both options: "Enable Steam Play for compatible titles" and "Enable Steam Play for other titles".

    That's it. Now you can install and play RFactor 2 on GNU/Linux. Under the game properties, in the Compatibility tab we can change the Proton version used.

    Input devices

    Input devices like wheels, pedals, shifters, handbrakes and button boxes are usually recognized as HID devices and can be used right away. Additional features like FFB or displays might not be supported.

    Most DD high-end wheels including SimuCube, Leo Bodnar, Moza, etc., should work out of the box with FFB. These wheels use HID PIDFF and already have drivers included with Linux. They can also be used directly from Wine. Please, look for confirmation before buying one of these wheels for use on Linux.

    This guide for the SimuCube might help although it's written for Wine, not Proton.

    Other brands like Fanatec, Thrustsmater and Logitech need custom drivers. Some models are better supported than others, some don't work at all.

    The following wheels can have FFB when installing custom drivers (in most cases implemented by reverse engineering the devices):

    - Logitech wheels up to the G29 / G920 / G923 (PS version): new-lg4ff.
    - Thrustmaster T150: t150_driver.
    - Thrustmaster T300RS / T248: hid-tmff2.
    - Fanatec CSL Elite Wheel Base / ClubSport Wheel Base V2 and v2.5 / Podium Wheel Base DD1 / DD2 / CSL DD / GT DD Pro: hid-fanatecff.

    Logitech wheels have been supported for longer and have more complete support in general. Logitech has also released technical information to help implement their drivers. They work very well in rFactor 2.

    For other brands, please, check project details on their page to understand how well supported each model is.

    The Logitech G923 for XBox should work with the latest Linux kernel versions.

    If you can provide information about the protocol used in some unsupported device someone will be able to implement a driver for it.

    Devices without buttons may be detected as accelerometers by the system and prevent their use. Some workarounds exist creating a virtual device with fake buttons.

    Automatic rotation range

    The rotation range doesn't change automatically on Logitech, Thrustmaster and Fanatec wheels when using the default settings.

    To make it work, go to calibration settings and set `Rotation limit mode` to `Software`, `Max wheel angle mode` to `Custom` and `Default max wheel angle` to the maximum range of your wheel.

    Graphics cards

    Any card supporting Vulkan and over the recommended requirements should work.

    It's been fully tested on Nvidia cards using propietary Nvidia drivers. Nvidia driver versions since version 460.x have a performance regression in the Vulkan backend that makes the game run at a very low frame rate. Driver versions 470.63.01 and later have solved this issue.

    VR headsets

    Some headsets are compatible with Proton but there may be difficulties and performance issues since VR support is still lacking in GNU/Linux.

    There's a report in this thread about VR having bad performance on an AMD Radeon RX 6800XT, as expected.

    Head Tracking

    Head tracking devices can be used through OpenTrack. Choose `libevdev joystick receiver` as output and configure the axes in the game to look up/down/left/right and optionally roll in Settings > Assign Controls > Camera & Seat.

    Assistance software

    In theory, Windows software like CrewChief or SimHub could be made to work by installing them in the Proton prefix. But I don't have any information about the installation process and compatibility.

    TInyPedal is a cross-platform application that draws widgets with information over the game screen, including a radar. It's easy to install and works very well. Follow the instructions in the README to install on GNU/Linux.


    RAM usage can go pretty high after a while on systems with 16GB or less, causing Swap usage and thus stutters and freezes.

    Using zram can greatly improve performance in such situations by completely avoiding the use of disk swap. Some distributions default to using zram, on others you'll have to install it and configure it yourself. Check your distribution's information channels.

    Diagnosing issues

    The users guide explains how to get useful information to diagnose issues.

    Please, remember that our platform isn't officially supported. Instead of sending support requests to Studio 397 you should contact other GNU/Linux users in this forum or on Discord.

    Some USB input devices might cause hangs when starting the game, loss of control mappings and other issues. When in trouble try disconnecting any unneeded USB input devices.

    Proton compatibility

    Since Proton 5.0-10 all major problems are solved and it's completely playable with some minor annoyances described below but with great stability. You should try first the latest version.

    Proton 8.0 works well but it doesn't seem to support more than 4 axes on joysticks.

    There's been a switch to a new HID implementation since Proton 7.0 and some regressions might happen in the support of input devices. Last version without these changes is 6.3.

    Some keys don't work (fixed)

    This issue has been fixed in Proton 6.3-8. I'll keep the information here just in case someone needs to use an older version.

    When using Alt-Tab to switch between open apps, the keyboard stops responding in rFactor 2, or keys do something different to what we expect.

    The most common issues are: the Escape key not responding to exit the track; we can't type into the chat; or the cursor keys move the mirror instead of moving the seat.

    All these issues are due to the Alt key getting stuck in the pressed state when using Alt-Tab to switch apps. The fix is simple, press and release the Alt key and the keyboard will work again as expected.

    Graphical glitch around some cars

    This isn't specific to GNU/Linux but I think it's worth mentioning. If you see like a blob appearing at the rear or sides of some cars, it's the heat haze effect that renders incorrectly on Nvidia cards. It's said to be a long standing bug in the Nvidia drivers that may be related to the AA setting being used.

    This glitch can be easily fixed by disabling the haze effect in the `UserData/player/player.JSON` file:

    "Heat FX Fade Speed":0,
    Launching the companion tools

    Companion tools like the MAS File Utility, Mod Manager and Mod Mode can be added to the Steam Library.

    Go to "Games > Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library". The tools won't be in the list unless we've created desktop files for them. It's not needed. Select any game from the list.

    Once added, go to Properties and change the name to anything you like, and "Target" and "Start In".

    For MAS File Utility:
    • Target: "<your steam directory>/steamapps/common/rFactor 2/Support/Tools/MAS2.exe"
    • Start In: "<your steam directory>/steamapps/common/rFactor 2/Support/Tools/"
    For Mod Manager:
    • Target: "<your steam directory>/steamapps/common/rFactor 2/Bin64/ModMgr.exe"
    • Start In: "<your steam directory>/steamapps/common/rFactor 2/Bin64/"
    For Mod Dev.exe:
    • Target: "<your steam directory>/steamapps/common/rFactor 2/Bin64/rFactor2 Mod Mode.exe"
    • Start In: "<your steam directory>/steamapps/common/rFactor 2/Bin64/"

    Launching the server

    It can be added to the Steam library like the companion tools but the server won't be visible in the multiplayer server browser.

    Third-Party tools

    TinyPedal is an opensource overlay app showing lots of info, including radar and track map, which is compatible with GNU/Linux.

    rF2 Log Analyzer can be run using Wine.

    Installing the dedicated server

    General guidelines: dedicated server on Linux

    This is a detailed guide to prepare your system so that you can follow the official dedicated server installation guide as you would do on Windows.

    Hosting rfactor2 using Wine on Linux VMs / VMware ESXi 6.5

    This is a simpler guide with the basic steps to install and make the server run. You may find this easier to follow for experienced users since it guides through the critical steps ignoring the rest.

    Other useful information

    Contacting other GNU/Linux users

    Besides this forum, you can find GNU/Linux users playing rFactor 2 at this places:

    rFactor 2 Discord (#linux-unofficial) (English):
    Matrix Simracing (English):
    Matrix Zona Racing (Spanish):

    Thanks and contributions

    Thanks to the racing community at JugandoEnLinux and the GNU/Linux racing community in general for their efforts on making simracing on GNU/Linux a reality.

    Please, use this thread to ask any questions or add information that is missing. I'll try my best to keep this thread up to date.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2024
    szczebrzeszyn, hoover and leillo1975 like this.
  2. leillo1975

    leillo1975 Registered

    Jun 27, 2017
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    Thanks a lot for creating this guide. It will be very useful if any Linux user has doubts about whether you can play your favourite simulator on your system... I'm sure there are already more than one.
  3. Remco Majoor

    Remco Majoor Registered

    Apr 22, 2014
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    I have tried steamVR in rF2 on pop-os now. On my 5900X and 6800XT, I get 45-90 frames lowest settings single player practice, 0 ai, d'Azur with the class 1 BMW. There are noticable stutters and not the greatest experience, but hey, it works!
    leillo1975 and Bernat like this.
  4. leillo1975

    leillo1975 Registered

    Jun 27, 2017
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    Great info! Thanks a look . Is good to know that at least works.
    Without VR what fps level you have?
    Can you share this info on proton github issue?:
    Perhaps Valve devs could take a look and fix the performance.
  5. Remco Majoor

    Remco Majoor Registered

    Apr 22, 2014
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    I will take a look tomorrow. I remember on 1080P on a 1080 it was quite decent
  6. Sergio Rafael Lemke

    Sergio Rafael Lemke Registered

    Jan 7, 2023
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