Feral's 'GameMode' is Actually Pretty Rad!

I checked my inbox just the other day and found several people had asked me about this. Feral has released a tool to get better performance out of Linux machines?

And it’s open source?!


“GameMode instructs your CPU to automatically run in Performance Mode when playing games. The first Feral release to integrate the tool is Rise of the Tomb Raider...”

Feral Press release - April 10th, 2018

So how does it work, exactly?

That’s a great question. Once GameMode is set up on your computer, any game that supports it will be able to request a temporary change in your CPU’s governor. To put it simply: you turn off the power-saving feature of your CPU and allow it to run with all guns blazing.

And you are also able to configure any game to utilize GameMode. You can edit the Steam launch command or run the game from the terminal with a preload environment variable.

Some games will ship with GameMode support built in. Like the aforementioned Tomb Raider. And I say support because you’ll have to install GameMode separately.

What do you need to do to get it set up?

Right now setup is pretty simple, just install the build dependencies, clone the repo and run bootstrap.sh

In my opinion, it’s really straight-forward. It’s already been added to the AUR and Solus repos so you can install it from there if you’re on those distros. For ubuntu, I just followed the instructions on the github and it worked great.

I haven’t had a chance to GameMode through its paces, but I did do a simple test using KdenLive. I ran the software without gamemode, and created a simple test project. I added some old footage of mine to the timeline and used the position and zoom effect, then played it back with the effect being applied to clip in real time.

Then I saved the project, quit the program, and relaunched it using the LD_PRELOAD command listed on the project’s GitHub.

I played back the exact clip and the footage with gamemode enabled ended up applying real-time transformation to the 1080p footage faster than without GameMode enabled. To the point where, after 20 seconds had elapsed, the footage playing under gamemode was about a half second ahead of the non-gamemode footage.

That’s impressive! I’m interested to see how this translates for gaming. I’m certainly going to be using this while editing and gaming going forward.

But I want to know what you think. Will you be using this to enhance your gaming performance? Leave me a comment and let me know or hit me up on Twitter @TheLinuxGamer.

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