How to install and play Elite Dangerous on Linux

There are video games that have literally made the history of video games: Arkanoid, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, R-Type, just to name a few. There are video games that, beyond their beauty, have conquered millions of players: PUBG, Fortnite, Destiny to stay in recent times. There are video games that have gone beyond the concept of video games: Flight Simulator, SimCity, Civilization, Age of Empires, and we stop there.

Elite Dangerous, like all episodes of the Elite saga, is part of all these fields and has rightfully acquired a golden place in the history of video games. It is not just a video game, but a real scientific simulator that responds to all the laws of physics and science. Space, the galaxies, are his playing field, the spaceships his characters, the pilots his players. Elite Dangerous offers the opportunity to fulfill the dreams of those who grew up watching science fiction and marveling at the starry sky.

Unfortunately, Elite Dangerous doesn’t have a Linux version yet, and still had significant issues with Wine. But things are changing (actually, they have already changed!) thanks to Steam, Proton, and some tricks to apply.

Play Elite Dangerous on your Linux. Hassle-free and fast

Enough with dual-booting, slow emulators, launch errors, and all the flaws that have characterized trying to play Elite Dangerous on Linux so far. Today, thanks to all the work done by the Steam team and their Proton, with just a few clicks and some terminal commands, we can play Elite Dangerous and have an incredible gaming experience.

So, let’s see how to install and play Elite Dangerous on Linux.

1- Install Steam on your Linux distro

For Debian (like Mint and Ubuntu) based distro, easy peasy double click on the .deb file that you can get here: https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/client/installer/steam.deb.

For Fedora, on the Software Repositories, ensure to enable the RPM Fusion Nonfree – Steam repo and digit in a terminal:

$ sudo dnf install steam

For openSUSE, just click on the 1-Click Install for your version on this page: https://software.opensuse.org/package/steam.

2- Enable Proton on Steam

On the Steam client, on the upper-left corner click on Steam and then Settings. On the Settings window, click on Steam Play and ensure to check the Enable Steam Play for supported files and Enable Steam Play for all other titles checkboxes. Also, select the Proton version (we suggest you use the latest if you don’t have issues) you want to use from the drop-down menu. Lastly, restart the Steam client.

3- Buy and install Elite Dangerous on Steam

On the Steam client, buy and install the Elite Dangerous game. You can also start with the link from the Steam website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/359320/Elite_Dangerous/.

Wait until the game is fully installed, restart the Steam client and do all the updates if presents.

Start the game.

You will see the game load and the Steam client show you that it is active. But, in truth, you won’t be able to play the game and you won’t even see a picture of Elite Dangerous.

Don’t worry, close the game, close the Steam client and go on.

4- Install Protontricks for your distribution

You can use pipx to install the latest version of Protontricks. pipx requires Python 3.6 or newer, and you will need to install pip, setuptools and virtualenv first. Install the correct packages depending on your distribution.

For Debian based:

$ sudo apt install python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-venv

For Fedora:

$ sudo dnf install python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-libs

For openSUSE:

$ sudo zypper in python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-libs

After installing pip and virtualenv, run the following commands to install pipx for the current user.

$ python3 -m pip install --user pipx
$ ~/.local/bin/pipx ensurepath

Close and reopen your terminal. After that, you can install protontricks.

$ pipx install protontricks

To upgrade to the latest release:

$ pipx upgrade protontricks

5- Use Protontricks to make Elite Dangerous working on Linux

As suggested above, make sure you have tried to launch the game at least once, and have protontricks set up before getting the dotnet framework.

Open a terminal window and digit:

$ protontricks 359320 -q dotnet472 win7

Wait until the installation process has been terminated and close the terminal window.

6- Launch Elite Dangerous inside Steam

Open the Steam client again, and click PLAY on the Elite Dangerous game.

If the game crashes on the first launch, this is normal. Click on PLAY again and you will see that everything will be fine this time.

So, in the end, have a nice journey Commander!

References and resources

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