I watched this video by Linus Tech Tips, and decided to improve on his criticisms to hopefully create a better guide to choosing your Linux gaming distro.
These are some common terms to know:
- DE/Desktop Environment: This is the GUI interface to your OS.
- Terminal/TTY/Command Line: This is the text based interface to your OS.
As Linux is Free and Open Source Software, you can customize anything and everything you want on any distro. However, as this is a beginner focused guide, it mostly focuses on what is built in to a distro, not what is possible with a distro.
This distribution is simple to use, has a nice DE, and generally doesn't get in your way. The breakage caused while installing linux in Linus' video is something that is trivial to fix. You can expect it to have been fixed very soon after this guide is published, and even if it is not, you can open the terminal in POP!_OS by clicking on the terminal icon in the dock and just run
sudo apt-get install steam
NVidia has proprietary graphics drivers for linux which are a pain to get working. For this reason, if you have an NVidia card, I recommend just going with POP!_OS as it has an image with NVidia drivers preinstalled. The rest of this guide will be focused on AMD users, or NVidia users who are willing to install drivers manually. If you are not one of these, you should skip to 'What after the distro?'
This distribution is also simple to use, has a nice DE that mirrors Windows. There is very little difference between it and POP!_OS other than the latter having a seperate NVidia image. It is mostly just personal preference.
Wasn't that short! The reason I only covered these two distributions is that there is very little difference between most distributions, much more so when gaming is concerned. What is more important is what software you install on that distro, and for this reason, the bulk of this guide will be focusing on these.
Simply put, these are softwares which make Windows games run on Linux. As an end user, you do not need to know more than this, just google instructions on how to install these for your distro, and you're good
Consider Lutris as an all-in-one game launcher. It can manage your steam and non steam games from a single interface. It is dead simple to use, and you should be able to just google instructions on how to install it and be good to go.
Chimera is a really nice tool for managing ROMs for, say, consoles. It is a bit involved to setup, but nothing you can't figure out by googling.