There’s growing interest in the Linux operating system (as opposed to Windows or macOS) as a platform for gaming and game development. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but for those of you who are Linux enthusiasts, fans of Arch Linux specifically, and interested in some of the customizations detailed below, we are proud to offer a custom Arch Linux installer designed with gamers and game developers in mind: Golden Drake Linux (GDL).
Like the Anarchy installer it’s based on, GDL is not an independent distro. Rather, it’s simply a convenient method for installing a customized version of the Arch distro. It’s also provided without any warranty and without any promise of technical support: it’s just a fun open source side project (and very much a work in progress) that we hope might be of use or interest to some small number of folks out there beyond our walls.
- It’s a robust and well-managed rolling distro that offers bleeding-edge versions of software while still maintaining a high degree of stability (despite what the naysayers may tell you…ha!).
- In addition to its own extensive repositories, it provides convenient access to a seemingly endless array of additional software for those bold enough to venture into the Arch User Repository (AUR). This greatly reduces the need to rely on snaps, flatpaks, PPAs (for those accustomed to Ubuntu shenanigans), general searches for software online, etc.
- The Arch community is highly knowledgeable and maintains one of the all-time best sources of Linux lore: the Arch Wiki.
- The overall structure and philosophy of Arch make it uniquely versatile, customizable, and liberating.
The only major downside of Arch, in our view, is that its standard installation process can be extremely intimidating for newcomers and potentially time-consuming even for experienced Linux users. This is why we see great value in installation helpers such as ours.
Here are some of the features you can expect when using the GDL installer:
- Your choice of one of the following as your desktop environment (DE), with a few customizations that can easily be changed to suit your own tastes:
- GNOME: A modern “heavyweight” DE with a sleek, minimalist style, convenient keyboard shortcuts, and a unique take on the overall desktop experience.
- Cinnamon: An excellent, feature-rich “middleweight” DE created by the wonderful team behind Linux Mint. If you’re accustomed to Windows, this will likely feel the most natural and user-friendly to you.
- Xfce: A highly-customizable and extremely stable “lightweight” DE that offers a nice “old school” experience and is the perfect choice for machines with very little RAM or CPU power.
- A selection of prominent free and open source (FOSS) games for optional preinstallation.
- AUR helper yay-bin preinstalled for convenient access to AUR software.
- Lutris and Wine preinstalled along with all the prerequisites for Lutris-assisted installation of Blizzard Battle.net and many other popular Windows apps.
- Steam, itch.io, the “legendary” Epic Games launcher, RetroArch, etc., optionally preinstalled to provide even more access to an endless variety of games.
- OBS Studio, Discord, MangoHud, and other apps relevant to gaming and game recording optionally preinstalled.
- Unity Hub, Unreal Engine, Godot game engine, Gimp, Inkscape, Goxel, Blender, Tiled, Audacity, LibreSprite, and other apps relevant to game art, game programming, and other aspects of game development optionally preinstalled.
The first official release of GDL will be ready by sometime in March of 2021 at the latest. We hope you’ll enjoy it and provide constructive feedback, but if it doesn’t offer what you’re looking for then we recommend checking out another tried-and-true Arch installer, such as Anarchy or ArchLabs, or a more user- and beginner-friendly Arch-based distro, such as Manjaro, EndeavourOS, or Garuda Linux. Alternatively, we can also highly recommend Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros like Linux Mint and Pop!_OS, options that some people consider even more user- and beginner-friendly.