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 (or, more accurately, soon will be) 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 quite 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:
- Cinnamon desktop environment, preinstalled with a few minor customizations. This is our favorite desktop environment because it’s relatively lightweight and not overly complicated while still boasting a modern look and customizable feature set that are highly intuitive for most of today’s computer users.
- yay preinstalled to provide convenient installation of AUR software (though we still recommend caution since anyone can contribute to the AUR and it can thus potentially be a source of poorly-maintained software or even, in extremely rare cases, outright malware).
- Steam, Lutris, and itch.io optionally preinstalled to facilitate installation of a wide variety of games that may not be available in the standard repos or AUR.
- Assistance with installation of the Blizzard Battle.net app via Lutris, if desired.
- Discord and other popular communication apps optionally preinstalled.
- Gimp, Inkscape, Goxel, Blender, Tiled, Audacity, UnityHub, the Godot game engine, and other applications relevant to game development optionally preinstalled.
The first public release of GDL will be ready…soon. In the meantime, we recommend downloading the latest Anarchy installer or, for an even more user-friendly Arch-based experience, take a look at Manjaro or EndeavourOS. We can also highly recommend the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint, source of our beloved Cinnamon desktop environment, as well as the various flavors of Ubuntu itself.