Golden Drake Linux

There’s growing interest in the Linux operating system as a platform for gaming and game development. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but for those of you who are (or wish to become) Linux enthusiasts, fans of Arch Linux specifically, and interested in the features detailed below, we are proud to offer a custom Arch Linux installer designed with gamers and game developers in mind: Golden Drake Linux (GDL).

Foundation

GDL is a highly-modified fork of the Anarchy installer and thus, like Anarchy, it is not an independent distro. Rather, it’s simply a convenient method for installing a customized version of the Arch Linux distro. It’s also provided without any warranty and without any promise of technical support: it’s just a fun open source side project that we hope might be of interest to some folks out there beyond our walls.

Here at Golden Drake Studios, we’re huge fans of all the major Linux distros, each possessing its own pros and cons, but we’ve gravitated toward Arch for the following reasons:

  • Arch is a robust, well-managed, rolling distro that offers bleeding-edge versions of software while still maintaining an impressive level of stability.
  • In addition to extensive official repositories, Arch offers 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, etc., though these options are available, too.
  • 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 intimidating for newcomers and time-consuming even for experienced Linux users. This is why we see great value in installation helpers such as ours.

Features

  • AUR helper yay (yay-bin) preinstalled for convenient access to AUR software.
  • A wide selection of free/libre and open source (FLOSS) games and gaming-related software (OBS Studio, MangoHud, Discord, etc.) available during installation.
  • If Lutris is selected during installation, GDL will also include wine-staging, winetricks, and other useful packages for running Windows apps/games, including all the prerequisites for Lutris-assisted installation of Blizzard Battle.net, providing access to Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft II, Diablo III, etc., all within Linux!
  • Steam, itch.io, the heroic Epic Games launcher, RetroArch, etc., can also be selected to provide even more access to an endless variety of games.
  • The Godot game engine, Unreal EngineUnity Hub, Gimp, Inkscape, Goxel, Blender, Tiled, Audacity, LibreSprite, and other apps relevant to game art, game programming, and other aspects of game development available for optional preinstallation.
  • A fast, stable, lightweight, and versatile desktop environment, Xfce, beautifully customized as follows:
    • Thanks to xfce-superkey-git, the Super key (a.k.a., Windows key) opens the Whisker Menu without any undesirable side effects. In addition, several keyboard shortcuts have been set up to use the Super key, including:
      • Super+Up: Maximize window.
      • Super+Down: Minimize window.
      • Super+Right/Left: Tile window to the right/left (Super can also be used with numpad keys for tiling to the corners and top/bottom of the screen).
      • Super+D: Show desktop.
      • Super+W: Launch default web browser.
      • Super+T: Launch default terminal.
      • Shift+Super+T: Launch a fun alternative terminal (cool-retro-term).
      • Super+C: Launch calculator (galculator).
      • Shift+Super+C: Launch GNOME character map for convenient access to emojis and other special characters (gnome-characters).
      • Super+E: Launch text editor (mousepad).
      • Super+F: Launch file manager (thunar).
      • Super+S: Launch settings manager (xfce4-settings-manager).
      • Super+K: Kill selected window (xkill).
      • Super+L: Lock screen (xflock4).
    • To avoid annoyance, the standard “alert bell/beep” is disabled and the behavior of highlighting text by holding the Shift key while using numpad keys is adjusted to suit most modern users’ expectations. These settings occur at login courtesy of the .xprofile file, which can be modified if desired. Settings for IBus keyboard input are also added to .xprofile if any IBus software is selected during installation (e.g., for typing in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean).
    • The default terminal emulator has been set to terminator to take advantage of its ability to split the terminal vertically (Ctrl+Shift+E) and horizontally (Ctrl+Shift+O). The Xfce terminal is still available as a backup and, of course, you can easily replace terminator with your own favorite terminal.
    • Visually, the environment is set up with a nice dark theme, a tasteful touch of red and gold here and there, and subtle window compositing effects, all of which can, like all settings and customizations, be changed to suit your personal taste and preferences.
    • If a game exhibits screen-tearing or other issues that might be caused by the window compositor, disable/enable compositing via this keyboard shortcut (chosen to match KDE Plasma and to avoid anything likely to be typed by accident): Alt+Shift+F12.
  • LibreOffice for spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, etc., and Atril for viewing PDFs, comic books, and various other documents.
  • Audacious for listening to music and Celluloid (mpv) for watching videos. PulseAudio and PipeWire are preinstalled along with all the GStreamer multimedia plugins plus a soundfont for playing MIDI files.
  • The gcolor2 app for selecting on-screen colors.
  • A variety of fun terminal programs, including asciiquarium, cmatrix, cbonsai, cowsay, lolcat, boxes, figlet, toilet, and nms (“No more secrets,” to recreate the data decryption effect from the 1992 hacker movie Sneakers).
  • A custom .bashrc file to provide the following while in a terminal:
    • A roll function for tabletop gaming or anytime random numbers are desired: type “roll 3 6” to roll 3d6 (or just “roll 3” since six-sided dice is the default), “roll 2 4” to roll 2d4, “roll 1 20” to roll 1d20, etc.
    • Functions for creating and extracting archive files: maketar, makezip, and extract.
    • An mcd function for creating a directory and immediately moving into it.
    • Aliases to improve some basic commands, facilitate a few important tasks (updatemirrorsyaycleanup, etc.), and provide more convenient access to features of some of the fun terminal commands listed above.
  • Access to the Arch Wiki, online or offline, both during and after installation, via “wiki-search [query]” (courtesy of arch-wiki-lite).
  • The “Uncomplicated Firewall” (ufw), preinstalled and enabled.
  • Xorg display server (might shift to Wayland eventually).
  • The standard Linux kernel. Yes, there are a few interesting custom kernels, such as xanmod and tkg, that can in some cases provide slight improvements to gaming performance, RAM usage, etc., but they can also reduce stability and make upgrading less convenient, so, for now, GDL only installs the vanilla kernel. You are, of course, free to install additional kernels on your own.

Minimum System Requirements

  • CPU: 1 GHz dual-core 64-bit processor (3 GHz quad-core recommended)
  • GPU: Whatever you need for the type of games you want to play/develop!
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM (16 GB recommended)
  • Storage: 20 GB of HDD/SSD space (1 TB recommended)

The first official release of GDL will be available…soon. 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.