How come 3D Games don’t work?

Ok, so I have been writing a lot about different Linux Games, it must be about time to write a little bit about video cards and how to make sure your 3d Video card is working correctly. Because odds are, if you try to run a fairly graphical game in Linux, and it does not work, it is your video card, or the drivers for that video card not being setup correctly that is causing your problem.

From a konsole do:

glxgears if you do not see the numbers similar to below add -printfps to the end of the command.

21318 frames in 5.0 seconds = 4263.579 FPS
20640 frames in 5.0 seconds = 4127.875 FPS
21279 frames in 5.0 seconds = 4255.658 FPS
21315 frames in 5.0 seconds = 4262.913 FPS

This will show some 3d gears in a pop up on the screen and give a display like above in the terminal screen.

cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/card
— this will display info on your nvidia card.

Fast Writes: Supported
SBA: Supported
AGP Rates: 8x 4x
Registers: 0xff000e1b:0x1f004302

I would guess, but can not test that something similar to

cat /proc/driver/ati/agp/card — would display something similar for an ati card.

You can also do

cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/status

Status: Enabled
AGP Rate: 8x
Fast Writes: Disabled
SBA: Enabled
glxinfo | grep direct and if 3d is enabled it should display

direct rendering: Yes


glxinfo | grep OpenGL

will display some different info on your video card. You can also just do a


but that will give all sorts of info.

You can also edit the /etc/x11/xorg.conf using an editor of your choice or you can use the command :

dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg and go through a bunch of questions to reset up everything in your xorg.conf file. You will need some info on your monitor and other stuff to set this up properly.

For ati, if 3d is not working, install the xorg-driver-fglrx

To set up the new driver, enter in a terminal:

dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Agree to automatic detection of your video, and choose the driver fglrx when asked.

Restart X or the computer for the changes to take effect.

If you have an nvidia card, depending on which one you have, you will need to make sure you have the correct drivers to get 3d enabled.

Newer cards such as the GeForce 8, 7, 6, and FX 5 series should use the newer drivers from the 100.x series

Older cards such as the GeForce 3 or GeForce 4 series require the 96xx drivers or legacy drivers.

Other useful commands for seeing info on your hardware is, open a terminal and type one of the following.

lspci (which will list something like the following)

0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 645xx (rev 51)
0000:00:01.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS AGP Port (virtual PCI-to-PCI bridge)
0000:00:02.0 ISA bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS963 [MuTIOL Media IO] (rev 25)
0000:00:02.1 SMBus: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS961/2 SMBus Controller
0000:00:02.5 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 5513 [IDE]
0000:00:03.0 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.0 Controller (rev 0f)
0000:00:03.1 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.0 Controller (rev 0f)
0000:00:03.3 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 2.0 Controller
0000:00:0a.0 Multimedia controller: Philips Semiconductors SAA7130 Video Broadcast Decoder (rev 01)
0000:00:0b.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs SB Live! EMU10k1 (rev 04)
0000:00:0b.1 Input device controller: Creative Labs SB Live! Game Port (rev 01)
0000:00:0d.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GeForce 7600 GS (rev a2)



which gives even more info. You can also open kinfocenter in most distros using kde and it will show you a lot of info. 🙂

Hope this helps someone!

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