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Borderlands on Linux

This is my guide to Borderlands on Linux. Unfortunately, Gearbox has decided not to port the Borderlands games to Linux (which would be trivial since it already uses openGL on the Mac port) but I am posting this work-around so that other Steam OS users can find it and enjoy ALL games on their Steam Machine.

Borderlands can be played on Linux using WINE, a set of compatibility dll libraries which enable Windows-applications to run on Linux.

This installation requires a valid, purchased Borderlands install disc (for Windows; the Mac version will not work). This is information on running Borderlands without Windows, NOT how to pirate the game.


Install WINE

First, install WINE via the software manager. Alternately, you can do this in a shell:

$ sudo apt-get install wine

Click through the install process until it has finished.

Install Game Drivers

Insert the Borderlands install disc and install the graphic driver. There are different drivers for different brands of grapfic cards, and they are located in the Prerequisites folder on the Borderlands disc. If you do not know what kind of grapfic card you have, you can find out from Gnome Control Panel or with this command:

$ sudo lspci

For example. if your computer has an Nvidia card, then you would install PhysX_8.10.29_SystemSoftware.exe

Whatewer driver you do intall, make sure you right-click on it and open it with WINE. This will run a familiar Install Wizard just as you would expect on a Windows desktop.

Install Borderlands

To install the game, right-click Setup.exe and open it with the WINE installer. Click through the install wizard and let it install. It might take a while; the game files are about 7gb.

After it has installed, do not launch the game. It needs to be updated to the latest version first!

Update Borderlands

Gearbox has obviously released patches and hotfixes for Borderlands since its release. Grab the latest fixes from patch Borderlands with the final Gearbox patch version 1.4.1

The fixes included in this patch:


  • Level cap increase of 8 levels for all players.
  • Original Borderlands players will now be able to achieve level 58.
  • Owners of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx can achieve a record setting increase to a maximum level of 69.
  • Enemies now scale to new level caps throughout the whole game as long as playthrough 2 has been completed.
  • Item drops (with the exception of COM Decks) will now scale to new enemy level caps.
  • DLC4 Achievement/Trophy glitches that have affected some users will now properly award players for obtaining these achievements.

But most importantly, it makes it so it doesn't crash when played under WINE.

Edit Registry

It wouldn't be Windows if it didn't require a little registry hacking, right? To add these tweaks to the WINE registry, launch the registry from a terminal:

WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/borderlands wine regedit
  1. In the registry, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER --> Software --> Wine
  2. Right-click on the Wine folder and select New --> Key
  3. Name your new key DirectInput and click on it to make it the active key
  4. Click the Edit menu and select New --> String value
  5. Name the new string BoxPixels and set its value to 5
  6. Create another key called Direct3D and click on it to make it the active key.
  7. Click the Edit menu and select New --> String value
  8. Name the new string DirectDrawRenderer and set its value to opengl


Launch the Game

Now that you have made all of these adjustments, this is the sequence for launching the game:

  1. If you are using a gamepad, unplug it! This might not be necessary once the Steam controller comes out, but for now, do not launch the game with a gamepad plugged in.
  2. The first time you launch the game, you should first launch Gnome Control Panel. Depending on your graphic card, the game might switch your resolution down to 800x600 mode, so if that happens, revert yourself back to your normal resolution. Once you have gotten your display back to normal, use your mouse or arrow keys to go into Options (of Borderlands) and set the game resolution to match your actual monitor resolution. This change will persist forever, so fixing screen resolution is only required upon first launch.
  3. You launch Borderlands as you would any other application: from the Application screen or Application menu. You can also add it as an external game in Steam so you have access to it right from your Steam library.
  4. Start the game. Once you are on Pandora and have received your HUD from Claptrap, you can plug in your gamepad if you use one.
  5. Go kill skags!


Tips & Troubleshooting

  • Use Anti Microto configure and customize gamepad controls. Just remember not to launch it until you are on Pandora. If you start Borderlands with Anti Micro or your gamepad plugged in, your gamepad will not be fully functional.
  • If you get an error when starting Borderlands about a missing dll, you are not actually missing a dll, Borderlands just can't find it. Go into ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/2K Games/Gearbox Software/Borderlands/ and look through the folders to find the "missing" dll, and then copy it to the same folder where the Borderlands.exe is located (which is ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/2K Games/Gearbox Software/Borderlands/Binaries).
  • Yes, you DO have to have the Borderlands disc in your DVD drive to play, just like on Windows!

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