A guide for getting the most out of Total War: Pharaoh on your Steam Deck.
What is Proton?
Proton is a tool used by Steam that allows Linux gamers to play Windows games on their Linux computer. It is the secret sauce that allows Steam Deck to run a significant amount of games that are available on the Steam platform.
Is the latest version of Proton always the best?
The team(s) behind Proton are constantly at work improving this conversion tool. Sometimes a change to the code that makes a new game work better may make an older game perform worse. Knowing this, there are many versions of Proton available from a drop down menu. If you find that the recommended version doesn’t work well, try another version.
Steps to change the version of Proton for Total War: Pharaoh:
- Go to your Library and find Total War: Pharaoh. If you are here, it is likely under the “Installed”.
- Go to the setting Gear.
- Go to Properties.
- Go to Compatibility.
- Check the check box that says “Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool”.
- Select the version of Proton you will like to use for Total War: Pharaoh.
Recommended Proton Version
At the time of writing this guide, I recommend using:
Proton Version 7.0-6
Unfortunately, the font that Total War: Pharaoh uses for many areas of the game doesn’t translate across Proton. Without a fix, a lot of text will render blank.
Fortunately, there is already a mod out to fix this problem. Subscribe to the following mod and make sure you read the directions for installation (it is not as simple as subscribing).
I shared the layout that I use to the community. You can find it by searching for:
“Levie’s TW: Pharaoh Layout”.
It features pretty standard controls:
- Right Track pad for mouse.
- Left and Right sticks adjust camera.
- Right Trigger for left click, Left Trigger for right click
Some extra features:
- Use Left and Right bumpers to cycle through armies and provinces on the campaign map.
- Touch the Left trackpad in a circular motion to zoom in and out.
- Use X and B buttons to cycle between Settlement and Outpost views on the campaign map. You can also use those button to quickly select groups 1 and 2 on the battle map.
- Button A acts as the “enter” key, Button Y acts as the “escape” key.
I’m not sure if grip buttons carry over on the layout. In case they don’t, this is how I set mine up. These button I mostly use on the battle map.
- L4: Shift
- L5: Space
- R4: G
- R5: Insert
The following settings should keep you above 30 FPS on both battle maps as well as the campaign. Campaign generally performs better than the battle maps during benchmark testing.
Feel free to tweak your settings how you see fit. I found these settings to be the best balance between performance and visuals for me personally.
- Anti-Aliasing: FXAA
- Texture Filtering: 8x
- Texture Quality: Ultra
- VFX Detail: Ultra
- Terrain Detail: Ultra
- Building Detail: Ultra
- Unit Detail: High
- Tree Detail: High
- Grass Detail: High
- Water Detail: Ultra
- Interactive Water: Low
- Shadow Detail: High
- Fog Quality: High
- Shroud Detail: High
- Interactive Grass: On
- Clouds Shadows: On
- Footprints: On
- God Rays: Medium
- SSAO: High
- Screen Space Reflections: Medium
- Unit Size: Medium
- Porthole Quality: 2D
- Hide Dead Bodies: 1 minute
I recommend locking FPS to 30 from the Steam Deck performance menu to conserve battery/energy.
I usually leave on “Allow Tearing” from the Steam Deck performance menu on most games. It can sometimes squeeze out a few extra FPS.
I use CryoUtilities. If you don’t, your results may vary from mine. Learn more about CryoUtilities:
I highly recommend watching the following video for better idea on what each graphical setting does in Total War: Pharaoh, and how it impacts performance and visuals.