Gaming on the Raspberry Pi: Mini calculator reaches an important milestone

Although the Raspberry Pi offers a surprising amount of computing power for its size, "real" games on the mini PC are rather in short supply. Now a resourceful Nvidia developer has reached an important milestone and is presenting the fruits of his work on Twitter.

Raspberry Pi

Gaming on the Pi: Quake 3 runs at 100 FPS

The small Raspberry Pis have become more and more powerful over the years – are now offered with up to 8 GB RAM – but gaming on the mini PCs was mostly only possible thanks to emulators, whose performance sometimes leaves something to be desired.

But thanks to an Nvidia developer, that could change soon. Martin Thomas has developed a volcano graphics driver for the Raspberry Pi called "RPi-VK-Driver" in his free time in the past two years and has now achieved a major breakthrough, which he promptly shared on Twitter:

The video shows a real classic among first-person shooters: Quake 3 Arena. The adapted variant with Vulkan support ran on Thomas ’Raspberry Pi 3B + with butter-smooth 100 frames per second at a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. Compared to the OpenGL drivers for the Pi, the new Vulkan driver is said to offer optimized memory management and support for MSAA (multisample anti-aliasing) and to cope better with multi-threaded command transmissions.

Every gadget hobbyist should have these gadgets at home:

Start photo gallery(12 images)

The best accessories for the Raspberry Pi: So you get even more out of the mini PC

The only problem is that since the Vulkan driver currently only supports the Broadcom VideoCore IV, it runs on the Raspberry 1,2,3 and the Zero devices, but the Raspberry Pi 4 has so far been left out. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has once again significantly increased the performance of the new model.

Playing with the Raspberry Pi: Numerous alternatives thanks to hobbyists

But not only Thomas ensures that the possibilities for playing with the Raspberry Pi are expanded. So there is "Dhewm 3" For example, a GPL port from Doom 3, which can also be made to run on the Raspberry Pi with a little software and offers remarkable performance, as this video by LowSpecGamer impressively demonstrates:

Other games such as Minecraft in the Java edition or the platform Celeste can also be played on the Pi. And then there is Box86, which allows you to start x86 programs and games for Linux on your ARM-based Raspberry Pi. This somewhat different emulator is still in its infancy, but the first results are still impressive. This way you can also play games like World of Goo, FTL or the famous Papers, Please.

You can tell that gaming seems to be making good progress on the Raspberry Pi. And thanks to the new Vulkan driver, the Pis could perhaps also establish themselves as small gaming machines outside of the emulators.

Robert Kohlick
Robert Kohlick, GIGA expert for gaming hardware, PCs and laptops.

Is the article helpful?