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Telltale + Linux: A Definitive Guide

posted by covox on - last edited - Viewed by 59.6K users
[MOD EDIT: Previous Linux guides on this forum: Sam & Max and SBCG4AP]

As a Linux guy who loves his adventuring, I'll try and keep this updated as best I can. These instructions were developed for Wine 1.1.29, under Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04, but should work under the newest build/distro. The example is for installing TOMI, but can be adapted to pretty much any downloadable Telltale title. This guide assumes you have set up your computer with the proper ATI/NVIDIA 3D drivers; most distros will ask you if you want them, the answer is hell yes! So let's get cracking!

  • Sam and Max Series 1
  • Sam and Max Series 2
  • SBCG4AP Series 1
  • Wallace and Gromit Series 1
  • Tales of Monkey Island Series 1
  • Sam and Max Series 3

1.) Visit WineHQ and get the latest build for your distro.

You should know by now that Wine is the de-facto way of running native Windows apps under your Linux of choice. What may not be obvious is that the copy bundled with most distros is freaking ancient; why, tens of thousands of fixes and improvements have potentially been committed since then! To put it in perspective, the "stable" one in your distro was sent out around the time colour television was first invented. The Wine guys release a new one literally every fortnight. So the first thing you should do is visit this page and follow the instructions for your distro to fix yourself up with the latest.

2.) Download WineTricks and install the d3dx9 package.

Wine hasn't replicated the Direct3D extension DLLs (e.g. d3dx9_41.dll) yet, and they're needed by some Telltale games. There's a quick way to fix this:
sh winetricks d3dx9

This will download the DirectX 9 installer and rip just the good bits out of it; you'll probably see a EULA or two, click yes. Congrats, you now have all the libraries you need.

SPECIAL STEP FOR SAM AND MAX SERIES 3 OWNERS: Telltale have finally taken their old IE6 based launcher and lashed it to a canoe, set it on fire then left it to slowly drift down a canal. The replacement is a nicer, faster, cross-platformier QT/WebKit deal. However, with WineTricks, you need to install the Visual Studio runtime files before the game will start.
sh winetricks vcrun2005

3.) Run the game installer. When it asks if you want to update DirectX, just say no.

Easy as. Most distros let you double-click the EXE to start Wine; I prefer the terminal.
wine LaunchOfTheScreamingNarwhal_Setup.exe

SPECIAL STEP FOR SAM AND MAX SERIES 3 OWNERS: You're done! Enjoy the game :)

4a.) Enter your purchased serial number into the box.

Grab it from here and paste it into the box. The launch window will switch to a white page after doing this; that means it's working! With luck, you can quit the launcher now by running in a terminal
wineserver -k

Next time you start the game up, you'll get a "Click here to run the game" link instead of the serial box. Congratulations!


4b.) Download this patching script and launch the demo with it.

Originally you needed this script to make the serial number entry work, but that regression got fixed! If you want to just play the demo, you'll need to crack open a terminal:
cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Telltale\ Games/Tales\ of\ Monkey\ Island/Launch\ of\ the\ Screaming\ Narwhal
python MonkeyIsland101.exe

If all goes to plan, you should see some text in the launcher window offering a link to play the demo. Congratulations!

  • You only have to use once to register a serial number, but every time you want to play the demo.
  • If you're having trouble getting rid of the Telltale window after quitting the launcher, run "wineserver -k" to kill it.
  • If you're having trouble with sound (e.g. skipping, not being there at all) and you use a reasonably new distro, it's probably PulseAudio. It's pretty much always PulseAudio. Do yourself a favour and run "pulseaudio -k" to murder it before starting the game.
  • If the game crashes just as it loads into fullscreen mode, you can force it to load in a virtual desktop. This can be done either by running winecfg and changing the global setting, or on the fly by running Wine like the following example:
    wine explorer /desktop=Wine,800x600 MonkeyIsland101.exe

But I use a Mac! It has a UNIX logo on the box!
Telltale is porting stuff to Mac now. Did you miss the memo?

But if you mean specifically using Wine to play Windows-only titles...
Short version: Seeing as you guys don't mind paying $39.95 for a fancy lending list, you can take my word that investing the same amount in a copy of CrossOver Games would be the bargain of the century.
Long version: Apple's version of X11 is pretty crap and breaks with WineD3D. Apparently some fixes have been made to Xquartz, so I'll try it again soon.

What about Monkey Island's treasure-hunting feature?
Too much black magic.

NEW: I tried running Sam and Max Series 2, but instead of getting the serial number box I got a grey screen saying "Logging you in"! Also, the script complains about a missing noScriptDiv! What gives?
I just tried out S&M 201 yesterday, it appears to be slightly different in that it doesn't have any fallback HTML (like every other Telltale game) for entering the serial number and starting the game. To work around this, grab the latest copy of, which can now inject the missing bits of HTML. Unfortunately, you'll need to use it every time to run the game. Believe me, I'm crying as much as you are.

Well, I hope that worked for you guys. If it didn't, post here!
210 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Does adding "-all" to your WINEDEBUG environment variable make any additional improvement?

    export WINEDEBUG=-all env WINEPREFIX=\"~/.wine_bttf/\" wine \"BackToTheFuture101.exe\"
  • Unstickied? ;_;
  • Cheeseness;470151 said:
    Unstickied? ;_;
    It's part of the support guide now! But we can resticky it anyway.
  • Oh, right! I didn't realise :D
  • every time i start the game everything looks fine but as soon as it loads past the first load screen, it just shuts down. closes itself? please help this is happening to other games too?
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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff
    Hi nick, moving your query into this thread where the Linux gurus hang out. There's been some discussion about how to run BTTF, starting about here - hopefully you can find something that will help.
  • Nick, is there any output if you run from a terminal that might be helpful (happy to explain what that means if you're not sure).
  • Hello everyone,
    I am having trouble activating my games again. :( The launcher is loading and I can either try unlocking by username+password or by entering my serial number. None of it works, though. The loading screen "Unlocking, please wait..." appears, and that was it :(
    Maybe it works installing ie7 with winetricks...

    ...there are so many people here hanging around in this thread...
    ...just think about all the additional users you may reach on Ubuntu Store for example...


  • zak256;500042 said:
    I am having trouble activating my games again
    Were you able to make any headway, zak? Also, which games specifically were you having trouble with?
  • Cheeseness;514725 said:
    Were you able to make any headway, zak? Also, which games specifically were you having trouble with?
    I have problems activating at least Bone, Strong Bad, Wallace&Gromit, Sam&Max1+2, Telltale Texas Hold'em and probably others. But BTTF for example works fine, probably because of another activation method Telltale uses here.
    Finally I managed to activate the games after installing IE7 with winetricks. And then some games need native d3dx9_36.dll (e.g. Hector).

    Luckily with the above exceptions every game works fine up to now. I still hope Telltale jumps on the Linux train soon. First because I think it's a shame to have to use these kind of workarounds (IE7 on Linux just to activate Telltale games *uargh*), and second who knows if future games will work the same way?
This discussion has been closed.