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How to Enable Antialiasing in Wine

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 wine

I love Wine. If you’re a Linux user, you’ll almost definitely have some experience with it. I recently found a feature that enables antialiasing and I want to share it.

Wine, for those of you that haven’t made the transition yet, is a compatibility layer that allows you to run Windows software on non-Windows systems. This is great for games as it provides near-native performance without having to dual-boot.

Antialiasing (AA) is a subpixel hinting method that, effectively, smooths off lines and attempts to blend them into their background. This makes lines much seem much sharper and contributes heavily to the overall picture quality.

The technology that allows this has existed in consumer technology for approaching a decade now but by default, Wine disables AA. This is because it adds another layer of complexity to an already strenuous process (providing Windows-identical interfaces to applications). Enabling it can cause some games to just not work. So this might not be for everybody.

Before I get onto how to enable AA, we should have an example of it in action. I’ve been playing a lot of Psychonauts recently. Sidebar: It’s $10 on GOG.com so as Yahtzee suggests, you really have no excuse not to play it. It’s a work of art and aside from a few control issues, it’s a perfect game. Hours of genuine fun.

Just roll your mouse over the image to show it in AA mode.

No AA AA enabled

I think you’ll agree: words can barely describe how much clearer the AA version is. Look at the window frames and the bottom of the chair.

To enable AA:

  1. Run regedit or wine regedit to load Wine’s version of… erm… Regedit!

  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Wine/Direct3D. If any of those layers don’t exist yet, create them as you go.

  3. From within Direct3D, create a new String value. Call it Multisampling and set its value to enabled. All these values are case sensitive.

Here’s a picture in case you get lost:


To disable it, just repeat the first two steps and then change Multisampling to anything but enabled or delete the key.