Installing Steam on the Orange Pi 5 with Armbian

Orange Pi 5 running Steam and Stardew Valley
Orange Pi 5 running Steam and Stardew Valley

The new RK3588/RK3588S boards have much more power than we’ve typically had available to us in the past on ARM boards. With a whopping 8 CPU cores and a Mali 610 GPU the Orange Pi 5 is capable of running Steam using Box64/Box86. It’s even able to play basic games pretty well (with some tinkering usually).

In this guide I’ll show you how to set up Steam on the Orange Pi 5 and run Stardew Valley on it. You should keep your expectations in line though because there is no native ARM client for Steam. We are using emulation and instruction translation. You will also likely be missing libraries for most games you try which will require some fiddling.

This guide is only for Armbian running the Ubuntu Jammy variant with the Gnome desktop installed only (platinum support status). The Orange Pi official distributions will not have 3D support and I don’t care about whatever other flavor of Linux you are running either. I’m not going to install your preferred flavor of Linux and try to figure out how to do this on there nor am I interested in troubleshooting it. Please don’t ask.

With all of that being said let’s get started!

Hardware Used

Orange Pi 5 - Top View
Orange Pi 5

The Orange Pi 5 the latest release from Orange Pi and is the most powerful model yet. It has a 6 core CPU and options from 4GB of RAM all the way up to 32GB of RAM!

Links: Amazon.com*, AliExpress*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.nl*, Amazon.pl*

Kioxia 2230 M2 NVMe Drive
Kioxia 2230 M2 NVMe Drive

The Kioxia (Toshiba) 128GB M.2 2230 PCIe NVMe drive is much shorter than most NVMe drives (full size is 2280). It fits great with single board computers / tablets / other smaller form factors.

Links: Amazon.com*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.co.jp*, Amazon.com.au*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.nl*, Amazon.pl*, Amazon.se*, Amazon.sg*

Geekworm Copper Heat Sink Set
Geekworm Copper Heat Sink Set

The Geekworm copper heat sink set is designed to fit many different single board computers. It uses thermal conductive adhesive which many “cheap” heat sink kits for SBCs don’t have. Eliminates hot spots and reduces throttling. Can be further enhanced by powered cooling over the heat sinks.

Links: Amazon.com*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.jp*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*

Orange Pi Wireless Mouse
Orange Pi Wireless Mouse

The Orange Pi official mouse uses 2.4GHz wireless to give you a wireless mouse experience with the Orange Pi

Links: Amazon.com*, AliExpress*

Orange Pi Portable Monitor
Orange Pi Portable Monitor

The Orange Pi monitor is meant to be a portable monitor you can take anywhere. It has a resolution of 1080P and features a hinge in the back that folds out to support the monitor.

Links: Amazon.com*, AliExpress*

Installing Dependencies

First we need to install some dependencies that are required by Steam. Use the following lines:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture armhf
sudo apt update && sudo apt install build-essential git cmake gcc-arm-linux-gnueabihf libc6-dev-armhf-cross libappindicator1 libnm0 libtcmalloc-minimal4 binfmt-support liblttng-ust-dev libcairo2:armhf libgmp10:armhf libvulkan1:armhf libudev-dev:armhf -y

Next we’re going to install Box64. Paste the following lines in your terminal:

git clone https://github.com/ptitSeb/box64
cd box64
mkdir build; cd build; cmake .. -DRK3588=1 -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo
make -j4
sudo make install

We also need Box86:

cd ~
git clone https://github.com/ptitSeb/box86
cd box86
mkdir build; cd build; cmake .. -DRK3588=1 -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo
make -j4
sudo make install

We also need to install the 3D support drivers with the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:liujianfeng1994/panfork-mesa
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:liujianfeng1994/rockchip-multimedia
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y
sudo apt install mali-g610-firmware rockchip-multimedia-config -y

That’s it for the dependencies! Before you continue you should reboot the device with:

sudo reboot

Installing Steam

First we need to configure the environment for Steam. Use the following lines to add two environment variables to your Linux environment:

echo 'export STEAMOS=1
export STEAM_RUNTIME=1
export DOTNET_SYSTEM_GLOBALIZATION_INVARIANT=1
export PAN_MESA_DEBUG=gofaster,gl3' | sudo tee /etc/profile.d/steam.sh
source /etc/profile.d/steam.sh

Next we’re going to use Box86’s install_steam.sh script like this:

cd ~/box86
./install_steam.sh

Installation is now finished!

Launching Steam

I highly recommend running Steam from a terminal/console like this so you can see the error messages (especially when launching new games):

Armbian running Steam from CLI
Armbian running Steam from CLI

It’s not unexpected for it to crash right after you log in for the first time. Mine crashed after I entered my one-time e-mail code from Steam. Simply launch it again. I had to log in again but it remembered the PC and stuck the second time.

It also crashed once when I installed Stardew Valley. I then just launched Steam again and it downloaded the game and launched perfectly afterward:

Orange Pi 5 running Steam and Stardew Valley
Orange Pi 5 running Steam and Stardew Valley

Conclusion

This is only the beginning of your journey. I can get you this far. You should expect most games you try to launch to crash with missing libraries. You then typically will install those libraries through apt (or other means) to fix it. In fact Stardew Valley wouldn’t have worked if I hadn’t added several dependencies to the dependency section. It did crash at first when I tried this and it took several hours for me to figure out the right dependencies to install for it.

If you are encountering really strange errors launching other titles you will want to use the trick I shared earlier of launching Steam within your console. You can then report such issues to the developers here on the GitHub issues page for Box64. There is a *ton* of helpful information there (and people) that can help with getting stubborn titles to launch. The developer ptitSeb is an absolute legend as well.

My performance was very, very good on Stardew Valley. It takes a while to load the game for some reason but it runs perfectly smoothly on the Orange Pi 5. Obviously this is not an incredibly demanding game on your GPU and I would recommend sticking to those.

I would absolutely also recommend active cooling on your Orange Pi 5. You at a bare minimum need my recommended heat sinks but even with my heat sinks I managed to overheat my Orange Pi 5 (forcing a power cycle) several times writing this article. If I was going to be gaming a lot more regularly on this device I would put a powered fan on it. The few times my system locked up I touched my heat sink and they were *very hot*. If you are getting lock-ups touch your heat sink (carefully) and see if it’s absolutely burning up. That means you need a powered fan.

Overall I’m pretty impressed. You’re going to have technical problems with various titles but this absolutely works. You can run games that aren’t super demanding at full speed and enjoy them on a 64-bit ARM board / distribution. Great work to all of the projects involved that have led to this being a reality!

Other Resources

Make sure to check out my Orange Pi 5 review here

I’ve also covered setting up a SSD on the Orange Pi 5 here

The Orange Pi 5 also makes a great host environment for Home Assistant which I’ve covered here

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Cody S.
Cody S.
4 months ago

Hi James! Thank you so much for providing this tutorial. I’m having an issue and I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction. For context, I am using an OPi 5b, with the latest Armbian image from the OrangePi website (Armbian 23.11.1, Jammy Legacy 5.10.160)

I’ve gotten through most of the tutorial so far: installed dependencies, installed box64, and have made the directories and used cmake to create the box86 directories. The problem comes when I try to run the make -j4 command. the arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc throws a bunch of errors.


[ 0%] Building C object CMakeFiles/dynarec_arm.dir/src/dynarec/dynablock.c.o
[ 0%] Generating ../src/wrapped/generated/functions_list.txt
[ 0%] Building C object CMakeFiles/test_interpreter.dir/src/emu/x86run.c.o
[ 0%] Building C object CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/src/emu/x86run.c.o
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfpu=neon-fp-armv8’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfloat-abi=hard’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-marm’
make[2]: *** [CMakeFiles/dynarec_arm.dir/build.make:76: CMakeFiles/dynarec_arm.dir/src/dynarec/dynablock.c.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [CMakeFiles/Makefile2:154: CMakeFiles/dynarec_arm.dir/all] Error 2
make[1]: *** Waiting for unfinished jobs....
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfpu=neon-fp-armv8’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfpu=neon-fp-armv8’
[ 0%] Building C object CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/src/emu/x86run0f.c.o
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfloat-abi=hard’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-marm’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfloat-abi=hard’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-marm’
make[2]: *** [CMakeFiles/test_interpreter.dir/build.make:76: CMakeFiles/test_interpreter.dir/src/emu/x86run.c.o] Error 1
make[2]: *** [CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/build.make:76: CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/src/emu/x86run.c.o] Error 1
make[2]: *** Waiting for unfinished jobs....
make[1]: *** [CMakeFiles/Makefile2:284: CMakeFiles/test_interpreter.dir/all] Error 2
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfpu=neon-fp-armv8’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-mfloat-abi=hard’
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc: error: unrecognized command-line option ‘-marm’
make[2]: *** [CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/build.make:90: CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/src/emu/x86run0f.c.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [CMakeFiles/Makefile2:341: CMakeFiles/interpreter.dir/all] Error 2
Detected same build as last run, skipping
[ 0%] Built target WRAPPERS
make: *** [Makefile:166: all] Error 2

My only thought is that maybe I’m getting the errors because I am on a different version of Armbian than you were when you wrote this?

Cody S.
Cody S.
3 months ago

Thanks James! I hadn’t seen your reply until after I fixed it but I don’t know if it’s based on your assessment that it was a bad image or if it was something else. I also updated (most of) my posts on reddit, but what I ended up doing was a couple things:

First, I flashed the image to the eMMC of the OPi instead of running it from the SD card. To be fair, I also re-imaged the card before doing it, so I don’t actually know if running from the eMMC was the winner or if it was the image. The other thing I did that I have no idea if it made any difference was editing the armbianEnv.txt to add the “b” after the “5” in the line

fdtfile=rockchip/rk3588s-orangepi-5b.dts

.

Being that I am not as knowledgeable about this stuff as you are, I am going to go with your assessment and say it was a bad image, and I was probably in so deep before that I didn’t want to start over haha. At any rate, keep doing what you are doing, and I know I appreciate not only your posts but your comments supporting those posts.

John
John
7 months ago

Getting this at step 3:
E: Unable to locate package mali-g610-firmware
E: Unable to locate package rockchip-multimedia-config

Steam will still install but it will crash every time

Michael F
Michael F
9 months ago

Hello James,
Trying to install Steam on an Orange PI 5 Plus running Ubuntu 22.04 using your guide. In the steps around installing box 64 and box 86 you reference the cmake command. mkdir build; cd build; cmake .. -DRK3588=1 -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo
make -j4
sudo make install If I attempt to run that command under sudo it errors out. bash: cmake: command not found
make: *** No targets specified and no makefile found. Stop.
make: *** No rule to make target ‘install’. Stop.
Please advise what I’m missing. Thank you for this guide.

Andrew
Andrew
10 months ago

Hello. I have a problem launching steam. After installation, Steam hangs at the stage of logging into the account and the line “Nothing to do” appears in the terminal and nothing happens. How to fix it? armbian_23.5.1 with gnome

Andrew
Andrew
10 months ago

this is what it says to me in the terminal

Error initializing native libgnutls.so.30 (last dlerror is libgnutls.so.30: wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64)
Error: Symbol __gmpz_scan1 not found, cannot apply R_386_JMP_SLOT 0xe7d8e010 (0x48b6) in /home/andrew/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libhogweed.so.4
Error: Symbol __gmpz_init_set not found, cannot apply R_386_JMP_SLOT 0xe7d8e01c (0x48e6) in /home/andrew/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libhogweed.so.4
Error: Symbol __gmpz_tdiv_qr not found, cannot apply R_386_JMP_SLOT 0xe7d8e024 (0x4906) in /home/andrew/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libhogweed.so.4
Error: Symbol __gmpn_copyd not found, cannot apply R_386_JMP_SLOT 0xe7d8e028 (0x4916) in /home/andrew/.local/share/Steam/ubuntu12_32/steam-runtime/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libhogweed.so.4

and

[2023-08-04 10:13:44] Background update loop checking for update. . .
[2023-08-04 10:13:44] Checking for available updates...
[2023-08-04 10:13:44] Downloading manifest: https://client-update.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam_client_ubuntu12?t=3270175543
[2023-08-04 10:13:44] Manifest download: send request
[2023-08-04 10:13:44] Manifest download: waiting for download to finish
[2023-08-04 10:13:45] Manifest download: finished
[2023-08-04 10:13:45] Download skipped by HTTP 304 Not Modified
[2023-08-04 10:13:45] Nothing to do

This is where it all ends

Nick
Nick
11 months ago

Hey James!

Thank you kindly for such a great guide! I am a total newbie, have zero experience in everything related to ARM (..and Linux). I stumbled across this article after a week of trying to fix errors by myself.

Also, tried Steam’s Proton, successfully launched and played Fallout: New Vegas (ran way better than I expected). Maybe that kind of info could be useful for newbies like me: games that natively use DirectX 9 could be launched by adding “PROTON_USE_WINED3D=1 %command%” as launch arguments via game’s properties.

Take care,
Nick