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GameMode is a daemon/lib combo for Linux that allows games to request a set of optimisations be temporarily applied to the host OS and/or a game process.

GameMode was designed primarily as a stop-gap solution to problems with the Intel and AMD CPU powersave or ondemand governors, but is now host to a range of optimisation features and configurations.

Currently GameMode includes support for optimisations including:

  • CPU governor
  • I/O priority
  • Process niceness
  • Kernel scheduler (SCHED_ISO)
  • Screensaver inhibiting
  • GPU performance mode (NVIDIA and AMD), GPU overclocking (NVIDIA)
  • Custom scripts

GameMode packages are available for Ubuntu, Debian, Solus, Arch, Gentoo, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mageia and possibly more.

Issues with GameMode should be reported here in the issues section, and not reported to Feral directly.

Requesting GameMode

For games/launchers which integrate GameMode support (see list later on), simply running the game will automatically activate GameMode.

For others, you must manually request GameMode when running the game. This can be done by launching the game through gamemoderun:

gamemoderun ./game

Or edit the Steam launch options:

gamemoderun %command%

Note: for older versions of GameMode (before 1.3) use this string in place of gamemoderun:


Please note the backslash here in \$LIB is required.


The daemon is configured with a gamemode.ini file. example/gamemode.ini is an example of what this file would look like, with explanations for all the variables.

Configuration files are loaded and merged from the following directories, from highest to lowest priority:

  1. $PWD ("unsafe" - [gpu] settings take no effect in this file)
  2. $XDG_CONFIG_HOME or $HOME/.config/ ("unsafe" - [gpu] settings take no effect in this file)
  3. /etc/
  4. /usr/share/gamemode/

Note for Hybrid GPU users

It's not possible to integrate commands like optirun automatically inside GameMode, since the GameMode request is made once the game has already started. However it is possible to use a hybrid GPU wrapper like optirun by starting the game with gamemoderun.

You can do this by setting the environment variable GAMEMODERUNEXEC to your wrapper's launch command, so for example GAMEMODERUNEXEC=optirun, GAMEMODERUNEXEC="env DRI_PRIME=1", or GAMEMODERUNEXEC="env __NV_PRIME_RENDER_OFFLOAD=1 __GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME=nvidia __VK_LAYER_NV_optimus=NVIDIA_only". This environment variable can be set globally (e.g. in /etc/environment), so that the same prefix command does not have to be duplicated everywhere you want to use gamemoderun.

GameMode will not be injected to the wrapper.

Apps with GameMode integration


The following games are known to integrate GameMode support (meaning they don't require any additional configuration to activate GameMode while running):

  • DiRT 4
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms
  • Total War: WARHAMMER II
  • Total War: WARHAMMER III


Other apps which can integrate with GameMode include:

  • ATLauncher Minecraft launcher
  • Prism Launcher Minecraft launcher
  • GNOME Shell (via extension) - indicates when GameMode is active in the top panel.
  • Lutris - Enables GameMode for all games by default if available (must have both 32- and 64-bit GameMode libraries installed), configurable in preferences.
  • RetroArch - is a frontend for emulators, game engines and media players.

Development Build and test

The design of GameMode has a clear-cut abstraction between the host daemon and library (gamemoded and libgamemode), and the client loaders (libgamemodeauto and gamemode_client.h) that allows for safe use without worrying about whether the daemon is installed or running. This design also means that while the host library currently relies on systemd for exchanging messages with the daemon, it's entirely possible to implement other internals that still work with the same clients.

See repository subdirectories for information on each component.

Install Dependencies

GameMode depends on meson for building and systemd for internal communication. This repo contains a script to allow for quick install to the user bus, but check meson_options.txt for custom settings.

Ubuntu/Debian (you may also need dbus-user-session)

apt install meson libsystemd-dev pkg-config ninja-build git libdbus-1-dev libinih-dev build-essential

On Ubuntu 18.04, you'll need to install python3 package and install the latest meson version from pip.

python3 -m venv .venv
source .venv/bin/activate
pip install meson

Later you can deactivate the virtual environment and remove it.

rm -rf .venv


pacman -S meson systemd git dbus libinih


dnf install meson systemd-devel pkg-config git dbus-devel


Gentoo has an ebuild which builds a stable release from sources. It will also pull in all the dependencies so you can work on the source code.

emerge --ask games-util/gamemode

You can also install using the latest sources from git:

ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="**" emerge --ask ~games-util/gamemode-9999

Build and Install GameMode

Then clone, build and install a release version of GameMode at 1.7:

git clone
cd gamemode
git checkout 1.7 # omit to build the master branch

To test GameMode installed and will run correctly:

gamemoded -t

To uninstall:

systemctl --user stop gamemoded.service
ninja uninstall -C builddir

Pull Requests

Pull requests must match with the coding style found in the .clang-format file, please run this before committing:

clang-format -i $(find . -name '*.[ch]' -not -path "*subprojects/*")

Maintained by

Feral Interactive

See the contributors section for an extended list of contributors.


Copyright © 2017-2023 Feral Interactive

GameMode is available under the terms of the BSD 3-Clause License (Revised)

The "inih" library is distributed under the New BSD license