How to Play Dota Underlords on a Chromebook (Ultimate Tutorial!)

How to Play Dota Underlords on a Chromebook (Ultimate Tutorial!)

So, you want to get Dota Underlords on your Chromebook.

This comprehensive tutorial will teach you:

  • Three of the most up-to-date methods on installing and running Underlords
  • How to fix common troubleshooting problems getting the game to run (game crashing)
  • How to improve FPS to get as many frames as you possibly can (optimize performance)
  • Alternative options if you can’t get the game running on your Chromebook
  • And some other stuff also!

By the end of this tutorial, you should have everything you need to know to play the game.

And if you have any questions, you can leave a comment. I’ll try to get back to you with a response.

Sound good? Roll out those OP Knights and get ready to dominate those Mages! Who needs meta?

How do I get Underlords on my Chromebook?

How to play Dota Underlords on Chromebook.
Valve, pls.

Okay, let’s get to it.

So there are three main methods to get the game running on a Chromebook.

They are as follows:

  1. Install and run the game using the Android version through the Play Store
  2. Enable Linux (Beta), install Steam, and download the game
  3. Download Crouton, install Linux, install Steam, and then download the game

The easiest way is to just download it through the Play Store. As you can guess, this is as simple as downloading an app to your Chromebook!

The only catch?

Not everyone has access to the Play Store on their device, and for those who do, they report performance problems.

The other two methods utilize Linux and Steam. Linux (Beta) is the band-aid solution that probably won’t work as well as downloading and installing the full version of Ubuntu Linux.

But it’s worth a try if you’re not too technical.

We’ll cover all three of these methods in detail and I’ll guide you where to go and what to do each step of the way!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. I’ll try to get back to you with a solution ASAP.

Sound good? Let’s roll!

System requirements

Dota Underlords meme.
Too true.

You can’t really do much to meet the system requirements.

Well, it’s more like, most Chromebooks on the market will never meet the “minimum” system requirements posted by Valve on the game’s product page.

The game seems to be already pretty optimized. And the developers are extremely responsive to the community.

The only issue is that when you try to run this on a Chromebook, you may struggle a bit because you don’t have enough raw processing power!

You’ll have to optimize your FPS

There are some optimization options you can use to try to squeeze more FPS, but don’t expect buttery-smooth framerates. This really depends on how old your hardware is.

Even though most Chromebooks don’t match the requirements, there have been reports that the game runs fine!

The bare-minimum system requirements for Dota Underlords are:

  • OS: Ubuntu 16.04
  • CPU: Intel i5 at 2.4 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB RAM

Most Chromebooks have at least 4GB of RAM, but some older models are stuck with just 2GB.

You may get some sluggishness with only half the minimum recommended RAM capacity. The CPU required is at least an Intel i5 with 2.4GHz clock speed.

Don’t expect 60 FPS

Most Chromebooks aren’t nearly this powerful. The majority have only Intel Celeron CPUs.

There are a few performance models that have i3, i5, and some i7s, but most of them don’t. This is just something to keep in mind. Don’t expect a smooth 30FPS!

Have no idea what specs you have? Find out how to check the RAM, CPU, and memory capacity of your Chromebook.

Try the Play Store!

Valve meme.
Will Valve ever count to 3? No.

The absolute easiest way to get Dota Underlords on your Chromebook is to use the Play Store.

You can download the Android version of the game and emulate it directly on your Chromebook.

Of course, there are pros and cons of doing this:

Pros:

  • Easy and fast
  • Nothing to download other than the game
  • No need to mess with Linux or Steam

Cons:

  • Performance problems
  • Not every Chromebook has the Play Store

If you have a newer model, you should already have the Play Store as an app on your device.

If you have an older model, you may be able to “force” the Play Store on your laptop or wait for the update.

So now we take a branching path.

Do you have the Play Store on your laptop right now?

  • If you do, then try downloading Underlords from it and playing it.
  • If not, you can try to force the update so you don’t need to wait (this has specific requirements we’ll cover below).

Regardless, even if both of these don’t work out for you, don’t worry. We still have two other alternative methods to get the game running on your Chromebook!

I have the Play Store!

Nice! Go ahead and try downloading and installing the game and see if you can run it at playable FPS.

Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Play Store on your Chromebook. You can press the “Finder” key on your keyboard (the magnifying glass). Or you can click on the Finder icon at the bottom-left of your screen.
  2. Look for the Play Store app or you can search for it in the Finder.
  3. Once the Play Store is up, search for “Dota Underlords.” Or just click here.
  4. Read the reviews. Read the description. Verify that it’s the real game (watch out for fake apps).
  5. Click the “Install” button to add the game to your Chromebook. Wait patiently like a good person as it installs.
  6. When it’s done, launch the Finder again and look for the game.
  7. Launch it and play it!

If it works for you, this is the easiest way to get the game running. Congrats!

I don’t have the Play Store

Okay. In this case, we can go ahead and try to force your Chromebook to update to the latest beta version of Chrome.

Note that this method only works on specific Chromebook models.

Remember what we said earlier?

The caveat is that only Chromebooks that are scheduled to receive the update some time in the future will be eligible for the update.

There’s a list of supported devices published by the Chromium team.

You’ll want to skim it quickly and see if your particular device on the list. You can see models that are scheduled for a future release and ones that natively support the Android apps.

Can you download the update?

If you’re completely lost, check out this tutorial on identifying your Chromebook model.

Once you have the brand and model, you can reference the list and see if it appears on there.

You basically want to see that your Chromebook is pending a release in the future. If you don’t see yours on there, this method won’t work.

Once you’ve verified that you’re on the nice list, you can go ahead and proceed! This will force the Play Store update on your machine.

Note that you should probably make a backup of your data since this will erase everything on your Chromebook.

How to get Android apps

So at this point, you should be ready to go! You made a backup, right?

To do this, all we need to do is switch your Chromebook over to the Beta channel. This is really easy to do.

I made a detailed tutorial about the steps already, and I’m far too lazy to type them out again. Check out this article and follow the steps.

After you’re done, come back here and go to the previous section (“I have the Play Store!”) and follow the steps.

You just need to find Dota Underlords on the Play Store, download it, and then run it!

If that doesn’t work

So now that we’ve covered both of the Android app methods, let’s move on to the Linux methods. If neither of the above methods worked for you (game crashes, performance problems, or you can’t get the update), then try Linux.

I expect that over time, the Valve will improve Underlords and make the game optimized. Or perhaps Chrome OS and Android apps may also get faster and smoother.

As long as one party is constantly developing and improving, we should definitely see this technique become the “standard” moving forward.

Using Linux (Beta)

You can play Dota Underlords using Linux.
Yes.

Next, we have Linux (Beta). This is the middle-of-the-ground method for those who can’t get it running using the Play Store.

Again, this only works for specific Chromebooks. Not all of them have access to this feature yet.

Pretty much Google has built Linux directly into Chromebooks, so there’s no need to do the whole “download Crouton, get Linux, install Steam” thing.

Then again, now all Chromebooks have this feature yet. So you’ll want to check if you’re able to activate it.

Personally, I haven’t had much experience with this as most of my Chromebooks (yes, I have more than I’m willing to share) are old. So I can’t attest to this working 100%.

But it’s worth a try if you don’t want to go all out on Linux yet.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Activate Linux (Beta)
  2. Install Steam
  3. Download and install Dota Underlords
  4. Play the game!

I have tutorials on how to get Linux (Beta) and how to install Steam if you need ‘em!

Enable Linux

The first thing we’ll want to do is turn on Linux. This is super easy and most modern Chromebooks already have this feature by default.

If you don’t have it, you may want to switch to the Beta channel.

In summary, here are the steps are enable Linux:

  1. Sign in to your Chromebook if you haven’t already.
  2. Backup your data if you need to.
  3. Launch the Chrome Browser.
  4. Type “chrome://settings” in the address bar and hit Enter. You can also click on your profile picture at the bottom-right, then click on Settings.
  5. Look for “Linux (Beta)” and toggle it to “ON.”
  6. Read and complete the on-screen prompts. During this process, your Chromebook will be doing some updates in the background and can take a few minutes.

That’s it! Congrats! You should now have Linux on your Chromebook. Note that this is obviously a beta feature (hence the name), so don’t expect everything to run smoothly.

Download Steam

After you have Linux, you’ll want to install Steam.

You can do this just by launching the command terminal in Linux (“CTRL + ALT + T”) and then typing this command:

sudo apt-get install -y steam

You’ll see some code runs and then be prompted to accept their EULA. Press “Tab” and highlight “OK” to accept it.

Then just follow the steps and allow Steam to download and install on your system. After that, you’re cool.

Launch Steam (it should be under Applications > Games > Steam) and sign in. You may have to update Steam and restart it (those darn updates!).

Log in to Steam using your credentials. Download and install Dota Underlords. Then play it!

That’s it.

Again, don’t expect the best performance (or expect the game to even run at all). We’re playing a game through a DRM through an emulator on an unsupported OS, so yeah.

This is why I also suggest just downloading the full desktop version of Linux as it works much better for games (performance-wise). And you can do a lot more too!

If this method doesn’t work for you, or you want to install the full version of Linux, keep reading.

Crouton + Steam

Dota 2 meme.
Agree. With all but one.

Alright. So we’re all the cream of the crop. Using the old-fashioned Crouton and Steam method is probably the most difficult.

But also the best chance of getting Steam or Linux games to run on a Chromebook. It’s really not that hard, so don’t fret.

And even if you can’t get Underlords running, you can still play a bunch of other Steam games which we’ll cover later!

Needs an Intel-based CPU

Note that this will only work on an Intel-based Chromebook. If you have a Samsung or ASUS, you may be sporting a Rockchip or Exynos processor.

Please don’t waste your time as it’s not going to work. Sorry about that. Consider grabbing an Intel-based Chromebook as there are many that are very budget-friendly for your wallet!

So here’s how to do it:

  1. Back up your stuff.
  2. Put your Chromebook into Dev Mode.
  3. Download Crouton.
  4. Install Linux.
  5. Install Steam.
  6. Download Dota Underlords.
  7. Play the game!

There are complete tutorials for each of those steps linked above. Click on them and go through them in the exact order as stated.

Please break down the steps

If you’re already somewhat familiar with the steps, here’s everything in a nutshell.

Step 1: Backup your stuff

Backing up your data is imperative because this will erase everything on your Chromebook. So you should save whatever you want to save.

Step 2: Turn on Dev Mode

After you backup your important stuff, put your device into Developer Mode.

This step is easy: All you need to do is press “ESC + Refresh + Power” and hold it until your Chromebook restarts. If this doesn’t work, turn off your laptop, then try it when it’s off.

Your device will then boot up and show a screen that says “Chrome OS is missing or damaged.” This is normal. Just read the text and then hit “CTRL + D” to proceed.

Read the text on the next page, then hit Enter if prompted.

The Chromebook will then go through a reboot cycle and will boot up with Dev Mode enabled.

After this step is done, you’ll have it enabled. Congrats! Go ahead and sign in to your Google Account.

Step 3: Download Crouton

The next step is to download Crouton. You can grab it here.

Step 4: Download Linux

Installing Linux using Crouton is easy.

Just press “CTRL + ALT + T” and then type the following commands in the prompt:

sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 ~/Downloads/crouton

sudo crouton -t xfce

You’ll see a few on-screen prompts. Answer them as you move forward.

This will take a few minutes depending on your specific hardware.

Be patient. If you’re getting errors showing up on this step, check out this troubleshooting article and follow the steps.

When it’s done, go ahead and launch Linux by typing “sudo startxfce4” in the command prompt.

You can cycle between Chrome OS and Linux by hitting:

“CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Back Arrow” and “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Forward Arrow.” This will let you toggle between Linux and Chrome as needed.

Step 5: Get Steam

Now that you have a running copy of Linux, it’s time to get Steam! In Linux, just launch the command terminal again, then type:

sudo apt-get install -y steam

Review the EULA. Hit “Tab” and then “OK” then accept it. Steam will install and do its thing.

You’ll find Steam on your menu bar in Linux. You should have Ubuntu by default. It should be under Applications > Games > Steam.

Go ahead and get steamy!

Step 6: Download Dota Underlords

I’m pretty sure you know how to do this step =].

Step 7: Play the game!

What are you looking for here? Underlords tips?

Some things to note

Won’t work on school or work laptops

This won’t work on a Chromebook that’s managed by a school or workplace. If you’re not using your own personal laptop, you’ll probably be prevented by your school or work’s admin settings.

By default, enrolled Chromebooks block the ability to enable Dev Mode, which will effectively stop you in your tracks.

You’ll have to get permission from the IT team to allow you to do this. There’s really no way around it. Chromebooks are built solid to prevent malicious viruses and trojans.

But if you bought your laptop used and it happens to be enrolled into a network, you’ll need to unenroll it first.

Newer Chromebooks work better

Older Chromebooks will suffer from performance problems. These laptops have come leaps and bounds and many modern models just blow older ones out of the water- performance or otherwise.

If you get lagging, stuttering, freezing, or game crashes, it may be because your Chromebook needs an update! Good excuse to buy one, though.

(Need a new gaming Chromebook? Check out this list of the best Chromebooks for gaming).

Mind your spelling

If you encounter problems when trying to install Linux, make sure you type the commands correctly. They’re case-sensitive and must be exact.

When you enter a Linux password, the cursor won’t move. This is normal. You’re typing in a password string but it’ll appear as if nothing’s happening.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you screw up, just Powerwash it! You can’t really break anything.

Check out the Linux Ubuntu forums for other cool things you can do.

If you get lost or have a question, you can reply below using the comments section. I try to reply to all comments ASAP!

Other things you can do with Linux and Steam

Linux and Steam will let you download Dota Underlords on a Chromebook.
Oof. (Via Pinterest.)

Even if you can’t get Underlords running, perhaps there are other Steam games you might enjoy? How about DotA 2 itself? Or maybe League of Legends?

Or any of these fine titles:

You can check out some other tutorials I wrote by doing a search on Platypus Platypus.

Just punch in your game title and hit the search button. If it’s a popular game that’s had some level of success working on a Chromebook, I probably wrote a tutorial for it.

Troubleshooting

Dota Underlords video settings.
Specs are OP.

Ah, having problems running the game? Here are some basic tips I can offer you.

Use legacy Steam login

If the game crashes as soon as you launch it, you may want to use legacy login.

You can do this by:

  1. Launch Dota Underlords on your mobile device
  2. Click on “Settings”
  3. Click on “Game”
  4. Enable “Use legacy Steam login”
  5. Save your settings.
  6. Relog from Steam.

Then close out of Underlords on both your phone and computer and relaunch it.

You may have to sign out of Steam or create an account to get this working. It’s buggy and doesn’t work 100% of the time.
This may fix some crashing after Steam login.

Relog your Steam account

Have you seen this infamous error?

“We’ve attempted to launch the game, but the request was intercepted by your browser. Please use your browser’s application launching feature to return to the game, or visit this link in a browser that supports redirecting to installed applications (such as Google Chrome).”

If that option is not available, please visit the Game tab of Settings in Dota Underlords where you can enable the legacy Steam login mode”

-Dota Underlords error message that everyone hates

You can resolve this by clearing your app data. Launch the game then press the “login” button. The browser will launch. Login as usual and let it do its thing. Don’t close that browser tab after it goes back into the game.

After this, switch to the browser tab you’re logged in with and refresh it. You’ll see a message that confirms you can close the window. Close it and go back to the game.

Also, note that Steam isn’t required to play the game. DotaUnderlords did have some problems when it rolled out, but they’ve been resolved.

A clean relog of both your Steam version and mobile version can help. Log out of both and then relog on a fresh start.

The game runs slow when I use the Play Store app

Well, this is probably the most common complaint about this setup. Especially those who use the Play Store app.

The game may be unplayable at a very slow FPS.

Or you may get frequent stuttering and crashing before you even roll out your heroes on the battlefield!

This is expected, as the game’s engine was never built for a laptop emulator.

The phone-based version of Dota Underlords is built for phones. We’re running it through an operating system is was never meant to be played on.

And we’re using a device it’s not compatible to run on.

So you can see that a Chromebook isn’t the best choice to play Underlords on in the first place! Some turbulence is expected.

Why doesn’t it run?

Some users have had nothing but success using the mobile version from the Play Store.

Whereas others can’t even get the game to run. It seems very hit-or-miss at this point, with no rhyme or reason.

If I had to guess, it’s due to a combination of:

  • Chrome OS version
  • The version of Dota Underlords
  • Chromebook make and model
  • Chromebook hardware

Regardless, if you can’t get it running with the Android version, then try using either of the Linux versions.

The game runs slow when I use Linux (Beta)

This is pretty much for the same reasons as above- the game wasn’t made to be ported over onto a device that doesn’t support it in the first place!

If you’re running Linux (Beta), I’d suggest just getting the desktop version of Linux Ubuntu and a full copy of Steam. You might as well.

Linux (Beta) only seems to work partially for a handful of programs. It’s just worth trying so you can avoid the legwork required to get Steam and Linux.

Linux (Beta) is exactly as it sounds- it’s still in beta!

So you’re taking a beta program and then trying to install a desktop copy of a game DRM platform.

Then you’re installing a game through a DRM platform and trying to run it through said platform.

You’re taking the game from a DRM back to an “emulated” copy of Linux back to Chrome OS. That’s a lot of turbulence! Performance, FPS drops, and unplayable slowness are to be expected.

But hey- maybe you learned something? Or you now have the skills to play something else on your Chromebook?

The game runs slow on Steam and Linux!

For those who still get game crashing or slowness when using Crouton and Steam- it seems like we’re out of options.

Just like the other methods, this sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. It depends on many variables such as your hardware specs and Linux distro/version.

And maybe even your Steam version. If you made it this far and Underlords still doesn’t run properly or crashes all the time, it may be time to throw in the towel.

Maybe we’ll get something in the future

Perhaps, in the future, the game will be optimized. Or they’ll add some “extra-low” graphics settings so we can squeeze out more frames.

You’re running a game on a virtual DRM through a separate operating system (kernel) on an “underpowered” device that was never supposed to run the game in the first place!

But hey- if you made it this far, why not check out some of the other things you can do on your Chromebook? Now that you have Linux and Steam?

Maybe if you’re daring enough, you’ll want to play the original DotA on your Chromebook? Huh?

Some people have reported that the game works perfectly, whereas others not so much.

Seems like there are many variables in determining how smoothly the game runs. I can only think that over time this should improve.

Valve will continue to optimize Dota Underlords. And Google to improve the Android/Chrome OS tie-in.

How to optimize Dota Underlords

Dota 2 comic.
Sigh. (Via Imgur.)

Here are some basic tips on getting the game to run as smooth as possible.

Other than using the system configuration, there’s not much other work that can be done.

Remember, the game was the first-ever by Valve made for phones. No folder modding here!

  • Drop all settings to low (animations, models, etc.)
  • Lower resolution rendering
  • Lock the game to 30FPS

The game will only get laggier over time with more spells, animations, and sprites on the screen. Valve should continue to optimize Underlords to accommodate all this.

Personally, when I play it on mobile, the game runs hot and drains battery like crazy.

Even with settings on low, sometimes I still get FPS drops and very high battery usage.

My phone also heats up where I can boil an egg on it. A lot of other similar games don’t have this problem (Hearthstone and GWENT).

But Underlords doesn’t seem to run that smoothly. Of course, the game just came out. So there’s that.

You may want to check out this random video for some optimization tip:

By “tech How”

Did you get Dota Underlords running on your Chromebook?

Play Dota Underlords on Chromebook!
Did you make it? Did you get stuck? Let me know! (Via Dota Underlords.)

Well, that’s about it!

By now, you should have at least one way to get the game up and running on your Chromebook.

There were three methods outlined here in this tutorial- at least one of them should work?

The easiest would be to use the Play Store app first.

And if that doesn’t work, then try using the built-in Linux (Beta) if your Chromebook has the update.

And if that also doesn’t work, then you can go all out with Crouton and Steam.

Sure, getting the full desktop version of Linux and Steam takes additional work.

But you’ll be able to do a bunch of other cool stuff once you have it set up.

So even if Dota Underlords doesn’t run smoothly, you can still play a bunch of other games on Steam!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below. Or if you found this tutorial to be helpful, let me know!

Consider telling a friend. Then you can really duel it out on your Chromebooks =].

Thanks for reading!

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

What do you think?

avatar