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[edit]Compiling Wesnoth


Compiling Wesnoth

This page covers compilation on a Unix-like system, using the scons and cmake build systems.

See also:

Forcemstr has cross compiled for Windows using the free mingw32 tools, running under Linux.

Here's documentation of another cross compilation attempt: CompilingWesnoth/CrossCompiling

For detailed instructions and full prerequisites, please consult the current INSTALL file in the source code.


You need a C++ compiler (such as gcc).

You must have the following libraries installed on your system. Many Linux distributions split development packages from libraries. If so, you need to have the development packages to build Wesnoth (the -dev packages include the header files which are required to build packages from source). You will also need the runtime packages to actually run Wesnoth.

The following libraries are optional.

To be able to build things, you will need a build tool, either


On all linux distributions that are based on Debian (like eg Ubuntu) it should be enough to use this command (if your distribution ships a recent version of Wesnoth, otherwise dependencies might be outdated and you have to install the respective dependencies by hand, i.e. if your distribution does only ship wesnoth-1.6 you won't get the build dependencies for 1.8 with the following command):

sudo apt-get build-dep wesnoth

To make sure Wesnoth 1.10 builds, you might need this:

sudo apt-get install libboost1.40-all-dev

The following command will install most prerequisites for openSuSE 12.1, wesnoth 1.10.1. All dependencies are in the standard OSS repository.

zypper install libSDL-devel gettext-runtime zlib-devel cairo-devel fontconfig-devel cmake make libSDL_mixer-devel libSDL_image-devel libSDL_net-devel libSDL_ttf-devel gettext-tools boost-devel libSDL_Pango-devel lua-devel dbus-1-devel libvorbis-devel

The following command will install most prerequisites for CentOS 6.4 or RedHat 6, wesnoth 1.10.1. All dependencies are in the standard OSS repository.

yum install boost-devel SDL-devel SDL_image-devel SDL_ttf-devel SDL_mixer-devel SDL_net-devel pango-devel cmake scons


You can get it here:


Our future choice of build system is not yet final -- SCons and CMake are both in contention -- but for the moment both build systems (SCons and CMake) should in general work.

If any config checks fail, look in the respective log files (eg in build/config.log when using scons) for details. When using scons, a check can spuriously fail due to caching. If this happens, please use --config=force to force its rerun.

Building with SCons

To build using SCons, simply type

$ scons 

in the Wesnoth top-level directory. This will perform the equivalent of "configure --enable-editor --enable-tools; make" under autotools, buiding all client-side tools. To find out more about build options, type

$ scons --help

Equivalents of many configure options will be available, and you can easily build individual targets such as wesnothd.

Because scons checks for out-of-dateness with MD5 checksums of a target's ancestors and its build environment (including compiler and linker flags), the "make clean" and "make uninstall" preliminaries that you need for safety under autotools won't be necessary.


Good options to use with scons are

  • cxxtool=clang++
This uses clang instead of gcc, which is empirically significantly faster (about 2x)
  • ccache=true
Enables ccache.
If you have ccache available on your system, and you are using git, then this is highly recommended, it can enable you to switch branches and rebuild in minutes.
  • build=release vs. build=debug
Determines whether you build with -O2 optimizations, or -O0 with debugging symbols.
Keep in mind this preference, like the others mentioned, are "sticky" and will be remembered in the future.
  • -j 2, or --jobs 4, etc.
Build parallelism: This tells scons to run multiple compilation steps in parallel. The number of jobs you tell it to run at once should not be larger than the number of cores that you have.

Building with CMake

CMake supports so called "out of tree" builds. That is you compile in a place completely different from the folder where your checkout is in. To do so, simply create a folder to compile in and call cmake with the path to your checkout. Of course you can also just call cmake from the checkout folder with a plain cmake ., but this is boring, isn't it?

To have cmake build wesnoth in a new dir called cmake_build_dir, just use these commands (PATH/TO/WESNOTH/TOPLEVEL-DIR means the base of your repository checkout or the folder where you extracted the tarball to, not src/ in there!):

$ mkdir cmake_build_dir
$ cd cmake_build_dir

This will perform the equivalent of "configure --enable-editor --enable-server" under autotools. To get an interface for editing settings, just type

$ ccmake .

in the cmake_build_dir. When done with your changes hit 'c' to configure and 'g' to generate the files and exit. In general you can either add commands to your cmake PATH/TO/WESNOTH/TOPLEVEL-DIR call, or change the parameters later on via ccmake or a cmake gui. Equivalents of many configure options are be available.

In the 2nd step you just have to build the game. This is done as with autotools using

$ make

This by default builds all the targets you activated. If you want to you can also just build specific targets like wesnothd.

Because CMake checks for out-of-dateness, the "make clean" and "make uninstall" preliminaries that you need for safety under autotools won't be necessary.


Become superuser, so that you have permission to install.

$ su
  Password: /*doesn't show*/

Now that you have permission, install it.

Installing using SCons

If you are using SCons:

# scons install

Installing using CMake

If you are using CMake, installing basically happens the same way as when using autotools. When authorized as admin (see above), just type this:

# make install

Running the game without installing

After compiling it is also possible to just run the game without installing it. All you have to do is execute the compiled binary and provide the path to the data location as argument. This looks eg like this:

$ ./wesnoth .

or, if you compiled outside the place where you have your repository checkout or the extracted tarball (lets assume this content lies in ../wesnoth-1.8):

$ ./wesnoth ../wesnoth-1.8/

See also