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Building the project

This file should assist you in compiling and running the game.

Note the troubleshooting and FAQ sections.

Buildsystem Design

openage consists of a pure C++ library, libopenage, and the openage python package.

We use CMake for all our building needs. We wrap CMake with an optional configure wrapper script. You can build the project like a regular CMake project.

For more build system internals, see doc/


Dependencies are needed for:

  • C = compiling
  • R = running
  • A = asset conversion
  • S = sanity checks (make checkall)

Dependency list:

C     gcc >=7 or clang >=4
CRA   python >=3.4
C     cython >=0.25
C     cmake >=3.1.0
  A   numpy
  A   python imaging library (PIL) -> pillow
CR    opengl >=2.1
CR    libepoxy
CR    libpng
 R    dejavu font
CR    freetype2
CR    fontconfig
CR    harfbuzz >= 1.0.0
CR    nyan  (
C     jinja2
CR    sdl2
CR    sdl2_image
CR    opusfile
CRA   libopus
CRA   libogg
   S  pycodestyle (or pep8 (deprecated))
C     pygments
   S  pylint
CR    qt5 >=5.5 (Core, Quick, QuickControls modules)

  A   An installed version of any of the following (wine is your friend).
      Other versions _might_ work; setup disk support will be added soon:

 - Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Patch 1.0c
 - Age of Empires II: Forgotten Empires
 - Age of Empires II HD

Dependency installation

There are some prerequisite steps that need to be performed so openage can be built successfully. Those steps vary from platform to platform, and are described below for some of the most common ones:

nyan installation

openage depends on nyan, which is the engine configuration language.

  • For development, nyan can be built and used without installation (-> no "make install"). Just clone the repo somewhere and follow the nyan build instructions).

  • Alternatively, openage can download nyan automatically. This is activated with ./configure --download-nyan ... or cmake -DDOWNLOAD_NYAN=YES ....

Only install nyan when packaging it. You don't need to clobber your filesystem.

cmake looks for nyan in the user package registry (~/.cmake/packages/nyan/) and the system package registry (/usr/lib/cmake/nyan/) for nyanConfig.cmake.

If nyan cannot be found but you know where it is, you can hint the location of the nyanConfig.cmake with -Dnyan_DIR=/directory/where/nyanConfig/is/in/.

Build procedure

Make sure you have all the dependencies installed.


  • (Obviously) clone this repo or acquire the sources some other way
  • Make sure you have everything from the dependency list
  • Select the compiler and mode: see ./configure --help
    • Linux etc: ./configure
    • macOS: ./configure --compiler=clang, ./configure --mode=release --compiler=gcc
  • make generates and builds everything
  • make run or ./run launches the game. Try ./run --help!
  • make test runs the built-in tests.


Disclaimer: Use your distribution package of openage instead! Your distro package maintainers do all the nasty work for you, and will provide you with updates!

  • Set build mode: ./configure --mode=release --compiler=clang --prefix=/usr/local
  • make
  • make install install the game to /usr/local
    • beware, this will add untracked files to your drive
    • please use your distribution package instead!
  • launch openage, it's in /usr/local/bin/openage

For packagers

  • Don't use ./configure; instead, handle openage like a regular cmake project. In doubt, have a look at ./configure's cmake invocation.
  • Use make install DESTDIR=/tmp/your_temporary_packaging_dir, which will then be packed/installed by your package manager.


  • I wanna see compiler invocations

    • make VERBOSE=1
  • My SDL2_Image/PythonInterp/whatever is installed somewhere, but cmake can't find it!

    • Run ccmake or cmake-gui in the build directory to see and change config variables.
    • You can manually tell cmake where to look. Try something along the lines of ./configure -- -DSDL2IMAGE_INCLUDE_DIRS=/whereever/sdl2_image/include/
  • I get compiler errors about missing header files

    • Make sure to install the developer version (including header files) of the library in question.
  • I get nonsensical cmake errors like unable to execute /home/user/git/openage/clang++

    • This is an issue with cmake, or rather, your usage of it. You probably invoked cmake directly, and defined a compiler even though the build directory has already been initialized. cmake is a bit "special" in this regard. Simply omit the compiler definitions, or purge the build directory with rm -rf build bin .bin.


  • Help, it doesn't work!

  • Why did you make the simple task of invoking a compiler so incredibly complicated? Seriously. I've been trying to get this pile of utter crap you call a 'build system' to simply do its job for half an hour now, but all it does is sputter unreadable error messages. I hate CMake. I'm fed up with you. Why are you doing this to me? I thought we were friends. I'm the most massive collection of wisdom that has ever existed, and now I HATE YOU. It can't be for no reason. You MUST deserve it.

    • Coincidentally, the exact same question crosses my mind whenever I have to build an automake project, so I can sympathize.
    • Unfortunately, it's not as simple as invoking a compiler. Building openage involves code generation and the building of Cython extension modules.
    • See buildsystem/simple, which does exactly these things, manually (don't use this for production).
  • Why don't you $proposition? Your $component is crap and would be much better then!