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SGDK - A free and open development kit for the Sega Mega Drive


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SGDK 2.00 (January 2024)

Copyright 2024 Stephane Dallongeville


SGDK is a free development kit allowing development of software in C language for the Sega Mega Drive. It contains the development library itself (with the code sources) and some custom tools used to compile resources. SGDK uses the GCC compiler (m68k-elf target) and the libgcc to generate a ROM image. Binaries (GCC 6.3) are provided for Windows OS for convenience, but you need to install it by yourself for other operating systems. Note that SGDK also requires Java (custom tools require it), so you need to have Java installed on your system.

SGDK library and custom tools are distributed under the MIT license (see license.txt file). GCC compiler and libgcc are under GNU license (GPL3) and any software build from it (as the SGDK library) is under the GCC runtime library exception license (see COPYING.RUNTIME file)


First, you need to know that SGDK uses the C language (assembly is also possible, but not necessary) so it's highly recommended to be familiar with C programming before trying to develop with SGDK. Learning C language at same time as learning 'Sega Mega Drive' programming is definitely too difficult and you will end up getting nowhere. It's also important to have, at least, a basic knowledge of the Sega Mega Drive hardware (specifically the video system).



Then when you feel ready you can go further and finally install SGDK :)

You can find installation instructions and tutorials about how use SGDK on the wiki:

SGDK comes with doxygen documentation (generated from .h header files) which provides descriptions about SGDK structures and functions. You can find it in the 'doc' folder (open your local doc/html/files.html in your browser).

It's important to know that SGDK heavily relies on resources which are compiled through the rescomp tool. You should read the rescomp.txt file to understand which kind of resources you can use and how to declare them. Then you can look at the 'sample' folder from SGDK and, in particular, the sonic sample which is a good showcase of SGDK usage in general (functions and resources).


You can find a lot of tutorials online about SGDK but be careful, some are outdated or sometimes just wrong.
I really recommend starting from the wiki which provides the basics to start, but if you need more visual and more complete tutorials you can give either of these a try:
MD programming tutorials from Ohsat:
Very complete and visual tutorials from Danibus (spanish only):


Here's a list of useful tools to help you creating your assets:

Pixel art / Sprite

Map / Level

  • 16Tile: SGDK specific tile map editor
  • Tiled: Tile map editor, supported by SGDK resource compiler tool
  • LDTK: New but powerful tile map editor (support Tiled formats as well)
  • Ogmo: Another nice and simple tile map editor
  • Palette merger: A tool allowing to easily change tile palette index and priority

Music / sound

  • Deflemask: music tracker supporting several system as the Sega Mega Drive
  • Furnace: new music tracker supporting many systems
  • Wavosaur: wave sound editor (windows only)
  • Audacity: wave sound editor (all OS)

Alternates sound drivers

SGDK sound drivers may not fit your needs so it's important to know that some alternatives exist:

  • MDSDRV: powerful sound driver support FM & PSG SFX, pitchable PCM playback...
  • Echo: another sound driver supporting FM & PSG SFX and working 100% on Z80 CPU.
  • MiniMusic: a tiny Z80 sound driver for Mega Drive that runs entirely off Z80 RAM and doesn't access the cartridge slot.


If you need help or support with SGDK, you can join the SGDK Discord server:

You can also go to the Spritesmind forum which is dedicated to Sega Mega Drive development and has a specific section for SGDK:


Unix/Linux users should give this very simple script a try, allowing you to use SGDK from Wine easily:

There is also a new solution proposed by Daniel Valdivieso to use SGDK with VSCode under any OS using Wine:

Another great alternative is to use the complete MarsDev environment developed by Andy Grind: It supports all OSes, provides SGDK compatibility as well as 32X support, so be sure to check it out.

MacOSX users also have access to SGDK with Gendev for MacOS from the Sonic3D project:


A modern way to install it on any environement is to use Docker.

To download the sgdk base image:

 docker pull
 docker tag sgdk

Or build it:

 docker build -t -f deps/gcc.Dockerfile deps/
 docker build -t sgdk .

And then to compile the local env, such as samples for example:

cd sample/sonic
docker run --rm -v "$PWD":/src sgdk


  • $PWD will not work on Windows, %CD% has to be used instead.
  • To avoid writing ./out files as root, execute the docker command as current user: docker run --rm -v "$PWD":/src -u $(id -u):$(id -g) sgdk
  • You can also try the alternate Doragasu docker solution which uses a native linux compiler (much faster):


You can find a Visual Studio template in the 'vstudio' folder to facilate SGDK integration with VS. Or, to take it even further, you can also install the VS extension made by zerasul:


SGDK is completly free but you can support it on Patreon:


  • Doragasu for the multi-tasking engine (based on Sik implementation), MegaWifi, flash save support and others nice additions.
  • Sik for the multi-tasking base implementation and for all its unvaluable Plutidev Sega Mega Drive technical information source.
  • Chilly Willy for making almost all the JOY / controller support in SGDK (and the joy test sample ^^).
  • Astrofra for the starfield donut sample and the revamped readme ;)
  • Gligli for building and providing GCC 6.3 for Windows.
  • Gunpog for making the 'cute' SGDK logo.
  • Adrian Spoz for making the 'profesionnal' SGDK logo.
  • Vojtěch Salajka for the script allowing to use SGDK easily from Wine (Linux/Unix but may work on OSX too).
  • Daniel Valdivieso for another Wine based solution to use SGDK on multi-OS (including a VSCode template).
  • Andy Grind for the MarsDev project allowing to use SGDK on any OS and also supporting 32X dev.
  • Kubilus for the GenDev Linux port of SGDK.
  • Sonic3D for the GenDev OSX port of SGDK.
  • Vladimir Kryvian for Visual Studio support and template.
  • Steve Schnepp for Docker support.
  • Andreas Dietrich for the nice Wobbler & scaling effect samples.
  • clbr for various contributions.
  • jgyllinsky for providing / improving build batches.
  • nolddor for fixes / contributions.
  • starling13 for fixes.
  • davidgf for its contributions (improved assembly LTO optimization).
  • ShiningBzh / Jeremy and Kentosama for their precious help in testing.
  • Vetea and Studio Vetea Discord people in general for their support and kindness.
  • all those i forgot and generally all people helping by providing support, reporting bugs, adding samples and supporting SGDK in any way !


Of course I thank all my patreon for their continuous support but I want to dedicace a very special and warmfull thanks for generous donation from:

  • Bitmap Bureau (Xeno Crisis team)
  • Neofid Studios (Demons of Asteborg team)
  • Dmitry (D I)
  • Rajen Savjani


These projects are known to be based on the SGDK (non-exhaustive list):

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Tanzer by Mega Cat Studios

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MASIAKA by Resistance

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Xeno Crisis by the Bitmap Bureau

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Demons of Asteborg Neofid Studios

Random list of SGDK-powered games and demos